Parker-Hale M85: Bolt-action sniper rifle chambered in .308

Parker Hale M85: Traditional Sniper in a Modern World
Parker Hale M85: Traditional Sniper in a Modern World (Photo: XY)

Parker-Hale M85 is a sniper rifle manufactured in a long-time forgotten Parker-Hale company. Originally of Birmingham, England, the company has a long history of making small arms and accessories for sporting shooters. In the early 1960s, they began making major-caliber rifles based on Mauser-type actions purchased from Spain. In the early 1980s, their 7.62 mm Parker-Hale M82 was selected as the service sniper rifle by Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Introduction

They then developed the Parker-Hale M85 for the British Army sniping rifle trials, but it was not selected. In 1990 the company decided to give up its rifle business and concentrate on other things. The patents and rights to the Parker-Hale rifles were purchased by Navy Arms of the United States of America, whose subsidiary, the Gibbs Rifle Company, now manufactures the Parker-Hale range.

Also, in the 1980s, the Parker Hale M85 sniper rifle was tested in Sweden. In the tests, it lost out to the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare in caliber 7.62x51mm NATO. The Parker-Hale M85 is from the same class as the Steyr SSG, which is very similar to it.

Steyer-Mannlicher SSG-69 sniper rifle is widely used in both law enforcement and military special units
Steyer-Mannlicher SSG-69 sniper rifle is widely used in both law enforcement and military special units (Photo: XY)

Design

The Parker-Hale M85 is a highly accurate and reliable rifle designed to give a 100-percent first-round hit probability up to 600 yards range and is capable of accurate shooting to ranges well more than that. The action is basically that of the Mauser 1898 rifle, powerful and thoroughly tested over the century. Iron sights for ranges up to 900 yards are fitted, and the receiver is prepared for a telescope or electro-optical night vision sight.

Parker-Hale M85 bolt-action sniper rifle
Parker-Hale M85 bolt-action sniper rifle (Photo: XY)

The muzzle is threaded to accept a suppressor, which can be used with supersonic or reduced velocity ammunition. It eliminates all muzzle flash and firing signatures, and reduces the recoil. The butt-stock is fully adjustable, and there is a quick-detach bipod attached to the fore-end. On the Parker Hale M85, the trigger is adjustable from 2 to 5 lbs of pull. Comes out of the factory at 3.5 lbs.

Variants

The rifle came in a few classes, too: Sporting, Safari, Competition, Factory Customized, and Military/Police only. The rifles had either a detachable 3 round magazine or a trapdoor 4 round magazine. The military version was manufactured with a 10-round detachable magazine. The rifle has not been made since the 1980s when Parker Hale was sold to an American company.

Technical specifications

Manufacturer: Gibbs Rifle Co. Inc., Martinsburg, West Virginia, United States
Designed: The 1980s
Service: The 1980s
Type: bolt-action repeater
Caliber:  .308 Winchester (7.62 mm NATO)
Barrel: 27.5 in (700 mm)
Weight (empty): 5.7 kg (12.56 lbs) with the scope and without a bipod
Effective firing range: 900 meters
Rate of fire: single
Magazine capacity: 10-rounds detachable magazine box
Sights:
iron sights; can be mounted with any scope
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