This is a high-powered air rifle with an impressive pellet strike. Interested in buying one second-hand? Our expert tells you what to look out for and how the Webley Patriot shaped shooting
Amongst the British shooting community the name of Webley & Scott hardly needs an introduction. Many Shooting Times readers will have grown up with a Webley air rifle or .410 shotgun, using, owning and borrowing.
When I was more youthful I used the Webley Hawk MK2 and MK3 and the newer Vulcan air rifles. Up-rated or firearms certificate (FAC) rated air rifles were not really on my radar then, and I was quite happy with normal 12ft/lb energy versions for my forays out rabbiting.
A need for a high-power air rifle
Whilst I was contented, Webley & Scott spotted a need for a high-power air rifle for FAC holders, and the American or export markets. So the Webley Patriot was introduced – an enlarged version of Webley’s Eclipse rifle and the most powerful break-barrel air rifle on the market. Available in .177, .22 and .25 calibres, it offered something to every airgunner.
Why the Webley Patriot needs to be large
A secondhand Webley Patriot is a big air rifle. It measures 45.65in from tip to tail and weighs 9lb. It needs to be this size because the spring compression power generated is likely to shake a lighter, flimsier rifle to pieces. In the USA, the importer and airgun guru Bob Beeman sold it as the Beeman Kodiak.
This secondhand Webley Patriot I review here is the large .25 calibre. An efficient pellet size and the FAC-rated pulse of air behind the pellet is less likely to deform a large pellet such as the .25. The 18.5in barrel is just long enough — any shorter and the effort to cock the rifle would be too great. It takes 50lb of effort to cock a Patriot on full power, compared with a 12ft/lb energy air rifle at about 20lb of effort. The barrel is a multi- groove precision unit, but take care which pellets you use as some of the German makes from H&N are tight in the bore. This is because many barrels are more like .24 calibre than .25 calibre. Open sights are fitted and are the usual Webley quality, with a hooded foresight and rearsight that has full adjustment for elevation and windage. The Patriot’s air cylinder has a full 8in dovetail groove with recoil grooves to stop scope creep.
The trigger has to hold back a lot of compressed power from the and I didn’t think the trigger was fantastic to be honest. There is a lot of travel to the trigger-blade until it finally lets go. This means that you have to be familiar with your Patriot’s trigger release before you can safely and accurately shoot it.
On a more positive front I found the safety good. It automatically pops out of the back of the receiver when you cock the rifle. Just slide it forward again with the firing hand’s thumb and you are ready to go. The barrel finish is excellent with deep, dark blueing.
The stock is large which it has to be to manage the vibration as the rifle is fired. You will need to nestle the stock into your shoulder when firing as there is a lot of rifle movement – however the firing cycle is smooth and fast.
The Patriot has an attractive beech stock with a thick lacquer. However the chequring is only on the pistol grip which I think is a pity. The cheekpiece is right-handed and there is a solid rubber recoil pad to grip the shoulder area. It’s loud when you shoot it and the pellet strike on target is impressive with a 30-gr pellet hitting home.
The .25 is not so much about lengthening the range with more power but flattening the curved trajectory of .25 pellets at sensible ranges to deliver a heavy hit.
What you need to know about a secondhand Webley Patriot
Barrel: This .25 calibre version has limited pellets to choose from. Some are tighter to load, so do take care.
Action: Very stiff and a large amount of effort is needed to cock this rifle with FAC-rated power levels.
Features: Enormous power output, especially in .25 calibre.
Prices: Secondhand from £150-£250.