Diana’s Nemesis Part 1
Webley chases the Chaser
By Dennis Adler
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.
The closest design comparison, aside from the Alecto, would be the single stroke pneumatic Beeman P3 and P17 models and Crosman P15B CO2 pistol. These are all big, hefty air pistols but only the comparatively svelte Diana Chaser comes close to being a mechanical match. And they have one other thing in common; like the German-designed Diana Chaser, the British Webley Nemesis is also made in China to lower manufacturing costs and retail price. The Nemesis remains British engineered and designed with the Made in China stamp very discretely placed, along with the Warning information, in small black letters on a black panel recessed into the right side of the frame. About as low key as possible without being hidden on the underside of the triggerguard.
The Webley comes in at a discounted price of $119.99 while the Diana Chaser is significantly lower at just $69.99, further confirming my opinion that the Chaser is one of the best air pistols of its type for the money. Of course, there aren’t too many CO2 models in the Chaser’s class, and this Webley model is not only the new kid on the block, but a kid that, in a football-like metaphor, is the linebacker to Diana’s quarterback.
What exactly does this big, boxy CO2 model bring to the game? First, the Chaser looks like a precharged pneumatic target pistol with the large cylinder (that holds the CO2) under a trim, floating barrel that fits cleanly into the exposed cast alloy breech block. The Chaser allows you to switch breech blocks from the right-hand shooter design with the bolt on the left, for a left-hand breech block with the bolt on the right. It costs $20 for the replacement breech block. The Nemesis simply allows users to switch the bolt handle from left to right. Unfortunately, the instruction book offers no information on how it is done. However, as I discovered, it is relatively easy to figure out; more about that in Part 2.
Everything you need for the new Nemesis comes with the gun and stores within the gun, so that is convenient. The hex head tool for unscrewing the CO2 seating cap at the front of the frame (this is just like the Diana Chaser) is the actual base of the grip frame and slides out for use. Inside the grip frame is the storage channel for the tandem rotary magazine (10 rounds in .22 and 14 rounds in .177). This is all neatly thought out.
The Nemesis is polymer construction (except for the bolt, seating screw and rifled steel barrel), and has an integral MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny dustcover accessory rail for mounting a laser. The top of the slide has a full length 3/8th inch (11mm) dovetail rail for mounting a scope or reflex sight, and the fixed sights are a red fiber optic rear and green fiber optic front. Both are held with small locking screws so they can be removed or replaced. The barrel also has ½ inch UNF external threads and a thread protector cap. (Most ½ inch thread faux suppressors should fit, but are also likely to obstruct a clean line of sight.) The 2-stage trigger is a large semi-vertical pivoting design (like a target pistol) that can be adjusted for take up, and the manual safety is a crossbolt in perfect position for setting with the support hand thumb and releasing with the trigger finger. With the reversible bolt handle the gun is a totally ambidextrous design.
That covers the basics. In Part 2 the Nemesis gets weighed, measured, and prepped for shooting evaluations.