Called the K-20 Pro Sporter, it is believed to be the first of its kind built on a 20-gauge frame. While shotgun makers such as Blaser and Caesar Guerini offer 20-gauge versions of their high-rib clays guns, in both instances those shotguns couple 12-gauge receivers with 20-gauge barrels. Krieghoff, meanwhile, is bringing to market its innovation and vision of the ultimate sporting shotgun with a brilliant new sub-gauge.
We shot a prototype of the K-20 Pro Sporter and walked away with the indelible impression that it could rise to the ranks of the best high-rib sporting gun on the market – regardless of bore – period.
The K-20 Pro Sporter epitomizes the decades of engineering and refinement that define Krieghoff as a company. If ever a clay-target shotgun existed that can be called a pleasure to shoot it is, undoubtedly, the K-20 Pro Sporter.
Alex Diehl, Chief Operating Officer of Krieghoff, had been manning one of the sporting clays stations at the 6th Annual Showcase Event at Griffin & Howe’s Hudson Farm. The fundraiser for the Wounded Warriors in Action gave participants the opportunity to try shotguns from manufacturers such as Zoli, Blaser, Purdey, William & Son, Beretta, Perazzi, William Evans and others. Naturally, we stopped at the Krieghoff stand.
The K-20 Pro Sporter makes an immediate impression when you lift it from the rack. There is an acute sense of perfect balance and heft of its well-distributed 7½ pounds. All you could say is “Wow.”
Mr. Diehl took a moment to adjust the comb for proper fit, then it was time to shoot targets. At the risk of completely gushing, the K-20 Pro Sporter was the best-swinging clays gun we ever evaluated. Balance was neutral – translating into an extremely smooth swing on the line of the target. Also, there was an agreeable sense of compliance about the gun that contributed to greater confidence. The K-20 Pro Sporter would do whatever you asked of it without the least bit of resistance.
At that point, it made complete sense when Mr. Diehl said of the K-20 Pro Sporter: “Initial reaction from our dealer base has been very positive.”
Krieghoff’s trademark elongated receiver contributed greatly to the feel of the K-20 Pro Sporter. Krieghoff’s design is intended to situate the center of gravity between the hands of the shooter. While these dynamics have helped Krieghoff establish a legacy of international clays-shooting championships, the payoff seems to be exponential in the K-20 Pro Sporter.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the K-20 Pro Sporter represents the next-generation of the high-rib breed. We believe the improved dynamics are realized from two advantages. First, the K-20 Pro Sporter will weigh nearly one pound less than the K-80 Pro Sporter. Therefore, the smaller-scale gun felt as though it enhanced the clays-shooting dynamics and philosophy of the high-rib, Pro-Sporter design. Second, when the upright shooting posture advanced by the high-rib approach is applied to a well-engineered, 20-gauge sporting gun, there is an enhanced level of control that rivals a heavier 12-gauge clays gun.
Proponents of heavier clay-target shotguns may argue against these points, but we would encourage them to hold their tongues until they actually shoot a K-20 Pro Sporter. Chances are, among them might be the same folks who insisted that high-rib sporters would never be accepted by sporting clays shooters – until they actually got their hands on one and then wrote a check.
Trap shooters were the first in the clays discipline to adopt an upright posture with a high-rib shotgun optimized for rising targets. Most recently, sporting clays, 5-stand and skeet shooters realized the benefits that trap shooters have enjoyed for decades including full binocular vision, establishing targets with the center of your eyes, reduce neck and shoulder fatigue and better response times with a pre-mounted gun.
High-rib sporters are probably responsible for clearly delineating, for the first time, between clays and upland shotguns. Before, shotguns may have been choked and stocked for clays, but in a pinch a bird shooter was able to knock down a few driven pheasants with it. That would be much more difficult with a high-rib sporter.
As the distinction between clays and wing guns becomes more widely accepted, clays shooters will insist on increasingly greater levels of performance more from high-rib shotguns. And the K-20 Pro Sporter could be the shotgun that helps raise those expectations in the nascent market – the handling and overall dynamics of the K-20 Pro Sporter were simply that amazing.
When the K-20 Pro Sporter officially arrives in Spring 2012, expect the same features that are now available in the 12-gauge, K-80 Pro Sporter: adjustable POI from 50/50 to 70/30; 30-inch or 32-inch barrels with floating rib and 3-inch cambers; adjustable comb; single, selective mechanical trigger with a factory setting of about 3¾ pounds.
Like all other Krieghoffs, the forthcoming K-20 Pro Sporter will be fully customizable with various grades of Turkish walnut and engraving. The entry price should match the current K-80 Pro Sporter of approximately $11,000.
Mr. Diehl said that 28-gauge and .410 barrels will also be available for the K-20 Pro Sporter. Ladies and gentlemen, get out your checkbooks.
The Krieghoff International web site
The Hudson Farm web site