|The Webley Patriot
.25 Caliber Powerhouse
|NOTICE: I have been informed that the recent shipments of Webley Patriots have a number of quality issues. These guns are sold by several dealers, ensure that the company you buy from has their own quality controls in place and stands behind the product!
These problems will be corrected, and I will remove this warning when I can confirm the situation is resolved.
|I recently got the chance to revisit an old friend. I first shot this rifle back in the early eighties, and hunted it throughout the Southwestern high desert for all manner of quarry. Jump ahead to today, and after seeing this venerable gun manufacturer close their doors, the designs and manufacturing resurfaces from an unexpected quarter!|
|The Patriot is a big, heavy rifle. But it comes well to the shoulder and can be shot well from just about any position. The cocking effort is around 50 lb, and it required a sharp slap to break the barrel.|
|The Webley Patriot
One of the oldest and most respected airgun makers in the world is the long standing establishment of Webley and Scott. One of my first and all time favorite springers was the Beeman C1, which was in fact manufactured by Webley for Beeman to sell in the North American market. As I added more guns to the collection, I was drawn to the idea of owning the Beeman Kodiak (AKA Webley Patriot), which was touted as being the most powerful production airgun in the world. At that period of my life I was splitting my time between working in Eastern Europe and my property in the high desert of southern California. I hunted with my airguns almost every day that I was at home, and wanted the Patriot for jackrabbits, crows and ground squirrel, and thought the (what seemed at the time) massive .25 pellet would be serious varmint medicine. And I was right; I used that Kodiak .25 to take literally hundreds of these critters (as well as some larger stuff) over the years before parting company with it in a trade. So when I heard that the hostile business environment facing the British gun manufacturers had force the venerable company to close their doors, it was the source of that sadness guys my age feel when institutions fall.
But then I heard some interesting news, even though there were only a few Webleys left in the inventories of distributors and with Beemans, it seems as though a consortium in Turkey had purchased not only the rights to the Patriot design, but also all the manufacturing equipment used to fabricate these guns back in the UK. While I havenít been overly impressed with the Turkish guns Iíve seen in the past, I am not a gun snob and wanted to take a look and get in some shooting before forming an opinion. My thought was that if they used the same equipment, kept a close eye on materials and quality control, they may well continue to provide an equivalent product. With this in mind, I asked Pyramyd Airguns if I could borrow a Webley Patriot .25, and received on of the first Turkish manufactured guns to arrive in the States. Pyramyd Airguns loans me guns to test from time to time, with the proviso that I can use them any way I want, write or not write about them, and recommend them or not. So what did I think?
|The rifle comes equiped with low profile open sights (right). I took the gun out for a squirrel hunting trip in this trim, and it worked a charm. However, I think to fully maximize the inherent accuracy, a scope needs to be mounted. I suggest that you use a one piece mount and a stop, as the recoil of this gun can cause the scope to walk back otherwise. Note the muzzle is threaded for accessories.
The safety automatically deploys when the guns is cocked. I don't normally like this feature on hunting guns, but the safety bar that shifts rearwards is easy to thumb off with the shooting hand (below).
|If the C1 was the Shetland pony of the hunting airgun world, the Patriot is the Clydesdale! This rifle is even bigger than my R1 at nine pounds, has 17.5Ē barrel with an overall length of 45.6". I have to be honest; this was never my favorite gun to take out on long rambles through the desert, even back in the day when I was in much better condition. But there is a reason for the large and heavy stock above and beyond needing to house the large compression chamber; it prevents the stock from being damaged by the robust bi-directional recoil that exerts some slamming force on this big boy! The stock on the rifle was a nicely figured wood that had sharply cut machine checkering. It was well finished and the white spacer and cap on the grip and spacers on the buttpad give a classy appearance to the rifle. All of the metal parts: the barrel, action, and trigger guard are solid metal with nice bluing. And the mechanical function, cocking the gun, the trigger pull, and deploying the safety are also very solid giving the impression of a well engineered rifle.
This gun comes in all the standard calibers, .177 - .25, but personally Iíve never seen a reason for it in any but the .25. That is the only reason I can justify the added weight and effort of this gun when there are so many
|lighter and more compact .177 and .22 magnum springers out there. In .25 the gun propels moderately heavy pellets at over 800 fps, generating approximately 25-30 fpe. This is serious horse power in a spring piston airgun! And the velocity of the .25 out of this gun approximates the velocities of many .22s, which provides a similar trajectory profile to the smaller caliber.
Because of the substantial bi-directional recoil generated by this gun, I mounted a scope that had been designed for a magnum springer, using a one piece mount to stop it from walking back on the dovetails. This was further facilitated by the grooves cut deeply across the rear of the dovetails. After the first 100 or so shots, the POI started shifting and I noticed the scope was walking back. I then mounted a scope stop and so far the scope has stayed in place after several hundred rounds.
|The avarage velocities I obtained were slightly lower than advertised, but this gun is a powerhouse! I think it could easily become one of my favorite springers|
|The Patriots Performance
This big break barrel rifle has one of the heaviest cocking efforts to be found, but even at 50 lb of effort it is not too bad. You do have to smack the barrel with the palm of you hand to break it, and there is a bit more effort required to advance the action until the sear lock engages. Letís put it this way, if my main intent for the rifle was target shooting or plinking, there is no way Iíd pick the Patriot. By the time you shot a few groups, your arm would be ready to fall off. But for hunting it is easily manageable by most averaged sized adults. The trigger is two stage adjustable, and I set mine up at about 3.5 lbs. As Iíve stated many times, I donít like the triggers on my hunting rifles set too light, though I do like them to break crisply! And this trigger was pretty good, not the best Iíve ever used but very serviceable. The trigger blade is wide, and offers a good tactile response. The safety sets automatically when the rifle is cocked, which is a feature I never really liked very much Ö. As a matter of fact it was one of my major complaints with the Beeman R1. However, the Patriots safety is a lever at the back of the receiver which is quite easily deployed, and in this particular gun I donít mind it at all.
The gun has a bit of a kick, but far less than a centerfire. The first day I received the test gun I put a couple hundred rounds through it without really feeling any discomfort. I canít quite put my finger on it, but even though the kick is harder than many magnum air rifles, it is pretty easy to keep on target. I think this is probably a function of both the weight and the design of the stock. I am not the most skilled marksman with a springer, good but not great. I am finding that I shoot this gun well, and having a few hunting trips with it am feeling very confident with it.
The intent of this rifle is pure and simple, a solid hunting rig that can knock down medium sized quarry inside of 40 yards. I set up targets at 20, 30, and 40 yards to shoot groups with a variety of pellets. The two pellets that shot particularly well with my gun were the Beeman Ram Jets and the HN field & Trophy. My best 5 shot groups with the Ram Jets were a ragged one hole group at 20 yards, just under a half inch at 30 yards, and just under an inch at 40 yards. I was shooting in a seated position using shooting sticks, and for me this is very good accuracy with a spring piston airgun. I donít know if I have become a better shot over the years, if the performance of the new gun is better, or I just got a particularly hot gun Ö. but this rifle shoots much more smoothly and accurately than I remember my old Kodiak. If all the guns rolling off the production line have this level of accuracy, the new patriots will be an excellent choice for a spring piston hunting rifle.
The velocities I obtained, even with the lightest pellet shot (the Beeman Lazers) achieved just over 800 fps, which is a little lower than the advertised 820 fps. Most of the pellets in the 24 grain weight range were generating in the lower mid 700ís, and the heaviest pellet (the Beeman Kodiak) was in the high 600's. This gun generated close to 30 fpe which is a hammer no matter how you cut it!
|Hunting with the Patriot
Iíve had the chance to take the Patriot along on a few hunting trips now, and have taken several squirrels with it. I feel comfortable using this gun for small and medium sized quarry out to about 40 yards; both with respect to my ability to consistently put the pellet where I want it, and knowing that the pellet will provide excellent terminal performance when it gets there. When shooting squirrel at 40 yards, the pellets thump into the animal in a very impressive fashion. The pellets that I used on this game were the Beeman Ram Jets, finding they offered a good balance of accuracy, penetration, and knock down power. The gun did weigh me down as I hiked through the woods, but on the positive side it was easy to shoot from just about any position, braced or unsupported. On my first trip out, I used the gun without a scope and rather opted for the open sights. They worked great, the only limitation being my eyesight when the target was out much past thirty yards. On subsequent trips I mounted a scope and found that this enabled me to reach out another 10-15 yards. I will be taking this rifle with me on an upcoming airgun hunting trip to South Texas, and hope to put it through it's paces on jackrabbits and raccoons. I'll include the results of that hunt on my return.
So what are my thoughts on the Webley Patriot built in Turkey? First, I have to be clear in stating this was not a realtime comparison between UK and Turkish manufactured guns, as it has been many years since I traded away my Beeman Kodiak. But based on my recollections, and remember I hauled the original all over the Mojave Desert for a couple years, I donít think the manufacture has suffered by the Geographic shift. I found the quality of the metal work and wood work to be quite good. Mechanically, the cocking effort is smooth though a bit heavy, however not unmanageable. The adjustable trigger is fine for hunting applications, it is smooth, crisp, and breaks cleanly. A target shooter may hope for something more refined, but then this is not a gun for paper punchers. The gun is pellet tolerant and yields good accuracy with a number of projectiles. I feel comfortable using this gun out to 50 yards, but can strike out further if necessary. The gun packs a wallop, 30 fpe out of a pcp is on the average side, but out of a springer it is quite impressive. On the downside, you pay for this impressive power with substantial dimensions; the Patriot is a big and heavy gun. On long hikes, this is not the easiest gun to lug around, although the stock is drilled for a sling swivel and a sling does ease the load on a long hike. I donít think this would be my only air rifle, a smaller caliber as a plinker would make sense, but it is an excellent choice as a primary hunting gun.
|On a recent hunt, the Patriot .25 proved very effective on mid-sized airgun quarry. Several large jackrabbits and a couple raccoons fell to this gun. The jackrabbit in the is picture was hit at 60 yards and dropped after running about 10 yards. The more I shoot this gun, the more I like it as an all around hunting rifle.|