Vic Harker tests out Perazzi’s Hi Tech Sporter, and demolishes more than a few clays along the way
Model: High Tech Sporter S
Bore: 12g (18.5mm)
Chambers: 2¾in (70mm)
Barrel Length: 32in (81cm)
Chokes: Fixed, Imp Mod & Full
Rib: Reverse taper, 7mm x 10mm
Stock: Pistol grip
Total Weight: 8lbs 6.7oz (3.788KG)
Price (As per sample upgraded with C2 wood): £10,517 inc. VAT
UK Distributor: RUAG Ammotec UK Ltd (01579 362319 firstname.lastname@example.org)
With another Perazzi on my desk for review, on reflection I am feeling confident that without the constant inducements offered by other gunmakers to the world’s top clay target shooters, this Italian company would have the high end of the clay target market to itself. I have been looking at the Perazzi HTS (Hi Tech Sporter) with the non-detachable trigger group, an option that is available for all the Perazzi range, although I have to say the reason for this eludes me. The advantage the drop-lock system provides – easy access for repair or replacement – is so obvious that it scarcely requires explanation. Nevertheless, the option is available if you want it. Another option available for the HTS is coil springs instead of the flat leaf springs that are the usual choice of the best gunmakers due to their crisp trigger pulls and ease of installation. The latter quality is particularly apparent in Perazzi’s lockwork, and many-a-day’s shooting has been saved in a matter of minutes by this facility. What is not optional is the Perazzi action’s fundamental strength.
So far as the over-and-under is concerned, the jointing of the barrels to the action has provided difficulties for gunmakers in the past. These were not always solved in an entirely satisfactory way, and although the best early over-and-unders were safe enough, good looks had to be sacrificed. The problem was the matter of where to locate the locking mechanism. Under-bolting, as applied in most side-by-sides, worked well enough and was demonstrably substantial, but inevitably it provided the O/U with a rather deep and heavy appearance. Cross-bolting above the bottom barrel was not usually considered sufficient unless it was reinforced with other bearing surfaces at the breech face or the sides of the action, which added to the guns’ cost.
Where cost was not an issue and optimum elegance was required, a bifurcated bolt moving forward through the breech face on closure of the gun was the answer. A low profile could then be retained, and further strength added. In the case of the Perazzi’s original MX8, shoulders incorporated into the internal walls of the action body met with reciprocating surfaces machined into the lumps of the barrels’ monobloc. The HTS shares this design, with the option of an action body 3mm wider and 40g heavier – my test gun was made to this specification. The HTS follows the MX8 aesthetically too, with bold fences that meet the barrels’ breech ends and raised, polished side panels that reinforce the action body. These panels overrun the bottom plate, adding yet further strength and character.
As with all the best gunmakers in Great Britain and in Europe, Perazzi’s stocks have an elegant and carefully designed configuration that complements their handsome actions. The tasteful marriage of shapes provides the gun with a custom-made appearance few other clay target guns can rival. The quality of wood employed for my sample gun was particularly impressive; close grained and well figured, it enhanced the gun’s sleek appearance.
It has long been understood among top shooters that, provided it’s not too heavy, a long barrelled Sporter is a more versatile gun than the shorter alternative. The HTS’s 81cm barrels provide a perfect compromise between weight and balance and they are eminently pointable, with the fine handling characteristics that Perazzi are known for immediately apparent.
The long, hand-detachable chokes are well made, providing optimal patterns at all ranges, and it was reassuring that the information printed on the pattern plate translated into the consistent results on the targets. As for the low, reverse-tapered rib, I found it provided a useful sight picture without becoming a distraction. I presume the reverse taper is to encourage muzzle-end awareness, and if so it did that job very well.
The Hi Tech is one of the best handling Sporters I’ve used recently, balanced perfectly on the action’s trunnions. While the 32” barrels ensure it’s no lightweight (it’s close to 8½ lbs) at the same time HTS never felt unduly heavy or the least bit cumbersome. Recoil was negligible, and when swinging onto some high tower targets at the North Oxfordshire Shooting School the gun felt positively lively.
Trigger pulls were to Perazzi’s class-leading standards. I would have preferred an adjustable comb, as the fixed version was barely high enough for me, but I employed a comb raiser and managed to not miss much.
The grip had a fairly open radius, which kept my hands nicely in line and made for versatile handling characteristics that could deal with targets at every height and angle. As for the benefits of the wider, heavier action, in spite of my initial reservations I am bound to say I would now choose this option over Perazzi’s original dimensions. In any role, Trap, Skeet or Sporting, it makes a perfect platform for a target gun. In this case, bigger is better.