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Competition Webley Senior straight grip air pistol: Part 3

Webley Senior straight grip air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

Webley Senior straight grip
Webley Senior straight grip air pistol.

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Wasps are first
  • Seating the pellets
  • RWS Hobby
  • H&N Field Target Trophy Green
  • Overall evaluation

Today we learn the accuracy of the Webley straight grip air pistol — at least with the pellets I have selected. And, in a surprising turn of events, I discovered something new (I think) about my pistol. If I knew it before I had forgotten it.

The test

If ever there was an air pistol that is not suited to shooting targets, the straight grip Senior is it! This is a plinking pistol, through and through. But I have to show you something, and looking at the dents on a can is pretty boring. So I set up to shoot 10 meters off a rest. I rested my hands on the bag and held the pistol in them, so it wasn’t  directly contacting the sandbag. Still, I think it could do better by just being held. But that would take a better shooter than me.

Wasps are first

Eley Wasps had to be the first pellet I tested. I have reserved the entire lot of them for shooting in guns like this one. The first two pellets hit the target low and to the left of center, so I adjusted the rear sight up and to the right. It was a simple matter of loosening the single screw that holds the sight assembly and sliding the whole unit in the right direction. From its appearance you would think this method of adjustment was imprecise, but the sight actually moved very well. I was surprised there was so much control.

Webley Senior rear sight
Though it looks crude, the rear sight actually moves smoothly and precisely.

Following the sight adjustment the first pellet hit the bull in the 9-ring at 5 o’clock. I thought that was good enough, so I shot 9 more pellets without checking again. In the end I had an open group that measures 2.654-inches between centers. It’s more vertical than horizontal, and I might normally blame my eyes, but as I was loading I noticed something. The pellets were going into the breech to different depths.

Webley Senior straight grip Wasps target 1
Ten Eley Wasps went into 2.654-inches at 10 meters.

Seating the pellets

As I watched each pellet fall into the breech, it either needed to be pressed in all the way by a finger or it fell into the barrel a short distance, I knew this inconsistency could be causing at least some of the inaccuracy. A second group with all the pellets seated to the same depth was necessary.

I have misplaced my Air Venturi Pellet Seater, so I used a ballpoint pen. It pressed each Wasp into the breech about 1/8-inch. Most went in with a pop that could be felt. The first shot was an 8 at 5 o’clock, so I felt I was good to go. This time 10 rounds went into 1.659-inches between centers. You don’t need the measurements, though, to see the difference breech-seating made. It’s obvious at a glance. So, all shooting for the rest of the test was done with seated pellets.

Webley Senior straight grip Wasps target 2
Ten Eley Wasps went into 1.659-inches at 10 meters. Now, we’re cookin’!

This is the kind of accuracy I was hoping for. Apparently my Senior wants the pellets to be seated to the same depth in the breech. This is the surprise I mentioned at the beginning. Could it do even better, I wondered?

RWS Hobby

Next up were RWS Hobby pellets. Hobbys have wider skirts than many other pellets, and, with the larger bore of the Webley, the size of the skirt really does matter. Hobbys also popped into the breech with a noticeable feel when they were seated. They are smaller than Wasps, but not by much.

Ten Hobbys went into a group that measures 2.427-inches between centers. That’s not exactly a good group — especially in light of what we have seen the Wasps do. But see how much higher the pellets landed! The highest Wasp is lower than the lowest Hobby.

Webley Senior straight grip Hobby target
At 10 meters 10 RWS Hobby pellets made this group that measures 2.427-inches.

H&N Field Target Trophy Green

The last pellet I tried was the .22 caliber H&N Field Target Trophy Green. This is listed as a 5.56mm pellet, but the tin I had contained 5.50mm pellets that were obviously smaller. They fit the bore loosely and made a 10-shot group that measures 3.758-inches between centers. It was the largest group of the test.

Webley Senior straight grip H&N Field Target Trophy Green target
At 10 meters 10 H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets went into 3.758-inches.

Overall evaluation

The test turned out like I expected. This old pistol is still going strong after 80-some years, but it was never a target gun and time hasn’t changed that.

It turned out that the breech-seated Wasps were the most accurate pellet tested. But we’re not done yet.

I promised to show you the inside of this airgun and that will come next. It will be my opportunity to peek at the work I did so many years ago and perhaps to touch things up a bit. Stay tuned.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

47 thoughts on “Webley Senior straight grip air pistol: Part 3”

  1. Thank you for the test. I am really looking forward to your tear down of this pistol. and see what goes where and why. I shoot the Hobbys in my modern Tempest. They seem to fit quite well in the breech. I had to order a new breech seal, and have not chronied the pistol since that work. Looking forward to more about this interesting old pistol. Thank you

  2. B.B.,

    I too am looking forwards to the tear down. That “cap” on the nose of the Ely Wasp is interesting. Something just tells me that idea would be a good one, though that runs counter to aerodynamics and a smooth front.

    On the HN’s, I recently got a can, 4 actually, of the .25 caliber, 31.02’s. In the can, I ran across (at least) a dozen .22’s. It kind of makes one ask themselves,… what is going on at HN?


    • Chris,

      That does not sound good, most especially when this is supposed to be one of the top quality pellet companies. Did you encounter that in all four tins or just the one?

      I remember when I first started in airguns and I ordered a tin of Gamo pellets from PA. Almost all of the pellets had “wings” from where the mold did not fit tightly and lead spread out. Most were just between the head and skirt, but some had quite a substantial spread and one had a wingspan of about 3/4″. Talk about no quality control.

      PA was nice enough to replace it with my choice of pellets. I think that is where I started with H&N FTT. I have never bought another Gamo anything since though I am starting to reconsider such.

      • RR,

        The second of four tins. 3 and 4 are unopened. As for tin 1, that may explain a few flyers that did not even hit paper. I should have caught it sooner. Wow on those Gamo’s,… I would not even know what to think if I opened a tin like that.

    • Chris USA
      Yep that’s something that happens at times in manufacturing shops. Heck look at the recalls the car manufacturers have. And yes it’s a bummer when it happens.

      And I’m surprised it don’t happen more often than it does. Do you realize how many procedures there are when they manufacture pellets. BB did a report some time back. But one thing that could cause the mixed pellet problem is when they clean the pellets. There is the possibility that all the pellets from the last batch didn’t get all removed before the next ones were cleaned.

      And you had just one tin of pellets that were mixed caliber pellets or more than one tin?

      I have to say that I have been shooting the .25 caliber Barracudas for close to 7 years and never found any mixed caliber pellets in any of the tins I have got.

      Sounds to me like the problem does not happen very often to me from my experience with them anyway. Not to say it can’t happen. But just not very often at all.

      • GF1,

        Just the second tin, of 4. The first had fliers that did not even land on paper, so I suspect that tin was suspect as well. As for #’s on the tins,…. all match. I should have caught it earlier,… no excuse.

  3. BB,

    Awesome pistol. I sooooo regret selling my UK Tempest. I am hearing the Turkey Tempest is a turkey. I am just going to have to pick up an old Webley sometime to go with my BSA. I am really looking forward to this teardown.

    I know you do not have the time to spend with each one like you would prefer sometimes, but I would have to explore different pellets until I found “the pellet”, most especially the larger diameter headed H&N Field Target Trophy line.

    • RR

      You are right about the H&N Field Target Trophy pellets in 5.54 mm head diameter. My Stoeger ATAC is surprisingly accurate with these pellets only. They are not match grade so I use a Pelletgage to weed out any under 5.54 mm.


      • Decksniper,

        I have thought of getting one of those. I would like to have a gas spring break barrel, but I keep hesitating because my wallet can only manage the occasional toy and some of the others have been more appealing. 😉

        • RR

          My ATAC has two features I find interesting. It is not loud. On a noise scale of 1-5 it is a low 3. There is no twang sound. The second is that it wants to be held like a high powered rifle. No artillery hold for this gas spring baby. I think BB said sometime back that he had encountered a springer that wanted to be held tight with the forward hand all the way to end of forearm. I have several springers and this is the only one that wants to be held in this manner.


          • Not having to concern yourself with the hold is nice. I find that with the heavier sproingers that is the case. My Diana 46 does not seem to be that hold sensitive, but the Gamo CFX I used to have was very hold sensitive.

    • I have a Beeman Webley Tempest Variant 2 with the San Rafael address. Using the Blue Book of Airguns 11th ed, I would say it’s an 80% gun. No box or factory manual. Should you be interested, e-mail me at lroach1@hotmail.com. We can discuss it there. I could e-mail pictures if you want to follow up. Or you could call me at 325-379-3012 and leave a message if I don’t answer. If not interested, the gun will go to the Texas airgun show in August.

  4. Good morning BB (and everybody else who can possibly help)

    I am sorry to go off-topic, but I need some advice. I have a BSA Essential 3-12x44AO sope on my PR900 Predator .22 PCP and it is a pretty nice scope. The Essential-range is BSA’s air rifle range. I would like to mount it on my Hatsan 125 (an older model without SRS) with a one-piece mount. Will it be able to handle the recoil?

    Then I would like to mount a Marcool 4-16×50 Red/Green Illuminated Rangefinder scope on the Predator. Does anyone know anything about this brand? I can get it for a very reasonable price, but I am a bit hesitant because I don’t know the brand. Other than some of the other cheap scopes, this company actually has a website (http://www.marcool-cn.com/en/index.asp).

    What do you think?


    • Vasco,

      The BSA should handle the Hatsan recoil as it was designed for such.

      As for the Marcool line, I have never heard of it. Also I notice that the website lists other brands, so they are a retailer, not the company website. I personally would be hesitant about buying optics without first looking through them unless it was a brand I was familiar with and trusted.

    • Vasco,

      I can’t say for certain that the BSA will handle the 125’s recoil. Most scopes are braced for 2-way recoil these days, but the 125 is one of the heaviest-recoilling airguns out there. It can break almost any scope.

      As far as the Marcool scope goes, I never heard of it.


    • I’m more of an optics guy than gun enthusiast, having had lifelong interests in photography and astronomy.
      My take is that, while these scopes may be OK, there is no way to find out how good they are until some educated reviewer tests them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Marcools have decent optics, but if they can’t hold zero, then they are no good. There are affordable options out there such as UTG, whose scopes are sturdy enough to take recoil. Until there are some reliable reviews of the Marcools out there, I’d play it safe.

  5. B.B.,

    Here is one more example of how great an educational resource your blog is.

    I, too, have misplaced my pellet seater. Following the advice of someone (sorry, don’t remember who) who posted in the comments here, I bought a package of swizzle sticks at the local liquor store. They work well for .22 pellets. For .177 I bought a narrow dowel rod for pellet seating. When I misplace the little piece of the rod I had been using, I simply snip off another four inch section.


  6. Webley’s are unique, but they just don’t hold my interest since I have several other air pistols that are much more accurate. Therefore my Beeman Webley Tempest with the San Rafael address is becoming a safe queen. Like my FWB 65 that I had for 38 years, I found I never shot it so it was just sold. Not for lack of accuracy, but it was never used. Both of my Crosman 600’s , my 2240, 2250, 2 each 1322’s and my new Prod are all so much more accurate than the Tempest, that the Tempest will most likely find a new home. Texas airgun show is next month and the Tempest and probably my Crosman 600 with original box and my HW35 Safari model may just find new homes.

  7. BB,

    using Crosman Premiers, my target results from about 25′ hand held, match your results. Of course, I was shooting offhand (for those who haven’t been following my comments on an earlier Webley post, I acquired a slant handled Webley “Senior” for a VERY attractive price since it was missing the barrel pivot screw and the screw keeper) but my groups were 2 or more inches. Unfortunately, I’ve packed away most of my shooting supplies so am not in a position to try other pellets. Likewise, the pellets dropped right into the barrel without any effort on my part so I did not use any type of seating implement. However, I found my rear sight a devil to adjust, either getting the pistol to shoot too high or too low. I’ll post a link later today (I hope) for photos of my pistol.

    Fred DPRoNJ

  8. Well I just had a interesting conversation with Umarex.

    The flat seal that seals the co2 cartridge started leaking yesterday on the Brodax. So I called to see if I could order a few extra seals. They tell me they don’t have parts for them and probably are not going to carry parts for them.

    No big deal I’ll find something at work that I should be able to make fit. But thought it was odd that they don’t have replacement parts. Maybe I should of asked about the seal for a Python. Maybe since it’s more expensive they might carry it?

    • GF1,

      Bummer dude! You were really starting to get “into” that thing. No doubt you will get it going though.

      Sounds like time for a 100% tear down and a GF1 “Super Tune”,….. 😉 Pics,…. of course!

      • Chris USA
        No tear down. I like it the way it is.

        And the seal is easy to get to. Just pull the one grip off like when putting a new co2 cartridge in. Then I took a paper clip and popped the seal right out.

        Ain’t had a chance to look yet for one. And if I can’t find something similar I’ll make one out of some rubber flat seal material we have that’s the same as the black material that o-rings are made from.

        Matter of fact I’ll make a couple so I got a back up one handy if needed.

        • GF1,

          No doubt you will get it going again. Me?,… If a gun, broke, leaked, etc.,…. and at the price (that) was, it would be a “Full On” tear down. Tweak here, lube there, mod. as inspired. 😉 Just me.

    • GF1,

      I have an older model of the python that I bought used last year. I was shooting it last weekend and the barrel came loose in the shroud. I can not figure how to take the shroud off to see if I can reattach the barrel. It looks like it is held on by a couple of screws but taking these screws out doesn’t do anything that I can see. The shroud stays fixed. My wife says that they probably super glued it on.

      If you figure out how to remove the shroud while working on your gun, please let me know.



      • Jim
        I don’t know if yours is like the Brodax without seeing it or finding a digram.

        But the actual barrel on mine is spring loaded. The barrel moves forward toward the muzzle of the gun when you put a clip of pellets in. So when the clip advances for the next pellet to come into place the barrel moves.

        I found that out the first time I shot it and was trying to see how many shots I got per cartridge. A pellet didn’t make it out of the barrel. So I took the clip out of the pistol and pushed the pellet out with my nylon brush cleaning rod. That’s when I noticed the barrel moving forward and back.

        But if I run into something I will let you know. I’ll try to search a digram for your gun and see if I can come up with something.

        • GF!,

          Thank you for your response. I believe my Python worked similarly. The barrel is sliding back and forth freely within the shroud. I believe that the spring must have broken or came unseated. I searched the internet and could not find an exploded diagram for the Python.



  9. BB

    Those are the old Eley Wasps made by Eley, aren’t they (also sold as BSA Pylarm and Webley Special) not the newer “Wasps” that aren’t, and are pretty poor?

    We Brits find that these older 5.6mm guns sometimes shoot surprisingly well with “Marksman” brand pellets – they look like a genetic throwback to the 50s, but look worse than they perform. Or, if you can get them there, Milbro TR Twin Rings, which are also a bit on the large side.

    Maybe try RWS Superpoints?

    And, for what it’s worth, my older .22″ British guns seem to do well with RWS Superfield. At least my British rifles and my .22″ BSA Scorpion do. I haven’t tried them in an old top-break Webley, yet.

      • B.B.,

        Off topic, but have you ever tried the HN Grizzly’s 31.00 grain in .25? I am going to order 2 tins. The (reviews) on the P.A. site are mostly 5 stars,… for what that is worth. Check the reviews out and see what you think.


        • Chris USA
          I’m for sure going to try them. They are a dollar or so cheaper than the JSB 33.95’s.

          So if they work I will shoot them instead of the JSB’s. But they got their work cut out for them to beat the JSB’s.

          • GF1,

            I would have had 2 tins on order too, but I could not get through on the phone for over 45 minutes. No call back either. They must be busy,… real busy. I will return 2 tins of the MKII’s. Get 5 of the reg. 33.95’s and 1 more of the 25.39’s. I will ask about the last 2 tins of 31.02’s, but I got those back on 5/2.

            Should be fun with your higher power M-rod and my stock M-rod.

            • Chris USA
              When we was talking on yesterday’s blog about the H&N Grizzlys I also suggested trying .25 caliber round balls. But seems there is none available for .25 caliber.

              But Fido3030 suggested #4 buckshot. I’m going to look into that also.

              But if them Grizzlys are accurate they should be nice for hunting.

              And I keep catching myself wanting to call them pellets. I say they’re as close to a bullet that were going to get for our .25 caliber Mrods.

              • GF1,

                Yes, I saw that on the #4’s. Sounds like we have some new stuff to explore! 😉

                That is what keeps it fun,… trying new stuff and pushing the limits on things.

                I am still puzzled that the P.A. site did not show the skirt end. Maybe that is “top secret squirrel club” stuff? I will find out. I will,… also,…. try filling the tips too! I just HAVE to try it.

                Cyanide filled?, capped with low melt wax??? Ultimate hunting pellet? Just do (not) eat your quarry. 😉

                • Chris USA
                  I was hoping there would be a picture of the back of the Grizzly also.

                  You’ll find out before me though. I got a good amount of .25 caliber pellets to go through before I’m ready to try them.

  10. Here is my follow up report on the Vortek tune kit that I installed in my Huntington Beach R 7. This rifle was shooting pellets in the 300-350 fps range before the tune. Using Crosman premier brown box pellets— 7.9g av. was 629 fps. the 10.5g premiers averaged 517 fps. I chronographed my month old HW 30S for a comparison test. & 7.9 g pellets averaged 514 fps, and the 10.5 g av. 416 fps. In addition, the R 7 shoots a variety of pellets to the same point ( or very close). The HW shoots the same pellets into different groups, as much as 1.5″” apart. Both rifles have a Bug Buster scope . The R7 shoots tighter groups, but the HW may not be broken in yet. Ed

    • Ed
      If your hw30 is anything like my hw50s was it probably isn’t broken in yet. My 50 took a few 1000 pellets through it before it started settling in.

      Keep us posted with some updates as you go. I like to know what yours does.

      Oh and what distance you shooting at?

  11. GF1 –I have 2 ten meter ranges. One is in my basement, and the other is in my backyard. I belong to 2 clubs. One has an indoor 50 ft and a 75 ft range. My other club has an outdoor 100 yd range. I will probably take my HW to both clubs, to try it out at longer ranges. I bought my R7 at a gun show, so it was already broken in Ed.

    • Ed
      So your tune on the R7 shot good right after the tune with no break in. That’s a good thing.

      And yes I want to know how the 30 does at longer distances. Say 35 or 40 yards. I have thought about getting one at times but just never have.

      So got my ears open for some updates.

  12. GF 1–My R7 was manufactured in the 1990,s. I bought it at a gun show 3@ years ago, and I have put a lot of pellets through it,s barrel. Ir was well broken in when the spring failed.I wonder what parts of a springer are involved in the break in process. Not only did the velocity of the pellets drop, but the grouping became erratic. Lots of fliers. The bent spring seems to have caused all of the problems. Ed

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