A look at this Italian game gun, which combines elegance with performance
The Perazzi MX16 – the Ferrari of shotguns?
Often called the Ferrari of shotguns, Perazzis have a reputation for fast handling. They are regularly seen in the hands of masters like George Digweed and Ed Ling as they see off the competition.
Unlike the Perazzi MX2000 S the MX16 is a game gun. With its black action and sparse engraving, the Perazzi MX16 doesn’t hold to the tradition of ‘pretty’ game guns. Rather like the Ferrari, everything about the MX16 is focused on performance. Having said that the Italians have a flair for design and the MX16 is a good-looking gun. The dark figured walnut goes beautifully with the black action and the trigger blade is also black giving the gun an understated, classy look.
The barrel selector and safety catch are on the strap and I really liked the ergonomic domed toggle, which moved with mechanical grace. Unlike most game guns, you have to pay extra for an auto-safety.
As bespoke as you wish
The beauty of the MX16 is that the gun can be fully bespoke as you can, in effect, design your own gun. There are many permutations with 26 barrel lengths, 11 points of choke, more than 15 rib styles, six fore-end types, 14 different recoil pads … you get the picture. You can go to the factory in Italy to have the gun fitted and select the wood.
You will have to be patient if you go down the bespoke route. A black action has a waiting time of six to eight months and engraved versions take 12 to 15 months, depending on the intricacy of engraving. If you don’t want to wait that long, then off-the-shelf versions are available from RUAG Ammotec, the UK importers of Perazzi. In either case the price is the same, so my advice would be to go bespoke. After all, buying a Perazzi will, for many, be a once-in- a-lifetime event, so you may as well enjoy the bespoke experience. As the saying goes, ‘buy well, buy once’. What’s more, you don’t have to buy a new Perazzi to experience the bespoke treatment because the company will fit you for a new stock on a second-hand gun.
The MX16 we tested came with a 30in barrel and had a 15in stock. The dimensions were good for me. Balance was almost dead on the hinge pin, which was to my liking. Each MX16 has the density of the wood matched to the action of the gun to ensure perfect balance. Naturally, a buyer can have the gun balance the way they want it if they have a gun made for them. When I dry-mounted, the gun came up nicely with my eye sitting just above the rib. Again, if the gun was bespoke, you can have it set up to suit you.
It’s not just the handling of a Perazzi that has earned it a place in the shooting pantheon. Build quality is very high. This is crucial when competition shooting because thousands of cartridges will be put through the gun each month in training. I would argue that reliability is also paramount when game shooting. A day’s shooting can cost a lot and you don’t want your gun malfunctioning and ruining your sport.
The inner walls on the receiver on the MX16 have deep draws and wedges; a system inspired by gunmaker, Boss. This makes for a sturdy lock-up that should last many years.
Perazzi barrels are built to extremely high standards and they randomly check a tube on their own pressure testing rig to levels far in excess of those required by the Brescia Proof House to ensure that these standards are maintained.
From concept to production the action took two years to develop. It is powered by coil springs and is only available with a fixed trigger group. The MX16 16-bore has a scaled action, making it that little lighter and faster handling. That said, at 6½lbs the gun isn’t heavy and wouldn’t take its toll after a long day’s shooting.
Trying it on some driven clays, the MX16 was a delight to shoot. The combination of the superb balance and smaller bore meant the gun was easy to mount and swing. I’m a big fan of 16-bore guns because they make for great handling. The 30in barrels kept the gun swinging through the target, making it feel controlled. Some might not be used to such a light trigger pull, but the break was crisp and predictable, as you would expect.
Great handling is the hallmark of this gun.
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In terms of handling, the MX16 had all the hallmarks of a Ferrari. It felt lively, precise and refined and at under £12,000 for what could be a bespoke gun, it’s not overly expensive.
With the MX16 you are getting Ferrari handling for the price of a Ford Fiesta