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.

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.

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.

When Chris Batha told me at the 2009 Safari Club Convention that Zoli made great guns, I knew I should spend quality time with Paolo Zoli and Steve Lamboy, the company’s general manager in the U.S. One thing led to another and a few weeks ago Steve sent me a new 20-bore Columbus from the Italian gunmaker.

At the Southern Side by Side Championship and Exhibition we set out to answer the question: Can you find a good hammer gun for $2,500 or less?

Clays and Wingshooting

If you’re accustomed to rifles or pistols, or simply a new shooter, you’ll be surprised to know that shotguns generally require both of your eyes to be open while shooting.

All About Shotguns

There are two challenges to finding a great shotgun -- fit and suitability.

The shotguns section of Shotgun Life is dedicated to helping you recognize the perfect shotgun (that you’ll want to keep for the rest of your life, and then hand down to your family for generations to come.)

For some people, finding a great shotgun is simply love at first sight. For others, a great shotgun grows on them -- and they find themselves down in the basement cleaning it for absolutely no other reason than just to be in its company.

But for every shotgun owner who falls in love with their pride-and-joy, there are teams of engineers and craftsmen toiling away behind the scenes to bring your gun to fruition.

As you’ll see, shotguns are generally designed for a particular sport. Some shotguns have composite stocks and fore-ends to withstand the travails of duck hunting. Then there are single-shot trap guns with high ribs that help you intercept rising targets. And skeet shooters find that their beavertail fore-end is particularly adept at bringing about a smooth, quick swing.

So let the search begin. Here is what you’ll find in our shotgun section…

Shotguns for Clays and Wingshooting Shotgun Actions Break Actions Over/Under Side-by-Side Single-Barrel Shotgun Semiautomatics Pumps Skeet Shotguns Trap Shotguns WaterFowl Shotguns Upland Shotguns

The Last of the Pendragons?

Once upon a time, the dream of a magnificent plantation called Wingfield bloomed full and flush in the enchanted quail kingdom of South Carolina’s Low Country.

The Fine Firearms Find of the Century

"Call this a tangled web with a happy ending, a story that unfolds like the plot of a Russian novel toward a conclusion in which one of the most venerable Belgian gunmakers and the most venerable American gunmaker undergo a renaissance and in the process bring back to life one of the more visionary guns of the twentieth century ­- invented by a Belgian maker whose relative obscurity belies his genius."

Shotguns

Skeet Shotguns

The standard skeet gun is an over/under break action that has screw-in chokes. This configuration is available in just about any gauge from the smallest .410 to the largest 12-gauge.

Some shooters prefer to use a semi-automatic for skeet, also with screw-in chokes.

Either configuration works fine. The most important aspect of a good skeet gun is not the number of barrels it has or its action: it’s the balance and feel of the gun that allows you make smooth swings to hit the crossing targets of most skeet stations.

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Irwin Greenstein
Publisher
Shotgun Life

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igreenstein@shotgunlife.com