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Education / Training Webley Mark II Service: Part 2

Webley Mark II Service: Part 2

Webley Mark II Service
Webley Mark II Service

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Eley Wasps
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Superpoints
  • What to do?
  • Barrel removal
  • Trigger pull
  • Cocking effort
  • Other neat things

The Pyramyd AIR Cup ended yesterday and Ian McKee and I are driving home to Texas. Hopefully we will arrive at my house this evening, then Ian has to either stay overnight or drive back to his home in Houston.

With good fortune I will start reporting on the Cup on Wednesday because it takes me a day to write the report and modify the pictures. So I’m still going on with this historical report. I will finish it, but now I will allow some time to pass between sections so I can post current stuff, too. So keep in mind you are reading a report from 2016.

Before I begin today’s report, here is another reminder about the Texas Airgun Show, on Saturday, August 27 at the Arlington Sportsman Club. Find information here. And don’t forget the Pyramyd AIR Cup, that’s held September 9-12 at the Tusco Rifle Club in Dennison, Ohio. I will be at both events, so come out and say hello. Now, let’s take a second look at the Webley Mark II Service air rifle.

There was a lot of interest in this rifle in the first part of the report. We will look at velocity today, and I’ll also show you things several readers asked about. This should be an interesting report, so grab your coffee and let’s get started.

I told you that I felt an air leak at the breech when the rifle fires. It’s a major leak that affects velocity more than a little. After I show you how the rifle did I’ll discuss what I can do about it.

Eley Wasps

I thought the first pellet I should try is one that is somewhat vintage in its own right. The 5.56mm (head) Eley Wasp was discontinued many years ago and I bought several tins when I saw it happening. I save them for older British airguns like Webleys, because they fit those slightly larger bores well.

The first shot went out at 589 f.p.s. and was very loud. I’m sure it was a detonation, both because of the sound and also because of the oil smell after the shot. After that I fired 10 more shots that averaged 308 fp.s. Let me show you the string.

Shot…………………………Velocity (f.p.s.)
1………………………………….345
2………………………………….333
3………………………………….329
4………………………………….361
5………………………………….315
6………………………………….296
7………………………………….281
8………………………………….280
9………………………………….272
10………………………………..272

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see a pattern in this string (Where is Rocket Jane Hanson these days?). The gun is steadily loosing velocity. If it was a pneumatic I’d suspect a leak, but spring guns aren’t supposed to do this.

The blast of air coming from the breech is significant. If the breech were sealed better I think the rifle would shoot this pellet in the high 400s or even the low 500s all the time.

JSB Exact RS

Next I tried some JSB Exact RS pellets. Not only are they lighter than the Wasps, they are also softer and have thinner skirts. I have a lot of hope for them.

They averaged 325 f.p.s. in the rifle. The low was 315 and the high was 339 f.p.s. so the spread for 10 shots was 24 f.p.s. That’s reasonable, given how poorly this rifle is currently doing.

RWS Superpoints

The last pellet I tested was the RWS Superpoint, whose thin skirts usually seal the bore when needed. Superpoints averaged 297 f.p.s. with a spread that went from 282 to 316 f.p.s. That’s 34 f.p.s. between the slowest and fastest pellet.

What to do?

This rifle needs a new fiber or leather breech seal, which is fortunately available . I ordered one from John Knibbs (www.airguspares.com) in England, along with a new metal piston ring. Will that fix the rifle? I’m not sure, because there is a design weakness that may prove fatal. It’s in how how the barrel is attached to the action.

Webley Service breech seal
The breech seal is either fiber or leather with a brass pipe running through the center. This one is worn out.

Barrel removal

When I mentioned that the barrel was removable in part 1, there was a lot of interest. In fact, it doesn’t just come off — it is the fastest, easiest barrel to remove that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it’s also a weak spot in the design.

To remove the barrel on the Webley Mark II Service air rifle, open the bolt and raise the rear of the barrel. Then press a spring-loaded button on the left side of the barrel hinge and pull the barrel straight out of the barrel hinge. The entire operation takes about 5 seconds or less. Installing is the reverse or removal.

Webley Service barrel release
Push in on this spring-loaded button and pull the barrel out of the rifle.

The “secret” is a keyway in the barrel hinge that interfaces with a key machined on the barrel. And this is where the weakness lies. Not in the key or keyway, but in what it’s attached to.

There is a half-round slot machined into the key that the spring-loaded pin fits into. That fit is tight, but the hinge mechanism that holds everything to the gun’s action is itself loose. You can grab the barrel and wobble it side-to-side. The sporting rear sight is mounted to the barrel and will cancel some of the slop, but the peep sight is mounted to the receiver, where any barrel movement (that also moves the front sight) will be magnified.

Webley Service keyway
This keyway aligns and positions the barrel in its hinged mount. Even if the fit is exact, the hinge it fits into wobbles from side-to-side, destroying accuracy potential.

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Trigger pull

The non-adjustable trigger is single-stage and releases at 4 lbs. 12 oz, which is not that heavy but for some reason, feels fairly stiff. It might be because it is single-stage.

Cocking effort

Cocking this rifle has a unique feel. At first it feels heavy until the mechanical advantage overcomes the effort, then it becomes lighter. By all rights it should feel easy, as the maximum effort is just 25 lbs., but once again, it feels heavier than the number suggests. The barrel does not break open very far because the piston stroke is so short.

Webley Service barrel out
With that long barrel out, the rifle is quite compact.

Webley Service cocked
When cocked the barrel does not break down very far.

Other neat things

When I went looking for the breech seal I discovered that Airgun Spares also manufactures Mark II Service barrels to the original specification. They even make a .20 caliber barrel. Each new barrel comes with a front sight and costs 250 British Pounds, which is about $363.00. All calibers except .20 are out of stock at the moment, but I got on the list. I would pay that much for a .177 barrel, and perhaps for a .25 barrel at some time in the future. They also make the sights and other critical parts that are next to impossible to find, so this site is an incredible resource for the Mark II Service.

That’s it for today. Next time we will look at accuracy, unless the breech seal has arrived. If it has, I’ll install it and retest the velocity before moving on to accuracy.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

42 thoughts on “Webley Mark II Service: Part 2”

  1. That was a blast from the past, Webley always made me think of pistols, not rifles.

    We made it to Tom’s House, my wife picked me up a little while later.

    After an uneventful drive to Houston, it was good to be home, and sleep in your own bed, except the air conditioning unit had gone out the night before.

    I checked the breakers, the filters, the battery in the thermostat, and the unit to see if it was frozen. Nope, none of the above,

    We pulled a small window unit out of storage, and installed it in the bedroom, until we can get a serviceman out Tuesday.

    Remember,
    2 is 1,
    1 is none…..

    Always have a backup.

    Ian

    • 45Bravo,

      Good to hear you and Tom got safely home.

      First time hearing of anybody pulling out a window unit as a back-up AC unit. Usually in my country a window unit gets the job done until it needs to be repaired or replaced.

      Siraniko

      • Siraniko, the company my wife and I work for, provides a place to live onsite as part of our compensation.

        The window unit was left over from a previous apartment we had lived in,

        The place the company provides has central air conditioning, which is great until it fails.

        Ian

    • “Remember,
      2 is 1,
      1 is none…..

      Always have a backup.”

      45Bravo, that’s some sound wisdom, man!
      We have a well and a backup well; power comes to the farm from two different transformers.
      Plus, we have a generator (which can power lights, frig, both wells and some fans, sadly not the a/c).

      In Florida, we got our first generator after being 13 days without power (all gens were sold out).
      The morning I bought it (on my way to work, I saw the sign “we have generators!”) the power came on.
      My wife said “return it;” I told her I’d already gassed it up on the way home; hence, I could not return it.

      One week later, another hurricane took out our power again.
      We had well water there, too; hence, no power means no water!
      I threw a small a/c unit in the bedroom window, and powered up the generator.

      My wife slept soundly under the small a/c.
      When she woke up, I told her:
      “Besides the frig and lights, the well is powered up, so you can put your water for tea in the microwave.
      Also, the hot water heater is powered up, so you can take a shower.”

      Her: “That’s great…for now…what if ANOTHER storm comes, and damages our generator?!?
      You need to build a little house on the side of the garage to store and protect it!”

      Yes, she changed her tune on generators very quickly; they were really necessary there since we were rural, and the last ones to get power restored (hospitals, police, nursing homes first, of course).
      I think the attitude of the power company was something like:
      “Ah, those Palm Bay rednecks…they’ve got bows, guns, even airguns…they can just shoot some squirrels and live off the land…we can turn their power back on last.”
      LOL!!! 😉

      • My wife had a similar revelatory experience with the Generac stand-by generator in our recent storm. I had a settlement from a cancer exposure claim and put the whole amount of it into the stand-by NG fired unit with automatic transfer switch.

        A series of heavy thunderstorms with a couple of indebed F-1 tornadoes kind of changed her mind a coule of weeks ago, that I hadn’t been completely crazy turning my settlement into a power maker. I reminded her of the Blizzard of ’78 when we went for 4 days without power in temperatures well below zero. Indeed, we lived in the fire department (I was on the VFD). The thought of doing that in my mid 70s again is not something I want to do – EVER.

        We powered up two neighbor’s sump pumps so they would not drown their basements. We are not far from America’s North Coast (Lake Erie) and the ground water table tends to be quite high. bucketing out the sump crock for days also is less than desirable.

        I don’t know what the natural gas bill shall be, but there will be a predictable dust up when that comes due. So be it. Generac proved itself useful in keeping us going, no flooded basement, no lost freezer goods, lights, air conditioning, all the lights wanted, communications and entertainment, and even helping out two neighbors.

        Generac was running a special on 7 years of service free when I bought in. Not having that expense is also a good thing – although there’s not much oil and only two plugs involved and the adjustment of the mechanical lifters on the V-twin. Let the techs do that!

        • “…changed her mind…that I hadn’t been completely crazy turning my settlement into a power maker.”

          “Generac proved itself useful in keeping us going, no flooded basement, no lost freezer goods, lights, air conditioning, all the lights wanted, communications and entertainment, and even helping out two neighbors.”

          Yes, yes, yes! I’m with you 100%; backup generators are the way to go! 🙂

  2. Oh Yogi, you talk about being a fly on the window.

    We discussed Airguns, guns, cars, motorcycles, watches, guitars, planes, tanks (the armored tracked type), just about anything you can imagine, and many things that have been discussed over the years here in the comments, including religion and politics.

    And yes, we are still friends.

    Ian

    • 45Bravo,

      2=1
      1= null
      Totally!

      Glad you and B.B. got home safely.

      Long distance diagnosis of HVAC unit: compressor quill shaft sheared.

      Wishing you and spouse a cool night’s sleep.

      shootski

    • Similar experience for Mr. and Mrs. FM a couple summers ago…got home from a road trip at nightfall, AC kaput, temp over ninety degrees, family-like neighbors across the street saved us by hosting us for the night until our very capable AC guy got things right by the next day. Mrs. ordered a portable unit and it sits in its box until needed – hopefully not in a long time. Had to bite the bullet and replace the pretty old system a few months later. Best thing we did. The important thing is for the journey to end well and everyone make it home safely.

      Speaking of tracks, enjoyed seeing this little fella in action recently – ’42 NSU Kettenkrad, 1.8 liter Opel engine.

  3. B.B.,

    Is the hinge on the rifle similar/same as on the pistol?
    IF SO, RidgeRunner may want to see if a slight tighten will get it to shoot straight(er) too!

    shootski

    • shootski,

      I have had to replace that hinge pin as the old one broke. It did not really help much. I have also found that the barrel is slightly loose in the holder. I inserted a Post It note and it tightened right up. I also replaced the bronze piston seal ring.

      I “zeroed” the open sights for ten yards and the peep for twenty-five. The accuracy is still not that great, but it sure is fun to shoot. Feral soda cans do not stand a chance.

    • OhioPlinker,

      Please bear in mind that this is an historical report. The Pyramyd Air Cup used to be held at the Tusco Rifle Club.

      For the past two times (2019 and 2023) it was held at the Cardinal Shooting Center, just north of Columbus.

      BB

  4. BB and 45Bravo,

    I am thankful you both made it home safe.

    I can most definitely sympathize with Ian and wife concerning the air conditioning. It has been horrid around here this summer with the high heat and humidity. We are both ready for autumn and winter to show up around here. Maybe the Lord will blanket us with snow repeatedly. I am hoping to break out the snowshoes this year.

    P.S. I too have been trying to get other barrels for this air rifle. So far, no such luck.

  5. For one week now, ie from last Tuesday, when Pyramyd Insyder informed of “…Pyramyd AIR… [having] a new look…”, this blog page appears to have been free of the old popup ‘spinner’, Hurrah !

    Thank you to whoever was/is responsible ! 🙂

    ———–
    Ooh, HAPPY BIRTHDAY from me too, to the Virgin! 🙂

    (starsign virgo, 23/8 – 22/9)

  6. My wife had a similar revelatory experience with the Generac stand-by generator in our recent storm. I had a settlement from a cancer exposure claim and put the whole amount of it into the stand-by NG fired unit with automatic transfer switch.

    A series of heavy thunderstorms with a couple of indebed F-1 tornadoes kind of changed her mind a coule of weeks ago, that I hadn’t been completely crazy turning my settlement into a power maker. I reminded her of the Blizzard of ’78 when we went for 4 days without power in temperatures well below zero. Indeed, we lived in the fire department (I was on the VFD). The thought of doing that in my mid 70s again is not something I want to do – EVER.

    We powered up two neighbor’s sump pumps so they would not drown their basements. We are not far from America’s North Coast (Lake Erie) and the ground water table tends to be quite high. Bucketing out the sump crock for days also is less than desireable.

    I don’t know what the natural gas bill shall be, but there will be a predictable dust up when that comes due. So be it. Generac proved itself useful in keeping us going, no flooded basement, no lost freezer goods, lights, air conditioning, all the lights wanted, communications and entertainment, and even helping out two neighbors.

    Generac was running a special on 7 years of service free when I bought in. Not having that expense is also a good thing – although there’s not much oil and only two plugs involved and the adjustment of the mechanical lifters on the V-twin. Let the techs do that!

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