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Education / Training Testing the Webley Mark II Service: Part Four

Testing the Webley Mark II Service: Part Four

Webley Service
Webley Mark II Service air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Eley Wasps
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Hobby
  • Next

This series is a repeat from the past. I used it to cover my away time while I attended the 2023 Pyramyd Air Cup. I didn’t finish the series at that time so I stretched it out to complete the report. Today is Part 4 that was first published back in 2016 — nine years ago. The next words you read were written in 2016.

Today we’re going to find out how well my redneck fix of the breech seal on the Webley Mark II Service air rifle worked — if it worked at all. I’m hoping for success, but even if it comes I won’t leave the gun this way. I will size the new seal and install it, or I will accept reader Komitadjie’s kind offer to make me a new seal of the correct size. Either way I will fix the rifle properly. This is just a chance to demonstrate a field fix that can be used in a pinch.

Eley Wasps

Let’s get right to it. First up were the 5.6mm Eley Wasps. Ten of them averaged 371 f.p.s. That is an increase from 308 f.p.s. in Part 2, so the redneck breech seal appears to work.

The spread went from a low of 355 to a high of 395 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 40 f.p.s. which is pretty broad. Based on that I think that, while the rifle may be doing better, it is perhaps not as good as it should be. Before we make up our minds, though, let’s see what some other pellets do.

JSB Exact RS

JSB Exact RS pellets averaged 325 f.p.s. in the first test. Their spread was 24 f.p.s., from 315 to 329 f.p.s. Today 10 of them averaged 373 f.p.s., but there was one anomalous shot that only went 199 f.p.s. The other 9 pellets averaged 392 f.p.s. with a 18 f.p.s. spread that ranged from 382 to 400 f.p.s. That anomaly bothers me, because even at 10 meters I think that one pellet would not go where the others go. The redneck seal may be experiencing an intermittent problem. So, there is more to consider today.

RWS Hobby

RWS Hobbys were the last pellets I tested. I didn’t test them before, but today they averaged 434 f.p.s. with a tight 13 f.p.s. spread from 427 to 440 f.p.s. That is very uniform performance. I think Hobbys may be a good pellet for this rifle.

Observations

First, there is now no detectable air loss at the breech upon firing like there was before. So the field fix seal I’m using at least works that well. You can put this fix into your airgunner’s tool chest for the future.

Next, I had forgotten how nice this rifle’s trigger pull is! This will be enjoyable to shoot, which I plan to do next.

Then there is the powerplant. I have no idea what it looks like inside, but when I ordered the breech seals I also ordered a piston ring. So I plan to open her up and take a look inside, after shooting for accuracy.

Webley Service piston ring
The Webley Mark II Service piston ring looks like any piston ring. The powerplant in my rifle may need a new one!

It occurs to me that closing the breech tightly against the seal is what flattens it. So I now store the rifle with the breech bolt rotated open, so there is no pressure on the seal.

I also discovered how the bolt works. I thought that the part that catches the rear of the barrel was somehow cut on an incline, and cammed the barrel back tight against the breech seal. But it doesn’t work that way. Instead, the bolt is threaded and when you close it, the threads draw it back against the breech, bringing the captive barrel with it.

Finally, I must observe that the Mark II Service powerplant is really a large pistol powerplant instead of a rifle powerplant. The piston is small and its movement is short. That means the swept volume of the rifle is very low. So, it will never be a magnum. I had no idea of what to expect before this test, but we may already be at the rifle’s peak performance.

Hunting Guide

Next

I shoot the rifle for accuracy next.

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.

24 thoughts on “Testing the Webley Mark II Service: Part Four”

    • Dave,

      She is holding up pretty well. As BB stated above, when I hang her up when I am through, I loosen the bolt to keep the barrel from pressing against the seal. The barrel pivot bolt broke a while back, but I was able to get a replacement.

      Though it did not really need it, I went inside and replaced the piston ring that BB sent with it. She is not a powerhouse, but she sure is fun to shoot. As BB states above, though she has a single stage trigger, it is really nice.

      These old Webley rifles and pistols are pretty much indestructible and can easily be rebuilt to shoot again. I recently rebuilt a Junior. It is a fun little pistol.

  1. Making leather piston seals and especially breech seals has been harder for me than it seems like it should. It is actually hard to align two circle punches, especially in thick leather to form concentric circles. When you punch through leather the punch often wants to follow the grain of the leather and skews the punch leading to misaligned holes.

    I hope BB can find some more power in this gun. The current power level is too low to make me want one of these rifles.
    David Enoch

    • Not an expert, but perhaps you would get better results if you took an extra fine marker or pen and drew a cross on the leather for reference then traced the circle punches to verify location?

      Also, perhaps don’t punch the bigger circle all the way through until you know the inner hole is punched in the right spot?

      The leather is probably flexible enough that a few hundredths off center won’t matter much.

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