After months selecting his new Krieghoff, Rhys Plum puts it to the test at Barbury.
July has been a big one for me, and has been my busiest month competing so far. As well as travelling to events around the country, I have also found myself a new gun.
I’ve been looking to change for a long time now and the process of finding ‘the one’ has been a long journey. The story begins two-and-a-half years ago. Back then I was more than happy with my Browning 30inch Sporter; I was so glad to finally be moving up from a 20 to a 12 bore. I was also excited to see how I would perform that season with the extra length on my barrels.
That season saw me progress and learn a great deal. A season later, I was shooting with Zoli sponsored shooter Sammy Halsey and Krieghoff sponsored shooter Guy Franklin.
We were at Owls Lodge for a Premier League shoot, and I had instantly fallen in love with Guy’s Krieghoff – I knew that one day I wanted to shoot a Krieghoff. That same year, I had another massive growth spurt, as teenagers do. I now had the neck of a giraffe, and arms that swung around by my knees.
Unfortunately, there were only so many adjustments that we could make to my Browning, as it didn’t have an adjustable comb. At the same time, my gun had just started playing up; the trigger would often refuse to change from bottom barrel to top barrel between shots.
With my gun no longer fitting properly, I started to pick up bad habits in my gun mount, and soon I was resting my comb on my chin. It was time to invest! I know that I’m going to be in this sport for the rest of my life, so it was worth making sure that the gun would do the job and fit perfectly.
My coach, Matt Hance, recognised that not only would a Krieghoff fit the bill, but it was a brand that I had complete faith in – and so the search began.
I had to establish whether a Sporter, Pro Sport or Parcours would suit me best. The Sporter is of course Krieghoff’s Sporting model, famous for its unique handling, reliable action and floating barrels.
This is the gun of choice for top Sporting shots like Martin Myers, Ben Husthwaite and Ed Solomons. The Pro-Sport is also used in Sporting disciplines but gives the shooter a more head-up shooting position, due to the raised rib and higher stock.
That also allows for faster target acquisition when birds come from beneath the barrel, such as teal or going away targets. Fitasc World Champion Gebben Miles is a Pro-Sport enthusiast and has shot his gun for the majority of his Sporting clays career.
Finally there’s the Krieghoff Parcours, designed to combine the strong action of the K80 with a much lighter stock and barrel set. The Parcours at around 8lbs, I found, was much better suited to my style of shooting than the Sporter or Pro-Sport.
I travelled to Ian Coley to try both the Parcours and the Sporter for one last time. I had fallen in love with the Sporter and felt that I would be more drawn towards the floating barrels and the characteristics of that gun, being a bit more planted than the Parcours.
I was conscious that after a few weeks in the gym, I would have no problem with the weight of the Sporter and surely this was the gun that I will want to shoot in the future.
First, I took out the Sporter and enjoyed the first half of the course at Coleys, which included lots of incomers and quartering targets. On these targets I wanted to make short, exact moves, which the Sporter handled perfectly, I was sold.
When it came to the battues and driven targets, the weight of the gun became evident. I could handle it on the shorter targets, but when I needed to get the gun moving, I couldn’t generate that movement.
I had to put much more perceived lead onto the targets, which meant I needed to move my kill points further along the line of the target. When I shot the Parcours, it managed well on both halves of the course. So a Parcours it would be!
We all know how hard it is to find a gun that ticks all the boxes and makes you weak at the knees. If you need it left-handed, it can feel like mission impossible.
I travelled to Eriswell Lodge to view the gun, and was instantly in love. We only had a few minutes, but I persuaded my father to let me shoot a round of Skeet: 25 straight! I finally found a gun that fitted and that I could keep forever.
The only ‘big event’ for me this year was the Hull Pro One Challenge at Barbury Shooting School. I had gelled with the gun and was pleased with the positive changes it had made to my shooting.
With the the gun light at the muzzle, I can match the speed of targets easier. I have a longer connection with the target before moving away from the bird or pulling the trigger – which has helped my performance.
It was an absolute scorcher on the day of the shoot – the Friday of July that hit 36 degrees. I was also meeting Ivan Reid of Teague Chokes at Barbury to collect my new thin wall chokes.
David Radulovich told me he received his new High Tech Perazzi a week before the World Championships, and saw that as the best way to test this new gun. I left my old chokes at home and shot the new Teagues. The kills I got at all ranges were unparalleled and a massive confidence boost.
The ground looked amazing and the shoot was excellent. It was great to see over 600 shooters supporting the event from all over the country. Everyone I spoke to enjoyed the targets and Super-Sporting stands. I tripped up a few times, dropping one or two targets, but finished well.
Seven bottles of water later, I finished on 100 ex-120. I managed to straight five out of the seven stands on the second half of the course, placing me joint 3rd in my class and 5th in Juniors – a result I’m happy with.
The weekend before Barbury I shot the British Compak Grand Prix held at Orston Shooting Ground. This was my first time shooting Compak, and it was a slow but wet introduction to the European discipline. The shoot was 200 birds, held over two days.
At the first layout on the first day, a biblical storm arrived in Orston and flooded down on us. Nonetheless, I shot the first layout well and was starting to understand the structure and target presentations of the discipline.
After emptying the puddles out of my trainers, I was disappointed with how I shot the next three layouts, finishing the day on 85 ex-100. The second day was a similar story, and I had lost my concentration by the last layout. All the same, it was a great learning experience.
I hope that everyone has had a great month and has enjoyed shooting in the sun! If there is a particular topic or person that you would like to see interviewed in a future article, then do email me firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on social media.