PUBLISHED: 15:59 21 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:00 21 April 2015
Phill Price tests the new Webley Spector tactical springer
Tactical: what does it mean? It’s the ‘in’ word in the shooting industry today. You can get tactical guns, scopes, clothing, knives, bags, sun glasses and even tactical pens, but what does it mean to the average airgun shooter? I guess everything tactical looks a bit military, perhaps even a touch SAS, so it has that tough and rugged appeal and perhaps that’s enough. However much we might want to deny it, we all buy with our eyes, and if a product ‘lights-our-candle’ then why shouldn’t we buy it?
I make this point because Webley has sent us a Tactical version of their popular VMX break barrel sporter. The basic action is available in a number of versions but its heart is just the same. You can choose from the conventional spring pistol version that benefits from Webley’s Power-Lok system or select the D-Ram version that replaces the wound coil steel spring with a gas ram. In the spring versions are suffixed SR and the so the rifle on test is correctly referred to as the Spector SR and again there’s a choice. The gun on test uses a plain barrel with a synthetic muzzle weight that doubles as a cocking aid. It also incorporates the front sight which has a fibre optic element built in. The other option has a full length shroud and built in silencer which will cost and additional £30.
Where the Spector immediately stands out from the standard models is the new stock. It looks for all the world like an assault rifle with the straight butt section of the stock and the steeply raked pistol grip. There’s even a fake magazine well. The butt section looks as if you can adjust the height of the cheek piece but it is in fact all moulded in and therefore fixed in place. Because the cocking link is not articulated, the slot cut in the fore end is very long, coming almost all the way back to the magazine well, but the material the stock is made from is stiff enough to eliminate unwanted flex. The sides have a ribbed finish to add grip in wet conditions.
I think that the pistol grip is the thing that will attract most buyers to this rifle. It gives a very different feel to a conventional sporter with your hand held so low relative to the barrel and many of us find this quite a relaxing position. It drops your finger neatly onto the trigger blade and fitted my medium sized hand well. The rifle is truly ambidextrous with even the automatic, resettable safety suiting lefties just as well as normal people.
As with most guns in this price range, open sights are fitted as standard and fibre-optic inserts are the norm these days. The scope rail machined into the top of the cylinder acknowledges the challenges recoiling guns bring to fitting scopes with not one, but two arrestor devices. The first is two drillings on the centre line of the rail. These accept an arrestor stud in the base of the rear scope mount. Once this pin is locked in you can be sure nothing will be moving. For those mounts that don’t contain a pin there’s a plate screwed to the action that forms a solid back stop for the rear mount to be butted up against. Perhaps this sounds a bit belt-and-braces but trust me, recoiling guns need recoil arrestors and we should applaud Webley for giving us a choice.
I paired the Spector with an AGS 3-9 x 40 scope and mounts, a combination that looked just right. This little scope is great value for money coming with a mil-dot reticle, flip-up lens covers and a pair of double-bolt mounts all included in the price.
The rifle sells for £149.99 so the combination is only just over £200 making it excellent value for money. On top of this Webley offers an impressive 12 month warranty for peace of mind. If tactical looks are your thing, then Webley just brought your kind of gun to the gun shop near you.