Becky McKenzie tells how she fell in love with a Krieghoff K80 Super Sporter and tweaked it to be her perfect shooting companion.
I starting shooting a Krieghoff back in 2007. I had started my shooting career with a Winchester 6500, a 12-bore with 28in barrels. My husband John wanted a new left handed Krieghoff K80 Super Sporter, so we took a trip to visit Haggis Hartman at West Country Guns – where I fell in love with a 30in K80 Super Sporter myself.
This particular gun had apparently been in a house fire, but the Krieghoff K80 Super Sporter action had stood up to the hellish temperatures and survived. It had been fitted with new wood and a new (or possibly used) set of barrels, and it worked a treat. It just shows that the build of a Krieghoff is second to none.
Krieghoff started life back in 1886 in the town of Ulm, Germany, and was founded by Sempert and Krieghoff. They produced guns for more than 60 years before exploring the opportunity to add competition guns to their line-up in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Since then they’ve become a household name for shooters across the world. The UK has a large following, and the brand is massive in the USA.
Despite having bought that first Krieghoff, I shot Zoli for around seven years. Then, in 2016, I decided I needed a change, and bought myself a Krieghoff K80 Super Sporter.
I have shot the K80 Super Sporter in three barrel configurations, but this one had 32in step rib barrels, multichoked, with a 12mm to 8mm rib. The gun was not the lightest thing I’ve ever had, weighing 9lb 8oz – but we balanced it up and in the shoulder it felt superb.
Plenty of choice
The K80 comes with a broad spectrum of options. The 12 gauge comes with 3in chambers with 30 or 32in barrels, and there are 28in barrels for Skeet too. You can have titanium multichokes or fixed chokes to order.
Krieghoff also offer a variety of different engraving on the actions. I like the simpler designs such as Arabesque Scroll, K80 Shadow, Vintage Scroll, Celtic and Vienna. They even do a custom engraving if you want one.
You even get a choice with the trigger: standard or the titanium trigger which I have on my current K80 Super Sporter. The standard trigger pulls are approximately 3¾ lbs. There are multiple fore-ends available too, depending on what you like to feel between your guiding hand. The wood that comes as standard with a K80 is pretty good, and of course upgrades are available.
The standard wood that came with my own gun was rather nice, but I decided nevertheless to have a custom stock, which I had made by Kristian and Robbie at Midland Gun Services, so I got the choice of some really nice wood.
The K80 Super Sporter I use now is a different model from my step rib. It started as a 32in Super Sporter. I knew there was a set of 30in barrels in the cabinet hiding from me, and I wanted to try them – so I did!
We balanced the gun up to suit my preferred style of shooting. Balance is a very personal thing; it all depends on how you shoot, how you want to shoot, and how you like to feel the gun between your hands.
A Krieghoff does need balancing in order to suit the individual. If you want to balance your Krieghoff, or just about any clay gun, it’s thankfully a relatively straightforward job – I’ve explained how we did it in the box on this page.
Love it or hate it
The Krieghoff is one of those ‘Marmite’ guns: some people like them, and some don’t. They have a longer action than most traditional shotguns on the market, and this can put some shooters off.
Personally, I like it. The action has a very individual and strong locking system, and a very simple conversion by the main Krieghoff dealer can switch over the top lever, making it into a true left hand opener.
Some people think that the K80 is a big, heavy old gun, and yes it is – if you are lifting it like a bicep curl. But if you learn how to balance the beast, you will be able to tame it.
Many of my coaching clients have tried my gun and shot it well. Then I tell them the weight of it and they cannot believe it! Balance is everything, and set up is important too.
My own impression overall is that the Krieghoff is a really low recoil gun, and also an absolute pleasure to shoot, but that’s just my personal opinion! The Krieghoff certainly has a great following of shooters from all over the world, and it’s more than just a gun.
There are all sorts of accessories and branded items that you can buy, from caps, T-shirts and skeet vests, to a varying array of after-market chokes. Personally I use Briley’s Titanium Spectrum Chokes, which I reckon are proper clay smashers.
Krieghoff also have a great back up service too. Alan Rhone and Erwin Peumans run Krieghoff UK, and Erwin is pretty darned handy in the workshop for sure! In the USA Kimberley DuPont runs Krieghoff Gun Company.
At all the European championships we have ever been to, Phil Krieghoff himself has always been there in the Krieghoff tent, with a gunsmith or two on hand to attend to your needs, whether that’s for an annual service, to fix something or adjust the trigger pulls. Not all gun manufacturers do this for their followers and competitors.
All in all, Krieghoff is a gun for life. It’s built to withstand the test of time, and it will always be the best gun that you can shoot, whatever your chosen discipline – well, that’s my view, for what it’s worth!