Shooting the Krieghoff K-80 Parcours With Its Two New High-Performance Barrels
In 2009, my favorite shotgun dealer at the time had talked me into buying a beautiful 12-gauge sporter with 34-inch barrels – a big stretch from the 30-inch clays guns that had become my standard bearer. I distinctly remember him saying “Everyone is moving to longer barrels.” Within months, I still couldn’t master the gun and actually felt self-conscious seeing it tower over other clays guns with barrels that hovered around 30 inches. End of story is that I traded it back to him in a deal for a 12-gauge semi-auto.
Well, fast forward 12 years and he was right about the world moving to longer barrels. In fact, the trend has been going on for a while, as evidenced in the diminishing demand for vintage bird guns with 26 to 28 barrels as upland hunters embrace the 30-inch paradigm.
All of us have stories about the great shotguns that got away – even though at the time we probably didn’t realize it. For me, it finally took 12 years and the opportunity to shoot a Krieghoff K-80 with their recently released 34-inch Parcours barrels to make me realize I never should have parted ways with that 34-inch sporter.
Shooting the K-80 with 34-inch Parcours barrels proved to be an unexpected revelation after a career of adhering to the 30-inch barrels that dominate the clays courses and more increasingly upland haunts as well. The experience demonstrated that Krieghoff continues to scrutinize every aspect of the K-80 (and it’s 20-gauge cousin the K-20) in refining performance.
Since 1980, when Krieghoff unleashed the 12-gauge K-80 as a successor to the K-32, the company has honed the platform into perhaps the most reliable chassis to hit the clays circuit. It was time to innovate elsewhere in their portfolio.
In February 2012, Krieghoff showed the world it was serious about barrel advances with the introduction of the K-80 Parcours. Of course, there are always ribs and chokes to tweak, but the new Parcours barrels weighed approximately 10 ounces less than the original barrels partially attributed to a new, solid mid-rib that that replaced the vented barrels on the standard K-80. Buttressing the Parcours barrels on the mid-rib and eliminating choke threads at the muzzle allowed for thinner, lighter barrels with fixed modified/improved modified constrictions.
Market acceptance was strong enough for Krieghoff to apply the Parcours barrel formula to their 20-gauge K-20 Parcours.
Come 2020, Krieghoff unveiled two more developments in barrels for their K-80: the Parcours 34 inchers and the Parcours-X barrels, which can be ranked as a middleweight between the traditional K-80 sporting barrels and the lighter K-80 Parcours barrels.
About the 34-inch Parcours barrels, Krieghoff’s Chief Operating Officer Alex Diehl said “One of the things that led to their development is that the game of sporting clays is evolving. The target presentations, shooting styles, coaching methods – everything is evolving. So, a longer sighting plane makes more sense. We listen to our customers and sponsored sporting clays shooters and evolve with the game, to adapt to these more modern target presentations – especially here in the U.S.”
The 34-inch barrels weigh between 3 to 3.1 pounds or roughly one ounce more than the 30-inch or 32-inch Parcours barrels with fixed constrictions. In the past, if you wanted thin-wall chokes for the Parcours barrels Krieghoff either installed Briley thin wall chokes at the factory in Germany or you could send them to Briley Manufacturing in Houston on your own.
However, in a recently launched program, Krieghoff has started making their own, steel, flush-mounted, thin-wall chokes for the Parcours barrels. Alex described the undertaking as a “brand new program that will evolve over time.” The new thin-wall chokes are being manufactured in 12 and 20 gauge to address the full line of Krieghoff’s Parcours field and sporting models.
Developing the 34-inch Parcours barrels wasn’t a cookie-cutter operation. Special attention had to be paid to the downfield convergence of the barrels along with an adjustment of the monobloc angle. The payoff is that the 34-inch Parcours barrels will fit all Krieghoff K-80 frames. The soldered flat rib on the new barrels is standard K-80 fare of 8mm at the breach tapering to 6mm at the muzzle.
In essence, the 34-inch barrels support the product-development mission of the original K-80 Parcours, which was to dominate sporting clays and FITASC (Fédération Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse) competitions. Krieghoff’s 34-inch Parcours barrels now deliver an extended sighting plane with a more accurate sight picture for those extremely long targets that make competition shooters sweat.
“The longer the barrels the less perceived lead on the targets,” explained Will Fennell, FITASC champ, owner of the Fennel Shooting School in Sharon, South Carolina and Krieghoff Pro Staff Shooter. “The longer the barrels, the more accurately you point them. Krieghoff’s 34-inch barrels are the only 34-inch barrels I would ever consider. They are almost as light as everyone else’s 32-inchers.”
As it turns out, I would experience the shortened perceived lead of the 34-inch barrels that Will had mentioned at Southwind Sporting Clays in Quitman, Georgia, which proved an excellent place to evaluate the new, longer Parcours barrels. Southwind basically has two courses, one with presentations for your everyday sporting clays shooter and a different one that throws very long targets.
On the first station of the regular sporting clays course, a high incomer required almost no lead as the 34-inch Parcours barrels swung smoothly with a clear sight picture that resulted in a break. It was the perfect kind of presentation to see that the barrels required almost no target float over the rib. If you subscribe to the mantra “see it, shoot it,” the 34-inch Parcours barrels exemplified the approach and execution.
By the fifth station, I found myself smashing targets with the longer barrels, including a rabbit, fast quartering outgoer and a screaming fast low incomer that demanded a hard left swing. The Krieghoff K-80 Parcours with the 34-inch barrels seemed to go straight to the target with amazing accuracy from the improved perceived lead.
We then moved to the long course. There was a high crosser that I estimated at 70 yards. I couldn’t see it until the target reached the apex, heading for the trees, when and I simply pointed, pulled the trigger and hit it.
Throughout the long course, I broke targets that I had unsuccessfully attempted with 30-inch barrels. The more I shot the 34-inch barrels the more I began to realize that the longer barrels took the guess work out of shooting. It came back to Will’s observation that they reduced the perceived lead –making the shooting more “intuitive.”
The Krieghoff K-80 Parcours with the 34-inch barrels would prove to be one of the easiest clays guns I ever shot. You’ll pay $5,495 for the 34-inch Parcours with an upcharge for the thin-wall chokes.
On our follow-up visit to Southwind, I tried the 32-inch K-80 Parcours-X barrels. Krieghoff introduced them in October 2020 during the Sporting Clays Nationals at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas.
As a barrel option, the standard 12-gauge K-80 Parcours thus becomes the K-80 Parcours-X. It features the new 32-inch barrels with Krieghoff thin wall choke tubes. The barrels alone weigh approximately 3.4 pounds. Unlike the precursor Parcours barrels that have fixed constrictions, the Parcours-X ships with the same choke diameters via Krieghoff’s new thin-wall chokes. The Parcours-X also features a flat rib of 10mm that tapers to 8mm sans a tramline for an enhanced sight picture, and the usual mid and front beads. Expect a retail price of $6,195 for a K-80 Parcours-X barrel.
For swing-through shooters in particular, the Parcours-X barrels were incredible. They allowed me to maintain the line of the target with ease, and break them faster than usual. At the risk of hyperbole, the barrels seemed to come alive in fast crossers with little resistance, composure and a brilliant sight picture. On some long, high crossers, the Parcours-X barrels required some deliberation to avoid over-swinging the breakpoint – a trait that would be easy to control with minimal effort.
Ultimately, the Parcours-X barrels felt like they fulfilled their design expectation of feeling like the middle ground between the standard K-80 Sporter and the 12-gauge Parcours.
In a perfect world, you would buy a K-80 Parcours three-barrels set with the standard, Parcours-X and 34-inch Parcours barrels. Until then, the suggested retail price of a K-80 Parcours-X is $13,695.
Irwin Greenstein is the Publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org