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Education / Training The Webley Senior – Part 2

The Webley Senior – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

My real motivation
It’s time to let you in on a secret–the real reason I find the Webley Senior to be so fascinating. As a maturing lad of 13, I’d saved my paper route money to buy an airgun. My mother had only recently relented from her “no BB guns” posture after seeing that I could be trusted with one. She took me to the local discount store in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, to make my purchase. I remember having just a bit more than $20 to spend.

There were three air pistols for sale in the store: a Crosman Single-Action Six for $12.95; a Crosman 600 repeater for $19.95; and a Webley Senior for $29.95. I really wanted the Webley in the worst way, but the money wasn’t there, so it fell to a choice between the two Crosmans. I chose the SA-6 on price because I could see that powerlets as well as pellets were required. Those were the awful days of “bottlecap” powerlets that leaked before and after they were installed in a gun. I felt lucky to get 30-40 shots from a good one. That experience turned me into a confirmed anti-CO2 airgunner for several decades to come and gave me a bad taste for the SA-6 (which remains to this day). Who knows how different things might have turned out if I’d bought the 600, instead? But it was the untouchable Webley Senior that made the biggest impression of all.

The memory of leaving that fine, all-steel air pistol at the store remained with me like the ghost of a lost love, to become part of a lifelong fascination with airguns. There aren’t many better ways to appreciate our great hobby than by owning and shooting a Webley Senior pistol.

A Webley is a relatively easy air pistol to disassemble and tune. You could take advantage of this and do a few simple things that will improve your lot, no matter what state the gun is in. Following these instructions, you could also replace most of the wear-out parts in the gun. Even if you don’t do these things, the following is a good lesson in how your air pistol is constructed.

The only part that won’t be shown here is the breech seal, and we’ve already seen that. To replace it, you must first dig the old one out of its seat. A small screwdriver or sharp, pointed instrument is needed to dig it out. It’s a matter of prying and patience. The seal is longer than you might imagine, but you should have the new one standing by for replacement, so you can see what you’re up against.

Once the old seal is out, clean the seat so the new one fully seats. Installing a new seal is a simple matter of centering it on the seat and driving it all the way home with the Webley seating tool. If you don’t have a Webley tool, use a pin punch that’s very close to the outside diameter of the seal. A few taps with a plastic hammer is all it takes. Be sure the seal goes in straight, lest the sides of the walls cut the seal going in. Also, take care to stop pounding when the seal has bottomed out, as you can flatten this seal beyond usable length. Try closing the barrel as you get close, and you should know when the job is done.

CAUTION: Before beginning this work, ask yourself if you should be doing this. The Webley is a spring gun and can throw its parts with enough force to injure people and damage property. If, after reading the following procedure completely, you do not feel confident that you can do the work safely, DON’T ATTEMPT IT! Have a qualified airgunsmith do the work for you.


Pistol disassembly
1. Remove the short screw on the left side of the end cap first. This screw is used to spread the end of the long screw on the right of the end cap–to hold it in place. Once the left screw has been removed, remove the right screw. Note that this screw is also the axle around which the barrel rotates during cocking. When the gun is reassembled, this screw will be specially lubricated to help with the tremendous load it must bear.


The left screw is removed first. Its only purpose is to anchor the end of the screw on the right.


This is the long screw that also serves as the axle for the barrel.

2. With both screws out, you can now pry the barrel lug from the end cap slot. Once the lug is free, the cocking linkage can be easily removed from the disassembly hole on top of the receiver. That’s the enlarged hole at the breech end of the cocking slot.

CAUTION: In step 3 (below), you’ll be releasing the mainspring of the pistol. Take every precaution to keep the end cap under control at all times, as it can suddenly fly off the gun with enough force to cause serious injury and damage! Read this step completely and be sure you understand it before starting.


With both screws removed, the barrel lug can be pried out of its slot. Once free, you can move the barrel link to disconnect the cocking linkage.

3. With the barrel lug removed, it’s possible to unscrew the end cap from the receiver. If the gun has never been disassembled, the end cap may be difficult to start unthreading. It’s a normal right-hand twist thread.


The end cap unscrews from the frame.

For end caps that are tight, chuck a box wrench in a vice, with the end of the wrench sticking straight up. The wrench you select should just fit inside the end cap slot but be smaller than the receiver slot in which the end cap is threaded. This box wrench is essentially a very large screwdriver bit, whose rounded ends aren’t going to leave marks in the metal of the end cap.

With the wrench held tight in the vise, you can set the pistol down over the box end (inside the end cap slot) and turn the gun using the grip of the pistol. The torque that can be applied this way is enormous, so take extra care to fit the box wrench end to the end cap slot as close as possible and go slow! You could literally ruin the entire receiver if the box wrench extends too far and catches the receiver walls, too.

Many guns will not require such drastic measures. Their end caps will have been removed several times before, and they’ll twist off with little effort.

When the end cap is down to the last three or four threads holding it in the receiver, it’s time to take matters into hand. Put some kind of rag around the end cap to cushion your hand and, holding the gun in one hand, rotate the end cap with the other hand until the cap is free. The mainspring will push the cap free of the gun for several inches, but the push is not so powerful that it cannot be controlled by an average adult. There is between 25 and 40 lbs. of spring force pushing on the end cap.


Note the length of the mainspring. There’s still a piston in this gun. The end cap has the spring guide built in.

Also, note that the mainspring guide is an integral part of the end cap.

4. The next step is to remove the piston from the gun. You can gently pry it along with a small screwdriver through the cocking slot. Keep the trigger fully depressed as you go, because the sear must be retracted for the piston to fully clear it.

When it’s removed, you’ll see a ring of steel just behind the piston head. This is actually the catch on which the sear rests when the pistol is cocked. If you don’t have the trigger fully pulled, there’s no room for this ring to clear the sear, and the piston simply refuses to come out.


Here you can see the famous piston ring Webley used to have. The flange behind it is what the sear holds onto.

Note the famous piston ring, which is the piston seal on this gun. Webley employed a more conventional piston seal in their modern pistols. Actually, the modern seal does a better job, but the older ring is a nostalgic engineering touch from the golden era of quality airgun manufacture.

This ring is made of beryllium copper, an alloy selected for its longevity in applications where flexing is required. Great Western, the American company that made inexpensive replicas of the Colt Single-Action Army revolver, used beryllium copper for the fragile bolt–another part that flexes with use.

This is as far as we’ll disassemble the pistol, as all cleaning and relubrication work may now be done. Even the sear, which is still in the gun, is fully accessible at this point in the disassembly. If you want to go further, the pins that retain the sear and triggerguard must be removed.

Clean all parts thoroughly, removing grease and crud as you go. The mainspring should be checked for straightness at this time. Roll it on a flat surface, such as a table top or a pane of glass, and watch how it rolls. It’s easy to spot a kinked coil this way.

Webley uses springs made from flat wire, to allow them to be more fully compressed. Because there’s less metal in such wire than there would be if the stock was round, the wire will wear out faster over time and with shooting. You can expect some small amount of bend to almost every Webley pistol mainspring because of the type of wire used, but a badly kinked spring should be replaced.

A chronograph will tell the story very quickly. Expect a .22 pistol in good shape to shoot medium-weight pellets in the 350 f.p.s. range. A .177 should do 450 f.p.s. with medium-weight pellets. If the numbers are more than 50 f.p.s. low, a new spring is probably needed, although the gun will still function for years with the old one.


You can lubricate the trigger and sear through the vertical slot just in front of the trigger.

5. You can lubricate the sear through the slot in the bottom of the receiver (which is at the top of the triggerguard) and through the receiver tube–once the piston is out of the way. I use Beeman’s M-2-M moly paste on mine, but any good gun grease can be used.

For lubrication, I use moly paste on those parts subject to hard wear–such as the sear, the barrel pivot pin, the cocking linkage and slot, the mainspring guide and the sides of the barrel lug that bear on the end cap. Use a very light amount of light grease on the mainspring, as too much heavy stuff quickly slows down the gun. The trigger linkage can be lubed with any good gun oil; although if it’s disassembled, moly can be applied to each part directly. I also like to put moly on the piston-ring area and the steel ring that serves as the sear catch.

After that, it’s just a matter of reassembly in reverse order of disassembly. Don’t forget to squeeze the trigger as you insert the piston so it’ll clear the sear.

When the job is finished, wipe down the gun’s metal parts with Sheath or some other gun oil that neutralizes fingerprints. That’ll keep your Webley looking good for a long time to come. And now you know how to keep it shooting good, to boot!

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.

25 thoughts on “The Webley Senior – Part 2”

  1. I was wondering if there's something wrong. None of the other blogs have had any activity, either. Your comment from this morning is the last one that came through. Odd!


  2. B.B.

    Whenever I ask myself this question about whether I should be doing this work, the answer is always no…. I'll leave it to the qualified people like Vince, Rich, Mike and the Crosman Corporation.

    Thanks for the information last night about focusing and scopes. I've come up with an answer to why you cannot see an obstruction on a rifle barrel–say a laser–through a scope in terms of light rays.

    I've had experience with severe nearsightedness for many years (completely cured through a miraculous operation), and I know that nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball is too long so that the lens of the eye focuses the image in front of the retina. It's just hanging in the air. Far-sightedness resulting from short eyeballs, focuses the image behind the retina. So an individual light ray means nothing. An image of what you are seeing has to be focused right on the retina for the eye to see.

    I suspect that a scope works similarly to the eye. Lenses focus light rays from a given depth of field into an image behind the scope. Would this be the exit pupil? In any case, it must correspond to what we call eye relief. This image, suspended in the air, is picked up by the eye and transmitted onto your retina. So the fundamental condition for seeing something is having its image focused on your retina. Since scopes are not light tight, I suppose individual rays from the laser make it out of the scope but not in a form that the eye can focus on its retina. The secret to invisibility….

    A harder question is why the center of a target directly in line with a laser mounted on the barrel still appears in a perfectly intact image through the scope. My idea here is that light radiates out from the target center in all directions. So, even if the direct line to the laser is blocked from the scope, light at an angle must be hitting this enlarged collecting area of the scope that we talked about the other day and once inside, the redirecting magic of the scope creates an intact image. This all implies that the fundamental condition for seeing the center of a target is that light from the center must be able to hit some portion of the front of the scope at some angle. When this is not possible through some combination of scope size, laser size/position, or target size, you will not be able to see the center of the target.

    The case where a laser appears when pushed right up against the front of the scope is a separate case where the proximity of the laser overwhelms the light redirection capacity of the scope. Yes?


  3. Matt,

    I think you're close…

    RE: My idea here is that light radiates out from the target center in all directions.


    RE: "light at an angle must be hitting this enlarged collecting area of the scope"

    Correct. The light emitted from the point at the center of the target back towards the scope can be conceived as being a cone of light. This cone of line is intercepted by the objective lens of the scope. Since the lenses in the scope are curved, the light rays in the cone hit the objective lens at different angles. The lenses in the scope (with the lens in your eye) focuses the cone of light from the target center back into a point.

    The pupil in your eye acts like an aperture in a camera. It lets more or less light into your eye. In very bright light you can see fine detail. In dim light with your pupil much larger, you can't see such detail. That is why reading is easier in bright light.

    Hold a pencil point vertically in front of your eye at arms length and move it closer to your eye. The pencil point gets fuzzy as it closer to your eye. As the pencil point gets even closer to your eye it becomes blurry and more like an indistinct shadow. Since the pencil point doesn't cover your entire pupil, you can see "behind" the pencil point even though it is directly in front of your eye!

  4. Herb and Anonymous. You've got it. This question also bothered me. Telescopes of the reflecting type have a diagonal mirror in the path of the incoming light, in the middle of the field, and yet there is nothing wrong with what you see, even at distances that are astronomical.

  5. Edith,

    I sent you a post at approx 2:30 this afternoon. "Blogger" told me that it'll be a minute before it appears on the blog. However, it never arrived. Lets see if this one appears.

    Mr B.

  6. Mr B.,

    Looks like Blogger had an issue. This isn't the first time I"ve heard of comments not getting posted. I've had that happen to my own comments.

    Over the past week, we've had issues with Blogger posting blogs that are scheduled to be posted in the future. Plus, Blogger reposted older blogs, making links to multi-part blogs useless.

    Clearly, Blogger is a work in progress. I think of the entire internet as a beta version. If boredom sets in, just wait…in 10 minutes, somebody will change some little thing, which will change a million other things. Unexpectedly, of course.


  7. Edfray,
    You actually will see the artifacts of the reflecting telescope's diagonal — they show up as diffraction patterns. The easiest to see will be the spikes on star images from the mirror support, one for each structural component and another at 180degrees opposite. So the old-fashioned single stalk mirror support will display a star image with two spikes. They're usually considered distracting, but some astrophotographers with refractors (no central obstruction) or catadioptric reflectors with the secondary mounting to the front plate (no spikes), will put string in front of the objectives to produce an attractive spike pattern on bright stars.

  8. So, the scientists were right about the curvature of light business….

    That raises another question. According to my model, a scope should be focusing incoming light into a real (as opposed to virtual) image at the exact point of eye relief behind the scope. My understanding of a real image is a sort of three-dimensional hologram suspended in the air. Don't parabolic reflectors produce a real image like this? Shouldn't such a real image then be visible? Do we not see it because of light conditions or is it just too small?


  9. Matt,

    RE: curvature of light

    Entirely the wrong concept for scopes. Light comes in units called "photons." We model photons sometimes as particles and sometimes as waves to make predictions.

    Light behaves like a particle in the presence of a massive gravitational field. Thus the path of the photon "bends" because the photon is attracted to the gravitational center. So light traveling pass the sun is bent slightly. The bending of light was measured during an eclipse. One of the conformations of Einstein's theories.

    RE: eye relief

    Eye relief is just how far your eye would be physically positioned behind the scope. But to get an image on your retina, you have to consider the lens in your eye too.

    RE: 3 vs 2 dimensional image.

    You "see" in three dimensions because your brain integrates the images from your TWO eyes to give you depth perception. With just one eye your depth perception would be very poor. You'd have to rely on relative size alone. For instance a soda can is about 5 inches high. Depending on how close the soda can is it would be larger or smaller. You could then guess how far away by relative size.

    Think of a "regular" photograph. It's two strictly two dimensional. Holographic prints rely on your binocular vision. If you look with one eye at a holographic image, you can't see the holographic projection. You just see a two dimensional image.

    RE: Image suspended in air

    If you're looking sideways at a telescope you don't see an image suspended in the air because air scatters light poorly and the air is uniform. But if there was a fog, you'd see evidence of the light coming through the telescope.

    Air does effect scopes, think of the twinkle of a star. Also the waviness of distant objects on a hot day.

  10. Matt61,on an unrelated topic,now that my move from new orleans to Huntsville is complete,I've managed to locate the ceramic sharpening rod I promised you and will mail it out soon…is the adress still the same? Frank

  11. Herb,

    "Diffraction" would probably have been a better word than "curvature."

    Wikipedia claims that a real optical image can be seen by holding a sheet in a vertical plane through the image. An easy experiment for someone who is bored.

    Frank B., congratulations on your move. Yes, the address is the same, and a ceramic rod is welcome anytime. I still haven't gotten that shaving edge.


  12. B.B.

    Indeed a LOT of money!

    That's exactly why I inquired if you were planning a review on it.

    What do I think?…..

    Other than agreeing with you just said, what CAN I think?

    With out trying it out, all I can do, is look at a photograph of it, read it's specs, & wonder why the price tag is 4-5 times the price of a dozen other guns with similar specs.
    It's not blow back, there's no mention of any advanced BAXS system or superior accuracy, the velocity is nothing to brag about, & other than a metal slide, both front AND rear adjustable sights, & the name…. What seperates this from the others?
    [Scratches head.]
    IMHO that's just not enough to warrant that kind of a price, so I have to ask, what DOES makes this so special & warrant the high price tag?

    I would also venture to say that most knowledgeable airgunners are thinking the same thing, & quite frankly, with all of this in mind, I was surprised to see PA list this gun without first seeing a review by you on it, or at least by one of PA's techs.

    Maybe I'll call PA & see if anyone there can shed some light on this, as I'm quite curious about it now.


  13. B.B.

    I called PA today, but being Saturday, there were only a couple of girls in the office & they couldn't tell me anything about it.

    I'll try again on Mon. or Tues. & try to talk to Scott, Bah, or Boris.
    Maybe they can shed some light on this.

    I'm quite curious about this myself too now.

    Like that Umarex Colt Special Classic BB gun, that is only available in Europe that I bought & reviewed for you. Remember the one I sent you the pics & all that info on?

    BTW… I took it out again the other day, & it really is a great looking BB gun. Probably the best looking one I've seen.

    Did you ever post anything on that?


  14. B.B.

    Well I spoke to PA today about the H&K P30 CO2 Pistol by Heckler & Koch, & they couldn't tell me anything other than that the price may be higher than the Crosmans, because it's an Umarex replica, like the 1911 & CP99, but didn't know nor could say anything for sure about as to why the higher price tag, or if there is anything special about it.

    I can't help to think that considering that the Makarov CO2 BB Pistol & the Smith & Wesson M&P by Umarex are very nice replicas too for only only $59.99 & $39.99 (respectively), & the only thing their descriptions setting the H&K apart, is that the H&K has a metal slide & shoots pellets too. For approximately a $130.00 & $150.00 more (again, respectively) than both the other two guns… that answer just isn't enough for me, & I'm sure other people feel the same way.

    To me I think that this warrants a review.

    However I know your VERY busy right now & probably don't have time to review it, but since I've been asked by a couple of people (& I'm sure quite a few others are curious too) as to why the H&K is so much more, I'd like to get an answer from someone over there.

    At the very least I think they should put something in their description to explain why the higher price tag. If there is a good reason for the higher price tag, I'm sure that would help sales of this gun.

    I'd be happy to send an email to someone & explain all of this, but I don't know who to send it to.
    So if you can point me in the right direction as to who would be the best person to contact about this, I'll send an email with a link to these posts, & see if we can get some answers.

    If you can, please let me know who the best person to contact about this is, & I'll take care of it.



  15. B.B.

    I just figured if they were willing to invest in it & stock it, that they'd know more about it, but you have a good point.

    We'll have to wait & see what you find out about it, when they get them in stock.



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