Webley VMX and Webley Alecto air pistols - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Dave Barham discovers the sheer joy of shooting the Webley VMX and Webley Alecto air pistols in this air pistol test and review
Following the news from Webley that they’ve started production of their new Mark VI Civilian and Police .22 pellet revolvers, I thought now would be a good time to have a close look at a couple of their more popular pellet pistols. Here’s what you can expect from the VMX and Alecto …
The VMX pistol body is made from a high-impact polymer, with a moulded grip that has stippling on it, and it feels really comfortable, even in my big hands. It’s an ambidextrous, match-style grip that can be used both single handed or with a two-handed grip.
There’s a small, two-part Picatinny rail on the top at the ready for mounting a red-dot or laser sight if required, but the open sights supplied are actually quite good and the rear notch is adjustable for both windage and elevation by means of a small screwdriver. The front post is quite long, and I would suggest a small dot of Tippex or white paint added to this to enhance it. There’s also a 100mm-long Picatinny rail mounted underneath the pistol in front of the trigger guards, where you can add a lamp or laser.
The VMX barrel is made from steel and is rifled to give better accuracy, with a short thread protector at the end of the barrel that unscrews to reveal a 1/2-in/20 UNF thread to house a silencer.
I was shooting 1-inch groups at 7 metres in no time at all, and I have to say that it was fairly consistent throughout the first 35 shots. Talking of consistency, I put two mag’s through the chrono’ and achieved a rather surprising 5.1 ft.lbs. using 16 grain Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets, which averaged around 380 fps.
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Loading a 12g CO2 canister into this pistol is just about as easy as it gets. Simply unscrew the end cap from the reservoir, insert the CO2 canister nipple first, then replace the end cap and tighten it down.
You’ll notice another tiny knurled screw on the end of the cap, which unscrews to reveal a handy little rod. If you insert this into the hole provided on the side of the end cap, it gives you just that bit of extra turning power to get the end cap tightened down in order to pierce the CO2 canister inside. Once tight, simply screw the rod back into the end of the cap and you’re good to go. I managed to get a good 40 shots out of each canister in the .22 model sent to me for testing.
MAG’ AND TRIGGERs
This pistol comes supplied with a 7-shot rotary mag’ in .22 and a 9-shot one if you buy the .177 version. It’s one of those self-indexing jobbies, so you have to open the clear plastic cover all the way, then flip over and drop a pellet in skirt first, before flipping it back over and dropping the rest of the pellets in head-first.
To insert the mag’, you just slide it in from left to right using the small groove at the bottom of the mag’ as a guide. There’s a small magnet to the right of the action that helps it all to click into place.
It also comes supplied with a single-shot loading tray, also with a small locating grove, and which snaps into place thanks to the magnet system.
Cocking the pistol is very easy via the bolt. Lift it up, pull all the way back until it clicks, then push forward and back down again to load the pellet into the breech.
The trigger on this pistol is a simple, single-stage one, and it doesn’t require much of a pull to send a pellet down the barrel. In fact, it is way less than 1lb of pressure at around 9oz, and a mere 6mm of travel. I found it extremely easy to operate, and although it is not adjustable, it seems as though Webley has got it set to appeal to most users. It’s worth noting at this point that there is no safety mechanism either, which again tells me that this pistol is geared toward match-style shooting.
I had great fun shooting this pistol. It’s easy enough for my two girls to cock and load too, and although there is no safety, it made the whole experience all the more intense with me drumming ‘safety’ into both of them with every shot.
For a little over £100 the VMX offers Webley quality with accurate pellet performance.
Calibre: .177 or .22 pellet
Mag Capacity: 9-shot (.177) and 7-shot (.22) rotary
Velocity: 420+fps in .177
Overall/barrel Length: 360mm/225mm
Sights: Open, adjustable for windage and elevation
Shots Per Capsule: Around 40
The first incarnation of the Alecto was produced in 2009, and this latest MKV model is already proving be a big hit with both hobby shooters and those who like to dabble in Olympic-style, 10-metre events – it really is a true all-rounder in every sense. It comes supplied in a lockable hard case, with foam inserts that have been cut out to accommodate the accessories included with the pistol.
As well as the Alecto itself, you get; a cleaning rod, bottle of oil, an Allen key, screwdriver and a tool for removing the end cap from the end of the barrel, I presume so that you can fit a moderator. You also get a spare set of smaller rear notch and front post sights.
Whilst I’m on the subject of ‘optional extras’, this pistol also has a 75mm x 20mm sight rail moulded in just behind the front post, and there is a 70mm-long Picatinny rail moulded in underneath the casing, so there are loads of options to add scopes, lasers, red dots and lamps should you wish. It’s a multi-stroke pneumatic pistol that compresses air with minimum effort via an overlever. I found it really easy to cock, but you must note that you have to make sure you cock the lever all the way back in order to get a full cylinder of air. The system is such that if you cock it halfway then close it, you’ll get whatever air is in the cylinder to shoot with. It’s worth mentioning at this point that you must close the lever with the palm of your hand – don’t try to do it with a closed hand around lever or you will get fingers and skin pinched.
One full stroke of the over-lever produces a muzzle velocity of around 400 fps, two strokes 520fps and three strokes 550fps. A relief valve ensures that the gun cannot exceed the legal maximum of 6 ft.lbs, so don’t go thinking you can keep on pumping to get more power.
The top of the action is moulded to look like that of a large pistol, such as the Desert Eagle; in fact, at first glance it looks very similar. To release the over-lever you have to depress the twin catches on each side of the action. As you pump, the action resets the safety mechanism, which can be turned off or on at the flick of your trigger finger – the push/pull switch is located directly in front of the trigger blade and is extremely easy to operate, requiring little in the way of force to turn on or off. Once the over-lever has been fully cocked back, you have access to the barrel and breech, which is where you manually load your pellet. It’s very easy to do – if you don’t drop the pellet into the housing! Once you get the hang of it, there’s no stopping you. With the pellet pushed into the breech it’s simply a case of closing the lever and preparing to shoot.
The soft-touch, oversized grips on the Alecto scream ‘match pistol!’ It’s designed for ‘right-handers’, but I believe left-hand versions are available. The adjustable palm rest is a really neat touch. I found that this pistol suited the size of my hand perfectly straight out of the box, but if you have slightly smaller or larger hands you can make this pistol fit you in an instant.
The soft touch finish has ventilation holes built in, which is just another excellent feature that Webley & Scott have obviously thought long and hard about. If you’re shooting this pistol for long periods of time indoors or outside in the summer sun, then this design will help to prevent sweaty palms.
TRIGGER AND SIGHTS
This latest version ‘MKV’ features a brand-new, upgraded match trigger. It is adjustable from 0.4kg to 1.8kg pull, which will suit just about everybody. The pistol sent to me had the trigger set at just under 0.8kg pull, which I found to be spot on.
All the tools to alter the trigger are included in the case, and there are in-depth instructions on how to adjust it, in the pamphlet provided.
The rear sight fitted on my pistol measures 4.3mm wide, but it comes supplied with a 2.4mm wide spare for those who prefer it. The front post can be swapped out for a smaller one too.
Neither of the front posts have any form of colour on them, they’re just plain black. I did find this a little off-putting at first, and if I were to own one of these pistols I would definitely be getting out the modelling paint to add a white or red dot.
The rear sight is fully adjustable with the small screwdriver provided, and after a little tinkering I managed to get the sights bang on and was hitting pellet on pellet (well almost) at eight metres. It is insanely accurate and 100 per cent recoilless.
For a pistol of this quality that costs a little over £250, the Alecto offers exceptional value for money, and for those who wish to get into competition shooting in the future, whilst enjoying a spot of back garden plinking now, the Alecto is the perfect pistol for you - it has something for everyone
A few hours shooting with this pistol gave me confidence in my own ability, too, which really surprised me.
Action: Single-shot over-lever
Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
Trigger Pull: 0.4 – 1.8kg
Barrel Length: 190mm
Overall Length: 285mm
Sights: Front and rear adjustable
Velocity: Up to 660 fps