GR79-0722-4099, Webley Long-Spur, 3rd Model. BUY NOW
GR79-0722-4099, Webley Long-Spur, 3rd Model. The gun was cleaned and engraving is faint and markings are only partially visible on the backstrap. Fine checkered grips. Functional with crisp action. The bore is bright, crisply rifled with patches of light spotting and surface residue in bore. This is the larger model or the “Dragoon Model” 48 bore or about .46 cal. 7 inch barrel. Very hard gun to find in any condition. Very good overall.
Est. Retail Value: $2000
The following is a description of the history of the Webley Long Spur from Tim Prince at College Hill Arsenal.
“In 1853, the genesis of what would be the most lucrative part of the Webley business going forward occurred, James Webley’s design patents were filed for what would become known as the Webley “Long-Spur” revolver. The patent was number 743, granted March 29, 1853, for a new single action revolver design. The revolver was a percussion ignition handgun with a unique grip angle and a long, low, extended hammer spur that made the cocking of the action very fast. The design used the typical “open top” frame of the period but had a hinged connection between the barrel and the frame, forward of the cylinder. This allowed the barrel to be tilted down with the removal of a wedge forward of the cylinder. This wedge engaged a slot in the cylinder arbor, much like with a Colt revolver, but the wedge was slotted and captive like a shotgun wedge of the time. The wedge was easily removed; the barrel easily tilted down, and the cylinder could be quickly removed for loading. In fact, period reports noted that the Webley design with its odd looking hammer was faster to shoot than a Colt revolver and the hinged frame made the gun faster to reload than a Colt. The initial design did not include a loading lever, but like most British revolver designs of the early 1850s, loading levers were soon introduced in a variety of patterns, and these changes made up much of the subsequent “types”within a pattern of revolver design. [/p][p]
The “Long Spur” was a handcrafted elegant piece, which was exceptionally well made within the limitations of a small format business of the time. However, the quality that went along with master craftsmen building the guns by hand meant two things; the interchangeability of parts was limited at best and the guns tended to be expensive. As a result, the Webley’s had a hard time competing with their biggest rival in single action revolvers; Samuel Colt. Colt had established his manufactory in London in 1851 after The Great Exhibition. The Webley’s could not compete with the Colt product on the basis of price, as the Colt revolvers were manufactured on the principle of interchangeable parts with an early assembly line type system. This motivated Philip to pursue both theories of modern production and put significant effort and money into the building of interchangeable parts guns in an assembly line fashion. In 1856, James Webley died, leaving Philip alone to lead the company forward. The following year Colt closed his London manufactory and left Philip Webley in the unique position of being able to fill the void left by the closing of the Colt plant. [/p][p]
The Webley “Long-Spur” was a particularly important gun in the history of the Webley firm due to the fact it was their first in-house design and is referred to on the current company’s web site as their “first production revolver”. Due to the slow production process and expense of the guns, they were not manufactured in large quantities, with only a couple of thousand likely to have been produced between late 1853 and end of the 1850s. By the end of that decade the assembly line manufacture of more modern, double-action designs like Webley’s “Wedge Frame” had eclipsed the “Long Spur” and relegated it to a mere footnote in firearms history.
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