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The Webley-Scott Tempest

No other airgun seems as ineffably British as the Webley Tempest. In part, this is because the Tempest has perhaps the longest history of any British gun- perhaps any airgun; it’s a direct descendant from the 1924 Webley Mark I, and functionally, it’s not all that different. Having been around longer than any of its competitors, the Tempest has traditionally been the first serious air pistol for most British shooters- the one you moved up to from the GAT.webley tempest

Paradoxically enough, given its popularity, the Tempest is not a particularly accurate gun, or a particularly pleasant gun to shoot. Trigger pull is extremely high- higher than any air or powder arm I’ve ever owned; only by adding a wide trigger shoe could I make it even reasonably easy to shoot.(Newer Tempests have a factory-supplied wider trigger.) Accuracy is low, with 1-1/2″ to 2″ groups at 10 meters being common. Cocking is difficult, given the peculiar folded air path design, and getting the barrel to lock up the same way every shot is problematic.

So why is it that the gun still sells well today, even with so many more accurate, cheaper guns around? And more curiously, why is it that I- someone who repeats Warren Page’s contention that “the only interesting guns are accurate guns” like a mantra- why is it that I continue to keep this pistol, while having bought and sold scores of better air pistols over the past few decades?

I could say, like some, that its inaccuracy, clumsiness, and reverse recoil make it a good firerarms trainer for basement practice. Of course, as I haven’t done any firearm pistol shooting in ages, that would be a bit or a stretch. Or I might argue, as others do, that it’s a good gun to introduce new shooters to the sport, which would be an even bigger lie. It’s a dreadful gun for that.

The real attraction of the Tempest is precisely that it is such a difficult, fussy, and eccentric gun- in other words, and quintissentially English gun, brought to you by the makers of the Webley-Fosberry Automatic Revolver, and, for that matter, the same nation that gave us Monty Python, Cricket, and great eccentrics like Lord Rokeby, who endevored to spend his entire life floating in water. Every time I pick up my Tempest, I am reminded of Great Britain, and all her eccentricities, and her many charms. Long may she prosper.

13 Comments

  1. Merlin Hemp wrote:

    I have a Tempest and I think they are exceptionally “cool” guns. My problem is that I accidentally pulled the trigger with the gun cocked half open. The barrel snapped back and now when I try to cock the gun, the barrel won’t close down without pulling the trigger. What can I do?
    Merlin

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  2. Richard UK wrote:

    Weekend = Tidy out of the house.

    Found a .22 Webley Tempest and .22 Webley Huricane.

    Both used however in very good condition.

    Also an original boxed very very very good condition original Gat Gun, complete with original pellets, darts and corks (missing one cork from box)

    All for sale. Email to richvorn@aol.com if you are interested.

    Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  3. sean wrote:

    Anyone interested in buying my Webley Tempest .177 pellet gun? I bought it brand new when i was just a kid approx 30 yrs ago. I love this gun and have cared for this gun thru the years. It has had only about 1000 rounds put thru it so everything works mint on it, and comes with the original holster.
    It has been put away for many years in my closet and i have no use for it now. It’s time for someone to enjoy this well made piece instead of sitting in a closet.
    Let me know if anyone is interested and i’ll send pictures of it.
    Thanks
    Sean.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  4. sean wrote:

    E-mail to sean_carole@rogers.com

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink
  5. sean wrote:

    Located in Toronto, Canada.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink
  6. James wrote:

    I have a 177 Tempest. Underneath the forend, it’s stamped: Webley & Scott Ltd Birmingham England. On the right side, it’s stamped: Beeman’s Precision Airguns Inc. 47 Paul Drive San Rafael Cal. I’m looking for oiling instructions. The original oiling instructions show the exploded view which is fairly meaningless to me. Help please!

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  7. mje wrote:

    Simple oiling instructions: Don’t. Beeman encouraged people to squirt tons of silicone oil in the compression chamber that these guns didn’t need. Mine gets the occasional wipedown with a few drops of a polarized oil like Birchwood Casey Sheath on the exposed metal parts, like the barrel, to protect it from rusting. Never, ever, use petroleum oils on an air gun!

    If yours is squeaky when cocking, I’d recommend a small amount of silicone grease AND NOTHING ELSE applied through the slot on top of the chamber, under the barrel. If the gun loses power, you can try adding a few drops of silicone oil- no other lube!- through the port where it meets the barrel, and cocking a few times.

    Generally spring guns should NOT be lubricated in normal use. After maybe 50,000 or more shots, if performance falls off they should be disassembled, the seals replaced if necessary, and the piston and cylinder lubricated with a small amount of a moly and silicone grease. I do this with my rifles, but I wouldn’t try it with a Tempest. I leave that gun and some of my high-end spring air rifles to experts.

    Most spring air guns require no service in normal use for many years. I just had my 20 year old Theoben Sirocco rebuilt. My old TX200, which I used to compete regularly with in the mid-90s, is currently being used by a friend a sold it to. It was tuned by Jim Maccari back then and hasn’t been touched since.

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink
  8. Danny V wrote:

    looking for a repair shop in the US webley/beeman TEMPEST air pistol. Bought at garage sale. needs a cleaning and manual. Thanks Dan

    Monday, June 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink
  9. mje wrote:

    Manual: http://mediacdn.shopatron.com/media/mfg/4371/spec_file/131037909.pdf

    I found this on line as well:

    To service, use a punch to push out the pins that hold the trigger parts in and the fore-end on. Take note of the position of the trigger parts, note how the trigger spring fits behind the trigger guard. Slide off the trigger guard and the plastic fore-end, push out the pin holding the metal plug in the fore-end of the cylinder. This will free the barrel, and as the pin comes all the way out, the plug and the spring will come free as well. There shouldn’t be much preload on the spring but it will push the plug out as the pin comes out. Slide the barrel linkage out of the cocking slot, and the pistol is mostly stripped.

    Clean the parts as best you can. If you can’t wash them with solvent, a good clean with rags should do, but do make sure the inside of the cylinder is as clean as possible.

    Check the piston head for wear… If you notice a split on the plastic piston head washer, don’t worry, it’s supposed to have that!

    Lubes: rub Moly GN paste well into all the trigger parts, the inside of the cylinder, the inside and outside of the piston too. I find motorcycle Chain Wax aerosols good for spring lube, just spray it on quite liberally and you will find that it dampens out twang quite nicely. I put a little moly grease on the ends of the spring too. All the pivot points (like the pin at the fore-end that the barrel hinges on) will benefit from Moly GN paste rubbed in. Cocking will also be a lot smoother if you apply GN paste to the cocking slot and in the small t-shaped link that goes through the slot. Also, put some GN paste on the fulcrum, this is the bump near the barrel-hinge that the cocking link slides over as you cock it.

    The trigger is pretty easy to strip and reassemble and does benefit a lot from being treated with moly paste, you just need to push out the pins in the trigger guard first, then the pins that the trigger parts turn on, then all the trigger parts come out through the slot in the underside of the trigger housing, but do pay attention to their orientation and the position of the small spring that is held in place by the front of the trigger guard, maybe draw a diagram, this will help when reassembling the trigger. Put Moly paste in the holes in the trigger parts and on the pins that they pivot on. The trigger may feel tight and heavy to start with but it will return to normal with a little use and will then improve still further!

    These pistols really are improved a lot by modern lubricants. I know that Webley used to recommend just plain Webley Oil, but these pistols improve so much with GN paste, Chain Wax and a little grease too, I don’t know why Webley never changed their lubrication instructions. I am sure that modern lubes like these will keep a Tempest running nicely for a much longer time than oil alone, it will be more pleasant to shoot and cock as well. I love my Tempest!

    One final word about the roll-pins, it should be fairly obvious which side they were inserted from, you should try to remove and replace them from the same side that the original assembler of the pistol used, if you’re lucky it will be obvious as on one side the holes around the pins will be flattened slightly, or the pins will be shiny where they have been tapped into place. pushing them out and replacing them from the same side saves wear on the holes and means that you don’t have to peen the edges of the holes over to keep the pins secure. It’s nothing to worry about as, serviced like this it should be years before you need to strip it again, it’s about four years since I serviced my Tempest like this and it’s still fine despite fairly regular use.

    Monday, June 2, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
  10. Don Rich wrote:

    I am interested in buying a Webley Tempest. Or might buy any similar Webley.
    Thank you
    Don Rich
    I’m in Utah USA
    18016732929

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
  11. BC wrote:

    I have an original (NOT Turkish replica) Beeman Webley Tempest. I have owned it since new.I doubt it has had even 100 pellets shot through it. I did have Beeman do their $50 Super Tune on it years ago and still have the receipt for that work and the old parts that they replaced as part of the tune up. Can anyone tell me what this pistol is worth in 2015? I have an interested party, and I have no idea if I should ask $150 or $300 or,….something else. Suggestions?

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink
  12. mje wrote:

    Surprisingly;y, there doesn’t seem to be a big premium on these guns. A pair in .177 and .22 just went on GunsAmerica for $350 for both. There’s a single pistol that’s been up for a week at $175. The super tune might get you a premium over the usual prices. I’d put it on one of the forums for $250 or best offer, and see what response you get.

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  13. Stuart wrote:

    I am looking for information and a fair valuation for a Webley Hurricane. Also says Beeman on the side of the barrel. Have maintained it over the years, but am now having to sell it, rather than move it and store it (again). Any ideas or suggestions where I can get this sort of information?

    Monday, June 15, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

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