Webley Mark VI service revolver with battlefield finish: Part 3
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Velocity test
- The test
- JSB Exact RS
- RWS Hobby
- Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
- Air Arms Falcons
- Velocity is increasing
- And then…
- Not finished testing yet
- Shot count
- H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets
- Trigger pull
“Front rank fire; rear rank fire! Advance! Rear rank fire! Advance…!” So goes the volley fire scene in the epic movie, Zulu. That movie is based on the true story of the British Army defending Rorke’s Drift (a ford in a wide stream) in January of 1879, when 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors attacked just more than 150 British and colonial troops and tried to wipe them out. Just the day before at the Battle of Isandlwana, 20,000 Zulu warriors had killed over 1,300 British troops.
The fighting at Rorke’s Drift was so epic that 11 Victoria Crosses, Britain’s highest military honor and equivalent to our Medal of Honor, were awarded. In the scene shown above, Lieutenant Bromhead, who commanded the British forces, is seen with his Webley revolver. Whenever I see and hold this revolver, my mind springs to that movie scene that is supposedly quite realistic.
Today I look at the velocity of the Webley Mark VI pellet revolver. I am hoping this revolver is accurate like the firearm, so the pellets I’m testing today are the ones I intend testing for accuracy. I will shoot 5-shot groups for accuracy, so I will test more than three pellets today. Let’s get started.
I first installed a 12-gram CO2 cartridge in the grip. As I said before, the left grip panel comes off for this and the lanyard loop is the handle for the piercing screw. When the cartridge was pierced I heard nothing, but the first shot told me the gas was flowing.
I will test each pellet in both single action (where the hammer is manually cocked before each shot) and double action (just pulling the trigger) modes. I will wait at least 10 seconds between each shot. Since the cylinder holds 6 pellets, that is what I will test in each mode.
JSB Exact RS
The first pellet tested was the JSB Exact RS dome. In single action they averaged 413 f.p.s. for 6 shots. The low was 390 and the high was 431 f.p.s. In double action the average was 410 f.p.s. The low was 388 and the high was 428 f.p.s. The spread in single action was 41 f.p.s. and in double action it was 40 f.p.s. At the average velocity in single action this pellet generated 2.78 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
The RWS Hobby pellet was tested next. In single action Hobbys averaged 437 f.p.s. The low was 415 and the high was 449 f.p.s. In double action the average was also 437 f.p.s. The low was 422 and the high was 460 f.p.s. The spread in single action was 34 f.p.s. In double action it was 38 f.p.s. At the average velocity in both single action and double action this pellet generated 2.97 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
Next up was the pellet that would be the real speed demon of the test, the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. This lightweight pellet averaged 510 f.p.s. in single action. The spread went from a low of 503 to a high of 514 f.p.s. In double action the average was 508 f.p.s. with a spread that went from a low of 501 to 520 f.p.s. The spread in single action was 11 f.p.s. In double action it was 19 f.p.s. At the average velocity in single action this pellet generated 3.03 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
Air Arms Falcons
Next we have the Falcon from Air Arms. This domed pellet averaged 433 f.p.s. in the single action mode. The spread went from a low of 420 to a high of 447 f.p.s. In double action the average was 422 f.p.s. The spread went from 414 to 439 f.p.s. The spread in single action was 27 f.p.s. In double action it was 25 f.p.s. At the average velocity in single action this pellet generated 3.05 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
Velocity is increasing
As this test unfolds the velocity seems to be increasing slightly. I think the cartridges are breaking in as they are used. Knowing that sets us up for the next thing to happen.
Next up were H&N Finale Match Light pellets. I probably shouldn’t have tested them because the pellets I have are the old Finale Match High Speed pellets that weigh 7 grains, even. The Finale Match Light pellets that can be bought today weigh 7.87 grains, so my results are based on a pellet that is lighter than what you can purchase.
When my average for six of these 7-grain wadcutters in single action was only 394 f.p.s. I strongly suspected the gas cartridge was running on fumes. And the way to check that is to shoot another JSB Exact RS pellet that was the first to be tested. I did that and got a velocity of 394 f.p.s. The cartridge has clearly run out of liquid.
Not finished testing yet
The cartridge may be off the power curve, but I know most people won’t notice it right away. They will keep on shooting, so I did the same. Here are the next 11 shots of Finale Match pellets. I’ll number them as they occurred on the initial cartridge — taking into account the first shot that only tested that the cartridge was pierced.
That gives you a pretty good idea of the shot count to expect from a CO2 cartridge. You can pick where you want to stop shooting. I can tell you that by shot 65 I could easily hear the power dropping. You can pick your own point to stop shooting and replace cartridges. I did it here. Now let’s look at those H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets.
H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets
In single action on a fresh CO2 cartridge the average was 444 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 433 to a high of 452 f.p.s. In double action the average was 440 f.p.s. and the spread went from 428 to 449 f.p.s. If you compare the single action average in this test (444 f.p.s.) to the one I shot with the first cartridge (394 f.p.s.) you can see clearly that the gun had fallen off the power curve.
The spread in single action was 19 f.p.s. In double action it was 21 f.p.s. At the average velocity in single action this pellet generated 3.06 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
The single action trigger pull is fairly crisp, with just a hint of creep. The trigger breaks at 3 lbs. 14 oz. in single action. Double action is much heavier. I will estimate between 18 and 25 lbs. pull, and in that respect it is very much like the firearm. You aren’t going to shoot this revolver double action that much. I can assure you.
This air pistol is hot! The specs say 430 f.p.s., but we saw a lot faster than that, and I think this one will continue speeding up a little as time passes. Loading is quick and easy and the cartridges don’t have to be extracted to do it. Just open the gun and load into the base of the shells.
I started this report by telling you how I relate to a big Webley revolver. I think the gun is cool and the pellet gun is very nice. I sure hope it’s accurate!