Webley & Scott shotgun

The ad-Vantage is all yours

Webley & Scott shotgun an entry-level winner, says John McDougall

Since contracting their operations to Italy from Turkey, traditional English gunmaker Webley & Scott has progressively overcome a few shortfalls in production which has resulted in a marked improvement in their shotguns. The latest model is no exception with the finish on their Vantage Sporter simply first class, including striking woodwork and a keen detail for both wood-to-metal and metal-to-metal fit.

The most striking improvement has been in the trigger mechanism as those earlier Turkish models were fitted with quite an agricultural affair, though this latest Italian-made gun has left that well and truly behind with triggers nicely weighted and very responsive. For a shotgun priced below the $1900 mark it represents good value and, with a five-year warranty, peace of mind is assured. So let’s take a look at the Webley & Scott Vantage Sporter 12-gauge shotgun.


These are impeccably blued with no sign of residual solder or flux, something which had been noticeable on Turkish-made models I reviewed 10 years ago. The side ribs run the full length without being ventilated while the top ventilated rib measures 5mm and features a brass bead at the muzzle. There’s no-mid bead which was a little disappointing for a Sporter but this can be fitted aftermarket at an affordable price if desired.

At the muzzle end the barrels are fitted with interchangeable choke tubes, five provided with the gun and all fully internal fitting and measuring 50mm. The flat spanner for removal of the chokes is functional though I’d favour an aftermarket Briley speed wrench for improved ease of use.

At the chamber end the gun is suited to 76mm or 3” chambered cartridges. This is handy for use in water-fowling but be aware the instruction book advises no tighter than half choke when using steel shot as the gun is steel shot proofed for High Performance loads. The sides of the monobloc have an interesting jewel polishing pattern to retain lubricants which is a bonus.

The ejectors are automatic and generally well-timed, occasionally ejecting both shells after only one barrel has been fired. This is a tad frustrating but something which can be easily adjusted by a competent gunsmith or under the five-year warranty, so not a major concern just an occasional nuisance. The barrels are finished well beyond what I found on earlier Turkish-made guns, a credit to the Italian manufacturer and of course Webley & Scott’s quality assurance.


Engraving about the stylish receiver is imposed by a spark erosion process. There were a few stray marks on the receiver but overall the scroll engraving suited the gun perfectly, remembering the latest model Vantage sells for below $1900. It’s an entry level affair so far as a sporting shotgun is concerned but given the Vantage’s attributes, including the marvellous Turkish walnut, this is a reasonable purchase if not just for a field gun (more on that later).

Design of the top lever is excellent with a little engraving to give a firm and positive action. The safety catch/barrel selector is on the top tang, a traditional position for many modern guns and convenient location for quick barrel selection or to apply the safety when required. Design of the trigger-guard and trigger-foot is very good, affording plenty of room for those who shoot with thin leather gloves. The trigger-foot isn’t adjustable for length of pull but sufficiently placed and comfortable for most shooters. Trigger pulls were a little heavy at just over 5lb each (2.268kg) and I reckon I’d have my gunsmith lighten these to 4lb or even 3½lb if using the gun in competition.

One feature I really like is the fact the triggers are mechanically activated compared to the inertia triggers found on most modern guns. Mechanically activated triggers allow for a second shot in the event of a misfire, whereas inertia triggers provide nothing unless you’re super-fast on the barrel selector. With inertia triggers, if the first barrel misfires the selector and cocking mechanism won’t allow a second shot to be fired so I view the mechanical system as a huge advantage, especially if you take it out in the field.

Stock and fore-end

The stock and fore-end are made from quality Turkish walnut you may not even find on a $7000 gun with the grain, colour and character just superb. The European style cheekpiece on the left of the stock (for a right-handed shooter) is a classic touch which gave the gun a good mount, with my preferred right eye looking straight down the rib. Density of the wood is another plus and helped balance the Vantage perfectly.

I was also impressed to find a slip pad attached to the butt of the stock, this being a style of recoil pad with a plastic cap on top to let clothing slip away as the gun is mounted. I feel not enough people practice correct gun mounting whereby the stock is lifted outward as the mount begins then brought into the shoulder which doesn’t require such a butt pad style. The stock doesn’t have an adjustable comb-piece which can cost an additional $350-$500.

Out and about

The Vantage Sporter performed well on more than several rounds of sporting clays, with a few friends who fired it remarking on how light it felt at 3.4kg (7½lb). The gun moved fairly quickly, felt well balanced and despite the triggers being a little heavy were a great improvement on earlier models reviewed.

I used the gun to shoot a few quail in season and found the chokes hard-hitting and very even in their pattern using Clever size 8 Trap loads supplied for testing. I didn’t have a chance to try it on waterfowl but I think using HP steel shot loads travelling in excess of 1500fps you’d need every bit of comfort from that recoil pad. Shooting lighter 28-gram Clever loads was a pleasure on clays and quail, with next to no recoil and superb patterns from the short 50mm choke tubes.

At around $1890 over the counter, this new-model Webley & Scott Vantage Sporter represents excellent value all things considered, being a lightweight little shotgun offering additional versatility for hunting that could be quite comfortably carried all day.


Distributor: Outdoor Sporting Agencies
Model: Webley & Scott Vantage Sporter (new model)
Overall length: 1210mm/47 ¾”
Barrel length: 760mm/30”
Overall weight: 3.4kg/7lb 8oz
Barrel weight: 1.5kg/3lb 5oz
Bore size and diameter: 12-gauge, under 0.724”, over: 0.721”
Chamber length and proof: 76mm/3” chamber, HP Steel shot proof (steel shot loads not recommended over Modified choke)
Forcing cones: Standard
Chokes: 50mm fully internal choke tubes with flat choke key supplied. Cylinder: 0.723”, Improved Cylinder: 0.714”, Modified: 0.703”, Improved Modified: 0.694”, Full: 0.690”
Trigger pulls: Under/over both 2.3kg/5lb
Stock dimensions: Length of pull: 380mm/15”, drop at comb: 1½”, drop at heel: 2¼”
Price: Around $1900 with five-year warranty

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