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Reviews - Archive - Parker Hale Trap gun
Parker Hale Trap gun
26 October, 2000
Parker Hale is a name long associated and well respected within the gun trade,.
Unfortunately at the
time of writing they have suddenly become conspicuous in their absence;
recently having been taken
into receivership and the company up for sale.
When I first worked in the gun trade- nearly 20 years ago now- Parker Hale were
one of the major
players of the trade, with few equals. I doubt there is a shooter in the
country who at some time has
not bought something distributed by them; maybe just a phosphor bronze brush.
For most of us it is cleaning equipment for which the name is best known.
Though over the years they
sold many different types of gun.
In the 70’s they were the distributor for Miroku guns, but that came to an end,
when Browning and
Miroku, because of there close association, were brought together under the
same umbrella of
In the early 80’s Parker Hale had quite an enviable range of guns.
There was the 600 series of SS guns made in Spain. For OU’s there were three
series; the 500, 700
and the 800 series.
The 500’s were the cheapest; made in Italy and at the budget end of the range.
Next were the 700’s
also made in Italy, but of a higher quality and price range. And the 800, top
range of OU’s were made
in Japan in the same factory as the Winchester guns were produced and were
similar to them.
This month’s second hand test features one of the 700 series. The trap version
704- I think.
The 700 range was produced by
Franchi, who are one of Italy’s larger gunmakers
and who are now
having guns distributed by GMK in this country.
The gun is fairly plain in appearance but is certainly very functional. The
action is finished in bright
silver with some scroll and border engraving. The top lever, trigger guard and
safe are blacked to
match the barrels. Mechanically the gun is straightforward and simple with coil
springs that are
rebounding to prevent striker drag. Both firing pins are spring loaded. The
reset for the second shot is
inertia so it needs the recoil from the first shot to set it up for the second.
The hammers are hinged at
the bottom of the trigger plate with the sears hanging down from the top strap
in the conventional
fashion. The selector block is guided by the safe but the trigger is not
selective for top or bottom
barrel as for a trap gun there is little need. The top lever spring is a little
unusual in that it is a torsion
type and is located on the top lever pillar itself.
The barrels are 30” long and the chokes are their original ¾ and full, with the
bores being chrome
plated, as is the norm on Italian built guns. The top rib is 10mm wide with
curved cross-hatching and a
channel running down the full length. There is a red plastic foresight and a
brass mid sight for positive
sighting. The extractors are spring loaded to power the ejection and are
tripped by rods in the action
walls that connect with the trips in the
forend. The blacking is original and
is still in very good order
with virtually no fading.
The stock dimensions appear to be original with no alteration having taken
place during its lifetime.
Incidentally this gun was built in 1982, which can be easily ascertained on any
gun built in Italy as the
Proof House in Brescia always stamp the barrels with a date code.
Stock length is a useful 14 7/8” at centre and the butt is finished with a
Pachmayr trap pad. Which as
well as being forgiving when shooting a large number of targets ; as is the
feature with trap shooting. It
is also curved with plenty of heel and toe, so that the gun will shoulder
consistently and repeatedly.
Drops at comb and heel are 1 ½ “ and 1 ¾ “ ; reasonable on a trap gun but not
so high that would
rule the gun out for sporting shooting. Cast is for right hand and is about a ¼
“. The pistol grip is fairly
full and with a slight palm swell that makes the hand quite comfortable.
The forend wood is on a beaver tail pattern with channels running down the top
of each side.
The chequer on both stock and forend is fairly basic but retains much of its
The wood quality is OK but basic considering this is a mid priced gun. It is
quite dark and matches
well through both pieces. Although it is oil finished and has relatively few
marks for a gun of its age, it
has acquired a dirty scum on its surface and would certainly benefit from this
being stripped off and
then the wood being re-oiled. This would smarten the whole appearance of the
Wood to metal fit is still very good and no gaps have appeared.
All things considered, this gun is in very good shape and retains all its
original specification- unusual for
a gun 18 years old. For someone just starting at trap and not wanting to spend
a lot of money, they
would be well equipped with a gun like this.
Spares for this gun may be limited as due to age and the demise of Parker Hale.
contacts could be ASI who were Franchi distributors for many years, and GMK who
re-established the agency in this country. But most likely parts to need
replacing are firing pins and coil
mainsprings and these can be easily dealt with by any gunsmith.
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