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Webley & Scott Xocet

Webley & Scott Xocet

I first saw the Xocet last year at the IWA and the guys on the Highland Outdoors stand were getting very excited by it. Eye-catching was the carbon fibre-wrapped bull barrel and the tactical-style version (WSRX22CF) and its big box mag. Intriguing was the fact it was built by GSG (German Sport Guns), who make some nice reproduction military semi-autos. So this would be their first production bolt-gun excluding the SPA 17/22 straight-pull! Target

Who’s the father?

Inspiration for the Xocet comes from CZ’s 452 and 455 bolt-action rimfires. The bolt even shows the identical lateral safety catch and retains the familiar stiffness any CZ owner will confirm. Like the 455, the rifle is available in the three, top rimfire calibres: 22 Long Rifle, 22Winchster Magnum Rimfire and 17Hornady Magnum Rimfire and uses a common receiver. Barrels are retained by twin grub screws at the lower front of the receiver at 4 and 8 o’clock. Feed is from common size, calibre-dedicated 5 or 10-shot box mags, which is a simpler solution than the 455’s spacer system.

The stock is a reasonable piece of synthetic and offers a decent, 14” length of pull, raised comb and vestigial gripping hook underneath, plus QD sling studs and is ambidextrous in build. The forend is full and textured, gripping sections are moulded on the sides and also on the upright pistol grip.

The receiver is closed-topped and comes with a 4.25” Picatinny rail as standard; nice touch! Unusually, the action is not steel, as it felt too warm and a magnet confirmed it’s an alloy, just guessing here but it’s probably Zamak, Mazak or similar, which are zinc alloys that GSG use a lot on their semis. However, it has a hard coating to make it more resistant to wear. Equally, and though the bolt body is steel, the handle and locking lug is also alloy, as is the safety catch lever.

Option 2 please?

As can be seen, the Xocet is a reasonably conventional, bolt action design; albeit rather racey looking. However, you get two options on the barrel, which reflects the price point, which being from Highland is very good; they also offer a package deal that includes a scope, mounts and moderator. Option 1 (WSRX22) is the standard sporter weight steel tube, but Option 2, the WSRX22CF, is something just a bit different, as it’s a carbon fibre-wrapped design.

If you’re not familiar let me explain! We all know that a heavier or bull barrel, due to its inherent rigidity, has the potential to shoot better. But weight is the issue, certainly in a rimfire, as you get a very nose-heavy design. However, you can achieve the same effect by using a slimmer barrel (rifled liner) in this case steel, 7mm outside diameter (O/D), which is then wrapped in carbon fibre to give a thick 23mm O/D body. An end cap is then screwed on to the muzzle to tension the liner, which all adds up to a solid and consistent design. Plus the carbon fibre looks really cool.

This style has been all the rage on 22 semi-auto rifles like Ruger’s 10/22 for competition shooting for many years. Both Sporter and Carbon models are threaded 1/2x 20” UNF for the standard rimfire moddy. To be honest, neither option is expensive and the carbon barrel only adds another £35 to the bottom line, so would be an automatic choice for me! Highland offers a 3-year guarantee with the Xocet!

The package

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From the box, you get the rifle, with 2 x 10-round mags, thread protector, screwdriver and a dogleg cleaning brush for ether £314.99 (WSRX22) or £349.99 (WSRX22CF). Not too bad but there’s more; as you can buy the rifles as a combo package that includes a Nikko Stirling 3-9x50 Panamax scope, Match Master 1” mounts and an aimSport 22 Rimfire, muzzle-mounted moderator.

I’ve used the Panamax quite a bit over the last two years and have to say it’s a good design, be it for an air rifle or rimfire. It features a 1” body tube and parallaxadjustable objective bell. The aimSport AIM40045-111 moddy is available in either ½x20 UNF and ½x28 UNEF thread forms, in both .22 and .17 bore sizes and is an efficient and compact design. In either rifle option the combo package adds just £150 to the bottom line, which is a saving of around £70 if you were to buy these items separately; nice one!

Oddly enough, the PDF I was sent says the trigger is adjustable, but I could find no information in the instruction manual, though I assumed the small screwdriver was the tool for the job. It’s easy to do, as you only need to take the bolt out (press and hold the trigger, lift the bolt and draw it rearwards) and not the action from the stock. Looking down into the rear of the bolt channel, you’ll see a round hole just behind the sear. Drop in the screwdriver, engage the slot and turn clockwise to reduce the pressure and anti-clock to increase it. To be honest, I found the minimum setting ideal, giving as it did a crisp 3 lb break with just a hint of creep, and was easily readable!

The look & feel

Handling the Xocet for the first time brings up some comments. The bolt lever is inlet flush into the side of the stock, with only the knob protruding. At first, I thought this would make operation difficult, but that was not the case, as the side of your trigger finger hits the knob and lifts the lever for easy access. The trigger blade is configured like the Savage AccuTrigger, with a dummy inner blade, it serves no purpose and I found this dressing up for the sake of it annoying!

The magazine fills and feeds easily, but much like the Legacy Sports box mag conversion for the Howa 1500, it has the release lever at the front of the well and it’s totally exposed. It’s secure in what it does but easy enough to accidently operate. It’s not a problem if you are aware of it, but don’t forget! It would have been better to copy how CZ does it with the 455, as that’s smaller and less obtrusive. The safety is stiff and noisy in operation and is a struggle to set and take off, but it seems logical it will smooth up with use!

Ammo up

With a scope and moddy already sorted, I decided to add a bipod, in this case, and in keeping with the lightweight and carbon approach of the WSRX22CF, I fitted a Javelin bipod from Spartan Precision using their external socket mount. It adds minimal weight, looks good and offers adjustable legs and both cant and swivel facilities. Plus, as it’s magnetically attached, it’s easy ON/OFF! I decided just to use sub-sonic ammunition, as that’s pretty much what the majority of shooters will feed it, being primarily a hunting rifle.

I chose three brands that have always given good service. Fiocchi 40-grain, Winchester 42-grain and RWS 40-grain all being hollow points. I initially had problems with consistency but after about 50-rounds that went away; just getting the barrel run in I assume? One thing I also noticed with the carbon fibre tube was the amount of tension you screw the moddy on with also seemed to affect point of impact slightly. Pinching it just tight gave a group on the point of aim, but giving it more pressure moved it about ½”. Something to be aware off if you store your gun with the moddy off!

With all that sorted, and me now familiar with the rifle, it was time to see what it could do. Accuracy was very good, with solid ½” groups at 50-yards from the Fiocchi and the Winchester with the RWS just stepping outside of that a tad. These translated into 1” @ 100-yards as expected, so more than capable of head shots on rabbits and also good target potential in club comps if you prefer. Feed, extraction and ejection were 100%. From being a little dubious about a new design, as I always am with any rifle, the Webley & Scott Xocet turned out to be a good overall gun. My one niggle is the magazine catch, as you must bear it in mind at all times!

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