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

July 15 2017 at 5:55 PM
MDriskill  (Login MDriskill)
YF12

WITH THE HELP OF A GOOD FRIEND, THIS 10-YEAR-OLD POST WAS RESCUED FROM PHOTOBUCKET PURGATORY TODAY, LOL!

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.

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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 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."


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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). 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.


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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.


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


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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.


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

 
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db
(Login Diamondback)
YC

What a nice write up. Great photos. Nice save! nt

July 15 2017, 6:36 PM 

nt

 
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Mike Ellingsworth
(Login 4888blues)
YF12

Some one took care of that look at the nice condition, what does she weigh ?

July 15 2017, 7:03 PM 


 
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MDriskill
(Login MDriskill)
YF12

Mk 3 weight

July 16 2017, 8:00 AM 

Mike, a regular Mk 3 sporter model weighs a little over 7 pounds. The heavier barrel and tricky sights on the Supertarget add about 3/4 of a pound. Many references claim the Supertarget is two pounds heavier than a sporter (I.e., around 9 pounds), but that is not true. The weight, excellent balance, and slender rounded stock make it a very pleasant piece for all-round shooting.

There's a story behind the gun's fine condition--it was actually a sample piece sent by Webley's to Harrington & Richardson here in the US, to gauge H&R's interest in importing the Mk 3 for US sale. It was never sold at retail. H&R eventually disposed of it to surplus dealer Navy Arms, and I picked it up at an airgun show from the gent who'd bought it from them. I still have the H&R box that it came in, and the original Webley sticker that was on the action.


    
This message has been edited by MDriskill on Jul 16, 2017 6:00 PM


 
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Mike Ellingsworth
(Login 4888blues)
YF12

I really like the grain on the stock ,it definitely is a looker in my book,that oil

July 16 2017, 11:49 PM 


finish looks nice


    
This message has been edited by 4888blues on Jul 17, 2017 12:01 AM


 
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Willy
(Login willy1)
YC

Man that is a keeper" never seen one in the flesh"

July 15 2017, 9:16 PM 


 
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db
(Login Diamondback)
YC

. nt

July 17 2017, 4:48 AM 

nt


    
This message has been edited by Diamondback on Jul 17, 2017 6:04 AM


 
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Mark N
(Login MarkinJHawkland)
YF

Beautiful rifle and write up! Thanks for sharing.....nt

July 16 2017, 11:44 AM 


 
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Mike
(Login verminstalker)
YC

Webley

July 17 2017, 10:12 PM 

Thanks for sharing such a treasure. Enjoyed the pictures and comments. If you ever decide to sell, I would pay you handsomely.

 
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