by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Webley Mark VI revolver
Webley Mark VI BB revolver.

Part 1

This report covers:

• Longevity
• The gun
• Velocity
• Double-action
• Back to single-action
• How many good shots on a cartridge?
• Trigger-pull
• Evaluation so far

We received a lot of comments on Part 1 of this report. Apparently, the Webley Mark VI BB revolver resonates strongly with a large number of readers. Most are very positive, but a few of you really dislike this BB pistol. Their biggest complaint is that it costs too much for a BB pistol.

I say, if you feel that way, just don’t buy it. The airsoft companies who are making these realistic replicas are coming from their world of 6mm plastic balls, and 4.3mm steel BBs are a lot easier to make than rifled BB guns. Some people think the only difference is a rifled barrel, but they overlook the hundreds of thousands of dollars that must be invested plus the time learning to make rifled barrels by the tens of thousands. Sure, anybody who is competent can rifle 10 or even 50 barrels a month, but these companies need barrels in far larger numbers, and that’s not only an investment in production capability, but also in expertise. Just ask Crosman about learning to rifle accurate PCP barrels. It took them years to make the transition, and they still buy barrels for several of their guns.

All I’m saying is that instead of cursing the darkness — light a candle! If you think the guns cost too much for what they are, don’t buy ’em! But, please, let the rest of us enjoy what we have instead of carping about what isn’t there.

Speaking of enjoying the pistol, I made the remark last week that all pot metal airguns will eventually wear out. Sooner, if you use them a lot! A new blog reader who calls himself Chris, USA asked about this, and the question has come up before, so I’m going to do a blog on this subject this week. In fact, the more I consider it, this report might have to have more than one part because it’s a really deep subject!

But enough of the past. Let’s get to today’s test, which is the velocity of the big Webley. And first I want to clear up some details of the firearm.

The gun
One reader said the Mark VI front sight is adjustable for elevation — similar to what I showed you on the Cody Thunderbird revolver last month. There’s a screw on the right side of the front sight blade, and when I saw it I assumed it was for that purpose. Then, another reader warned me to leave that screw alone. It’s there for blade replacement — not for height adjustment. He said that screw was commonly lost in the field and was an armourer’s (UK readers — please note and appreciate the spelling) nightmare to keep up with.

Webley Mark VI BB revolver revolver front sight
The screw on the front sight of the Webley Mark VI is not for adjustment. It holds the sight blade in place.

I told you that the man who loaned me the Mark VI revolver was Johnny Hill — yes, the same guy who owns the Diana 45 we looked at last Friday. Well, he’s also loaned me a Webley Mark I revolver of his that was converted to .45 ACP.

Webley Mark VI revolver Mark  I
Webley Mark I is an earlier version of the big revolver. Originally chambered for .455, this one has been altered to take .45 ACP or .45 Auto Rim cartridges.

Webley Mark VI revolver Mark I open
Though the Mark I grip looks different than the grip on the Mark VI, the Mark I is very similar in most respects.

Johnny offered to let me shoot both revolvers and even provided some ammo that was loaded with lead bullets. I didn’t shoot them, though, for a couple reasons. No. 1 is that the .45 ACP is a hotter round than the .455, and both these revolvers are a little loose. I’m sure they’re safe, but they don’t need me straining them any farther. Also, the .455 bore is so large that it needs larger bullets for accuracy. I didn’t want to take the time to load any ammo. Besides, I plan to own a Mark VI of my own at some point. Then, I’ll have all kinds of time to check it out.

Let’s turn to the big Webley BB pistol and see what it can do. First up are the Daisy Premium Grade BBs that are sort of the standard. This revolver is both single- and double-action, so I tested it both ways. For each test, I averaged the velocity for 6 BBs since that’s a full cylinder.

The BBs are pressed into the nose of each replica bullet by hand. This takes some time, but it goes pretty smoothly — no special technique involved.

Webley Mark VI revolver loading BBs
Place the BB on the plastic bullet (left) and press in with your thumb until it pops in place (right).

A little tip when loading the BBs is to use a strong magnet to hold them. You can then pick them off one at a time and it keeps them off the floor.

Webley Mark VI BB revolver magnet
I use a magnet on the back of a flashlight to hold BBs until I’m ready to load them.

Shooting single-action (manually cocking the hammer before every shot), the first 6 Daisy BBs averaged 422 f.p.s., with me shooting the gun every 10 seconds or so. The high was 428 and the low was 410 f.p.s. Since the first few shots are often faster after installing a new CO2 cartridge, I shot a second cylinderful.

The second cylinder of Daisy BBs, also shot single-action, averaged 415 f.p.s. The high was 427 f.p.s. and the low as 405 f.p.s. The high seems to remain constant, but the low number does drop a little after the first shots have been fired.

Next, I tried 6 rounds double action (pulling the trigger to advance the cylinder, cock the hammer and fire). Many CO2 guns very a lot between the two mode of fire, but the Mark VI doesn’t seem to. As before I allowed 10 seconds between each shot. Daisy BBs averaged 406 f.p.s. The fastest shot went 411 and the slowest went 400 f.p.s.

We can see that the gun works nearly the same in either mode. However, I do notice a decline in velocity as the shots advance in each string, so shooting as fast as you can pull the trigger will really slow things down!

Back to single-action
I’ve moved on, and for the remainder of this test all shooting was done single-action with 10 seconds between shots. Next, I shot Crosman Copperhead BBs. Six of them averaged 419 f.p.s. with a spread from 410 to 427 f.p.s. They’re right with the Daisys.

After that, I shot the new Hornady Black Diamond BBs that I started testing last week. They averaged 417 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 406 to a high of 427 f.p.s. So, they are hanging in there with the Daisy and Crosman BBs.

Then, I loaded 6 Umarex Precision Steel BBs and tried them. They averaged 415 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 399 to a high of 427 f.p.s. It was at this point in the test that I noticed the power was starting to drop off. The first shot was as fast as the others, but the velocity dropped farther over the next 5 shots. At the end of the Umarex BBs, a total of 36 BBs had been shot on the same CO2 cartridge.

The final BB I tested was the Avanti Precision Ground Shot that we use in the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. They averaged 408 f.p.s. and ranged from 394 to 421 f.p.s. Power was definitely declining by this point, and 42 total shots had been fired.

How many good shots on a cartridge?
After all of this, I loaded Daisy Premium Grade shot and continued shooting. Shot 43 went 393 f.p.s., and shot 50 went 335 f.p.s. No. 54 was the last shot I fired. It went out at 274 f.p.s. By this time, I could definitely hear the decline. In total, I got 9 full cylinders of shots on a cartridge. If I’d been shooting as fast as I could pull the trigger, you can figure that total would have dropped back to around 40, or so.

The single-action trigger-pull is also single-stage. It’s smooth and breaks at 3 lbs., 12 oz. The double-action pull is equally smooth and breaks at 6 lbs., 3 oz. That’s very light for a double-action pull.

Evaluation so far
As you can see, the Webley Mark VI is pretty hot. That affects the shot count, of course. But I’m surprised by how little it slows down during sustained fire. As long as you wait those 10 seconds between shots, the gun is very stable.

The best way to tell the difference between this BB gun and the firearm is by the finish. If it’s pristine, it’s a BB gun, unless it happens to be a valuable collector-grade firearm.

If it also turns out to be accurate at 5 meters, that will be a bonus, but those of us who like the form already have the justification for getting one.