Gun test: Webley VMX Cub
- Credit: Archant
Tim Finley tests a junior Webley with grown-up features
Junior rifles have a major part to play in any child’s development into shooting. It’s money very well spent to get them a gun that fits them, and one made for their smaller frame. Making a junior shoot a full-sized adult rifle is a sure way to lessen their enjoyment, and also therefore make shooting lose its appeal. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to spend a small fortune and get them a pre-charged pneumatic airgun as a starter rifle. In fact, I’d advise against that course of action. Break-barrel spring rifles are the way to go and one example is the Webley VMX Cub. I like the name – ‘Cub’ is a change from ‘Junior’.
Touch of class
The rifle has very modern features, starting with the front stock screws being on an angle. This reduces the turn-out forces on them, making them more inclined to stay tight. Webley have opened out the VMX Cub to as many shooters as possible by making the gun totally ambidextrous. The stock is fully left- or right-handed, and there is a cheek swell on both sides, as are the laser-cut grip panels on the pistol grip and the sides. These side panels also have ‘Webley’ cut into the base on both sides for a nice touch – adds a bit of class, if you ask me.
The pull length is only 322mm, so it’s much more comfortable for smaller-framed or junior shooters, but big enough for a 6-footer like me to shoot it. The rifle is fitted with open sights, and modern ones, at that. The front sight is part of a 140mm-long moulded section, and a 14mm-long, 1.4mm diameter, red fibre-optic rod forms the front post. This stands out well, and 385mm back from that is a micro-adjustable rear sight. It adjusts for windage and elevation. There are single green rods showing up as green dots on each side of the 2mm wide notch. The click adjustments are crisp, and the steel elevation wheel has 0 to 9 markings, and a small R and L with an arrow, assists the shooter to zero.
The barrel hinge pin is adjustable for tightness– a good design element to future-proof the VMX – and the barrel lock is not too hard to break for a smaller shooter. The barrel is only 430mm long, but the extended moulded plastic section behind the fore sight gives the shooter a more comfortable area to ‘flat palm’ hit the barrel to break the initial lock-up. The gun’s action was easy to break in that respect.
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Over the chronograph with 7.9 grain pellets it ran in at 533 fps or 5 ft.lbs., ideal for back-garden use; regular-sized VMX rifles run at 11.5 ft.lbs. In the blurb, and etched on the side of the steel action, Webley call their VMX power system ‘Powr-Lok’. The lesser power is achieved with a shorter cocking stroke – the Cub’s barrel only comes to approximately 92 degrees at the end of the cocking stroke.
The trigger blade is pressed steel and has a very pronounced curve – it suits the gun. The safety catch is situated at the very rear of the action. It is ambidextrous and automatically pops out upon cocking the rifle to set the catch to ‘safe’. The VMX Cub also has an anti-bear trap mechanism, so is very safe and great for new shooters.
The safety catch is pushed back into the action to move it to the ‘fire’ position, which shows a red dot on each side of the rifle. The safety can be reset at any time by pushing it in, or getting hold of the curved sections on both sides and pulling it out onto ‘safe’ again. The catch falls perfectly to the thumb position of the trigger hand, also three notches on the top give the purchase to allow the safety catch to be moved just by using the pad of the thumb on the top.
The trigger pull measured in at 1.85kg and was two stage-ish in operation and it is fine for a new shooter to get to grips with. The open sights are really good on the VMX Cub and the sight base is long enough to make it repeatable and accurate. When shooting outdoors at dark targets, the fibre-optic elements come into their own. I was able to keyhole shots at 15m with no bother at all, even with the open sights. If you want to fit optical sights at a later date, the gun has a 100mm long, 11mm dovetail rail machined into the top of the steel cylinder, and at the back of it is a recoil block consisting of a pressed steel plate. The sight mounts fit up to the front of this to stop any movement of the sight under the influence of the spring recoil – a common issue with recoiling spring-powered rifles.
The gun has a lot going for it as a starter rifle, including the price – fantastic job, Webley!
Many thanks to Ryan for the help in production of this article.
Manufacturer: Webley & Scott
Country of origin: Turkey
Distributor: Highland Outdoors 01858 410683
Model: VMX Cub
Barrel length: 430mm
Calibre: .177 on test (.22)
Sights: Open-fibre optic
Trigger: Single-stage adjustable
Trigger weight: 1.85kg
Overall length: 980mm
Pull length: 322mm
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