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The Webley company used the “WG” (Webley Government) nomenclature in its literature starting in 1883, but the first revolver actually market as such was the WG Model of 1889. These revolvers were made primarily for the military market, as officers were responsible for supplying their own sidearms in the British military until 1915. The WG was a full size service revolver in .455 caliber (accepting a wide variety of .45 inch British cartridges, including the .450, .455, .476, Enfield Mk II, and Enfield MkIII). A series of refinements would be made to the design culminating in the generally-accepted standard WG pattern in 1896. These would be produced until 1902, when they were replaced by the Webley WS (Webley Service).
The two main variation of the WG were the Army and the Target. The Army typically had a bird’s-head grip and a 6 inch barrel, where the Target had a longer 7.5 inch barrel and a flared square-butt grip, as well as adjustable sights. However, Webley was happy to supply and mix of features to a customer, and many branded patterns exist. The Target pattern proved very successful for shooters at the Dublin, Glasgow, and Wimbledon matches of the period. A total of about 22,000 WG pattern revolvers were made, with the “standard” 1896 model appearing around s/n 10,000.
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