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Initial Look...!

When time allows I will write up a full review and range report on this classic English air rifle but as so many of my friends have asked to see photographs I thought I would post a couple here so all could get an initial look.  The rifle is a series three (mid 1930’s) Webley & Scott MkII Service Air Rifle.  It comes in its original box with ‘two’ original barrels (numbered to the gun) in .177 & .22 calibre.  It also has its original and very rare carry case.  It is shown here with some period accessories which include an (empty) tin of .177 pellets and an original instruction manual (2nd edition).

I did get time to run just a hand full of shots (177) through the rifle and was very impressed with the accuracy, power and ease of shooting.  Make no mistake this vintage air rifle is a total joy to shoot.  Please be patient with this page, I will do my best to get it finished asap but in the mean time here are a couple of photographs for your enjoyment.  As always if you have any comments or feedback I’m happy to hear from you.

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The English gunmakers of Webely & Scott first ventured into the air-gun market in 1924 with their patented over-barreled spring piston MkI air-pistol.  A year later in 1925, they launched their MkI Air-Rifle which was based on the same concept and in many ways was a scaled up version of the pistol.  This early rifle, although well built, fell short and was no match for such established rifles as those produced by BSA (British Small Arms) which had already set the standard for power, accuracy and reliability.  As a result the Webley & Scott MkI was short lived and is now something of a rarity.  It is thought that only around 1,500 units were produced, as the highest serial number yet recorded is slightly under this number.  In order to make the rifle more competitive a redesign was undertaken. 

In 1932 the Webley & Scott MkII Service Air-Rifle was introduced.  Although the basic concept was retained the resulting new and updated design was a vast improvement and set the stage for a long standing reputation in fine air-rifles.  In comparison to its competitors the Webley & Scott Service Air Rifle MkII was unique in a number of respects and as previously mentioned Webley had scaled up their original pistol design and on this occasion to much greater success.   The design consisted of a spring-piston which was compressed by using the barrel as a leave.  The spring-piston was compressed forward and away from the action.  When released by the trigger this resulted in the piston moving backwards and towards the shooter, giving the impression of mild recoil rather like a small calibre cartridge rifle.  Another unique feature of the Webley air-rifle was that with the depression of a button the barrel was instantly removed.  This had two very important benefits.  Firstly one could ‘break down’ the rifle for easy storage or transport.  Secondly and just as important it became possible to ‘change calibers’ at a moment’s notice.  The rifle was initially offered in .177 and .22 calibers, however sometime late in the 1930’s a .25 caliber option was made available.  So in theory one could have one rifle that could be easily converted to shoot ‘three’ different calibers!

The MkII was made continuously from 1932 up to the start of WWII, 1939.  With constant refinement and subtle changes to the design it is possible to categorize five variations and these are described by collectors as Series 1-5.  In Christopher Thrale’s superb book ‘Webely Air Rifles 1925-2005’ he comments that some were even assembled during the war from parts. 

It was possible to purchase the MkII with multiple barrels and also cased examples are known, both of which are exceptionally rare.

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