GUN EXPERT: Mike George
USEFUL BUY: Krieghoff shotgun
SECONDHAND COST: From £5000
The German gunmaking firm of Krieghoff was founded in the town of Suhl in 1886, but it wasn’t until post World War II years that it became well known in Britain.
And behind that statement lays an interesting story.
The actions are finished to such exacting tolerances that other barrels sets can fit straight on.
The company had been making fine sporting arms since its foundation, except during war years when it was forced to switch to military production.
But up to the outbreak of World War II British gunmaking was strong, while one of Krieghoff’s main claims to fame was the drilling, that strange gun with rifle and shotgun barrels which never did catch on in the UK because of shooting styles and, more recently, licensing regulations.
UK shooters wanted either a rifle or a shotgun, and they considered a combination of both as weird. They still do!
However, several things happened which changed the UK shooter’s view of Krieghoff.
The first was the way in which Europe became structured following World War II.
The Krieghoff K80 & Krieghoff K20
Germany became split into two separate nations, one in the Communist East and the other in the West, but there was a short period of confusion while borders were being drawn.
Suhl, which was soon to finish up on the wrong side of Winston Churchill?s famous Iron Curtain, was temporarily under American control.
And with the Americans in charge, albeit briefly, Krieghoff managed to relocate to its present home city of Ulm, which was in the West.
The second happening was that, in their search for an O/U shotgun to suit the modern age, Krieghoff started looking at the immediate pre-War Remington Model 32 and, more importantly, how they could improve it.
And one thing which differentiated the breakaction Remmie 32 was the unusual design of the bolt mechanism.
The barrels are locked to the action by this sliding top bolt over the standing breech.
The gun which emerged in 1957 was the 12-bore K32, which had this mechanism, in which the barrels hinge to the action with stub pins, and lock to it via a sliding cover which projects forward over the rear of the chambers when the gun is closed.
It is a very interesting, and very strong, engineering feature.
Thirdly, with all but ‘London Best’ quality guns no longer made in the UK, the British shooter was being educated to look abroad, particularly for specialist competition guns.
Just think of how many Perazzis, Berettas and Brownings have been sold!
THE NEW GUN
By the 1980s the K32 was getting a bit long in the tooth, so Krieghoff introduced the K80 which, with many improvements and new features over the years, is still one of the company?s number one guns.
Beautifully machined action frame.
The single selective trigger has now been mechanical for some time, and such is the interchangeability of parts that a single receiver can be fitted with barrels and stocks which will give the owner specialist guns for sporting, trap, skeet, and game.
Twelve, 20 and 28-bore, plus .410 barrel sets are also available to fit the 12-bore frame, and that’s not all.
There are so many variations in style, woodwork and engraving available that the shooter can build his or her own gun, and the relatively new Parcours model is well worth a look, too.
THE DEDICATED 20-BORE
In the year 2000 Krieghoff introduced the K20, a 20-bore built on a true 20-bore frame.
Twenty-eight bore and .410 barrel sets are available to fit the action.
As with all Krieghoffs, there is a variety of stock options, and many different styles of engraving, woodwork quality, and finish.
WHAT TO PAY
Most new Krieghoffs are going to cost you around the £10,000 mark, and after that the sky’s the limit.
Unless you are very lucky, you are not going to find a good second-hand gun for under £5,000.