By Jason Harris
Friday, 29 June 2007
Gun reviews: Perazzi MX8 shotgun: Looking for a proven competition clay gun that's won almost everything on offer? Your search is over with the Perazzi MX8.
Perazzi MX8 shotgun.
The world really started taking notice of Perazzi when Elio Matarelli won Olympic Gold in Tokyo with an early MX8 in 1968. It was the start of one of the greatest-ever runs of competition success for a shotgun manufacturer - particularly in the trap disciplines.
From this many have the impression that the Perazzi is really a trap gun, but that just isn't so. A Perazzi is what you choose to make it, and many shooters in the UK now opt for Sporters.
Who makes it?
The Perazzi factory is at Botticino Mattina, near Brescia, Italy. Top-rate clay layouts in the grounds mean that shooters who choose to visit to have stocks fitted have to walk, literally, a few yards from the craftsman's bench to the clay layout of their choice to test his handiwork.
Custom versions can be built, and some of the engraving patterns available on the higher grades compare well with the world's best.
How adaptable is it?
Most people who buy a Perazzi get the model to suit a particular discipline, be that sporting, skeet or trap. There are also game models.
How does it work?
A solid action block machined from a strong steel forging forms the basis of this gun - and for that matter every other Perazzi which has evolved since.
It is a low-profile action with the barrels hinged on particularly sturdy stub pins, and with a particularly strong lock-up which will withstand very heavy shooting without any chance of working loose.
A strong, two-pronged bolt emerges through slots at the sides of the standing breech to engage with bites in the barrels just below the ejectors - but there's more. Curved slots in the sides of the barrel monobloc mate with projections in the action walls, to fully counter stresses that try to force the barrels away from the standing breech when the gun is fired.
The hammers are cocked by a rod which runs along the action floor, which is pushed back by a cam on the fore end iron as the gun opens. The ejectors are directly spring-loaded, and are triggered by a trip mechanism in the fore end iron which is activated by rods running through the action walls.
The action block of the gun is slightly wider then many, in order to accommodate Perazzi's famous drop-out trigger group. All of the firing mechanism except the firing pins is contained in this group, which is removed by pushing the safety thumbpiece forward beyond the normal 'fire' position.
The hammers are hinged at the bottom, driven by strong V-springs, with low-mounted bents to engage with the sears. The hammers rebound slightly after firing, allowing springs to retract the firing pins and thus avoid striker drag on the cartridge heads as the gun opens.
Both selective and non-selective trigger systems are available.
Apart from the convenience of being able to easily drop out the trigger group for cleaning, maintenance and repair, the feature also offers a degree of security, in that an owner can drop the unit out and put it in his pocket - and nobody surely would be stupid enough to pinch a gun without a trigger.
The exterior of the action is finished in plain black on basic models, but some very fine engraving is available which, of course, elevates the purchase price in scale with its complexity.
- Set built on the monobloc system, and its quality is one of the prides of Perazzi. The quality of the steel and the way in which it is finished, both internally and externally, is quite exceptional.
- Chambers are chrome lined, but the main lengths of the bores are not.
- There is a host of different barrel lengths and options, including fixed and multichokes.
- Basic woodwork can be a little plain, but it is always strong and well shaped.
- Many different variations and qualities are available, and many MX8s sold in the UK are ordered with wood upgrades.
- The stock on the gun illustrated was 14.1/2in long at the centre, with drops of 1.1/4 and 1.3/4 inches at comb and heel respectively.
- The gun illustrated has a very neat and non-stick recoil pad with a slightly rounded heel.
- New in recent months is a trap version aimed at the DTL shooter, which has a Monte Carlo stock.
The gun illustrated weighed 8lb. 10oz. - heavy for a sporter, but it did have 32-inch barrels. The tester did make the point that this gun was so well balanced that the higher than normal weight was not noticeable.
What the tester thought
The MX8 got one of the highest points scores ever recorded when Sporting Gun tested it in February 2003. It was awarded straight nines out of ten in all departments - build quality, handling, styling and value for money.
Points picked out for particular praise included finish, balance, the excellence of the trigger pulls, and the barrel quality.
The tester commented: "This is a superbly-made gun that blends the best that modern machinery and traditional hand finishing can offer. The MX8 is built to last, and last, and last..."
A basic, off-the-shelf MX8 has a recommended retail price of £4,523.
Anyone looking at a Perazzi might also cast an eye over guns by Kemen, Gamba, and the more expensive boxlock Berettas.
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