Webley Premier Air Pistol
Webley Premier Air Pistol
Webley Premier Air Pistols on parade.
Courtesy of Leonardj.
My modest collection of Webley Premiers is for all intents and purposes, complete. There are a couple of sub-variants that I am keeping an eye peeled for, but all the major variations are accounted for.
The Premier was introduced in 1964, and utilized what were thought to be the best features of it's predecessors, the Mark I, and the Senior. Over the course of their production, as engineering changes took place, the guns were marked to denote these changes, dividing the guns into six distinct series. To describe all the changes made from one series to the next would take considerable space, so I have chosen to highlight only what I consider to be the major points. For Further explanation, I suggest reading the Webley Air Pistols book, by Gordon Bruce, or the article "Webley Premier: End of an era" by John Milewski, as presented in the recent Airgun Collector e-magazine.**
This A Series Premier, complete with it's original box, and hang tag is in absolutely pristine condition, almost appearing as though it was never used. The A Series utilized a leather piston seal similar to the Mark I. Four pins were used to fix the trigger guard and trigger components in place.
This B Series Premier, also in it's original box, is likewise in very nice condition, but does show some signs of having been used, although very well cared for. The B Series was the first utilization of a PTFE piston seal in a Webley air pistol.
This C Series Premier resides in a reproduction box that I made up for it. The gun is in excellent condition, appearing to have been used, but again, well cared for. The primary differences in the C Series over it's predecessor were in the trigger components, most notably, the trigger and sear, which were now made of sintered iron, rather than steel.
This D Series Premier, complete with it's original box, came with both .177 and .22 cal barrels. The original sintered barrel latch was broken when I bought it, so the catch was replaced with a steel one from a Senior. Aside from that one detail, the gun is in very well preserved condition. This Series saw the addition of a fifth pin in the trigger group, to limit trigger travel, and the introduction of a sintered iron barrel catch. This Series also saw the introduction of a rubber breech seal, to replace the leather one of previous versions.
This E Series Premier, again, complete with it's original box, is probably the more desirable of the E Series Premiers, this one being the blued steel version, rather than the lacquered version. The gun is in excellent condition and appears little used, and well taken care of. I would still like to add a lacquered E Series to the collection if a suitably clean specimen can be found. In this Series, the piston was modified in an attempt to extract more power from the gun, but most collectors question the success of this endeavor. This Series also saw the introduction of a cast barrel catch that had been reinforced in the areas that proved problematic in the previous sintered catch.
The last of the Mark I Series Premiers, the F Series. This specimen, again in it's original box, is pristine, and appears to have never been shot. The small warning sticker that was apparently initially fastened to the gun, is now stuck to the bottom of the box. It warns the new owner to "1) Make sure the barrel is properly secured before firing", and "2) Do not fire without pellet in barrel". This Series does not seem as well defined as the earlier ones, and seems for the most part to simply indicate a return to the blued steel finish from the lacquered finish seen on later E Series guns. A change in the number of grooves in the rifling of the barrel, from seven to twelve grooves has also been noted.
The Premier Mark II, along with it's original box. Once again, a virtually unused specimen. This was the introduction of the alloy frame, which would be carried over to the subsequent Hurricane, Typhoon, and Tempest models.