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Old 05-10-2020, 11:20 AM
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Smile .455 Webley

Who loads for a .455 Webley ?
1. Powder and charge ?
2. Bullet type and weight ?
3. Accuracy ?
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:47 AM
robertrwalsh robertrwalsh is offline
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It has been a LONG TIME since I loaded any. I do remember that a standard .45 acp load is about equal to a .455 webley proof load and that you can get semi-decent accuracy with a hollow-base .452 bullet. I dug the following information off of the slip packed with my Lee .455 webley loading dies.
170-190 grn bullet. Bullseye 3.5 grn. unique 5.6 grn
207-230 grn bullet. 3.5 red dot 3.7 green dot 4.6 unique
221-240 grn bullet. 4.5 unique
241-265 grn bullet. 5.0 grn Nobel Pistol #2.
It is possible to get correct size bullets, I think Berry makes them as do others.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:22 PM
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Using Starline .455 Webley brass
I poured 3.25g of W231 over a Reed 265g wc; sized to .454.
A Reed 250 RN was also coated with mica to add a little extra diameter and lubrication.

I also used a cast, no lube groove, crosshatched 250g bullet and powder coated to get a little bigger diameter.

I estimate all 3 loads gave under 700fps.

The accuracy was 2.5" to 3.5" @25yds. This was my first handload attempts with the 455 and have not run ladder tests to find the optimal powder weight for each bullet. I expect to get half that group size after testing and chrono.

You should anticipate a problem trying to keep your bullets's diameters after seating. Unless you have a .455 or larger plug/stem on your expander die, you are probably going to swage them down to under .451. Those too small bullets will wobble down the chamber and hit the forcing cone sideways. That will spit shaved lead in your face, lead the barrel, and kill accuracy.

I bought the 45-70 "M" die expander plug from Lyman that has .456 plug. After running brass through the .456 expander it will "spring back" from .001" to .002" and leave your brass with a .454 nest for your .454 bullet. Lube or wax your brass cases or they will stick like glue on that expander stem.


These cartridges and bullets reminded me of SNL and the coneheads. They looked like fat, squat, rounds with a big upside down snowcone head on it. Cute as all getout.

Fun caliber to play with.
----------------
My pistola has been modified to also shoot 45 Colts. They counter sunk the chambers to allow the bigger and thicker case rim of the 45 Colt brass to fit. This is the best approach I've seen when modifying 455 to shoot both .455 Webley and the 45Colt.

I kept all my 45Colt loads under 800fps as I was nervous about the old shooter handling higher pressures.
Let me know if you want that data as well.

Last edited by oddshooter; 05-10-2020 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:45 PM
oddshooter oddshooter is offline
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and even more:

My bore seemed tight. I have not slugged it to find the true diameter as yet. With bullets at .454 or larger. I was nervous about how much obteration, French word for sealing, was going to slam when that large bullet hit that small hole. A little over, like .001 or .002, is no big deal; but .454 is a lot over what may be .448 for the barrel groove diameter.

So I used a soft Reed bullet with a soft BNH of 10 in hopes it might swage a little easier.


Prescut

Last edited by oddshooter; 05-10-2020 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 05-10-2020, 04:25 PM
Drm50 Drm50 is online now
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I’m shooting 272gr cast hp/ 4.5 gr unique. Bullets cast soft. Shoot the same load in all the 455s. Vel is around 600fps. I only shoot them for grins anyway.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:14 AM
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First question might be what model/version? There is a large difference strength between a Mark I and a Mark VI.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:19 AM
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Second question might be if the cylinder is trimmed for 45 acp brass? In regards to bullet dia, both mine have tight cylinder throats an bores. Mark I and a Mark VI. The few S&W's i have seen so chambered were about.454 cylinder throats.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:19 PM
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I've been reloading .455 for 15 years for a S&W 2nd Model, shipped 1915 and carried by a British lieutenant in France (Royal Garrison Artillery). His name is engraved on the gun and I've got a pretty good history on him, which greatly enhances the revolvers interest to me.

I've only used Hornady brass (no longer available). My favorite bullet is the Remington swaged 250 grain flat nose (intermittently available), which measures 0.455 inches and has a shallow hollow base. I've also used the Hornady 255 grain bullet, which also has a shallow hollow base and measures 0.454 inches. After trying a number of different loads, I've settled on 4.5 grains of HP-38 with both of the above bullets. Excellent accuracy and no leading. These bullets are intended for the .45 Colt cartridge, but their diameter makes them suitable for .455 Webley. I use Lee dies and have had no problems with bullets being swaged down during seating. More traditional Webley bullets with the long round nose and weighing 260-265 grains are available from some commercial bullet casters.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:06 PM
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Fiocchi ammo is reasonably priced and normally can be found online. I start by shooting purchased ammunition and reload the brass. Too much work trimming and thinning the base on other caliber brass, so if the gun is original, buy a few boxes of Fiocchi and you will have all the brass you need.

The bullet design is quite different from standard 45 Colt style bullets. I have three 455s and find that solid base bullets do not achieve the accuracy I would like. I purchased a RCBS bullet mold and it not only produces bullets with the skirted hollow base, it has dimensions of the original military bullet. For me, it is substantially superior to solid base bullets and the mold is worth the investment.

The key in powder selection is finding a powder that will get you under 700 fps and keep standard deviation low. Military rounds were in the 625 fps range and Fiocchi runs 262 fps in my revolvers. My choice of powder is Trail Boss. I load 3.5 to 4 g TB and do some test loads through a chronograph to get to the velocity of around 650 fps. No chance of double charge with TB and this powder offers very low SD, but there are many other good powders to chose from as detailed above.

Here is an article that might be of interest to you.
GUNS Magazine The .455 Webley: Part 1 - GUNS Magazine
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