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The gun I always wish I had – the Perazzi MX12 Pro Sport

If Mike George could raise the cash he would love to own a Perazzi MX12 Pro Sport

Perazzi MX12 Pro Sport

Engraving may be sparse, but the matt silver action contrasts nicely with the blacking of the barrels

In Italy in 1946 life must have been tough for a young lad with an ambition. In recent years the country, under Mussolini, had gone to war on the German side, but had surrendered and joined the Allies in 1943. Then came the struggle to throw out Hitler’s forces, and the eventual capture and execution of Mussolini by a band of partisans.

Put briefly, it was a country in chaos. The infrastructure was severely damaged, the economy likewise, and political unity between left and right seemed, at times, like an impossible dream.

Enter the young Perazzi

It was in this scenario that the 14-year old Daniele Perazzi nurtured his own apparently impossible dream. He wanted to be a gunmaker, but the only gun-related job he could get was as a sweeper-up in a gun shop. Yet it was the beginning of a wonderful story of triumph over adversity.

A job with a gunmaker

In 1948 Daniele got a job with a gunmaker, but as a storekeeper. However, his employer acknowledged his enthusiasm by allowing him to assemble guns after his normal working hours. This finally led to an apprenticeship, but it was by far not the end of the remarkable Perazzi story.

By the time he was 20, while in his third job in the gun trade, he invented a single-trigger mechanism. He must have been miffed when his employer said he wasn’t interested in it, but the man’s indifference towards the invention was a blessing in disguise. Daniele sold the details of the trigger to a rival, and the money meant that by 1957 he had sufficient cash to form his own company. Armi Perazzi was born.

Perazzi MX12 Sporter

The MX12 is an entry level gun but still comes with a hefty price tag

The MX8 design was brilliant

The fledgling company’s first big break came with the design of the Perazzi MX8, built to win the trap event at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Unfortunately the Italian gold medal hopeful had failed to allow for the Yorkshire grit of Britain’s Bob Braithwaite, who, with his Browning, dropped just two targets out of 200. However, it had to be admitted that the MX8 design was brilliant, and it went on to win more Olympic, World and International Golds than any other gun.

Daniele died in 2012, and a fitting memorial to his genius was the fact that, out of 15 medals in the shotgun disciplines at that year’s London Olympics, 12 were won by Perazzi shooters.

Perazzi MX12 mechanism

Unlike the MX8, the MX12 does not have a drop-out trigger mechanism. Another difference is that the hammers on the MX12 are powered by coil rather than V-springs

MX12 Pro Sport an entry level Perazzi

Today the MX8 can be regarded as the father of a whole range of top-quality guns for field shooting and all of the clay target disciplines. The gun illustrated in this article is the MX12 Pro Sport, intended as an off-the-peg gun for the sporting disciplines and FITASC. It can be regarded as the “entry level” Perazzi, yet even second-hand the average price is around £4,700, and can be as high as well over £5,000 for an exceptional gun.

Unlike the top-level Perazzis, the Pro Sport does not have a drop-out trigger mechanism, neither does it have leaf springs. But like all other Perazzis, it has a super-strong action modelled on the Boss style, and lock-up with an H-shaped bolt engaging with bites level with the firing pin in the lower barrel.

A bit heavy

The only criticism I have of any Perazzi sporter is that they are generally quite heavy. More than 8lb is the norm, but this is counterbalanced by excellent balance and pointability. I’d love to own one, even if it meant I had to re-enrol at the gym, and if I could raise the cash I’d take the option open to any purchaser of a new gun to go to the factory to have the stock hand-fitted by experts.

There are facilities to try guns at all clay disciplines in the factory grounds. That, coupled with the opportunity to observe Italian engineering and gunmaking at its best, sounds something close to paradise!