posted on September 20, 2012
wiley-clapp.jpg (3)

Webley-Fosbery (or Fossies) revolvers are beautifully made gun from the Golden Age of British armsmaking, and they are quite unique. I am sorry to say that I have never fired one—you have to go to my old friend and fellow Field Editor Garry James for that kind of experience. While the recent Italian Mateba revolver has some distinct similarities, the Fossie stands different in the history of small arms.

Developed by George Fosbery in the late Victorian era and marketed by Webley at the turn of the century, the Webley-Fosbery was a big heavy service revolver. Chambered initially for the .455 service cartridge (later for the .38 ACP), the gun was loaded by breaking the action muzzle down to expose the rear of the cylinder. This was a popular system of loading and worked well if the gun has a strong hinge. The unique feature of the Fossie was a recoiling upper—barrel, cylinder, hammer, etc.—that rode back a short distance when fired. The recoiling movement both turned the cylinder and cocked the hammer, while a strong spring returned the upper to battery. This presented the shooter with another crisp, short, single-action trigger pull.

Despite the obvious complexity of the system, the gun worked well in rough service and was popular with British officers.You will not see their like again.

Photo courtesy of Adams Guns


Colt Single Action Army
Colt Single Action Army

Favorite Firearms: A Mystery Colt Single Action Army

Perusing an expired paper-edition Gun List several years ago, I came across an ad for this old 1880-1881 Colt Single Action Army. Can’t remember what I paid, but at that time, it was too cheap to believe it was still for sale.

New For 2024: Inglis High Power Pistols

Inglis Mfg. has been reborn under the SDS Imports brand, and the company is now making classic versions of the venerable High Power pistol.

Preview: Negrini Hybri-Tech RMR Ready Handgun Case

A major supplier of OEM shotgun, rifle and handgun cases for many of the firearm industry’s biggest names for more than 40 years, during the last decade or so, Negrini Cases of Italy has also started putting more of an emphasis on selling its high-quality products directly to consumers.

Gun Of The Week: Tokarev USA TT 12

A 12-ga. semi-automatic shotgun that feeds from detachable box magazines, the Tokarev USA TT 12 provides some familiar features to fans of the AR-15.

The Armed Citizen® May 24, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Preview: Herrington Arms HCPDP

A micro compensator designed specifically for use with threaded-barreled versions of Walther’s superb PDP, the HCPDP from Herrington Arms is machined from durable 6061 aluminum to perfectly match the contours of the pistol’s slide.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.