Webley Premier pistol



Author Topic: Webley Premier pistol  (Read 7762 times))

Offline JerryCup

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Webley Premier pistol
« on: June 18, 2012, 11:52:56 PM »
This past Saturday, Ron Robinson was gracious enough to set up an instructional field target shoot, with five lanes set up at his new home property near Clifton, TX (Lake Whitney). Four of the NTAGM group drove down to try. It was great fun, but taught me that all that business with the trajectories and scope settings, etc. are mandatory if you want to score well. I sure didn't. But the good news was, Ron had some nice guns for sale.

One of them was this Webley Premier, (series F) which came from the Cecil Whiteside collection. I think Ron regrets selling it, it was in perfect condition, hardly a sign of use. Happily for me (not a collector, or willing to pay premium collector prices) it did not have a box. Ron gave me a very fair price.

This "F" series is apparently the last one produced of this model, and they went back to the blued steel finish rather than a coating. This model was produced until 1975 or so, I believe mine is one of the last of this very popular gun. Ironically, this gun must have been the design model for the Beeman P17 (nee P3) with a design I like MUCH better. To me, it is silly to make an air pistol look like a .45 auto or whatnot.

It produces 420 fps with 8.4 gr pellets by Ron's chrony, very consistently. This is a spring piston gun, with a reputation for great reliability along with the visibly high level of English workmanship.  I have about 100 pellets through it, and it has a simple "clunk" firing cycle, as satisfying as the appearance. I am very pleased to own this beauty, and I will keep  oily rags at hand, Ron. Thank you!

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Offline VAFarmer

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Re: Webley Premier pistol
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 09:55:46 AM »
Nice pistol for sure......

Never held one of these, but they look like reliable guns.

Not sure which Beeman was made to compete with this, but its probably more like the P-1.   

P-3 and P-17 are HW/ Beeman and china clone, respectively.   But they are single stroke pneumatics, and have surprisingly good triggers.   They are far more accurate than my P-1 at longer ranges, simply because the recoil is non-existant.   Pull open type valve instead of striker type, so really......NO recoil.

Still, you have a good shooting classic, steel gun.   

What kind of groups is it capable of at 10 meters?

do these have a low/high power setting like the P-1, or just one setting?

God bless,

Farmer

Offline JerryCup

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Re: Webley Premier pistol
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 10:59:48 PM »
I have a P17, and it's a SSP and greatly different, although you cock the barrel by pulling up the muzzle end, and coming back through a big arc, that being the similarity I had in mind.

This gun is a spring piston, smaller and much heftier.

My P17 is not reliable, and rather strange looking, up close pretty fake looking. Not sure about the capability, I was getting ten shot groups about softball standing free hand, and have not tried to put it on the bags to get the best it would do. I understand you need to hold loosely, like a spring rifle. It will likely never be much of a target gun, but I plan to get deadly with old beer cans.

There is no setting, safety, etc. just a barrel latch. The trigger is pretty nice. I think it could be better, but I am not going to take it apart just yet. Shoots a very consistent 420 fps by Ron's Chrony.

I really like this gun, there is a full book written about the Webley air pistols, and this one is one of the last of the Mark I, Senior, and Premier line. If I have the story right, this series 7 was the last assembled on this frame, and they reverted to the blued finish and original construction in sort of a classic revival.

my regards to you, Farmer.



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Offline Nikoman

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Re: Webley Premier pistol
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2012, 12:52:12 AM »
That's one GORGEOUS pistol!! It's BEAUTIFUL.
I don't think the P series pistols even belong in the same sentence with that pistol. That is more like the Tempest's predecessor. They sure don't make them like that anymore.
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Offline VAFarmer

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Re: Webley Premier pistol
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 08:54:23 AM »
Ahh I see,

You are referring to the overlever design?

Yes, they are very similar in that respect.

Perhaps the P-17 is too light for you to shoot effectively holding offhand, unsupported.   Mine grouped easily as well if not better than my P-1, the only redeeming quality the P-1 has is its great trigger.  Perhaps your P-17 is leaking down, which is easily remedied (in some cases  ;)  ) but rested at the elbows, should produce very good groups to 15 yds.

I have always been interested in the design of this pistol, and you are correct, it is very unique looking.   
When you say "short", what is the overall length?     Now that I look at it, it does look to be very compact.   

Yours is in exceptional condition, without being a collection grade piece (and more importantly) without the collector grade "price tag". 
I have to agree, that while you might have not had the best match that day.....you certainly came out a winner.
Nothing better than coming away from a deal, and feeling that you got every bit of your money's worth.

My regards back at'cha, and God's blessings and mercies included.

Farmer

Offline JerryCup

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shooting results
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012, 12:45:45 PM »
Was out shooting this morning, and with 8.4 grain JSB's, it chronied 412 avg sd=6. My best ten shot group was about 2 inches at 10 meters. I'm going to have to work on the hold, it seems sensitive. The bigger skirted RWS pellets seemed to group a little better, although they were 10 fps slower. JSB Exact 4.52 pellets drop into the breech an eighth of an inch.

Farmer, this gun is quite compact, about 7.5 inches OAL; barrel is 6 - 5/8", but it's a solid piece, well made and finished. Weighs a hefty 2 lbs 5 oz. It sure feels heavier than it looks.

Hope to have a lot of fun with it, but I will have an oily rag nearby at all times. ;-)
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Oldcrossman

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Re: Webley Premier pistol
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 08:51:41 AM »
My Father used to own one of those pistols back in the 1960s,I had the smoothbore Webley Junior,great rugged pistols.

Offline JerryCup

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Re: Webley Premier pistol
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2012, 10:25:28 AM »
After exchanging some emails with Mike Driskill (a current US enthusiast), I ordered a book by Gordon Bruce titled "Webley Air Pistols - Their History and Development". Webley and Scott have a long history with airguns dating to the early 20th century. The Webley Mark I model was sold in 1924, and is similar in design (Johnstone and Fearn patent, 1924) to guns evolving to the Tempest. Gordon Bruce did an excellent job, filling over 200 pages with photos, diagrams, and many details of the design evolution. Overall, though - it seems to me that they stayed pretty close to that first design in many ways.

There are a great many of these guns, produced in large quantities and exported all over the world for 77 years. Apparently, there are many collectors.

I also ordered a reprint of the Air Rifle Headquarters "Webley Premier Operating Instructions", 1973, written by Robert Law. Another interesting document. 20 pages of typewritten advice (independent of Webley, he was importing them) about the gun including details on "accurization", maintenance and shooting technique. Mr. Law is an interesting character in airgun history that I had not known about. He a is pioneer of higher performance air rifles in this country.

So, now when I shoot my Premier, I do get a feeling of its history. Not all that old, but with a great heritage.

Based on Bruce's book, these are the date ranges of the various Webley air pistols:

Mark I - 1924-1935
Mark II Target 1925-1930
Junior - 1929-1938
Senior 1930-1935
Mark I (new model) 1935-1964
Senior (new model) 1935-1964
Junior series 2 1945-1973
Premier 1964-1975
Junior Mk II 1973-1976
Premier Mk II 1975-1977
Hurricane 1977-2000
Typhoon 1977-1982
Tempest 1979-2001
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 03:11:37 PM by JerryCup »
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Offline RC1947

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Re: Webley Premier pistol
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2012, 01:20:05 PM »
It certainly is a fine looking pistol.  Nice score! RC
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Offline JerryCup

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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2012, 12:15:56 AM »
Here's a link to a New Zealand Webley enthusiast site. It has some well written evaluations of the older Webley pistols, and some about their rifles. Great content of photos and ephemera. With all due respect to Mr. Trevor Adams, check this out.

http://www.cinedux.com/webley-air-pistols-and-rifles.php
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