Phill Price gets the exclusive first look and a new pistol from Webley
Phill Price is impressed by the all-new design of the Webley Nemesis pistol
The old Webley Nemesis was a good pistol and its popularity speaks volumes about the qualities it offered its loyal fans. With this in mind, I was very surprised to be handed the new model which is totally different. The outgoing model was an up-and-over, single-stroke pneumatic, which was naturally a single-shot design. Good sights and a recoilless firing cycle made it easy to shoot well and therefore enjoyable to use.
The new Nemesis offers multi-shot capability by changing power source. It uses the ubiquitous 12 gramme, CO2 capsule and a bolt action, making it totally different to the old model. The things that they share are the use moulded synthetic materials for their construction, and oh yes, they’re both black.
The new Nemesis is of medium size and weight, and will fit the majority of shooters well. My medium-sized hand found the grip deep and flat and the reach to the trigger blade spot on. Like the rest of the pistol, it’s ambidextrous and features some shallow finger grooves along the front, and light stippling in panels around the rest. Overall, it’s a comfortable and ergonomically accomplished fit.
The pistol’s styling is along the lines of a modern semi-automatic service arm with a few extra flourishes added for good looks. Most notable are the slots in the sides near the muzzle that expose the barrel. I don’t imagine that they serve any purpose other than to look good. There are also grooves moulded in that look like the grip sections you’d have on a semi-automatic, to help you grip the slide as you rack it. Generally, the look is quite subtle and I liked the overall matte appearance.
To provide power you slide what appears to be the floor plate of the grip forward to reveal a 6mm hex drive tool. This is used to unscrew a steel cap beneath the muzzle to reveal a chamber that holds the 12 gramme, CO2 capsule. This drops in neck first, waiting for the cap to be refitted, and needs to be done promptly to avoid wasting any CO2 that flows back as the piercing probe opens the capsule’s tip. Once nipped up, you move on to loading pellets.
The Nemesis is supplied with both a single-shot tray and a novel 14-shot magazine. In fact, the latter is a pair of opposed 7-shot magazines and is quite unlike any magazine I’ve seen before. Webley wisely chose to make the casing from translucent plastic so that you can see how many pellets are loaded. To load it, you drop a pellet in and then turn the cylinder clockwise with your finger until the next chamber is exposed. Drop in another pellet and repeat the process until seven
pellets have been loaded. Next, flip the mag’ over and repeat the process. Inside the grip is a neat storage area that can hold either the single-shot tray or the magazine, so while you’re using one the other is kept safe and to hand.
To cock the gassed up action, you lift and withdraw the bolt in its raceway. This cocks the hammer spring and exposes the breech. You have the choice to drop in the single-shot tray or slide the magazine in from the left. Either way, with a pellet in line, you push the bolt forward and down and you’re ready to shoot. Another very novel and clever feature is that the bolt handle can be swapped from right to left, adding to the ambidextrous credentials. I like the fact that when I received the Nemesis, the bolt handle was on the left, so that with my right hand on the grip I could easily cock the action with my left. This meant much less juggling and swapping hands during the loading process and with the magazine in, I could fire seven shots in very rapid succession – ideal for keeping tins cans spinning downrange.
There’s a cross-bolt style safety that travels through the frame above the trigger blade. This surprised me in that it’s safe when exposed to the left, and ready to fire when exposed to the right. I’d have it the other way around so that the majority of shooters, we right-handers, could disengage it with our trigger finger from the shooting hold.
A modern pistol deserves modern sights and the ones fitted here are very good. They’re styled after the low-profile ones fitted to combat pistols, and the ‘notch to post’ ratio was just right for me, giving a clear and quickly acquired sight picture every time. This is enhanced by well-designed, fibre-optic inserts that were a real benefit in low light conditions. Where they’re fitted, there are ports on the uppers that allow light to strike the insert and add to its brightness. Good sights.
I noted that the muzzle has a male thread under a screw-on protector, and I was glad to discover it was the industry standard ½” UNF, so almost any silencer will fit straight on. Like most CO2 guns of this kind, the Nemesis has a pretty sharp muzzle crack, so I screwed in a silencer before shooting in my back garden. The downside was that the silencer’s diameter then blocked the sights, but I imagine many people will fit an optical sight to the long 11mm sight rails moulded into the top of the frame, which would eliminate the sighting problem at a stroke. There’s also a section of Weaver rail moulded into the frame in front of the trigger guard that would easily accept a laser and another sighting option.
“I could fire seven shots in very rapid succession – ideal for keeping tins cans spinning downrange”
“well-designed, fibre-optic inserts that were a real benefit in low light conditions”
Another advantage Webley saw in the new design was a marked increase in power with the .22 prototype delivering over 4 ft.lbs. at the muzzle. The .177 on test had different internals to the production guns, so there was no point in chronographing it.
My next job was accuracy testing and I’d been warned that as my test gun was a pre-production prototype, it was shooting high – and they were quite correct. The two-stage trigger was smooth and light, and that along with the excellent sights, were a great help when it came to the fine accuracy this interesting pistol delivered. At 6 yards I was able to get 1” groups off hand, and I feel sure that adding an optical sight would have released even more of the gun’s potential.
Despite my surprise that Webley should have made such a radical change to the Nemesis, I can well see why they made the decision. This is a very appealing pistol, bursting with innovations that deliver on their promise to make pistol-shooting more fun. I hope to get the chance to shoot a production gun with an optical sight fitted to see just how accurate it really is, soon. As much as this is an all-new design and a complete change from its forbear, I can see it becoming every bit as popular and perhaps even more so, and I applaud Webley for this bold new design. I
The slots through the frame add a dash of good looks.
Bright fibre-optic inserts worked well, even in low light.
The cross-bolt safety protrudes above the trigger.
A single-shot tray is simple and easy to use.
Two seven-shot mags’ sit low, allowing you to use open sights unimpeded.
Note that the bolt can be swapped from side to side.
When did you last see a 14-shot rotary magazine in a pistol?
To load CO2, first remove this end cap.
Making the silencer thread 1/2” UNF ensures that most silencers will fit.
The CO2 capsule fits in a chamber under the barrel.
Both a sinlge-shot tray and the 14-shot magazine are included.