Top vintage military arms

Top vintage military arms

CO2 in War and Peace

By Dennis Adler

When we are talking about copies of legendary military arms as CO2 models, it is not just a gun based on a design, it is a gun copied in detail from an original design like the Umarex Luger P.08 Parabellum and Mauser Broomhandle Model 712. Pictured are the limited edition WWII models. Only the P.08 is currently available.

In the past several years the world of CO2 pistols and rifles has been exposed to military history in ways that airgun enthusiasts could only have dreamed about as little as five years ago. Sure, there have been BB and pellet guns in the past that were based on military arms, like the Crosman Model M-1 Carbine built from 1968 to 1976, as well as a number of military training air rifles manufactured during WWI and WWII (very rare finds today), and more recently the Winchester Model M14 CO2 BB and pellet rifle, introduced in 2012, and of course, the excellent Diana K98 Mauser (under lever cocking) pneumatic pellet rifle. But in the world of blowback action CO2 pistols, rifles, and CO2 BB and pellet cartridge loading revolvers, the period from 2015 to 2019 has been a remarkable one for military arms enthusiasts. read more


Diana’s Nemesis Part 4

Diana’s Nemesis Part 4

Webley chases the Chaser

By Dennis Adler

It is time to regroup. We have a gun that shoots well but not where it is aimed. Great sights but not regulated to the gun, or so it seems. The Nemesis has only been tested using the tandem rotary pellet magazine. So, before I lunge into the optics test, which I had planned to do anyway, let’s step back and test this gun with the single shot pellet tray.

The Nemesis has a problem, great sights that are allowing shots to go high, way high, about 5- to 6-inches over POA. With no way to adjust them, I thought perhaps part of the problem was the tandem rotary magazine, so I shot a new test with the single shot pellet tray, as shown.

As much as I would like to say that’s the problem, this gun shoots just the same, high and slightly left, even with the single shot pellet tray, as it does with the rotary magazine. Without an adjustable rear sight, the Nemesis (this one anyway) needs a 6-inch POA correction to hit the bullseye. The only solution for this gun is going to be optics. read more


Diana’s Nemesis Part 3

Diana’s Nemesis Part 3

Webley chases the Chaser

by Dennis Adler

The Nemesis is a big hand-filling pistol. My medium-large hand gets a good wrap around the finger-grooved grip and my thumb rests on top of my middle finger, with a one-handed hold. This is considered a good grip for my hand size. When I switch to a two-handed hold my thumb will align with the deep rest in the grip and I will have a full wrap around with both hands; about as solid as it gets.

The Webley Nemesis has a lot of interesting features that provide this gun with the potential to be a high-performance target pistol in a very unusual niche of bolt action models using rotary pellet magazines. I am hoping the fixed fiber optic sights are well regulated to POA at 10 meters; they’re certainly large enough and bright enough to see indoors or out, so a lot of what will make this pistol accurate is going to fall on both the sights and the adjustable 2-stage trigger.

In daylight the fiber optic sights are luminescent against the target, but shot accuracy with the Nemesis began to prove itself less than expected with shots hitting well above POA. With grips this good and sights this easy to put on target, the problem is going to be lack of adjustments to correct for elevation and windage.

The trigger

Trigger pull out of the box (factory setting) averaged 2 pounds, 3.4 ounces with 0.25 inches of take up, very mild attacking and clean break. There is about 0.125 inches of over travel. The adjustable trigger, like reversing the bolt handle, is not covered in the user manual, which is rudimentary and leaves a lot to be figured out. I used a 1/16th hex head wrench that came with a Swiss Arms Light Laser set (it was handy and it fit, so I used it). Insert the wrench into the adjustment screw in the bottom of the trigger and turn clockwise to shorten take up. I gave it ½ turn and this reduced take up from 0.25 inches to 0.187 inches. Stacking increased slightly but the shorter pull still had a clean break and over travel remained at 0.125 inches. Average trigger pull decreased slightly to 2 pounds, 0.4 ounces. It’s a nice trigger. But that is only one of three parts that must all function perfectly for the Nemesis to be a reliably accurate target pistol. The rotary magazine is next. read more


Diana’s Nemesis Part 2

Diana’s Nemesis Part 2

Webley chases the Chaser

By Dennis Adler

The Nemesis is Desert Eagle sized, which is big for a CO2 pistol (maybe not for a Webley) with an overall length of 10.25 inches, an overall height from the base of the grips to the top of the rear sight of 6.0 inches but a surprisingly light weight of 2.0 pounds.

Did Webley go to school on Diana’s Chaser or is the Nemesis just a coincidence? Given manufacturing lead time, probably neither, since the technology isn’t exclusive to Diana or Webley, and the presentation of both the Chaser and Nemesis is quite different. The Chaser is a clever design with its detachable shoulder stock and interchangeable barrels, breech blocks, and sleek target shooting (and small game hunting capability in .22 caliber) design. The Nemesis is more like a Desert Eagle; big, imposing, and designed for straight up plinking and target shooting with a decent capacity of 14 rounds in .177 caliber using the 7+7 tandem rotary magazine. This is a gun built for serious paper punching. read more


Diana’s Nemesis Part 1

Diana’s Nemesis Part 1

Webley chases the Chaser

By Dennis Adler

The new Webley Nemesis is a visual indulgence with its vented slide, extended barrel, and MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail contrasting a dual rotary pellet magazine and bolt action.

Odd as it may be for a comparison, the closest in function to the new Webley is last year’s gracefully designed Diana Chaser, which, while looking nothing like the Webley works exactly the same way with a large under barrel CO2 chamber and bolt action mechanism that allows single shots or use of a rotary pellet magazine.

Here we have two CO2 pistols with nothing and everything in common. The Diana Chaser is a modern, streamlined, bolt action CO2 model that delivers performance, accuracy, and a choice of single shot or multi-shot capability with an extra rotary pellet magazine. It is also offered in either .177 (4.5mm) or .22 caliber (5.6mm) versions. I reviewed this model last August and after an extensive multi-part series on both .177 and .22 caliber versions came away with the Chaser being one of the best entry level-priced CO2 powered, bolt action, single/multi-shot target pistols of the year. Now we have the same fundamental idea as the Chaser from renowned British airgun manufacturer Webley & Scott, only done in a way that, like most Webley air pistols (and centerfire pistols), is big, bold, and overbuilt. The look of the new Nemesis single shot/multi-shot CO2 model is clearly inspired by the single shot pneumatic Webley Alecto, (and to a lesser extent the old Webley Nemesis single shot pneumatic). The new Nemesis is very much like the Diana Chaser in its operating theory and mechanical layout but contained within much heavier, boxier dimensions that are neither modern nor streamlined. read more


My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 1

My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 1

And what makes it special

By Dennis Adler

The very first Airgun Experience was a tribute to John Wayne’s last film, The Shootist, and the limited edition Umarex Colt Peacemaker hand engraved and custom finished Shootist CO2 model. This was the beginning of an entire series of hand engraved CO2 Peacemakers in 5-1/2 and 7-1/2 inch barrel lengths that would be introduced in Airgun Experience articles.

This marks the 400th Airgun Experience article and over the period from No. 1 to No. 400 so many new CO2 air pistols and rifles have been introduced it becomes difficult to keep them all in comparative categories. The only real defining characteristics are magazine types, blowback or non-blowback actions (and that has to include revolvers), sights, though most are fixed sights of one type or another, and lastly, the quality of the build, fit, and finish. In most cases the differences between blowback and non-blowback semi autos covers all the rest, but not in every case and with today’s choices, that really doesn’t pare down the list all that much. So to start, let’s look back at new models introduced since Airgun Experience No. 1, which started with a new model. read more


Photo Finishes

Photo Finishes

What is it about battlefield weathered guns that is so appealing?

By Dennis Adler

Weathered finishes on new guns are intended to duplicate naturally aged finishes on actual handguns and longarms. The faded bluing and loss of finish and discoloration on the 1858 Starr double action revolver at top is about a 50 to 60 percent gun for finish. The weathered finishes on CO2 models like the John Wayne Signature Series Umarex Colt Peacemaker and Air Venturi Model 1911 are less severe but show fine edge wear and fading to give them a more historic appearance. A lot of airgun enthusiasts and collectors find this very appealing.

When you look through high end firearms auction catalogs, like the Rock Island Auction Co. Premier Auction catalogs, the first thing you want to see is the photo or photos of the gun for sale, then the item description, and at the very end, what is written after the word Condition:

What you want to see is “Excellent” or “Very Fine” or at the worst “Fine” which usually indicates a worn but attractive patina with 60 percent of the original finish remaining. The rarity of the gun is part of what makes “Fine” actually fine because the gun is either hard to come by in any condition, and this usually applies to guns that are over a century old, or to those used in battle where the finish has been worn or faded over time. When it comes to WWII firearms, gun collectors look to find Very Good and Excellent guns, Fine, once again, is only appealing if the gun is rare or has historical provenance, and that is what makes Battlefield Finish CO2 pistols particularly interesting, they have the look of a gun that has a story to tell! read more