Vic Harker looks at a new Krieghoff that won a medal in the World Championships as a prototype
There is an increasing trend among the leading firearms manufacturers to wave the conclusions of their focus groups in our faces to show they’ve done their homework and so must be right, but have they and are they? Too often in my experience the focus group is so influenced by the people who have recruited them they have a tendency to tell their recruiters what they want to hear. If in the 1930’s Wyoming born Crawford C Loomis who designed the M32 over and under for Remington, the Krieghoff K80’s ancestor, ever used a focus group it is not documented.
The same is true of John Browning, John Robertson of Boss, James Purdey the elder, James Woodward, Charles Lancaster, W. W. Greener and the daddy of them all Joseph Manton. Certainly they all copied each other from time to time but only the best bits, and in every case they also introduced their own original thought based on the sound gun making principles that they had collectively established. The single quality most conspicuously missing from the modern firearms industry, certainly as far as sporting guns are concerned, is design capability. Perhaps everything has already been done and as long as we continue to use the centre-fire cartridge there is little opportunity for radical innovation.
In the 1930s there was a little more room for manoeuvre and Loomis may have started with a blank sheet of paper, or did he? The origin of Krieghoff’s locking system consisting of a tempered steel shroud moving forward to cover the breech face is, to pardon the pun, shrouded in mystery. It may have been a French gun maker’s idea, although the only other gun it has been incorporated into in recent years is the Finnish Valmet. Wherever it came from it’s been most successfully adapted into the Krieghoff and together with innovations that give the shooter every option to adjust the barrels, the rib and usually the stock to shoot the gun just the way he wants it – huge numbers of people who shoot clay targets seriously love it. I like it too, in particular the trigger which is one of the best of any target gun. As with the rest of the components it’s made from the finest steel, beautifully finished and the cleaver sear-hammer engagement comprises of a step rather than a notch. This combined with absolutely no free play makes the lock work slicker and quicker than almost any other.
The K80DTS (Double Trap Special) is a new Trap gun developed for Double Trap shooting. In prototype form German Double Trap shooter Andreas Loew took the Silver Medal in last year’s World Championships and now it’s in production, already with a history of success. An important feature of the DTS is its half rib which until now has been an after-market item. Like all high ribs it provides a head up position so that with the gun on the mark the shooter looks out a little further, duplicating the same kind of view you get by adopting a higher gun hold. The target comes into your peripheral vision, the only kind you can shoot with, sooner. The other benefit of the high rib is that it’s less of a distraction than one that’s just under your eye, and is particularly useful when shooting Doubles hence its almost universal popularity with Double Trap shooters. With the half rib Krieghoff also incorporates its free floating barrel assembly which with three separate barrel hangers gives a choice of three points of impact. The half rib can also be adjusted for POI with a small knurled wheel at the muzzle end.
I decided to keep things simple to begin with and, using barrel hanger number three, set the DTS to print 70% of the shot pattern above the point of aim – the same as my flat rib gun. To compliment the high half rib the DTS also has an excellent adjustable stock, and with it I set the two barrel beads in a figure eight, a little lower view of the rib than is usual for me. With 30” barrels the DTS weighs 9lbs 6oz, no lightweight but it balances nicely between the hands. I first shot the gun on the Double Trap layout at Ian Coley’s Shooting School. Also practising at the ground was Britain’s number three Double Trap shooter Steve Walton. A great guy who proceeded to try to teach me the art of spot shooting the first target at Double Trap, without much success I have to add, it would take a little trigger time for me to employ that technique successfully. So instead placing the DTS barrels on the mark, the benefit of the half rib was immediately apparent. It’s in your subconscious as a reference point, but as its devotees claim it is not a distraction and it’s a big help when shooting Doubles. On singles it was equally useful and the DTS, like all Krieghoffs, combined handling that was quick enough with steadiness and an absence of recoil. Another great Trap gun from the German maker, that whilst designed specifically for Double Trap has the potential to be a very effective all rounder.
Model: K80 DTS
Bore size: 12
Barrels length: 30”
Action: Coil spring
Chamber: 76mm 3”
Chokes: 5 extended detachable
Rib: Adjustable for POI tapered 10mm-7mm, 35mm above the standing breech
Stock: Monte Carlo adjustable comb
Weight: 9lbs 6oz
Distributor: Alan Rhone Ltd. Telephone: 01978 660001