GUN EXPERT: Mike George
USEFUL BUY: Perazzi MX12 Pro Sport
SECONDHAND COST: Around £6,000
Their ‘Enzo Ferrari’ was Daniele Perazzi, who was brought up in the hard school of wartime Italy.
By 1946 the lad was 14 and looking for a job.
He was determined to become a gunmaker but, with the country’s economy in ruins and its infrastructure in a similar state, the best he could do was to become a sweeper-up in a gun shop.
Two years later he took a job with a gun manufacturer as a storekeeper, but was allowed to help assemble guns after hours.
Recognising his talent, they finally took him on as an apprentice.
By the time he was 20, with a third employer, he invented a single-trigger mechanism.
His employer wasn’t interested in it, so he took out a patent and sold it to a rival.
With some cash behind him at last, by 1957 he was able to form his own company – Armi Perazzi – and the modern gun-making legend was born.
The real break came with the MX8, which was designed for the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
The Olympic Trap event that year was won by Britain’s North Country vet Bob Braithwaite, who shot a Browning.
On the first day, Braithwaite missed only the fifth and thirteenth clay, so this meant that he scored 187 consecutive hits to go towards his 198 ex 200 total.
But Bob’s is another story, and the MX8 went on to win more Olympic, World and International golds than any other gun. It is still in production.
The MX12 Pro Sport featured today is a relative newcomer.
Very much a child of the 21st Century, it was designed primarily as an off-the-peg gun for English Sporting and FITASC.
The action is very similar to that of the MX8 – and all other modern Perazzis for that matter – but it lacks the drop-out trigger mechanism which is a feature of most other models.
It is also powered by coil springs rather than the leaf springs of other models.
The action is built on the Boss style, with deep cut-outs in the sides of the barrel monobloc engaging with similar-shaped projections in the action walls, and a high-mounted H-shaped bolt engaging with bites in the back of the monobloc.
This is one of the firmest lock-ups in the business, so little wonder it is so much copied – by Kemen among others, and even the Spanish-built Aramberri, which went out of production around 30 years ago, was known as ‘the poor man’s Perazzi.’
> Conventional boxlock with the hammers pivoted on the trigger plate and low-mounted sears. Single, selective trigger with transfer to the second barrel by recoil-operated inertia mechanism.
> Barrel selector incorporated in the safety on the top strap. Hammers cocked by a rod running along the action floor pushed back by a projection on the fore-end iron. Chambers are 2.3/4in (70mm), and only the chambers are chromed.
> Multi-choke and fixed-choke versions, with a good selection of barrel lengths.
> Prestige gun from a world-famous maker.
> Good workmanship and materials.
> Long-established importer.
> No significant faults have shown up.
WHAT TO PAY
> There are quite a few variations in specification and wood quality, but a new Pro Sport will set you back between £5,700 and well over £6,000, depending on the source.
> Really good second-hand examples around £1,000 cheaper.
> Ruag Ammotec on 01579-362319.
> Go to www.ruag.co.uk for the importer, and you can download the current catalogue and see all the options in specification. Manufacturer is at www.perazzi.com