Those tackling high driven birds on the peg may find the weight and heft of this striking game gun works to their advantage, says Matt Hunt
Verdict on the Legend 2 MX8
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting John Jeffries and shooting one of his custom guns. This gun was an exciting little 20-bore based on a Perugini & Visini sideplated action. I was impressed with the gun but particularly fascinated with John’s unrelenting passion for customising guns to suit individual requirements.
So when I had the opportunity not only to shoot the new 12-bore Legend 2 MX8 , but to have John on hand to set up the gun to my own distinctive style, I jumped at the opportunity.
At this point, I have to make a confession. As a gunmaker, I have had the privilege of designing and making shotguns from scratch. This process is all-consuming and when the first gun comes out of the production stage and is tested, you are filled with that proud and protective new father feeling. The thought of someone then messing around with my design, tweaking ribs, grips and combs, is an uncomfortable feeling.
Legend 2 MX8 in detail
So what is customisation? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is “the action of modifying something to suit a particular individual or task” — and this definition really is the ethos of John Jeffries’s Legend 2 MX8 high bird game gun. The starting point in this gun’s design is a Perazzi MX8 action. This traditional and exceptionally well-designed triggerplate has leaf springs, giving the gun superb action time and crisp trigger-pulls.
The gun comes in a number of barrel lengths, but keep an open mind as John’s theory is that longer barrels will make you more accurate. The test gun has 33in monobloc-constructed barrels with 3in chambers and fixed chokes. Multichoking by Teague is one of the many options available.
Due to the length of the barrels, the side ribs have been removed to reduce weight and improve balance. This model also has custom top ribs. First, it has John’s patented SR1 — this is a short ramp at the breech end that then leads to an RSR main rib; this main rib is a reverse slope, so higher at the breech.
These rib designs are the foundation on which John customises guns. The aim is to improve target visibility through a high head position, as with modern trap guns, but then to redesign the rib so the gun shoots to a conventional 60/40 or lower point of aim.
Standing back and looking at the Legend 2 MX8, with all its customisation, it is striking. Both the stock and fore-end are of John’s own design. I particularly like the fore-end shape, with its narrow profile and tapered end. It married perfectly to the stock dimensions; the grip was a gentle radius and again slim in profile.
The quality of walnut was superb and all hand selected by John at the factory then finished in a traditional matt oil by John’s UK-based craftsman.
Weighing in at 8lb 8oz, the Legend 2 is a brute and probably to be avoided on days walking-up grouse on the moor or woodcock in the bogs of mid-Wales. However, when shooting high driven birds on the peg, this weight and heft can be used to full advantage. Overall weight is never the whole story. The way the Legend 2 balances and handles is superb.
The cost of the Legend 2 starts at £12,950 and, if you compare this with a Perazzi MX8 with a similar specification, John Jeffries’s customisation, gunfitting and UK finish adds only a £750 premium. I feel this represents superb value.
Need to know
- Manufacturer John Jeffries/Perazzi
- Model Legend 2 MX8
- Calibre 12-bore
- Barrels 33in
- Chamber 3in (76mm)
- Chokes Fixed choke
- Rib Short ramp reverse slope
- Grip Pistol
- Weight 8lb 8oz
- Importer John Jeffries Custom Guns
- RRP £12,950
In the capable hands of John Jeffries, I headed down to the pattern plate to set up the Legend 2 for extreme-range pheasant shooting. We adjusted the drop, cast, length and pitch of the gun and through this process the gun started to feel alive. Starting on a modest straight driven target, the gun performed well. Operationally it was a joy to use, ejection of cartridges was superb and opening and closing of the gun happened with ease.
As with all Perazzis, I was occasionally frustrated by the top-lever hold-over not engaging and barrels being closed on to the bolt, but apart from this, mechanically, the gun is sound.
We moved on to a long crossing bird as I wanted to see how the better target vision would assist. Initially, I struggled to connect as I consistently shot low. Once I embraced the concept of the RSR and SR1 rib combination, I could feel the benefit of having closer connection between bird and rib. Essentially, I didn’t have to go so far underneath.
The gun shot exceptionally well, but for most of us it is going to take some getting used to its concepts and custom principles. It’s not going to make you shoot like Simon Ward on the first outing. I worry about the weight. Shooting a pair of these in the Welsh valleys is going to take it out of you. What you gain in accuracy, you could lose to fatigue.
- Action and barrels Superb concepts that boost accuracy 19/20
- Handling: Great balance, but on the heavy side 17/20
- Trigger: Perazzi, made even better by John 19/20
- Stock: Very good profiles and superb walnut 18/20
- Value: John Jeffries’s service is second to none 18/20
- Overall score: A striking gun for high driven birds