I finally got the opportunity to take my William Powell Perseus out for a real trial last week. It has languished in my gun cupboard since the end of last season, having come out to shoot a rabbit (a single rabbit, hit ratio 1:2). This is a life that the Perseus just does not deserve, but renovating a house and impending fatherhood has taken its toll on my many pastimes.
When I opened my cupboard up and found my way past my rifles (that have been receiving much more attention lately), there it was, woodwork resplendent next to the gun it is replacing, and making it look an even sadder scenario.
My trusty Aramberri Fuego, the bluing worn, chokes never to come out again and the forend held together with insulating tape. That gun has fitted me like a glove since I paid over the Â£325 price tag that I had saved up at the age of 15. It has had to go into the gunsmiths only once, but for a pretty heavy overhaul, and that was 16 years ago. It has never fired the second shot if the wrong barrel is selected first and I have had to do a bit of home gunsmithing on it, but that has never mattered. It had become a gun that was part of me â€“ the irregular shooting I have been able to do in recent years has required this, and it doesnâ€™t take many shots to get back into the swing with my beloved Fuego.
So it was with some trepidation that I picked up my Perseus. I had been in two minds whether to keep repairing the Fuego, but ultimately its time had come. I hope one of my brothers might find a use for it, but having made the Perseus decision I can never pick it up again for fear of never letting go.
I travelled up to Lincolnshire on Friday on the invitation of a good friend. The last trip out for me with a shotgun was January, so lack of practice coupled with a new gun bothered me. And so it should have done.
Here I was, at my peg, marvelling at the balance and feel of the Perseus. A truly pretty gun, a bit chunkier than a Berretta and perhaps more similar in feel to a Browning.Â I probably have never handled a new gun before. Having a quality piece of kit in hand, one that will last me forever was a great feeling and must be a little like driving out of a showroom with a new car. It certainly feels like it will last.
The first stand saw me have a shot at a few crossing partridges, the sort I could have nailed at 50 metres time and again with the old gun. I didnâ€™t touch these much closer models. Over the top of them, and a bit behind I thought.
On to the next drive. I was right in the mix here. Not extremely high pheasants, but with a hell of a wind behind them, came at me like Exorcets. I got a crossing partridge to start the drive, and then fired about ten shots for nothing. It was noted as well. Very embarrassing.
It all came together on the third drive. I was moulded to the new gun, really appreciating the crispness, and the fact that everything works on it. 8 kills for 11 shots. The gun operated smoothly, ejecting nicely and the trigger pull suiting well. The extra length the stock comes with as standard made a nice change to most factory specâ€™d over and unders, and being 6â€™4 this was an important factor.
The rest of the day went ok, with plenty of misses to make up for the smoking drive earlier in the day. By the end of it, I was starting to feel my new gun becoming part of me as I let go of the old. I am extremely pleased to own it, and the joy of owning and using a nicely made gun is going to give me pleasure for years to come. I fully expect it to last long enough to pass on to my children.
I am no gun aficionado, but if I were to describe the Perseus, it is well balanced, beautifully stocked, pleasing to look at, operates efficiently and smoothly, and most of all it feels reliable and solid. Would I buy it again over a Browning or a Berretta of a similar price? At the drop of a hat I would……..