Webley & Scott 920 SP
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- Last updated: 20/08/2021
I liked the Webley and Scott (W&S) 1012 shotgun we tested a while ago, so this new 900 series over and under from W&S should be equally as good. They do feel different to me, a bit better handling and the fit and finish is superior too. The new 900 series are available in various guises with black, silvered or engraved actions, but this model on test is the 920 SP, which denotes a 20-gauge, side plated version. Both the 20 and 12-gauge models are 3” chambered and available with either 28 or 30” barrels.
The highlights for this model are that it’s slimline and comes with some good handling characteristics, coupled to a steel Boxlock action with scroll engraved side plate design. It comes with steel shot proofed barrels as well as a Hi-Viz front sight and solid mid-rib. Five flush-fit interchangeable chokes are supplied. The design is actually catered for the UK, to suit our shotguns needs, which makes a change. The styling of the walnut stock and forend are familiar to us and not too European profiled.
All W&S shotguns carry a 5-year warranty so you know you are in safe hands. This model is priced at £1049.99 whilst a standard Boxlock version retails for £819.99. They represent good value for money.
W&S stocks do fit universally well, even my lanky body, and this 900 series with generous proportions has a long length of pull at a full 14.75”. I like that, it suits me perfectly. The butt stock has a small amount of cast to perfectly align the eye down the rib and the comb is quite straight, so under recoil, the cheek is not bruised.
The pistol grip is comfortable and has a good rake, plus an almost flared base to help support the hand, which does seem to stop slippage and help with correct handling. I am not sure I like the more modern looking four panelled chequering to the pistol grip and forend, I prefer the deep cut type, for grip. The forend is long and slender, finished with a subtle Schnabel tip and lends itself to a multi-position stance for different types of shooting position. The walnut stock is quite nice and this SP version has a dark colour with grain, but quite plain figuring, although nice and strong through the pistol grip.
It is nicely finished with a semi-matt oil and this simple yet well-proportioned stock, is finished off with a solid rubber black recoil pad for additional grip. Its overall design may look pretty standard but on a lighter 20-gauge, its proportions do a good job of soaking up recoil, even with the stiffer loads.
The gun shows a typical single piece, steel Boxlock-type action with monobloc construction, with the low profile opening up on stub pins set into the inside action wall faces. To lock the monobloc to the action itself, there is a total width bolt that engages the bite at the bottom of the monobloc, which is very smooth and precise for a more secure lock-up.
Being the SP model, the action has additional plates to the side panels of the action so that more engraving can be applied. To this end, you have scroll and floral designs which are of a finer and higher grade when compared to the standard Boxlock 900 version. This model was finished in a nice greyed/ silver finish that complimented the blued barrels nicely.
The top lever has a concentric swirl, grooved pattern for additional grip and the top of the tang has a small amount of engraving, plus there is a blued steel, sliding manual safety catch. You do get an additional auto safety to convert this model if you so desire, however, it’s worth noting that to fit this part the stock needs to come off and hammer springs and sears need to be removed. It’s easily done and pops right in between both sears. It is held in place by these so as the action opens, the engagement of the new auto safety part moves the safety button to safe. Overall, the internals of the action are all well finished and as a whole, the action locks up tight, yet is still easy to open.
The firing mechanism is simple and uncomplicated, with pivoting coil springs powering the hammers with a good degree of force. There are captive cocking levers with the hammers that engage the ejectors when fired, which are well-timed together. Also, and I prefer this, the hammers are mechanical, not inertia, so each pull drops a firing pin on a cartridge and does not rely on the first shot to set the second barrels hammer. The trigger is gold washed and smooth with a generous guard to fit most hand sizes. For a shotgun, the sear release is very nice, with little reset between the mechanical barrel firing sequence.
This model came with a nice set of 28” barrels, which to me is ideal on a lightweight 20-gauge. They make it that bit easier to tote the gun around the fields after vermin or longer clay sessions. The 8mm top rib shows ten even vents, whilst the mid-rib remains solid. The monobloc sides are well jewelled for looks and also to retain oil for a smooth action opening.
Seeing as the barrels are 3” chambered, all manner of 20-gauge cartridges can be used. They are magnum proofed and steel shot can be shot safely through them. There is only one sight, that being a red Hi-Viz lozenge at the muzzles, and it does really stand out against a multitude of backgrounds as well as the bright sky.
The gun comes supplied with a set of five flush fit chokes, which are contained in a plastic container, complete with a choke key. There is a choice of skeet up to full and being a steel shot proofed barrel, you can safely use up to ½ choke with steel shot. They are well made and are easy to fit and remove.
With the ¼ and ½ chokes fitted, these 20-gauges makes for a great all-rounder that can be used for casual clays or some great walked up vermin control. I prefer the latter and this is what we did. We forewent the usual pattern board tests and choose to set up cardboard rabbit cutouts at differing ranges, to see how the 920 SP handled a few simulated rabbits. Jake then shot a round on GB Shooting’s clay ground using Pro Twenties and managed an impressive 80% kill rate, with some challenging crossers, doubles and some ultra-fast springing teal. We did not shoot any steel loads but it’s nice to know this twenty is capable of that if you need to.
I ventured off amongst the undergrowth and had a few pigeons and a squirrel using some Eley Zenith cartridges. They are quite poky but in the 920SP they felt quite light to shoot, which is thanks to a good stock design. In fact, it feels very light in the hand for considered or fast shots and I was always looking right down that rib, not sideways on or on top.
Just over the grand mark is a good price point for this shotgun, especially with the side plate addition with higher grade engraving. Although, having said that, a 20-gauge version with standard Boxlock design is still a bargain too. Available in many guises, there will be a W&S 900 series to suit any shooter who just wants to go shooting with a reliable, good patterning and reliable shotgun. In 20-gauge, it’s a lovely trim and handling shotgun, ideal for vermin control but also very capable at the clay ground too.