Target Pistols and Target Shooters Part 1

Target Pistols and Target Shooters Part 1

Starting with the basics

By Dennis Adler

To start this series on target pistols and target shooting I dusted off an old friend, a Webley Hurricane that I have had for 17 years. When you spend days of every week working with the latest semi-autos (cartridge loading and CO2), the very basics seem to fade, maybe even the reason you got into shooting air guns in the first place, and pulling out the Webley reminds me that sometimes you need to go back to the beginning. The Hurricane, or a pneumatic single shot pistol like it, is a great place to start.

I think we all begin as target shooters, whether it is with a BB or pellet gun, a .22 caliber pistol or rifle, or even larger caliber guns; the idea is to aim and shoot to hit the target. I began as a target shooter in the 1970s and for the most part have never ventured far from that path over some 40 years. When I began testing and evaluating guns for a living in the late 1990s, it was almost always with stationary targets at predetermined distances. Even today it doesn’t matter if I am testing a .32 ACP pocket pistol or a .44 Magnum revolver, a 9mm target pistol like the Sig Sauer Max Michel, or a single action Colt Peacemaker, only the distances to the target change, the goal remains the same. Target pistols, however, are a more dedicated breed of gun best suited for that purpose alone due to their specific design, weight, balance, sights and efficiency of operation. And the best way to begin learning about target shooting, if you have never done it, is with an airgun. read more

Webley MK VI

Revisiting the Webley

Giving the MK VI a little something extra

Firing pellets from a British Legend

By Dennis Adler

Webley has its own history with air guns and the MK VI air pistol is an accurate BB cartridge firing copy of the maker’s original .455 caliber MK VI model produced from 1915 to 1923.

Before venturing off into uncharted waters with the Umarex Beretta APX this coming weekend, I’m going to answer one more curiosity about mixing pellet-firing cartridges with smoothbore barreled revolvers, and the obvious choice is the Webley MK VI. As fate, or the odds of manufacturing convenience would have it, when the Bear River Schofield was developed, the BB firing cartridge chosen for the gun is the same one used in the British Webley MK VI CO2 revolver, only the rims are stamped Bear River .44 instead of Webley .455. In fact, when you purchase extra cartridges for the Schofield you get them with a Webley speed loader, which unfortunately doesn’t align with the Schofield’s cylinder. read more

The 100th Airgun Experience

The 100th Airgun Experience

What have we learned?

By Dennis Adler

History has, in a way, dictated which guns are the most significant, among them the great Webley MKVI. As a manufacturer, Webley also has a lengthy history building airguns, so their c. 1937 MKVI in .177 caliber is based on the same blueprint as the original .455 caliber military revolver.
History has, in a way, dictated which guns are the most significant, among them is the great Webley MKVI. As a manufacturer Webley also has a long history building airguns and their c. 1937 MKVI in .177 caliber is based on the same blueprint as the original .455 caliber military revolver. (Webley holster by World War Supply, belt courtesy John Bianchi)

It’s hard to believe, but here we are at No. 100. A lot of airguns have been tested in the previous 99 Airgun Experience articles. When I set out to create this series of short features, rather than following a traditional blog format, I decided to write and illustrate them as I would for a magazine. This comes from 40 years in the print media world as an author, editor and publisher; it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Hopefully, those of you who have followed the Airgun Experience throughout the last 99 articles and others who have recently started to read the columns on Pyramyd Air have come to appreciate the depth and detail in each review. The goal has always been to inform, illustrate, and educate as much as possible, not only with reviews of the airguns but their use for enhancing firearms knowledge and improving shooting skills. read more

Best double action CO2 revolver triggers

Hammering down accuracy

Best double action CO2 revolver triggers Part 2

Doubling on air

by Dennis Adler

The candidates for best double action trigger from top to bottom, Webley MKVI, Umarex Colt Python, ASG Dan Wesson 2-1.2 inch barrel model, Dan Wesson Model 715 6-inch model, and Umarex S&W 327 TRR8.
Here again are the candidates for best double action trigger. From top to bottom, the Webley MKVI, Umarex Colt Python, ASG Dan Wesson 2-1/2 inch barrel model, Dan Wesson Model 715 6-inch and Umarex S&W 327 TRR8. They all have excellent features but only one has “the best” trigger for double action firing.

The one thing that New York armsmaker Eben T. Starr did with his 1858 double action pistol design, was engineer a trigger (or trigger lifter in this case) to “stage” the trigger for the final pull-through. What I mean by that is the trigger pull rotated the cylinder into battery and cocked the hammer but left a little additional pull before the trigger lifter struck the hammer release. This allowed a soldier to take better aim before firing. This same step in the trigger pull was repeated by Colt’s in their 1877 and 1878 double action designs, and has been used to great effect by S&W in their revolvers, which stage the hammers with relative ease. Most shooters pull straight through on double action, as it should be in combat, but for greater accuracy, or a studied and practiced pause before dropping the hammer, this aspect of double action revolvers has become a trait of the best guns and best triggers. It is also so with the best double action CO2 revolvers. read more

Best double action CO2 revolver triggers

Hammering down accuracy

Best double action CO2 revolver triggers Part 1 

By Dennis Adler

A sweep through double action history from the c.1858 Starr carried by Union Soldiers during the Civil War, to the famous .45 Colt Model 1878 double action single action, the S&W Triple Lock with swing out cylinder, and a modern S&E Performance Center 8-shot .357 Magnum (the basis for the 327 TRR8).
A sweep through double action history from the c.1858 Starr carried by Union Soldiers during the Civil War, to the famous .45 Colt Model 1878 double action/single action, the S&W Triple Lock with swing out cylinder, and a modern S&W Performance Center 8-shot .357 Magnum (the basis for the 327 TRR8).

Trigger control is one of the essential skills in target, competition and self defense shooting. With cartridge-firing revolvers and semiautomatic pistols trigger design and ease of operation is often one of the selling points. The fundamentals of trigger design, both in operation and levels of resistance, (stacking, travel, over travel, and reset), as well as quality, apply equally to air pistols that are based on actual handguns. Semi-autos are much easier to match for design, function, and resistance to cartridge-firing models, as evidenced by airguns like the S&W M&P40, Beretta 92A1, Sig Sauer P226 X-Five, and Tanfoglio Witness Gold Custom. When it comes to double action revolvers it is almost the same, but not exactly. The demands placed upon the trigger in a DA/SA airgun are not equal to those of a cartridge-firing model. There is less mass (a lighter weight alloy cylinder), a lighter hammer spring, and of course, the hammer itself is light weight alloy construction, not steel. The double action function on some CO2 revolvers can feel sloppy and trigger pull can vary from heavy, with excessive stacking on some, to light, smooth actions that run like a tuned revolver (from the S&W Performance Center, as an example). This is evident in a handful of CO2-powered, BB or pellet cartridge loading revolvers. read more

The Legendary Webley Mk VI

The Legendary Webley Mk VI 

A Webley airgun from Webley is as good as it gets!

By Dennis Adler

Webley has its own history with air guns and the Mk VI air pistol is an accurate, BB cartridge firing copy of the maker’s original produced from 1915 to 1923. (Pictured with an original Mk VI and Webley holster from World War Supply. Sam Browne belt by John Bianchi)
Webley has its own history with airguns and the Mk VI air pistol is an accurate BB cartridge copy of the maker’s original Mk VI (background), produced from 1915 to 1923. (Pictured with a reproduction Webley Mk VI holster from World War Supply and period correct Sam Browne belt handcrafted by John Bianchi/Frontier Gunleather)

There is an almost inexplicable attraction to early military revolvers that has never diminished with the passing of years, particularly those from Great Britian’s legendary armsmaker Webley & Scott. The British Empire’s venerated .455 caliber Webley Mk VI revolver has neither lost its attraction (among arms collectors) nor its international recognition as one of the most famous handguns of all time. The Webley Mk VI has also had an illustrious film career being prominently featured in countless motion pictures including 1962’s Oscar-winning Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence. Sir Richard Burton used a Mk VI in the WWII classic The Longest Day, as did Robert De Nero, playing a young Vito Corleone in the Godfather Part II, (he used a Mk VI to shoot Don Fanucci outside his apartment in the flashback scenes to New York City in 1920), and lest we forget the Webley WG (Army Model with bird’s head grip) used by Harrison Ford in two Indiana Jones adventures, The Last Crusade and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Thus, when Webley introduced its .177 caliber version of the Mk VI, the air pistol not only caught the attention of arms collectors and airgun enthusiasts, but movie buffs as well! read more