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:
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.
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.
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