Post-war Webley Air Pistols

A place to discuss all things Webley. As this is probably the most collected airgun maker we felt it deserved a section of its own.
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Certus
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Post-war Webley Air Pistols

Post by Certus » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:06 pm

This is the final post in a series to briefly outline the development of Webley air pistols from their beginning in 1924 to the changeover from all steel to alloy frames in the mid-1970s.

Webley were fully engaged in supporting the war effort between 1939 -1945 but soon resumed commercial production of air pistols immediately after hostilities had ceased.

The same three models, Mk1, “Senior” and “Junior” were produced with relatively minor changes up until 1964. These changes were mainly limited to the replacement of tin grips with plastic grips and the re-introduction of a vertically adjustable rear sight on the “Junior” and the addition of "splines" or “knurling” to the barrels of the Mk1 and the” Senior” respectively. All three pistols also now carried the Webley name moulded into the grips. Unfortunately, Webley abandoned the practice of serial numbering their products after the war and replaced it with a batch numbering system which made it difficult for collectors to readily identify manufacturing dates. One general dating aid is provided by the address stamped on the side of the pistols which included the “B4” postal code before 1958 after which the factory relocated from their Weaman Street premises.

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POST-WAR WEBLEY "MK1"

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POST-WAR WEBLEY "SENIOR"

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POST-WAR WEBLEY "JUNIOR"

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POST-WAR WEBLEY "JUNIOR"
Note fairly crude engraving applied by Webley apprentices to mask minor casting blemishes.

In 1964 Webley consolidated the best features of the Mk1 and the” Senior” into one pistol to be called the” Premier” rather than marketing two similarly performing pistols. The "Premier" was basically a “Senior” which retained the trigger adjustment screw from the Mk1. It was still a high quality all steel pistol available in both calibres but underwent a number of minor changes during its development with each being identified by a letter A-F usually stamped below the trigger guard on the left hand side of the frame. The all steel "Premiers" were made between 1964-1975 after which Webley had completely changed their manufacturing processes and materials replacing machined steel with mainly cast alloy and traditional blueing with a black epoxy enamel coating.
The post-war “Junior” was the first model to utilise the more modern manufacturing methods when the Mk2 was introduced in 1973.

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RARE FOUR PIN "A" SERIES WEBLEY "PREMIER"

Many Webley air pistols are found with a chip at the bottom rear corner of the grip where the little locating pin on the frame locates. Great care is necessary when easing the grips from the frame to avoid this happening.

Post-war Slant Grip Mk1s are not especially rare and can usually be bought for under £100 unboxed.
The post-war “Seniors” are more sought after and nice examples fetch £150-£200 again unboxed.
“Premier” values vary depending on series with the earlier (A-C) variants being the most expensive ranging from £130-£180 unboxed.

My personal interest in Webley air pistols lessened with demise of the all steel models but Webley continued producing new alloy framed models such as the “Typhoon”, “Hurricane” and “Tempest” from the mid-seventies until the company went into liquidation in 2006.

I don’t profess to be an expert on collectable air pistols so my apologies for any inaccuracies that may have crept in during the preparation of these posts which I hope have been of some interest.

I have tried to share something of the development of “Made in England” spring air pistols in this and earlier posts from 1910 until 1975 using examples from my own collection. It would be great to see some pictures and hear about the air pistols owned by other members of the forum.

Regards

Brian
Last edited by Certus on Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Post-war Webley Air Pistols

Post by pmh » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:53 pm

Very interesting as always.

My first introduction to the Webley pistols was with the Typhoon and Hurricane in the mid to late 1970s.

Kind regards,



Phil
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Re: Post-war Webley Air Pistols

Post by Ian » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:02 pm

Excellent overview - the post war ones before the alloy type are my favourites

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Re: Post-war Webley Air Pistols

Post by gab » Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:41 pm

Thank you Certus! Another interesting post.

I collect pre-alloy Webley air pistols, but do have a few alloy examples. I purchased a boxed Webley 4 pin "A" Premier at a Vancouver Island gun show a few months back. Unfortunately, both grips had small chips out of them and it had been stored for many years in the box. The side resting on the cardboard developed a few pits; otherwise, the finish is in very good shape. I have been unsuccessful in finding a pair of the brown grips that the A series came with. I keep hoping to find a junker Webley Senior with good grips at a reasonable price while attending gun shows.

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Re: Post-war Webley Air Pistols

Post by Certus » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:12 pm

gab wrote:Thank you Certus! Another interesting post.

I collect pre-alloy Webley air pistols, but do have a few alloy examples. I purchased a boxed Webley 4 pin "A" Premier at a Vancouver Island gun show a few months back. Unfortunately, both grips had small chips out of them and it had been stored for many years in the box. The side resting on the cardboard developed a few pits; otherwise, the finish is in very good shape. I have been unsuccessful in finding a pair of the brown grips that the A series came with. I keep hoping to find a junker Webley Senior with good grips at a reasonable price while attending gun shows.
Hi gab,

As you are probably aware the "A" Series Premier is probably the most sought after "Premier" and one of the rarest. Unfortunately, a lot of Webley pistols have had the grips damaged as the owners obviously didn't realise how vulnerable they were when being removed or replaced. I have quite a few boxed Webley air pistols and always line the bottom of the box with a baize material to prevent the discoloration and pitting you describe if the pistol rests directly on the bottom of the cardboard box.

Good luck with your quest for an original pair of grips which can sometimes be sourced from internet auction.

I regularly attend Arms Fairs here in the UK and will keep a look out for a reasonably priced pair which might be of use to you. I could always keep them as spares should the shipping costs make sending them uneconomic.

Regards

Brian

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Re: Post-war Webley Air Pistols

Post by gab » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:26 am

Thank you Brian. I have ordered a number of parts from John Knibbs International in the UK and didn't find the postage too bad.

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Re: Post-war Webley Air Pistols

Post by Certus » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:12 am

gab wrote:Thank you Brian. I have ordered a number of parts from John Knibbs International in the UK and didn't find the postage too bad.
Hi gab,

No problem.

Next Arms Fair I will be attending will be the "Imperial" meeting at Bisley in early July. There are usually a few air gun traders in attendance so I will see what can be done.

Regards

Brian

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Re: Post-war Webley Air Pistols

Post by bellringer » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:14 pm

A small addendum that may interest collectors of Post War Junior type 1 pistols. In my disorganised collection of Webley paraphernalia, I have a copy of a Webley & Scott document dated Aug 1976, which lists customer complaints and actions to correct them where deemed necessary over a whole range of products. In this document there is mention of " the junior pistol frame turning purple" as in the Service rifle. The reason as always was an incorrect carbon content in the steel of the frame, the action to solve this was to use a 'Suncerite' spray finish. This means that for all the years of junior production, a few years worth was in this sprayed finish, which must make them a bit more valuable I would think, also if you have a Junior pistol with this two coloured finish, keep it as it is, this is a genuine phenomenon. Hope this helps someone somewhere with their collecting. bellringer.

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