Q&A: the Webley Hawk

Old guns suffer wear, but they can be fixed

Old guns suffer wear, but they can be fixed - Credit: Archant

A reader asks Airgun Guru a question about the Webley Hawk from the August issue

Q: I was very interested to read Steve Prime’s article about the Webley Hawk (Airgunner August 2015) because that was my first air rifle, and I often think about getting another one day, for old time’s sake. In the photograph on page 81, though, I notice that there is quite a large gap between the cylinder and the trigger block, which I don’t remember mine having –there was little or no gap there, although there was a gap on a second-hand Vulcan that I bought to replace the Hawk. Should there be a gap, or not, and is it something to watch out for if I do ever get around to buying a Hawk?

GURU SAYS: Both the Webley Hawk and the Vulcan that superseded it had a hefty cross pin to retain the back block, and it was well up to the task unless someone fitted too stiff a mainspring. Many aftermarket mainsprings were considerably stiffer than the manufacturers’ originals, and when rifles containing them were cocked, the force they placed on the cross pin could be enough to distort the holes in the cylinder wall through which the cross pin passed.

Over time, the holes elongated - which you can see has happened to Steve’s rifle if you look at the photo closely - which allowed the back block to move back and the gap to open up. Is it a problem? Well, it can be if the block moves far enough, because the trigger coil spring, situated under the hex head bolt atop the back block, is forced into an ‘S’ shape, and the back block can even end up pressing against the stock immediately to the rear of it, which might result in damage.

Can it be cured? Many years ago, I found a socket that was a snug fit in the cylinder of a Vulcan with elongated cross pin holes, and with it inside the cylinder to keep its shape, carefully beat the displaced metal back into position with a lightweight hammer and a short length of square section steel to act as a drift. The striking surface of the drift must be absolutely smooth so that it doesn’t mark the steel of the cylinder. Something to look out for? Yes - and if you are confident that you can tease the steel back into shape, then you can use it as a bargaining point; if not, best leave it for a buyer who can do the repair.


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