Webley & Scott’s 900XS delighted Paul Miller
We reviewed the Webley & Scott 912K over-and-under shotgun in 2011 and were very impressed by its quality of manufacture and even more so by the price it could be bought for at the time and the gun we’re looking at here is basically an upgrade of that one with a more modern look and an interesting weight system incorporated into the stock. The name Webley & Scott is as famous as ever and it’s fair to say they’re well and truly back in the game.
Stock and fore-end
This 12-gauge features a well-matched piece of Turkish walnut in the stock and fore-end that’s sufficiently dense to accommodate the fine and modern laser-cut panelled checkering, the stock of a sporter profile with drop of 1½” at comb and 2¼” at heel (37mm and 57mm), an average set of dimensions for Sporting Clays. Combine this with an adjustable comb and you can really fine-tune gun-fit for a right-handed shooter.
The recoil pad is slim yet well-shaped and provides some recoil reduction, the pistol grip enhanced by a highly comfortable right-handed palm swell which felt unobtrusive even to a leftie like me. The slim fore-end has the thickness of a sporter fore-end but was profiled like a beavertail which felt nice in the hand and a worthwhile compromise of the two styles.
The 900XS incorporates a balancing system called ‘Equipoise’ – four cylindrical weights ranging in 25gm increments from 75g-175g which attach to the stock bolt inside the stock to allow fine tuning of the gun’s balance forward or aft. As it came from the box it was rather front-heavy which I didn’t mind though adding the lightest weight made it feel just right for me. Feel is a strange and personal thing in shotgunning and gun balance is an important contributor to achieving this.
Some people prefer a gun balanced neutrally over the hinge-pin while others prefer it barrel heavy or barrel light – front-heavier tends to smooth out the swing while stock-heavy (barrel light) tends to promote a quicker swing. It’s a matter of personal preference and the Equipoise system allows you to fine-tune balance, quite amazing for the price of this gun compared to other competition shotguns with this type of feature which are vastly more expensive.
The 30” barrels are extremely well made and blued with a hi-viz front sight, chambered for 3” (76mm) shotshells which means heavier shot-loads in longer shells for field shooting can be accommodated. I expect most shooters will stick with 2¾” (70mm) shells for competition or practise but this gun would certainly acquit itself well in the field. The top rib is ventilated and filed along the top to reduce glare and there are two solid side ribs between the barrels.
Five extended chokes are supplied – Skeet through Full as is generally the case nowadays – being matte black which looks rather tasteful and will be appreciated by shooters who don’t normally like the visual aspect of extended chokes. All those I tried destroyed targets at appropriate ranges and were most satisfactory. These chokes are described as being steel-shot proof but I wouldn’t use steel in Three-quarter or Full simply out of caution as it’s just not worth the risk – you get approximately Full choke patterns out a Half choke with steel shot so leave it at that.
The box-lock action has a rather sporty angle to the rear. Most box-locks we see have a vertical rear to the box but the 900XS is longer at the base than the top which creates a rather smart angled appearance and has no bearing on the structural integrity of the actual box-lock and trigger mechanism within the action. The action itself is of a silver nitride finish with minimal but tasteful laser engraving of name and model number on the side and underside. Trigger pulls are crisp and let off at around 4lb each, it’s not adjustable for length of finger and lock-up of the action is of the common under-bolt configuration we see on so many shotguns and is entirely safe and reliable.
I gave this shotgun a thorough workout on Skeet and Trap targets where it handled extremely well and was obviously enhanced by the balancing system in the stock. I had it balanced just ahead of the hinge pin which felt great, precise yet quite quick to swing with targets broken consistently at all ranges when I played my part. Several of my right-handed mates tried it and agreed the stock dimensions were perfect for Sporting or Skeet and with the adjustable comb you could set this gun up to do anything you want in the clay target arena.
However, as a value-for-money clay gun it’s more than just entry level due to that adjustable comb and clever balancing system. I feel it would make a satisfying Sporter and assist owners to record more than creditable scores in both Sporting or Skeet and while it could be used for the odd round of Trap and do a good job, it’s not a serious competitor’s Trap gun. Either way, highly recommended.
Manufacturer: Webley & Scott
Manufactured in: Turkey
Gauge: 12-gauge, 3” chambers
Action: Box-lock inertia cocking
Trigger: Single selective, tang safety
Barrel length: 30”, 3” chambers
Chokes; Five extended, Skeet, ¼, ½, ¾ , Full
Stock and Fore-end: Walnut (Grade 1) with satin finish, medium pistol grip with palm swell and slim beavertail fore-end
Stock dimensions: 37mm at comb, 57mm at heel, cast 3.5mm for right-handers, 14.75” length of pull
Weight: 8lb or 3.7kg
Accessories: Choke wrench, instruction manual, ‘Equipoise’ stock-balance system
RRP: About $1695 but shop around
Warranty: Five years
Distributor: Outdoor Sporting Agencies, Vic