Vic Harker checks out Perazzi’s new entry-level Sporter
A recurring folly of manufacturers in the firearms industry is to de-specify a well-established and successful gun to sell at a lower price in the hope it will create more volume for the factory. If this ploy works, you increase your factory’s output and can spread manufacturing costs through the entire production, enabling you to keep the price of more expensive models down and at the same time increase turnover and maintain current margins.
That’s fine if the new entry-level gun sells, but they invariably don’t. The market wants the more expensive gun because of what it offers, not a gun that doesn’t offer as much. Only too frequently we come upon rejected examples of these rationalisation schemes languishing on dealers’ racks bearing famous names, but rejected by the market.
With this in mind I did not greet the news of a new gun from Perazzi selling for significantly less than its current models with any great enthusiasm. My first thought was: “And what don’t you get for that?”
The Perazzi MX8 drop-lock and similar models are legendary for handsome looks and perfect balance, but most of all its drop-lock trigger plate action. The new Perazzi MXS Sporter does not have this, instead it features the makers’ non-detachable trigger plate mechanism that shares the same geometry as the MX8, and so retains Perazzi’s legendary trigger pulls.
The action body is to the same weight and dimensions as other Perazzis and so the handsome low profile action is retained. This is albeit without the bearing surfaces created by the wedges and draws on the interior walls of the action and the monobloc. The bifurcated locking bolt is preserved, coming forward from the standing breech and locates with a bite between the barrels, which creates the low profile action. Also preserved are the extensions to the rear of the barrel lumps that meet with reciprocating recesses each side of the breech face.
These matters dealt with, aficionados of this famous Italian gun can relax, as the rest of the MXS is unchanged from Perazzi’s standard specification. This was a relief to me and from then on I could admire the pristine finish of the rest of the gun that is well up to its usual standards.
The stock is by far the most important component of any shotgun as it relates to accurate shooting, and yet would-be gun buyers are still are inclined to pay more attention to the figuring of the wood than its configuration. When recently looking at another famous maker’s stock that was well made but with little thought put into it in terms of shape and dimensions, I was reminded of how much we owe to Perazzi and a few custom makers, both in Italy and the UK, as regards our understanding of gun fit especially for clay target shooting.
The MXS stock is an example of this and while this is an entry-level gun, and there are only two sets of dimensions with drop at comb and heel of 35mm–50mm and 38mm–53mm, the configuration is excellent. For most people, the Perazzi Sporter stock will support the face and sit in the shoulder pocket comfortably. The pistol grip also positions the hand properly to provide a firm hold. Some may require tweaks here and there, but fundamentally the stock design is excellent and will please a lot of people.
Though the less discerning pay scant attention to the quality of barrel making, the construction of the barrel assembly is another crucial component of accurate shooting and represents a large percentage of the gun’s total cost. MXS buyers can be assured the barrels are up to Perazzi’s usual high standards, accurately bored and beautifully struck off: they would pass the test of the severest critic.
With samples of the MXS in two barrel lengths, the shooting part of this gun test was inevitably more protracted than usual – not that this represented any hardship. My initial impression of both guns was that in terms of handling and balance, they were 100 per cent Perazzi. That says a lot, and is the most important aspect of these guns so far as I am concerned, but if there had been any doubt in my mind before shooting the MXS, I can say they match the more expensive models. A happy balance of speed with control was there and the stock, in ergonomic terms, was also up to Perazzi’s usual high standards. The 35-50mm drop-at-comb and heel is close to my dimensions and that, of course, helped a lot, but also the design of the stock made everything easier.
As to which barrel length I preferred, both created the same feeling of confidence and I never quite came to a conclusion. Shadows were lengthening at the North Cotswold Shooting Ground and the pile of spent cartridge cases was growing. I still couldn’t make up my mind, but I was having a good time.
Is the exclusion of the drop-lock trigger and the simplification of the MXS’s jointing a folly on Perazzi’s part? Not in this case, because all the other qualities that make the Perazzi the most successful target gun in the world are retained. Great handling qualities, trigger pulls and all the original mechanical design still in place, but at a bargain price.
Model: MXS Sporter
Bore size: 18.5mm
Barrel Length: 76cm and 81cm
Chokes: 1/2 and 3/4
Rib: 10x7mm tapered
Stock: Option one: 35mm/50mm drop at comb and heel. Option two: 38mm/53mm drop at comb and heel
Total Weight: 76mm barrels 3.706kg, 81mm barrels 3.791kg
SRP: With upgraded wood £5,500 inc. VAT
UK Distributor: RUAG Ammotec UK Ltd
Telephone: 01579 362319