A heavier, longer-barrelled model is often Michael Yardley’s shotgun of choice and the K-20 doesn’t disappoint. Although it is, perhaps, more suited to those who shoot deliberately rather than instinctively
Michael Yardley is impressed by the Kreighoff Parcours 20-bore. It is pointable, well balanced and excellent for those that shoot deliberately.
For another impressive 20-bore, which is well made and well priced, read Michael Yardley’s review of the Merkel 60e 20-bore.
KRIEGHOFF PARCOURS 20-BORE
The test gun, a 32in Krieghoff 20-bore Parcours model, weighs in it at just under 8lb. It is equipped with a selective, mechanical, single trigger and conventionally side-ribbed barrels, unlike some Krieghoffs. I own several 32in 20-bores, so I am particularly interested in the comparative shooting qualities of such guns. Long-barrelled, heavier small-bores are a distinct category of gun, unlike the lightweight, short-barrelled, 20s of old. They are notable for their pointability and compatibility with what might be considered light to medium 12-bore loads in the range 21gm-32gm.
First impressions are good. It is attractively presented with profuse scroll engraving (Krieghoff refers to this style as “Vienna”, one of a number of decorative options – both laser applied and hand cut) on a low-profile, nitrided action. The latter boasts the distinct Krieghoff sliding top cover, a design that was originally perfected by Crawford C Loomis of the Remington Arms Company. It led to to the Remington 32 – the go-to clay gun of the 1930s.
The manufacturing rights to the Remington 32 were sold both to Valmet and to Shotguns of Ulm (Krieghoff) after the Second World War. Krieghoff, after initially copying the Remington design, subsequently redesigned it to its own specification. The sliding top cover was retained and the outward shapes but the internal mechanism evolved substantially (the Parcours models also depart from the 32 plan with conventional joining ribs, which are detailed later on). Miroku has also made a similarly actioned sliding-top cover gun (the Model 3000) and Darne and other Continental makers have experimented with the concept.
The barrels of the test gun are monobloc and have fixed chokes (half and three-quarters). They are 3in (76mm) chambered and steel-shot proofed in Germany. The gun is available with Teague multichokes, too (but locating in Briley-type threads in the barrels – Krieghoff is licensed to use Briley equipment in its factory but Alan Rhone chooses to fit the British-made chokes that have such a strong following here). The barrels are well presented with 15.75mm bores and well machined, mid-length forcing cones of about 25mm. The chambers are hard chromed, the barrel bores are not, allowing for easier regulation and repair.
The main feature of the Parcours models, available now in 12 and 20, are that their barrels, unlike the standard K80 and K20, have conventional joining ribs. The barrels are made lighter with reduced wall thicknesses (made possible by the stiffening effects of the joining ribs). This changes the handling characteristic of the Parcours guns quite dramatically compared to other Krieghoffs. I prefer this “light-for-length” characteristic. It is notable in other guns, such as the Kemen KM4 32, the Browning 725 English Game and the Miroku MK60 High Pheasant made for the British market.
Mounting the Parcours, the gun feels like a thing of quality. There is a solidness to it combined with a crispness of function and elegance of form. Its narrow taper rib suits it well. The balance is unusually good (individually adjusted by Alan Rhone near the hinge point). In spite of its weight, it feels lively.
The well-figured stock, made from Turkish walnut, has a full pistol grip with slight palm swell and a squarish pattern fore-end; the ergonomics of the latter are especially good – it is comfortable, filling the hand well and offering plenty of purchase and control although the aesthetics to the front might be improved.
There is a Deeley and Edge lever release fastener amidships. Overall stock finish is good with well-cut chequering and hand-rubbed oil. The test gun had a length of pull of just over 14½in with an extra ¼in at heel and similar at toe – all of which suited. I might have opened the radius of the pistol grip a little and put more taper to the front of the comb, but the wood is as well presented as the rest of the gun.
The test gun has a scaled-down sliding top cover action, similar to the K80 save for the fact that it has a removable trigger plate rather than a fixed bottom tang. The top cover acts as a bolt and slides forward to engage with side wings on the barrels. There are bifurcated lumps on the latter and stud pin hinging at the knuckle. Hammers are powered by coil springs positioned to the front and low. They are mainly concealed in the action body facilitating faster lock-times. The action body itself is machined from a steel forging. The thumb lever is quite short but the thumb-piece is a decent size and offers leverage and good purchase. The sliding safety is equipped with a lock. Remington was not the first to use the sliding top cover (or, indeed, trunnion hinging). Darne made some guns on a similar principle. The design has the advantage – because the bolting is high relative to the hinge point – that less energy needs to be exerted on the bolt and the monobloc is subject to reduced pressures.
As I often shoot with this style of heavier, longer barrelled over-and-under small-bore, I looked forward to the field test. The Parcours feels pointable and its narrow 6mm-7mm rib suited it. It has a distinct, precise and well-balanced feel (the point of balance is just behind the hinge pin). I missed a bird initially adapting to the trigger pull (both are set at 4lb) and unexpectedly neutral balance, then connected consistently breaking targets in decisive fashion again and again. The trigger broke cleanly – as one finds on Krieghoffs. Recoil was no issue. I can imagine anyone who shoots deliberately, as I do, liking this gun a lot. For those with a more instinctive style, it might not be the tool of choice. The Krieghoff is exceptionally well presented and backed up by Alan Rhone’s excellent after-sales service. It is a step beyond less expensive, machine-made guns in terms of general build quality. It’s not cheap but it’s good, and it’s different.
KRIEGHOFF PARCOURS 20-BORE
♦ RRP: from £11,752
♦ Alan Rhone Ltd, Unit 6 Coed Aben Road, Wrexham LL13 9UH
♦ 01978 660001