Gun Test: Krieghoff Special Trap

The special something – The Krieghoff Special Trap sure is pretty

The Krieghoff Special Trap is a full weight K-80, but not too heavy for any form of going-away clays, as Vic Harker found out.

Tech specs

Maker: Krieghoff
Model: K-80 Trap Special
Bore size: 12
Barrels length: 30in
Action: Coil spring
Chamber: 76mm/3in
Chokes: Five hand detachable
Rib: High ramped adjustable
Stock: Pistol grip
Weight: 9lb 6oz
Price: £12,500 with vintage scroll engraving
Distributor: Alan Rhone (01978 660001)

This  gun was first conceived in America: A man from Wyoming, Crawford C Loomis, who travelled eastward to work for Remington, gets the most credit for its design. He had already produced the Remington 31 Pump Action, which, at that time, represented a serious rival to the Winchester Model 12. The Remington M32 over-and-under, however, represented a whole new challenge, and Loomis responded to it with his customary ingenuity. His over-and-under was a success, but when Remington decided it could no longer manufacture the new shotgun, a group of enthusiasts took it to Germany and the Krieghoff K-80 became even greater than his previous design. That it now should be produced in Germany seems entirely appropriate, as it inherits its ancestors look, which could be described as almost Gothic. Angular and powerful in appearance, it looks immensely strong. The tempered steel sliding shroud that secures the barrels breech ends to the action body is a perfect example of this.

American, Crawford C Loomis, gets the most credit for The Special Trap’s design

If the Krieghoff’s action borders on the brutish in appearance, it houses a gem of a trigger. Every component part is made from the hardest tempered steel that is polished to a glass-like finish. The sears do not engage with a notch, but sit on a step. When the trigger is pulled the barrel selector is pushed upwards to disengage the sear and simultaneously rotates to select the second barrel. It is the directness of the design’s mechanical function that provides the Krieghoff’s super-fast lock time. The ejector work functions equally well with the design, incorporating the conventional principle of extractors being cocked off the forend iron when the gun is opened. The components are beautifully designed and primary extraction and ejection is positive and smooth.

The stock

It may be German-made, but the design is quintessentially American

As with every aspect of the Krieghoff, the design of each component of the stock is carefully thought out and seamlessly conforms to the whole. With perfect wood-to-metal fit at the head abutting a bottleneck top strap. The full pistol grip is a slim elegant shape and this complements the trigger blade, which, when adjusted to the shooter’s requirements, combines to provide a reassuringly firm hold with excellent control.

The comb is a comfortable roll-over design, adjustable for height and cast. It fits over two robust posts mounted on a steel plate that is neatly inletted into the woodwork. With a drop-at-heel of 70mm, this stock is, in effect, an adjustable Monte Carlo design that complements the high ramped rib, which is adjustable for point-of-impact (POI) by way of a small wheel at the barrels’ muzzle ends. This is set to pattern 70/30 per cent above and below the POI when it leaves the factory. This was absolutely fine for me, however, it can be adjusted to shoot a fairly flat 60/40 per cent right up to placing the pattern 100 per cent above the POI.

With a conventional bore size of 18.6mm, the Krieghoff’s barrels are fitted with five screw-in chokes, 35thou equating to Full choke, 30thou for Improved Modified, 25thou on the Light Improved Modified, 20thou for the Modified and 40thou equating to Super Full. On the pattern plate with a variety of good quality Trap loads, the K-80 consistently delivered well distributed patterns.

Shooting impressions

It is the directness of the design’s mechanical function that provides the Krieghoff’s super-fast lock time

With an adjustable stock and rib plus a choice of five chokes, I felt an obligation to give this adaptable Kreighoff a trial on as many Trap disciplines as possible. I retained the 70/30 per cent POI, my preference for any kind of Trap shooting and set the adjustable comb at 32mm drop from front to back, with 70mm drop-at-heel, which could not be altered. In effect I had a Monte Carlo stock.

This set up provided me with a head up posture I am not accustomed to but it had me breaking DTL targets well enough. At the end of my first round of 25 targets I had missed one and second-barrelled two. This wouldn’t have won me any prizes but I was satisfied that with my usual less head-up position, I would have done better.

Next stop the Ball Trap layout. I retained the same comb height but gave myself a little more right-hand cast at the face. I kept Half in the bottom barrel and while I would be hitting targets a little further out, the breaks I achieved on the DTL targets convinced me I had more than enough choke. This proved to be the case, shooting 21 and 23.

Vic Harker found the Special Trap a real pleasure to shoot

I was now getting used to the head up posture and felt with some practice, I could improve. The next day I travelled further afield for some Olympic Trap. I will put it this way, my first round wasn’t very good, but I did manage 22 on my second. Taking into account my usual flat-rib gun is nearly a pound lighter than the K-80, I considered this a good effort.

The Kreighoff’s versatility accommodates the shooter’s differing requirements as to fit for the domestic forms of Trap, ATA in the USA, and DTL on this side of the pond. For these disciplines this gun is uniquely suitable and already a huge success. My test pushed the envelope on faster targets but in the hands of a more gifted shooter they would have broken more clays than me. Nevertheless, the K-80, with its absence of recoil and its forgiving handling characteristics ,was a real pleasure to shoot.


This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store

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Posted in Reviews, Technical

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