I am currently considering purchasing a pre-owned gun for competition and have tentatively settled on a Perazzi MX8 or Mirage (for several reasons). In perusing ads in various places, I find that guns listed as Comp I or the MX8s with case colored receivers tend to be much cheaper than more current models. It was my belief that these guns were from the period of the early 70’s when Ithaca imported Perazzis and that aside from cosmetics and not having the ribs considered stylish in this country, they are mechanically the same as current guns.
Before I put any cash out however, I wanted to consult someone more knowledgeable to see if I was correct in my belief or if these models had some sort of problems that you don’t hear about until you buy one. Is there any problem getting parts for these guns? or do Perazzi parts all interchange (within the same model)?
I have been told (by Perazzi detractors) that they tend to break springs so I want to be sure I could find replacements. It seems logical, however that they wouldn’t be as popular as they are if they broke down too much. I would appreciate any advice that you could give me on what to look for or avoid.
The Ithaca Perazzis were just as good as anything made today. You can get all the springs you want from Perazzi USA out in California of from Giacomo in Rome, NY.
The Ithaca Mirages are, to my knowledge, virtually the same gun sold today with the possible exception of some trigger options and the ongoing redesign of the forend iron. The old Comp I Perazzis are a different model from the Mirage and are not completely parts interchangeable with today’s guns. I had a couple of Comp Is, one in skeet and one bunker model. I sold the Comp I to a friend twenty years ago and he still shoots it actively today. The Mirage was considered an improvement over the old Comp I because the Comp I had a weak opening lever which broke every few years. I believe, but am not certain, that the interchangeable triggers were identical between the two models.
The MX-8 and the Mirage are really the same models with only minor cosmetic variations. Perazzi model names and nomenclature change pretty quickly, so sometimes it is hard to keep up, but that’s the way I remember it.
Some Perazzi models use leaf springs (Mirage and MX-8 are among these models) while others use the more reliable, but less efficient, coil springs. Extra leaf springs are readily available from the company. With one of my Comp Is I got two trigger groups and a little tool for changing springs. I never broke a spring in either gun. Leaf springs do break suddenly without warning, but not all that often at all. The advantage to leaf springs is that they remain at 100% efficiency until the moment they go to 0% efficiency. Coil springs die a little bit every time you compress them. They seldom break completely, but they do get weaker and weaker and weaker. It all depends what you want. I think that the paranoia about Perazzi leaf springs is excessive. If it is all that important, buy a couple of spare springs and the little replacement tool and keep them in you kit bag. With the little tool, you can change the spring in five minutes.
By the way, that Comp I with the spare drop-out trigger and little tool cost me $600 almost new back then. I think that a spare trigger costs that much now. Maybe more.
I would have absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in buying a used Perazzi Mirage imported by Ithaca twenty years ago, (or by Winchester before Ithaca) save for the usual caveats in buying any used gun. Perazzi makes a marvelous gun and offers a tremendous variety of weights and options. I also thought that the engraving and vibrant case colors of the Ithaca guns was far, far nicer than the cheaper industrialized finish of today’s guns. De Gustibus…
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC