When I first got interested in adult precision airguns about a dozen years ago, my very purchase was a Benjamin 392 multi-stroke pneumatic. And I can’t tell you how many airgunners I’ve talked to over the years who started with a Crosman, Benjamin, or Sheridan multi-stroke pneumatic . . . it has to be scores of them.
And little wonder – multi-stroke pneumatics (MSPs) have a whole lot going for them. They tend to be very reliable, they are easy to shoot well, and you can vary the power by varying the number of strokes you put into them. There is no recoil, they are self-contained, and MSPs can be left pumped up all day without harm. In short, I like MSPs.
So imagine my delight when I found out that Webley has introduced a new MSP airgun, the Rebel. The .177 caliber Rebel stretches 34.6 inches from end to end and weighs just 4.4 lbs. At the extreme aft end of the Rebel is a rubbery butt page, which is attached to the ambidextrous synthetic stock by a white spacer. The stock is finished with a fine pebbly surface, giving it a matte appearance. On either side of the pistol grip and forestock is a pattern of tiny bumps to improve grip.
Forward of the pistol grip, a black plastic trigger guard surrounds a black plastic trigger and push-button safety. Forward of the trigger guard is the forestock which serves as the pumping arm to charge the action. Above the forestock is the barrel which has a plastic fitting on the end that serves as a mount for the fiber-optic front sight. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the receiver, which is molded out of black plastic and has a dovetail on top for mount a scope or rear sight.
On the right side of the receiver is the breech. At the end of the receiver on the right side is a lever. Press it down, and the bolt springs backward, opening the breech for loading a pellet.
To ready the Rebel for shooting, grab the air rifle by the pistol grip with one hand and the forearm with the other. Open the forearm all the way and return it to its original position for each charging stroke. Pump the Rebel up to eight times for maximum power. When you’re done pumping, click the lever on the right side of the receiver, and when the breech pops open, load a pellet and push the bolt back to its original position.
Ease the first stage out of the trigger, squeeze the second stage, and the shot goes down range. Now this is where everything starts to get very interesting. First, the Webley Rebel is supposed to have something called a knock-open valve. Now, to be honest, I am not entire sure of the design details, but I do know that it is supposed to mean that the more pumps you put into it, the harder it will be to pull the trigger. So I did a little testing. At three pumps, the first stage was 1 lb. 6.2 oz., and the second stage was 2 lb. 8.6 oz. At five pumps, the first stage was 2 lb. 2 oz., and the second stage was 3 lb. 2.3 oz. At eight pumps, the first stage was 2 lb. 7.9 oz., and the second stage was 3 lb. 9 oz. So, yes, the trigger does get heavier as you increase the number of pumps, but at no point was the trigger so heavy that it was bothersome. Quite the contrary, I found the trigger to be very crisp and manageable.
The velocity, too, varies with the number of pumps. Here are the chrony results with RWS 7 grain Hobby pellets:
4 pumps = 645 fps
5 pumps = 705 fps
6 pumps = 740 fps
7 pumps = 766 fps
8 pumps = 786 fps
I save the best part for last: the Rebel delivers excellent accuracy. At 17 yards, at five pumps, using Crosman Premier Light 7.9 grain domed pellets, I shot a five-shot group that measured just .31 inches from edge to edge or just .13 inches from center to center. In addition, at five pumps, the report is remarkably subdued, just a mild pop.
In the end, I can heartily recommend the Webley Rebel. It delivers a whole lot of airgunning performance for not a lot of money. With an inexpensive scope mounted, it would be an excellent choice for an old hand at airgunning or an outright newbie.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
- Jock Elliott