V-Mach Custom Rifles Limited

Specialists in Custom and Performance Products for Air Rifle Tuning


Let’s rewind some 30 years - Steve Pope’s Dad, Dave Pope, was one of the co-founders of Venom Conversions in the early 1980s, which began trading from shared premises above a local established gun shop, Trapshot of Lye.  Tuning and customisation work was carried out on the performance rifles of the day, the early HW range, BSA, Anschutz, Original and Webley, to name but a few.

Quickly establishing a reputation for quality and innovation, Venom Conversions moved premises in 1982 to the familiar, and aptly named, Gun Barrel Industrial Estate.  With the move came a change in the company’s trading name, and Venom Conversions became Venom Arms Company.

The early to mid 1980s was a prolific time for Venom, Field Target shooting was in its infancy, and Venom played a key role in co-foundering one of the earliest (if not the first) Field Target Air Rifle Club in Stourvale Woodsman.  Spring Piston air rifles were used almost exclusively, as PCPs were not readily available and had yet to make any real impact on the FT circuit or in the Hunting Field.

Venom had by this stage established themselves as market leaders in the field of Airgun Customising, and Venom modified rifles were consistently being used by many of the top competitors of the day, and many titles and trophies were claimed with Venom rifles, including a World Championship win taken on international soil.

In the early days of his career, Steve Pope himself was an avid Field Target shooter, notching up countless trophies with a Weihrauch HW80, heavily tuned and customised of course – but soon, Steve’s love of engineering took over and he hung up his competition boots to join Venom Arms company in and around this period (1983) beginning a full-time career in the airgun customisation business following in the footsteps of his Dad. 

Venom Arms Company enjoyed some of the most innovative and exciting times during these 12 years or so when airgunning and Field Target shooting were probably at their peak participation-wise.  Notable developments such as the Venom-Mach 1 and Venom-Mach 2 stemmed from this era.  The first bull-pup rifles evolved around the Daystate Huntsman, Webley Tracker and Sharp Innova.  The Laza-glide conversion was developed during this period taking over from the already excellent Super-Venom conversions.

The small workshop and shop premises offered by the Gun Barrel finally gave way to the significantly bigger premises that became Venomac Sports in 1995.  A collaboration with the MacWilliams, local industrialists and entreprenneurs, led to the ‘Mac’ in Venomac.  The new 3 tier premises allowed a dedicated ground floor workshop with approved test range, a purpose built gun room displaying Venom’s custom products, as well as an extensive range of air rifles, shot-guns, rim fire and centre fire rifles.

As well as the established markets, Venom collaborated with Daystate to offer limited edition specialised sporting rifles and expanded into the firearm customising field, where Venom undertook re-barreling work, re-stocking and rifle building.

During the 3 year period as Venomac, Dave Pope retired from the industry as a full-time occupation.  Venomac closed in 1998 due to economic conditions and Webley approached the Venomac Custom team to set up within the Webley & Scott premises in Frankley as the Webley-Venom Custom Shop.  It was at this point that Webley acquired, and still retain, the Venom name.

Under the Webley & Scott/International banner, the WV Custom Shop were involved from day one in many new developments, improvements and design projects, including the Tomahawk and Longbow, both of which evolved from a Venom design.  The Venom Viper was developed alongside the Raider range and many of the existing Webley product lines benefitted from Venom’s input.

Ivan Hancock retired during 2004 and Steve Pope took on the role as the Webley-Venom Custom Shop Manager.   Ongoing development ensued, including the likes of the Webley Venom TDR, custom versions of the HW100, limited one offs of the Tomahawk and Raider.  There was a noticeable increase in the development of the firearms side of the business, where Webley-Venom were at the forefront of sub calibre switch barrel rifles, based on Ruger and Sako models.

Due to economic pressures Webley closed at the end of 2005, and with the closure, the end of the Venom Custom shop as a customising outfit.

Needing little encouragement, Steve Pope began V-Mach Custom Rifles Ltd February 2006.  The name V-Mach came about quite simply, the ‘V’ emphasising Steve’s life-long Venom association, while the ‘Mach’ bears testimony to Venom’s famous Mach 1 and 2 custom-built spring rifles, the development of which Steve had a hand in. 

Steve carries on in the historic tradition of custom and bespoke tuning work, also providing an extensive range of self-fit tuning kits and accessories, based predominantly on spring powered air rifles.

S Pope


V-Mach Custom Rifles Limited

April 2010


Venom / V-Mach History

Please also visit www.airgunbuyer.com, the online shop for our main distributor Blackpool Air Rifles, where you will find many of V-Mach's air rifle tuning products in stock.

© Copyright V-Mach Custom Rifles Limited, 2008-2017

Please contact Steve Pope at V-Mach with any Air Rifle / Airgun Tuning, Performance Improvement and Custom Component / Accessory related enquiries for your Air Arms, BSA, Diana / RWS, Webley and Weihrauch (HW) Air Rifles at v-mach@air-rifle-tuning.com