Elle of a gun! Since winning a Perazzi High Tech Elle, Kath Bright has had great success. Richard Atkins and Kath discuss the Perazzi specially made for women
Kath Bright is a dedicated Trap shooter and clearly an accomplished competitor to have won a Perazzi High Tech Elle at the Clay Shooting Classic DTL in 2016. How her success came about and her transition to a gun specially developed to better suit female shooters is fascinating.
How did you come to win the Perazzi?
I entered the Clay Shooting Classic DTL Championship at Bywell SG in August 2016. I had to shoot-off to win the Ladies category 25/75, then shoot-off against the other category winners (Colt, Junior and Veteran), which took two rounds of 25: 25/74 and 25/75. This qualified me for the Super shoot-off against the class winners (AA, A, B and C), in which I shot 25/74 in to win the Perazzi.
Having a gun custom fitted to you must be a real boost – what was that experience like?
I went out to Italy in November 2016 to have the stock made. It was a fantastic experience. I had researched the options as there are so many with the High Tech model and I had my wish list ready: a glove grip and a Monte Carlo stock with adjustable comb.
Mauro helped me choose the wood blank, and then the ‘try gun’ was fitted to me with the measurements taken from that. The only adjustment that was required once the stock was made was a slight reduction of the palm swell. Everything else was just about perfect.
It was an amazing experience but a little awe-inspiring to have the legend that is Mauro Perazzi spending his valuable time with you. Phil from RUAG, the UK importers of Perazzi, gave us a tour of the factory and explained some of the processes. Just watching the machining of the walnut blanks into recognisable stocks was fascinating.
After so many years with your trusted Miroku, how easy was it to settle into the new gun?
I had the Elle sent to Steve Ling so I could get some help setting it up out of the box, and I attended one of the GB Olympic Trap selection shoots in Wales the following day. My scores weren’t that far off what I was shooting with the Miroku, which was pleasing and reassuring for a first outing. Then I called into Bisley Gun Club on the way home, where I shot a 25/75 at DTL and won the Ladies All England DTL Championship. You could say I started off well…
There were a few teething problems when I was setting up the adjustable comb, but checking the measurements in the Perazzi booklet with the gun resolved that. It was important for me that the Miroku remained in the cabinet once the Perazzi arrived. I have committed fully to the Elle and worked through the issues, as my shooting future isn’t going to progress how I want with a 40-year-old firearm, despite it being excellent.
What do you especially like about the Perazzi?
I was told that the trigger pulls would be different to the Miroku, but I certainly haven’t had any issues and I’ve got used to it very quickly.
The glove grip is really amazing, with my finger position relative to the trigger now bang on every time. The Miroku had a slim grip and sometimes my positioning wasn’t consistent. The only issue I had was an aching hand after the first few shoots. I soon learned to relax my grip, which has taken a lot of tension out of my right hand. The balance is perfect and the recoil feels extremely manageable.
Is there anything you would like to change about the gun?
Only cosmetically. I have in-filled the recessed logo in the forend with red, white and blue paint, and I would have liked the logo to have been on the right side not the left, but as it is machined into the wood it could not be changed.
I did request a Union flag on the bottom of the action but, to make sure I got the gun before the season, it was left off. Hopefully it can be added when it goes back for a service.
The stock is designed to better suit female shooters. Do you notice this difference? Should more women consider having their guns altered?
I needed quite a lot of cast on the stock owing to the shape of my face and my eye position. I had an adjustable comb fitted on the Miroku and it had to be set as far to the right as possible to fit me.
I definitely recommend any woman to get her gun(s) fitted professionally, as our bodies and faces are quite different to men’s. Although you may be able to make yourself fit the gun, the consistency will never be there. Having it professionally and perfectly fitted helps ensure you maintain correct preparation for every shot as it removes some things that you may otherwise forget when the pressure is on.
Do you leave the comb height the same for DTL and UT?
Currently yes because I’m still shooting both disciplines. Once I move away from DTL after the World Championships in March 2018, I’ll be paying another visit to Steve and Abbey Ling to fine-tune things.
You mentioned the recoil is manageable – is it less than on the Miroku?
I use the same cartridges I did with the Miroku – Cheddite Smart Strike 24g – so it’s been interesting to compare. When shooting big competitions, I can definitely feel a difference at the end of the shoot. At the Mayland Gun Club Grand Final in 2016, I shot 200 Double Rise, 200 single barrel and 200 DTL over two days. At the end of the first day I had a stiff neck and was pretty tired, whereas at the same event over the same number of targets in 2017, now using the Perazzi Elle, I was up for shooting some more at the end of the two days!
Does the reduction in recoil come with a weight penalty?
Although I haven’t weighed them, I am pretty sure the Perazzi is significantly lighter than my Miroku 3800 extra-wide rib.* It certainly feels lighter and I am less tired using it. However, I did pick up Lee Byard’s High Tech and was surprised at how much heavier it was than mine!
(* We subsequently weighed them both and the Elle, at 8lb 4oz, is 4oz lighter than the Miroku.)
For you, what makes the Perazzi such a good and successful competition gun?
It’s definitely the personal touch. As someone who could never have afforded to buy a Perazzi, the level of service, attention to detail and being made to feel special were all amazing. I’m a great believer that a good shot can shoot well with any gun and ammunition, but having the confidence in your tools goes a long way to turning you into a champion.
Richard’s comments on the gun
The Perazzi O/U design requires no introduction and Perazzi’s success at world and Olympic level is legendary. Based upon the Boss action, the barrels and receiver are firmly mated together when closed. This is achieved by the large lugs on the inner receiver walls that engage with mating recesses machined into the substantial breech monobloc. These engage on closing the gun to make a hugely strong barrels to action locking arrangement that spreads the stresses of firing into what has become virtually a single piece of steel.
Combined with the bifurcated locking bolts that are so unobtrusively set into the breech face to engage the two radius form barrel extension lugs either side of the bottom barrel, you have the Boss design’s legendary strength.
Perazzi came up with their own competition-grade action internals and trigger arrangement. This produces very fine trigger pulls that are crisp and reliable, even at low release weight. While the trigger unit is not detachable on the High Tech Elle, unlike on some other Perazzi models, the mechanics are so highly developed and reliable that this isn’t an issue. The action is single trigger non-selective – the bottom barrel will always be fired first. The safety catch is manual and holds firmly in the ‘off’ position and the second barrel reset is by recoil.
Trigger pull weights measured 3lb 4oz for the bottom barrel and 4lb for the top. More weight in the top barrel helps control second shot while recovering from recoil.
Perazzi barrels are especially respected, too. Being a relatively small-volume gunmaker allows the company a degree of quality control that is difficult to achieve in higher production situations. This means Perazzi can adjust the barrel profiles, wall thickness and so forth to achieve not just the strength required, but also a weight distribution that suits the discipline. Rather like how ‘Best London gunmakers fine tune the handling of their game guns, Perazzi can do likewise with clay target guns. To maintain weight and balance the side ribs on the Elle are complex: solid for the first 7 inches from muzzles then ventilated for the next 13 inches where they stop (no side ribs under forend).
Internal bore profiles are very interesting. Diameters are 18.5 millimetres – not over-bored and with fairly short forcing cones. Considering these guns are designed to break the furthest distance, fastest targets and with only 24 grams of shot, I think this is well worth noting.
Kath chose the 30¾-inch barrel length with fixed chokes (nominally ¾ and Full choke). That’s tight for DTL but she intends to concentrate on UT later. Having fixed chokes helps forward balance, which is almost identical to her old Miroku.
The top rib is also interesting – it followed the ‘reverse taper’ design that gives the visual impression of being parallel due to being 7mm wide at the breech and 10mm at the muzzles. Kath settled in with this fairly low top rib with just a white front bead, right from the off.
The forend is very slim. Kath commented: “I did like the beavertail forend of the Miroku but I haven’t missed it especially. The only thing I have noticed, though, is that I have very little grip on the Perazzi forend in the wet with an ungloved hand. I now tend to wear fingerless Castellanis in summer and leather golf gloves in the cold.”
Kath’s Elle stock is custom fitted to her slim hand. I couldn’t get my thumb into the top thumb hole of her ‘glove-fit’ grip; but Kath’s fingers are longer than mine, so I could barely reach her trigger. That is Kath’s Perazzi Elle in a nutshell – and it evidently works.
A final word from Kath Bright
Winning the Perazzi High Tech Elle has a been a real turning point in my shooting career. Though I was happy with my Miroku, having a brand new, state-of-the-art competition gun gave me the confidence to go out of my comfort zone and change disciplines. The actual wining of it still seems a little surreal and was
one of those special moments when you are completely in the zone. I just felt like
I couldn’t miss that day.
I hadn’t handled a Perazzi before the prize giving. The wait for the High Tech to arrive seemed to take forever but strangely it turned up on my birthday, which seemed to be a good omen. I‘ve probably shot more competition targets this year than ever before – this has helped me to settle into the gun and I’m looking forward to having a full year with it in 2018.
Though I hadn’t shot UT before December 2016, I gained a place in the GB team at the World Championships in France in August and helped the Ladies’ team take the Silver medal, so I really couldn’t have asked for a better transition.
I used to think that when everyone said it takes a year to get used to a new gun, that it couldn’t possibly but I have to say they are right. Though I have only had it for eight months, I’m now feeling that it is as much a part of me when I shoot as the Miroku was.
It is an amazing gun and it came just at the right time in my career to give me a boost to try something new. Sometimes you have to change something to go forward. I fully recommend the fitting service at Perazzi Italy if you buy new.