Return to Start  

Paper-punching underlever no. 3: Webley Mk 3 Supertarget

September 21 2007 at 10:09 PM
MDriskill  (Login MDriskill)
Group #188948

OK, here's the last of my over-the-hill tap-loaders with delusions of target-shooting grandeur...and, with apologies, another one Ive had on here before. Actually "bell-ringing underlever" might have have been a better title; I suspect these guns were more often used for that traditional UK pub sport, than for serious 10-meter target work.



Per the info in Chris Thrale's recent book "Webley Air Rifles", there were two separate batches of Mk 3's made with "A"-prefix serials. This rifle is from the second batch, and left the factory in late 1970.


The wood graining on this one isn't earth-shaking, but pleasant enough. The honest-to-goodness oiled finish is very nice though, and a pleasing contrast to the polyurethane that became the norm for Mk 3's soon thereafter.


The Mk 3's tap lever is unique in being on the right side of the gun. This works out pretty well for me at least, as the typical left-side lever on most tap-loaders forces me to clumsily switch my grip around while loading. The simple late-style tap lever casting has an interesting browned finish that is a reasonable imitation of color case-hardening. Later Mk 3's just left this component "in the white."


This photo shows the simple and massive construction of the cocking linkage. Note the two locations of the serial number; one on the cocking lever, and the other under the barrel. There is a "Z" stamped above the serial--on German guns this sometimes indicates a rifled bore (as opposed to the smooth bore required in some markets at various periods). While there were a few smooth bore Mk 3's made, this was over by 1970, so I suspect the Z is an inspector's mark. Mk 3 construction was carefully supervised, and Supertargets were individually test-fired at the factory to assure they grouped to specs.

One often-repeated detail of the Supertarget is that it is 2 pounds heavier than the sporter version--not true. With the obvious exception of the sights, the only physical difference is the slightly heavier target barrel, noticeably fatter at the muzzle than a Mk 3 sporter, which fine-tuned the balance to be more front-biased. It really has a wonderful steady "hang" when you shoulder it; the attention to this sort of handling detail is the sort of thing that makes old airguns so compelling!

The Mk 3's barrel contours are rather complex by the way; the tube is nearly parallel-sided from the breech to approximately the end of the cocking lever, then takes on a more curved taper to the front.


The rear sight is a Parker-Hale model PH 17B, a marvel of compact, milled-steel precision. Note the classic vernier-style markings on the windage scale; the fixed portion has 4 spaces between the 0 markings, while the moving portion has 5. Four clicks off the zero setting moves the eyepiece one minute-of-angle, and aligns the first pair of marks between the 0s; four more the second pair; etc. Once you get the hang of it, you can tell at a glance exactly how many clicks you've moved sideways off your zero, to compensate for the breeze. The elevation scale works similarly.

The eyepiece is the PH "Iris" model, seen here with a big PH 62 phosphated steel eye shade--none of which is OEM for the Supertarget, I purloined both from a rusty BSA Martini International Mk 2 rimfire match rifle sight. The Iris has an excellent leaf-type, continuously-variable aperture much like the superb German ones from Gehmann, etc.


Standard eyepiece on the Mk 3 was usually this smaller PH 60, which has a rotating disk with 6 different fixed aperture sizes. The small 3/4" diameter eyeshade is designed to meet British rules, is removable, and can be used to trap a color filter lens if desired.


The front sight is a PH 22A, a fairly typical interchangeable-insert design. It can be adjusted laterally via its mounting dovetail if needed. This rifle's gorgeous Parker-Hale sights are half the fun of owning it!


The small blacked-brass cap under the pistol grip is another Parker-Hale gadget, designed to hold the front sight inserts (the odd insert with the flat bottom segment combines with the ring element of your choice to serve as a cant reference). The trigger/sear, like all other Mk 3's, is a simple two-piece affair with a single-stage pull. The only adjustment is sear engagement, but that is capable of producing a surprisingly light and crisp pull.



If I had to pick only one airgun to keep...this lovely, uniquely personable, and nearly hand-made, rifle is a definite contender!

This message has been edited by MDriskill on Jul 21, 2017 7:14 PM

 Respond to this message   

Find more forums on Air GunsCreate your own forum at Network54
 Copyright © 1999-2017 Network54. All rights reserved.   Terms of Use   Privacy Statement  
This forum dedicated to all that enjoy collecting and restoring airguns. Have fun. Dave