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The William Powell Perdix

Shooting

Article written by 20 November 2013

William Powell Perdix

Perdix is the Latin word for partridge and our little grey bird with the cock’s distinctive ‘chiswick’ call is Perdix Perdix.  It is also now the name for the latest gun in William Powell’s Continental range of over and unders and fits between the Perseus and Phoenix models.  I have to say Powell’s do use some very imaginative and distinctive names for their guns but I think Perdix is one of their best to date.

The Continental range of guns, both side by side and over and under, indicate these are made to Powell’s specification by a Continental maker – in this case B. Rizzini.  Years ago Powells were aware of the need to involve other makers to broaden the price range of their shotguns on offer while continuing to produce their top range guns, which, due to the high cost of manufacture, are an unobtainable dream for most of us.  It was a brave move by this maker and at a time when such honesty concerning the origin of a particular model might sometimes be met with less than complimentary comment.  Of course, over the years many makers, even pre-War, had to make similar arrangements to keep up the necessary production.  There are, for example, plenty of Birmingham-made guns bearing London maker’s names.

A gun for all seasons

The Perdix is available as a 12 or 20 bore with the option of 28 or 30 inch barrels, five screw-in chokes and a strong ABS carrying case.  The style is very much what we have come to expect in a mid-range over and under shotgun; clean lines with a nicely rounded fore-end and semi-pistol grip stock, sideplates and more than a dash of traditional detail.  I was a little bit surprised to find, in spite of its name, there was not an English partridge included in the decoration.  However, to be fair, with its multi-chokes, 3 inch chambers and proofed for steel shot, this is not a dedicated partridge gun but more a gun for all seasons.  Having said that, it would be a brave shooter that subjected such a pretty gun to the rigours of the salt marsh.

While on the subject of decoration, the detail on the sideplates, which fit like they are part of the action body, is excellent.  Even a barbed wire fence (not normally regarded as an artistic embellishment but more real life) is detailed with tiny barbs.  Around the body of the action is very attractive acanthus leaf decoration, which, in case you are wondering, is an herbaceous plant noted for the elegance of its leaves.

Handling

With a length of pull just over 15 inches, 30 inch barrels and weighing in at a shade over 7-1/2 lbs, this is very much a full-sized gun.  It does come to the shoulder well, although a shooter of shorter stature would find it handier with a bit less length of pull.  There is a reasonable length of cast and the comb is slim and slightly offset, all an aid to comfortable shooting.

The Perdix is very pointable and both the fore-end and pistol grip, which give that visual impression of slimness, actually fitted my fairly large hands very well.  Balance is just in front of the barrel hinge point with this 30 inch barrelled gun, which translates into a slight forward bias, just about enough to suit most shooters without impairing the handling in any way.  I suspect the 28 inch barrelled gun would be just a bit quicker in handling.

Overall finish

The overall finish on this test gun was excellent.  The walnut is tight grained and has some pleasing figuring in the stock, while the chequering is extensive, small and crisp, and the factory oil finish faultless.  The wood butt plate, or heel plate as it is still sometimes called, fitted very well.  My only small gripe is the use of Posidrive or cross head screws to secure it, very common practice with many makers nowadays but slot head screws neatly lined up look to me (as an old traditionalist) so much better.

Deep fences suit an over and under very well and this Perdix is no exception.  Continuing the engraving onto the fences is especially eye-catching and a most pleasing feature.  The bolsters or panels into which the sideplates fit are nicely shaped and of sufficient width to break up the line of the action bar so it looks slimmer than it actually is.  Barrel blacking has a deep lustre while the top rib sports a fine matted non-glare finish.  I do like the reference to 12 ga (12 gauge) on the barrel; this harks back to an earlier age where shotguns were listed by gauge, not bore.  Does it even matter?  I think if you are Powell’s it probably does because it is technically the more correct descriptive term, at least to a gunmaker.

Lockwork

The lockwork follows very much what has become an industry standard, applying the principle of reliability via simplicity, shades of Anson & Deeley thinking if you like!  Starting at the front and working back, a bar in the forend knuckle initiates the cocking.  Ejectors are fully sprung and the top lever is held open with a plunger lock.  The actual lockwork is a modified trigger plate type, very neatly made and with polished domed head dowel pins holding it together, there is even a small screw for adjusting the trigger correctly.  All in all a well made and well thought out lock assembly.

On test

Out on test everything performed as it should.  Trigger pulls were crisp and equally matched, the auto-safety snicked on and off in a satisfying manner while ejection was very positive, much as one has come to expect in a modern over and under.  Point of aim for patterning was with the foresight bead just under the centre of the pattern sheet.  Shooting naturally and bringing the bead up right onto the target, the patterns were about two thirds high, one third below the centreline, which is an advantage for most forms of shooting.

Cartridges used included Eley VIP, Lyalvale Express Supreme Game, Hull Superfast for that bit of pre-season clay practice, and Hull Imperial Game.  With such a reputable line-up of cartridges it was not surprising to find the patterns produced were good to very good.  Chokes used measured light improved cylinder (0.003 inch) and quarter choke (0.010 inch) as a direct measurement.  It was going to be interesting to see what size of pattern the gun actually threw as this is the real judge of choke performance.

Conclusion

The Perdix is a good looking, nicely finished gun that performs well, both on the pattern sheet and at a few clays.  I did not get a chance to use it on live game but there is no doubt it would do the job and in a variety of roles.  It is very much an all-round gun, that elusive gun for all seasons.

William Powell Perdix

Gauge:             12 bore, 76mm 3 inch chambers, option of 20 bore

Barrels:            30 inch with multi-chokes, optional 28 inch, proofed for steel shot.

Stock:              semi-pistol grip stock, long slim forend, large chequered panels.

Action:            over and under ejector gun with engraved side plates, single trigger and auto-safe.

Weight:           7 lbs 9 oz

Features:          pleasing lines, very good finish, good shot patterns

Maker:             made by B. Rizzini especially for William Powell 01295 701701, or go to www.williampowell.com

Price:               £2,995

What’s the score?

Construction:  a conventional over and under with some nice attention to detail: 17/20

Finish:             very well finished with some neat detail and fine decoration: 19/20

Handling:        smooth and predictable handling and shot to point of aim: 18/20

Fit:                   a good fit for me and comfortable due to the shaping of the stock and ample forend dimensions: 18/20

Value:              the Perdix has been carefully priced for where it fits in the market and represents good value: 17/20

 

89/100

Pattern sheets

Pattern sheet one – light improved cylinder shot at 30 yards.  Cartridge Eley VIP 30 gram no. 6 shot, fibre wad.  An even pattern pulled just a touch low, pellet count 69 ½ % which is just about spot on for light improved cylinder.

Pattern sheet two – quarter choke shot at 30 yards.  Cartridge Hull Superfast, 29 gram no. 6 shot, fibre wad.  A little low and right, not the gun but the difficulty of deliberate aim for checking just the patterning.  Pellet count 78%, a good quarter choke count.

The Perdix

The Perdix

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