The Best Skeet Gun


HI Mr. Bruce

I need your recommendation. I am interested in purchasing a shotgun. I will use It only for skeet.

What is the best of the best?

Thank you for your time.

regards

Ariss

Dear Ariss,

Selecting the best of the best skeet shotguns is no more difficult than selecting the best of the best automobiles. Just about all of today’s automobiles will get you from place to place reliably. After that, the choice becomes more complicated. In the right hands, I can’t think of many shotguns that wouldn’t be able to win you the world championship. It all comes down to personal preference. Rather than get into my personal preferences, I’m basing the following on what I see the winners currently use. That way, if you don’t like what I say, you can blame them not me.

Currently, the best NSCA American-style skeet shooters seem to be divided on whether the 12 gauge event is best shot with

1) a separate gas operated semi-automatic,

2) a 12 ga O/U or

3) a 12 ga O/U with 20 gauge tubes installed.

Everyone seems to agree that 20, 28 and 410 are to be shot with a tubed O/U, not separate guns or a three barrel set. You’ll have to make the 12 gauge decision for yourself.

Krieghoff is probably the most popular O/U among the best, but unsponsored, NSSA skeet shooters. The K-80 has the best triggers of any target shotgun and is completely “modular”. You can easily fit carrier tube barrels, standard weight, heavy weight barrels or subgauge barrels as you wish. This gives you a great deal of flexibility in how you set your gun up. Krieghoff service is among the best there is. Krieghoffs, while overly complicated in design, are very durable if they are serviced by a gunsmith familiar with the gun.

One major advantage that the Krieghoff K-80 has over any other line of O/U guns that I have shot is recoil. Krieghoff K-80s are the softest shooting O/Us I have ever used. I owned a pair of earlier Krieghoff Model 32s that were also very soft shooting for their weight (though both did have trigger problems). Shooting a standard K-80 Krieghoff is like driving in a 1956 Buick. It will wallow when asked to turn corners, but you will be as comfortable as if you were sitting at home on your sofa. Still, there’s no arguing with success. The guns that win at American-style skeet are loady, heavy monsters. Consistency in swing is more important than. Since the pickup points in AmSk are so precise, and the swing arcs of the best shooters so small (sustain leading BOTH birds on station four doubles!), the inertia, follow-through and consistency of a heavy gun with an extreme weight forward bias is an advantage.

One of the drawbacks to Krieghoffs is that Krieghoff’s stock and forend selections don’t suit everyone. For what they charge, somewhere around $11,000 for the standard model, the stock and forend ought to be custom made to the customer’s specifications. The pistol grip on the Krieghoff does not suit some shooters. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but only the most charitable person would call the Krieghoff attractive. The lines of the gun are more appropriate to a Panzerkampferwagen. The Krieghoff engraving selection has improved, but they are still no match for the Italians. That said, handsome is as handsome does.

Other top end guns to consider for American-style skeet would be the Kolar, in the K-80 price range, and the Beretta 682 at the lower end. I have little experience with the Kolar, but the ones I shot seemed well designed. Kolar will work with you in setting your gun up and is more flexible than Krieghoff in meeting your demands. The Kolar is an interesting design amalgam of K-80 and Perazzi features. It’s a well made gun, but is relatively new. The Beretta 682 is a decent gun with the usual Italian stock fit problems and variable quality. Once set up right, the 682 is quite durable though. Fluky ejectors are the main 682 problem. Perazzi has never been a force in American-style skeet, but I see no reason why they couldn’t build you anything you wanted if you work with them. Like Kolar, Perazzi can build you a virtually custom gun. That said, you don’t see a lot of Perazzis in American-style skeet.

For International ISSF Olympic-style skeet the Krieghoff is not popular. Olympic winners use mostly Perazzi MX-8s and Beretta (682 or DT10/ASE90). Due to International Skeet’s low gun starting position and higher speed of the birds, a more responsive gun is required. Perazzi and Beretta do an excellent job in this area and have the Olympic medals to prove it. Some members of the current US IntSk team use Krieghoffs, but they haven’t produced any Olympic medals. I believe that there was only one Krieghoff in Sydney in 2000 and that was used by one of the backup shooters on the US team. The last Olympic medal I saw Krieghoff win was Don Haldeman winning trap with a Krieghoff Model 32 in Montreal in 1976. Brad Simmons, on the US skeet team with John Satterwhite that year, used a Krieghoff M32 , but the gun broke down in during the actual Olympic match. He had to go to his Mauser backup gun and did poorly. I watched it happen.

Bottom line: Personally I’d go with a K-80 Krieghoff tube set (Briley or Kolar) for American-skeet and a Perazzi MX8 for International Skeet. Other guns will certainly do the job, but those are the two I would rank “best” from what I have observed. These guns are what the winners in these sports use so take their word for it, not mine.

That said, the “best” gun won’t win you any more titles than the “best” tennis racquet will win you Wimbledon. All you really want in any target gun is a reliable tool that you feel comfortable with. All the rest is applesauce.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)
http://www.ShotgunReport.com

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