The Webley Tempest

Author Unknown


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The Webley Tempest, sold in the US as the Beeman Webley Tempest, is a medium- priced barrel-cocking air pistol. As of summer 1995 it is selling for $160- $180. This price puts it above most US-made air pistols, most of which sell for $40 to $100, and below the more expensive European models, which offer higher accuracy at prices ranging from $250 up to $1000 or more. RWS and a few others offer pistols at similar prices, generally longer, more accurate and lower powered.

The Tempest is very compact (8.9" long), reasonably powerful (the rated muzzle velocity is 500 fps) and accurate enough for most plinking and pest control chores. The trigger is smooth enough for accurate two-handed shooting, but heavier than I like for one-hand "target rules" shooting. It is decidedly more powerful than similarly-priced target pistols, which tend to have velocities in the 360 to 450 fps range. NONE of these pistols approaches even the 22 short in power, but the effect of a 500 fps pellet on an empty soda can is noticeably different from a 400 fps pellet. It is nearly impossible to mount a scope on the Tempest, but the same gun is offered with a longer frame as the Webley "Hurricane", and that version _will_ accept a scope.

The Tempest is incredibly reliable. I have shot over 10,000 rounds through mine with no problems. Other than periodic cleaning and lubrication the gun has required no maintenance, and except for some minor scratches it is like new. The design of the Tempest is eighteen years old (dating from 1977), and is based on the older Webley Senior, so the kinks have apparently been worked out. Construction is steel, aluminum and plastic (no structural parts are plastic) and it seems built to last.

A spring-piston airgun produces air pressure with a spring-driven piston at the moment of firing. The piston hits a stop at the end of its stroke, producing enough recoil to upset the dedicated target shooter. The recoil is miniscule by firearm standards, but airgun target shooters demand _zero_ recoil, and the Tempest does not meet that standard. At least in the Tempest this recoil is directed toward the rear, (just like a firearm). Many air pistols recoil FORWARD, which is weird, to say the least.

About noise - the firing of the Tempest is well-nigh silent. When I shoot it outside I hear only a "sproing", but indoors the backstop can produce noise, depending on its constuction. Spring air guns are quieter than CO2 or pump-type airguns.

The cocking force is high enough that my wife has trouble cocking it, but I'm sure she would find it easy if she did it enough. Most small kids would find it impossible to cock, which could be an advantage if you have small fry. Loading is EASY, as the pellet is merely inserted into the breech while the barrel is up for cocking. I have big fingers and find some airguns hard to load.

I can shoot sub 1" groups at 25 feet, using a one-handed hold. The Tempest has a definite preference for Beeman round-nose pellets, although other Beeman pellets, as well as Crosman, RWS and Daisy brands work well too. I can hit the miniature airgun silhouette targets at 25 to 30 feet well enough to compete wth my nine-year old (while she shoots a rifle). The sights on the Tempest adjust by loosening a screw and sliding them, which would be a pain if you had to do it a lot. I have found a setting which is acceptabley accurate from 20 to 50 feet. The point of aim does not change much over time, nor does it change much with pellet selection.

The bottom line is that you can get a cheaper or more accurate airgun, but you would sacrifice power and convienient size to do it. You could also spend a LOT more. The size and reliability of the Tempest, and the fact that it does not use CO2 cartridges, makes it a good choice for camp plinking or keeping around the house for pest control. It is my preferred gun for camping, vacation and business trips. (You can take an airgun almost anywhere.) It is also a good gun for basement target practice, without the noise and smell of a 22.

 

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