Loose Rounds, Webley .455 Mk VI 265gr FMJ in Clear Ballistics Gel.

Test Gun: Webley Mk V Revolver.
Barrel length: 6 inches.
Ammunition: Kynoch .455 Mark VI 265gr FMJ.
Test media: 10% Clear Ballistics Gel.
Distance: 10 feet.
Chronograph: Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph G2.
Five shot velocity average: 559fps
Gel Temperature 72 degrees.

If I remember correctly I bought this round back in 1987 at a gun store in Minnesota. I thought it was interesting and for the price of 50 cents I figured, why not. The history of this round started in 1891 as the Mk I and went through several changes until the Mk VI which was introduced in 1939.

This round was produced by Kynoch Limited in 1942 using smokeless powder. Some were made with Cordite at the time. If you want to know more about the .455 round this web page has a bunch of info about its history. https://cartridgecollectors.org/?page=introduction-to-455-cartridges

The revolver used was a borrowed Webley Mk V with a six-inch barrel.

With fingers crossed that the chronograph would pick up the round, I lined up the sights at the block of gel at 10 feet. Slowly squeezing the trigger the round went off and hit the middle of the block. The velocity was 559fps for a whopping 184 foot-pounds of energy. The bullet penetrated to 18.5 inches and was recovered base forward. There was very little disruption in the wound track other than about midpoint showing evidence of it tumbling. The recovered weight was 264.7 grains.


  1. Great test of a famous old revolver and cartridge. Thanks!

    Any chance of testing its successor, the Enfield Pistol No. 2, chambered in .380 Rim (aka .38-200, .38 S&W)? Its Mk I cartridge used a 200g lead alloy bullet, and the Mk II version used a 178g FMJ. Both versions had a MV of approximately 600-620 fps. Shooting water jugs, both rounds demonstrate a strong tendency to tumble. It would be interesting to shoot ballistic gel and compare that to your .455 test.


      1. I just came across your test of .38 Special Super Police, with a 200g bullet in the same blunt-nosed configuration at the same velocity as the old .38 S&W Super Police and the British .380 Rim Mark I, aka .38-200. So, a different chambering but a ballistic “twin.” In your .38 Special Super Police test, one shot flipped 180° and the second shot remained nose-first.

        I suspect the potential effectiveness of these .38 and .455 rounds lay in four aspects: (1) bullet placement (as for any round), i.e. striking vitals, aided by low-blast, low-recoil ammunition from a well-balanced handgun with excellent pointing qualities; (2) dependably deep penetration due to high bullet momentum; (3) ability to smash or crush any bone encountered; (4) effective wounding potential offered by a hollow-based bullet proceeding base-forward through tissue, IF the bullet rotated 180° while traversing the target.

        Beginning in WWI, British Army handgun doctrine trended heavily towards the concept of firing quickly, rapidly, and aggressively. By WWII, the DAO Enfield .38 No. 2 Pistol was quite specifically to be employed in “bursts” of 2-3 shots, using point-shooting techniques subsequently made famous by Captains (later Majors) William Fairbairn and Eric Sykes, formerly of the Shanghai Municipal Police, and on this side of the Atlantic by Lieutenant (later Lieutenant Colonel) Rex Applegate, US Army.

        These men were restricted to using non-expanding bullets, and their extensive experience with handgun combat disabused them altogether of the notion of the “one-shot stop” which subsequently became the holy grail of American handgunnery by the 1970s. Fortunately, terminal ballistics research since that time has gone a long way towards reducing such expectations among those who read up on such matters, but the one-shot stop remains an article of faith for many, perhaps most. Thanks for providing us your observations!


  2. An appropriate time for great quote from “Pistol Shooting In War” by Tracey (1914)

    “A little powder, a lotta lead, shoot’em once, they’ll be dead!”


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