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Webley & Scott 3000

Webley & Scott 3000

As time goes by, it’s relatively safe to say that the side-by-side shotguns are finding ever fewer buyers. Reason being that the over-under format is virtually everywhere and for the vast majority of shooters, the accepted standard barrel layout of a double-barrelled shotgun. To a degree that’s how its become, the over-under far more adept at taking on a multitude of tasks be it game or pigeon shooting, clay breaking, duck flighting or even vermin control. But there was a time when the side-by-side ruled, the upstart over-under nothing more than a gimmick that would probably fall rapidly out of favour.

The Modern Side-By-Side

Nowadays the side-by-side is often looked upon as the choice of either the hardened old-timer wildfowler or the preferred choice of the upmarket game shooter. However, if priced right and, (more importantly) built correctly, a side-by-side is an elegant affair, has distinct handling and balancing qualities and still has a much deserved place in the heart of a true shotgunner. A graceful sidelock is still a thing of beauty, the graceful lines combined with a straight English stock testament as to why these smoothbores have their place in modern shooting.

But wait, a modern sidelock side-by-side costs a small fortune doesn’t it? Well no it doesn’t, especially if you set your sights’ on one of Webley & Scott’s 3000 models. A range of true sidelocks that are tangible proof that you can own a modern, well engineered game gun for a fraction of the price other makers will charge, these Turkish built shotguns have become like the rest of the W&S range and many potential buyers now know you can own a genuine sidelock of this quality at this price.

As It Comes

Although there are a whole host of options, the listing of which I’ll go into later, the W&S 3000 side-by-side 20g as tested has proven to be one of the most popular. Starting with the stock, a checkered concealed buttplate flows into a classic, straight grip English-style stock, more fine checkering around the slim grip and neck before a pair of neat drop-points lead into the stock head, all of which is formed from straight grained, semi-oiled Turkish walnut, a matching splinter forend rounding off the furniture.

Long, elegant and superbly struck, blacked 30” chopper lump barrels culminate in 3” chambers, a brass bead and a raised 4 – 7mm rib sat above and not between the tubes, a format that for many including myself is the preferred side-by-side layout. But for me it’s the action that sets this shotgun apart, the colour case hardened effect to my mind one of the most attractive finishes that any game gun can be possessed of. Covering the entire surface area with neat scroll work around the edges it’s the seven pins of the sidelock along with the gold, cocking indicators that are the true ornamentation, their forty-five degree angle confirming the 3000 is ready for the next bird, only the subdued Webley & Scott name along the base interrupting the action’s visual simplicity.

Long, elegant and superbly struck, blacked 30” chopper lump barrels culminate in 3” chambers, a brass bead and a raised 4 – 7mm rib sat above and not between the tubes, a format that for many including myself is the preferred side-by-side layout. But for me it’s the action that sets this shotgun apart, the colour case hardened effect to my mind one of the most attractive finishes that any game gun can be possessed of. Covering the entire surface area with neat scroll work around the edges it’s the seven pins of the sidelock along with the gold, cocking indicators that are the true ornamentation, their forty-five degree angle confirming the 3000 is ready for the next bird, only the subdued Webley & Scott name along the base interrupting the action’s visual simplicity.

Locked Out

Meant primarily for the gunsmith to maintain the gun, or the owner to add a touch of lubricant or allow the gun to dry after a day in the rain, removal of the sidelocks is a simple affair although one that shouldn’t be carried out just for the novelty of it.

Firstly, with the barrels removed and the safety catch engaged, unscrew the extended securing pin located just above the six main pins in an anticlockwise manner on the left side of the action. For those not so sure this is the pin that looks like a miniature top-lever even down to the checkering on the lobe.

Once the pin frees and can be withdrawn, screw this pin into the small hole that has appeared within the scroll engraving on the right hand side of the action but only by about four turns. All that now remains is to pull gently and the lock will come away. The one thing you must now ensure you don’t do is poke about at the mechanism unless you know what you’re doing or lose the pin. Either way needless prodding or loss of the pin will render not only extra cost but an embarrassing visit to your gunsmith.

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  • Webley & Scott 3000 - image {image:count}

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  • Webley & Scott 3000 - image {image:count}

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  • Webley & Scott 3000 - image {image:count}

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  • Webley & Scott 3000 - image {image:count}

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  • Webley & Scott 3000 - image {image:count}

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  • Webley & Scott 3000 - image {image:count}

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  • Webley & Scott 3000 - image {image:count}

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  • Webley & Scott 3000 - image {image:count}

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To reassemble, holding the lock plate by the pin with which you extracted it, firstly you need to locate the small detent back into the corresponding slot where the lock tapers down beneath the floor of the action. Then lay the lock down back into the cut out of the stock head, depress the right cocking lever and the whole mechanism will drop back into place all of its own accord. All that remains is to unscrew the retaining pin before relocating back on the left side of the action, pushing it back though the small positioning hole until it reengages with the right hand lock plate and screwing back into place until just about finger tight. Remember you are locating and securing not clamping down tight.

Smooth

With regret it was only a selection of Bond & Bywaters clay targets that were to be had whilst evaluating the 3000. However this W&S 20g certainly didn’t embarrass itself, although it is fair to say that it is most definitely a game gun first and foremost. Weight wise the 3000 20g tips the scales at 6lbs 9oz whilst the balance point just in front of the hinges means the overall length of 47 7/16” has the effect of producing a neutral effect in respect of the handling.

Drops at comb and heel of 1 7/16” and 2¼” in conjunction with a 14½” length of pull add to the 3000’s slender feel, even the heavier than expected 7lbs average trigger release seemingly inkeeping. As expected and as confirmed by the Arrow Laser Shot, the 3000 shot slightly high, a trait of most game guns especially side-by-sides since it adds on a few feet of lead when taking driven, overhead birds or engaging a walked-up bird as it flushes from ground level.

Choked ¼ in the right and ¾ in the left barrel and loaded up with Eley CT20 competition load, the 3000 proved comfortable to shoot, easy to direct and effortless to swing, the centred weight meaning once the swing was induced the momentum was easily maintained. Switching the chokes to produce the ‘cock-bored’ effect of tighter right muzzle with a wider restriction in the left, where the 3000 is more than capable as an all-rounder, ideal as a walked-up, it is in its true element as a driven gun.

As soon as the barrels achieve the vertical the centred weight means the gun arcs with next to no effort required from the shooter, everything about the gun is smooth and unhurried. The barrels carve slowly through the air adding those all important few inches forward that the shooter failed to dial in, a significant bonus for those such as myself, a bad back meaning I have to shoot driven birds from my back foot. The W&S 3000 making this less than perfect style far more physically palatable since it works with the shooter and not against them. Similarly, in the walked-up position of the gun coming up to the shoulder as the shooter leans forwards and into the stock, the 3000 is nigh on instinctive the shot finding the target fractions of a second after shoulder and butt have connected.

Like No Other

Where the W&S 3000’s differ from the rest is in the choices offered. Unlike other makers who add on hundreds if not thousands of pounds if the potential customer wants something slightly different from the base model, W&S don’t. This means that for £4,499 you can have the 20g as tested or if you prefer the 12g version.

Similarly 28” or 30” barrels, fixed or thin wall multi-chokes single or double triggers or a straight English-style game stock or one with a pistol grip all for the exact same price. The only option that doesn’t come as standard is a travelling case but since Highland Outdoors have a vast selection of those at a variety of prices then that side is taken care of as well.

Apart from the price, the options remain the same if for whatever reason you’d prefer an over-under; all you have to do is add a £1,000 onto the cost of the side-by-side. But at less than £6,000 whichever W&S3000 sidelock you go for costs at least a quarter of the price of other sidelocks or even certain boxlock shotguns.

If you’ve previously shot with a sidelock you’ll understand as to why this design of lockwork feels different, if not go and handle a 3000. All sidelocks have a feel about them that sets them apart, the way they feel, the fact that the lockwork is set slightly further back, the feel of the trigger release along with the fact they look elegant, one of the main reasons so many upmarket boxlocks are fitted with sideplates, the extra metal increasing the surface area on which the engraver can expand their skills and artistic renditions. One of the other benefits of sidelock ownership is that they tend to hold their money slightly better, the desirability factor built in.

Shooting Companion

In 20g guise as a shooting companion whose friendship you’ll seek out on an increasing basis, the W&S3000 as tested will quickly become the shotgun you reach for especially for early season birds. On walked-up grouse, early partridge and, once your confidence has built up, on driven or any other type of game shooting, this deft and dextrous little gun will be the equal of any gun around it, even those other sidelocks that cost ten times that of the W&S. My only other comment is to ensure you go for the multi-choke version, not only because its almost impossible to see the thin wall chokes when they’re fitted, but the fact you can vary the muzzle restrictions adds true versatility to a beautifully styled and perfectly executed modern interpretation of a classic English shotgun. GM

gun
features

  • Name: Webley & Scott 3000 Side-by-Side
  • Calibre: 20 bore
  • Capacity: 2
  • Barrel: 30”
  • Action: 7-pin sidelock
  • Stock: English Game
  • Weight: 6lbs 9oz
  • Chokes: Thin wall multi-chokes

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