Mike Yardley feels that with spring just upon us, we might test something that might do double service on both game and clays - an 32” E.J.Churchill, Perazzi over and under
This is the sort of gun I like – long barrelled and carrying quite a lot of choke. It is interesting in a number of ways, moreover. First because it carries the E.J.Churchill name though it has been made by the world famous Perazzi. This is the only time this Italian gun house has ever allowed another company to put their name on one of their products as far as I am aware. Both names carry considerable weight.
Churchill’s approached Perazzi – who, of course, sponsor George Digweed and uses a similar gun, with a specification, and asked Daniel Perazzi’s highly rated outfit to make it, based on one of their existing models (the MX12). The man responsible for this Anglo-Italian project is Rob Fenwick who has been a friend for a long while and who manages E.J. Churchill. He has tremendous clay and game shooting experience and was the ideal guy for the job.
30 and 32”
Two guns are presently on offer a 30 and a 32”, I have the latter, though I have shot both. The differences from a conventional Perazzi are both practical and aesthetic. This gun has been made with lighter barrels than most Long Tom Perazzis, weighing only 3.4 lbs and a very nice semi-pistol grip stock with a rounded forend. This model is also distinguished by a narrow, 6mm, game-type rib; a pattern I believe also has application on clays guns because it keeps the barrel weight down.
Decoratively the gun is distinctive with a scroll-engraved, nickel-plated action. In the middle of this is ribbon with the E.J.Churchill name neatly inlaid in gold; it all looks very good. Considering this model carries an RRP of £9,999 including VAT is should too! But is not that much more expensive than what we might call a Perazzi Perazzi which will set you back around the 7K mark these days. Sure, you are paying something extra for the cachet of the Churchill name. But, it is less of hike than in some others cases. Where English makers are putting their name on foreign made, or, predominantly, foreign made guns. Everything is very up front here. Churchill is proud to have their name on a Perazzi. Considering they have specified it so carefully, it is not inappropriate either.
The woodwork is especially good, and, happily, so are the stock shapes. This is not always the case with Perazzis which arrive on these shores – many seem excessively influenced by the Italian trap shooting experience. However, not here! Churchill has specified something which will appeal to British sporting tastes and needs. The grip is very comfortable and there is a full comb, but not one which is too full (sometimes a weakness of Perazzis). I also liked the rounded forend which my favourite pattern.
Chokes are fixed, FULL in both top and bottom tubes; however, these might easily be regulated to customer’s needs. The barrels, as noted, are equipped with a narrow rib which is finished at the muzzles with a conventional metal bead. All fine by me, though a tapered design would have been another option. The joining ribs are solid; one quibble is that they do not extend under the forend – a weight saving measure common to most modern Perazzis. The bores are 18.4mm in diameter. I would open them up a little to 18.6 or 7, preferably shedding just a little more barrel weight too.
The gun is built around a fixed lock, MX12 action which does not have the detachable trigger unit of the MX8. The hammers are powered by coil springs rather than the leaf-types seen in some MX8s. Because there is no detachable trigger-mechanism, there is no need for any sort of box to accommodate it. This means that the action can be slimmed to the rear, allowing for stronger grip. In guns with detachable locks, a significant amount of wood has to be carved out in the grip area and this can lead to weakness. You must always be careful closing the action too; if you slam it shut, I almost guarantee that they will break in time. There is, therefore, much to be said for the simpler arrangement. The front half of the action remains the same as ever. Inspiration comes directly from the British maker Boss – the inner walls have draws and wedges similar to the London gun. The hinging system, however, is similar to a Beretta (and consequently inspired by Boss’s great rival, Woodward).
Perazzi have a reputation for excellent trigger pulls and the test gun was no exception! The monobloc barrels are well up to the firm’s excellent standard too with good joints, straight tubes and beautifully machined chokes and forcing cones. Perazzi are noted for the consistency of their barrels, all of which are carefully regulated unlike many made today; say no more… I firmly believe that regulation is one of the most important things in any double gun. Sometimes today we get carried away with wood and engraving and forget the basic stuff that really counts!
I have mentioned that the stock was well proportioned with regard to grip, comb and forend design. I also like the quality of the wood, but what about the measurements? Usually, I complain when stocks are too low, if anything, this one is a bit on the high side with a drop of 1 3/8” and a heel a whisker over 2”. The height of the comb is more apparent because of the fuller design. There is slight right-hand cast and the length of pull is a sensible 15”. The wood is well chequered and oil-finished in traditional fashion.
The gun did not feel especially heavy at 7lbs 13oz. Indeed, it is medium weight for a 32”. It came up well, although I was aware of quite a lot of rib. On sporting targets I sometimes had to make a slight correction underneath. Generally, it shot well, felt recoil was not excessive, but I noted a little vibration on firing. Most interestingly, this was not apparent in the 30” model. Overall, I would rate the Churchill Perazzi highly and don’t think it is outrageously expensive for the quality on offer.
• A good all-rounder
• A build quality you can trust
• Overall good value for money for what it offers
|Barrels||30 and 32”|
|Chokes||fixed, full and full (or to requirement)|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates