The Webley Tempest is Back!

Those bemoaning the disappearance of the real, British-made Webley Tempest- one of the great air pistols of all times- should be as excited as I am to learn that Webley is bringing back the Tempest! Despite the increasing costs of labor and materials, they’re going to be releasing the Webley Tempest Centennial in September.

As befits the name, the new Centennial model comes in a fitted wooden case intended to evoke images of classic British double guns and other fine arms. The price- $299- will no doubt evoke similar images. (I see that Pyramid is already listing it for pre-order at $289.95.) But with used Tempests in fine condition regularly selling for over $200, it’s not unreasonable. I have my Tempest, so I’m not ordering another one. But if they were to offer it in .22 as well as .177, I just might.

The Crosman C51 Blowback BB Pistol

Not too long ago, my old pal Sgt. Dave was asking me if I knew of a good CO2 BB pistol with a realistic blowback action. Nothing like that on the market, I said, and so of course Crosman has to go and make me a liar.

The C51 was actually announced back in January with availability stated as “this Fall.” A lot of the airgun forums have been full of prospective owners asking “Is it out yet?” but as of this writing there’s still no official word from Crosman. When it does come out, I expect it’ll be hard to keep it in stock.

I’m not a huge fan of BB pistols, for the most part, though I do like realistic ones like the original Makarov BB pistol for practice and training. I suspect the C51 will do well in that role.

Crosman Rogue PCP in .357

Crosman Rogue .357
The Crosman Rogue PCP rifle in .357 Caliber

Crosman has just announced a big bore version of the microcomputer controlled Rogue PCP rifle. The big news is that it’s in .357 or 9mm caliber. This turns the Rogue into a real hunting rifle, with muzzle energies of between 180 and 280 foot-pounds. This may not seem like a lot, but it’s .38 special territory, and the .38 special is sufficient for most medium-sized game. A careful marksman might even use it to take small deer sized game, although that’s not something I’d recommend. Still, a lot of deer were taken in the early history of this country with muzzle loaders that produced similar energy levels.

Crosman offers three bullets for this gun: A 127gr flat nose, a 145gr Nosler with Ballistic Tip, and a 158gr hollow point. All three are designed specifically for airgun use, with narrow driving bands molded in.  I suspect various swaged lead bullets in .357 might work as well, as swaged bullets are usually made of a mush softer alloy than cast bullets and would be able to engage the rifling. Of course you’d expect that Crosman has done a lot of testing to come up with optimum bullets for this gun, but shooters are a creative lot. I’m already wondering about the use of saboted projectiles made of copper or aother dense, non-lead material.

The basic gun is $1,299, but there’s a Limited Edition package available for $1,500 that includes a 3-12×44 scope,  bipod and a soft case in the same sand color as the gun. We’re seeing a lot of military styled guns and pack equipment in this color lately, no doubt due to the ongoing wars. (The same goes for the M4-styled buttstock). It’s a poor color for hunting camouflage anywhere except a desert environment, where shots of several hundred yards are the rule, and this really is a sub-100 yard gun. But I suspect most will be used for plinking and target shooting where camouflage is not terribly important 😉

I am a little concerned about the introduction of a large caliber airgun with energies in this range into the mass market; this will make them a lot more visible to the BATF, who so far have been happy to ignore airguns, which allows us to buy them by mail, attach moderators and fire them within city limits. But the proliferation of guns in this caliber and range might result in sweeping changes to the law that would at best define airgun above a certain power level as firearms, and at worst, define all airgun as firearms- and that would pretty much destroy the sport as we know it. Crosman says that these guns are “recommended” for adult use, which strikes me as a very weak caution. Would you say that a .38 Special is “recommended” for adult use only?A miss from even a 20 foot-pound gun in .22 isn’t going to penetrate the external walls of a house. This gun can do so easily.

Neither Pyramid Air nor Cabelas, the two current retailers, offer any particular cautions about the power of this gun in their listings. I’d like to see both Crosman and the retailers  work to make sure prospective buyers understand that this is a very powerful weapon that must be treated like a firearm. (Yes, all airguns should be handled like firearms, but you know what I mean.) Hopefully the $1,299 price tag will keep these out of the hands of children and others who might misuse them.

Update: Crosman sent out an email the other day saying that the gun is now available at Cabelas and other select retailers.