The Webley’s Reprise

The Webley’s Reprise

The Nickel MK VI Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

 

Building a CO2 model that is 100 percent accurate to its cartridge-firing counterpart has its advantages, especially with a semi-auto pistol like the Umarex S&W M&P40. If Webley built its CO2 model of the MK VI exactly to the specifications of the original MK VI, it would have a very heavy double action trigger, a stirrup latch that requires a strong thumb to release, and a barrel and cylinder that demands using the offside hand or pressing the assembly against your leg to open. That’s how a MK VI works. It would not be an ideal CO2 pistol for handling, and thus that much of the .455 caliber model is marginalized for the air pistol which opens, almost too easily, allowing the the barrel and cylinder group to drop on their own. It’s an extreme opposite to the original gun, but the better of two choices for the air pistol. I’d have preferred something in the middle but as compromises go, the MK VI air pistol errs on the side of convenience.

Both guns appear to be identical except for finish but in reality there are some subtle differences between the original 2015 edition black Parkerized finish Service Model with smoothbore barrel and the latest nickel silver Exhibition Model with rifled barrel.

Gauging the MK VI

As a comparison, it should be noted that a .455 caliber MK VI has a double action trigger pull in excess of 14 pounds and a single action pull averaging 9 pounds, but it is as crisp as biting into a chilled Granny Smith apple. The Webley was a gun not exactly prone to accidental discharges. However, if the MK VI CO2 model were built to those specs, no one would be happy with it. But how happy are we with the trigger on the latest nickel silver rifled barrel CO2 model?

Everyone was awaiting the return of the smoothbore Webley MK VI. Not only has that model come in but a rifled barrel nickel silver pellet model as well. A second rifled barrel Battlefield Model with weathered finish is also on its way. Interestingly, the smoothbore model loaded with the pellet cartridges can shoot as well as the rifled barrel pistol! The speed loader works with the pellet cartridges to make reloading faster.

First let’s look at the 2015 version. Mine is one of the first models delivered to the U.S. and has been shot quite a bit in the last two years. I retested the double action trigger pull on this gun and it averages 7 pounds, 10.5 ounces, less than half that of a .455 Webley. The trigger on the CO2 model also cleanly stages the hammer half way through the pull for a carefully aimed shot. Single action trigger pull tested a modest 4 pounds, 9.2 ounces with a Lyman trigger pull gauge. The best this smoothbore pistol had done using the new 4.5mm pellet cartridges is six rounds at 0.593 inches, fired single action from 21 feet using a Weaver stance and two-handed hold. The new rifled barrel model only delivered a best six at 0.875 inches from 21 feet in Part 2 of this article, so the smoothbore had out shot the rifled barrel model with the same pellet-loading cartridges. We are only talking 0.28 inches difference but the rifled barrel gun should outshoot a smoothbore. So what happened?

I began this test a little wide eyed and hopeful for the rifled barrel model to outshoot an already excellent Webley MK VI smoothbore model. It didn’t. At 21 feet the rifled barrel model fired single action was good but not as good as the smoothbore fired single action. This is a shooting conundrum for sure but it surrounds the trigger on the test gun. Best group at 21 feet fired single action measured 0.68 inches; nothing to really complain about.

First off, I am more familiar with my original Webley MK VI CO2 model. Secondly, the nickel front sight on the new model is a little harder to see in the rear notch. Why isn’t that also true with the nickel Umarex Colt Peacemakers? It has a lot to do with the type of sights. The black rear notch sight on the Webley stirrup latch actually seems to make the narrow rectangular nickel front blade harder to center than the old style frame notch on the Colts, which are nickel on nickel. The black front and rear sights on the older Webley model are just easier to see. The bigger question is trigger pull. Has Webley been able to maintain the same level of trigger quality in this latest gun?

The rifled barrel MK VI has a double action trigger pull averaging 9 pounds, 7 ounces and does not stage the hammer quite as smoothly. Single action trigger pull is 4 pounds, 5.1 ounces average, just a little lighter on single action than the older MK VI CO2 model, but the trigger on the newer gun has some creep in the take up as it closes the same 0.125 inch distance to drop the hammer. These are all minor variances.

My single action 10 meter tests with the rifled barrel MK VI started poorly so I changed to shooting the Webley as it was intended, double action, and groups and accuracy improved. The trigger pull also became a little crisper and my best 10 meter group shot with the Meisterkugeln lead wadcutters measured 0.81 inches.

Retesting at 21 feet

I decided to start over and shot the 21 foot test again. Out of two 6-shot strings my best six measured 0.68 inches, a little more than the width of a dime; still not quite as good as the smoothbore MK VI’s best target at 0.593 inches, but now we are only talking 0.08 inches difference. While that’s all the difference in the world in a match shoot, for shooting with the MK VI, not much difference, this isn’t a target pistol. We know the MK VI smoothbore has a serious drop off in accuracy at 10 meters, so how well the rifled barrel model does at that range will be the final arbiter.

Stepping back to 10 meters the first thing that happened was that the gun began to continuously hit below POA by 2 inches. However, this only occurred when fired single action. When I fired double action the Webley became a much more manageable pistol by carefully (as in very deliberately) staging the hammer. This also changed the trigger dynamics and the creep all but vanished pulling through the last 0.125 inches. Shooting double action at 10 meters is where the rifled barrel MK VI lives. It is a bit confounding but targets don’t lie. This gun shoots better double action than single action.

To wrap up this test I loaded the smoothbore MK VI and shot a new 21 foot target to compare it to the rifled barrel model at that distance. The Webley smoothbore using the same pellet-loading cartridges and Meisterkugeln 7.0 grain lead wadcutters gave me a best 6-shot group measuring 0.50 inches in the bullseye.

My best 6-shot group fired double action at 10 meters measured 0.81 inches. Just for the heck of it I shot another target double action from 21 feet but my results were within 1/16th of an inch from my best earlier single action targets. To add a final twist to this little conundrum, I shot a 21 foot target using the pellet shells in my older MK VI smoothbore, which cleanly out shot the rifled barrel model with a best 6-shot group in one ragged hole in the bullseye, establishing a new benchmark for the smoothbore with wadcutter pellets.

Final Thoughts

The Webley was meant to be a double action gun from the time of its introduction in 1880 as the MK I right through its culmination in 1915 with the MK VI. As an air pistol, this latest Webley model lives up to that old standard, rather than as a carefully aimed target pistol fired single action. Why that differs from the first MK VI CO2 model I have yet to discover. Overall, the rifled barrel model is still a very accurate pistol, but a little more challenging to shoot than the smoothbore. With its fine, shiny finish it ends up more an eyeful than a handful. As a copy of a military sidearm, this latest Webley model lives up to that role and delivers satisfactory accuracy with wadcutter pellets at 10 meters fired double action. And since it demands that you fire it double action to achieve the best accuracy, it is thus far been more of an historical shooting experience.

Is the issue with accuracy the trigger, the barrel, or just this one individual test gun? The answer will come when the Battlefield Finish rifled barrel model arrives.

The final evaluation will be with the Battlefield Finish Model to see if sighting improves and how the trigger and action on that pistol compare to the Exhibition Model and black Parkerized smoothbore Service Model. Is the issue with accuracy the trigger, the barrel, or just this one individual test gun?

To be continued…

 

11 thoughts on “The Webley’s Reprise

  1. Hi Dennis,
    Thank you very much for this excellent follow up of the test of the shiny pellet firing Webley. Who would have thought you could get more accuracy firing double action ? I wonder if the original powder burning Webley exhibits the same firing traits ? Make me think that if they designed it as a double action, they figured you would fire it double action. I certainly will stay tuned in.
    Harvey


    • Harvey
      I was surprised by it because the earlier model I have shoots just great single action. My real MK VI also shoots quite accurately single action, though it is quite good fired double action once you master that 14 pound trigger pull. This may be an odd occurrence with the test gun, so the next test will shed some light on that.


  2. So , it wasn’t me having a bad day . Your results are identical to mine . I had high hopes of the ricledbarrel being a tack driver in sa shooting . Thinking maybe it was a bad tin of pellets , I reshot with a new tin, results identical . Maybe a bad fit of the pellets in bad grommets . Tried a different bag of cartridges . No change . Oddly the sa groups moved up into the black with Crosman 7.4gr pellets. Would be interesting to try an 8 gr pellet and see what happens . Will give the nickel revolver another go around tomorrow . Would have thought Webley would have made a great revolver better with the rifled barrel .



    • Right now I’m thinking a follow up on Tuesday shooting double action and going into best shooting techniques with this Webley MK VI model. It is definitely a different handling gun from the first MK VI model for shooting accuracy. Since we have experienced the exact same issues, I am more inclined to think this is a trait of the latest MK VI model and not a issue with the test gun. If anyone else has the nickel MK VI and has similar experience, please let us know.


  3. Here is my two cents for what it is worth. The nickel sights are difficult to see , a thinner post coming g off a thick ramp. In sa a slight dip in the sights translates to a fairly large change inpou t ofaim shooting 2-3 inches low . Da shooting grip alters this resulting in point of aim point of impact. After being frustrated by the sa hitting low , red paint on the front sight and changing sight picture by raising the post so that it slightly is above the u notch rear, and aiming just above the center of the bull, put the shots on . Used the 7 gr Meisterkugeln. When I-get them will trysomeheavier7.5 -8 gr


    • Short of filing the front sight down a little to raise the POA, that’s the next best and least irreversible action. I did try aiming high and got good center punches but not tight groups like I wanted. This gun is just a better double action than it is a single action. Not a bad thing just a different thing from the BB model. Still waiting for the Battlefield model to do a third comparison and see if it is a finish issue with that nickel front sight, or just new trigger/hammer parts that do not work like the 2015 guns.


      • I had hoped the rifled barrel version would be target accurate. It is combat accurate and that is not bad , just not great. What we need is a rifled barrel replica of the S&W k frame 14 with adjustable sights in 177 , and a replica of the N frame 25-2 in 22.


  4. What I don’t understand, is why they would send this revolver to market. I read one review, where the reviewer writes that the internal parts were so worn after a year the revolver would not shoot.


    • Well I don’t know about that, I have had one since 2015 and have shot it quite a lot, both with BB and pellet loading cartridges and the gun is as solid and working as good as the day I got it. The Webley & Scott MK VI airguns are well built. Certainly there are some guns that get past inspection and should have been sent back to the line instead of being shipped. It happens even with cartridge guns, rarely, but it happens, I have had a couple myself over the years, worst case was an 1860 Army conversion in .38 Colt with a .44 caliber barrel! That wasn’t the worst though, the bullet would just bounce down the barrel and keyhole into the target if I’d shot it. The worst was that there was a .44 out there with a .38 caliber barrel! Fortunately it was located before it was shipped, my gun got sorted out and it had a happy ending. Now as for the review that showed worn internal parts on a MK VK Webley airgun after a year, that would be a rare bird indeed. As for the oddity of the new model shooting better double action than single action, it is mostly the narrow nickel sights, a little bit about the trigger creep but not a defect as far as I can tell. It is actually quite a bit more exciting to shoot double action.


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