Webley & Scott 812
By: Mark Stone
After years refusing to test them, Mark Stone finally takes a look at Webley & Scott’s new 812K semi - auto and finds it worthy of the name
Let’s face it; the reincarnation of the great Webley & Scott brand resulted in an historic name being attached to what at heart were out and out piles of junk. OK, you might own one of the few decent ones that escaped the net or one of the Italian built Zoli examples, but on the whole they tended to be poor.
Times though have changed, and under the parentage of new owner’s Highland Outdoors, if this Armsan built 812K 12-bore gas powered semi-auto is anything to go by, we could now be seeing a range of smoothbores worthy of the Webley name.
Looks real enough
From the outset Highland Outdoors haven’t tried to disguise the fact that the 812K’s is Turkish built or that the walnut is as the description suggests, faux. Basically what this means is that when you open the plastic travelling case, the deep, lustrous finished, high grade walnut is actually a synthetic stock and forend with a imitation wood effect finish. That said, until you point out to your fellow shooters that the exhibition wood is actually nothing more than a facade the trompe l’oeil effect works remarkably well. The rest of the 812K looks equally impressive, a lustrous blacked 28” steel proofed barrel complete with a vented 8mm stippled rib runs along the top and culminates in a bright red, lozenge bead and a multi-choke muzzle for which a full set of flush-fits and easy to find orange choke key are supplied.
Take your time
A long barrel extension complete with a deep recessed empty kicker protrudes from the 3” chamber whilst the barrel ring exhibits two deeply set gas escape ports that in turn drive the small, bronze valve that, along with the slide and recoil spring, sit over the magazine tube. Care however must be taken when assembling the 812K. With the single-claw chromed bolt in the battery position, offer the barrel up to the receiver and then, in one unhurried move continue to slide the barrel into place whilst gently drawing the bolt rearwards, the bolt locking automatically just as it does when the last shot has been fired and discharged. If you find the gun doesn’t go together, start again and get the timing of the two manoeuvres more in alignment with each other.
The two tone effect alloy receiver maintains the barrels gloss black along the top of the dovetailed section and partially down each side. From there a soft matte texture takes over acting as a partially subdued background against which the Webley & Scott script and model name have been highlighted in white. The only bright work is the silvered bolt release, semi-matte silver loading gate and bright silver fixed trigger-blade that sits fractionally in front of the noticeably rather small cross-bolt safety located at the rear of the matte black trigger-guard.
In all other aspects the format, layout and overall functional process of the 812K is exactly as you’d find on any other typical semi-automatic. Apart from that there’s actually little else to say, fit, finish and general appearance of this Webley & Scott being as good as any other gun of it’s type, especially in this price bracket.
Bit of both
The 812K is one of those single-barrelled shotguns that feels right the moment you pick it up. It’s a good weight at 7lbs with a balance point just below the 3” chamber. The drops at comb and heel are 1½” and 2 3/8” that combine with a decent pull length of 14 5/8” although the weight of pull is a fraction heavy, but none the less predictable, creep free 7lbs 1oz, all of which meld into a 12 bore that should comfortably fit most shooters.
Shot over a couple of layouts using 28g Express World Cup fibres and a brief outing on crows, the 812K was on the mark within the first ten targets, the cyclic action crisp and precise - as was the rest of the gun.
Like most semis I use, nothing but the ½ choke restriction was called upon, the gun patterning extremely well with nothing but this most versatile of tubes permanently in situ. If the 812K has a minor negative it’s that on fast crossing birds of any type, you’ll have to drive the gun quite hard with your leading hand, the central bias of the weight meaning the muzzle doesn’t gain or maintain any momentum. The plus side is that if handled correctly, the 812K is a great little ‘snap – shot’ weapon as the short session on crows proved, whilst the well conceived angles and measurements ensure felt recoil is kept to a minimum.
A gun worthy of the Webley name
If the 812K is an example of the quality of build and general ability that future Webley & Scott’s will embody then its now safe to say that yes, they’re more than worth their money and yes, the 812K is commendable when it comes to bearing the Webley & Scott name. As an all-rounder, for the asking price of £539, I can’t really fault this neat, well presented little semi, the 812K able to deliver on any task asked of it. The fact that Highland Outdoor’s make no pretence about the gun’s furniture not being what it seems is actually to both the gun’s and the importer’s credit. In other words, the 812K is a budget priced single-barrelled gasser that looks worth considerably more than it cost, and is embodied with a the performance of a semi that cost at least twice as much.
To that end, whether it’s as a starter gun, a clay breaker, duck gun or general purpose semi-auto, if the 812K on test is representative of the range, this is a shotgun I’d thoroughly recommend.
|Name||Webley & Scott 812K|
|Calibre||12 – bore|
|Action||Gas operated semi – auto|
|Chokes||Flush fit multi - ½ only supplied|
|Contact||Highland Outdoors tel. 01858 410683|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates