Patrick Hook tests out the new, affordable Webley & Scott Xocet, but will the new German made gun impress him?
Both my shooting partner, Paul, and I were intrigued to find out what the new, affordable Xocet from Webley & Scott would be like. Coming from a famous stable with a background of solid, dependable guns, I really hoped that it wasn’t going to be a cheap item hiding behind a good name. My fears were quickly put to rest when I saw and handled this German-made rifle for the first time.
For a start, it looks good. The lines are generally excellent, although the unusual shape of the trigger blade takes a little getting used to. The lightweight polymer stock feels nice in the hand, and from the excellent way it comes up to the shoulder, you wouldn’t know that it was ambidextrous unless you stopped to think about it.
Two variants of the Webley & Scott Xocet
The company offers two basic variants – the “Lightweight Sporter” (retails at £314.99) and the “Carbon Fibre Varmint” (retails at £349.99), both of which can be supplied in .22 LR, .22 WMR or .17 HMR formats. The model we had on test was the Carbon Fibre Varmint in .22 LR calibre in the “combo” ready-to-go-package offering. The difference between them being that ours had a carbon fibre wrapped barrel, which improves lateral stiffness and, therefore, accuracy.
One of the features that sets this rifle apart from others in the same price range – and we should stipulate straight away that this is very much a budget offering – is that it has an integral Picatinny scope rail. In my experience, the vast majority of accuracy issues can be traced to poor scope mountings, so this is a major plus in my book.
Another factor that makes this a really attractive offering is that, besides the barrel and calibre choices, it’s also available as an “Xocet Combo” – in other words, for a significant saving (£150 extra instead of £234.97), it comes as a complete functional package. With this, you get the rifle, plus an Aimsport moderator, a Nikko Stirling Panamax telescopic sight and match mounts. To get all this for under £500 seems a bargain!
So having extensively fondled the rifle in the shop, we decided it was time to try it out in anger. We took a box of Fiocchi subsonic ammunition and set o for the range. Once there, we set the table up and settled the rifle into the ever-excellent Caldwell full-length rifle rest. Although a lot of target shooting with .22 LR is done at 25 yards, we felt that because this rifle was intended for hunting, 40 yards would be more appropriate. Also, we thought that any inadequacies would be highlighted more quickly at the extended distance.
The first thing that we noticed was that the trigger pull was heavy on the rifle we tested. We later tested it with a gauge and measured the break point to be just under 4lbs. Although the trigger weight is theoretically adjustable, on taking the action out of the stock for a closer look we found that it was already set at its lightest position. As far as we could see, the only remedy would be to fit a weaker spring. This is a shame, as it wouldn’t have cost the manufacturers any more to have got it right.
Another issue raised its head at the same time. All three of us found that the knob on the bolt handle was too small – it disappeared into the stock recess and was hard to retrieve, making rapid firing very difficult. While we’re on the subject of little niggles, I was also disturbed to find that the forward end of the stock flexed very easily. This in no way detracted from the feel of the rifle and you would be unlikely to exert pressure on that area when taking a shot. Again, all it would take would be for the manufacturer to provide a bit more structure to the fore-end, something that would, I imagine, cost very little.
On a much more positive note, the rifle itself performed flawlessly. Every extraction, no matter how rapidly it was done, from very slow to very fast, was perfect. The action cycled the rounds beautifully, the magazine release was a joy to use and the tough polymer magazine felt solid and loaded easily – something that really matters when you have cold hands!
Overall, I think that this is a superb rifle when viewed in the context of how it is priced – there is nothing to match it for the money and the minor complaints we had were either ones that could be easily fi xed or lived with. I look forward to trying out the .17HMRvariant.
We all agreed that the Nikko Stirling Panamax AO 3-9×50 scope, which comes with the “Combo”, has really good glass. However, we all wanted a bit more magnification – x9 just wasn’t enough for our eyes. Unfortunately, the weather was really bitter so there were no rabbits about to try it on. I suspect, however, that in the field the scope would be just fine. For reasons not known to us, the version we had on test was fitted with quick release mounts that differ from the MkIIMatch ones that come with the Combo package.
- Integral Picatinny scope rail.
- Ambidextrous polymer stock.
- Calibres: .22, .22 WMR & .17 HMR.
- Adjustable trigger.
- Screw cut½ UNF for a moderator.
- Match muzzle crown.
- 2 x 10 round magazine as standard, 5 round version available.
- Made in Germany.
Lightweight Sporter £314.99 – all three calibres.
Carbon Fibre Varmint £349.99 – all three calibres.
“Combo” package from £464.99 to £499.99; depending on your choice of Sporter or Varmint rifle plus: Aimsport moderator, Nikko Stirling Panamax AO 3-9×50 telescopic sight with half Mil Dot Reticle, MkII Match Mounts.
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Overall, I think that this is a superb rifle when viewed in the context of how it is priced