Call me crazy, but when I started shooting the 12-gauge Krieghoff K-80 Pro Sporter the first thing that came to mind was not another shotgun – but a car.
And it wasn’t just any car, but the BMW X6 M sport utility vehicle.
What do the Krieghoff K-80 Pro Sporter and the BMW X6 M SUV have in common?
Essentially, they share an engineering philosophy that combines elements of their best products to create a new paradigm that delivers stunning results.
You probably already have some preconceived notions about your dream shotgun, and that is just fine. But sometimes it pays to seek advice from someone who has had literally hundreds of shotguns pass through their hands, had so many different stocks touch their cheek, fondled so many receivers. Lucky for me, I am one of those folks, so hopefully what I’m going to tell you might help with your future purchase.
What is the most important quality to seek in your next shotgun? A beautiful piece of walnut, out of this world engraving, strength to hold up to a million rounds, a stock that fits you perfectly? Or what? To me all these factors are important, as are others, but I think the best quality a shotgun can have is feel. That’s what to look for first.
It’s difficult to describe feel, just as it’s difficult to describe love at first sight. You just know both when you feel either. Once you love how a shotgun feels you are going to thoroughly enjoy it. You are going to have great confidence in it. After that you can always add such luxuries as a custom stock, custom engraving, custom checkering, whatever. But if you don’t start out loving the feel of a shotgun the cards are stacked against you ever shooting that gun all that well.
When it comes to semi-autos I think Beretta attained the feel I’m talking about with the models 303, the 390, and now the many versions of the 391. I don’t think it’s easy to incorporate a good-feeling quality into a semi, but I do believe Beretta has done it. It’s more than balance I’m talking about, but good balance is certainly a big part of having a shotgun feel right. A shotgun with great feel should move almost effortlessly to the target – pitch or feathered. Such a shotgun will probably let you think it actually weighs less than it really does. You should look forward to picking up and fondling such a shotgun every chance you get.
Have you ever picked up a Perazzi? If you have not done so I urge you to do that – do it even if you cannot afford one. There’s something about virtually every Perazzi I pick up that just sings feel. From the initial pick up to the shouldering to the mounting to the swinging, even to the sound of a Perazzi clicking shut – for many it is a love affair at first sight or first feel. This seems to be true no matter the barrel length for this company has a way of matching barrel weights to the receiver, stock and fore-end so that balance and feel are not compromised. To experience feel first hand just pick up and handle a Perazzi intended for field shooting – or one of their sporting clays models.
The English got feel right over 100 years ago – with their side by side shotguns, first with hammer guns, but later with sidelocks and then even boxlocks. Not many of us are going to have the opportunity to pick up, fondle and swing a Purdey or a Boss, but maybe one day you will have a chance to do this with one of the lesser known old English doubles – perhaps an Army & Navy, a Webley Scott (this company made many fine English double guns sold in other names), a Cogswell & Harrison, a Reilly or one from a number of other English makers that don’t bring the prices of a Purdey, a Holland or several others. If you ever get the chance to handle a gun like this you will see what I mean by feel.
Enough about feel – let’s move to fit. Whatever new gun you buy – it probably won’t fit you perfectly. However, this does not mean you have to change the beautiful stock the gun came with – at least hopefully not. Length of pull can be adjusted with a thicker or thinner recoil pad. If the comb is too high you or a stock person can sand away until that portion of the fit is correct, and then minimal refinishing could be all you need to fix the looks of the walnut.
You could also have the stock you buy made into an adjustable comb stock – or it may come with one. These are sort of ugly but not double ugly. You could add self-adhesive Moleskin (available at drugstores) to the comb if the stock is too low – sort of double ugly but serviceable.
The best way to determine gun fit is to have a pattern paper or steel plate to shoot at. The premise should be to shoot over and over – say at least five times – at the same pointing spot on the paper or the steel plate. Is your new gun shooting high, low, left, right or some combination of two of those? No aiming for this work. Just pull the gun up and shoot.
Don’t overlook the recoil pad. Sad to say some recoil pads put on factory shotguns these days are abominable. This is not to say such pads don’t have recoil-absorbing qualities. That’s not what I’m getting at here. A recoil pad should be a significant aid in helping with a perfect gun mount. Too many pads are a significant handicap in allowing the shooter to make a great gun mount. With some pads the consistency is simply too sticky. Those that are cause a lot of gun mounting problems. Another problem is caused by sharp pad edges, especially at the top of the pad. Consider the type of pad that has a plastic insert at the top – a feature that can be a big factor in reducing gun mounting hang ups. Further, rounded edges all around the pad help guard against sharp edges gouging into the shoulder area. The recoil pad is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of new or used shotgun buying. Of course, the buyer can always add the recoil pad of his or her choice after purchase.
For hunting, as opposed to competition shooting, I actually like most shotguns fitted with either a plastic butt plate or simply a checkered butt. These are hunting guns, most of which are shot minimally, as opposed to competition guns which are shot one heck of a lot. With a hunting gun the plastic butt pad or checkered butt stock tends to reduce back-end weight a tad – and certainly facilitates an easy, unobstructed gun mount.
In wrap up I will make one additional shotgun make suggestion for you to consider picking up, shouldering and swinging at the gun shop. This would be the Caesar Guerini, and the company makes many models, those for hunting, skeet, trap and sporting clays. This company goes to special pains to make the guns balance just ahead of the hinge pins or trunnions – and they do this regardless of barrel length. To me all the Guerini over and unders that I have handled have a great feel.
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.
With great fanfare Benelli USA introduced their new Vinci semi-auto. After months of promise the gun was formally unveiled in a four-minute action video at noon March 31 - on the Benelli website (www.benelliusa.com.)
Although my first shooting trip to South America took place in 1972 I didn't get to shoot in Uruguay until 1997. In retrospect I hate that I missed shooting in that country and enjoying those wonderful people for so many decades. This had been a winter trip, so the duck and partridge seasons were in full swing. Of course, it was summer back here in the USA.
Caution ladies: If your husband or boyfriend hands you one of his old shotguns for a round of clays shooting, say “Thanks but no thanks.”
Anecdotal evidence points to the above situation as a sure-fire way for a woman to never pick up a shotgun for the rest of her life. Why?
Benelli Introduces Performance Shop SuperSport Models in 12- and 20-Gauge
The ultimate “speed gun” for sporting clays has just gotten faster and easier to handle, with more effective patterning. Working in partnership with world-renowned
Briley Manufacturing, a select number of Benelli SuperSport shotguns have been fine-tuned to offer outstanding handling characteristics and superior performance.
Each Benelli Crio® ported barrel has been modified with lengthened forcing cones for a polished taper between the chamber and barrel. The 12-gauge guns have been back-bored to .733 inches to reduce backpressure, ensure consistent patterning and reduce felt
recoil. To get you in action quicker, each gun has been fitted with a Briley EZ bolt release mechanism and an enlarged ergonomic bolt-operating handle.
The trigger assemblies of all Benelli Performance Shop SuperSports have been fine-tuned for a crisp pull and unexcelled performance. In addition, these guns feature Benelli’s proven ComforTech® system with gel recoil butt pads and comb inserts that reduce recoil by as much as 48% and muzzle climb by 15% —all without adding any extra weight.
The Benelli Crio® barrels, combined with Briley’s color-coded Spectrum choke tubes,
improve shot strings to yield denser, more uniform shot patterns resulting in more clay-busting power. Completing the package is a 6-ounce weighted fore-end cap for greater balance and smoother swing.
The average weight is for the 12 gauge is 7.7 pounds with its 30-inch barrel. It has a magazine capacity of 4+1. Length of pull is 14 3/8 inches. The 20-gauge weighs 6.7 pounds with 28-inch barrels The suggested retail price for the 12 gauge is $2,769, while the 20 gauge is priced at $2,665.
The Ithaca Gun Company Rolls Out a New 28-Gauge Pump
A new 28-gauge pump gun was introduced by the Ithaca Gun Company in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. This little gem of an American shotgun costs $999 for an “A” Grade, $1,589 for a “AA” Grade and $3,499 for the “AAA” Grade.
Built on a 28-gauge frame, it features 3-inch chambers, gold trigger, bottom ejection and a black walnut stock and forend. The gun is available with 26-inch or 28-inch barrels.
Browning Unveils New Maxus Autoloader
For 2009 Browning introduces the all new Maxus™ autoloading shotgun. Several innovative technologies combine to make the Maxus deliver up to 18% less felt recoil for greater comfort, 44% less muzzle jump for more accurate follow-up shots, plus 19% faster bolt speed and 24% faster locktime than the nearest competitor.
Power Drive Gas System. The new Power Drive Gas System on the Maxus features a new gas piston design that has larger exhaust ports to dump gases faster on heavy loads. An all new patented, enclosed seal design keeps residue out of the action for cleaner operation. The piston has a 20% longer stroke travel to be even more reliable with light loads.
Inflex Technology Recoil Pad. Browning’s new Inflex Technology recoil pad is the softest pad on any autoloader. More than a mass of recoil absorbing material, it has been engineered with directional deflection to pull the comb down and away from the face of the shooter with every shot for even greater comfort and faster follow-up shooting.
Lightning Trigger System: The new Lightning Trigger System featured on the Maxus is designed to offer a smooth, crisp feel with minimal travel. With locktimes averaging .0052 seconds, the Lightning Trigger is 24% faster than the nearest competing autoloader, making ever pull perfect. It is also easy to remove for cleaning.
Vector Pro Lengthened Forcing Cone: Vector Pro features extended forcing cones that are over 2" longer than other systems. The taper is much more gradual than the 5º industry specification for even less shot deformation resulting in more uniform and consistent patterns. The Vector Pro geometry completely eliminates any step or double taper between the chamber and bore.
Speed Lock Forearm: With the new Maxus, Browning engineers have eliminated the traditional bulky screw-on magazine cap and replaced it with the patent-pending Speed Lock Forearm. This secure forearm attachment system makes taking down the Maxus for cleaning or storage faster and easier than ever before, and makes attaching or removing a sling a snap. By simply lifting a lever, the forearm is easily removed.
Speed Load Plus: Browning’s new patent-pending feeding system sends the first shell loaded into the magazine directly into the chamber. Now, unloading is just as easy with the Maxus. The speed unload feature make emptying the magazine fast and easy, without having to cycle and chamber every shell with the bolt handle.
Turnkey Magazine Plug: The Maxus features the patent-pending Turnkey Magazine Plug that makes removing the plug simple by using any vehicle key. Combined with the Speed Lock System, the magazine plug can be removed from the Maxus in mere seconds.
The new Browning Maxus will be offered in 12 gauge only in 3 inch and 3 ½ inch models. The receiver is made of strong, lightweight aluminum alloy. The barrels have a lightweight profile design with flat ventilated rib. The composite stock has a close radius pistol grip with in-molded textured gripping and Browning’s proven Dura-Touch® Armor Coating for a sure hold and sleek feel in all climate conditions. Average weight on the new Maxus is 6 lbs. 14 oz. The Browning Maxus comes equipped with a magazine cut-off to allow the shooter to easily unload the chamber to change loads without cycling a shell from the magazine.
Browning Maxus Stalker models Suggested Retail, $1,199.00 in 3" and $1,379.00 in 3 1/2" with 26" or 28" barrels. The Maxus Mossy Oak® Duck Blind models Suggested Retail, $1,339.00 in 3" and $1,499.00 in 3 1/2" with 26" or 28" barrels.
Franchi Adds Renaissance Sporting Model in 20 Gauge
The Franchi Renaissance Sporting shotgun is now available in 20gauge. Weighing in at 7.4 pounds, Franchi’s new 20 gauge is fitted with a sturdy, stainless steel box-lock action to handle a steady diet of high-brass target loads and has 30-inch ported barrels with
lengthened forcing cones to guarantee uniform shot patterns and to reduce backpressure for reduced felt recoil. Knurled, extended choke tubes make it quick and easy to change chokes between stations or shots.
The coin-finished receiver features floral scroll engraving and gold embellished details. The stock, crafted from figured select walnut, features fine-line cut checkering and a traditional oil finish to accentuate the wood’s grain. The stock comes standard with an adjustable comb for a personalized fit, and Franchi’s patented recoil-reducing Twin Shock Absorber™ system diminishes felt-recoil by 44%. The suggested retail price is $2,199.
Blaser Shows New 28-Gauge F3
Blaser, the company that redefined high-quality affordable shotguns, introduced its first 28-gauge model into the U.S.
The new gun, yet unnamed and priced, was shown at the Shot Show in Orland, Fla., January 15-18. It features either 30 or 32 inch barrels, a scaled English-style forend while maintaining the weight of the company’s 12 and 20 gauge for improved control. More information will be released when available.
Verona Shotguns Return to U.S. in Side-by-Side and Inertia-Driven,
Major gun maker Legacy Sports International is resurrecting the Verona shotgun brand in new side-by-side and semi-automatic versions.
The side-by-sides will be manufactured by Fausti in Italy. The box-lock models come with color case hardened receivers embellished with laser engraving. Featuring ejectors, the new side-by-sides are available in 12, 20 and 28 gauge models, each built on its own scaled frame. They are chambered for 3-inch magnum rounds, except for the 28 gauge which has a 26-inch barrel chambered for 2¾-inch shells. All the models come with five interchangeable chokes. All the Verona side-by-sides have a suggested price of $1,999.
Verona’s semi-automatic shotguns will be available in 12 and 20 gauge models. They are inertia driven and come with either wood or synthetic stocks. The wood shotguns feature 3-inch chambers, while the synthetic versions are chambered for both 3-inch and 3½-inch shells with a 4+1 magazine capacity. Prices range from $1,199 to $1,299.
Remington® Introduces the Model 870™ Express® Compact Line of
Remington introduced three versions of the Model 870 Express Compact pump action shotgun in 20 gauge and a shorter Model 870 Express Compact Jr. in 20 gauge. They feature durable synthetic fore-ends and stocks with a shorter length of pull than our standard Model 870. A new Adjustable Length of Pull (LOP) System easily adjusts incrementally up to one inch. The gun also features the SuperCell recoil pad, which soaks up force to create the most comfortable shooting experience possible.
The Express Compact is available in the following versions – Black Synthetic, Realtree Hardwoods HD® and Remington’s exclusive, Mossy Oak® Blaze Pink Camo. The Express Compact Jr. is available in a Black Synthetic version.
Remington’s new LOP system is comprised of two 1/4-inch and one 1/2-inch length spacers and corresponding screws -- allowing both youth and small-stature shooters the ability to personalize each gun to their individual shooting preference and dimensions. Young shooters now have the capability to “custom fit” their shotgun as they grow.
America’s most popular pump action, the long-lasting Model 870, features twin-action bars and ultra-reliable feeding, extraction and ejection. All metal surfaces feature a non-glare, matte finish. The hammer-forged, carbon steel Rem™ Choke barrel features a vented rib with single bead sight and a Modified choke tube (Full choke tube with Compact Jr.) is included. All models have rugged synthetic stocks and fore-ends with sling swivel studs. Prices range from $399 to $439.
The New Stevens 512 Gold Wing From Savage Arms
Savage Arms introduced the 512 Gold Wing in its Sevens family of shotguns. The box-lock bargain is made in Turkey in 12, 20, 28 gauge and .410 models.
The over/under 512 Gold Wing includes a black-chrome finish with a raised gold pheasant. The Turkish walnut stock is finished in satin lacquer with laser-engraved fleur-de-lis checkering on the side panels. The suggested retail price is $699.
Winchester Introduces New Steel Loads
Winchester expanded its line of Xpert line of steel upland game and target loads in both 12 gauge and subgauge shells. The new additions now give upland shooters their first 28-gauge and .410 steel shells. The 28 gauge is 2¾ inches long holding 5/8 ounce of size 6 or 7 shot. The velocity is 1300 fps. The .410 shell is 3 inches in length and houses 3/8 ounce of 6 shot. It has a velocity of 1400 fps.
On the 12-gauge front, a new 11/8 ounce shell is available in a 2¾ inch length. Shot size is either 6 or 7. The velocity is 1280 fps. Prices vary according to retailer.
Birchwood Casey’s Perma Fin Air Cure Gun Finish Kit
Birchwood Casey’s® Perma FinTM is a revolutionary new finish that allows shooters to easily refurbish the metal on their firearms.
Perma Fin is a single component, water-based polyurethane resin liquid that provides excellent adhesion to not only metal firearm surfaces, but to plastic and rubber as well.
It can be applied with an air brush or a fine paint brush to provide a durable, long lasting black satin finish.
Perma Fin air cures, so no heating or baking of parts is required.
There is no mixing of components, no harsh chemicals, and because it is water based, clean up is simple and easy.
It is available as a kit with an air brush, 1 pair of vinyl gloves, 1 abrasive sanding pad and two 3-ounce bottles of Perma Fin, or in individual 3 ounce bottles.
Retail price for the kit is $64.40 and $16.10 for the 3-ounce bottles.