Perazzi HPX shotgun review.
This month?s test gun is going to stimulate considerable interest and comment.
Designed for high bird shooting by John Jeffries of Sussex, it?s the new 34″ barrelled Perazzi HPX.
John was one of the first people to create a gun for dedicated use on sporting clays, and he was certainly the first to create a production 32″ sporter.
This history is important, not only because such guns are now commonplace (and used by nearly all the best clay shots) but because it shows where John is coming from and how significant his input has already been.
He has been a very keen clay shot but in recent years his attentions have turned more and more to game shooting. And he has put his inventive mind to creating a better gun for game shooters, just as he once did for the serious clay busters.
A year or so back, I shot a prototype HPX 34″ game gun with him. It impressed but I made a few suggestions about the ribless barrels.
Now it?s back in production form. First impressions, as before, are that this is a big beast. This is not only a long gun but also a heavy one, hitting the scales at over 8lbs.
But it seems lighter in the hands, balancing just forward of the hinge pin. Bringing it to the shoulder it feels quite lively and remarkably pointable.
The test HPX has a smart but plain black action, like the classic Perazzi MX8 upon which the HPX is built.
It is also available in SC3 and SCO engraved form with fine scroll work or game scenes. Whatever the decoration, this is one of my favourite over-under designs created by the combined genius of Ivo Fabbri and Daniel Perazzi.
It is arguably the best stack-barrel yet conceived, being much copied and proven in the field and competition: the MX designation stands for Mexico from the Olympics of 1968.
BARRELS AND RIBS
The barrels are bored at 18.6mm – quite wide by Italian standards – and weigh 1,610 grams (which is typical of many 31½” and 32″ Perazzis).
There are no joining ribs, save for a short rib near the muzzles to hold the barrels together. The sighting rib is unusual too.
It is tapered (11-7mm) and slightly raised – flat for 10cm forward of the breech, then rising smoothly for 30mm to meet the milled top surface of the main rib. It is vented and there is a long red fluorescent foresight fitted at the muzzles.
John offers other options.
You can have a longer ramp beginning at the breech and extending for 130mm forward. Both ribs are designed to improve vision with the eye raised from the breech.
Higher ribs enhance vision, but one can argue that they can impede natural pointability too. My preference in a game or sporting gun is usually for a flat rib and relatively high stock fit.
But these ribs are subtle and allow for a relaxed head position.
The HPX is available with 31″ barrels, just in case 34″ are found to be too much, or in Twin Allround Special form with twin 34″ and 31″ barrels, which may be considered more suitable for all-purpose use.
The shorter barrels are supplied so that the balance of the gun is not altered when they are fitted – it will still be just forward of the hinge pin.
John takes great care to balance each gun individually before it goes to the client.
THE ACTION AND STOCK
The action of the HPX is from a conventional MX8 Perazzi. John only supplies the HPX with leaf springs in the detachable trigger lock, removed by pushing the safety forward beyond its normal position.
MX8s do come with coil springs these days, but many aficionados of the gun believe that traditional leaf springs still offer the best trigger pulls and lock time.
They may be slightly more prone to breakage, but this is no real issue in a gun with easily detachable lockwork. Springs may be easily replaced. A spare set is provided with the gun, though you may never need them.
The stock of the HPX, like the barrels, has been subject to considerable development.
All guns are provided to customer?s specifications for dimensions, and a fitting with John is included in the base price of £7,950.
The grip is less acutely angled than the average Perazzi and it is also comparatively slender. Too acutely angled a grip is definitely out of place on a game gun; it may strain the wrist when one adopts a normal ready position with the muzzles up.
There is a subtle palm as well, and John prefers a near parallel comb with only a 5mm variation between front and rear drop measurements.
The comb is not tapered either. John?s idea is to maintain the same eye-rib relationship under all circumstances.
When I shot the prototype I was struck by how well it performed on the high tower. It made shooting tall birds effortless.
There were a few issues with barrel vibration, but John addressed this with a rubber damper between the barrels. Now this component has been refined with a precision machined pair of radiused wedges which are fixed by screws and rubber lined where they touch the barrels.
They are neat, invisible (positioned between the barrels under the tip of the fore-end) and effective. Vibration is reduced.
The HPX still makes high birds easy. The application of lead and finding line are both enhanced. I found this gun a little heavy, but John tells me that he is now taking a few more ounces off overall weight. This is good.
There is a 20-bore HPX on the way too, and I am first in the queue to test it. I do most of my game shooting with a 32″ 20-bore over-under these days and find it excellent.
Do long guns make high birds easier? Yes.
Is 34″ too long? Not necessarily, but you must try one first and see if it suits you.
All guns are provided to customer?s specification and a fitting with John Jeffries is included in the base price of £7,950.