By Jason Harris
Monday, 10 September 2007
Gun reviews: Perazzi MX12 Pro Sport shotgun: Get to grips with the exciting new Perazzi Pro Sporter. It's a thoroughbred bit of kit that's going to prove a big hit with shooters - both for quality and on price.
Perazzi MX12 Pro Sport shotgun.
Perazzi might be one of Italy's youngest gunmaking companies but it didn't take them any time at all to establish a formidable reputation for top quality guns with world-beating credentials.
Unlike the rest of the Italian gun trade still based in and around the Val Trompia valley, Perazzi have set up shop on their own a little way from Brescia.
One of the benefits to this - or maybe the main reason for it - is they have been able to build their own clay shooting facilities right outside the back door of the factory.
This not only allows them to continually test fire and develop new guns, it also allows them to fit a stock to customer requirements quickly, and accurately. The walk from workbench to shooting range takes just a few seconds which means that most of the work in fitting a stock or setting up a gun can be done while you wait.
An all-round gunmaker
Perazzi's expertise and undoubted fame has been built around trap shooting and trap guns, but the company also make superb guns in all grades for Sporting, game shooting and skeet.
The firm's history goes back to the time when Perazzi in conjunction with Fabbri developed the MX8 action for the great trap shooter Materelli.
This partnership of gunmakers and shooter proved hugely successful with gold medal wins at World and Olympic level. Since then the wins have just kept coming and coming... at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, for instance, Perazzi won 12 out the available 18 medals for clay shooting!
The company certainly hasn't lost sight of the huge boom that has taken place in Sporting disciplines recently and it has a portfolio of guns many aspire to own. They can - and do - build Sporters to any level and fit you require.
However, things move on and UK importers, Ruag Ammotech, have spotted a niche for a more specialised off-the-shelf model that will suit English Sporting and FITASC enthusiasts down to the ground. Between them the importers and makers have come up with a new model to meet British requirements. It's called the MX12 Pro Sport.
Up until now all the lower priced Perazzis have had black actions with some degree of engraving. There's no problem with blacked action frames but with use the colouring does fade and wear off. Like it or not, this can affect second hand re-sale values, to the understandable annoyance of an otherwise careful owner.
In an attempt to maintain residual used prices and at the same time come up with a distinctive looking new gun, Ruag has gone for a model with a silver action frame.
Highly polished chrome rarely enhances the looks of a gun so this one has been given a matt finish to keep glare and reflection under control. As well as being attractive, the satin chrome finish should prove very durable for years to come.
In order to keep a balanced look to the gun, the furniture - top lever, safety catch and fore-end iron - have been blacked to give a little bit of contrast and prevent the chrome overpowering the looks of the gun.
The shallow Boss-style action body, chosen by Perazzi, imparts a unique handling quality to the MX12 Pro Sporter.
The action frame is not devoid of decoration but carries full border engraving with some scroll work around the safety catch button, top lever and trigger guard. Perazzi are big guns but this touch of engraving somehow takes away what can sometimes be a bulky appearance for the plainer black-framed guns.
If you want a Perazzi with a higher level of engraving then believe me, you can have any picture you want on a gun that's built to your requirements.
The action frame and mechanism chosen for this new off-the-shelf model is the MX12, a fixed frame design which lacks the drop-out trigger mechanism found on the MX8 and has hammers powered by coil, rather than Vee springs. Most shooters would argue that
Vee springs give crisper trigger pulls but Perazzi are masters at building mechanisms that deliver superbly smooth trigger pulls, and the MX12 is no different.
There's no hint of drag or 'take up' when you squeeze the trigger and I would defy anyone who didn't know these guns to be able to tell the difference. If Vee springs do hold the edge then one thing the coil spring has going for it is better reliability.
If a Vee spring breaks the gun is redundant until a replacement can be fitted whereas a captive coil spring should keep working even if it snaps.
Coil spring advantages
In addition to this the coil spring mechanism has a couple of other advantages over a gun with a drop out trigger assembly. The first is the safety can now be used as a barrel selector which works in a gate in much the same way as the Browning guns - left for top barrel and right for the bottom.
On guns with a removeable mechanism the barrel selector has to be placed behind the trigger blade.
The other point in the MX12's favour is because the action frame is fixed it allows the trigger plate to be made slightly slimmer too. This means the head and hand of the stock, where the action runs into the woodwork, will be subtly narrower and create a slimmer, more comfortable, grip.
The safety mechanism on this competition gun is manual as you would expect and, something I have always liked about Perazzi, is the safety catches are big and move very positively.
The MX12 action has been around for a number of years now and it has proved itself beyond question to be highly reliable. Take a look inside the mechanism and you will see it is both solid and fairly simple in design with all the parts being well machined and put together in a quality manner.
The sears are positioned behind the hammers with the bent being placed below their pivot point.
These bents where they meet the sears are very precisely cut and give the Perazzi its legendary trigger pull quality.
The barrels are superbly made and are one of the Perazzi hallmarks being built in the same traditional way as they always have been under the watchful eye of Daniele Perazzi who insists on excellence before they leave the factory.
The barrels are made on the mono-block principle, and a very precise mono-block it is too. One of the impressive things about Perazzi is the quality of the machining, finish to surfaces and the precision of the jointing of the barrels to action.
Two choices of barrel length are available on the Pro Sport - 30.3/4in or 32in with an option of 1/2 and 3/4 or 3/4 and full fixed chokes on either barrel choice. Some may think these chokes are too tight for general Sporting work but, again, there has been some thought put into this gun.
The thinking here is that with levels of marksmanship getting ever better then target distance and difficulty is also increasing. This generally means that targets are often a long way out and more choke is a benefit when dealing with them.
In use the patterns thrown by these guns were truly devastating at extreme distance but I didn't feel unduly handicapped on closer range birds.
More and more shooters are now turning to 24 gram cartridges whose performance may be enhanced with a greater degree of choke, and the same can be said of fibre-wad cartridges which some grounds and clubs are now favouring for environmental reasons.
In this respect it's worth noting that the barrels have an internal diameter of 18.4 mm so there is no hint of over-boring. This bore size - combined with the 2.3/4in chambers - means the gun should deliver the best gas seal performance out of fibre wads, if they have to be used.
The chambers on this gun have been chrome-lined to ease cleaning and reduce wear over a long period of time.
An interesting point about Perazzi barrels is that the bores have not been chromed as is usually the case with the majority of guns coming out of Italy.
The disadvantage here is extra care is needed on the part of the owner to keep everything clean, however it might be more accurate to say chromed bores encourage shooters to be lazy and not clean their gun as well as they should do.
The advantage of not chroming is that if the barrels are damaged then dents can be raised and lapped with a far greater degree of success.
A noticeable feature of the Pro Sport is the top rib which tapers from 11mm down to 7mm at the muzzle, giving an incredibly good sight picture and the illusion the barrels are longer than they really are.
Pointability is excellent.
As a matter of interest the balance point on the Pro Sport has been deliberately engineered to rest just forward of the hinge pin to make the gun as stable as possible for those long shots, yet responsive for any targets closer in.
The weight of the gun is going to vary slightly depending on exact specification chosen, but on the 32in test gun it was 8lb. There has also been a good deal of input from the UK on the woodwork requirements with two stock options being made available.
Both are the same length at 14.7/8in and share the same 1.1/2in drop at comb but you can choose between stocks with a drop at heel of 1.3/4in or 2in.
In my experience the latter will suit more people because it is a little flatter and allows the user to see enough of the rib to keep them in touch with the target. The higher comb will by preferred by those folk used to shooting a trap gun which has been converted to Sporting use.
The gun is finished at the butt end with a slim black recoil pad with a synthetic leather-type sole that helps prevent snagging when mounting.
The test guns are cast off around 6mm for right hand, but it will not be a problem to get a left hand version from Perazzi should you need it.
In fact you can get any stock made to your exact measurements for an affordable sum - just talk to your stockist or the importer when ordering.
Available in 30.3/4in or 32in with a choice of 1/2 and 3/4 or 3/4 and full fixed chokes. Tapered and ventilated top rib and chambered for 2.3/4in cartridges.
Single selective trigger boxlock built on a very shallow Boss-style action body. Non-automatic safety catch with a recoil activated trigger mechanism.
Available in two sizes but can also be made to order. Wood quality on the test gun was good but it would be nice to change the polyurethane varnish for a proper oil finish, something you can do yourself at home at some later stage. Stocks are interchangeable.
I have always admired Perazzis because they are guns of excellent quality and the MX12 keeps the tradition going - it's a very good gun whichever way you look at it.
This gun isn't cheap, but the thing to bear in mind is that you get what you pay for, and that's a lot of gun for the money.
Build quality: 9
Value for money: 8
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