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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1960s b prefix mkiv target revolver in .22. The gun was only used for a few years in the 60's before it was put into storage for over 30 years, so the thing is basically new. I use it every few weeks at the range and for informal club competitions. For the past few months though it has started to give a bit of trouble by not allowing the hammer to be pulled back , it simply won't move or won't move much, sometimes it jams up completely and the trigger cannot be pulled either. This occurs every so often , maybe once in every 6 shots. I have tried different ammunition, scrubbed the gun until spotlessly clean, checked all the screws to make sure they are not loose, and finally dismantled it completely but could absolutely nothing wrong. Nothing was visably worn or broken.

Would anyone have any experience of problems like this with webley revolvers ?
 

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It sounds as if lead is built up on the face of the cylinder which makes it rub against the barrel, or lead built up on the top strap which makes it rub against the cylinder. This was a common problem with Smith and Wesson .22 target revolvers, and there's no reason a Webley would be immune from it. If lead appears there carefully take a single-edged razor blade to it and then maybe rub it with a brass brush or patch from a Lewis lead remover.
 

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Well, if you open the revolver with the barrel tipped down, does the hammer still not retract and the trigger still not release? If the action works when open, it sounds as if your problem is with the cylinder binding someplace. If it doesn't work when open the problem is internal. Is the malfunctioning double-action or single- or both? A revolver with a sideplate (such as a WG) can malfunction with loose screws, but loose screws never seem to have adversely affected the functioning of the service revolvers.
 

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I have an Enfield No.2* which would progressively harder to operate as the rounds in the cylinder were fired. I never could get all six to fire without opening and reclosing the gun at least once. It didn't help at all that it was double-action only.

It took a while, but I finally traced that problem to some slightly too-hot reloads that would stick in the cylinder after they were fired and the fact that there was just a little bit more headspace between the cylinder and the backing plate at the 12 o'clock position than there was at 6. The stuck fired rounds would sit back in the cylinder and there was just too much drag on the backing plate from the case heads as the cylinder tried to come around.

Opening and reclosing the gun would lever the fired cases back into the cylinder, and eliminate the drag.

I don't really see this being a problem with a .22, but it MIGHT give you something to try and someplace to look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, if you open the revolver with the barrel tipped down, does the hammer still not retract and the trigger still not release? If the action works when open, it sounds as if your problem is with the cylinder binding someplace. If it doesn't work when open the problem is internal. Is the malfunctioning double-action or single- or both? A revolver with a sideplate (such as a WG) can malfunction with loose screws, but loose screws never seem to have adversely affected the functioning of the service revolvers.
The revolver functions flawlessly when empty ward. I thought about The cylinder binding, i thought the hand pushing the cylinder forwards into the barrel end and frame might be the culprit. Its something i'll look into again.
 

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It does sound as if you have lead accumulated at the front of the cylinder, particularly where your difficulties manifest themselves every sixth shot and where the problem only arose slowly as you used the thing. Maybe the cylinder spindle is bent out of round (unlikely), the cam is mangled (unlikely), or the ratchet, pawl or bolt is buggered (but you say there are no visible defects). Perhaps the arm has fired a lot of .22 short or long ammunition, without any sort of cleaning, so that the accumulated crud from short cartridges keeps longer cartridges from chambering properly, but the frequency of your problem suggests not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Took the revolver to the range today and initially the problem wasn't so bad, then it started to jam. I fired about 30 rounds of cci and remington at the target at 15 yards. When i examined the target it was clear that every single shot had gone through the paper sideways and it was a mass of keyholes. I then tried to fire the revolver again and it jammed completely, the trigger could not be pulled or the hammer cocked, it was as if it was welded solid. The gun was spotless, the face of the cylinder scrubbed with an old .17 bore brush, and gently scraped with a craft knife blade. The end of the barrel where the cylinder meets it was also cleaned the same way.
I am a loss as to know what to do next. I've never heard of a revolver behaving like this.
 

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Use a spark plug feeler gauge and tell us what the least gap is between the barrel and cylinder when the piece is cocked with empties in it. It is odd a spotless revolver works fine when dry fired empty, single- or double-action, but not when loaded with cartridges. What does your bore look like? Keyholes mean unstable bullets, so a bore oversized by rusting or choked with lead might throw them off. Use a bore-fitted lead remover rather than an undersized bristle brush if you want to remove lead. Jamming up with too much lead accumulated on a .22 revolver is commonplace.
 

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With what you are telling me about the lack of leading in the front of the cylinder, I am still figuring your problem is at the back end of the cylinder, and likely has something to do with the expanded rims on the fired cases dragging on the recoil plate.
 

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Are you certain the cylinder is locking when the trigger is pulled back. A cylinder/bore misalignment
could cause the symptoms you see. If the bullet is "stuck" a bit the pressure would go up and bulge
the case head. The distorted bullet along with uneven muzzle blask could cause the keyholing.
 

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the trigger could not be pulled or the hammer cocked, it was as if it was welded solid.
Thjs is EXACTLY what I would get with my Enfield No.2 Mk.1* (except there was no hammer spur to try cocking it). The first round worked fine, but the pistol always got progressively tougher to use until it would jam completely up after firing about round #4 (This is when the first fired round got to the 6 o'clock position. See where I am coming from?).

When I was having problems with my Enfield, opening the pistol to extract the fired brass was also pretty stiff. Extraction of the fired brass became MUCH easier after I used lighter loads and the fired cases weren't stuck in the cylinder any more. How does YOUR 'fired brass' extract?

Is your recoil plate on the frame completely parallel to the rear face of the cylinder (you only need to be off a few thousandths)? is the recoil plate smooth to the point that there is nothing that the back ends of the fired cartridges can catch on? Are all the chambers inside the cylinder smooth? Anything else of this nature going on?

I solved my problem by using lighter loaded ammunition (in .38S&W, of course) that didn't leave the brass expanded tightly against the chamber walls inside the cylinder. This allowed the fired cases to slide back and forth inside the cylinder as the 'headspace' changed as the rounds moved around from the top (looser headspace) to the bottom (tighter headspace) of the frame.

With .22's I don't see chamber pressure being an issue, but stuck cases due to rough surfaces, or a parallelism problem between the cylinder and the recoil plate could still be it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have not had a chance to examine the revolver more closely since sunday, i did give it a good cleaning again, nothing seems out of place, bent or broken. The lockwork seems fine and i honestly think that part of the gun is fine and there is some issue causing the cylinder not to index or rotate correctly. The frame and cylinder are spotless and there is a good gap between the cylinder and barrel (except when the trigger is pulled and hammer fallen as is correct), likewise the rearend of the cylinder is not obviously rubbing the recoil plate. As a point of interest , as the cylinder of a webley moves forward when fired, it follows there must be a lot more fore and aft motion than on say a s&w or colt revolver, but then doesn't it follow that the headspace must be excessive ?
 

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The keyholing thing seems pretty important to me. If the barrel is in as-new shape, the bullets have to be distorted somehow before entering the barrel so they are not aerodynamic leaving it. It'd be interesting if you had a rod of some kind exactly .22 in diameter you could drop down the barrel as you cycle and see if all the cylinder holes are perfectly aligned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just to update the people who were so helpful here, it turns outs the forcing cone was heavily leaded up. A long session with a .243 bronze brush and a can of forrest foam removed a lot of lead. The superb accuracy , and normal function of the revolver returned.
 
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