For all their sophistication and gentile manner, you have to hand it to the Brits-they are no wimps when it comes to big-bore guns. It was British and European professional hunters (PH) that introduced some of the really big, big-bore rifles for hunting-and stopping-dangerous African game. So too, the Brits have introduced some of the most powerful (and longest-lived) pistols.

The British Enfield Service Revolver, chambered in .476 (and .38/200) served British soldiers for many years, and there was the Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver, chambered in .455 (and the lighter .38 Automatic Colt Pistol). The Enfield was a real British workhorse, the Webley-Fosbery more of an oddity as an auto-loading pistol, and the Webley Service Revolver became a household name.

The Webley saw service from 1887 to 1963 and is alternately called the Webley Break-Top or the Webley Self-Extracting Revolver. It came in six versions-the Mark I through the Mark VI, and it is one of the most powerful top-break action revolvers ever made. The Mark I was a double-action introduced in 1887. It has a four-inch barrel and a six-shot capacity, weighs 2 pounds, unloaded and measures 11 1/4 inches in length. In 1897, the Webley Mark II, identical in most ways to the Mark I except for its large hammer spur and improved barrel catch, rolled off the presses. And in 1897, manufacturers Webley and Scott unveiled the Webley Mark III with some internal improvements.

The Mark IV .455 has a 4- and a 6-inch barrel and was ready for British troops in South Africa during the Boer War of 1899 to 1902. The Mark IV chambered in .380 was used in World War II.

The same as the Mark IV in .455, Mark Vs were made from 1913 to 1915. The Mark VI was unveiled in 1915 with a 6-inch barrel and a squared butt, chambered for the heavy-hitting .455.

In 1928, Webley and Scott replaced the Mark VI in .455 with the Mark VI chambered in .380.

The Webley service revolver is battle tested. It has seen numerous conflicts to include World Wars I and II and the Korean War. In the hands of a competent marksman, it can cycle 20 to 30 rounds a minute. It has a muzzle velocity of some 600 feet per second, an effective range out to 50 yards and a maximum range well beyond that. Using a fixed front blade and a rear notch sight, the Webley .455 is accurate and dependable and widely used in law enforcement in the lighter .38/200 chambering. Many of the .455 guns that made their way to the U.S. had their chambers shortened to accommodate the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) and .45 Auto Rim revolver ammunition. A popular spin off of the Webley was the British Bulldog, a revolver chambered in .442 Webley and .450 Adams with a 2.5-inch barrel. And American shooters thought they were tough with short-barreled magnums!