The new Webley Patriot! - Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
The new Webley Patriot looks just like the old one. But does it perform?
Many airgunners have been waiting for this report. When Webley closed their doors in 2005, the world's supply of powerful .25-caliber Patriot breakbarrels dwindled steadily until there were no more to be found. The Beeman Kodiak suffered a similar fate, being derived from the same basic rifle. Then, the news came that Webley had been saved, though manufacture of its spring rifles was moved to Turkey.
In March of 2006, I spoke with Webley Managing Director Tony Hall, who assured me no rifle with the Webley name would ever leave the new plant until it was ready. So, like everyone else, I waited. Well, the wait is over. Pyramyd Air received the first shipment of Patriots in January, and they were kind enough to ship me a rifle to test for you.
At first glance, the new Patriot appears identical to Patriots from the UK. However, upon closer inspection and after spending time with the gun, the following was noted. The markings that were stamped into the metal on the gun are now laser-etched. The scope stop grooves appear to be smaller in radius, though they fit the B-Square scope mount made especially for the Patriot. There are probably dozens of other small differences, because it is impossible for one machine to exactly duplicate the output of another - CNC included. But, I don't think you will be able to spot them without a vintage UK Patriot for side-by-side comparison.
These grooves are the scope stop on the Patriot. Your scope mount must have ridges to interface with them. The B-Square one-piece mount has two ridges in the correct positions.
The stock looks like beech with the same reddish-brown stain as before. Perhaps the wood finish isn't as shiny as before, but at least one observer remarked that they probably use the same stock supplier they used before, so there shouldn't be any differences. The metal finish seems more matte than the UK rifle, though the blue/black is just as dark as ever. The actual barrel is still 17.5", but a threaded plug in the muzzle makes it appear to be 18". That plug closes the hole for a silencer, but we have already discussed how a silencer on a spring gun isn't that effective.
Muzzle cap unthreads to open a place to accept a silencer. This is for UK use, only
The stock's pull is 14", a good compromise for all sizes of adults, and the stock has the same fullness that has been characteristic of Patriots from the beginning. The overall weight is 9.3 lbs., which is the same as always, give or take the density of the wood in a specific stock. The length of just over 46" is a gain of half an inch, or the specifications have been slightly off all along.
The part that will be familiar to all who have ever owned a Patriot is when you break the barrel to cock the rifle. You have to slap the muzzle to pop the barrel lock detent off its seat, same as always. The rifle I have cocks with 46 lbs. of effort, slightly less than the nominal 50 lbs. stated in the specs, but individual rifles have always had a couple pounds of variation. It still takes two hands to cock if you shoot more than just a few shots.
The safety is the same automatic button that pops out the back of the receiver, and the trigger feels the same as ever. The safety is a trigger-block type and can be set at any time, rifle cocked or not. You can uncock the gun if you need to by releasing the safety and pulling the trigger with the barrel broken open. Just be sure to restrain the barrel when you pull the trigger, because the same force you fought when you cocked the rifle will now try to rip the barrel out of your hands!
I mounted a Leapers 3-9x50mm scope in a B-Square AA adjustable mount, because it has the right crossbars to interface with the scope stop slots on the receiver. The scope is very bright and has a thin reticle with enough mil-dots to make it stand out against the background of vegetation. It's the kind of reticle that allows very precise aiming.
Leapers 3-9x50mm scope was bright and has a thin reticle for precision aiming. This model is obsolete and has been replaced by a new TS mount with the same features.
So, from appearance alone, this is a Webley Patriot through and through. But, the range test tomorrow will reveal if it still functions the same.