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Webley Senior

by B.B. Pelletier

This old Webley Senior is still in good condition.

Today, we’ll look at another oldie of mine. I bought this single-shot Webley Senior at a gun show back in the 1970s. It cost me $75 then, but the same gun would probably go for $250-275 today.

Made before WWII…
My gun was made before 1935, a fact I found in the Blue Book of Airguns. It’s .22 caliber, which was much more common in that time frame than .177. A rifled barrel gives decent accuracy, though nobody would ever call a Webley springer a target pistol.

…And made to last
The British and European airguns made before the war were built just like firearms. They’re heavy, usually all steel and blued as well as any Colt or Smith & Wesson. The two Bakelite grip panels are the only synthetic parts on my gun. Even the piston is sealed with a steel ring – like an automobile engine. Everything was made to endure, and that’s what it has done.

The pistol gets oiled frequently through a designated hole on top of the frame. It’s important to keep it well oiled because there’s no parachute piston seal to perfectly seal the compression chamber at firing. The piston ring has to do the job, and oil helps. Petroleum oil isn’t a problem because the compression ratio is very low.

Oversized bores were common
Lots of prewar airguns had oversized bores made for larger pellets than we have today. My pistol will shoot modern pellets, but it likes 5.6mm Eley Wasps better. I laid in a supply of them years ago, so I’d never run out. If you have an older Webley or BSA, you may have the same situation. Your best bet in a modern pellet is something soft with a thin skirt, such as a Daisy Pointed Field Pellet or a Gamo Match wadcutter.

Eley Wasps are 5.6mm in diameter, so they fit the older barrels better.

Parts are still available
I replaced the mainspring and the breech seal in my gun about ten years ago. John Groenewold (847-566-2365) had the parts. The mainspring uses square-section wire, so it isn’t something that can be made from a generic spring. Webley keeps making parts for these oldies, and they probably will for some time to come. Disassembly was fairly easy and required no special tools – like a mainspring compressor. The pistol is under so little stress at rest that it will probably last several centuries in operational condition.

Operation is the same as today’s Webley pistols
To cock the Senior, you release the barrel and swing it up and forward. It’s hinged at the front of the gun, just like Webley’s Hurricane and Tempest, which descended from this model. Insert a pellet in the breech and close the barrel to prepare for firing. There is no safety on the gun, which was common practice at the time it was made.

The barrel is hinged at the front and swings forward when cocked.

The trigger-pull is single-stage and surprisingly light. It swings through a long arc before releasing. Recoil is light, and the pistol just bounces in your hand when it shoots. Adjustable sights let you to move the shot groups, but bear in mind that this gun shoots 1.5″ groups at 10 yards – at best.

It’s a real comfort
Sometimes, it’s just nice to hold an older piece like this one and reflect on how well made it is. I guess I enjoy this old Webley a lot more than is indicated by the little shooting I do with it. I just like to feel it in my hands from time to time.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

45 thoughts on “Webley Senior”

  1. hey bb pelletier. i have a question relating to airguns, but not really on the the topic. sorry, I just dont know where to post it, so here goes:

    recently ive purchased a CO2 airsoft gun (its a beretta m9 based on a tokyo marui green gas gun). it’s a great gun, but it literally DISCHARGES all the CO2 in the cartridge once I screw it in in a matter of seconds, 100% of the time now. I’ve read your article on how crosman pellegun oil helps, and I have applied some, but to no avail. I own quite a few CO2 powered guns, and they are all fine (after a large number of shots, even), but this one isnt. I’ve only been able to get around 10 good cartridges out of it, then… instant leaks from then on.

    judging from what I said, do you think the o-ring needs replacement? if so where would the easiest place be for me to get a new o-ring for my pistol? and are some o-rings better than others? (say, this gun’s o-ring and a higher end crosman pistol’s?) thanks much.

  2. Dave,

    Yes, you need a new seal, but I don’t think it’s an O-ring. It sounds like the main seal of your gun is defective. Can you send it back to where you bought it?

    If not, take a look at the posting (July 20) in which I mentioned some airgunsmiths who can fix guns. This job is not simple and unless you want to get into the gun really deep, I would leave it to one of them.


  3. Anonymous,

    With all due respect, If you dont enjoy these posts, then dont read them.

    If you want to read about co2 bb guns, maybe you came to the wrong place.

    B.B. has written about modern co2 guns however.

    He is providing us with free information, if you dont want it, dont read it.

    I enjoy reading about these “old guns” if you want to know about the new stuff, there are catalouges and websites to look at.


  4. Hello B.B.
    I too also love these old guns. Here’s my old “Senior”, my uncle gave this to me about 39 years ago. It’s .177 and I do need some parts for it. Haven’t been able to find the parts so far. Here’s a pic…..


  5. A friend of mine recently showed me an old airgun he found in an attic. British manufacturer Accles & Shelvoke Ltd., Birmingham.
    Stamped “The Warrior”. Its in great shape!
    Can you tell about this item?

  6. Old airgun,

    Your friend has a find! The Warrior pistol is quite rare and worth a lot, depending on condition. It was made in England from 1931 to 1939.

    I need to know more about the gun to tell you what it is worth, but in poor shape it’s still a $400 airgun.


  7. With regards to the “attic find”, the serial number is #5080 and bears the following;
    FClarkes Patent No.s,
    Brit 351268
    USA 538057
    I was curious about the grips. They appear to be either a black plastic or possibly black horn material (such as buffalo). It is also an odd caliber, not in keeping with the usual .177 or .22cal encoutered in the U.S.
    The barrel is rifled and the bluing on this “heavy” gun is in the 75% range. This airgun appears quite powerful and is quite a handfull to hold.
    Any info. is greatly appreciated.

  8. I too have The Webley “Senior”. I went and got 1500 5.5mm pellets, the only problem is they don’t fit. the pellets are to small. I always thought it was a .22 cal.. They are Crosman Wadcutter Competition. Any ideas?

  9. I have a Webley senior .22 serial number S14528 which I believe was a 1935 model. It has a shorter barrel than the model in your photo being the same length as the spring chamber.

    Mine has not had any tender loving care but is still powerful and accurate (within the limts you describe)I have recently had it resprung and tuned costing £15.

    I enjoy using this old gun and I use Webly Hustler Pellets with no problem.

    When plinking it takes out a beer can (end on) at 20 metres when I am on a good day

  10. Hi there,
    I have enjoyed looking at your website. I have a question for you. I have a Webley Senior .177 air pistol however I am unsure of the age and/or where to find out this information. The only markings that I can see on it are 1790 on the front on the barrel tip and the markings The “webley senior” made by webley & scott ltd birmingham on the side. It is very heavy and has bakerlite looking casing on the handle. it goes really well and I have had it for at least 35years. Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you soon
    My e-mail address is:

  11. nedenibor,

    The Senior was made in several versions from the 1930 to 1964. If you gun has straight grips like the one shown here it was made before 1935. If the grip is slanted, it was made between 1935 and 1964. There are ways of narrowing the production date closer, but it takes a lot of research and noting many small details on your gun.

    The Blue Book of Airguns is an excellent reference for airguns in general, but for Webley pistols the book to have is “Webley Air Pistols,” by Gordon Bruce.


  12. Dear B.B. My son was just given a Webley”senior” as a gift from a friend of mine .The gun is in very good condition .It just needs new grip panels other than that the gun is very clean and accurate.It even has a carrying case.The barrel is stamped #295 we are just wondering about the value of this gun .

  13. Dear BB

    I have a Webley Senior .177 cal air gun. I have had it for fifty years and it is in good shape other than the part that cocks it and pulls the spring back has broken. Can anyone tell me where I might get a new part for it? Where could I get a parts list or diagram?
    Don, dmacm@ns.sympatico.ca

  14. Hi, Iv just been handed an air pistol from my father in law to research and to possibly get a value for… only trouble is i know absolutely nothing about air pistols.The inscription on the barrel reads
    Webley Senior
    Webley and Scott
    GB patent no#219872
    U.S.A Patented U.S.A 7-7-25
    Canada Patent 1925
    Any ideas or input would be greatly appreciated.

  15. Paul,

    Does the gun look like the one pictured above, or is the grip more slanted?

    These pistols were made before and after World War II and differ in value depending on their features. Also the condition plays a major roll in their value.

    Are the grip panels black or dark brown?

    The writing you sent is found on most of them and is of little help in determining which model you have.


  16. Hi,
    The gun is almost identicle to the one shown. The grip is black and the gun itself is in good working order. It has been regularly oiled throughout it’s ownership and is in a good condition. There is some surface ‘rust/discolouration’ on the metal but only ever so slight. It would probably come off with a good clean.

  17. Hi B.B.,
    I enjoyed reading your article and the feedback on the “SENIOR”.I have both the Senior and Junior models and I’ll agree that there is something to be said for holding one of these pistols in ones hand.Although they may be a little outdated by todays modern standards,the sheer quality of these pistols just can’t be matched today.I have a few other more “modern” air pistols that I’ve purchased over the years,but no other air pistol in my collection can satisfy me with a Saturday afternoon of plinking like my ol’ Webleys. -Ian Ottawa Canada

  18. I just found one of these in my grandfathers cupboard above the stove.

    He's got alzheimers… so I thought removing it would be the best idea… I am however now quiet set on teaching myself how to use it!

    Any tips?

  19. BoyWonder,

    Here's a great 7 part series that B.B. did on 10 meter pistol shooting. Copy and paste this link and it will take you to part 7 of the series. At the top you can click on part 1-6 and read them in order. B.B. has now written well over 1,000 airgun related articles. The search box at the right side of this page will help you find answers to just about any airgun question. Here's your link:


    Be careful, you might get addicted to airguns. Most of the addicted airgunners can be found talking under the most recent article that B.B. has written (He writes a new article everyday, Monday-Friday). Here's a link that will always take you to the most recent article that he has written. Just scroll down to the bottom and hit comments:


    Hope to see you there!


  20. BoyWonder,

    You have a wonderiul old air pistol. It does best with very large pellets, so try RWS Habbys and Gamo Hunters. Also RWS Superpoints. Hold the pistol loose, pulled back into the web of your hand with just your middle finger.

    Expect to see silver-dollar-sized groups at 25-30 feet.

    Oil the air transfer port with 5 drops of 3-in-One oil or other good household oil (NOT WD-40). The transfer port is the hole in the receiver that you see when the barrel is lifted.


  21. My brother 11 years older than me had a Webley Senior, I remember taking it out to the back garden and putting up a white and red target on a wooden sheet and using pointed darts with coloured hair attached, are they still available,
    they were supplied for the gun I'm sure,

  22. Hi,

    I have a Webley & Scott air pistol, likely a successor to the one in the post here. The stamping is as follows:

    The Webley "Patriot"
    Made in England
    Webley & Scott Ltd. Birmingham 4

    It takes .22 cal pellets and has a rifled barrel.

    It hasn't been used for a long time (passed on when great uncle passed away). Likely from the 70's? It's in great condition externally, but when I fire a pellet, I can literally see the trajectory and it kind of spits them out the end with fall-off in a few metres. It definitely seems to be shooting really slowly – probably slower than intended. What should I expect for FPS?

    I'd like to hang on to it. Can/should I get the inside re-built, or new gaskets/piston or something to improve performance to factory condition?

    I'm in Ontario, Canada, close to Niagara Falls, NY as well. Any suggestions for skilled airgun service shops?

    I'd really love to have more info on this airgun.


  23. MarcsOwnBlog,

    Give a shout he might be able to help you.

    By the way you posted to a blog that was written 5 years ago. There is a daily blog about air guns you should check out for further information since there are just a few of us checking the old blogs for current comments.

    Try reposting your question at/blog// You'll reach alot of very knowledgeable, helpful people there

    Mr B.

  24. sir i have a Webley & Scott Senior .22 & .177 Air Pistol but there is a problem in its loading .
    and do not remove write on it .Now how to repair it .plz help me.

    Ashr malik from Pakistan

    • Grant,

      Welcome to the blog.

      Webley made their pistols in batches of 1,000 that were differentiated by a letter code. Your pistol has the same serial number (actually a batch number) as a hundred other Webley pistols.

      Unless you link to a photograph of the gun I am afraid I can’t tell you anything. It could be almost any model, made almost any time.


  25. I believe it to be a junior .177 I think the stamp no on it between the trigger and handle is a u or a v. Which way does the stamp face? May even be a c.was my grandads not sure how long he had it passed away a couple of years ago and i have just been given it.

    • Grant,

      Okay, now we are getting somewhere. Are the grip panels black plastic or metal? What so they look like?

      Juniors were made from 1929-1938, and again from 1945-1973. The steel-gripped model is the oldest.

      There is a Junior II that was made 1973-1976. it has an aluminum grip frame, as opposed to a steel frame in the older models.

      What would you like to know?


  26. I believe it is the black plastic grips I the steel handle not the brass handle.was wondering what age it is and what type of pellets to use, its still compresses and sound like it fires looks like it has been well oiled, how much are they worth.i also have another air gun but has no makings that I can see.sholud I send a photo to get more details.

    • grant,

      With the plastic grips is was made between 1945 and 1972. Condition drives the price. One in perfect condition with the original box will bring $200, but one in average condition without the box can fetch as little as $75. I paid $150 for one with plastic grips in very good condition a few years ago.


      Best pellets are RWS Basic or Hobbys. Pyramyd AIR sells them The cheap lead Daisy pellets will work, as well. Just don’t use Crosman pellets, because they are too hard alloy and will not function as well.

      Oil it often through the air transfer port with 3-in-one oil or equivalent. Five drops each time every couple of months.


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