Parker-Hale is a name we are all familiar with in the gun world, especially for their old catalogues full of rifles, shotguns and accessories. The rifle division was bought in 1991 by an American firm called Gibbs, which had a business refurbishing old military rifles into sporting models. Gibbs thus made the Parker- Hale and Midland branded rifles in the US in an array of options from cheap sporters to African game models and even military sniper versions.
The Parker-Hale rifles are based around the Mauser 98 action, while the Midland rifle was based on the 1903 Springfield. Each model could be bought with wood, synthetic or laminated stock, and in lightweight and magnum versions. The model reviewed here is a .243 calibre Midland 2700 lightweight with a sporter-style laminated stock.
Action-wise is where the two rifle brands differ. The Springfield is like the Mauser in appearance but has a larger, more bulbous bolt shroud at the back compared to Parker-Hale 1100 and 1200 series rifles. This is because the Midland rifle uses a wing safety catch, which operates on top of the bolt shroud, whereas the Parker-Hale rifles had a lower, side-mounted safety behind the bolt handle. Both work, but I prefer the side-mounted one.
The Midland’s action is good and strong and the bolt has two large locking lugs up front, with a third auxiliary lug to the rear and a typically smooth-yet-sloppy Mauser/ Springfield-type operation. This model has a semi-butter knife, or spoon, bolt handle that is nice to hold. It is made to last and is reliable, with scope mount bases attached to the action top via drilled and tapped fixtures.
The magazine is a typical hinged floor-plate arrangement which, in this calibre, holds five rounds. Its quick-release hinged facility allows you to drop all the cartridges from the rifle when desired. The trigger is adjustable but basic, with a narrow trigger-blade – for a sporting arm of this price it’s fine, but check the pull-out before you buy to make sure some would-be gunsmith has not butchered it.
This model is available in .22-250 with a 24in barrel and .243, 6mm Rem, .270, 6.5 x 55, 7 x 57, 7 x 64, .308 and .30-06 all with 22in barrels. Most people would prefer a scope, unless opting for a Parker- Hale version in .45 Win Mag for dangerous game, but open sights are standard, with a small folding rearsight with adjustable blade and tunnel foresight with post. The example pictured has had them removed for a sleeker look with the scope fitted.
I suspect that, to save costs, the stock on this model is actually the stock of a Parker- Hale Scout model because the side-mounted safety catch recess is still visible and has been blanked off, which is a dead giveaway. It is a good design, with a full fore-end with chequered panels for grip, which is handy as the heavy lacquered finish is a bit slippery. The pistol grip is raked, comfortable and suitably chequered. The butt section has a raised Monte Carlo style comb, but is finished with a plastic butt-plate. The laminate is made of alternating colours of black and pale beech glued together to give a strong, weatherproof stock that should reduce warpage and the accuracy issues that stem from it.
The Midland and older Parker-Hale models may be old-fashioned now, but were good, honest rifles that got the job done.
What you need to know about the Midland 2700 rifle
Barrel: 24in in .22-250 calibre 22in in all other calibres.
Magazine: Hinged floor-plate design holding five rounds in .243 Win.
Features: Stronger, laminated stock for bad weather conditions.
Importer: Only available second hand.
Prices: Available from £150 up, depending on condition, scope and other features.