SKB 705S Trap
SKB’s range of shotguns is set to make a triumphal return to the UK. Mark Stone tests the new 705S Trap version
Now manufactured by the ‘New SKB Company’ of Tokyo, a cursory glance at the new range of SKB shotguns doesn’t reveal anything especially new. The same high quality, attention to detail and the familiar SKB cross bolt, Kirsten fastener and ‘in trigger’ barrel selector on the non – adjustable matte finish blade. The big surprise though is the price, especially when you look at what you’re getting for your money inclusive of the rather stylish aluminium travelling case most others charge a small fortune for.
Looks like another
The one aspect that hit most onlookers in respect of the 705S is its remarkable similarity to a well known German shotgun, the action’s mustachios and Kersten cross bolt fastener practically a trademark for both. However, even given the perceived visual weight of the Kersten system, the 705S still boasts a relatively shallow boxlock receiver, the action itself decorated with tasteful, delicate rose and scroll patterns that extend across the surfaces inclusive of the extremely comfortable top lever, the only striking contrast being the black, manual safety catch.
Noticeably well struck, the barrels are nicely blacked and finished, both ribs neatly vented, the top one displaying the famous ‘motorway’ matte centre sight plane pattern that gradually tapers from 11mm down to 10mm narrowing down to 7mm over the chambers. The muzzles are crowned by a bright, white bead whilst restrictions are catered for by a full set of short, chromed, flush fit tubes. It’s worth mentioning at this point that this 705S was extremely choke sensitive, ¾ and full required for Trap, Cylinder and ¼ for most sporting targets.
Carrying on the quality of appearance, the full oil finish, straight grained walnut displays first rate wood to metal fit and the basic, 14 lines per inch chequering is soft but effective. The butt is finished off with one of the most substantial, factory-fitted, honeycomb recoil pads supplied as standard. Usually items of this type are an expensive and after market choice. Overall, no matter how you view this SKB, there isn’t a single facet of the finish or fit you can truly criticise. The attention to detail is every inch of what the market has come to expect of these and most other Japanese produced guns.
The one item that lets it all down is the choke key. A cruciform design, the quality, fit and general appearance of this deplorable device is crude to say the least. Equally, as the flush fit chokes come to the end of their travel, this most ignoble contrivance catches on the muzzles. Something and nothing you may say, but this most basic and necessary item reflects badly on an otherwise outstanding, value for money, all-round package. At £1,350 for gun, chokes and case, I suppose there has to be a catch and there is, one of the unsophisticated pieces of metal I’ve ever encountered.
I’ll start my shooting impressions by levelling my main, physical criticism. For me personally the comb was approximately ¼” to high, the overall drop dimensions being 15/16th at the comb, 1¾” at the heel; very typically trap. Translated into physical terms, this meant that if I mounted this SKB in my normal fashion, I looked slightly down onto the top rib instead of along it, emphasized by the fact that the bead and mid rib pip didn’t naturally form the inverted ‘8’.
Length-wise it was more or less perfect for my long arms, the 14¾” length of pull combined with the 5lbs 7oz average trigger weight giving me precise control, the V-spring powered, inertia-driven firing pins crisp at all times. But whilst a slight head down attitude soon cured my DTL problems, normal service was resumed on every other type of target, stock to face position along with the gun’s proclivity to shoot slightly high. Loaded up in this instance with RC3 Competition cartridges, another of Shooting Stars imports, hardly any of Rishton SG’s were safe, the 705S’s performance on Compact was exemplary.
Balancing exactly on the hinges, this SKB’s 7lbs 8oz weight is evenly distributed, the nicely radiuses grip, gentle palm swell and trap forend all combining to produce a 12-bore that tracks it’s targets in a smooth almost hydraulic fashion, even difficult birds were acquired in a relaxed and composed manner, the older fashioned 30” length of the barrels working to the SKB’s and the shooter’s advantage. Similarly, even with heavy 28g and 32g cartridges in the 3” chambers, the felt recoil is considerably less than you’d imagine.
Name your target
Once the necessary modification to my hold had been made along with an allowance for the 705S’s propensity to shoot slightly high, as per all trap guns, whether it was DTL, all forms of Sporting along with an evening’s pigeon shooting, this SKB despatched all comers with equal aplomb. As regular clay shooters will know, most of the top boys prefer to shoot all the disciplines with trap guns, something us mere mortalsusually struggle with.
However, with the 705S it’s more than possible for the average shooter to benefit from this trap gun’s levels of balance, general handling and poise. In my opinion for what it’s worth, in the 705S, SKB have produced one of the finest all round shotguns the market will see for many a year with a particular flair for Automatic Ball Trap, Universal Trench and Olympic Trap. If all you can afford or all you want is one shotgun to perform every facet of competition, then this is it, while it wouldn’t look out of place on a game shoot, especially on high, driven pheasant. The only decision you have to make is whether you want the optional gold inlays. Enough said.
• Outstanding value for money
• Exceptional build quality
• One of the best all rounders you’ll ever pick up
|Name||SKB 705S Trap|
|Barrels||30” (steel proofed)|
|Price||£1,350 srp (as tested)|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates