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Webley + Parker-Hale = cool

July 9 2004 at 6:44 PM
MDriskill  (Login Driskill2)

When I acquired my Webley Mk 3 Supertarget a few years back, I was immediately intrigued by the well-designed and beautifully made Parker-Hale rear sight. Over the years I have managed to accumulate some other goodies that complement this lovely bit of kit.

This first photo (below) shows the OEM rear sight, the Parker-Hale model PH 17. The basic model was made with different mounts adapted for many airguns and rimfires, this is a "PH 17B" designed specifically for the Webley. It mounts via two screws drilled and tapped directly to the receiver tube. The large PH 60 eyepiece has six different aperture opening sizes. Unlike other iris units that use a complex overlapping leaf assembly like a camera lens, this is a simple disk, offset from the center of the eyepiece and rotated to bring the different size holes into the center. The PH 60 is often seen with a small eyeshade of the same diameter as the eyepiece body--note the threads visible at the rear of it--but this bit was apparently not supplied by Webley.

If you look closely at the elevation adjustment scale, you will notice that the marks on the standing and movable portions are spaced differently. This didn’t make much sense to me, until I realized that a different pair of marks aligns, with every fourth click of the adjustment knob. Once the gun is zeroed, the sliding portion of the scale is adjusted to align the two zero markings. Then any subsequent changes needed can quickly be interpreted--with a little practice you can quickly tell exactly how many clicks you have moved the sight. It's a skill similar to reading ten-thousandths on a micrometer. The windage scale on top of the sight works the same way.

The shot below shows a different eyepiece. This came from a massive PH 25 sight, similar in quality to the famous Redfield International and often seen on the BSA Martini rimfire match rifles. The eyepiece itself is similar in appearance to the PH 60, but is somewhat more robust and with a slightly different range of aperture sizes. The eyeshade is not rubber, but a chunk of steel that threads into the eyepiece. The front of it is blued, but the rear as you can see has a matt phosphate finish to reduce glare. It’s a beautiful gadget and really adds a touch of class to the air rifle’s overall appearance.

Finally is another rear sight, the Parker-Hale model PH 16, which was fitted as a factory option to sporter versions of the Mk 3. Again, many versions of it were made for other guns, with this "PH 16M" specifically for the Mark 3. While it sits much too low to work with the Supertarget’s globe-type front sight (sporters had a short simple post foresight), it obviously mounts into the same holes.

This unit is a compact and completely ingenious design. Note how the entire windage mechanism is contained in the slender center arm, with an annular adjuster knob and the tiny eyepiece at the end. It has a wonderful floating “ghost ring” sight picture that--unlike a bulky target sight--leaves the area around the target almost totally visible. Note also how both the elevation and windage scales can be read at a glance from the rear of the sight. This sturdy, simple, and elegant design may be the nicest sporting iron sight I’ve ever seen.

One last detail...the windage arm folds completely out of the way if needed. In the old days shooters sometimes used a folding leaf sight sighted in for short-range shots, with the peep sight zeroed for more precise work at a distance. One could thus be ready for two different situations in a flash!

This message has been edited by Driskill2 on Jul 10, 2004 10:21 AM

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Tim McMurray
(Login Mac-1)

Cool post

July 9 2004, 7:08 PM 

Well done Mike. Webley really had it going on then.



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(Login dutchmanmk3)


July 9 2004, 9:48 PM 


This message has been edited by dutchmanmk3 on Jan 30, 2006 3:11 PM

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(Login MDriskill)

Fancy irons

July 10 2004, 7:35 AM 

Marc, I too am fascinated by those old Marbles and Lyman tang sights. These are often seen on lever-action rifles with straight-wrist stocks, maybe a C1 Carbine could wear one gracefully?

I agree on the 335's excellent sights, but my favorite factory irons are the big all-metal sights with rotating 4-notch plate that Diana used in the 70's and 80's. These smooth-adjusting beauties seem able to handle any situation gracefully! My Diana 27, along with my 335, are the only guns I presently use "notch" sights on.

You are probably right about the champion sight radius of the HW 35E with its incredible long barrel and match rear! Although I do have a couple that come close--an FWB 300, which has a barrel two inches longer than the predecessor 150 or successor 300S, and an old Diana 50/b with clip-on aperture disk for the rear sight. Both have about a 33-inch distance from rear aperture to front insert!

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(Login kwig)

Now that's a beautiful gun - Webley MKIII Supertarget

July 13 2004, 1:01 AM 

I had the standard MKIII in 1971 and it was beautiful like that except without the aperture sight. I think that barrel is just a bit thicker too and I remember the advertising at the time that said "The Webley Supertarget model has no peer for accuracy". At the time, the standard MKIII .177 was advertised as putting all 5 shots into a 3/8" bull at 10 yards and All shots into 1-1/4" x 1-1/4" at 40 yards. The .22 calibre MKIII was advertised at putting all shots into a 1-3/4" x 1/3/4" at 40 yards . I would like to know what the Supertarget does - have you done some serious tests? And I wonder if they did well in any international tests?

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