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Thread: Parker Hale actions

  1. #1

    Parker Hale actions

    I had previously assumed all Parker Hales had been built on Santa Barbara actions, but i have seen a few of late that were built on military-type actions, with the K98 swing-type safety and thumb slot. These generally appear to be older rifles, and i assume they were just using post-war surplus military actions.

    Anyone able to enlighten me as to the actions that Parker Hale used down through history? I'm not a huge fan of the Santa Barbara action (the ones i have used were really rough), but there would be an appeal to finding a PH on some of the other K98 actions.

  2. #2
    Too numerous to mention. Basically at various times Parker Hale used any old action that they could lay their hands on. Among the actions that they used were ex military enfields that they sporterised, ex military Mausers and then commercial Mauser actions normally Santa Barbara. They also produced an action of their own design so that they could use up a pile of old 1903 (Springfield) bolts that they bought in. That rifle was called the Midland.
    I wouldn’t personally describe the Santa Barbara actions as being rough. They are just typical Mauser 1898 sporting actions with all the sloppiness that you expect of such actions but they certainly weren't rough.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  3. #3
    Hmmm well I must say I am surprised at your comments having more than a few of the Spanish actioned P-H rifles myself.Three at least the word "Spain" can be seen on the left side of the tang of the action.

    The 1200 Super that I got NIB from York Guns long after P-H's demise was a little rough but then it seems it was produced during a period of turmoil at the company and quality slipped. The stock inletting was particularly bad and required sorting out. However it was not as rough feeling when operating the bolt as that new Kimber 84 that I was handed to examine. The 1200 Super has smoothed up with a little bit of use:-

    One can see the poor inletting here.

    The stock was dry but those small black spots near the butt pad were mildew. Poor storage at some point.

    Straight out of the box.

    I am sorry but I cannot tell you whom supplied the later military type actions but take a look at this one which was made/built according to Parker-Hale in 1984:-

    It had the Mauser flag safety but P-H when I wrote to them asking questions about the rifle kindly sent me one of their low swing safeties to fit on it which is seen in the photos. This is a P-H 1100M "African magnum chambered in .458 Winchester:-

    Despite being in .458 the magazine box is of magnum length and will happily accept a 375 H&H cartridge.

    The trigger is the std two stage Mauser type that I moved the blade a bit back in the guard by heating then bending the blade back a bit then re-hardening to make it more comfortable for my hand and trigger finger. I also reduce the pull weight by reducing the sear spring length and stoning the sear and firing pin nut as the trigger pull must have been about 8lbs. It's still around 5 lbs but has a very clean 2nd stage break with a bit of take up, 1st stage still, and is very usable indeed. One does not want a hair light trigger on a dangerous game rifle .

    The first Mauser actioned sporting rifles Parker-Hale made were built on German actions that t seems were in storage at the Sparkbrook plant when P-H took it over in 1962/63 after the enforced move due the re-development of Birmingham's city centre. Lew Potter whom it seems spent a fair bit of time at that place then told me of seeing cages of new M98 actions stored in the alcoves in the tunnel range that were brought back from Germany after WW2 as "Reparations" but then just left there until P-H asked about them.

    Oh yes don't forget the P-H "Hussar" that was built upon a Brno ZG47 action. Someone sent me a photo of one which is on the old computer and so there fore not accessable. I have never seen one in real life likewise despite all the "Safari's" advertised I have seen and held two real ones. nearly brought one in .308 Norma magnum butt he chappie wanted a bit much for I and we could not agree a price. The other was a rough one that had been re-barreled at some point.

    Hope that is of some use.

  4. #4
    The 458 Win was a blown out 375 H & H case so it had to be a magnum lenght action. I am sure someone will correct me but in the past I thought only FN and Mauser themselves did the magnum length action. I know that GMA and maybe one or two others in the States do them now.


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari View Post
    The 458 Win was a blown out 375 H & H case so it had to be a magnum lenght action. I am sure someone will correct me but in the past I thought only FN and Mauser themselves did the magnum length action. I know that GMA and maybe one or two others in the States do them now.


    Sorry the 458 is a short magnum and designed to fit the std 30-06 length magazine and action. It's a lot shorter than the 375 H&H. Sadly there are only some inspectors marks on that .458 and no clue as to who's they are. It's one of the things I would love to find out who P-H got their actions from. I always wondered with the advent of CNC machinery why they never made their own. It's claimed they did make their last action to M84 cadet rifle but whether this is true or not is the question.

    Oh you forgot Brevex who made a very good magnum Mauser action:-

    The French-made Brevex Magnum Mauser action was introduced into the U.S. in 1955 to meet a demand for such an action.

    Not sure if Musgrave made a magnum length one or not and what about Zastava?.

  6. #6
    Sorry you are right, cut down in length, brain failed to engage. Forgot about Brevex, never seen one in truth, but I thought Zastava only made the long action not the Magnum. I can't understand why more people didn't go the CNC route but that is a whole chapter on why the British trade collapsed the way it did. It obviously works for some companies nowadays.

    Thanks again, I really enjoy your comments and never fail to learn a bit more each time.


  7. #7
    Ahhh just did a bit of web surfing and it seems the Zastava did as FN did and just opened up a normal action for the .300 H&H and .375 H&H magnum. I supposed FN did the same for .416 Rigby chambered rifles and any 404's they made. Although some say it weakens the action I have not heard of them having problems doing so.

    It's rumoured that the Zastava plant is in fact the old FN tooling purchased from FN when they dropped the M98 production. I wonder as I seem to recall some German tooling found it's way to Yugoslavia after WW2. Some of the FN tooling was grabbed from Obendorf I think you will find but I cannot recall if that was at the end of WW1 or WW2.. Will have to dig the book out and check sometime.

    If I can get access to my rifles at some point I will try to remember to measure the receiver on that 1100M so see if it's a std length or a magnum length. My Mauser book gives the length of each action.

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