Almost certainly the most successful clay-target shotgun of recent decades, Perazzi’s MX8, was first introduced, as its designation suggests, in 1968. Since then, this model and its derivatives have amassed a huge medal haul at the highest levels of shooting.
Though few of the MX8’s design principles are entirely original, the ingenious combination has produced something that thousands of shooters around the world consider the ultimate. This opinion was reinforced when, at the 2008 Olympic Games in Tokyo, 15 of the 16 placed Trap shooters used a Perazzi. In other circumstances it might be claimed that this was due to huge sponsorship deals and financial inducements of every kind, but that was not the case. Perazzi is not a large organisation or part of some multi-national conglomerate, instead they are a relatively small gunmaker who, compared to some manufacturers, produce only a modest number of shotguns each year.
I have mentioned that the basic design of the gun is not entirely original and that is true. For example, the jointing and bolting of the barrels to the action owe a lot in principle to those of English over-and-unders originally conceived by Boss & Co and James Woodward.
The first makers of over-and-under guns found great difficulty in creating an attractive shotgun with under-bolting as applied to a side-by-side, which created a deep, and, for many, an unsightly action. This problem was finally solved by the aforementioned makers by creating a form of bifurcated or divided bolt that moved forward from the breech face and engaged with bites or bearing surfaces cut in the barrels breech ends when the gun was closed. In most cases, this arrangement is supported by recesses cut in the sides of the barrel lumps that locate with wedges integral to the action body’s internal walls. Dimensionally, this form of jointing is dependent upon the maker’s desire for a certain level of robustness.
In the case of the Perazzi MX8, it is substantial and will stand the pounding of the tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition that many shooters will put through the gun, and in terms of strength and longevity easily rivals other forms of jointing.
So how is the new Perazzi High Tech different to the original MX8? Simply that the action body is 3mm wider and 40 grams heavier – in all other respects it remains the same, but as I was to find out, these changes were significant.
The High Tech Sporter S incorporates a fixed trigger mechanism, however, it’s also available with Perazzi’s famous drop-lock trigger group at the same cost. Both have the same excellent geometry and share superb trigger pulls. Out of the box, the extra weight between the hands is immediately apparent, and yet the gun does not feel cumbersome – indeed, with its light barrels if felt positively lively. This represented something of a surprise, as in my view the MX8 takes some beating in that area, but the High Tech rivals it and may be superior for any kind of shooting.
Though visually the extra dimensional size of the High Tech’s action body is barely detectable, it’s finish and badging is a contrast to the rather subdued decoration most Perazzis share. A bold, black-and-white livery with Perazzi High Tech S emblazoned on the side panels, it works surprisingly well, though there is a custom service employing the same process that can produce a variety of designs. In standard form, the High Tech’s looks are distinctive, which clearly is the intention – people will not be left in any doubt that they have bought the latest Perazzi.
As I would expect from Perazzi the stock configuration is excellent. This from a maker that, until relatively recently, would not have produced many Sporter stocks because Trap shooting is predominant in Italy. The grip provides an excellent compromise between utility and looks. Its fairly open radius possesses an elegant appearance and provides the kind of control and versatility that is required to take targets at any height or angle. The forend wood, in terms of shape, complements the stock by keeping hands in line to provide the coordinated gun mount essential to Sporting clays.
The barrels are suitably light at 1.478kg and incorporate a reverse tapered rib to create the optical illusion that it has the same width from breech face to muzzle ends. I am not sure as to the benefits of this, but most importantly, so far as all ribs are concerned, it did not provide any form of distraction. As to choke boring, which equates to ¾ and Full, though this is tight for a Sporter the barrels patterned well and I would hesitate to have them opened up – Mr Teague’s chokes are an option but not a free one.
If the purpose of the heavier action body eluded me at first it quickly became apparent when shooting the High Tech S. The effect it has on the gun’s handling is to combine a feeling of steadiness with fast-handling characteristics that get the barrels to the target quickly without the feeling of running away from you. If this seems a contradiction, I can only suggest you take the opportunity to shoot the High Tech, and if you had thought the extra weight was of little significance you might think again. This gun’s specification has been carefully thought out and its qualities, though difficult to define, are something you will quickly come to appreciate.