Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017
And the winner is… Part 2 Part 1
By Dennis Adler
Among the best CO2 models introduced in 2017 these five soared to the top of my “Best New Air Pistol or CO2-powered rifle” list. It is a fairly diversified group by gun types, but there is a dominant theme among the choices, vintage military arms with battle worn finishes. For arms collectors, condition is paramount but when condition becomes secondary to rarity, you look for a gun that has the most acceptable “patina” or as it is described in the Blue Book of Gun Values “…a good example of an older, used revolver in above average condition.” This is 70% condition which can show areas of wear, some discoloration and pitting. This also falls into the NRA Modern Good condition, which ranges from 60% to 80%. This is what most airgun makers are shooting for (pardon the pun) when weathering their CO2 military models. The weathering on the John Wayne 1911A1 is a bit more severe, closer to 60% condition, and the Webley MK VI is closer to 70%, while the “Ace in the Hole” falls somewhere in between, the MP40 is also around 70 percent finish in most areas. All four look very authentic, but the Webley and MP40 are just a little more realistic looking overall.
Making the first cut
If all things were equal, BBs and pellets would rank the same, but they don’t and in this lineup of top models the one BB-firing pistol, the John Wayne 1911A1 has to bow out to the superior firepower of the 4.5mm Dan Wesson, “Ace in the Hole” and Webley MK VI Battlefield Finish pellet-firing models. The MP40, while also a BB gun, continues to hold its own by having selective fire full auto operation, and being based upon one of the preeminent submachine guns of its time.
The “Ace in the Hole” for all its coolness is the next to step out of the picture since it is based on a movie gun and not an actual Colt model. Had Umarex built it as a Sheriffs Model it would most likely have won the year’s top award, at least among western gun enthusiasts. It is still one of the top five but not the top gun.
Wheels of Fortune
In this battle of pistols, wheelguns have prevailed over the 1911A1 blowback action semi-auto (will someone please make a blowback action, pellet-firing Browning Hi-Power!), and it is down to the Webley MK VI and Dan Wesson 2-1/2 inch Model 715 for handguns. The Dan Wesson has excelled for authenticity and accuracy (for its barrel length) and ranks as one of the very best new CO2 models of the year hands down. The Webley & Scott MK VI Battlefield Finish pellet-firing model has also excelled for accuracy at 10 meters and has the added advantage (for military arms enthusiasts) of having an extremely long history dating back to the pre-WWI era. The MK VI is the most authentic military CO2 revolver currently available, a four star triumph, and the better of the two wheelguns up for the year’s top honor.
Germany and Great Britain
The MP40 is without doubt the best CO2 powered blowback action, selective fire BB Subgun there is, and even with the Uzi as a counterpoint, the MP40 still can’t be touched. It has greater capacity, higher velocity, equal accuracy, performance handling, and unrivaled authenticity for an airgun based on a real WWII model.
The Webley MK VI is its absolute equal in a military handgun also based on an original design. Choosing between these two is akin to the argument between Mustangs and Camaros (and please let’s not get into that off topic discussion, even though I know some of you just gritted your teeth), the choice has to be based on total authenticity to the original gun and both the MP40 and Webley MK VI are dead even on every point, and where they lack authenticity (manual safeties) again both have equal gigs for the thumb switches. The slightest edge goes to the Webley MK VI for the most consistently accurate working features and the greater overall accuracy as a pellet firing pistol vs. a BB firing subgun, albeit a selective fire one. The top honor for best new airgun of 2017 goes to the Webley & Scott MK VI Battlefield Finish model.
This has been a great year for new CO2 models. I’ll be back in January, until then keep getting Airgun Experience. My best wishes to all for a great Holiday Season and a Happy New Years.