The Webley story
English or Turkish?
by B.B. Pelletier
Two days ago, a reader asked a hypothetical question about the return policy of Pyramyd Air. Several customers stepped in to assure him that the policy is good, but I'd like to expand the explanation with a situation that has recently come up.
Recently, some airgunners have received Webley spring rifles they thought were made in England, but, in fact, they were made in Turkey. Readers of this blog probably know most of the Webley story because we have been keeping you up to date as things transpired, but not everyone got the word. Pyramyd Air owner Joshua Ungier has asked me to tell you the entire story today.
Webley was having financial difficulties several years ago, and the company had to reorganize to remain in business. Part of the reorganization involved terminating some models of breakbarrel spring rifles and moving production of the remaining guns from England to Turkey. Pyramyd Air was the largest U.S. importer of Webley airguns. When Josh heard about what was coming, he bought the remaining stock of English-made spring rifles and pistols. There have been numerous announcements of this fact made in this blog, starting in May of 2006 with the article titled Big news! I alerted you to the situation at that time and told you the time to act was right then if you wanted an English-made Webley spring rifle.
That announcement was followed by numerous updates, including the one on October 11, 2006, in which I discussed the supplies of remaining English-made Patriots. In July of this year, I told you about the big sale on Webley airguns, and I was very specific about where the Tomahawks were produced.
My news was apparently posted on some forums without all the detail. All those readers saw was a big Webley sale. They were apparently unaware of the possibility of Turkish-made guns; or, if they were aware, they didn't know which models were still available as British-made guns. That would be fine if Pyramyd Air were the size of most U.S. airgun dealers who run businesses from garages and basements, but that's not the case. Pyramyd is run out of a large warehouse that has been built from five former business suites. They have a full warehouse staff of pickers and packers who ship 250-450 packages each business day. They don't receive their guns five at a time like most U.S. airgun dealers. They receive them on pallets - many pallets, when it comes to popular brands like Webley. And when new rifles arrive, they all come from Webley of England - regardless of where they were made.
The years 2006 and 2007 have been a transition period for Webley spring rifles in the U.S. Pyramyd has almost sold off the final supply of most of the English-made guns, though at the time I write this, they still have a few English-made rifles still in stock. As of yesterday morning, this is what they had:
Stingray .25 caliber (6)
Xocet .22 caliber (1)
Tomahawk .177 caliber (9)
Patriot .177 caliber (1)
Apparently, at least one of the mixups was a customer who was assured he was getting an English-made rifle, only to discover it was a Turkish rifle when it arrived. The boxes are not marked differently on the outside. They all say Webley plus the model number and serial number on the end flap. Like I said before, they all arrive from England on large pallets. Pyramyd Air does not normally look inside each box and totally unwrap each gun to ensure the country of origin of the rifle, but they can do so if you request it.
No one complaining on the forums even bothered to call Pyramyd Air after discovering they had received a Turkish-made rifle. They simply went to the forum and blasted the company.
Josh asked me to tell all Pyramyd Air customers who have recently received Webley rifles that, if you got a Turkish-made gun and you wanted an English-made gun, Pyramyd will take your gun back. It is his desire that his customers are satisfied. This policy of satisfaction existed long before this incident; it is a principle by which Pyramyd Air does business. That's a pretty reasonable return policy, don't you think?
Why NOT a Turkish Webley?
Of course, the one question that hasn't been asked is this..."What's the matter with Turkish Webleys?" I will now answer that. There is nothing wrong with them! I tested a Turkish Webley Patriot in .25 caliber for you and gave a 2-part report to answer that very question. The rifle was essentially the same as before. A few machining cuts were all that separated the two guns. A Patriot is still hard to cock, no matter where it is made, and the scope grooves on a Tomahawk still do not have a mechanical scope stop.
Are you safe?
You know, Joe Girard, who holds the Guinness record as the world's No. 1 salesman, says he likes when things go bad in business, because that's when he can really show people why he's the best. I think Pyramyd Air feels the same.
Monday, I'll pick up where we left off with the Benjamin HB22.