Michael Yardley, testing one of a pair of these Brescian over-and-unders, found that it shot well and had specifications that would be difficult to better in a modern game gun
Michael Yardley finds the Perazzi SC3 20-bore well-balanced and pointable – it is not cheap but would be difficult to better in a modern game gun.
For more gun reviews, read about why the William & Son pigeon gun is a sculpture in metal and wood.
PERAZZI SC3 20-BORE
This month’s test spotlights one of a pair of 20-bore Perazzi SC3 MX20 game guns built on a scaled-down version of the firm’s MX12 chassis (notable for having a fixed lock rather than a detachable one). The No 2 gun considered here weighs in at 7lb 6oz – on the heavier side for a 20-bore over-and-under (but a good weight nevertheless). It has tightly choked 30in barrels and immediately impressed with elegant form and good aesthetics. The engraving, deep scroll on a coin-finished action, appealed particularly. The stock wood is well figured, too: straight grain through the grip with rich figuring rearwards (the No 1 gun is similarly stocked).
Fit and finish were up to the maker’s high standards. First-class wood-to-metal and metal-to-metal fit are evident. Blacking shows good preparation, the walnut is well sealed (with a well-applied epoxy lacquer) and neatly chequered. My only criticism was that the wood might have benefited from being stained down. The stocks both appeared rather light in colour. Some might choose to refinish them with traditional English oil after a season or two and darken in the process. Meantime, the basic specification of the gun (indeed, the pair) would otherwise be close to a modern ideal.
I like heavier 20-bores and, increasingly, use 30in-barrelled guns rather than the 32s that used to be my choice. This is not just whim – it followed field experience and experimentation at the Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds. I discovered that with 30in barrels, I tended to give birds the correct forward allowance naturally. The 32in tubes, however, required a more conscious push. (For the record, I do not advocate barrels much shorter than 30in in a 20; longer tubes offer more stability and precision of line as well as better control of recoil.)
The monobloc barrels are well presented; 2¾in (70mm) chambered, they are equipped with an excellent, 7mm ventilated rib and solid joining ribs for most their length save the area under the fore-end (a weight-saving measure). Workmanship was good and tubes were straight showing concentric internal shadow circles internally. The barrels were marked 1,390 grams. Bores were 15.9mm in diameter. The fixed chokes – three-quarters and full – offer scope for further regulation. A plain metal bead graces the muzzles.
The test SC3 MX20 has the variant of the now much copied Perazzi action that dispenses with a detachable trigger lock as seen in the original MX8 trap gun built for the Mexico Olympics in 1968 (and also seen in the MX8-20 and the MX2000). This is an economy of manufacture or, at least, a simplification. It means less wood needs to be removed from a potentially weaker, forward, portion of the stock, arguably making it more suitable for a field gun that does not need the luxury of rapidly interchangeable trigger-locks/springs.
The stock on the test gun was well conceived. The comb was not over bulbous (sometimes an issue on stock forms overly influenced by competitive shooting). The grip was a well-proportioned full pistol with a more open radius than many. There was no palm swell (always my preference). The fore-end is also quite slim but a little angular in shape. The ergonomics were sound, however, maintaining the front hand close to the barrels, promoting natural pointing. The wood, upgraded from standard, was pleasingly figured, as noted. The stock’s length of pull was a good 15in with unusually high drop measurements of 1⅜in and 2in. There was a pronounced butt toe. The stock length to heel, however, was barely different to the length to the middle of the butt sole. My preference is for at least ⅛in extra to prevent slipping in recoil. Another gun or guns might be ordered at no extra cost with bespoke measurements. Perazzi offers customers full choice with regard to stock shape and dimension, barrel length and ribbing.
The MX12 was designed in the late 1980s. The hammers were powered by helical springs (MX8 guns usually have V springs) and, unlike the detachable trigger-block guns, the MX12/MX20 series could offer a conventional barrel selector and combined safety catch placed on the top strap behind the top-lever. The test gun is otherwise much like other Perazzis with trunnion hinging at the knuckle similar to a Woodward over-and-under (a feature frequently copied, notably by Beretta, Blaser, Kemen and Rizzini). It also shows clear inspiration from Boss amidships. There are ‘draws and wedges’ on the inside of the wider-than-average action walls and outer part of the barrel monobloc, which engage as the gun is closed. The primary locking system is London inspired, too: bolts emerge from the action face and mate with bites either side of the chamber mouths. It’s a rock solid arrangement and easy to service – arguably one of the best yet conceived and much imitated.
The SC3 shot well. The specification is near ideal for a modern over-and-under game gun. The stock form and rib were excellent. Even though it is no ultralight, this Perazzi is particularly well balanced – on the hinge pin – with plenty of mass between the hands, too. The rib and barrel length made the SC3 pointable. The stock shapes and shelf measurements, though not quite perfect, inspired control and confidence. Felt recoil was modest. Trigger pulls were excellent. The auto-safety function was positive. The tight fixed chokes (which might be regulated or ‘Teagued’) smoked clay targets. The gun had few vices. Being picky, the pistol grip, although a good size, was a fraction too open and the heel measurement a bit short. The handling dynamics were still good. I did not shoot its sibling but the pair were well matched. These guns are not cheap at £36,000 but they are good. As for the bore size and barrel length, it’s what I would choose myself for most game shooting.
Perazzi SC3 20-bore
♦ RRP: £36,000 for the pair
♦ Victor Chapman, 121 London Road, Marks Tey, Essex CO6 1EB.
♦ 01206 213068
With thanks to Victor Chapman guns, tel 01206 213068.