By Jason Harris
Friday, 29 August 2008
Krieghoff K80 Sporter shotgun: This Krieghoff K80 Sporter shotgun is an excellent, and typical, example of German engineering.
Krieghoff K80 Sporter shotgun: From my point of view the Krieghoff K80 is a difficult gun to sum up; most sportsmen would say it's not the prettiest gun on the market and therefore not to their liking.
But slap an attractive bit of wood to a nicely engraved action body and this is a gun that can be made to rank alongside some of the best guns in the world - in particular where quality of craftsmanship is concerned.
Where Krieghoff guns excel is in pure strength, they're robustly built and durable to a fault. In other words, qualities synonymous with almost anything that's made in Germany.
There's an almost limitless number of features that can be built into a K80, but at the heart of each gun is its action - a substantial frame of metal meticulously made by computer controlled machinery.
Yet everything else that fits into, on and around, is largely done by hand.
One of the K80's most noticeable features is the sliding top breech. This might not be the most attractive way to lock a shut gun but the design is immensely strong and practical.
It also makes the fitting of extra barrels a much simpler process and this is an advantage when you realise many K80's are bought as multi-barrel sets, or an owner decides to add extra barrels later.
The hammers and sears are powered by coil springs and the pierced titanium trigger blade that used to come as an option is now fitted as standard. This can be easily adjusted fore and aft for the most comfortable position between hand/ pistol grip.
Mechanically the Krieghoff is well proven so most changes to this gun for 2008 are purely cosmetic.
And the most obvious change has been to the woodwork. The wood quality has generally been upgraded and treated to a new factory finish called Diamond Glaze - a hard urethane shell that gives exceptional protection.
Many K80 owners travel extensively to shoot both home and abroad and widely differing temperature and humidity conditions can cause wood to swell, or the grain to raise.
This is particularly the case when a gun is used in heavy rain and then encounters high humidity.
The Diamond Glaze finish, however, can be cleaned easily and it is also resistant to minor knocks and scratches. Krieghoff claims the finish also brings out the full figure of the wood's grain and its beauty.
If the appeal of the test gun is anything to go by, I can't help but agree.
Overall weight of this competition thoroughbred is 9lb 1oz so if you're a weakling, forget it! Whichever way you look at it this is a shotgun which has been built to do a great deal of hard work and yet remain as comfortable as possible to its user.
Barrels carry the special steel shot proof mark and the chambers with their long forcing cones have been chromed to resist wear. Interestingly, the actual bores (18.6mm internal diameter) have been left chrome-free. Each K80 Sporter comes with five extended stainless steel chokes and the barrels are finished off with a white foresight and silver mid sight.
The 32in version has a ventilated top rib that tapers from 10mm to 6mm whereas the 30in version has a rib tapering from 12mm to 8mm at the muzzle. The difference between the two ensures that the weight between both barrel lengths is roughly the same.
However, a buyer who wants 30in barrels can also order the narrower rib if he/she wants it!
All K80s are balanced around the hinge, and this is done individually to each gun. By a happy coincidence this arrangement suits most shooters, but should you have a particular preference for balance, then this can be accommodated, within reason.
The action frame on the test gun is satin silver finish with some scroll engraving which contrasts nicely with the blacked locking slide.
This Sporter is supplied with an adjustable comb stock and the palm swell and slight cast has been done for the benefit of the right-handed shooter. Stock length is 14.1/2in and includes a pad with a hard heel for smooth mounting.
Fore-end shape is Schnabel but when you're paying this kind of money for a gun you can actually pick a stock and fore-end shape that suits your requirements.
You'd be silly not to. The gun comes in a very strong aluminium case, which is itself protected with a cordura cover.
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