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Education / Training Webley Mark II Service: Part 5

Webley Mark II Service: Part 5

Webley Service
Webley Mark II Service air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Artillery hold?
  • RWS Hobbys
  • Shooting left-handed
  • Eley Wasps
  • The peep sight
  • One last group of Hobbys
  • Where to from here?
  • Last word

As you know, this report series is a rerun of one I did back in 2016. It is the last report I did in that series, but two years later reader RidgeRunner did two guest blogs of his own, after acquiring the rifle. The next words you will read are from 2016.

Today we start looking at the accuracy of the Webley Mark II Service air rifle. You will recall that my redneck breech seal fix got the rifle performing again. Whether or not it is up to full par is questionable, but at least it’s shooting okay.

I decided to begin the test with the sporting rear sight that’s attached to the barrel and then switch to the peep sight that flips up. Good thing I did, as you will learn in a bit.

The test

I shot the rifle off a rest from 10 meters. Though reader Dom warned me that the Webley is an area-fire airgun and not a precision one, I thought it would probably be on paper at this distance. Fortunately for me and the garage wall, it was!

Artillery hold?

Yes, the Webley is a spring-piston rifle and yes, it does move around when it fires. So I thought the artillery hold would have to be employed. But the shape of the rifle does not lend itself to that hold very well. There is no forearm, so I ended up with the flat metal bottom of the receiver resting on the palm of my off hand. It felt very strange, and I found I did have to pull the rifle back into my shoulder a little, but in the end I would say I got about an 80 percent artillery hold. I wasn’t expecting much, so let’s get going.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. It tested well in the velocity test and Hobbys are often very accurate, so I thought I’d give them a try. The first shot landed outside the bull at 4 o’clock, and when I had fired 5 shots I had a 0.674-inch group at 10 meters. No, it’s not a screamer, but it’s better than I expected!

Hobby group 1
The Webley Mark II Service put 5 RWS Hobby pellets in 0.674-inches at 10 meters.

Shooting left-handed

I had to shoot left-handed because I couldn’t see the front sight with my right eye. But with the left eye everything was very clear. I have to say once more that trigger breaks so cleanly that it’s a real treat to use!

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Eley Wasps

Next I tried some Eley Wasp pellets. These should shoot very well in this rifle. It was made with something like them in mind. But the group I got was not so good. Five Wasps went into 1.458-inches at 10 meters. Maybe I could do better with the peep sight, because this isn’t very promising.

Wasp group
Five Eley Wasps went into in 1.458-inches at 10 meters.

The peep sight

Now it was time to try shooting with the flip-up peep sight. I shot once from 10 meters and the pellet didn’t hit the paper. The sight was all the way at the top of its standard, so I moved up to 12 feet from the target and tried a second shot. The sight was set way too high! Fortunately, this sight is easy to adjust, though it doesn’t have detents. The sight moves in all directions on plain threads, so I had to watch where it went and judge accordingly.

When I was about on target I looked through the peephole and discovered the sporting sight was now in the way. Of course it was! Both sights were adjusted to hit in the same place! Duh!

After chasing the pellets around the target awhile, I decided to forgo the peep sight for this test. If I want to use it, the sporting sight needs to come off the rifle.

One last group of Hobbys

I thought I would end this session with a last group of Hobbys. This time 5 pellets went into 1.001-inches at 10 meters. I do think it will get better when I shoot it with the peep sight, but according to Dom, the Mark II Service was never a tackdriver. On the other hand, three of the five pellets did manage to group in 0.27-inches. What if they would all do that?

Five RWS Hobbys went into in 1.001-inches at 10 meters. Three of them are in 0.27-inches.

Where to from here?

I still want to fix the breech seal permanently, plus I want to look inside the action and possibly give it a lube tune. The rifle shoots harshly for the available power, and I’d like to smooth it out a bit. We will be seeing this rifle again sometime.

Last word

I thought I would get back to the rifle, but it didn’t happen that was. Mrs. RidgeRunner bought the rifle for her husband for a Christmas present. Fortunately he did the repairs I intended doing and gives us two guest blogs in 2018.

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.

20 thoughts on “Webley Mark II Service: Part 5”

  1. BB (and other folks who own a Diana action line rifle),

    I had another look at my friend’s Diana Twenty-One FBB. I noticed some things that might be of interest to you when you take another look at the two-forty (which I believe has the same action).

    1. Applying Liqui Moly LM-47 moly grease made the gun diesel (smoke). In my experience, this stuff normally doesn’t cause much dieseling. Maybe the piston seal doesn’t seal as well as it could.

    2. I noticed the nut that the rear stock screw attaches to had come loose. I applied a generous drop of thread locker and tightened it again.

    3. I was able to shoot a pretty decent 10-shot group with H&N Field Target Trophy 4.51mm pellets. Maybe that’s a good pellet to try.

    What I still can’t achieve is repeatable accuracy. The trigger is now worn in and quite bearable in terms of resistance, but it isn’t consistent. Sometimes there is something like a second stage and sometimes there isn’t.

    If this thing could be turned into a decent shooter, it would actually be a very good value.

    I don’t know why I’m spending so much time on this rifle that I don’t even like that much… It must be because I’m a tech guy and mysteries are irresistible to me 🙂


    • Stephan,

      I used to own a Gamo CFX that was an absolute tack driver at 25 yards with the H&N FTT 4.51mm. It did not care for the H&N FTT 4.52mm. Go figure.

      I agree with BB. You cannot help but try to fix it, even if it is unfixable.

      • Hi guys,

        you’re not wrong, but maybe it’s the other way around.

        I always liked tinkering with stuff and couldn’t leave things alone. Maybe airguns appeal to me because you can test them, work on them, improve yourself, measure results etc…


          • RR,

            I think I’m getting close to this point with the Twenty-One. But I’ll be interested to see what kind of performance BB can get out of these things with some tuning.

            Your Webley rifle is several orders of magnitude more interesting. If you can get it to shoot accurately, that would be great. If not, it’s still a nice thing to own.


  2. This air rifle does indeed still live. No, it is not the most accurate air rifle in my “collection”, but it sure is fun to shoot. Sort of steam punkish. I think this is why I would really like a Westley Richards air pistol.

    By the way, rather than remove the notch rear sight, I have it set for 10 yards and the peep set for 25 yards.

    • That’s how I shoot mine, sort of. With the notch sight wound all the way down I use the peep all the time and learnt the hold offs for plinking out to 25m for beer can accuracy with my .22 barrel. The zero is set for the.177 barrel for bell target- no expectation of doing well but the competition is fun!


        • I bought mine with two barrels though I suspect they might not both have been bought with the gun when it was new.

          John Knibbs sell replica barrels for £250. They’re currently showing out of stock. I understand that they will take orders and get barrels made in batches to match demand so if the price isn’t off-putting it might be worth messaging them


  3. BB, thank you for this “blast from the past;” it represents a most interesting piece of technology.
    RidgeRunner, I look forward to your reports that conclude this series.
    The fact that Mrs. RidgeRunner had the foresight to buy it for you speaks very highly of her. 🙂
    Blessings to you both,

  4. BB,

    These old airguns are interesting from a historical perspective but they’re no longer available.

    Pyramyd A.I.R. lists 386 air rifles from 35 manufacturers plus all kinds of accessories for sale. Could we please see some of these products reviewed?


  5. Another blast from the past. I found a Crosman100 at Newton, NC show last October. Today I managed a sub 1 inch round 10 shot group at 25 yards for the first time using measured 4.55 mm Crosman domes in the brown box. I had not tried this pellet until today. This rifle up to now has just been fun to go through all the steps required to shoot it. I never expected it to be this accurate. I pumped 5 times for each shot. My rifle will be 75 years old next year.


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