Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Webley Raider - two shot - Part two

The Raider with the usual bench clutter, click for a close up

PCP No. 1, day 4 - Thursday

Until the fill probe arrives, I'm at a standstill. I add a board to the bottom of the pump to increase stability. It's an old drawer front sample finished in maple toffee, and I attach it with antique bronze hinges. Any scrap of lumber would work, but I fuss with it like an expectant mother in the nursery.

Since this is downtime, I would like to at least partially explain my purchase of the Webley. The power level is attractive, along with what appears to be a very simple design, so my assumption is that not much can go wrong. The size and weight are also close to my ideals.

My first "adult" spring airgun was a Webley that I ordered directly from England in the '70s. Given the demise of Webley's UK operation, I assume the opportunity for UK-made Webleys will become increasing difficult. Finally, I had two offers to purchase it at the price I paid before I even received it.

Shoots cheap Gamo Hunters well...

PCP No. 1, day 5 - Friday

The fill probe is here. The rifle has 50 bar in it and needs to go to 190 bar. It's apparent that shooting the rifle down so low has its disadvantages. I add air in groups of 20 strokes and find it to not be overly strenuous.

At 150 bar, a knob is turned on the pump to keep the final strokes on par with the first. It seems to work. It takes 103 strokes total before the rifle is fully charged. Eureka! I think many adults would be able to fill a PCP at their own pace with a hand pump. My guess is the scuba tank option probably allows anyone capable of just holding a rifle to shoot.

Note the two shot mag, also feel of this stock is wonderful.
In the future I will wish I could combine it with the FX Cyclone action for the perfect PCP

I check the scope settings by shooting a group at a little over 13 meters. This is the longest indoor range I can accommodate. The 5 shots are fired quickly, and the result is ok but nothing noteworthy. The big upside is that once the rifle is filled, the rest of the procedure is effortless.

Since the Raider is no longer available, I don’t think tons of statistics will be that beneficial, but here are a few.

The manual states that the non-FAC version will provide about 60 12-foot-pound shots. I get 30 shots that range from 21.4 to 23.8 ft lbs with 14.3-grain JSB Exacts.

Each shot requires about 2.7 pumps. That's not too bad, considering the power is at the level of a tuned Beeman R1. For lack of an onboard gauge, I simply count 30 pellets out and put them on deck in the lid of the tin. When they're gone, I know it's time to start pumping. It takes about 81 strokes. I was concerned about variation in velocity, but POI does not seem to change much with a spread of 32 fps.

FX hand pump with Volvo's base

The results of one of the 30-shot strings with .22 caliber JSB Exact Jumbo Express:

Shot 1...839

Shot 10...844

Shot 20...849

Shot 30...806

And just for fun, shot 40 is 742 fps.

I try some Gamo Hunter pellets. At the 36 feet I am shooting, 3 pellets make a single oversized hole. That is better than some of the "quality" pellets I tried. The Gamos are not very pretty, but often give acceptable results. Once again, the scope is an older, inexpensive 3-9s set on 6x.

The 2-shot clip would be appreciated in the field; but from a bench, using it as single shot is actually more efficient.

This may seem odd, but working the bolt is one of my favorite parts. It's very satisfying and something spring rifles don’t offer. Once, toward the end of the session, I instinctively smacked the end of the barrel to break the rifle open. Old habits die hard.

Final thoughts

I think a PCP would be the best way to convert a firearm shooter to airguns. The ability to bench the rifle, not worry about hold, mount a scope with no more difficulty than mounting one on a rimfire and the lack of recoil make for a user-friendly platform. Once you become acquainted with the process, a PCP is not as daunting as many make it sound.

If I could design my own PCP, my priorities in the order of importance would be quiet operation, adjustable power, onboard gauge, multiple shots, less than 7 lbs., about 40" long and easy to refill. (Sounds like an FX Cyclone, I just don't know it at the time)

If you want an air rifle with the power of the magnum spring guns, the feel of a recoilless match rifle, and handy size, it seems a PCP would be hard to beat.

My final conclusion: I would recommend one to a friend.

Rack #3
Five professionally tuned Springer’s, three by Paul Watts and two by Rich in Mich. Could they someday all be replaced by a single PCP?
Left to right: HW97K .177, HW30S .177, HW50S .22, FWB124D .177, BSA Lightning XL .25


  1. Volvo

    "The Raider was not as accurate as even my Disco," ?

    I know that group is from only 36 feet, but it looks like it was made with a drill press. Nice shooting.

    I like the photo of the target with your shadow looming over it. Very ominous.

    I have two questions. First, do you still have the Raider? Second, which is your favorite on rack #3? I will guess the HW97.

    Good article by the way.

  2. SL,
    I'm gonna guess that out of that rack, his favorite is the HW50S. I'm assuming that the HW97 is on the heavy side.

    I really enjoy this blog. Thanks for your efforts. If you ever get low on material, you're more than welcome to borrow anything here for blog fodder.

  3. Volvo,

    Just got back in town and had the opportunity to catch up on your blog. Your articles on the 850 put a smile on my face since it confirmed that I haven't made a huge mistake by not adding one to my lineup. I can't get over the CO2 issue. These guns sure have a large fan club. I must agree with you that the major following is from those that converted to hpa. Roald gets most credit in my book.

    The webley raider series brings back fond memories. I remember reading your PA articles several times since I was leaning towards entering the pcp world when you wrote them.

    The HW30 looks like the infamous black and chrome tuned by PW. Sure wish I would have been quicker on the draw on that one. I think I missed it by ten minutes. I'm going to venture a guess and say it was your favorite plinker.

    Thanks for the memories.


  4. Volvo,

    Those sure are some sweet-looking guns. Is the HW50 significantly harder to cock than the HW30? I've been toying with the idea of getting one, in .177. Your black HW30 is to drool for.

    Is that a Red Ryder I spy hiding behind the rack on the left?? :-)


  5. Singling lead,
    Yes, that indoor 3 shot group is not bad, but as you suggested it is fairly close. Once I shoot at 50 yards the Raider is only average and the Discovery does out shoot it and even hits a little harder at 24-26 ft lbs. But that is all I like about the Disco, it is basically a train wreck otherwise. In retrospect, I think the barrel is a little too short on the Raider for power and its Webley heritage is not a plus. They also made a Venom custom shop version that had the Lothar Walther barrel, which was known to be very accurate. The Raider action is actually FX made and rock solid.

    Keep in mind with spring guns it is pretty much impossible to have it all with one rifle. My favorites were all the HW’s. The first one to leave will be the 124D. I know that is sacrilegious in most circles, but it is long with an uncomfortable shape and shoots no harder than my QB-78 even with a JM kit, about 780 fps. The trigger also does not hold a candle to the HW’s. However, to be fair, I did not ask for a trigger tune on it when Rich had it. It is of course insanely accurate, but then so are many Springers. It does deserve its own blog sometime in the future.

    Thanks for the offer, but I am pretty good on material for the time being. If anything time will be the challenge.

    Good to see you back, and you are correct that there is no need to bother with the 850, especially given your premium collection.

  6. AlanL,
    That is an old Daisy 36 that is too short for a gun rack so it gets a corner. It is a Gunbroker “find”, but turns out to be one of the few I get taken on. The seller shows only the good side in the photos, the other side was used for target practice by another BB gun. It is sold with full disclosure.

    Yes, the HW50S is a bit more difficult to cock, but cannot be considered hard at all. It sits in the middle power wise between the 30 (R7) and 80 (R1), and also in size and effort. All the HW’s are wonderful air rifles. Anything past the HW30S in size really needs a little JM heavy tar on the spring.