Webley & Scott VMX Cub
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- Last updated: 04/03/2020
When you come to think about it, what could be more important for our shooting sports, than the next generation of youngsters getting involved? For it’s their input and activity that will keep everything ticking over, and it’s their participation, and eventually their investment in hardware, that will keep the manufacturers going.
A basic observation, but one which we can easily be blasé about, losing sight of important priorities in the process.
Well I’m pleased to say that the heartening news is that many manufacturers are waking up to the fact that they really do need to produce some specialist models, aimed particularly at juniors and ladies; and a slow trickle of such products over the last couple of years, is just what we have seen.
On test here is the brandnew junior spring powered model from Webley, the Webely VMX Cub, and it pretty well stopped me in my tracks at the British Shooting Show earlier in the year. Highland Outdoors are the UK distributors of the famous old Webley brand, and they had the Cub on show alongside its larger adult stable mate, the VMX Classic.
Put them alongside each other, and the VMX Cub is basically a perfectly scaled down version of the classic, aimed especially at the smaller, younger shot, and deliberately low powered so as to help in that task. Low power where spring guns are concerned means an easier cocking stroke, lighter trigger (as there’s less kinetic mainspring poundage to hold back), and ultimately, less recoil. All plus points, so what do we get with this model?
As stated, the VMX Cub is a traditional spring piston powered model, using the time-honoured break barrel action. There’s a Powr Lok mainspring, two stage trigger, chequered hardwood stock, adjustable breech, fibre optic open sights, cocking aid, rubber buttpad, auto safety catch, and arrestor block built in.
Everything feels well-made and apart from some slightly dull chemical bluing, the standard of finish and machining is well up to scratch. Look to the breech, and the fact that there is a tension adjustment bolt complete with keeper screw, shows great attention to detail. Fibre optic open sights are fitted as mentioned, and the fully adjustable rear sight sports userfriendly finger wheels and a good sight picture. At 5.75lbs, this gun is significantly lighter than the adult version, and that is achieved by a scaled down hardwood stock, some two-inches shorter. Laser cut chequering is still applied, and the small Webley brand name incorporated, along with that sleek reddish-brown pad looks neat and smart.
Much reduced internal components and a reduced length compression cylinder keep power to around 5- and 6ft/lbs, and this is perfect for younger shots, where ease of handling is the priority, not full power.
Testing this sort of Junior spec rifle is all very well, but occasionally, it does pay to actually get input from the target audience; and here I temporarily roped in young James at my club, who is rapidly proving to be a damn good shot but still occasionally struggles with the hardware that he’s expected to use. James found cocking the action, with its short stroke, fairly easy, and the VMX Cub actually very manageable overall. His small hands sat perfectly on the grip, and with the reduced length of pull everything all seemed to fall into place. That’s a big tick for the design team then.
Much of the styling of this cub is classic Webley and reminds me of my own first gun, the Webley Vulcan. The breech area and forend literally follow that pattern, and it reminded me of the fact that when I started, I only shot with open sights for quite a while, before eventually giving in to the lure of a scope, so given the target audience that’s what I decided to do with this Cub.
Super bright fibre optics are a great start, and whilst I was initially confused at the direction of the finger wheel for windage (oh dear… these novices) everything is marked up clearly, even though it defies logic! A few clicks here… and a few clicks there, and I soon had an acceptable zero…. so time for some careful grouping. I haven’t shot open sights properly for some while, but on walking up to the target at 25-yards, I was pleasantly surprised, with a 5 shot group just a whisker over an inch in diameter. A good start of course, but as it turned out, happily no fluke either… with regular groups around the inch easily achieved, shot from my padded over arm FT stance.
A yearning to see what I could push this little gun to do, soon had me fitting a scope on board, and an ultra-compact 2-7x32 Hawke model seemed to complement the Cub perfectly, locked in against the built-in arrestor block. Sub 3/4inch c-t-c, and I retired happy. My old Vulcan was a winner, but the trigger was truly awful. Well no such criticism can be levelled at its modern counterpart here, and whilst the mechanism does gently creep, the let off and overall feel is extremely favourable. That automatic Omega-style safety catch at the rear, is super smooth too, so yes, my shooting experience overall was extremely positive.
In short then, the diminutive little Webley VMX Cub is difficult to fault. But we’ll go further than that faint praise… it’s a brilliant little junior rifle, with some serious performance potential which will reward youngsters as they develop. And that surely, is all we can hope for. Nice one, Webley!