STARTER’S OR­DERS

Mark Camoc­cio re­ports on a ri­fle ideal for the small peo­ple in your life

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Mark Camoc­cio finds the ideal ri­fle for young­sters, or those new to air­gun­ning – the We­b­ley Cub

I’m glad to say that I still get ex­cited at the prospect of vis­it­ing the Bri­tish Shoot­ing Show, and with this year’s event mak­ing a wel­come ap­pear­ance at the NEC back in Fe­bru­ary, we had plenty of rea­sons to en­joy this top date in the shoot­ing cal­en­dar. Plenty of new mod­els were on show, too, and I couldn’t help notic­ing the brand- new We­b­ley VMX of­fer­ings on the High­land Out­doors stand. The VMX Clas­sic re­ally is a clas­sic, and re­minds me of my old Vul­can, which gave me such plea­sure, and, of course, in­tro­duced me to a life­time of air­gun sport. Sit­ting along­side the Clas­sic was the VMX Cub, and this was not only a real looker in its own right, but a per­fectly scaled- down ver­sion, es­pe­cially aimed at the lit­tle peo­ple among us.

PINT SIZED

Hav­ing now got to grips with this stylish lit­tle break- bar­rel, I have to say, I re­ally am gen­uinely im­pressed. Read on and I’ll tell you just why.

En­cour­ag­ing young­sters into air­gun shoot­ing is ab­so­lutely vi­tal if the sport is to thrive and grow. Get­ting the next gen­er­a­tion to put down their X- Box, turn off the blessed mo­bile phone, and come out of the bed­room, is no easy task, but when the lure of fresh air and a proper shoot­ing range does beckon, the chances are the hard­ware is just too heavy and un­gainly. That’s why scaled down mod­els such as the Cub are so vi­tal to har­ness the in­ter­est of the young­sters com­ing through the ranks.

Novices learn­ing the art of shoot­ing don’t need full power, so We­b­ley have de­lib­er­ately de­signed the Cub to be low- pow­ered, which has sev­eral ben­e­fits. Firstly, it has a shorter cock­ing stroke, and a weaker main­spring, so is sig­nif­i­cantly eas­ier to cock than a full- size gun. Se­condly, less poundage in ki­netic terms trans­lates to a milder trig­ger which can be set lighter, and thirdly, re­duced en­ergy means less re­coil, so the whole shoot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is more en­joy­able.

BUILD AND SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION

Pick up the VMX Cub, and the lack of weight is most ap­par­ent. At 5.75lbs, it feels very man­age­able in­deed, and it also par­tic­u­larly well made. OK, the chem­i­cal blu­ing on the bar­rel and cylin­der, is maybe a lit­tle dull, but it’s all very even and smartly done. All the com­po­nents look pre­cisely ma­chined, and with at­ten­tion to

de­tail such as the ten­sion­ing bolt at the breech, com­plete with keeper screw, it re­ally is quite im­pres­sive.

The ambidextrous sporter stock is nicely scaled down, with the butt around two inches shorter than the adult ver­sion. The grip it­self is more com­pact for small hands, whilst the fore end is much shorter too, in keep­ing with a re­duced reach. Oth­er­wise, the same length bar­rel, breech block and sight assemblies are utilised. Of course, lower power in the re­gion of 5 to 6 ft.lbs. al­lows for a much shorter com­pres­sion cylin­der, which is where plenty of weight is shaved.

LIT­TLE HANDS ON

Cock­ing the ac­tion soon re­veals that short stroke, and it’s easy to achieve. I did rope in young James at my club for his in­put, and he found the stroke pretty easy too, and the whole gun very man­age­able. His hands on the grip, and reach to the trig­ger, showed that the de­sign­ers have got it just right, and with the weight kept to a min­i­mum, he wasn’t overly stretched in any way.

For my ini­tial eval­u­a­tion down­range, I de­cided to stick with the open sights, and th­ese are su­per- bright fi­bre- op­tics. I was ini­tially con­fused by the di­rec­tion of the fin­ger wheel for windage – I haven’t been do­ing this long you know! – be­cause it de­fies logic, but they do mark it up clearly, so ig­nore my pa­thetic ef­forts. After a few clicks on both wheels, I soon had zero near enough set, and set about some se­ri­ous group­ing. Whilst I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing much, be­ing a bit rusty in this de­part­ment of late, I was as­tounded to find my­self walk­ing up to the tar­get at 25yards, and star­ing at a five-shot group barely over an inch in di­am­e­ter. A very en­cour­ag­ing start, but it was no fluke, and with a good bright tar­get, groups of around an inch were easy to come by if I did my bit. That’s im­pres­sive with ‘irons’, I should imag­ine in any­one’s book, and en­cour­ag­ing, given that a good per­cent­age of th­ese guns will be en­joyed with the open sights in place.

I just couldn’t re­sist fit­ting a scope to see what po­ten­tial ac­cu­racy could be milked. A suit­ably com­pact 2-7 x 32 Hawke model felt right, and looked the part too, and I soon had it locked against the Cub’s built- in ar­restor block. Groups now shrank to less than ¾” cen­tre-to- cen­tre, and I re­tired with a smug grin for the evening.

The trig­ger does gen­tly creep, but it is still a de­light given this is a ba­sic springer; the auto- safety catch is about as smooth and slick as it gets, and all in all, I re­ally fell for the neat lit­tle Cub.

VERDICT

It’s a truly ex­cel­lent lit­tle ju­nior ri­fle with proper per­for­mance for young­sters who need time to grow into the sport. So a mas­sive thumbs up, and well done to We­b­ley!

“it was no fluke, and with a good bright tar­get, groups of around an inch were easy to come by”

ABOVE: Hav­ing a gun that fits prop­erly can make a huge dif­fer­ence to con­trol

LEFT: Tra­di­tional break- bar­rels are still in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar

ABOVE LEFT: Stylish and ef­fec­tive, that muz­zle assem­bly

ABOVE: The Cub is a per­fectly scaled down model

TOP LEFT: A sim­ple, but very pleas­ant trig­ger awaits

LEFT: A small grip for small hands

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