Perazzi MX12 shotgun.
When Italian trap ace, Elio Mattarelli, won gold at the 1968 Olympics in Tokyo, he did so with a then-new gun. It was the famous Perazzi MX8.
At the 2004 games in Athens, 12 out of the available 18 medals for clay shooting were won with Perazzis.
That says much for the quality and precision workmanship which goes into the marque, and the care which the Italian company takes to ensure shooters get excellent guns, tuned to their own specific requirements.
Success at Olympic, World Championships and other major international events lead many to think of the Perazzi as a gun for the trap disciplines – but this is far from the truth.
They build some excellent sporters as well and, in line with the philosophy of giving shooters what they want, the MX12 Pro Sport was designed as an off-the-shelf sporter with the co-operation of the UK importers, Ruag Ammotec.
The recruitment of George Digweed to the ranks of Perazzi shooters has done much to enhance the reputation of the sporters.
Who makes it?
Armi Perazzi was founded by Daniele Perazzi in 1957. An early partner was another master gunsmith, Ivo Fabbri, who left and founded his own company in the mid-sixties.
He now produces hand-made masterpieces – at fabulous prices. Perazzi, perhaps the more practical soul of the pair, concentrated on guns designed to do one thing – win competitions!
The Perazzi factory, with an attached shooting ground, is at Botticino Mattina, near Brescia, Italy. It is one of Italy’s youngest gun-making companies, yet has built a huge reputation for competition success. Perazzi employs over 100 skilled craftsmen.
Many shooters visit the factory personally to have their guns customised.
How adaptable is it?
This is a pure competition gun, built for English Sporting and FITASC.
How does it work?
Until this gun came along, lower-priced Perazzis were offered on the old Henry Ford principle – you could have any colour you wanted, as long as it was black.
In that respect this gun breaks the mould, in that it has a matt-finish silver action with some engraving, which contrasts well with the black of the barrels, trigger guard, top lever and safety.
Ruag say this could give the gun a better second-hand value, as blacking can rub off in places on guns which are well-used.
Now let’s have a look inside.
The forged steel action frame lacks one famous feature of the MX8 – it does not have a drop-out trigger mechanism. Another difference is the hammers are powered by coil rather than V-springs.
Some shooters maintain that V-springs give crisper trigger pulls, but on this model the coils have been so well designed and regulated that the pulls are crisp and drag-free.
A fixed action offers another advantage in that the trigger plate can be made slimmer, avoiding bulky wood at the head of the stock and providing the shooter with a more comfortable grip.
The safety thumbpiece and combined barrel selector can also be in its traditional position on the top strap, whereas on a drop-out system the selector is usually built into the rear root of the trigger blade.
In the MX12 action the hammers are pivoted from the trigger plate, with the sears directly behind them so arranged the bents are below the pivot points. This gives the action a very neat and uncluttered look.
Transfer of the trigger to the second barrel is via a recoil-driven inertia system. The Perazzi lock-up is one of the strongest in the business, with slots in the sides of the barrel monobloc engaging with projections on the action walls. Projections on the rear of the monobloc drop through slots in the breech face to engage with the bolt.
Hammers are cocked by a rod running along the action floor which engages with a projection on the fore-end iron.
– Barrels of 30.1/2in and 32 in are available.
– Unusually for a Sporter these days, the tubes are fixed-choke, with a choice of chokings in 1/2 and 3/4, or 3/4 and full. These may seem a bit tight, but remember the gun is built for a high level of competition at which distant targets are frequently encountered.
They also give better pattern density with 24 gramme cartridges.
– As the bores are not internally chromed, it would be very easy for a gunsmith to open them out a bit, should the owner desire.
– Dents are also easier to remove from un-chromed tubes, although they do have to be cleaned thoroughly after shooting.
– Internal diameter of the tubes is 18.4mm (0.724 in), so Perazzi – unlike many of their competitors – haven’t gone for over-boring. Neither have they gone for building everything with 76mm (3in) chambers, and those on this gun are ideally suited to competition cartridges at 70mm (23/4in).
– Ventilated top rib tapers more than most, from 11mm down to 7mm, and ventilated side ribs are only present on the tubes ahead of the fore-end.
– The weight of the barrel set is regulated so that the gun balances just ahead of the pin.
– Stock built in consultation with British shooters, and there are three variations available.
– All have drops at comb of 1.1/2in, but buyers can choose between different drops at heel.
– Length of both stocks is 14.7/8in, and both are finished with slim, black recoil pads which do not snag clothing on mounting.
– Fore-end is a semi-beavertail design with a long parallel section providing the same grip wherever you choose to hold it.
– All this assumes a buyer wishes to stick with the standard woodwork. Perazzi are famed for their custom stocks and fore-ends, and can make and fit woodwork in any style required.
You can even go to the factory, have a stock made or modified, and test it on Perazzi’s own shooting ground to ensure it is exactly right. However, remember this is designed to be more of an off-the-shelf gun.
Weight is around 8lb, with small variations depending on barrel length and wood density.
What the tester thought
Sporting Gun tested the Pro Sport in March 2005. It scored 9 out of 10 for build quality and handling, and 8 out of 10 for styling and value for money. “A very good gun, whichever way you look at it”, and “a lot of gun for the money” were two of the phrases used.
The trigger pulls and the quality of the barrel set came in for particular praise. The tester wasn’t too keen on the depth of the pistol grip and the large size of the foresight bead, but did point out that a stock could be made to order, and the bead could be easily changed.
From about £4,500.
The Beretta DT10 and the Kemen Sporter models are serious contenders.
Perazzi MX12 shotgun