Phill Price tries the very latest version of the much praised Alecto
Phill Price gets to grips with the new MkV Alecto pistol from Webley
Although I’m a rifleman for the greater part of my shooting life, there’s a special place in my heart for handguns. The challenge of hitting the target is the whole point of shooting sports, and clearly, placing pellets accurately is tougher with a pistol than any long gun. Because of this, I find advanced designs that aid accuracy especially interesting, and I’ve enjoyed the many incarnations of the ultra-popular Webley Alecto as they’ve passed through my hands over the years. The supply of this fine pistol has been difficult at times, but this, the Mk V, is in stock now with the UK importer, so I welcomed the chance to see what the very latest version could offer.
For those unaware of the Alecto, it’s a large-framed, pump-up, single-shot pneumatic that has highly developed grips designed to maximise support and stability on aim. Although it’s a tough field pistol, it takes a strong influence from six metre, Olympic-style target guns, which is where the grip shape comes from, alongside the adjustable height palm shelf. What’s also unusual about this target grip design is that it works with two hands, which is great for me because it’s the only way I can shoot accurately. It’s a big, hand-filling grip and I like that. It allows full control without the need for any perceived pressure and that makes for relaxed muscles.
Speaking of sights, the open sights fitted are big and clear, plus a second set is supplied that offers a different view, so that you can experiment to see which pair suits you best. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can fit a scope or a red-dot sight to the rail moulded into the top. This is the Weaver/Picatinny width, so you need to be aware of that when choosing mounts. I like scopes because they allow me to extract all the accuracy the pistol has to offer, but they are a compromise on actions such as this because to cock the pistol you unlock the upper section of the frame at the rear, which then pivots up and forward. A pellet can then be inserted into the breech before the upper is brought back down, compressing the air in the cylinder. You can choose one, two or three strokes to adjust the power output you’d like. According to Webley, one stroke delivers 2.6 ft.lbs, two strokes, 4.1 ft.lbs and three strokes delivers a mighty 5.9 ft.lbs. My chronograph showed 2.8 ft.lbs for one stroke, 5.1 ft.lbs. for two strokes and 5.4 ft.lbs. for three strokes with the superb Webley Mosquito .177 pellet. If you feel you need more power, I’ve noted that the .22 versions I’ve tested before tended to pack a little more
punch. Each stroke requires more force than the last and if you’re wondering what happens if you input four strokes, the answer is that a bleed valve releases any further pressure, so the upper power limit is fixed.
Once pumped, the Alecto is effectively a pre-charged pneumatic and is therefore recoilless, which is a huge aid to accurate shot placement. Another big factor in accuracy is the trigger quality and this, the Mk V, boasts a ‘match grade’ trigger unit that I was looking forward to testing. A great trigger is a thing of true delight for me, and some of the earlier models were at bit hit or miss in trigger quality, so I was hoping for better. My test gun’s trigger was set very light and broke cleanly and consistently, so I had high hopes for the accuracy phase of the test. In front of the trigger blade is an automatic safety lever that’s easily disengaged with the trigger finger whilst on aim, so it can be left on until you’re ready to fire.
The recoilless claim intrigued me because if a pistol can make 5-plus ft.lbs. it must recoil to some degree, so I studied the movement very carefully on firing and I have to say, it’s so small that it’s not worth worrying about. There’s quite a sharp muzzle crack, so I enquired if a silencer was available and the answer was no.
I knew exactly where I wanted to go with this excellent pistol, which was the pistol range at my gun club. The choice of targets is huge and they’re placed from 8 yards out to 25 and vary from tiny to huge, with the common denominator of all making noise. Plates, gongs and bells all reward a well-placed shot, so I knew I was in for a good time. Cocking and loading were no different from earlier models, so I was immediately at home. Just as I’d hoped, the new trigger was light and crisp, delivering a predictable shot release every time. Needless to say, I had a ball, ringing and dinging on targets. A few very deliberate shots on paper targets showed tight grouping, but I was soon back to having fun on the reactive targets.
This version of the Alecto is everything I’d hoped, bringing all the good qualities of the older models together with a truly excellent trigger to make a great pistol. Whether you simply want to have fun or be more serious about pistol accuracy, the Alecto MkV can do it all.
Webley’s Mosquito pellet worked well.
I had a real blast plinking fun targets out to 25 yards.
A well-padded case is included in the price.
Each compression stroke is harder than the last, but not too hard at all.
Big, bold sights suit me well.
The anatomical grip is truly excellent.