View Full Version : Top Tier Target Guns: P, K, the other K, B, the other B, yet a third B and some say S

March 18, 2009, 02:50 PM
In a thread that I guess I effectively derailed, regarding O/U's the thread migrated to a discussion of more top tier target guns.

With this thread I hope we can discuss the top tier guns their worth, mechanics, fit and opinions (of course.)

So with that I will start.

To begin what I fully expect will become controversial, I consider the top tier guns to be:

Browning Citori
Beretta 6XX series
Blaser, and
(and some would say the new, and yet unproven Zoli)

First, my criteria: I shoot clays, five stand and skeet with very little trap ( so I am leaving trap configurations out of the discussion.) I have learned to like a gun in the 8lb-4oz range. I am a registered shooter but do it for fun. While fairly competitive, I do not plan on making shooting a second job.

I have been fortunate enough to shoot every thing on the above list except the Seitz (and Zoli.)

I am not going to talk about the Zoli because: a) I have not even seen one and b) I expect in target guns it will be a second tier gun like SKB, W and R.

Speaking Italian

The Italian guns are beautiful but I find they share a cultural design philosophy that doesn't fit me. I think all the Berettas and P-guns are whippy (comparatively light weight) and have a ton of drop in the comb. I find myself always searching for the POA over the ramp. So, while these are fine guns I will probably pass.

Speaking German

There is nothing, NOTHING, that compares to a Krieghoff: fit, design, weight, beauty...... Unfortunately, I will likely never own one because a $20K gun is out of reach (unless I trade up to it over time :rolleyes:) The Kreighoff I shot for a round of five stand looked where I did and I could just throw it up to the shoulder. It was solid.

The two Blasers I have shot were nice guns but nothing that a better Citori isn't, IMHO.

Again, Seitz appears to be very high quality but know very little about them and have not shot one.

Speaking English

Kolars are very nice. I like the weight, I like the build quality and the drop out trigger set. I think I can get one of thest to fit me. The one I shot had a field-gun-like comb. If I can shoot one with more of a competition stock I think I would really like it. Kolars are on the short list but again spendy, (for some day.) Lots of flexibility and I like they are american.

Browning Citori's are classic, flexible for fit with a variety of wood and stock configurations. Citori's feel substantial, like Kolar and Krieghoff, a design attribute I like.

I have a Citori and will keep it no matter what I do for another gun.

My short list:

1) Citori
2) Kolar
3) Kreighoff (I wish, maybe some day)

I'm interested in hearing about your experiences with these guns, repairs, availability, durability, general impression, etc.

March 18, 2009, 07:07 PM
Ok, I will play ....

I would make up your list a little differently:

Top End - Krieghoff and Kolar ( almost indistinguishable apart in my mind in terms of quality, workmanship ). Because of the dollar to the Euro - the Kolar is a very good value right now. ( $ 15,000 - $30,000 price range ). I like the K-80 a lot - but I am leaning toward a Kolar - partly because its US made and there are not as many around - and I like to have something a little different. I also like the Kolar tube sets with a carrier barrel option.

Next Tier - Perazzi and Blaser. I'm not a Perazzi fan / I've seen the triggers give a number of shooters fits over the years. I think Blaser is cutting into their market. I have shot 3 different Blaser models - and I'm impressed. ( $ 6,000 - $ 10,000 price range ). I may add a Blaser to my mix before I quit buying guns .../ but I don't need a gun either. I think the triggers are a little better on the Blaser than Browning or Beretta / there are more engraving options / more wood options from the Factory vs having someone like Joel Etchen customize it for you.

3rd Tier - Browning Citori lineup ( a dozen guns or so ) / Beretta's. I'm a Browning fan because for what I need in terms of fit / Browning gives me more options. Beretta makes some fine looking guns / but I don't own one. I think Browning has set the standard for high quality and reasonably prices O/U's in the $ 2,000 - $4,000 price range.

I have two 12ga Browning Citori XS Skeet models with 30" barrels. I am considering sending the 2nd barrel to Briley or Kolar - having them bore it out to make it a carrier barrel - and fit it with a full set of tubes and chokes for 20ga, 28ga and .410 . I would probably have trigger work done on both receivers - to clean them up a little / maybe upgrade the wood to something a little more exotic ......./ and I can do that all for $5,000 - $7,500 probably, as long as I don't go nuts on the wood options - since I already own both guns ( for a total of about $10,000 into the investment ) - vs spending $ 25,000 on a Kolar or Krieghoff.

The rest - I've shot a Zoli and a Seitz - and I wasn't particularly impressed with either one of them. The only local guy I know that bought a Zoli (from Etchen ) has had it in the shop a lot .... Neither gun is high on my personal list as anything I really want.

I like a gun, like you do, about 8 1/2 lbs for general shotgunning - hunting upland birds, Skeet, Sporting Clays - and I will keep Trap guns out of the mix in this conversation as well. I will stay with 30" barrels on my general purpose O/U's / and it has to have a parallel comb with an adjustable comb insert. I already shoot 4 separate guns for 12, 20, 28ga and the .410 - its not a great system even though the weight is almost identical / the triggers are a little different - and while I can do ok, if I start with the 12ga - and work my way down / I don't have the confidence, I would prefer, in the 20ga right out of the case.

A gun with a Carrier Barrel - designed to be shot with tube sets in it for 20, 28ga and .410 would be perfect / then of course you need a separate 12ga barrel ( that is identical to the carrier barrel with the tube sets in it ) - same receiver, same forend, same trigger .....its a great system.

I'm still a registered shooter - but I don't shoot competitively anymore / my eyes are a big problem ( blurry vision ) and it can't be corrected - so I'm just out for fun. But that's my 2 cents worth - have a good evening.

May 12, 2009, 10:22 AM
I just found this thread so I'll add my experience to help out other shooters contemplating this decision. I have shot (all 12 gauge):

Blaser F3 Sporting, 32" with monte carlo stock

Zoli Z 32"

Beretta 686E 30"

(current gun I'm shooting) Krieghoff K80 Pro-sport 32" with #3 Sporting Stock and high adjustable rib

Browning Citori 28" with glossy, nice grain field stock (my first O/U and the first gun i started using for sporting clays, skeet, and trap. I still have it.)

Beretta 682 Gold e 32" (bought it new, handled it, but sold it after handling a Blaser)

The K80 suits me the best. It's heavy enough to smooth out my swing on the sporting clays course. I like and prefer a high rib on my guns. I have a longish neck so it makes it more comfortable to get my neck as upright as I can. It's heavy enough to take the recoil on the fast loads that I like to use (anything over 1300 FPS).

Given that, I would like to try out a Perazzi but it seems they will be whippy like the Beretta and Blaser. Oh well. Zoli Z was a just bit more heavier than either the Beretta 682 or Blaser but I think the Blaser balanced well due to the internal balancer it has.

For me, heavier is better. I shoot pre-mounted. For folks shooting low-gun, they may want a lighter gun than a K-80.

never tried a Kolar.....

May 12, 2009, 10:55 AM
Nice to see something other than an HD thread...... :D

Top tier - Fabbri, Perazzi, Kolar, Kreighoff, Boss, DMB, Beretta SO series, Ljutic, F.Illi Rizzini, Perugini and Vizini, FAMARS, H&H - pigeon guns

Next Down - Blaser, CG, Browning Custom Shop, Kemen, Gamba, Flodman, Zoli

Next down - Beretta, Browning, SKB, Miroku, Rizzini (B & FAIR), Bernadelli, Winchester 101 - old and new, Remington/Beretta/Benelli gas guns

Lowest tier - Ruger, Turkish guns, Chinese guns

Perazzi and others are more neutrally balanced, hence the whippy feel, compared to a K80 or Kolar which are designed for American Sporting and are a little more muzzle heavy - just a personal preference - all are good

1911 Shooter
May 12, 2009, 12:32 PM
the K guns are million round guns with no problems with a little TLC every now & then. Buying u$ed is a great deal with one in good shape. I've bought a used 682 beretta, and a used K 80. never lost a dollar. both are excellent guns

May 12, 2009, 05:23 PM
Most folks that I know that shoot Kguns do send them in for an "annual" that costs about $165......but this is for a target gun that some shoot 20-50,000 a year through, so it seems cheap compared to oil changes for a Jag or even a MINI

May 12, 2009, 08:03 PM
Nice to see something other than an HD thread......:D
+1 to 1-Oz

Yikes, waterengineer, you may have opened up the sluice gates of opinion with this one.

Kreighoff K-32 and K-80
I've always been turned off by the appearance of the Remington Model 32 and it's siblings the R-3200, Krieghoff K-32, K-80 et al. I see that long action and wonder why they couldn't get all the moving parts inside where they belong.

When the R-3200 came out 1973, Mike, one of my club buddies insisted I give his new gun a try. Compared to the Winchester M-101 I was shooting back then, it seemed bulky and cumbersome. Little did I know, that's what contributed to it's smooth swing. Mike went on to shoot a 100 straight with his R-3200, something that was extraordinary at the little club; but, I still thought the R-3200 was funny looking.

My acquaintances still campaigning R-3200 in the late 80s (it was discontinued in 1984) began changing over to Krieghoffs. With their improved triggers the K-80s are very popular with American skeet shooters. More than once I've been the only non K-80 shooter on a comp skeet squad. I continue to think they're funny looking.

When I went from club shoots to NSSA competitive skeet, it soon became apparent that my old Winchester M-101 with it's 26" barrels had been limiting my progress for years. When I upgraded to a comp gun, my first choice was a Perazzi and I'm a happy shooter.

Waterengineer mentioned that they seem whippy to him. I shoot mine with Briley full length tubes, or a compensating barrel weight and they are as smooth as silk.

Waterengineer also mentioned that he doesn't like the Perazzi stock dimensions. He and BigJim are devotees of parallel stocks with a lot of built in adjustment. IMHO a top tier gun should fit you like a glove without having to having a ton of adjustments. If you're going to pony up the big bucks for a top tier gun, you should get a stock that's been custom fit to you, not a pack of adjustment tools and spacers.

The price of a new Perazzi includes a custom fit stock. However they do have a large number of "standard" sized for the import market. If you're fortunate enough to order you Perazzi in Italy, you'll be shooting a factory "try stock" one day and have your custom made stock the next. This lightning fast turn around on truly custom stocks is one of Perazzi's claims to fame. If buying in the US, the only thing between the buyer and the a custom stock is time. Most American buyers prefer to have the instant gratification of a Perazzi with a standard size from inventory than to wait for a custom unit to come from Europe.

BimJimP mentioned that he's seen Perazzi triggers give shooters fits over the years. All I can say is, the guys with the fits didn't know what they were doing. With the drop out trigger, routine parts changes are quick and easy. New Perazzis come with spare trigger parts and the tools to install them. The Perazzi target triggers are more like a fine watch than the alamrclock triggers found on most guns. They can be finicky, I had one act-up something fierce because I'd left behind some lint when cleaning the sear. That was my fault, not the triggers -- remember, these are target, not tactical triggers.

Another factor that strongly influenced my Perazzi purchases if geography. I happen to be located within two hours of PerazziUSA. It's comforting to know that parts and the skills of factory trained wizards are available regionally.

Perazzis may not be at the top of the many American's want list. But, their international appeal is exemplified by their dominance of the winners platforms at last year's Olympic Games.

Browning Citori
I'm acquainted with several folks who campagned Browning Citoris. The last Citori I shot had a trigger that was so rough it was distracting. I thought that real O/U Brownings come from Belgium. The Japanese Citotis seemed little different from the Japanese Winchester M-101. Like the W-101s, the Citoris seemed pretentious. With their synthetic high-gloss finishes and machine scratching, it was like they were trying to cheaply emulate the looks of fine European craftsmanship while hoping no one would notice what was going on.
Note: It's my understanding that there are now custom shop Citoris available from FN. Has anyone shot one?

Waterengineer started this thread with "Top Tier Target Guns..." To my way of thinking, a top tier gun is one that you're satisfied with no matter what the cost. I don't think the Citori fits into that category. The average Citori owner will probably make a comment like "It's an okay gun. But, if I had a bigger budget, what I really want is a...." The owner of the rough triggered Citori had his scores stagnate for some while. He retired it, in favor of a new a Perazzi, and his stagnation has changed to improvement. For a top tier target gun, their owners' remarks should be something like, "I could have got a more expensive gun, but it wouldn't perform any better."

Beretta 6XX Series
My experience with the 6XX series is limited to two 682s; my trap combo and my buddy's skeet gun. I can't speak for the whole line, but both perform well and are tastefully finished. My buddy's 682 skeet gun was an upgrade from an early short barreled Citori, he's happy with the gun and its smoother swing has improved his average. Mine was an upgrade from an R-1100 Trap gun. I'm less accomplished at trap than I am at skeet, and the 682 X suits my needs. It's a little less gun that a comparable Perazzi, and it offers Italian styling at a fraction of the cost.

Like Mercedes and cars, Beretta being the worlds oldest gun manufacturer has to count for something. If you missed out on a Remington 50th anniversary Wingmaster, perhaps you'll be happier with what Beretta offers for their upcoming 500th anniversary.

Like the others, I'm inclined towards a quality American made gun. Sadly, market forces have driven most of them away long ago. Servicing comp shooters for many years, Kolar was well aware of the likes and dislikes of American shooters when they decided to enter the comp gun arena. If I were in the market for a new comp gun, Kolar would definitely be on my short list.

My two-cents worth -- your mileage may vary,

May 12, 2009, 08:13 PM
I can't hit anyhting with a shotgun.

That being said, I know two top shooters, Olympian Corey Cogdell and my good bud, Sarn't major Andy (the usual Alaska state champion)

Corey shoots Perazzi and hopefully will be messing with Blasers. Andy shoots Beretta with a release trigger.

Both tell me that the "best" shotgun is the one you shoot the best.

I saw a guy with a remington 870 beat a guy shooting a Krieghoff once.

WildenjoyAlaska TM

May 12, 2009, 09:38 PM
This has been a great thread with excellent input and logical thinking by all. On another board there is a lot of chatter about CG guns. Recently while in Denver visiting my daughters, I stopped by BPS who had a large collection of CG's.

It looks like CGs come with a Schnabel forestock, which I am not in favor of. They swing to me like an Italian gun. I have no experience with them and I guess they have not been on the market for long.

Does anyone have comments about CG guns as relating to mileage, durablility and overall quality? Also, where do they fit on the gun hierarcy?

May 13, 2009, 07:48 AM
The CG's I have handled and shot have been top-notch guns; their customer service is, at least right now, second to none. A lot of these folks that use them used to use 68x series Beretta and Browning Citori series target guns and just love them a lot better. They are priced a little more than Beretta, you can get LH stocks, even their 28 gauge sporting gun can be had in 32" barrels!:eek:

I have not heard one complaint from any owner, they shoot well, (at least I did with the LH gun), trigger is crisp, and lockup is tight

May 13, 2009, 11:39 AM
Boy this thread was laying low since waterengineer first brought this up about 2 months ago now ....

in deference to Zippy and others - and his confidence in Perazzi.... I have asked around more lately in the last few months - and the trigger issues I spoke of seem to have gone away. It could very well have been some local gunsmiths that were causing the issues around here - but I ran into a guy that was having trouble with his Perazzi's doubling a few years ago / and he said that was all behind him now.

In terms of stock adjustments - I still believe a parallel comb is an absolute must in a gun / so your sight picture doesn't change from season to season as you shoot in a T shirt vs a heavy coat. On any kind of an angled comb - if your face moves up and back on the comb 1/2" it will change your point of impact -unless you have a parallel comb.

I understand the guys that want a truly custom gun / and no adj comb in it. Speaking only for myself - as we get into Fall ( I start gaining a few pounds ) - winter it gets worse - and then late spring I clean up my act again .... but that swing for me can be 25 - 40 lbs. If I don't have some adjustability in a comb / as I gain weight in my face, etc it would be a mess for me .... Its not always a pretty site - when I go back and forth from 275 - 315 lbs / but it is a pain in the butt, that at the point in your life when you can afford to eat and drink well - you have to go on a diet that says " if it tastes good, spit it out " .... and I don't ! I should, but I don't ! So I need some adjustability in the parallel comb.

The older I get / somedays, I get a little smarter - and I'm trying to get back to my svelte fighting weight of 275 .... ( but at 6'5" - I'm just big boned )...and under 275, guys come up to me and ask if I'm sick, I don't look good ....but of course they're friends ...and they are probably lying... But somebody has to be the "buffalo" in the herd ....and I like it / so I'll keep my adjustable combs.

May 13, 2009, 07:58 PM
I can't hit anyhting with a shotgun.

then WA, you need to get out and do some practicing....... :D

May 13, 2009, 11:49 PM
Oops... I forgot

I have to concur with BigJimP on parallel combs for target guns. When I opined that a top tier gun's stock be custom fit without tons of adjustments, I'd meant to specifically exclude adjustable combs. They are like the adjustable rear sight on a target rifle or hand gun. Obviously, adjustable combs can be found on top tier guns. Of course, nothing precludes a top tier gun from having several butt stocks with different comb heights. How deep are your pockets?

For those unfamiliar with parallel stocks, here's a link to Gun Fit and the Parallel Comb (http://www.shockmaster.com/parallel.html) by David A.B. Price. You might find it enlightening.

#9 Shot
December 6, 2009, 10:05 AM
If you haven't already done so, step back and look hard at who will warrant the gun---- mfg. or dealer.. I struck out at both with a cracking stock.. and an accusation of abusing the gun by slamming it shut..... If you want a great gun beginning with "K", make it German... If you want a great dealer, be sure that it does not have a "K" at all.

December 6, 2009, 01:10 PM
If you want a great gun beginning with "K", make it German... If you want a great dealer, be sure that it does not have a "K" at all
You sound none to happy with your K-gun experiences. Was it the fault of the guns and/or their customer service policies?

December 6, 2009, 01:50 PM
hmmmm, I know folks with both Kolars and Kreighoffs. The Iron maiden fans are as ardent a group as Zippy and the P-gun fans. The gentleman I know with a Kolar is a Wisconsin snow-bird and he went to the factory and got fitted. He has had it for YEARS, many thousands of rounds, no issues. Trying it, I found it to be HEAVY, well-balanced, but over 10#. Kreighoffs are miracles of CNC machining, allowing interchangeability of all components, and assuming it was done well, will result in a tight-fitting gun. Personally, I do not like the ambi palm swell, my hands just don't feel right, I also am not a fan of schnabel foreends.

Where I shoot, many targets are presented where, to be successful, your first shot needs to be QUICK to allow you time for the second shot. I find a gun more balanced like a Peraxxi or similar to be better. I turned an 1100 into something more balanced like that and it allows me to move quickly. My Browning ultra XS in 20 is that way, while my GTI in 12 is more like the K-80 and forward weighted.

As to 9 shot's problems with , I'm assuming, Hal and a Kolar (corrected from original post from K80), -most places have disclaimers, especially on high-grade, highly figured stocks. The price you pay for gorgeous wood tends to be inherent structural flaws,sometimes unseen. A Dr. I shoot with is on his 3rd stock on a Beretta SO-5 - the other two pieces both cracked through the wrist. (Those woods were drop-dead gorgeous). The first time, since the gun was 2 months old, Beretta replaced it. When it happened again, they said no. That is typical with many places that deal in exhibition grade walnut.