Miroku MK60 30” Grade V - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Mike Yarldey was very taken wih the quality, form and value of this Miroku MK60 shotgun, which is a perfect gun for high birds!
WE LIKE: The form; The quality of finish; The value
WE DON’T LIKE: Very little...
Model: MK60 30” Grade V
Chamber: 3” (76mm)
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Barrels: 30” (32” option)
Chokes: fixed 3/4, full
Weight: 7lbs 12oz
RRP: £3,088 (single gun, pairs available too gold numbered). The basic MK60 Grade 1 is available for £1639
IN DEPTH REVIEW
This month, with the game season in full swing, I thought it might be good to look at a gun suitable for high birds (and as I write this I am off to shoot some in the Borders). Several makers have dedicated ‘high pheasant’ models now, but, when you look at what the specialists use, not much changes. Berettas are always in the field, but 30 and 32” Mirokus and Perazzis seem to be the guns of choice for the cognoscenti. For example, Miroku MK38 Trap guns and sporters, relatively inexpensive guns, are often pressed into service by the experts. You certainly don’t see many English side-by-sides out there any more (committed side-by-side users seem to go for longer, heavier Spanish guns most frequently now).
One gun that looks very fit for function, meanwhile, and which is also smart and good value, is the Miroku MK60 Grade V. The 30” version is the focus of our test here. It weighs just under 8lb, has tight fixed chokes (offering scope for modification), and a full pistol grip stock with schnabel fore-end. We have looked at a similar gun – indeed, a pair – before in these pages (but in 32” form).
There are some interesting handling differences with the slightly shortly barreled version – more on these later.
First impressions of our test MK60 Grade V – which came via Eastern Sporting, at Great Baddow – are excellent. There is almost universal agreement in the gun trade that this model represents outstanding value.
Hand-engraved, with attractive medium scroll and stocked in well-figured American walnut, it definitely has the wow factor. The specification enjoys good looks combined with good basic form and its engineering would be hard to beat at any price. The RRP of £3,088 seems especially fair in today’s market considering the level of quality and finish. A Grade V 725 is over £1,000 more (£4,799) and a 695 Beretta (another gun that I have a lot of time for) is £4,145.
I watched the MK60s being put together last year in Japan and was amazed at the amount of manual handiwork that still goes into them. Not just into the engraving but into the barrel-making, the stocking and the regulation.
Nearly all boxes are ticked on the test gun; metal-to-metal and wood-to-metal fit are first class. The barrel finish is impeccable too (inside and out) with near-invisible monobloc joints and deep, lustrous blacking as one usually sees on all Mirokus. The 8mm rib is well laid. Yes, at the risk of someone telling me it’s too positive, it’s nearly all good in this case.
I like the MK60 as will be evident. It not only looks good, it feels willing and well balanced with the 30” tubes. It’s hard to fault cosmetically. No gun is perfect though. If I was to be hypercritical, I would say that the hand chequering (well, it is applied with something like a Dremel tool) might be a little finer. The stock could take a little more oil (something any keen owner could easily accomplish), and the comb shape could be a little more refined. Minor stuff.
I have commented in the past that were I to buy one of these guns, I might seriously consider investing another £500 for an English refinish of the stock to include papering up of the comb, putting a little more taper into it, possibly removing the beaks of the schnabel fore-end, and rechequering. The work we can still do in Britain not only makes guns look good, it improves shooting and handling qualities. But, what you have here is more than adequate for most. I’m just picky. The basics are already brilliant. I am especially fond of the grip shape which allows for even, positive purchase throughout its length. The 30” barrels suit the gun well too.
There are no surprises with the mechanics of the MK60. We have looked at similar guns many times here flying under the flags of both Miroku and Browning (most modern Browning over-and-unders are made in Japan in the Miroku factory too, of course).
The action of the test gun, like other modern Mirokus, is based on a slightly simplified version of the Browning B25 that Miroku has been making for more than 50 years with few complaints (the main difference compared to a Belgian made Browning is that the badged Mirokus and Japanese Brownings have a detachable fore-end entailing slightly less action machining).
Powered by coil springs now (the earliest guns had V springs), the substantial hammers swing from the bottom strap (though in some of the really early Mirokus one hammer swung from the top and one from the bottom).
The design incorporates a full-width hinge pin and a full-width flat bolt that emerges from the action face and very securely engages a slot bite beneath the bottom chamber. The hammer ejectors are well proven and powerful too.
The first thing you note about the MK60, pleasing looks apart, is that it feels solid between the hand but not too weighty. It tips the scale near 8 pounds, but is exceptionally well balanced (just a fraction rearwards of the hinge pin). There is not too much mass forward. The stock shapes are good (at least as far as the butt is concerned - although not beyond subtle refinement as noted). The shape, depth and radius of the grip are exceptional as noted and offer great purchase and security in the hands. I wish all manufacturers would use a similar pattern for their grips. The rear hand is firmly anchored in recoil here and there is excellent muzzle control too. The swing dynamics of the fixed choke MK60 are also good (I carry quite a lot of injury these days and usually find a 30” gun a little easier to use than the 32” one now). Shooting qualities with the tight fixed chokes were excellent. If I was looking for a combined game and clay gun, I would go for this 30” version as it swings that bit more easily. Overall, this is a brilliant, good shooting, hand finished gun at a very sensible price.
My thanks to Lyalvale Express for the cartridges used in this test