Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Webley Tempest!

I popped into Morrisons supermarket in Stone today and after inhaling a plate of liver and onions with mash & peas in the cafe there (superb, by the way, better than any restaurant meal I've had this year) I paused on the way out by the bulletin board where shoppers can post their own smalls ads. What did I see?


Good grief! A Webley Tempest! The classic English eccentric pistol! I rang the chap up, hot-footed it round the corner to his house and there it was: black, brooding & absolutely immaculate on his kitchen table. He invited me to test-fire the pistol so we retired to the patio from where I duly popped a pellet into his equally immaculate lawn: fut!

'Well, great,' I said, 'Yeah. I'll take it. Do you want to haggle?'

'No', he said.

'No, sure, of course not,' I said. 'Here's fifty quid.'

It's a .22 but it turns out, and I didn't realise this till I got it home, that it's a 5.6mm .22 rather than your bog-standard mainland-European 5.5mm! So it's an Imperial Webley rather than a metric one!

A little bit of research and - phew! - it turns out that there is actually a pellet that'll fit this thing, the classic and very well-regarded 5.6mm Eley Wasp - great!

...except they don't make 'em any more! Well Eley don't anyway, they went bust or flogged the brand name or something and now they appear as:

...note the missing 'Eley' - and allegedly (this is the word to use so I gather if you want to avoid getting sued for libel) they're not quite as good as they used to be.

An alternative - and a good one, since they make damn good pellets - turns out to be the H&N Field Target 5.54mm which, while they are as rare as rocking horse poo and/or hen's teeth in the shops, can still in fact be found on t'internet.

So, we'll see.

(PS: By the way, for massively skilled modifications to Webleys (and a host of other airguns) look no further than the always-astounding and absurdly modestly-titled 'Another Airgun Blog'. The section on Webley mods is here. )


  1. When I was a young chap I always wanted one of those, but could not afford it.

  2. Ah an excellent toy. The Baron has a hurricane (.177) lotta fun
    PS doing some plumbing for Mrs Baron -hmmm maybe she'll want t trade?

  3. Thanks all!

    SBW: A toy! Yeah, well, probably, yes. I did find an interesting comment on Tempests though (here: ):

    "I’ve carried a Tempest in .177 for shooting grouse while hunting big game for the last 15 years, and it rarely fails to drop a few birds. Being (almost) silent, it doesn’t scare off the game, and is accurate enough for birds to 10-15m. Dan Dolan’s right regarding accuracy – once you’re used to the way the Tempest shoots, beer caps at 10m can be hit consistently. If your Tempest seems to be inaccurate, try a ’soft’ grip, allowing the pistol to recoil freely, and try a variety of pellets. I was surprised that my Tempest produced much better groupings with the cheaper Crosman points (more like domes than points) than with RWS points. Gamo Magnums were found to be lethal on grouse."

  4. Just got me a .177 Tempest - arrived today :-)

  5. Went to a auction in Minnesota last nite and got a Tempest .177 for $35.00 US I think I got lucky huh!

  6. Excellent, good for you, mate! If that was me I'd spend a few extra quid getting the seals & springs checked & maybe replaced. A .177 is definitely the best old Tempest to get - apart from anything else you can get pellets that fit the barrel!
    Happy shooting,

  7. I have one of these knocking about in my garage, i wonder how much they sell for? mines a .177 fires ok too.

  8. Hi Bafty,

    I think that .177's are the most sought-after version of this classic pistol so - depending on the condition - it should go for a few quid. The best place to sell it privately is the AirbunBBS site. You'll need to join, stick all the details you can on your members profile page (since you're new to the site and don't have a backlog of trusted sales), research there (by using the search function) what .177's have gone for recently and pitch yours at a reasonable price with as many pictures as you can muster. It's not an auction site and you can't invite bids or offers but it will get sold there unless you pitch it at silly pounds.

    Best of luck,

    1. Thank you Hubert, i will check out that link and see how much they go for.

  9. My grandfather recently passed away and left one of these to me.. Great fun! The pellets he used are 5.5 tho and as I've just spotted on ur blog (and on the air pistol) they need 5.6.. The 5.5 work ok (I'm not a pro at this) tho I wouldn't notice any discrepancies in range etc.. Is there anything I should look for while using up these 5.5's?

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  11. I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather, mate, we don't get issued with too many of those.

    As for the Webley: they are severely cool little pistols, yes. I wish I still had mine (I wish I still had lots of things, mind: hair, morning wood, that Triumph Dolomite Sprint I junked back in the 90's - the list goes on).

    Is there anything you should look for while using up the 5.5mm pellets? I should just look to not get arrested, if I were you!

    Use it safely, enjoy the good pleasure it gives you and keep it well as the token of your grandfather's life that it represents. If you are so fortunate as to ever have grandkids yourself, well, pass it on to them in turn!

    With all best wishes,