Target Pistols and Target Shooters Part 2 Part 1
The Air Venturi V10
By Dennis Adler
The Webley Hurricane is a very old air pistol design established in 1930 by Webley & Scott as the Senior Model. It was replaced by the improved Senior New Model just prior to WWII, and remained in production until 1964. Not a bad run for an air pistol. The first model or “Variant 1 Hurricane”, an improved target version of the Senior New Model, was introduced a little over a decade later. The example tested in Part 1, is a “Variant 2 Hurricane” manufactured from 1990 to 2005. The shorter barreled Tempest model is the last of this historic British Webley design.
The 21st century Webley variant is the Alecto, introduced in 2009 and not too dissimilar in appearance and operation from the Air Venturi V10. Both are modern evolutions of single (and multi) stroke pneumatic designs. The looks have certainly changed, the grips have changed (improved for target shooting in 10-Meter competition), but the basics of the pneumatic mechanisms inside are firmly rooted to Webley (and other models) developed in the 1930s.
The Air Venturi V10
The Air Venturi V10 is a second generation model; the 1.0 version of almost anything is always problematic and can be improved upon but the 1.0 V10 wasn’t the V10, it was the Gamo Compact first introduced in the late 1990s. The Gamo design has been around for over 20 years so it is well established, and the Air Venturi V10 has made some noteworthy improvements to the original, most prominently an easier way to adjust the trigger pull by going through a channel in the back of the grip, rather than having to remove the grips. And you really don’t want to do that if you can avoid it.
A far more modern design than the Webley Hurricane and Tempest, the V10 uses a reverse cocking method. With the Webley, all your energy went into lifting the barrel and pulling it up and outward to charge the pneumatic cylinder. Then the barrel went limp, you loaded your pellet and carefully lowered it down and latched it closed; simple. If you were not going to shoot right away, you placed the gun on SAFE.
The V10 takes things in reverse. Pushing a serrated lever at the rear of the polymer barrel assembly releases it from the steel frame, allowing it to tilt up. The barrel assembly looks like a semi-auto pistol slide and is attached at the front to a polished steel cylinder resembling a pneumatic lift on the rear hatch of an SUV. The rifled 8.26 inch steel barrel is housed inside the polymer assembly. However, unlike the Webley design, lifting the barrel assembly up and forward presents almost zero resistance. With the barrel housing almost horizontal to the frame and the pneumatic cylinder rod fully exposed, you load the pellet into the barrel breech and close the assembly back down onto the steel frame. This is where the resistance is encountered as the cylinder rod is driven back inside (closing the hatch if you will) but you are pushing down on the assembly with the palm of your hand and have more leverage. There is one absolute caveat with 10-Meter target pistols (including the V10 and the Gamo Compact before it); there is no automatically engaged or manual safety. Once the barrel assembly is closed and locks down, the V10 is ready to fire.
This is a true 10-meter target pistol design (albeit an entry level gun with an MSRP of $300) and uses a competition-based, oiled walnut grip design that cradles the shooting hand with an adjustable palm shelf, thumb rest, and a rough tree bark like wood finish that provides excellent gripping texture. The competition grip’s angle helps align the pistol for a proper one-handed shooting stance, which is mandatory in 10-meter competition. The grip is described as a “medium” size and is based on an average adult hand. That pretty much describes my hand as most of the time on semi-autos with interchangeable backstraps I end up with the Medium panel. The V10 allows the first joint of my index finger to rest perfectly on the trigger. Those with larger or smaller hands (longer or shorter fingers) may need to alter the grip contour by very carefully using a wood rasp to remove some material or wood putty to build up the grips for a better fit. The only adjustments I made were to take a small wood rasp and slightly smooth the edges of the wood where my middle finger rests, and raise the palm shelf 1/8th of an inch. The latter is done with a Chapman No. 44 (4mm) Allen hex-head to loosen the set screw, raising the palm shelf to a comfortable position, holding it in place and retightening the screw. There is also a little play in the angle and you will see a slight tilt in my final setting. Speaking of tilt, the trigger blade can be swiveled on its axis to perfectly engage your trigger finger. I found center (as factory set) to work perfectly for me.
In keeping with 10-meter competition rules the left side of the grip is flat with the exception of a curve at the front to firmly rest the middle, third and pinky fingers. The really good news is that the V10 can be ordered for right or left-handed shooters.
Lining up the shot
The V10 has a recessed blade front sight that is fairly wide, and a windage and elevation adjustable rear, that is comprised of two separate blades allowing the left half to be adjusted for notch width. This is done with a small blade screwdriver and a screw on the left side of the sight. Turning the screw clockwise widens the notch. The large screw on the right side adjusts windage and a screw on top of the tang adjusts elevation. The entire rear sight is recessed into the top of the barrel assembly; a flattop surface grooved its entire length to eliminate light reflections. The rear sights is neither as large or easy to adjust as the old Webley’s with its big handed controls, but it is comparable to adjustable target sights on semi-autos.
In Part 3 we will spec out the V10 and head to the 10 meter range.