Original British WWI - WWII 1916 Dated MkIII* Webley & Scott Brass Flare Signal Pistol - Serial 73636

Item Description

Original Item: Only one available. This is a very nice Great War-produced example of the English military Mark III* flare pistol, as issued and used during the last part of World War I. This particular pistol was upgraded to III* during the interwar period, when it was still in service, and was probably still in use during WWII.

The Mark III signal pistol was adopted in 1911, as an improved version of the earlier Mark II pistol, which had been adopted in 1905. Like the previous Mk II pistol, it was a brass flare gun with a tilt-down, break open loading mechanism and a single action lockwork. Although the Mark III remained in production through the end of World War I, it had in fact been superseded by the Number 1 and Number 2 signal pistols which were manufactured from steel instead of brass. These patterns were adopted in 1915 and utilized many of the same parts as the Webley Mark VI service revolver. During the production of the Mk III signal pistol, at least five companies including WW Greener, Wolseley (Sheep Shearing Co.), Chubb (very rare – only 500 contracted for), Cogswell & Harrison and Webley & Scott.

This particular Mark III* signal pistol was produced by Webley & Scott for the British military, and was upgraded with the flared muzzle attachment, which is why it has the star stamped next to the mark number. The flare pistol is clearly marked with the (WINGED BULLET) / W & S trademark of the firm on the right side of the frame. The frame is also marked with the serial number 73636 forward of the trademark. This number is also seen on the bottom of the barrel when the pistol is open for reloading. The ejector is marked 3468, so this part was likely swapped out during the upgrade.

The left side of the frame is marked in three lines: WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD / LONDON & BIRMINGHAM / III *., indicating the manufacturer and version of the pistol. The frame and barrel are both marked with British Ordnance Department proof and inspection marks, including the Broad Arrow of the Ordnance Department and the number 17 indicating inspection and acceptance in 1917.

The firm of Webley & Scott was started by Philip Webley in 1838 in Birmingham. In 1859 the firm became P Webley & Son and in 1877 absorbed the Birmingham gunmaking firm of Tipping & Lawden. In 1897 they took over the firms of both W C Scott & Son and Richard Ellis & Son and the firm was renamed the Webley & Scott Revolver & Arms Co LTD. Philip Webley received a number of British gun making patents during his career the company that bore his name became one of the premier revolver makers in the United Kingdom as well as a major supplier to the British Ordnance Department.

The signal pistol is in very good used condition. All of the markings on the frame and barrel remain crisp and clear. The brass frame components have a nice used look, with a lovely aged brass patina. The steel components have only some minor surface oxidation, and the trigger and hammer have almost all of the original bluing present.

The action of the pistol functions great, though it is a bit stiff. The breech still closes tightly and securely and the shell extractor functions as it should when the pistol is broken open. The single action lock work is mechanically excellent and the rebounding hammer functions correctly as well. The flare pistol retains the original iron lanyard ring and swivel in the brass butt. The walnut grips are in good condition, and they show wear and dents as expected from a pistol this age.

Overall this is really fantastic looking example of a really fine Mark III* signal pistol by the famous Webley & Scott company. This would be a fantastic addition to your collection of World War I militaria or of military flare pistols.

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