Posts Tagged ‘Webley’

Late June 2017. We’ve had a week of glorious sunshine in the South … temperatures in the 80s and a real feeling that we’ve shaken off the cold and blue skies, and summer is heading for Home Farm.

Rain or shine, our bird feeders are mobbed from dawn to dusk. They all take their turn, and, apart from the blackbirds, there’s not too much squabbling. It’s all very British. Then in drops a gang of long tailed tits. Everyone else scatters as they attack the food, hanging every which way on the fat-balls and peanut holders. Then, they are off before you have time to wipe your nose and pull your ear.

Last weekend it was sunny and warm enough to bring out butterflies, bees and a magnificent 4ft long female grass snake which made her way across the front of the house towards an old compost heap where she must have some eggs. It was also warm enough to have a barbecue with some friends. We set up targets in the garden for a bit of airgun fun (airfun?). In pride of place on the ‘range’ was my old Webley Hurricane pistol, handed down by neighbour Stan, a retired Polish WW2 fighter pilot who lived 3 fields’ distance away. Stan was a hoot, There were always laughs, stir, commotion and tales from his old Spitfire days! Stan would concoct his own lemon vodka at home. It was the best. So was he. Anyway, we crowded round the air pistols to choose our ammunition. I’m a big fan of airgun darts at gatherings like these as they’re great fun for all ages. I always buy a minimum of 5 packs of 10 multi coloured darts so I end up with 10 red, 10 blue, and the same numbers of green, black and yellow. It makes it easier for people to have a decent number of their own single competition colour. There’s talk, as usual, of ‘darts affect barrel rifling’ – this is a myth in my opinion. Ask anyone who claims this just how they know it and you’ll hear something vague such as “Oh, well, everyone knows that…”. Well, I’ve never found the slightest damage to barrels which, after all, are made to withstand all manner of wear and tear. It’s the mohair flights which have most contact with the barrel. So, I say load up – and take aim. Our visitors found them a lot more accurate than they thought…and a lot more fun!

Until next time,

Get out and shoot!

The business of getting into a new hobby is a curious one. I should know; I’ve started enough of them to have some experience.

At the beginning of a new field of endeavor, it looks appealing, and you’re curious: what’s airgunning all about? What’s fun about it? What are the interesting activities that you might get involved in? And you begin to think about perhaps purchasing your first airgun.

It is precisely at this point that the trouble arises. If you have had any experience at all with starting new hobbies, you know that there are two potential traps you could fall into. The first is buying a really cheap piece of gear because “you’re just trying to get a feel for the hobby without spending too much.” The trap here is that often inexpensive gear often has some deficiency that seriously interferes with enjoyment. With airguns, specifically, that might mean a nasty trigger or a harsh firing cycle.

The other trap is going full-out and buying a really expensive piece of gear that is not the right fit for what you ultimately want to do. In airguns, this might manifest itself in buying a rifle designed for 10 meter Olympic competition or field target competition when ultimately what you want to do is plink in the back yard. On the online forums, occasionally someone will pop up requesting advice on buying an airgun. Often a forum participant will respond, “What do you want to do with it?” It’s not unusual to have the reply come back: “I’m not sure.” It’s a problem: how do you know what you want to get when you don’t know what you want to do with it?

So, having said all that, this blog is an attempt to help those outright newbies who might not know what they want to do with an airgun and don’t want to make a dumb (donkey) mistake in buying their first one.

The Daisy Avanti Triumph 747

If you like the idea of pistols and think you might like to plink in the back yard or maybe even get involved in some competition down the line, but you don’t have a need to kill pests in the garden or defend the bird feeder, I have one solid recommendation for you: the Daisy Avanti Triump 747 . This is a single-stroke pneumatic air pistol that is wickedly accurate out to about 20 yards, doesn’t generate a lot of power (It is completely unsuitable for pest control), and easy to shoot and maintain. All you need is one of these, some pellets, a pellet trap and targets, and some eye protection, and you’re set for years of fun indoors and out.

The Benjamin 392

The Benjamin 392

The Webley Rebel

The Webley Rebel

But suppose you’d like to dip your toe in the waters of airgunning and need to remove pests from the garden or defend the bird feeder, and you don’t want to spend a lot of money? In that case, I would recommend a multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle. These rifles are easy to shoot well and require multiple strokes of the pumping lever before each shot. The power can be adjusted by the number of strokes. If you want to shoot with iron sights, I would recommend the Benjamin 392  with optional Williams peep sight. If you would rather have an air rifle with a scope, I would suggest the Webley Rebel  with an optional scope.

The HW30S

The HW30S

But let’s suppose that you really have no clue what you want to do with an airgun but you want something that is fun to shoot and of decent quality to get started with. In that case, I would recommend the Weihrauch HW30S in .177.  It’s easy to cock, easy to shoot well (for a spring-piston powerplant) and generates enough power for pest control at short range (say, within 50 feet as a rough guideline). You can fit an HW30 with a peep sight or a scope, and with the right pellet, the HW30 is accurate enough that people (me included) have shot them in field target competition with some success. (You won’t be able to compete head to head with the high powered guns, but you’ll still have fun.)

So that’s my friendly advice for outright newbies. Remember, all of these airguns will need a selection of pellets, a pellet trap, targets, and some eye protection. And remember the Number One rule of gun safety: never, ever, point your airgun at anything that you don’t want to see a hole in.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The Webley Rebel with optional scope mounted.

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.

The pistol grip and forestock have small bumps to improve gripping.

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.

The breech closed and bolt forward.

The breech open and bolt back.

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.

The pumping lever/forearm full open.

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

This picture speaks volumes for itself.

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

The Webley Value Max, a real work horse of an air rifle.

Anyone who is over 20 years old and who has been paying attention should have learned – or should learn very soon – to regard anything said by a marketer with deep suspicion. Marketers, it seems, are continually in the process of naming things in such a way as to convince us of something or appeal to our emotions or tagging on slogans designed somehow to get us to buy.

With the exception of Bernie Madoff (who made-off with a lot of people’s money), it’s fairly rare for things to be honestly named. You don’t hear of “Mostly Honest John’s Used Cars” or the “(Not Really) Harbor View Estates” housing development.

The Webley Value Max air rifle, however, is an exception to this trend. In my view, this single-shot, break barrel, spring piston air rifle is aptly named because it delivers a high return on the buyer’s hard-earned money. The Value Max is available in three different calibers — .177, .20, and .22 – and three different colors: black, green, and camo. The black and green models cost just a penny shy of $150 while the camo model commands a $20 premium. All of them stretch 43 inches long and weigh 6.4 lbs. I tested the .20 cal. green version.

The ambidextrous synthetic stock is equipped with a ventilated butt pad.

At the aft end of the Value Max is a soft rubber ventilated butt pad that is attached to an ambidextrous synthetic stock. The entire stock, with the exception of the pistol grip and forestock which have molded-in checkering, is done up in a flat slightly roughened finish. I found it easy to grip no matter how sweaty my hands got, and it’s the kind of stock that you won’t worry about treating badly in the field.

The muzzle brake serves as a cocking handle and mount for the fiber optic front sight.

Ahead of the pistol grip is a black synthetic trigger guard which surrounds a black metal trigger which appears to be made of a folded piece of sheet metal. Forward of that, there are checkered panels on either side of the forestock and a long slot underneath the forestock to provide clearance for the cocking mechanism. Ahead of that is the 17.7 inch rifled steel barrel which is fitted with a synthetic cocking handle that also serves as a mount for the red fiber optic front sight.

Here you can see the scope stop and the safety.

Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the breech block, on top of which sits a micro-adjustable green fiber optic notch rear sight. Further back, the receiver has dovetails for mounting a scope and a removable scope stop. At the extreme aft end of the receiver is a push-pull resettable safety. And that’s it – the Value Max is almost Zen-like in its simplicity.

The green fiber optic rear sight is click-stop adjustable.

To ready the Value Max for shooting, grab the cocking handle and pull the barrel down and back until it latches (I estimate this takes about 35 lbs of effort). Slide a pellet into the breech end of the barrel and return the barrel to its original position. Take aim, slide the safety off, and squeeze the trigger. I measured the first stage at 2 lb. 1.6 oz., and the second stage at 4 lb. 10.8 oz. The second stage has a long pull, but I quickly became accustomed to it. At 32 yards, I was able to put 5 pellets (H&N FTS) into a group that measured 1.25 inches from edge to edge. That works out to just a hair over 1 inch center to center. While that isn’t spectacularly great, it is perfectly adequate for defending the garden at 100 feet.

The Value Max launched .20 cal JSB Exact pellets at 731.5 fps average, generating 16.32 foot-pounds of energy. The report, from the shooter’s position, is a resounding WOK! I am suspicious that the shot sounds louder to the shooter than to a bystander because (again, an unconfirmed suspicion) I think the butt stock may be hollow and may have the effect of amplifying the sound in the shooter’s ear. Perhaps some brave soul will experiment with injecting some sort of sound-deadening foam into the stock to see what effect that has.

Despite the somewhat creepy trigger and apparently louder-than-normal report, I liked the Value Max. I liked its utilitarian appearance and yeoman performance. It delivers solid value at a reasonable price. What’s not to like about that?

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

 

The Alecto comes in a nice foam-lined case.

This week, Dear Reader, I’m going to be telling on myself. When I first pulled the Webley Alecto out of its foam-lined black plastic case, I thought: “Oh cool, another single-stroke pneumatic air pistol.” Little did I know that I had a happy surprise in store.

The Alecto with the right hand grip.

I grabbed the Alecto, a container of Crosman Premier Light (7.9 gr.) .177 pellets, and wandered outside to punch some holes in a paper target at 10 meters. I was happily sending pellet after pellet downrange and enjoying the heck out of the Alecto when it started to sprinkle. So I packed up the gun, pellets, and pellet trap and scooted inside.

Back at my desk, I began wondering whether Airguns of Arizona had the Alecto up on its website yet. I found it at http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/webley.html and was idly scrolling down the page when the following jumped out at me: “Multi-pump Pneumatic Pistol” “1-3 Pumps.”

“HOLY SMOKES!” I thought, “this changes everything.” Right then and there, I decided maybe I should read the manual for this pistol to find out what the deal is. But manual is strangely reticent to reveal that the Alecto is, in fact, a multi-stroke pneumatic pistol. The only place that it is mentioned is in the CAUTION section on page 4. To whit: “If you require extra power, the cocking procedure can be carried out to a maximum of three times. Extra cocking strokes (presumably beyond 3 strokes – JE) will not increase power but will eventually damage the internals of the pistol.” Oh.

Clearly, the good folks at Webley have not truly grokked the significance of what they have created here, so let me lay it out for you. In the past, if you wanted a self-contained air pistol with an excellent trigger, low recoil, and worthy accuracy suitable for high-accuracy plinking or casual club competition, the obvious choice was a single stroke pneumatic pistol like HW75, HW40, FAS 604, or Daisy 747.

If you wanted a self-contained pistol capable of killing small game at very close range, you could choose pistols like the HW45 or RWS LP8 and deal with the recoil of their spring-piston powerplants. Alternatively you could choose a low-recoil pump-up pistol like the Crosman 1377 or the Benjamin HB17 or HB22 and do a lot of pumping to generate sufficient power for dispatching vermin or small game at close range.

But the Webley Alecto, it would appear, offers the promise of the best of both worlds: excellent trigger, low recoil, and excellent power (for a self-contained pistol) at only three pumps. Could it be true? We’ll find out in just a little while, but first let’s take a stroll around the Webley Alecto.

Available in .177 and .22, the Alecto stretches just 11 inches long and weighs 2.4 pounds. Shaped to look like a modern semi-automatic pistol, most of the Alecto is sculpted of a matte black engineering polymer. At the extreme back end of the pistol is a metal notch sight that is adjustable for elevation and windage. Just below the rear sight on either side of the upper cover of the Alecto is a lever. Both of these levers must be pulled upward to release the upper cover for cocking and loading. At the far end of the upper cover, near the muzzle is a blade front sight with a small red dot on it. This blade front sight can be flipped 90 degrees to reveal another front blade of lower height.

The trigger is highly adjustable, shown here with the safety in the "SAFE" position.

Underneath the muzzle, the lower half of the receiver is fitted with a Weaver rail for mounting accessories such as a flashlight or laser. Moving back, the trigger guard is molded of matte black polymer and encloses a silver metal trigger and push-pull automatic safety. The trigger is adjustable for left, right and downward movement; trigger position forward and aft; and trigger spring strength, from just under a pound to about 4 pounds. Moving back again, the Alecto features a match-style grip (available in left or right hand) with an adjustable palm shelf.

The Alecto with the upper cover in the full forward position, reading for loading.

The aft end of the barrel, where the pellet is inserted.

To get the Alecto ready for shooting, pull the levers on either side of the upper cover upward and then swing the aft end of the upper cover up and forward until the cover is completely open. Returning the upper cover to its original position charges the action, cocks the trigger, and activates the automatic safety. You can pump the Alecto up to three times, and the effort becomes stiffer with each successive stroke.  Before you complete the last stroke, insert a pellet into the end of barrel prior to returning the upper cover to its original position.

Now you’re good to go. Take aim at your target, flick the safety off (you can’t help but notice the automatic safety since it blocks the trigger), and squeeze the trigger. At 1 lb. 1.4 oz., the first stage comes out. At 1 lb. 12 oz., the shot goes down range with a pop (The pop gets louder as the Alecto is charged with more pumps). At one pump, the Alecto launches 7.9 grain Crosman .177 Premier pellets at around 365 fps; at 2 pumps, about 480 fps, and at 3 pumps, about 560 fps. At three pumps, that’s very comparable to the power you would get from an HW30 rifle or the RWS LP8 pistol, and a bit more powerful than an HW45 pistol in .177.

It strikes me that the Webley Alecto delivers a whole lot to like in a handsome package: a virtually recoilless pistol suitable for high-precision plinking, casual target competition, or pest control at close range.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight,

–          Jock Elliott