A pair of high-grade game guns are put through their paces by Mark Heath of the West London Shooting School, with a little help from legendary trick shooter Mickey Rouse
I am reviewing the Miroku MK60 High Pheasant, which is intended to be sold in pairs. The brand has been popular on the competition circuit for a long time and has chalked up many major titles in the hands of shooters like Mickey Rouse, Carl Bloxham and Kevin Mayor.
If you visit any registered shoot or major competition, especially in the Sporting disciplines, Miroku guns still feature strongly. They have long been considered the best-value gun for a major competition. This is down to the great handling characteristics of its standard competition model, the Miroku 38.
The High Pheasant pair come in grade 5 only and are available in 12-bore and 20-bore with a superb leather-covered double gun case. They can be bought for around £5,850 to £6,000, but due to their popularity and limited numbers, you might have to search around to find a pair.
The guns come with high-grade American walnut stocks complete with teardrops and the stock is finished with the standard plastic butt-plate. This can be replaced fairly easily if it is not to your taste, but to ensure that the guns remain under warranty, the work will need to be done by the UK distributor. The guns are numbered I and II in gold Roman numerals and carry ovals on the stocks for your initials.
The guns tested were fitted with automatic safety and fixed choke at three-quarters and full. If all you shoot is high birds, you could leave the chokes alone. However, for mixed shooting you might consider having some of the choke removed, or having the guns fitted with aftermarket chokes by Teague or Briley, for example. These can be flush-fitting so that the aesthetics are not affected.
We could debate chokes on guns for hours and still not agree. I like half and three-quarters for most of my shooting. If you need to use the guns with anything other than lead shot, the chokes must be adjusted for steel or bismuth cartridges.
Measurements and grips
The measurements on the stocks for the two guns matched perfectly, with 15in length of pull, drop measurements of 1¼in at the comb and 2 ⅛in at heel, with an ⅛in cast-off at heel for the right-handed shooter. These are great measurements for an off-the-shelf gun which could be adjusted to suit if necessary after a proper fitting.
I found the grip incredibly comfortable and the balance was perfectly on the pin for both guns. The overall weight for the gun was 7lb 15oz with 32in barrels, which were only 1,470g, making for a very pointable, fast-handling pair. Both the 12-bore and 20-bore versions are only available with 32in barrels.
Testing the Miroku
Who better to test the guns with than lifetime Miroku user Mickey Rouse, who has seven world and European titles to his name. He can shoot clays faster than most can blink an eye — this despite a triple heart bypass last year, which has done nothing to slow him down.
He picked up the gun for test, mounted it a few times and declared that it was a replica of his title-winning gun from when he was at his peak. Out we went to the 40ft towers and a quick warm-up resulting in some powdered clays told us that the formula was correct.
On to the 80ft towers and the results were the same, with some clays angled out to the sides at about 45 yards to 50 yards. The handling was perfect and the clays were dust. To the high tower. Again, the same result — even when the 130ft trap was pushed wide.
The gun was a pleasure to shoot. Just as we were finishing, I had one cartridge left. Having been assured by Mickey that he was sending a high, straight bird, the clay unsurprisingly went high and wide left. Despite having the flexibility of your average concrete fence post, I pulled off a shot that a yoga teacher would have thought awkward. Not exactly classic Stanbury. The response from Mr Rouse: “Yep, they work.”
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Probably the best-value and among the best-handling high guns on the market. Great trigger-pulls and a pleasure to shoot. I also had a quick test with the 20-bore version with the same result. Undoubtedly a lot of gun for the money. The handling is such that they make a great all-round game gun, but you would be well advised to remove some choke or fit multichokes if you are shooting average-height birds or partridges.
Miroku shotguns have always been subject to customisation by owners and to a certain extent these will be no different.
Action/barrels: First class finish – the engraving is the well-known grade 5 Miroku and the presentation is excellent 19/20
Trigger and ejectors: Excellent trigger-pulls. We put a variety of cartridges through teh gun and the ejectors were faultless 19/20
Stock: The stock is attractive, high-grade walnut. The dimensions, in my opnion, are perfect for an off-the shelf gun. We are not all the same height and weight, of course, and where necessary these stocks could be adjusted after a proper fitting to suit a broad range of shooters. The golden gun that guarantees you hit everything doesn’t exist, but a fitted gun helps 18/20
Handling: At 32in, the barrels are not for everyone, but if they are something that you can handle then these are right on the money. The barrels are manoeuvrable without being too quick, the balance is perfect and the gun a real pleasure to use 20/20
Value: A pair of attractive, high grade guns in a leather-covered case. Probably the best-value pair of guns available. I would spend a little extra and have the hard plastic butt-plate replaced with a suitable pad and adjust the chokes. But with a retail price around the £6,000 mark, there is nothing in the marketplace to compete 20/20
Probably the best-value pair of guns available