Vic Harker tests the Krieghoff K80 Parcours, a Sporter with outstanding qualities in both appearance and originality of design
Model: K80, Sovereign Scroll Parcours
Bore size: 12
Barrel Length: 32in (81cm)
Action: Single trigger boxlock
Chamber: 3in (76mm)
Chokes: A choice of five Teague or Briley chokes, specified on ordering
Rib: Tapered, 7mm – 4mm
Stock: Pistol grip, adjustable comb
Weight: 3.739kg (8lbs 4oz)
Price: £14,500 inc VAT
Distributor: Alan Rhone Ltd.
My gun for this review is the K80 Parcours with Sovereign Scroll engraving. It’s unconventional, but more handsome Sporter shotgun is difficult to imagine, and it possesses far more than just good looks.
The Krieghoff has never conformed to the categories of conventional design, so for those not familiar with the gun I will first describe its mechanical features. Beginning with the lockwork, the rock-solid marriage between the barrels and the action is provided by a powerful coil-spring that pushes hard on the rear of the sears, so there is absolutely no play in the trigger mechanism. The component parts are all machined from the hardest steel (both the sears and the hammers require a diamond file to cut). They are then polished by means of a ceramic stone to a glass-like finish.
The sear-hammer engagement is an unusual one, with the hammer sitting on a step rather than in a notch as it would in most guns. When the trigger is pulled the barrel selector pushes upwards, disengages the hammer to fire the first shot, and rotates in an instant to select the second barrel. This is as direct a mechanical function as it is possible to create; no further adjustment or tuning is required to maintain the crispest of trigger pulls.
As to the K80’s other mechanical features, the most notable and unconventional is the sliding shroud above the breech face, which secures the barrels to the action when operated by the top lever. Its origins remain a mystery, but as with other mechanical aspects of the K80, it was incorporated into the Remington Model 32, the gun’s American ancestor. After the second world war when production of the Model 32 ceased, an enthusiastic group of Americans took the gun to Krieghoff of Ulm, Germany, who reworked the design with more than satisfactory results.
The K80’s striking appearance is further enhanced by Krieghoff’s skilful stocking of the gun. The stock configuration has elegant lines that complement the angular action perfectly to give the gun its purposeful looks. It’s also suitably ergonomic; the open-radius pistol grip has a palm-swell, and in combination with the gun’s beavertail forend it create a hands-in-line hold that provides excellent manual pointability. This is indispensable in a Sporter, which is invariably brought to the shoulder from the gun down position. Equally complimentary to this style of shooting is the stock’s slim tapered comb, which can be altered for both height and cast. Impeccably inletted to the stock, this adjustable system is exceptionally robust and easy to use. Carefully fitted with a slim, flat-backed recoil pad, the dark, richly-figured walnut complements the action body’s extravagant and deeply carved acanthus leaf engraving.
Long barrels, with their enhanced pointability, can in many circumstances be helpful to the Sporting shooter, but only if they are suitably weighted. Too heavy, and a Sporter becomes cumbersome: useful for targets at long range but slow and awkward for those closer. Long but light is the answer; the K80’s 32 barrels weighed just under 1.4kg (3lbs 1oz), providing the ideal specification. In part at least, this is due to Krieghoff’s use of Teague choking. The gun reviewed came with a choice of five constrictions, branded Teague/Krieghoff, which added no noticeable weight at the barrels’ muzzle ends. Barrel weight was also kept down by the lack of a middle rib for 60cm in front of the monobloc, with a barrel loop ensuring rigidity under the forend.
What constitutes Sporting clay targets nowadays is very much open to interpretation. Clays are often presented at ranges that in the past many a shooter would not have lifted their gun to. In response to this some gunmakers create Sporter shotguns with specifications in terms of weight and length that far exceed those of the past. In the case of the K80 Parcours with 32in barrels, the scale is tipped at just shy of 8lbs 4oz. By many people’s standards this puts it in the heavyweight class, however it doesn’t for a moment feel it. The combination of the substantial action, the adjustable stock and the super lightweight Teague chokes puts the K80’s point of balance nicely between the hands, meaning that in use it feels positively lively. As to gun-fit, the K80’s adjustable stock is class-leading in terms of adaptability and ease of use. I require a high comb and I easily achieved 30mm at the face to 40mm at the back. Drop at heel, which of course cannot be altered, was a sensible 50mm, providing a well supported head-up position. These dimensions supported my face and provided me with the correct elevation for my aiming eye.
A trip to the pattern plate revealed a 70/30 pattern distribution above and below the point of impact. Too high for you? Well, we are all different and that’s why the adjustable stock is a must-have for an off-the-rack gun. As to barrel weight, I have already mentioned its lightness, in part provided by a very narrow rib tapering from 7mm at the breech ends to 4mm at the front.
This Sporter gun, originating in the USA, vastly improved in Germany, and built to the highest standards, was a huge pleasure to use. Shooting at targets far and near at Francis Lovel’s North Oxfordshire Shooting School, it served me well. My only regret is that I shall have to hand it back to Alan Rhone very shortly.