Having shot the 12/20 Parcours combo on sporting clays, we discovered that the 20-gauge barrels are a revelation for the shotgun.
The author shooting Krieghoff’s K-80 Parcours with the 20-gauge barrels.
For starters, the Parcours in 12 gauge made a sensation when it was introduced in 2012. For many, Krieghoff’s redesign of the stalwart K-80 with the Parcours lighter barrels and thinner stock quieted critics who complained that the standard K-80 Sporting suffered from too much ballast at its approximate 8¾ pounds. While that heft worked to the advantage of trap and skeet shooters, low-gun games such as sporting clays and FITASC demanded a lighter alternative for quick mounts and faster swings in a greater variety of presentations.
When it came to the Parcours, rather than tinker with the proven K-80 receiver, Krieghoff’s weight loss program focused on the barrels and stocks.
A set of 32-inch, 12-gauge barrels with 3-inch chambers and a tapered flat rib of 10-6mm for the K-80 Sporting model weigh 3 pounds, 13 ounces. Their floating-barrel configuration, where each barrel is separated, requires thick walls to handle the lack of side-rib stabilization while also preventing warping and vibration. The free-floating barrels include a hanger at the muzzles to adjust point of impact. The barrels swell at the muzzles to accommodate Krieghoff’s titanium chokes.
The Krieghoff K-80 Parcours with its standard 12-gauge barrels.
The Parcours barrels achieved lower weight through a comprehensive redesign. First, side ribs were added, allowing Krieghoff to trim barrel dimensions while bolstering structural integrity. The side ribs start at the muzzles and run about half-way down the barrels to just behind the forend.
Standard K-80 barrels have a bore of 18.6mm, outside diameter of 21.3mm and wall thickness of 1.35mm. The Parcours’ barrels feature the same bore and chamber length, but have an outside diameter of 20.5mm and wall thickness of .85mm. So the exterior diameter of the Parcours barrels is 0.8mm thinner while the barrel wall thickness is 0.5mm smaller (although the measurements vary slightly from barrel to barrel).
For the K-80 Parcours, Krieghoff eliminated the barrel hangers and the muzzle swell (making the Briley thin-wall chokes a factory option on the standard fixed M/IM or IM/F choke constrictions). By making screw-in chokes an option, Krieghoff was able to cut about 4½ ounces from the muzzle – even with its featherweight titanium chokes.
The Krieghoff K-80 Parcours two-barrel set featured the upgraded
Waterfowl Medallion engraving pattern.
Overall, the standard 32-inch K-80 Parcours barrel with fixed constrictions shipped from the factory at 3 pounds – a reduction of 13 ounces over comparable K-80 Sporting barrels.
Additional weight savings on the Parcours came from the slimmest stock and forend ever produced by Krieghoff, although the stock does carry the extra mechanicals of a standard adjustable comb. Bottom line: a K-80 Parcours is just shy of 8-pounds – the lightest K-80 of them all.
As the buzz spread about the K-80 Parcours, some commentators went as far to say that the new 12-gauge rivaled the 8-pound, 20-gauge, Krieghoff K-20 Sporter for dynamic handling while delivering a bigger payload.
Now the news gets better. Krieghoff has started shipping 20-gauge Parcours barrels for the 12-gauge K-80 Parcours.
Krieghoff’s K-80 Parcours in 12 gauge.
Krieghoff applied the same formula to the 20-gauge Parcours barrels as they did to the original 12-gauge barrels. In fact, the 20-gauge and 12-gauge Parcours barrels look identical except for the slightly smaller scale and rib that tapers from 8mm to 6mm. The weight differential is also hard to detect, with the larger barrels at perhaps 1 or 2 ounces heavier at 32 inches with fixed chokes (the 20-gauge Parcours barrels will only be available in 32” length and with fixed M/IM constrictions for now).
Shooting the 12-gauge K-80 Parcours with the 20-gauge Parcours barrels is truly a confounding experience. That’s because the 20-gauge barrels seemed to enhance the speed and balance of the original K-80 Parcours with minimal weight distinction.
But I would swear up and down that the 20-gauge barrels altered the subtleties of the gun enough to produce a better-balanced, faster-swinging more enjoyable K-80 Parcours that was truly instinctive in every consideration with absolutely zero felt recoil.
The two-barrel set K-80 Parcours in the factory case.
The K-80 Parcours with the subgauge barrels shouldered and shot with a particular encouragement that I could compare to driving my former 2000 BMW M Coupe. At about 2,000 rpm that car would speak to you, urging “faster, faster, faster” – the provocation more intoxicating as the belligerent straight six howled toward red line.
Calling for a sporting clays target, the K-80 Parcours with the 20-gauge barrels came up very fast and true – obliterating targets with a giddy ease. All I wanted to do was hop in the cart, race to the next station and shoot that gun again – and again and again.
At some level, it’s hard to believe that an ounce or two in barrel weight can make such a perceptible improvement in the K-80 Parcours. And if someone told me that I had fallen into a temporary state of foolishness while shooting those 125 targets I guess I would have to agree.
At $4,695, the 20-gauge Parcours barrels may seem like an extravagance, especially since you’ll be without the gun for a bit as an authorized dealer has to fit them to your Krieghoff K-80. But if you tally the entire K-80 Parcours package of $16,390 for the two-barrel set, it becomes a tremendous value.
Irwin Greenstein is the publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.