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Mike Yarldey reviews this attractive Webley & Scott 20-bore, that offers fantastic value for money and would be the ideal gun for walked-up shooting
* The price
* The quality of finish
*The well-proven design and good specification
WE DON’T LIKE
* The trigger pulls
Action type: trigger plate with stud pin hinging and full width single bolt
Barrels: 27 1/2” (70cm)
Chokes: multi – 5 supplied
Weight: about 6 3/4lbs.
Warranty: 3 years
RRP: £999 inc. vat
Now that the game season has begun, we’re looking at a Webley & Scott 1020 20-bore over-and-under this month – one of a range of new 1000 series guns on offer from the firm. It is Italian made, which is notable, as recently many shotguns bearing the Webley & Scott name have been manufactured in Turkey. The test gun has a competitive RRP of £999. It is brought into the UK by Highland Outdoors, which now owns the Webley name.
First impressions are generally very good. It’s a modernistic design, and quite typical of many mass-produced ‘Euro guns’ coming out of Gardonne these days; this is no bad thing, as the standards of production there are so high nowadays with the use of CNC machining and laser engraving. The action has a bright-ish coin finish and is pleasantly engraved. The fairly short 27½” barrels are multi-choked (five supplied).
This is an attractive little gun with game scene decoration on its brightly finished, asymmetrically scalloped action. There are ducks and pheasants on the walls of the action, and scrollwork on the belly and the trigger guard. The styling will appeal to many – it is in good taste and well executed. All the new Webley guns are similar in this respect. The test gun, like the others in the range, is generally well finished too.
Mounting the 1020 confirms an initial impression of a solid, compact gun. My scales sadly decided to give up the ghost for this test, but I would estimate the weight at around 6¾lbs. The Webley comes up without a glitch, but the 27½” barrelled test piece still felt a little muzzle heavy – the balance point was significantly forward of the hinge pin. Some people prefer this; generally, it is my preference in long-barrelled guns, but not in mid-length ones. Nevertheless, it would be easily remedied if so desired with a little lead in the butt. The 1020 presents a good sight picture, the stock shapes are comfortable, and the dimensions are on the money. It has a slight palm swell, a feature of which I am not normally especially fond, but which is inoffensive here.
The full pistol grip was quite tightly radiused and secured the hand well with a subtle palm swell, as noted. The grip, moreover, was of fairly even depth throughout its length – something I always like to see. The rear hand achieves excellent purchase (and thus control) and would not be encouraged to slip in recoil. The stock, which is fitted with a modern, soft, but not sticky, recoil pad just under 1” in length is made from plainly figured, quite lightly coloured wood finished in matt oil with neat laser-cut chequering. The schnabel fore-end was well shaped and pleasantly slim. The lip to the front is quite subtle and might easily be removed if so desired by those who prefer to extend the front hand.
The stock of the 1020 was a cut above the average with regard to form and specification. The Italians have long been Trap shooters, and this has influenced them profoundly in the past; they are beginning to understand the needs of the British market, however. The comb here is well tapered and not too thick. The length of pull with the efficient recoil pad supplied was a full 15”, i.e. longer than in the past. Drop at the front of the comb was 13/8” and 21/8” at heel, which are the dimensions I would have specified myself. There is slight cast for a right-hander. Wood-to-metal fit is impeccable. At the price point, one can only be impressed.
Turning to the barrels, the 1020 bears Italian proof marks for 3” (76mm) cartridges. The bores are marked 15.9mm for diameter, which is about average for a modern 20-bore. Forcing cones in front of the chambers are of mid length. The barrels and chokes are steel shot friendly. The barrels are made from chrome-moly steel and, of course, of monobloc construction (which is near universal now). They have the usual band of engraving around the joins between tube and monobloc. The joints themselves are well done with no visible gaps. The sides of the monobloc are engine turned, which pleases the eye. The general standard of the barrels, especially bearing in mind the price point, is good, with deep bluing over well-polished surfaces. Striking up externally is competent, with no rivelling or major imperfection visible. Internal presentation is similarly impressive.
Barrels and chokes apart, there is not that much to report with regard to the mechanical design of the gun. The action – which is CNC machined from block steel – is of typical Italian mid-market pattern under its surface, with stud pins at the knuckles, like a Beretta, and a full-width bolt meeting a bite beneath the bottom chamber mouth, like a Browning. How often we have seen this arrangement! The plan is sound, however, and well proven. This is an evolved boxlock design with hammers powered by coil springs pivoting off the bottom strap. The internal mechanics are sound and simple when the stock is removed. The safety and barrel selector on the top strap are well proportioned. The top lever is of mid length and efficient in operation. The trigger is recoil operated, and the trigger blade itself is gold plated.
I shot the 1020 at my usual test venue beginning on a skeet range. It was a solid performer. It did not recoil excessively, everything functioned as it should. The 6mm vented rib, which has a brass bead at the muzzles, presented a good picture to the eye and was well-laid with the usual non-reflective, crosshatch-machined top surface. Overall gun weight, something under 7lbs, seemed well suited to a modern 20-bore (my 32” 20-bore game guns hit the scale at about 7lbs 3oz. and I often stuff an ounce of shot through them in the field). The test gun’s weight is about the same as a traditional bench-made 12-bore side-by-side game gun. The 1020 produced good kills on the clays with half and three quarter chokes fitted (my preference in a 20 is for a bit of choke). My only significant criticism was that the trigger pulls were a bit heavy and this can affect one’s timing. I found myself using the first joint of the trigger finger rather than the pad to compensate for this. Overall, though, I would rate the 1020 highly at its price point. It is a solid, well-presented gun at a fair price. It would be just the ticket for walking up some grouse, which is what I am now off to do!
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