Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

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Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby bellringer » Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:01 pm

As a few members know I own a copy of a ''day - book'' made up by the MkIII section of W & S listing all production from No 44370 to end of production. The book is in 'Biro' and was very much damaged by oil ingestion over the years and must have been deteriorating from day one, however I did photocopy it [before passing it on to someone who was going to try and get it stabilised] and I am now in the process of decifering it and putting it on disc for ease of use; surprisingly there are more smooth bore guns made than I ever thought, and in all three cal's [.177/.22/.25] too, mixed in with standard production - not specials. I have no idea as to why people would want enough of these to warrant factory production, but even up to the late 1960's which is as far as I have got, the amount although not huge was an eye opener. Anyone got any idea as to why people would order a smooth bore air rifle of ''tap loading type'' in that era? I know you can't cheat and use shot cartridges as you could with a modified break barrel, so a bit of a mystery at the moment. Thrown open for ideas. bellringer
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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby pmh » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:05 pm

It does sound of, but there's nowt stranger than folk.

Possibly for export?

Keep up the good work of keeping the history alive.

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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby Certus » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:14 pm

Hello,

As I'm sure you are probably aware, smoothbore air guns were usually aimed at the lower or junior end of the market as steel darts could be used and re-used as a cheaper alternative to pellets. I wouldn't expect this to apply to the Mk3 however as this was a quality product intended for the higher end of the market. Perhaps, as has already been suggested, it was introduced a measure to allow export to countries who frowned on rifled air guns. I am aware that BSA for instance, stamped some of their export air rifles with blackpowder markings for this very reason.

As a matter of interest, I have found there is not too much to choose between smoothbore and rifled air gun accuracy at ranges up to 20 yds.

Regards

Brian
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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby pmh » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:49 pm

Interesting point about the darts, and something I used to enjoy shooting.

Out of interest, and something I hadn't previously thought about, is it possible to shoot darts from a tap loader.

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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby bellringer » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:22 pm

Using the ''Gas Tap'' type of loading method on the MkIII and with its small diameter, darts would not be usable, same with BSA's. I never thought to ask when I had contact with friends in the gun trade in the 70's and I can only assume BB's would be the ammunition, just can't figure out why smooth bores were made unless exports were intended as has been suggested but I was talking in quantities of less than a hundred in several years. However I wonder if shotgun pellets come in a size suitable for .22 air guns because W & S exported large quantities of Greener 'GP' shotguns to African countries at this time so a cartridge would provide several BB's; one scource two uses. Just me going off at a tangent as usual, but I would love an answer.

Happy Easter to all :greetings-cya: bellringer
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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby pmh » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:58 pm

The nearest shot size is AAA at 5.2mm, so it is feasible.

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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby MDriskill » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:24 am

I believe I'm correct in saying that rifled-bore airguns were forbidden in Ireland for a period after the war, possibly other places as well? The occupying Allies also at first allowed only smooth-bore guns when airgun production re-started in Germany in the early 1950's. I have seen Walther 51's and at least one early HW 50 with smoothbore barrels.

At any rate, it would seem to make sense that a smoothbore version of a high-quality rifle like the Mk 3 was most likely for export. I can't imagine any performance advantage it would have.
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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby John M » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:37 pm

Interesting to read the reference to .25 Mark 3s as these were never advertised to the best of my knowledge. I know of one .25 version but understand that was an owner modification rather than an original factory item. Apparently the modifier made a mess of the transfer port when he tried to increase the size and this resulted in poor power down range.

Webley did indeed offer smoothbore barrels for markets where rifled barrels were not allowed and pointed this out in their advertising at the time. I was also told Poland had a law against rifled air rifles until relatively recently but do not know how true this is. Perhaps a Polish based member can elaborate?

Kind regards,

John Milewski
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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby Certus » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:39 pm

John M wrote:Interesting to read the reference to .25 Mark 3s as these were never advertised to the best of my knowledge. I know of one .25 version but understand that was an owner modification rather than an original factory item. Apparently the modifier made a mess of the transfer port when he tried to increase the size and this resulted in poor power down range.

Webley did indeed offer smoothbore barrels for markets where rifled barrels were not allowed and pointed this out in their advertising at the time. I was also told Poland had a law against rifled air rifles until relatively recently but do not know how true this is. Perhaps a Polish based member can elaborate?

Kind regards,

John Milewski


Hi John,

I knew it wouldn't take long for us to start benefiting from the wealth of knowledge you often share with us on the BBS site.

Regards

Brian
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Re: Webley MKIII Rifle ''Smoothbores''

Postby bellringer » Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:37 pm

John M. Thanks for the added info regarding W & S MK III smoothbores, I was not aware of the export policy, so that is a little more knowledge to add to my already over loaded old brain. It is nice when another member adds a further piece of info to the jigsaw that is the history of British Gun Makers. :text-goodpost: cheers bellringer
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