Airgun World - - Editor’s Test: The Webley Raider 12 Classic -

vis­i­bil­ity of the num­bers in­di­cat­ing how many pel­lets are left in the mag’, plus the gen­eral ease of use this auto-reload sys­tem pro­vides. Hav­ing a spare mag­a­zine, loaded and ready to go, is a gen­uine bonus in this fin­ger-numb­ing weather, so full marks to Webley on that.

TRIG­GER FUNC­TION The Raider’s trig­ger is a fairly stan­dard, two-stage, ad­justable unit, with the trig­ger blade coated in shiny, per­haps a tad gar­ish, ‘gold’. Oh well, I can for­give a tiny touch of flash on such an un­der­stated ri­fle, and far more im­por­tantly, the trig­ger breaks cleanly with no sign of creep or in­con­sis­tency. As with most sporters, a knowl­edge­able per­son equipped with the cor­rect hon­ing tools could re­fine the func­tion of this trig­ger, but I was de­ter­mined to carry out my usual ‘tuned through re­peated use’ reg­i­men on the test ri­fle, so more about that in next month’s fol­low-up test.

ON THE RANGE The un­reg­u­lated pow­er­plant of the Webley Raider 12 re­quires a max­i­mum charge of 200 bar, from which the .22 ver­sion will ex­tract 80, full-power shots. The .177 gives a re­ported 60 shots, so al­low­ing for the odd miss, that’s at least three ruck­sacks’ of rab­bits worth at the very least be­fore an air in­jec­tion is re­quired.

A sup­plied probe charger and ro­tat­ing dust cover over the in­let port take care of air-de­liv­ery, and there’s a pres­sure gauge at the end of the ri­fle’s reser­voir to let you keep an eye on com­pres­sion re­serves. All sturdy, sim­ple, no-non­sense stuff, and all the bet­ter for it.

CON­SIS­TENCY I went straight in with a se­lec­tion of .22 pel­lets be­fore Air Arms Di­abolo Field and Daystate Kaiser an­nounced them­selves as top op­tions for the test ri­fle, record­ing 11.6 and 11.3 ft.lbs. re­spec­tively, with the Fields pinch­ing the con­sis­tency sec­tor with a vari­a­tion of 14 f.p.s. over the first 50 shots – af­ter three ‘clear­ing’ shots. Those clear­ing shots turned out not to be needed, be­cause they de­liv­ered the pel­lets smack on the point of aim, but old habits die hard and I al­ways check my zero be­fore any hunt, if only to ramp up con­fi­dence to the max.

AC­CU­RACY Now we’re talk­ing. Paul Gar­rity had promised me a ri­fle that ‘shoots very, very well’ and this one does. In fact, in terms of group sizes, it has al­ready pro­duced one of the best re­turns from any .22 I’ve ever tested, and I’ve al­ready asked for a .177 ver­sion to be sent as soon as a pro­duc­tion ex­am­ple be­comes avail­able. On the sub­ject of pro­duc­tion guns, I am ab­so­lutely as­sured that the ri­fle I’m test­ing rep­re­sents ex­actly the de­gree of ac­cu­racy pro­duced by the stan­dard fac­tory Raider 12. This isn’t a ‘spe­cial’; it shoots pre­cisely like the pro­duc­tion guns will – and I do mean ‘pre­cisely’.

Sub-20mm groups at 45 yards, us­ing pel­lets straight from the tin, can’t be re­al­is­ti­cally bet­tered by a .22 sporter.

CHANG­ING FO­CUS My fo­cus now, needs to shift to get­ting as close as pos­si­ble to that stan­dard, un­der typ­i­cal hunt­ing con­di­tions, and that will de­pend on the Raider’s me­chan­i­cal re­li­a­bil­ity, con­sis­tency, and han­dling qual­i­ties. To ex­plore fully th­ese vi­tal qual­i­ties, I’ll carry out more of the in­ten­sive mooching I did for this month’s fol­low-up test, be­cause this best re­pro­duces the de­mands of hunt­ing, with­out the risk of my not be­ing fully up to speed. Also, with ver­min hav­ing more sense than an air­gun tester and stay­ing safely un­der cover for most of the time, I don’t have to worry about find­ing quarry in the colder months.

“sturdy, sim­ple, no-non­sense”

NEXT MONTH Next time around, I’ll be snap­ping off con­trolled shots at all sorts of an­gles and ranges, and that will pro­vide a proper work­out for the new Raider. So far, we’ve got our­selves a rea­son­ably priced, highly prac­ti­cal, ex­tremely ac­cu­rate sport­ing ri­fle, that some­how gen­er­ates a quiet ex­cite­ment. I’m keen to see if our re­la­tion­ship cools or if we be­come an item as the true per­son­al­ity of the Webley Raider 12 Clas­sic is re­vealed. All of this, and more, next month! I

Will the buzz con­tinue? Only time, and hun­dreds of test pel­lets, will tell.

The mag’ slides in and out from the right-hand side.

At-a-glance info on re­main­ing shots.

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