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Old 06-19-2015, 03:00 AM
Jäger Jäger is offline
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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Default Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473

So, the Regiment just got back from a European WW1 and WW2 battlefield tour (along with having lunch with the Colonel In Chief, Queen Elizabeth II). I ended up socializing and talking with members I don't usually do that with, and out of all of that came an invitation from one of our retiring sergeant majors to have a look at his grandfather's old revolver and possibly buy it.

So I went over to his place today to have a quick look. Ended up staying for three hours just looking at stuff... he is a military packrat, just as I am. We both date back to the FN FAL, but that is another story.

So this is what I ended up with (sorry for the pic quality, but all I had was my Rugby Smart for a camera):













I will try and get better pictures once my camera's macro lens returns from being sent for repair.

Along with the revolver and holster were WW1 medals, FMPs, and something I really love... maps!.

Here's just a few pics from maps of Amiens... some of you may of heard of it, it is one of our Regiment's battle honours:
Battle of Amiens - The Canadian Encyclopedia

And, the best pictures I could get of parts of the maps:



















Anyways, that's picture heavy enough for now. But I found his personal maps, field message pads, medals, shaving kit, etc almost as interesting as the old warhorse of a pistol.

So, anybody care to tell me what I appear to have purchased?

The fact his grandfather was an officer during WW1, the maps, the notebooks, the medals, etc suggest he carried this in WW1 and kept it after war's end. I did get some examples of stamping that came out clear enough, but I do not see any of the Canadian/Brit stamps that are on a .455 Webley that has been in the family since WWI, a Ross, a Long Branch, etc.

Also, any idea on value for insurance - minus maps, medals and personal effects? The maps need to go to a museum, but no museum will be getting their hands on the revolver until I'm on the other side of the sod. I'll be out shooting it alongside the Webley.

Last edited by Jäger; 06-19-2015 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 06-19-2015, 05:21 AM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is online now
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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Welcome to the Forum.

Yes, you have a nice example of an unaltered .455 Triple Lock.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:03 AM
Green Frog Green Frog is online now
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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WOW! You really know how to enter the room!! That is indeed a "Triple Lock" as can be easily determined by the little projection through the frame as seen in your 6th picture and of course the shroud around the extractor rod. If it were mine, I would immediately get after that "patina" with some bronze wool and Kroil™ before it becomes rust. If you are a military collector you probably know about conservation, so I'll just say that TL could stand some TLC. Absent all the ephemera, you have a great find, with it I'd categorize what you got as a real treasure! I marked your post "LIKE" because there is no button for "ADORE."

Froggie
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:18 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is offline
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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Dang, you hit the jackpot, what a package!

The old warhorse is a warhorse we don't often see! We see a ton of 455s but not only does yours appear to be all original, great condition, and a Triple Lock, but based on its serial # 12473 it’s not a 1st or 2nd version (see below) and appears it can only be one of the 691 3rd version which are generally shrouded in mystery. Because reportedly they sold commercially, so was it or wasn't it shipped to England???

Officers (and I presume when you were told his grandfather was an officer, he meant an English officer) were expected to supply their own sidearm. Perhaps it was purchased commercially in England.
This may account for the relatively scant English stampings compared to most military 455 revolvers that we see.

There were three basic versions of 455 revolvers produced by S&W during production for the Brits. Each of the three versions included triple locks.

The 3 Versions of Hand Ejectors chambered in .455 Mk II for the British are:

1. “.44 HE 1st Model”, ‘Triple Lock’ with .455 Mk II chambering: 812* factory reconfigured unassembled or unsold ".44 Spl HE 1st Models", often not stamped .455, original chamberings unknown, most or all likely .44 Spl, 666 for the British #1104 thru 10417 (obviously not inclusive of all serial #s), the extra 146 in serial range #9858-10007 for the commercial market; 123 in England and 23 in the US [N&J pgs. 204-205]. These 812 .455 TLs were serial #’d in the .44 1st Model serial # range of 1 to 15375. Shipped 1914-16.

* SCSW reports "over 800", but by shipped serial # count, it’s actually 812, 146 of which are commercial guns [S&WN&J pgs. 203, 204 & 205].

NOTE: Of the 146 .44 HE 1st Models that were converted/built as .455s assembled some time after the first 666 military .44 1st Model .455 TLs and sold commercially, 123 were sold to the British, shipped to Wilkinson Sword 10/1/14 and 23 sold in the US, shipped to Shapleigh Hardware in St. Louis, MO. on 1/1/1918.

2. “.455 Mk II HE 1st Model”, TL in the new .455 British serial # range 1 to #5461 [H of S&W pg. 201] made 1914-15; thus creating a possible ~ 68 duplicate serial #s of the 812 “.44 HE 1st Model TLs, also in .455 chambering in 1. above.

3. “.455 Mk II HE 2nd Model” (sans extractor barrel shroud and 3rd lock, but with slightly larger cylinder/frame window dimensions from the 44 and 455 HE 1st Model TLs) continued in the .455 1st Model TL Brit serial range beginning #5462 to #74755, shipped 1915-17. Feb 1916 724 manufactured for the Canadians, chambered in 45 Colt, presumed for the RCMP [H of S&W, pg. 203]. The Canadian military also bought 14,500 of these 2nd Models. And 1105 2nd Models released for commercial sales in the US, shipped Dec 1917 to Shapleigh Hardware in St. Louis [S&WN&J pg. 216].

“As the Brit contracts were finishing up in [April] 1916, S&W found enough [44 HE frames and 455] parts to build 691 .455 HE 1st Model Triple Locks [.44 HE 1st Model”, TLs with .455 Mk II chamberings]. *These guns will be numbered in the .44 Spl serial number series [could be the 1st or 2nd Model .44 Spl serial numbers; H of S&W, pg. 203]. I have no idea why they were not just numbered in the .455 series. Perhaps it was .455 barrels and cylinders that the factory found, and they simply turned again to existing 44 HE 1st Model TL frames to use them up. They were sold commercially.” Lee Jarrett

*Although the last 691 TLs are likely numbered too high (12000 to 13000 and higher, sold in 1916 and 1917 - Many were sold to Shapleigh Hardware Co. and Simmons Hardware Co., St. Louis, Mo.) And not likely to possibly have a duplicate number in the .455 HE 1st Model TL Brit contract serial range #1 to #5461, we don’t know anything with certainty.

This 455 begs for a S&W Historical letter to find out where it shipped!
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:35 AM
PJGP PJGP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Officers (and I presume when you were told his grandfather was an officer, he meant an English officer) were expected to supply their own sidearm. Perhaps it was purchased commercially in England. This may account for the relatively scant English stampings compared to most military 455 revolvers that we see.
The revolver has London proofs, and so must have been a commercial purchase in England.

Peter
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:10 AM
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blazermark blazermark is offline
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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wow, just wow.. wonderful weapon, thank you for sharing.
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:19 AM
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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Wow. . .again! I don't know what you paid for all this; but, we've had collectors pay $2500 for Triple Locks recently that look like they went to hell and didn't make it back. All that other stuff too. This is a historic collection!
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:20 AM
Jäger Jäger is offline
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Welcome to the Forum.
Well, I've been here for about five years, but I don't post very often. Thanks for the welcome.

I'm not really a "collector" other than I'm a generic firearms affectionado and lifelong competitive shooter that has developed an interest in old Canadian kit and weapons over the last 30 years of service. The seed might have been planted before then when my hunting started in the early '60s with my grandfather's 1895 Winchester in 30 US - I still hunt with that rifle using cast bullets. The military interest probably got spurred when my uncle gave me his Webley just before I deployed to Bosnia in 1993. My great grandfather carried it in WWI with the 1st Gordons of the Gordon Highlanders; he gave it to my uncle when he went overseas, where he carried it flying Beaufighters in the East (he also carried a kukhri and an FN Model 1910 - must have clanged like a church bell walking out to his aircraft).

So I'm not a collector per se. There are about eight K frames in the gun safe, but they're all from the era of about 1974 - 1985 and were all either purchased new from a gun store or prizes at PPC matches. However, on the military side, there is the Webley, a P17, a factory fresh unissued Long Branch No. 4 Mk1*, a Ross, and now this Triple Lock. So not a collector, but certainly some historical stuff in the gun safe.

I am going to try and find out more about my buddy's grandfather. The one picture of him I saw, kneeling with the colors while a woman attaches a guidion, indicates he was probably a subby or perhaps a captain. The pips are not that clear in that century old photo. About all I know at this point is he was from eastern Canada, probably Ontario, and I believe during the conversation it was mentioned that his regiment of the time went over as part of the 2nd Battalion, CEF. Apparently, after WWI, his regiment was amalgamated into the Googly Fooglies. The Dominion archives may turn up more and I have an aunt who loves doing genealogy research, so there's a good chance I might be able to learn a fair bit.

The seller did not know his grandfather all that well and said the last time he saw him he was only 11, so not a lot of help as to the origin of the revolver. It certainly wouldn't have been uncommon in Canada at that time for him to be an immigrant from Great Britain and have strong familial/business ties to that country. I can't even find military markings on the holster, at least with a cursory inspection. Without any of type of marks you normally see on Canadian military issue weapons and equipment, I think it is best guess that it was a private purchase.

Anyways, I'm a believer in shooting them and I already have the dies, brass, and the RCBS hollow base bullet mould to keep the Webley fed, so this revolver will be heading out to the range shortly. A careful cleanup of the outside is required, and unfortunately the action is so gummy that if a little spray'n drain doesn't do it, the side plate will have to come off. I've worked over K frames for PPC so I've done that a lot of times before, but all things considered I'd like to leave the internals untouched and whatever mud from France and Belgium remains right where it is. But for now, the action is just too gummy.

Thanks for the helpful info folks; I'll post better pictures once my DSLR has a macro lens once again.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:56 AM
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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A wonderful revolver and excellent set of associated material, all entertainingly presented! The serial number brought me up short for a moment, but Hondo44 clearly described the numbering issues in play when it comes to understanding the .455 TLs. I agree that this gun deserves a historical letter from the company.

Great catch! Congratulations. I'm glad you intend to shoot it; that's what they are for. Somewhere in my safe I have an early .455 TL that was eventually bored out to take .45 Colt, but the conversion was done in a way that allows it still to shoot the shorter and thinner-rimmed British round. Eventually a completely original .455 TL will come to live in my safe, but in the interim I am certainly enjoying the one I have now.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:43 PM
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You left too much unexplained.

What is this regiment of which you speak, and did you really have lunch with the Queen? Details? That doesn't happen everyday to most of us, and I want to hear about it.

I have a friend on the Net, a retired British professor of history, whose husband is a retired Royal Navy Harrier pilot. Their sons are still on active RN duty, one in subs. That lady has been at garden parties at Buckingham Palace and has met Her Majesty and other Royals. It must have been fascinating.

You also mentioned a Webley, but no details. Do you know the model? Because officers purchased their own sidearms, it could be a commercial one with bright blue finish and made for Wilkinson Sword or another famous retailer. Even the pictures that you can take now will identify it, unless the details have to be seen in person as with the difference between the 1905 and 1911 Wilkinson-Webley. (Rifling twist, mainly.)

I loved your description of the man who flew a Beaufighter against the Japanese and who carried that Webley and the kukri and the Browning M-1910. Was the Browning a .32 or a .380? Did he just do strafing and general ground support missions, or did he maybe bag a Japanese plane or two? A ship? Was he flying over Burma?

Stop teasing us and tell this stuff!

All we know about you is that you post that you live in Montana and somehow have these British and/or Canadian connections. You need to fill in some details for the posts to make full sense. It seems as you have some fascinating material to divulge!

Start with that lunch with the Queen! Who attended and how did it include you? What was served? Where? Did you personally meet Her Majesty? Were there other honored guests? One paratrooper recently received the Victoria Cross. Might he have been there?

Just start at the beginning and fill us in. I can't wait to learn this stuff.

And, yes, that S&W .455 badly needs cleaning. I hope it's not pitted. The holster is very correct, and having a flap, would be an officer's holster. Enlisted holsters were open-topped and had loops for a cleaning rod.

Last edited by Texas Star; 06-19-2015 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 06-19-2015, 03:09 PM
Jäger Jäger is offline
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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Ah yes indeed, a very fine luncheon the Regiment had with the Colonel In Chief... if only all our elected leaders had as much grit and presence.





Being a jumper with the Airborne Regiment in earlier service, I would have liked to meet the jumper who collected the VC - and who wouldn't - but the dinner was strictly with the Royals and the Regiment. It has been my pleasure a few decades ago to drink unseemly amounts of scotch in the mess with WWII VC winners Smokey Smith and Jack Mahoney (one time with Prince Philip and the Duke of Westminster in attendance and imbibing as well, if Royal incidents intrigue you).

The thing that fascinates me from the (obviously) limited number of VC winners I have met is how many men have done somewhat similar deeds, and yet received nothing more than a "good job". The few VC winners I have met seem to recognize that - Mahoney spoke of that just about every single time he was a guest at one of our mess dinners. In fact, he always said his VC was won by the Regiment at the Melfa River and belonged to his Regiment; he just happened to be the individual they gave it to.

By way of example, in one incident I personally witnessed, one of the line infantry privates from our Regiment left the shelter of the carrier his section was taking cover behind while under small arms fire from LMGs and ran through a potential minefield to shield a wounded civilian (who the enemy was trying to finish the job on) with his body while he stopped the bleeding and started an IV on him. He was out there under fire a good five minutes with the bad guys taking a poke at him. We evaced the farmer just in time and he lived, Cpl Stearn got no recognition other than "are you crazy?" There's a living, breathing VC winner - minus the medal - right there.

He now works as an RN, and I doubt anybody who works with him has the slightest clue of what kind of man he is and what he did. Just some guy who's a nurse...

The Webley? I'm away from home right now, but I think I have a pic online somewhere...



My uncle? Bill Rogers was born in Kimberley, BC and worked as a hard rock miner until the outbreak of war. How they decided to make a development miner into a pilot is beyond me, but they did. I can't recall the squadron he flew in, but they were flying in Burma and from my conversations with him the idea was to pretty much shoot up anything they came across. I do remember him saying he absolutely hated the job of shooting up the elephant trains being used to move material in the jungle. Apparently he was quite the hunter like the rest of us before the war; he didn't hunt after the war and perhaps that is why. I know it would bother the hell out of me.

They shot up coastal shipping, trains, pack trains, troops, and Japanese aircraft if they could get the bounce on them. Bill said you'd have been mad to try a prolonged fight with a Zeke or Zero, but your chances were good if you stuck with one pass, haul arse. Bill said nothing was going to catch a Beaufighter with the throttles firewalled, and with the firepower in those things, all you had to do was touch a Japanese plane with the cone of fire and it was scrap metal.

Bill was shot down once and got back to friendly lines. About the same time a squadron mate also went down; Bill said that the found out shortly afterwards what the Japanese had done to the pilot and his navigator rather than bring them back as prisoners. Bill told me more than once; it was pretty ugly and Bill absolutely hated Japanese until his death about eight years ago.

Anyways, after being shot down, Bill said he decided he needed more than the family Webley pictured above. At the time Canadian pilots were being issued revolvers, almost certainly S&W I would imagine, that were chambered for .38 - not .38 Spl. Probably something like this:



Bill said they didn't even have ammuntion for them, so some of the guys tried to make them useable by tightly wrapping string around 9mm ammuntion and sticking those in the chambers.

Anyways, that's where the kukhri and the little FN came into the picture. Bill said that he decided he might not live, but the Japs weren't going to get him alive either, and he wouldn't die for lack of shooting or fighting back. Like so many of us, I never pursued it further to get the whole story of the kukhri and the FN, other than he got the kukhri from a Gurkha in some sort of swap. Bill gave me those along with the Webley at the same time. I didn't have the heart to tell him that .455 Webley was no longer in the supply chain, and we had strict prohibitions against taking personal weapons overseas (except for the CO, of course, who brought a BHP borrowed from a friend... different rules for Lt Cols versus sgts, etc.).

Sidebar: I do occasionally carry that FN as a pocket pistol on occasion. More for nostalgia than anything else, as Montana is pretty safe and I have a lot of much better handguns available for concealed carry - but none are as tiny as that little pistol.

Bill was medivaced out just before the end of the war, so sick with dysentry and malaria that they finally grounded him. There's some pictures of him and he looks like he weighs about 100 lbs soaking wet with his boots on, and Bill was about 6'2" in height. The good news was that he met my Aunt Marg on the hospital ship. Turned out she was from Michel (coal mining town that no longer exists 100 miles east of Kimberley). They got married and actually did live happily ever after. To the best of my knowledge Bill never sat in the cockpit of an aircraft after the day he was grounded. Don't know whether he simply had no interest or chose to do other things. He did go back mining underground on his return; I worked underground for two years as a blaster just out of high school (it's a mining town; all the boys go to work for the Great White Father). By all accounts Bill was a hard man and nobody to fool around with, but then again that mine back in 1972 was full of hard men back from the war, and I imagine a lot of them were not people to fool around with. I got along with Bill underground just fine, and ditto for the rest of the boys.

I always thoroughly enjoyed talking with veterans, even as a longhair back in the early 70's who never dreamed of serving in either the police or the military. Back then, we even had a few Boer War veterans you could take with and a lot of the WWI vets were still spry enough to march in Remembrance Day parades.

My Mom did a bunch of genealogy and apparently taped a bunch of conversations with Bill a few years before he died, with her dying a few years later. Those tapes are around somewhere, and as I am still methodically cleaning up Mom & Dad's estate (bit of a mess; they died just a couple of months apart with Dad's work as her executor unfinished), I will eventually find those tapes. I'm a big believer in preserving the stories of war; ordinary men doing extraordinary deeds.

Anyways, I am really getting astray from Smith and Wessons, never mind triple locks. And I think the theory is I am supposed to be doing the Crown's work here, not posting on the internet. Lunch is about over and I better get my head down, arse up, and get some work done.

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Old 06-19-2015, 05:12 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is offline
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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Bill said you'd have been mad to try a prolonged fight with a Zeke or Zero, but your chances were good if you stuck with one pass, haul arse. Bill said nothing was going to catch a Beaufighter with the throttles firewalled,...
Most throttles of that era had a ball for a handle, hence the expression: "Ball's to the wall!"


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...and with the firepower in those things, all you had to do was touch a Japanese plane with the cone of fire and it was scrap metal.
LOL Scrap metal and charred plywood.
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:17 PM
Jäger Jäger is offline
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Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473 Triple Lock? .455 Webley, s/n 12473  
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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
LOL Scrap metal and charred plywood.
Yeah... if I remember one of my conversations with Bill, he said something like four 20mm cannons and six .303 British machine guns. Makes the armament the Lightening had in its nose look like toys. Who knows; maybe those and the B-26's were the idealogical ancestors of the A-10.

Bill said once that when you lit it all up, you could literally feel the airplane slow down in the air from the recoil. Considering the size of the Beaufighter, that says something.

And gives a whole new meaning to the concept of "beaten zone".

Anyways, back to triple locks.
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