Written by Irwin Greenstein with the opinions of Terry Crawford, Rick Cundiff, Josh Lepman, Darrell McKigney, Mark Polek and Joe Svach

SKB is a shotgun company that flies under the radar of most wing and clays shooters, which is regrettable given the enthusiastic impression the GC7 Three-Barrel Set made on the Shotgun Life Peer Review Posse.

Peer Review: The Krieghoff Essencia

Even though the Krieghoff Essencia took the Silver Award at the 2003 "Gold Medal Concourse d'Elegance of Fine Guns" and won the Shooting Sportsman Award for a contemporary, custom-fitted gun that best typifies the upland hunting ideal, our Peer Review group approached the Krieghoff Essencia with a measure of skepticism.


Benilli must be the sexiest brand in shotguns today.

Stainless steel, carbon fiber and the jet-fighter silhouette make Benelli semi-autos all the rage. Yet the underlying engineering is the big payoff.

A new tradition started in the fabled chronicles of the shotgun sports.

The first Southern Side by Side Fall Classic took place over three days at the Back Woods Quail Club in Georgetown, South Carolina -- with a spectacular pheasant tower shoot as the day-before opener.

At the helm of the new event was the steady hand of Bill Kempffer, the guiding force behind the Southern Side by Side Spring Classic held the past nine years every April at his Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School in Sanford, North Carolina.

Most shooters aren't aware there is another shotshell manufacturer out there aside from the big four here in the United States. It’s RST and its has been around for a number of years. Their shotshells are manufactured in Friendsville, Pennsylvania, so they are not imported.

The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference (SHOT Show) is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports and hunting industries. You'll find plenty of so-called black guns for the tactical market, state-of-the-art bows, ammunition, a boatload of pistols and just about every conceivable gadget and gear on the planet for the hunting and shooting enthusiast as well as tools of the trade for the police and military.

We’ve witnessed the revival of shotgun legends in recent years, but based on our field tests of the three new Veronas, none have combined the affordability, reliability and performance as these Italian workhorses.

Shotgun Shells

The components of a shotgun shell include the rim, primer, brass, shell case, powder, wad and shot — with the exception of shotgun slugs, which are like blunt bullets encased in a shotgun shell and used on larger game.

Shotgun Tubes

What’s the difference between a choke and a tube?

The choke controls the constriction at the muzzle. The tube (or subgauge insert) is a sleeve that fits inside the barrel in order for you to safely shoot different gauges from a single gun. Each tube is machined to a specific gauge -- like the gun barrel itself.

These tubes don’t work with pumps or semi-autos because the receivers are gauge-specific. For example, you can’t load a 20-gauge shell into a 12-gauge pump or semi-auto receiver under any circumstances. With your over/under or side-by-side, however, the shells are loaded directly into the chamber. Crack open the gun, and the proper set of tubes can turn your 12 gauge into a 20-, 28-gauge or .410 shotgun.

There are plenty of options when it comes to finding the perfect tube set for your shotgun.

Some shotgun manufacturers bundle tube sets with a new gun. For retrofitting, tube sets can be purchased over-the-counter while others have to be sent to the tube manufacturer where they are fit to your gun. You can go with a full-length set of tubes or shorter chamber-length tubes.

Your decision is usually based on price and weight.

Full-length tube sets can weigh 5-12 ounces, affecting the balance of your shotgun. But if you’re a nose-heavy kind of shooter who believes the extra weight improves your swing, then these tubes are for you. Other shooters balk at the extra up-front weight, and may opt for shorter tubes.

Into the Chamber

Chamber-length tubes let you reduce your gauge preference without going for a full-length version. When you fire, the subgauge shell then patterns with a 12-gauge barrel. How does that affect your shooting? Some manufacturers swear that there’s no penalty whatsoever -- or even go as far as to claim an improved pattern compared with an original subgauge shotgun.

Given their size, these chamber-length tubes are less expensive than the full-length alternatives and are obviously lighter (3-4 ounces).

Regardless of which tubes you ultimately use, there are a few cautionary measures to consider. Make sure your shells eject properly and your chokes still fit. If you’re using chamber-length tubes, you also have to examine if the ejectors start moving them out of the gun. Hunters will want to verify that their tube sets can accommodate 3-inch shells as well as steel shot.

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Irwin Greenstein
Publisher
Shotgun Life

PO Box 6423
Thomasville, GA 31758
Phone: 229-236-1632

igreenstein@shotgunlife.com