The Sporter shotgun continues to evolve, with a bewildering number of differing interpretations as to what it should be from an increasing number of manufacturers. But when Perazzi steps into this arena, it’s time to sit up and take notice. The only manufacturer I can think of who from its very beginnings created guns specifically for competition, Perazzi has spawned innovations that have become definitive as to the way a gun should be for a specific discipline. So when the new MX12/3 Sporter landed on my desk, I gave it the attention it deserved.
Built around Perazzi’s fixed trigger action as opposed to the MX8’s detachable group, it employs coil springs instead of the more usual flat kind, but in other respects it differs little. The low-profile body and the barrel monobloc, incorporating massive bearing surfaces created by a system of draws and wedges, joints the gun together secured by a substantial bifurcated bolt coming forward at the standing breech and locating with bites below the top barrel. All very reassuring – looked after properly, the whole arrangement is immensely durable and will last a lifetime.
These qualities we have come to take for granted from Perazzi but the MX12/3 Sporter is something new. The 7mm wide, 15mm high ramped and fully adjustable rib, in conjunction with a stock adjustable for height and cast, provides a higher eye line than usual, with the shooter’s head in a more upright position with the eyes level. The adjustable rib also provides the facility to choose between three different points of impact. Spring-loaded catches at each end of it engage with three notches at the muzzle and breech ends.
To make the gun place the centre of the pattern dead on the point of aim, simply position the rib in the lowest notch at the back and the highest at the front. To raise the POI 8cm above point of aim, locate both catches in the central notches, and to achieve a maximum elevation of 16cm, the rear catch should be in the highest notch and the front in the lowest.
This system is based on well-understood principles, as they relate to the top rib and POI, and is equally easy to use. There is then the matter of the adjustable comb’s height in relation to the rib, which is also a factor in where the gun prints its pattern. So to ensure you get the POI you want, it’s best to resort to the pattern plate as I did.
While Perazzi’s custom stocking service is second to none and many of their guns are sold that way, the off-the-peg configurations are very good. The MX12/3 stock is, as I’ve already mentioned, fully adjustable, and Perazzi’s standard pistol grip is excellent. The radius is open and slim enough to allow the thumb and second finger to properly meet over the top of the grip and close enough to provide the control this relatively heavy gun requires. The adjustable comb at its lowest provides a drop from the line of sight of 38mm. Drop at heel is 58mm, length of pull 3.80cm. The 10mm recoil pad, slightly concave and leather-backed, is the best of its kind for a Sporter.
Achieving the right set-up with this gun is, of course, important, so take your time and be prepared for a little trial and error. I went for the 16cm point of impact above the point of aim and set the adjustable rib accordingly. The adjustable comb I set at 30mm at the front, which gave 40mm at the back, drop at heel is of course fixed at 58mm. On the pattern plate I expected the MX12/3 to print the centre of the pattern a little higher than 16cm above the point of aim, It did, but not by much, so I decided to use it as a starting point.
In fact I didn’t have to touch the stock again, and with a small amount of right-hand cast also built in, results were more than satisfactory. I have to confess to not being particularly keen on high-rib Sporters, from an aesthetic point of view apart from anything else, but that was before I shot the MX12/3. Although I had no great expectations, my prejudices evaporated soon after I began to shoot the gun. On the high tower at Francis Lovel’s Oxfordshire ground, the MX12/3 broke targets convincingly. Ganted this Sporter’s 80cm barrels were tightly choked, but that was all the more reason for being pleased.
Weighing 3.910kg, this gun is far from light, but the barrels weigh a moderate 1.560kg and the point of balance is a tad behind the trunnions. Comfortable to shoot, with virtually no recoil and with fast-handling characteristics, I was really starting to enjoy the MX12/3. As for the high rib – which, complemented by the stock, gave me a much more head-up position than I would usually choose, in poor winter light with difficult backgrounds I appreciated the better view of the target the whole set-up provided.
There are other high-rib Sporters about – some I’ve tried, others I haven’t, and in general I have treated them all with suspicion, but not in the case of the Perazzi MX12/3. With all the genuine know-how that has gone into it, as far as I am concerned, the high-rib Sporter has come of age.
Model: MX12/3 Sporter
Bore size: 18.4mm
Barrel Length: 80cm
Chokes: ¾ and Full
Rib: 7 x 7mm, ramped adjustable for 3 positions
Stock measurements: Adjustable comb – drop minimum 28mm, maximum 38mm. Cast at heel 4mm, at toe 8mm
Total Weight: 3.910KG
RRP: £9,230 (with enhanced wood)
UK Distributor: RUAG T: 01579 362319, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, W: www.ruag.co.uk