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Up yours, PhotoBucket: Webley Mk 3 "Supertarget" from the archives

July 15 2017 at 5:55 PM
MDriskill  (Login MDriskill)


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 been a better title; I suspect these guns were more often used for the traditional UK pub sport of bell target, than for serious 10-meter 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 forces me to clumsily switch my grip around to load. 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). But Supertargets were individually test-fired at the factory to assure they grouped to specs, so the "Z" is probably an inspector's mark.

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, fine-tuning 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 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 is 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 Mk 2 sight. The Iris has an excellent leaf-type, continuously-variable aperture much like the German Gehmann, etc., ones.


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 removable, and can be used to trap a color filter lens if desired. These gorgeous PH sights are half the fun on this one!


The front sight is a PH 22A, a fairly typical interchangeable-insert design. It can be adjusted laterally via its mounting dovetail if needed.


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, nearly hand-made, rifle is a definite contender!

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