With the gift-giving season fast approaching, we’ve rounded up 7 of 2017’s must-have guns and gear releases from the world’s leading manufacturers. Hand picked by our very own team, we’ve tried and tested these all new releases and they’re all our Christmas list!
1. Marocchi EVO
Price: From £1,688
Where to buy: Viking Shoot
While the EVO range trickled into the British market at the tail end of 2016, Marocchi importer Viking Arms had the models on full display to punters at the British Shooting Show for the first time. One of the models that has caught our eye is the EVO Sport TSK.
Those who follow Olympic disciplines will be aware of the fully adjustable stock concept – which was popularised at London 2012 when gold, silver and bronze medallists, Peter Wilson, Håkan Dahlby and Vasily Mosin, topped the Double Trap podium using Nill Griffe’s Ergosign stock systems from Germany on Perazzi shotguns. Marocchi has teamed up with another adjustable stockmaker that is based just down the road from the Italian company for some homegrown synergy.
The shotgun being shown off above offered an example of what could be done should you wish to invest slightly more in your Marocchi. The EVO comes in Sporting and Trap models with fixed or interchangeable chokes based on the Mobil system, with a 10mm wide and high rib.
2. Webley & Scott 950
Where to buy: Highland Outdoors
Entry-level shotguns are important for beginners coming into the industry, and heritage brands like Webley & Scott have moved from being great British gunmakers to offering budget clay busters made in other countries. Managed by Highland Outdoors for several years, the Webley & Scott brand has become synonymous with getting good guns in the hands of people starting out their shooting endeavours, and this year at the British Shooting Show, the company introduced two more models to achieve just this.
The 1000 series is made in Italy, primarily for game shooting, but the 950 series is a Sporter made in Turkey with competition shooters in mind. As a 12-gauge over-and-under, this model has a number of features that are perfect for clay fans. It has a single trigger and manual safety, and a ventilated top rib on top of a 28in rib to help with heat dissipation. The pistol grip stock has been extended to ensure a firm hold.
While the 1000 is a bit more expensive, the 950 is a bargain and should be in consideration if you are helping someone get into the sport.
Price: Electronics from £399
Where to buy: Vario
A new brand hitting the hearing protection market, Vario are looking to combine the highest quality product with the ultimate customer service.
If you can’t get to Vario while they’re on the road at various shooting grounds, you can have impressions taken of your ears at hundreds of high street locations across the country.
After getting impressions made, the plugs arrive made from soft acrylic. Inserted into the acrylic is either a set of bluetooth speakers or an electronic module that picks up sound around you on three different levels. This means that you can either listen to music, or you can swap out the module and have great awareness of everything around you.
Jason Gibson of Vario says: “You can start of with a passive or blank filter, and you can upgrade to a music module, and then we have an electronic module. Because we’re qualified to do hearing tests, we can custom build the music module to compensate for their natural hearing differences, just like an optician would build different lenses, we can give you different hearing from your left ear to your right ear.”
4. Laporte 18 Column
Where to buy: Clay Pigeon Company
One of the biggest bugbears of course setters is no birds, but another is the time spent filling up traps. Laporte has recognised this and has introduced somewhat of an innovation in trap manufacturing with the 18 Column. The concept seems so simple, but all the best ideas are. Clays are loaded into columns along the outside edge of the carousel as they always are, but there are additional columns on the side of the platform, which allows additional targets to be loaded and fewer re-stocking occasions during a competition.
Laporte aims to begin with Olympic Trap models this year and expand out to other disciplines, but you can expect to see arriving in grounds around the UK this year. Jean-Michel Laporte says: “If you have a competition at a place like EJ Churchill, the ground will have three permanent technicians but when the host a big competition they need to employ five, six or seven for one week or two weeks just to reload. But with this, you don’t need to reload that fast. You can save up to two hours of shooting each day.”
5. Browning B725 ProSport
Where to buy: BWM Arms
The moment Browning introduced the B725 ProTrap a few years ago, rumours that a ProSport was on the way began. And at the British Shooting Show 2017, Browning unveiled the result and shooters flocked to the stand to catch a glimpse of the Sporter. Browning’s David Stapley says: “It has a familiar black action with the simple ProSport engraving. It is built for the Sporting discipline with a tapered top rib, a weighted barrel system and a weighted stock system so the shooter can finely tune the balance of their gun.
It comes with a semi-beavertail forend for maximum control, and there is a wide-radus pistol grip and an adjustable stock. We supply three different triggers so you can remove and add the one you prefer. It was always our plan to introduce the Sporting model and there will be variants introduced coming soon.”
6. Blaser Intuition
Where to buy: Blaser Sporting
For a number of years now, the rise in the number of women in shooting has been turning heads in the industry. Clothing manufacturers, cartridge loaders and shotgun makers have been developing products for ladies and they have been helping sales and proving worthy of further investment. Blaser Sporting is one for continuing this trend, following its introduction of the F16 shotgun at 2016’s British Shooting Show.
When it was launched to much fanfare, Blaser revealed that the brand new F16 was to be half the price of the F3 that has done so well for the company and its shooters for a long time. But this year, the aim was to expand the F16 range, which it did with the Fusion – a laser-figured stock that boasted fantastic-looking wood at no extra cost – and the Intuition. The latter uses the more traditional trigger mechanism, opposed to the F3’s in-line system, but the stock has been re-thought and made to suit female shooters.
As an off-the-peg option, the Intuition offers a shorter pull length and a higher Monte Carlo comb to suit women’s body characteristics better. Blaser Sporting’s Robert Sajitz says: “We had a lot of calling for it. Ladies are getting more into shooting but their physionomy is different. Everything is exactly the same, built on a Sporter action, with a Monte Carlo stock, which will also help recoil a little.”
7. Krieghoff K-80 Trap
Where to buy: Alan Rhone
An all new K-80 that has seen its popular handling characteristics restyled. The awesome trigger unit and the famous barrel configuration remain unchanged, but instead, the K-80 has had a new stock and forend crafted that incorporate the successful but subtle changes introduced into the Krieghoff Parcours model.
The pistol grip comes down far enough so your hand will never slip off the bottom of the gun, but the palm swell creates a narrower feeling to the new grip design so your fingers can wrap around for a secure hold. The forend doesn’t flare out in the way it used to, and is more similar to the Parcours model that tapers to a narrower point.
Erwin Pneumans says: “It’s available in all the different barrel configurations. Even the Sporting shooters seem to like the stock,. You could have 32in barrels on this or the Parcours barrels for fast Trap disciplines.” And Jonathan echoed the sentiment. “I think the 32in Parcours for Ball Trap, Trench, Universal Trench, it’ll be a big contender in those markets. Pretty much every market and discipline is covered.”
Check out our full review of the Kreighoff K-80 Special Trap.