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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.

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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.


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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.


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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."


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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


 
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AuthorReply

Grant
(Premier Login Grantthekiwi)

Great Article Mike.

September 22 2007, 2:26 AM 

Thats a Great Post you have put together with real clear pictures. All i need to do now, is find one of them !!

Regards Grant, N.Z.

 
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db
(Login Diamondback)
Group #188948

Ditto (Greetings Grant!). nt

July 16 2017, 3:13 AM 

nt

 
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Ray Titcombe
(Login Ray1946)
Group #188948

Webley MkIII

September 23 2007, 5:19 PM 

What a great article! The photos alone are worth the price of addmission. I have Hillers book and never fail to admire this really cool rifle. What is really cool is the tap-loader. If everything is aligned correctly, the pellet that is dropped in stops at the same place every time! Have a good one.

 
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Vlad Berchanskiy
(Login VladB)
Group #188948

Mike, stop...just stop

September 24 2007, 1:17 AM 

I can't take it!... Just kidding... It is a beauty!

 
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Garvin
(Premier Login Garvin2)
Group #188948

Thanks Mike. Great Webley,

September 24 2007, 4:23 AM 

great pics, great write up.

 
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Ray Titcombe
(Login Ray1946)
Group #188948

MkIII

October 9 2007, 4:29 PM 

Mike,.....Do any of the MkIII's, Supertarget or regular, have checkering on the grips? I haven't seen that many, but I don't remember ever seeing one with checkering.

 
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Mike McCormick
(Login Mike95_99)

Mark 3 chequering

October 10 2007, 6:08 AM 

There were two articles in Airgun World this year and included was a picture of a genuine factory chequered Mark 3 with the caption "The only other known photo of a genuine factory chequered Mark 3 appeared in an edition of Sporting Air Rifle, in the 80's".

Therefore factory chequering seems to be quite rare. Offered by the factory as a Deluxe version about the time of the second series.
Anyone out there with the "deluxe" stock?

Mike95_99

 
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MDriskill
(Login MDriskill)
Group #188948

Ditto

October 10 2007, 8:05 AM 

As Mr McCormick said, I've read that checkering was available as a factory option. But I don't believe I've ever seen one in the flesh.

 
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Bob in WV
(Login duhuh)
Group #188948

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

October 10 2007, 9:16 AM 

That is one fine looking air rifle. My oh my, is it nice. Thank you for showing it.

Bob in WV

Never get in a hurry, it only slows you down.

 
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leonardj
(Login leonardj)
Group #188948

What a great write up, Mike - and as I've said before.....

October 10 2007, 11:03 AM 

I never get tired of seeing pics of that cool old Supertarget. A nice, "minty" specimen of one is still high on my "gotta' get" list.

 
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doug Law
(Login dougotis)
Group #188948

webledy

December 19 2009, 10:45 AM 

Mike great article, lovely super target, hopefully Ill find my hiller book and read abou t it.
I have a housekeeper and she comes in once a week to organize my stuff. sometimes it make s it hard to find
I have too many books.
Doug Law
dlaw1940@yahoo.com

 
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MDriskill
(Login MDriskill)
Group #188948

Golly Doug...

December 19 2009, 12:41 PM 

...you dug DEEP in the site archives to find this one! happy.gif

Hope you find your Hiller book. His section on the Mk 3 alone is worth buying the book for--a good history, a look at the major variants, lots of factory detail drawings, and even a pretty good description of how to take one apart.

 
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L D
(Login lhd)
Group #188948

Nice write!

December 19 2009, 12:07 PM 

Makes me wish I'd payed more attention to the one I had!

 
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MDriskill
(Login MDriskill)
Group #188948

BACK FROM FUBAR-BUCKET

July 15 2017, 2:52 PM 

Thanks to the fantastic good auspices of a friend...the original post above, TEN-YEARS OLD (!), is back from the Netherworld.

It actually uses newer and better photos than the original, by the way, with some minor alterations to the text to suit.


    
This message has been edited by MDriskill on Jul 15, 2017 5:46 PM


 
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Andrew
(Login AndrewR7)
Group #188948

Well done Mike

July 15 2017, 7:21 PM 

One down and probably dozens to come, you've posted some of the best posts with loads of photo's

I think you'll be a busy man for a long long time.

I've just started replacing lost forum pic's as well, only going by memory to search the title of my old posts.

Is there an easier way of finding all of ones posts, gone into my account looking for my posts to edit the pics back in but there's nothing there.


    
This message has been edited by AndrewR7 on Jul 15, 2017 8:04 PM


 
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db
(Login Diamondback)
Group #188948

Dig it! Class, style, function...& the airgun is nice, too. :o) nt

July 16 2017, 3:07 AM 

nt

 
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Jim in SoCal
(Login jz2)
Group #188948

very enjoyable read.

July 18 2017, 3:45 PM 

and now another rifle to put on the bucket list.

 
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evert
(Login the.evert.dude)
Group #188948

Re: very enjoyable read.

July 20 2017, 4:54 PM 

Yes, thank you for bringing it back! These threads are gold when researching old springers.

Now we only need the pictures back in "talking to the dolls"...

http://www.network54.com/Forum/405945/thread/1261705906/1/Diana+27%27s...talking+to+the+dolls%21

 
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