Webley Senior spring-piston air pistol: Part Three

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

History of airguns

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Background
  • RWS Hobby
  • Eley Wasps
  • H&N Field Target Trophy
  • Cocking effort
  • Closing the breech lock
  • Summary

Today applies to one specific airgun but the principal I am covering applies to all airguns with breech seals. Today we test the velocity of the newly resealed .22-caliber Webley Senior.


You will remember in Part Two we replaced the breech seal in this pistol. Actually there was no seal there at all so it wasn’t a replacement as much as a repair. We also learned that new breech seals for Webley Senior pistols are no longer made of fiber with a brass or copper pipe in the center. They are now some kind of rubber and they install with ease. Once installed, though, the barrel becomes very difficult to close and needs time for the seal to wear in. That part didn’t change.

After the new seal was installed the pistol was able to shoot an Eley Wasp at 339 f.p.s., where before it wouldn’t push the pellet out of the barrel. Now let’s see what the pistol will do today.

RWS Hobby

Ten RWS Hobby pellets averaged 378 f.p.s. The low was 372 and the high was 385. The spread was 13 f.p.s. The low was on the first shot and the high was on the last shot. This pistol feels like it is breaking in, and it is in such good cosmetic condition that it may not have been shot that much before.

The RWS Hobby weighs 11.9 grains in .22 caliber and at 378 f.p.s. it produces 3.78 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. It’s well within the UK legal limit of 6 foot pounds for an air pistol.

Eley Wasps

The next pellet I tested was the 5.6 mm Eley Wasp. This is the one that produced a velocity of 339 f.p.s. after the breech seal was installed. In today’s test ten Wasps averaged 342 f.p.s. The low was 337 and the high was 347 — a difference of 10 f.p.s.

The Eley Wasp weighs 14.5 grains, on average. That means it produces 3.77 foot pounds at the muzzle.

You will remember from Part 2 that this pellet fit the barrel, and more specifically the breech of the barrel, better than most other pellets.  In spring guns the muzzle energy usually decreases as the weight of the pellet increases, but in this better-fitting pellet the power is virtually identical to that of the lightweight Hobby. That’s something to keep in mind. I wish it would also guarantee better accuracy and perhaps we will see that but in my experience other things come into play.

I also noticed that the discharge sound made by the Wasps was significantly lower than that made by the Hobbys. I recorded a discharge of 87.1 dB. That make this a backyard airgun for a small suburban yard.

Webley Senior discharge

H&N Field Target Trophy

The last pellet I tested was the 14.66-grain H&N Field Target Trophy. In other airguns I have had no success with this pellet, but in the Senior they seem to fit better than most other pellets, except for the Wasps. They averaged 342 f.p.s. for 10 shots. That works out to an average energy of 3.81 foot pounds. The low was 336 and the high was 348 — a difference of 12 f.p.s. Wow! I will definitely try this pellet in the accuracy test. The

Build a Custom Airgun

Cocking effort

Reader Yogi cautioned me not to pinch my fingers when cocking the Senior. I told him I have been shooting Webley air pistols for a long time (46 years) and I have never once pinched my fingers. Given how you cock the pistol I doubt it is even possible. But maybe he is warning me about something else and I don’t understand.

Closing the breech lock

As I mentioned, the breech lock is now hard to close. It is getting easier, but it is still a chore. I DO NOT attempt to close the breech without pushing the stirrup latch open and I never have. But the latch itself does wear against the end of the barrel just a bit. Unless I was Superman I see no way to avoid this.


I don’t always win when I buy something online, but this time I think I did. I believe this pistol will be working just fine long after I am gone. 

Next we test accuracy and I’m getting excited!

16 thoughts on “Webley Senior spring-piston air pistol: Part Three”

  1. “…the 14.66-grain H&N Field Target Trophy.”
    In one spring rifle, one multi-pump pistol, and also in my Dragonfly Mark 2 these have proven to be the most accurate pellets; I hope they do well in your Webley Senior; she’s a beauty, and it’s nice to see the old gal making some good power with that new seal. 🙂
    Blessings to you,

    • Dave,

      They are accurate in the Dragonfly Mark 2? I will try to give them a test. The second half of the “How many pumps are accurate?” test is next though.


      • BB

        You may consider trying the H&N 14.66 gr Field Target Trophy 5.55 mm head diameter pellets in the HW50S if yours is .22 caliber.. This pellet is for me one of two favorite pellets for accuracy in many .22 caliber airguns. The other is the AA 16 gr Diabolo Field.

        The larger 5.55 mm is essential, at least I have found it to be.


        • I have a tin of FTTs with 5.53mm heads. They are good in my Crosman 362 and they were tops in the Beeman R9 I bought for my Father-in-Law. Interestingly, the 5.54 mm heads were not as accurate in the R9, though one might think they would be swaged by the barrel to the “right” size.

          I have often thought to lay in one tin of each size of the FFTs in .177 and .22, and also the Finale Match in .177 just for testing purposes….. But I always forget or they are out of stock when I’m buying pellets. Timing is everything, as “they” say.

          B.B., what size heads did you use in your test?

      • BB, I find the H&N FTT the most accurate in my Crosman Valiant .22 but that is the only gun they work really well in. Sidenote: Texas Airgun Show coming up in less than 2 weeks. Have you ever made a blog as a primer for someone attending their first show? What to expect, how to get the most out of the experience? I have read most all of your show reports but do not recall a blog specific post from this viewpoint. Just an idea.

        Also wondering if you have a sneak preview of what you will be bringing to the show? Feel free to email me hehe

      • B.B.,
        They were running neck and neck with the 13.43 g JSB pellets at 25 yards. I meant to test them both at longer range, 40 or 50 yards, yet somehow I can have not been able to get enough ahead on my “honey do” list to get a chance at that. 😉
        Blessings to you,

  2. BB,

    Golly gee whiz, but I do like these Webleys. You can buy more accurate and you can buy more powerful, but it is difficult to buy more fun. I do like these old gals.

    I have heard a lot of bad remarks concerning the Hatsan made Tempest, mostly about how inaccurate it is. My personal experience with an UK Tempest is it was not very accurate itself. Maybe those Hatsan built Tempests need another look see? It would be nice to do a shoot off between the two.

    You did not give us the spread of the Wasp or the FTT pellets. The Hobby only had a spread of 13 FPS. That is not too bad for a sproinger really, most especially for a pellet that does not fit the bore. How tight were the other two?

    • RidgeRunner,
      Yeah, you can’t beat these old Webleys for pure fun! I never shot a Hatsan Tempest; both the one I got, and the one I got for my Dad, proved pretty accurate; his is actually even more accurate than mine; thank God he gave me his after I went and sold mine. 😉
      Good shootin’ to ya!,

      • Dave,

        I know I do not have to say this but, do not get rid of it! If it has to go anywhere, send it to RRHFWA. It will find a place on the wall next to the Service MK 2 and the straight grip Senior.

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