Webley Senior spring-piston air pistol: Part Five

Webley Senior
My new/old Webley Senior slant grip pellet pistol.

History of airguns

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • So I did
  • Eley Wasps
  • H&N Field and Target Trophys
  • H&N Baracuda 1
  • Flaring the pellet skirts
  • Did it work?
  • Summary

Well, today’s report will be an interesting one for the weekend. So grab your coffee or tea and let’s get started.

Obviously this report is about the Webley Senior air pistol. If you read Part 4 you remember that the pistol couldn’t hit the 12-inch by 12-inch target trap from 10 meters. So I moved up to 12 feet and drew this comment from reader Yogi, Boy-o-boy, a pistol that is accurate at 4 yards. That is enough to give pistols a bad name.”

There were also two comments meant to help BB. One was from reader hihihi who showed us a drawing of what a disassembled Webley pistol sight is supposed to look like.

Webley rear sight
Reader hihihi posted this drawing in the comments section.

BB had reported having sight alignment problems with his Webley sight and this is what he said in answer to hihihi, “Hi3, Nice drawing. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the sight on my pistol. I guess in the next report I will disassemble the rear sight and show the parts. I have to do it anyway — why not get a blog out of it?”

So I did

I did disassemble the rear sight and guess what I found? Time’s up! I found those exact parts shown in the drawing. They were just assembled backwards The cross slide that the flat notch plate fits into was assembled in its slot upside down.

Webley rear sight parts
Funny thing — the parts shown in hihihi’s drawing are identical to what’s on my pistol. They were just assembled wrong.

Okay, but before that that reader shootski said, Ach Du Lieber! To starten you must get rid of the Silver Dime! You need a One Mark coin to embarrass this British pistol into shooting straight!

Actually how much slop is there in the front hinge? It wouldn’t take very much with that short of a barrel.

RidgeRunner says they aren’t the “most” accurate pistols but….I’ll be watching and hopefully you will perform a minor miracle!”

Well, I grabbed the front of the barrel and shook it. No movement at all. Then I put a screwdriver to the two screws that hold the barrel pivot in place. Both were very loose. I tightened them up and shot a round into the rubber mulch trap. Holy cow! The pistol sounded much different, like it had more power. Somehow I knew that these two things had fixed the problem. I didn’t even mess around. I went back 10 meters, set up my shooting bench and went to work.

Eley Wasps

I shot one pellet from 12 feet, just to make sure that after I assembled the rear sight THE RIGHT WAY that the pistol would hit the target. It hit inside the bullseye, so I went back to 10 meters and shot another five Wasps. That 10-meter group measures 2.431-inches between centers. It’s not a great group but it’s far better than we saw last time. The Senior is back!

Webley Wasp group
From 10 meters the Webley Senior put five Eley Wasp pellets into a 2.431-inch group. The shot at the top right was fired from 12 feet to confirm the rear sight was adjusted correctly.

H&N Field and Target Trophys

The second pellet I tested was the H&N Field and Target Trophy. From 10 meters the pistol put five pellets into a group that measures 1.922-inches between centers. This is about the accuracy I have come to expect from a vintage Webley pistol at this distance.

Webley FTT group
The Senior put five H&N FTT pellets into this 1.922-inch group at 10 meters. Notice that you can see black where the pellet skirt tore through the target paper. Those holes aren’t as big as they appear because some paper tearing is happening.

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H&N Baracuda 15

The final pellet I tested was one I grabbed at random — an H&N Baracuda 15. Talk about a lucky break! I put the first four of these five pellets into a 1.019-inch group at 10 meters. The final shot went off before I was ready and I called it a pull that went high. Indeed that one high pellet opens the group to 1.86-inches between centers.

Webley Baracuda 15 group 1
The bottom four pellet holes were shot first and measure 1.019-inches between centers. The top hole was the last shot and was a called pull that went high. It opens the group to 1.86-inches between centers.

Flaring the pellet skirts

I had always planned on doing this test at the end of the accuracy test, but the first test went so wrong that I didn’t try. I would take the most accurate pellet and flare its skirt in an attempt to make it fit the pistol’s bore better. To do this I used a ball bearing that I pressed into the pellet’s skirt while I rotated the pellet against the ball.                                                                    

Webley ball bearing
To flare the skirts of the Baracuda 15 pellets I pressed a ball bearing against them and rotated them several times.

Did it work?

This is why I measured the 4 shots of the last group. These five shots with no pulls went into 0.951-inches at 10 meters. I call that close enough to the 4 shots before that I can’t see any difference from flaring the skirts. But what a group! This Webley Senior can really shoot when it’s fed the right pellets.

Webley Baracuda 15 group 2
After flaring the skirts of five Baracuda 15 pellets five pellets made a 0.951-inch group at 10 meters. They are approximately as close as the first four pellets in the last group.


shootski and hihihi,


30 thoughts on “Webley Senior spring-piston air pistol: Part Five”

      • hihihi,

        I’m using Bully! in the way Theodore Roosevelt (a past President and formerly heroic figure in the history of the USA) and his contemporaries used it; it is just another way to bestow someone or thing a Gold Star.
        Unfortunately the term bully has in recent times changed and is used to denote a type of bad person; the opposite of a (just as bad in my book) Passive Aggressive disordered individual.


      • Hi cubed’

        It is, in this sense, generally the equivalent of “excellent”. We once had a president who used the term quite a lot. He once described the presidency as a “bully pulpit” . (a pulpit, in case you aren’t familiar with the term, is a lectern, the place from which sermons or lectures are given).

        This is the common definition, but we will have to let Shootski tell us his thoughts.


  1. Thank you Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier). I’m happily embarrassed.

    Here’s the thing though, I was only guessing! It was you, who went with my question and discovered the answer.

    And so, for your repeated open mindedness, spirit of curiosity and for your willingness to share, I say ‘Thank You’. 🙂

    PS for me, being right is fine but being taken seriously is wonderful

  2. BB,

    I am so glad you took that rear sight apart and found all the right pieces were there. It is a shame that this pistol was not accurate enough to impress Yogi, but hey…

    …it is like I said, these are not the most accurate pistols, but they sure are fun to shoot.

  3. Hi BB,
    I don’t have a Senior but I love my Webley Tempest. It is such a challenge to shoot well. It sorely needs a David Slade trigger job. But, when I shoot my Tempest well, I have a great deal of pride in myself. I have not shot it at paper. To me, the Tempest is a coke can gun. I start shooting up close until I hit the can on almost every shot. Then, I back up 5 yards and repeat. The best I ever got was consistently hitting a coke can at 30 yards.

    • DavidEnoch,

      Your minute of coke can at as much at 30 is what historically was shown to be expected from the Webley pistols in the hands of a COMPETENT pistol shot. Having drifted enough front pistol sights all i did was let B.B. know how little movement could produce horrible results and conversely how little front sight adjustment made for big changes downrange. I’m glad that B.B. didn’t stop at just the shake test (most would have) but went the extra mile and pulled out his fancy screwdriver and tightened (NOT overtightened) the front linkage pivot screws.
      I learned, many times, that the shake test was/is just not enough. Just in the past week my DAQ .308 barrel started to undo itself but for a witness mark i would have started blaming the scope or scope mount.

      Sharing our hard learned experience and knowledge is what makes this group one that I treasure.

      Thank you B.B.!
      Thank you David!
      Thank you my fellow blog contributors!

      Bully hihihi!!


  4. FM has learned a lot from B.B.’s reports and blog friends. Thank you indeed! Hopefully that will come in handy in Newton next month. To all participants in the Texas show, enjoy to the max and safe travels. No pressure! Only when you need it. 😉

    Bully for Teddy, FM is a fan – we who love the outdoors appreciate his love of nature and his contributions to our National Park system.

  5. I’m hoping that those who are fortunate enough to attend Saturday’s show can share some highlights. And in real time, please, so we aren’t forced to wait for BB’s next blog entry. Bully! to you all!

  6. “…five shots with no pulls went into 0.951-inches at 10 meters.”
    That’s wonderful; I’m glad to see her shooting well!
    While some might not find that accurate, it’s certainly good plinking accuracy; and, if memory serves (although the old memory is not what it used to be! =>), back when I got my first Tempest from Beeman in 1980, I believe the accuracy they listed in their catalogue for the pistol (in .177 caliber) was .75″ at 25 feet, which would equate to .99″ at 33 feet. My 1980 model was a bit over that, but my (current) 1981 model is in line with that.
    I can easily take down feral soda cans at 15 yards; but DavidEnoch has me outclassed(my hat’s off to you, Sir!). 🙂
    I hope to see more on this wonderful old Webley Senior.
    Blessings to you,

  7. Hi All,
    This is an old thread, but back a week or two ago BB tested that Dragonfly MKII at different pumps and saw that the point of impact (POI) moved and the group size changed. I measured off the images he showed and cataloged the data on the ever-growing google sheet:
    sheets dot google dot com
    I have some preliminary and not very original observations to share with you to digest over the weekend.
    1. The first, quite humbling, is that BB’s group size at 25 yards is smaller than my groups at 10 meters with the same brand of rifle. Group size will affect the second observation.
    2. I’m attaching a .jpg image which shows four graphs that show how the groups move with number of pumps. Each is the standard x-y type graph like we’ve all suffered in grade school, here ruled in 5mm squares and the origin as the POA or center of the bull. What I did was to record the center of the POI for each group as an x, y value and plot that on the graph, with a number indicating the number of pumps for that group. Keep in mind that the group sizes range from around 5-10mm (BB) to 10-20mm (Mike), so POIs that are closer than that might not really be all that different. But overall, with a large number of accurate groups we can see a trend. I recall BB mentioning that the groups were rotating clockwise with more pumps, in the direction of the barrel twist, and you can see that, and even larger shifts, for example his go lower and left-er as pumps increase beyond 12 or so, and I saw an upward and right shift on my Daisy multi-pump. Fascinating.
    Have a good weekend!

    • Mike,
      Thank you for this set of data points. Between this and B.B.’s report, I’ve decided I need to pick one pump level and stick with it (and since this is a niche gun, a pesting gun, that will be no problem). JSB RS pellets (13.43 g in .22 caliber) are quite accurate, and are also flat-shooting in my range-of-interest (15 to 25 yards). At 10 pumps, my rifle averages 673 fps (13.5 fpe), and at 15 pumps I get 699 fps (14.5 fpe), while 5 pumps gives me 583 fps (10.1 fpe). Hence, I think 10 pumps is what I’ll try out in the near future; the jump in power from 5 pumps up to 10 is significant; the jump from 10 to 15 is much less so; even at 10 pumps that power exceeds my old Sheridan’s 6-pump energy (11.1 fpe) by a couple of foot-pounds…and that rifle has brought down more small game at that level than all my other guns (including firearms) combined. Thanks for making my decision easy. 🙂
      Blessings to you,

      • Thanks, Dave.
        Each gun and pellet seems to be different, as has been said. For my Dragonfly Mark 1 Fitness rilfle, I saw accuracies of the following:
        Grains | pumps | group in mm
        Barracuda Green
        12.35 | 4 | 10
        12.35 | 5 | 13
        12.35 | 6 | 9 *
        12.35 | 7 | 13

        H&N FTT Green
        10 | 4| 8
        10 | 5 | 7
        10 | 6 | 6 *
        10 | 7 | 5
        Now, while I would need more tests to assure myself that the group size is actually smaller than my much larger inherent lack of accuracy, if I were to zero the rifle out of neccessity for pesting tomorrow, I’d pick 6 pumps for the longer range 12.35gr. pellet, or 7 pumps for the short range 10 grain pellet.
        Until then, I’ll shoot away at my graph paper target; take that, 8th grade algebra! Eat tin Origin!

        • Mike, thanks for the data; I may do a bit more testing on my own before I settle on a power level; it’s been brutally hot here, but the temp has just started to drop (yay!), which will make it much easier to settle down for a nice shooting session. 🙂

  8. Hello all,
    Could not attend my first airgun show nor visit my syster nearby due to work issues. Hope everyone is having fun. However, gray skies did not stop me. Due to a football game and all the traffic around I made a detour. On the way home I found a couple of yard sales. For whatever reason, I always carry my Blue Book and an assortment of pellets and allas in one of the yard sales I found an older HW 50s. I consulted the Blue Book but found it unhelpful. According to the serial number the 50s was manufactured in 1972. Looking at the Blue Book 13th edition (pages 951-952), I was looking to see if anything was special about this rifle but particularly a base price. To me, the pictures of the HW 50 , HW 50 M/ll is the same (both have silver trigger blades). The HW 50s has a picture of a newer HW 50s ( I know, has been made since the 50’s and there are many variations and to include all variations and photos might be impossible). I went with my gut. I have a beat up HW 50s from the 60s that I resurrected. Accurate, easy to cock, smooth shooter and has the older 13mm target peep. I have seen the peep sight go for between $100 and $200 on the usual web sites. For the price of the target sight I purchased the rifle. I have tons of faith in you Mr. B.B.
    Followed your advice. Did not need the rifle ( already have one) but for the price could not pass on it. The seller kept showing me pictures of the new 50s going for over $400 so I knew he didn’t know what he had and I was not about to educate him. Did get to test the rifle. Seemed to shoot with enough power, the trigger could use a bit of adjustment and had a bit of vibration. Will follow your guide, take it apart and try to smooth it out.
    In short how much faith should one put on the Blue Book. As of now, I would not put my right hand and swear on it.

    • Nice find! Please let us know the before and after tuning results.

      As far as the Blue Book goes, I recall in the pages of this blog that B.B. is a contributing editor, but it is a continually revised resource, so it contains the best information available, until the next edition adds any newbinfo that comes to light.. But with inflation over the last year or so, I would imagine that the prices may all be less than current. I have also read on many forums that the ebay prices can vary wildly.. But my humble opinion would be if the metal and wood are in good condition, it sounds like you got a great deal. There is something special about a classy vintage springer….

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