Webley Raider Classic PCP air rifle - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Webley’s latest incarnation of the “Raider” line - the Webley Raider Classic PCP air rifle - is a cracker, says Tim Finley in this test and review
‘Raider’ is a well-known Webley name, and the latest rifle to bear it is a cracker. This up-to-date version, the Classic, has all of the features that a classic PCP should have, including a built-in pressure gauge on the underside and a quick-fill system to fill it up. Its mainframe is capable of multiple or single shots, guarded by a manual safety catch, and it comes ready-threaded for a moderator or muzzle brake. All these features and more are impressive in such an affordable sported, but it’s the little design touches that set the Raider Classic apart.
Let’s start with the action. It’s a sturdy, solid chunk of aircraft grade aluminium. Machined across the top is a scope rail, but not a normal one because there are two specifications of scope rails available; a 20mm Picatinny type normally seen in the firearms world, complete with ten slots to accommodate Weaver and Picatinny scope mounts, and an 11mm dovetail for normal airgun mounts, running raised along the centre of the Picatinny rail, so the owner can use either type of mount. It’s a very clever idea and one that more manufacturers should use, in my opinion.
The breech block is split by the magazine slot – the rear section is 97mm long and the front is 50mm – with the cocking bolt is on the right-hand side of the action, where two recessed rings and a matte finish give it a nice grippy surface. One point to note is that the bolt is not part of the pellet probe. It sits lower in the action and puts it closer to the shooter’s hand, thus making cycling the action quicker and slicker.
You get two, 12-shot, rotary magazines that follow the tried and true, internal spring-loaded section, with a clear cover and loading hole. Webley also give the shooter a single-shot tray for when a magazine is not needed – if you are using it for target shooting, for example. Although the .177 version has 14-shot magazines, the Raider Classic is an out-and-out hunter. It has a half-inch UNF thread on the steel barrel and the threads are protected by a steel collar, sealed and held in with an ‘O’ ring. A moderator for hunting or a muzzle brake for target and plinking work can be screwed on.
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Webley give you a probe for filling the compressed air reservoir. The front of the 326mm-long air cylinder has a plastic, rotating protective collar, which you rotate to expose the filling/probe hole, stick in the probe and fill to a max of 200 bar. With RWS Superdome 14.2 grain pellets, it ran at 600 feet per second – that’s 11.3 ft.lbs.
The rifle has a manual safety catch on the right-hand side of the action, above the base of the pistol grip – forward for the ‘fire’ position, and to the rear for ‘safe’. Remember to use it – it’s there for a reason! A large red dot appears on the rear of the action when the catch is pushed forward, warning the shooter that it can be fired. It is easily reached by the thumb of the trigger hand if you are right-handed.
The trigger has three adjustment screws; first stage, second stage, and trigger load. Full instructions are given in the comprehensive manual, but I left it as factory-set at 1.4kg.
The wooden stock is ambidextrous – the one I had on test was quite well figured and of a really good design. The fore end is deep, with the deepest section right in front of the trigger guard. This has finger grooves running from the guard area to the front grip panel. I like that Webley have kept the small grip panel on the bottom of the metal trigger guard. It’s a Webley feature of old, and it’s actually very useful for standing shots if you use ‘resting on the fingertips’ style because the thumb plants firmly in the chequered grip panel.
The large grip panels have the Webley name picked out on the top corner and they have put a thumb groove dead centre on the stock at the rear of the action. A plastic ramp on the back of the steel action continues this feature.
I fitted a quality Bushnell 6500 2.5-16 x 42 scope for range testing and found the big calibre gun to be accurate, and I got on very well with the nicely designed stock. Everything about the gun works; the magazine is faultless, the filling is quick and easy and the trigger is predictable. With a three-year warranty, to boot, the gun really is value for money.
Many thanks to Oliver and Lee for the help in production of this article.
Manufacturer: Webley & Scott
Country of origin: Turkey
Distributor: Highland Outdoors 01858 410683
Model: Raider Classic
Type: Pre-charged pneumatic multi/single-shot
Calibre: .177 / .22
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
Trigger weight: 1.4kg
Overall length: 940mm
Muzzle energy: 11.3 ft.lbs.
Best group: 18mm at 30 yards