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Thread: Parker Hale Restoration - Need advice

  1. #1
    Member Rusky's Avatar
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    Question Parker Hale Restoration - Need advice

    I've been lucky enough to get a hand me down 303 Parker Hale Long Branch 1944 and im keen to restore it to the best I can. Barrel condition is good, wood needs some attention, and a Bentley scope (whats that you young fullas say including myself?) at 30 years old has reached the end of its life this roar with condensation on the inside.

    Sanded down and awaiting tru oil:

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    So far I've sanded it down, applied 4 layers of Tru Oil and its come out mint!

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    Then I've struck a few problems which I'd appreciate any feedback you have.

    1- Went to put the new scope on it today and discovered the old iron sights get in the way of any scope including the previous which i didn't notice and they don't sit flush with the rings. I imagine this wouldn't allow the rifle to keep its accuracy over shots. Should I hack saw the top sight in the picture and file it down? This particular rifle really wasn't designed to hold scopes.

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    2- The old sling stud holes don't work any more. Do I put a dowel rod/tooth picks in there with wood glue and sand flush and re-drill holes? I've read this on the internet but im unsure they will hold? Or should I fill with wood filler and then re-drill 2 new holes?

    3- Got a Limb Saver recoil pad as this old girl packs a bit of a punch. Of course it doesn't fit, and the instructions are to grind it to size but looking at the butt end of my rifle how concave it is it's going to be tricky I imagine. Any suggestions here?

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  2. #2
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    Problem number 1. Parker Hale made a scope base without the peep site on it. Will try to find you one or go into a gunshop and see if they have one amongst their old scope mount stuff.
    Problem number 2. Buy a set of Pachmayr flush swivels. They are easy to fit and look beautiful. Check on the internet to see what they look like.
    Problem number 3. Use a large belt sander or sawbench to cut stock square and then fit the pad. I do these all of the time.
    Cheers, Gary. PM me if you need help.

  3. #3
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    dont chuck that peep sight away.......try it without scope and you might just go bare instead as its one of the good ones.
    you could mark pad with vivid pen and go take it off and go from there,a few goes will get it close enough without risking sanding stock,Ive left mine a little bit proud/large to help spread recoil and its never been an issue.

  4. #4
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    1) - That's really up to you. Old volley sights in particular can be picked up pretty cheaply on TM or Ebay fairly often should you want to run open sights, the gradiated versions are a little more expensive but still not too hard to come by, the alternative if you want to run a scope is to look at say somebody like this: who make a scope mount that you can use the existing irons with and don't need to modify anything. Depends how much you want to spend really.

    2) - Personally I wouldn't use woodglue I would use araldite or something similar, it's just stronger is the reason. That said now you have oiled it you will probably not to want to be sanding it flush as it will mean you will have to reoil it. The advantage with woodglue is that it wipes off when wet, not so much with araldite. If you didn't want to resand and then reoil you could drill out the hole, dry fit the wooden dowl, cut and then sand the rod, dry fit, sand, dry fit, sand etc till you have got it as close to perfect as you want. Then you could redrill the mounting points. Personally I would trust dowl and wood glue (well I would use araldite) more than wood fliller, plus glue drys clear. Wood filler looks like balls I think.

    3) - Ah. Recoil pad. I've fitted one of these before and it's a pain in the ass to get it perfectly flush if you haven't done them before. What you should really have done is fitted and ground it before you did the oil. Don't feel bad, I made the same mistake! Are you sure it's concave and not convex? If it's convex there is a way but it's tricky, it's concave.... good luck if you want it to fit you'll need to reshape the whole thing.
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  5. #5
    Member Rusky's Avatar
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    Cheers for all the advice.

    I didn't think to look around for a parker scope base without iron sights. I didnt think they would exist. I'll start looking/ringing around but if you find one Gary then by all means let me know, I'd be super stoked.

    Think it makes sense to cut/sand the but end of the rifle to get it flat then shape the sides with a belt sander.

    The sling studs - not too sure yet. I really don't want to drill new holes, so I might try the dowel approach.

    I could go open sights but want the option of long distance shots too so having the scope is a must for me. My eye sight isn't what it use to be. I'll be really happy once it's all done and I can take it for a walk.

  6. #6
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    if you don't want that peep...please pass it on to someone who will use it...google "the Gallipoli sight" it is interesting bit of history
    plenty of people still using old SMLEs out there who would give it a good home.

  7. #7
    Member zimmer's Avatar
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    The reason the scope is hitting the back peep is your rings are most likely too low. The options are either grind off the peep or get higher rings. Higher rings may be a tad difficult though depending upon the dovetail size. Yours are probably Parker Hale. The back aperture/ring dovetail arrangement is an after market attachment for scope mounting and not the original battle sight so you won't be reducing the rifle value if you mod this part and later wish to sell. You will just be limiting it to a scope only situation though. The aperture in this case is just a back up should you not use a scope. The original battle sight had either a short range large aperture or flipped to a more accurate ladder style with finer adjustments. Pressure to simplify the #4 rifle saw a flip sight with just 2 fixed apertures for different ranges and no fine adjustment.

    For sling swivel replacements I use these Sling Mounting Kit 1" Swivel Studs Combo 1" 300 lb Quick Detach Base | eBay
    Normally they are available at Reloaders but couldn't see them there. The front stud is attached to the wood with the machine screw and the rear stud with the longest wood screw type. For the front machine screw type I rebate into the barrel channel a larger diameter washer to go on b4 the nut to give the screw more holding strength. For the back stud I slightly open out the bottom of the hole by angling the drill (imagine dog knotting). The screw is then glued in using araldite (not the 5 minute variety).

    PS: As you have pointed out, your rifle is a #4 not an SMLE. The rear sight of the #4 is and aperture, the SMLE a tradional barrel mounted vee, quite different methinks
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  8. #8
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    Don't use wood filler! Dowel is the way to go as it will expanded with the stock wood when you drill it. Wood filler won't.
    The recoil pad you can tape the stock up so as you sand the pad down it protects the stock. You will need to replace the tape as it wears but this works really well.
    On another note I've noticed that you have oiled in your checkering try and clean this out with a tooth brush our buy a dembar tool to lightly run over your checkering to clean out. You never need to oil checkering as it just clogs it up.
    How heavy did you go with the oil?
    If heavy then you still need another 7/8 coats. If light then a total of 14 will about do it!
    Sorry but that's what bespoke gunmakers do here in the uk!
    Now I know what your saying but a few of them have a century or so of gun making up there selve
    And the extra coats will really help keep the water out.
    I do mine with around 14 coats of Aklanet/red oil. Lightly dose it! A little on the palm of your hand and you will feel it get warm as you rub it in. Wipe off the excess oil and leave to dry. Then same again. Start with five minutes between coats ending in one day.
    I recon you can get away with a day between coats now
    Save that bottle of oil!
    When you come back from a trip. Let the rifle dry out after cleaning. NOT IN FRONT OF THE FRIE! Slowly
    Then rub a couple of coats on. This will bring that shin back up again and also fill in rewaterproof any scratchers dents that may have exposed the wood to the weather.
    Warning it gets addictive
    Your wife will soon be complaining that you rub your stock more than you rub her
    Really looks good what you have done so far like it a lot
    Rusky likes this.

  9. #9
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    my bad Zimmer...still be a shame to see it go to waste.

  10. #10
    Member Rusky's Avatar
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    Zimmer, that was really some helpful information. Your right that they are Parker Hale rings. Guys at the shop couldn't find any that would fit but they will do the job fine once I sort that issue with the peep hole.

    Sideshow, that's 4 coats at full strength. So you reckon another 3-4 is needed or is that another 7? Sounds excessive! Easy enough to pull apart again and keep going. I was giving 24 hours between each coat. I'm using Birchwood Tru Oil.

    I

  11. #11
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    Risky yep 7 is about right. You can use a bronze brush also to get that oil out of the checkering.
    It may sound excessive. But it works. Once it's dry you can then buff it to a nice sheen which hardens it as well. This sheen dulls over time but comes back with another buff up.
    Ive not touched the stock on my rifle for around 15months, it's just sat in the safe so not gotten wet. Then sheen is still good
    It's up to you really! Sounds like work now but in the long run it will pay off. Make the next coats just light ones though.
    Rusky likes this.

  12. #12
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    Good work , I have a old PH sitting in pieces too , will get around to getting a smith to put it together at some stage .

  13. #13
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    Chris. Ill take some pics of me dismantling it today. It's really not that hard putting it back together. This was my very first attempt at dismantling a rifle. Save some $$ and give it a crack yourself. The safety was the hardest part but I think I was just over thinking it.

  14. #14
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    Don't use that thing to mount the rear ring - period.

    LE actions are rear-locking (the lugs are at the back of the bolt) so every time you touch the trigger the action body or receiver stretches and relaxes. That is why the scopes kept dying on these or falling off or refusing to hold any sort of zero...

    Combine that with a rear scope base that pivots up and down and have a think about the groups you will end up with...

    Best option, is a steel bodied scope (hard to get) with a rail that bolts to the solid wall on the left side of the receiver.

    Failing that, a set of PH rings with the full-length steel rail that bolts onto the receiver ring and the top of the charger bridge. But you definately need some sort of solid mount that will absorb the shock and stretch of firing otherwise you'll be disappointed with an otherwise-accurate rifle that won't hold it's zero...
    jakewire and Rusky like this.

  15. #15
    Member Sideshow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauser308 View Post
    Don't use that thing to mount the rear ring - period.

    LE actions are rear-locking (the lugs are at the back of the bolt) so every time you touch the trigger the action body or receiver stretches and relaxes. That is why the scopes kept dying on these or falling off or refusing to hold any sort of zero...

    Combine that with a rear scope base that pivots up and down and have a think about the groups you will end up with...

    Best option, is a steel bodied scope (hard to get) with a rail that bolts to the solid wall on the left side of the receiver.

    Failing that, a set of PH rings with the full-length steel rail that bolts onto the receiver ring and the top of the charger bridge. But you definately need some sort of solid mount that will absorb the shock and stretch of firing otherwise you'll be disappointed with an otherwise-accurate rifle that won't hold it's zero...
    Never thought of it that way! Cheers there Mauser308

 

 

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