Mike Yardley finds Perazzi's new double Caccia side-by-side attractive but heavy - a cleverly designed pigeon gun that might be used for high birds
Perazzi is famous for its over-and-unders but this month we test the new DC (Double Caccia) detachable-lock, side-by-side. The gun weighs in at 73⁄4lb with 30in, 3in-chambered barrels. It has a single, non-selective trigger, non-auto safety (an auto version is available), fixed three-quarters and full chokes (with other constriction and barrel length choices obtainable), a pigeon-style rib, an open-radius, pistol-grip stock and a deep splinter fore-end (with a straight-hand and beaver-tail fore-end as further options).
First impression is of an attractive but heavy gun. One cannot fault the basic form or quality of finish. The well-presented monobloc barrels are lustrously blacked and pass internal and external inspection. The tapered (10mm to 7mm), slightly concave rib is excellent. The innovative action is well proportioned, minimally decorated and blacked (like a competition gun). The stock shapes are exemplary. This is, however, a specialist tool. In the words of Perazzi guru Chris Potter, “The DC is not trying to be a lightweight English game-gun, this is really a pigeon gun that might be used for high birds with heavy loads, clay-shooting or live pigeon-shooting.”
Perazzi’s over-and-unders set a standard both for design and consistency of manufacture.
I heard about the side-by-side project some time ago. Kemen, a rival Spanish firm making what is essentially a copy of the MX8 over-and-under, has been offering its side-by-side “Paralela” model since about 2008. I shot partridges with a pair in Spain and was impressed. Perazzi may have been inspired to create something similar – in essence, a single-trigger, detachable-lock side-by-side handling like an over-and-under.
The test gun arrived courtesy of UK importers RUAG Ammotec of Liskeard. In plain grade, it carries a £10,000 price tag (various models are on offer, including side-plated versions to £35,000, with a 20-bore DC due out next year). On first sight the black-actioned test 12-bore reminded me of an old Winchester 21. On the handling front, the DC was muzzle heavy when brought to face and shoulder (the balance point is about an inch forward of the hinge pin). The stock impressed with good shapes front and back, and offered first-class purchase and control (making one wonder what this gun would be like with lighter barrels). The wood on the test specimen was well figured with neat chequering.
The barrel weight was 1,615g, which is on the hefty side for a 32in over-and-under, let alone a 30in side-by-side. The monobloc joints were exceptionally good, as were internal and external presentation. The long chambers lead to forcing cones of medium length. The bore size is 18.4mm, which is on the tight side but the preference of pigeon-shooters who believe a tighter bore improves penetration (though it may increase felt recoil). The sighting rib – Perazzi excels at them – carried a plain metal bead at the muzzles.
The stock of this “shelf” gun measured just under 15in. Drop was more than 13⁄8in at the front of the comb and 21⁄8in to the rear. Cast just exceeded 1⁄8in at heel and double that at toe – all good standard measurements. A sensible comb taper was in evidence and the gun was comfortable and stable to mount, the comb offering facial support as well as elegance of form. An oil finish on the stock would have been preferable to the smart matt sheen lacquer (which looked good but marked if bumped).
This gun is not made to Anson & Deeley boxlock pattern, nor does it have the usual Purdey bolting. Instead, two very long lumps run parallel along the barrel flats and engage corresponding slots in the action bar in the manner of an over-and-under. To their rear the lumps have bites that are locked down by bolts emerging from the action face. Well-engineered, it feels secure in operation. One wonders whether the lumps might be reduced in size or skeletonised, though. The DC is equipped with a Perazzi drop lock fitted with V-springs (coil springs optional). The unit is removed by pushing the safety catch forward beyond its normal position and pulling down on the trigger guard bow as with an MX8 over-and-under.
The gun swung smoothly once given impulsion. Recoil was not as light as might have been anticipated given its overall weight (possibly because of the relatively tight bore). The excellent ergonomics of the stock design were confirmed on firing. The wide-radius pistol grip, the tapered comb and deeper-than-average fore-end were all first class. The picture presented by the rib was near perfect, too. Trigger pulls were crisp (but not as fine as those on old MX8s). A lack of sufficient gape when the gun was opened was slightly irksome. There was sometimes a need for extra pressure on the barrels to load (though this might improve with use). Overall, the DC is a clever design, and well made. I think there is some development yet to be done on specification. With lighter barrels it would appeal more to game-shots (though it could be made to feel lighter with more weight in the butt). I await the 32in 20-bore version with interest.
Price from £10,000 incl VAT
From RUAG Ammotec UK Upton Cross, Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 5BQ
Tel 01579 362319