If you shoot clay targets in the US, you’ve certainly seen Krieghoff K-80s in action. These are popular guns in American trap, skeet and sporting clays. They are made in Ulm, Germany, but their heritage is American, because the K-80 is a refinement of the pre-WWII Remington Model 32. That gun was easily identified by its sliding top lock and split barrels.
In 1954 an American named L.M. Donaldson brought a Remington Model 32 to Krieghoff and asked the company to make a similar model for sale in the US. This became a reality by the end of the ’50s and was known as the Krieghoff K-32. The major changes from Remington’s Model 32 were an upgraded trigger and tighter tolerances, but the sliding top latch, basic action and split barrels remained.
In 1980 Krieghoff updated the K-32 with a better trigger, some exterior cosmetics, and stock and barrel options and renamed it the K-80. Since then, incremental improvements have been made and more options added, but the gun remains basically the same.
The K-80 has always been known as a low-recoiling, steady over/under with an excellent mechanical trigger. Balance differs from the Krieghoff K-32 in that it is heavier and carries a good portion of that extra weight up front. This makes it smooth and very well adapted for the slower-speed American trap and skeet games, though less so for the more challenging Olympic shotgun games where Perazzi dominates.
Krieghoff is well represented in sporting clays in America. The typical K-80 sporter weighs close to nine pounds and lends itself to the pre-mounting that relaxed sporting clays rules now permit. Shooters who have wanted more responsive, lighter guns have usually looked elsewhere.
Until now. Krieghoff continues to make the equivalent of a Mercedes sedan in its K-80, but now the firm has added a Porsche. It’s the new Krieghoff K-80 Parcours sporting clays gun. Basically, it is the K-80 action with different wood and very different barrels. In the base configuration, the Parcours has an MSRP of $11,395. That’s $700 more than the regular K-80. Our test Parcours had upgraded Vintage Scroll Nickel engraving and Super Scroll-grade wood for $1,500 extra.
I usually start my reviews with the receiver, but the Parcours is all about the barrels. They weigh more than 10 ounces less than the standard K-80 sporter barrels. Ten ounces of barrel weight is an entire ton. Two ounces would be noticeable. Ten ounces is a transformation.
The weight loss was achieved by making barrels the way everyone else does. Instead of using the usual Krieghoff split tubes with no side ribs and a hanger up front, the Parcours barrels have standard side ribs running back 19” from the muzzles. You might think that adding side ribs would increase weight, but that’s not the case. Ribs add strength to the barrels. Without the support of side ribs, barrel tubes must be made thicker and thus heavier. With the support of side ribs, barrels can be made much thinner and yet be just as strong. That’s where most of the 10 ounces has been removed.
Another weight savings is in the use of conventional fixed chokes. The extended screw chokes of the standard K-80 sporter and the barrel jugging they entail do add weight, even though the chokes are titanium. The Parcours currently comes with 32″ barrels and fixed chokes of Modified & Improved Modified. According to the manual, Parcours barrels are approved for steel shot up to size No. 5. Briley screw-in chokes are an extra if you must.
The rest of the barrel interiors remain unchanged. Bore diameters are the slightly overbore .733″ that Krieghoff has used for years. Ditto the 3″ chambers and 3″ forcing cones. Krieghoff was the first company to really popularize overbore barrels and long cones, long before the current trend followed.
Another difference between the Parcours and standard sporter barrels is the top rib. In the past Krieghoffs have had top ribs that were ramped up in the rear and lower at the muzzle. I’ve been told that this was done because the split-barrel configuration made the guns shoot low. A rib raised at the rear and low at the muzzle brought things back into line. When you look at how successful Krieghoff has been in the shooting sports, this obviously works well.
But once the barrels are soldered together conventionally with side ribs, they shoot flat and there is no need for the ramped rib. That’s why the Parcours has a parallel and most attractive slender tapered rib. It is almost 1/3″ wide at the rear and ¼” wide at the muzzle, with the usual superfluous center bead and nice white target bead up front.
One thing that the new Parcours barrels do give up is the adjustable point of impact. On the standard split-barrel K-80s, the point of impact of the lower barrel can be raised or lowered by swapping out the barrel hanger for one of a different size. That way barrel convergence can be fine tuned to exactly what the owner wants. Don’t underestimate this. I can’t tell you how many guns I’ve shot that had barrels that didn’t remotely shoot to the same place. Krieghoff obviously goes to some length to ensure proper barrel convergence on the Parcours before soldering things together. Our test sample was spot on.
The barrel joining on the Parcours is interesting. Krieghoff silver solders the top rib and soft solders the side ribs. Silver solder is of higher temperature than soft solder and can warp thin tubes, but it is stronger. Since it is almost always the top rib that shoots loose on an O/U, this is probably a good compromise. All solder seams were absolutely flawless on our test gun, though there was no attempt to disguise the monoblock seam.
In case the balance of the new barrels isn’t exactly to your taste, Krieghoff will supply 1.4-oz weights. Up to three of them can be fitted to the barrels underneath the forearm. Weight change under the forearm will be subtle, but it allows one to tinker, fuss and hope.
The Parcours receiver is unchanged from that of the standard K-80. From the outside it has two significant characteristics: It is quite long front to back, and lockup is via a sliding hood latch. The latter is odd looking but well proven. I wouldn’t call it graceful, but that isn’t the point of a gun like this.
Inside, the gun is very Teutonic. There are lots of little parts and springs, all carefully assembled to produce a reliable action and perhaps the best trigger pulls in the business. It is a triumph of execution over design. The barrel selector is a lockable toggle in front of the adjustable trigger blade. The mechanical trigger has a very “clicky” feel. Trigger pulls on our gun were a delightful 3½ pounds on both sears, but there was some creep. The K-32’s overly long trigger release between shots has long been remedied.
The receiver, like everything else on the gun, is solid German steel. Unlike most competitors’ guns, the receiver, top and bottom tangs, and vertical riser are all one solid, indestructible piece. Lockup is by the aforementioned sliding top latch engaging exterior flats on the monoblock. It’s a good system that wears in as it ages. Interior pieces are mostly machined steel, with the usual exception of a cast inertia block. The Krieghoff action is certainly well proven and has the reputation for long life if properly maintained.
Like the barrels, the wood on the Parcours is new. Gone is the clumsy Schnabel forend. Gone is the pointless Monte Carlo stock comb. Gone is the overly thick stock. The forend is a slender conventional target style that provides a good grip and minimal bulk. It works nicely with the lighter barrels. The stock is normal in outline but thinner, to cut about 2 ounces of butt weight. Clearly there is an English sporting influence here.
Our stock was right-handed and had a length of pull of 143/8″, including a ½” KICK-EEZ pad. Cast-off was ¼” at the heel and 3/8″ at the toe. Pitch was about the usual 4°, or 2″ stand-off. The adjustable comb ranged from a drop of 1¼” to 15/8″, with a good bit of lateral movement possible too. It should accommodate most facial structures and shooting stances. The pistol grip is a nice compromise between that of a field grip and the overly vertical wrist-breakers some makers stick you with. The grip has slight palm swells on both sides just to make sure.
Checkering on our test gun was machine cut in a clean double-border pattern. The checkering was coarse enough for a good grip without being crass. The wood was finished with Krieghoff’s special epoxy high-gloss lacquer. It fully filled the grain and was well applied. It’s waterproof too. The inside of the forend was only partially finished, with some raw wood exposed, while the interior of the head of the stock was fully finished to prevent oil seepage. The advantage of an epoxy finish is its durability and weather resistance. The disadvantage is that it is harder to repair dings than with an oil finish.
Because our test gun was the upgraded Vintage Scroll model, it came with better Turkish walnut. Our stock had straight-line grain, but it was pronounced, contrasty and attractive without being flashy. The laser-engraved receiver isn’t the reason the Vintage Scroll package costs $1,500 extra. It’s the wood.
Our Parcours’ cosmetic details were what you would expect on a gun that costs more than 10 grand. The execution of everything was correct. The bluing was good, the silver-nickel receiver finish was well done, the solder seams were flawless, the machine checkering was correct, and the wood-to-metal fit was spot on. I couldn’t detect any evidence of human intervention in the laser engraving, but it was a pretty pattern.
The Parcours comes in a first-class aluminum-and-fiber Americase suitable for the most simian baggage handler. The kit contains snap caps, a stock wrench, Allen wrenches for comb and trigger adjustment, plus a fairly detailed instruction manual. The guarantee is for five years, with another five tacked on if you send in the registration. Krieghoff service in Ottsville, Pennsylvania, is absolutely first class, and your gun won’t languish for half a year the way it will at some other makers’ shops. A recommended 15,000- to 20,000-round tune-up is $295, and it is thorough.
Looks and mechanics aside, shooting is where it gets personal. Sporting clays shooters seem to be in two camps. Some like heavy, steady guns that are best shot pre-mounted with a sustained lead. Others prefer lighter, more agile guns that can easily move from one bird to the other of a true pair. The latter is especially true for field shooters who still have the skill to shoot sporting clays low gun. Krieghoff clearly has the former well covered with its standard K-80 Sporter.
For the second group, there is the Parcour. It is a well-balanced and facile target gun. The weight centers on the hinges, and the moment of inertia is moderate. The slender stock and forend allow the shooter to become one with the gun. The light barrels move with a fluid ease. I shot the Parcours at 5 Stand, FITASC and sporting. It shot as well as anything I own, maybe a little better on the long shots, where it excelled. At 8 pounds, it certainly wasn’t so light as to be whippy, but it definitely hit that elusive sweet spot between steadiness and maneuverability. The long barrels helped on the long shots, while the lighter weight and neutral balance helped on the short stuff.
I loaned the gun to a dozen different shooters. Everyone commented on how easy it was to shoot. Those who were already shooting the heavier K-80 sporters invariably asked whether Krieghoff would sell the barrels separately. And, yes, the company will, for $4,395.
Mechanically, the gun was correct in all respects, as I have come to expect from Krieghoff. If you shoot with a limp-wristed hold or pull the stock away from your face on firing, the gun will double every time. The trigger mechanism needs recoil resistance against the shoulder to set correctly. If you hold it properly, all will be perfect. The triggers felt crisp, and the bit of creep wasn’t noticeable while shooting.
The Parcours kicked a bit more than the very light-recoiling standard K-80, but it was no more than some other O/U target guns and less than many. There was almost no muzzle rise when the gun was fired—a real plus. The Parcours had the usual Krieghoff inconvenience when reloading in that you had to hold the gun open against spring pressure to load the bottom barrel.
I was never a fan of the standard K-80 sporters, because they don’t suit my particular shooting style. Obviously, many other shooters would disagree. But the new Parcours changes everything and gives Krieghoff another sporter with a new dimension.
Krieghoff has always made one of the best of the “stately” target guns—reliable and soft recoiling. American-style skeet, trap and many sporting clays shooters are devoted to the guns and rightly so. But now Krieghoff also makes a gun for those of us who want something more agile and fluid. The Krieghoff K-80 Parcours is going to be a very popular sporting clays gun, and for good reason. Well done, Krieghoff.
Author’s Note: For more information, contact Krieghoff International, 610-847-5173; www.krieghoff.com.
Bruce Buck’s most recent book, Shotguns on Review, is available for $30 (plus shipping) from 800-685-7962; www .shootingsportsman.com.