Wil­liam Evans Perazzi

The work­man­ship and pre­sen­ta­tion of this new over-and-un­der, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween two great gun­mak­ers, im­pressed Michael Yard­ley im­me­di­ately. But would its weight be an is­sue in the field?

The Field - - GUN REVIEW -

I liked the feel of the new Wil­liam Evans from the start. Heavy, long-bar­relled and well ribbed, I an­tic­i­pated it would break clays well. It did.

THE gun tested this month is a new Wil­liam Evans over-and-un­der made in as­so­ci­a­tion with Ital­ian firm Perazzi. Such ven­tures are in­creas­ingly com­mon in the Bri­tish gun trade. EJ Churchill has of­fered its “Con­ti­nen­tal” guns in re­cent years, as has Wil­liam Pow­ell. Wil­liam Evans has pre­vi­ously worked with Guerini and Grulla. And Purdey fa­mously makes its sporter in as­so­ci­a­tion with Perug­ini & Visini (al­though this project is, per­haps, atyp­i­cal as much of the gun is still made in Lon­don). The es­sen­tial idea is that the English firm spec­i­fies the gun to­wards the needs of our sport­ing mar­ket to the for­eign maker. This, typ­i­cally, is an ex­er­cise in cos­met­ics but may also in­clude po­ten­tially im­por­tant changes to stock di­men­sions and gun and bar­rel weight and bal­ance.

Look­ing at the test gun, first im­pres­sions are of an ex­cep­tion­ally at­trac­tive but rather big beast. It has 32in bar­rels and hits the scales at 8lb 3oz. It has been built as a pro­to­type for a spe­cific user as a “sporter”cum-high-birder. The in­ten­tion, how­ever, is to build most guns a lit­tle lighter and hence bet­ter suited to the av­er­age driven line (al­though the trend to­day is def­i­nitely to­wards heav­ier and longer for game as well as clays). Con­sid­er­ing aes­thet­ics, hav­ing seen all of the guns made by English firms in as­so­ci­a­tion with for­eign man­u­fac­tur­ers in re­cent years, and hav­ing been in­volved in some of the projects, I would say this is one of the most at­trac­tive to date. The use of Evans’ pat­tern scroll – not un­like that on a Hol­land Royal – re­ally works. It does not make the gun look English but it suc­ceeds in mak­ing it look par­tic­u­larly stylish.

The Evans also has a well-con­ceived spec­i­fi­ca­tion. The monobloc bar­rels are 3in cham­bered, fixed choke (three-quar­ters and three-quar­ters) and carry a re­ally good 11mm-7mm ta­pered sight­ing rib fit­ted with a tra­di­tional metal bead at the muz­zle end. It would be hard to im­prove on this sig­nif­i­cantly (though a solid rib might be less prone to dent­ing at the penalty of even more weight). Join­ing ribs are solid and ex­tend back just past the fore-end (such “half-ribs” are a com­mon weight-sav­ing mea­sure to­day). Bar­rel work main­tains the out­stand­ing Perazzi rep­u­ta­tion with tubes that are in­ter­nally straight and with­out ob­vi­ous im­per­fec­tion in­side or out.

The bar­rels are bored at 18.5mm – quite tight for clays but ideal for game where fi­bre-wadded loads may be used and ob­tu­ra­tion can be­come an is­sue in cold con­di­tions. They weigh 1590g. This is typ­i­cal of mod­ern 32in Per­azzis, which are usu­ally in the range of 1580g-1600g for bar­rel weight. My ex­pe­ri­ence, how­ever – and there is an el­e­ment of ed­u­cated bias – is that 1550g-1570g is the ideal range for this sort of 32in Boss-bolted over-and-un­der. Hav­ing dis­cussed the mat­ter with the Perazzi team re­cently, they con­firm that they could achieve a bar­rel weight in this range us­ing their (off-the-shelf) light­weight join­ing ribs and a 7mm sight­ing rib. More­over, this might be man­aged with full-length join­ing ribs (my pref­er­ence).

The stock of the Evans Perazzi is well fig­ured and che­quered and oiled to a high stan­dard. Shapes were quite full but the comb had a good ta­per to it and was not ex­ces­sively in­flu­enced by trap shooting. The be­spoke stock was, how­ever, ex­cep­tion­ally high. Mea­sur­ing 13∕16in to the front rel­a­tive to bore axis and just un­der 2in to the rear. The length of pull was quite long, too, for a heavy over-and-un­der at 15in (380mm). It is aca­demic, as one may have what­ever di­men­sions one prefers (with heavy guns, some favour a shorter length of pull). The fore-end is of rounded pat­tern, the grip a round knob semi-pis­tol of quite large pro­por­tions that is to be re­placed by a Prince-of-wales with flat cap on fu­ture pro­duc­tion. It should be em­pha­sised, how­ever, that this is a be­spoke prod­uct, so you will be able to or­der what you want within rea­son­able lim­its. An­tic­i­pated de­liv­ery is within 12 months.

Bar­rels are bored at 18.5mm, ideal for game, and weigh 1590g

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