American hunter | Savage Renegauge Shotgun: Heavy-Duty Wingshooter for 2020
A surprising gun development for 2020 is Savage’s new … shotgun. While the company’s highly regarded, often-imitated bolt action rifles, heirloom rimfire guns, and newer MSR semi-automatic rifles are known, Savage also has a long history with shotguns: Fox Doubles, numerous iterations of the Stevens brand, plus the large 212 bolt action rifles found in the The company’s home base in Westfield, Mass., A current design that has more in common with the iconic Model 110 rifle platform than with today’s working smoothbore.
This is where the new semi-automatic Renegauge comes into play, freshly developed from the ground up by the in-house engineers, with a proprietary gas piston operating system and shafts that can be adapted for practically any shooter.
A handful of editors from NRA Publications participated in Savage’s pre-release field and reach tests and were positively impressed in two main categories:
• The Renegauge works reliably with any shotshell you feed it, no adjustment is required. And in all possible environments, from dry and dusty to rain and mud to salt water and heavy seas – the weapon is built to withstand punishment
• The Renegauge makes shooting intuitive. Its balance, trim lines, shaft adjustments, and the surprising lack of recoil all helped make the hits routine and frequent. In fact, the reduction in recoil was so significant that some of our group are now convinced that it is the easiest 12-caliber kick ever. This is especially noteworthy when you consider that these guns weigh less than eight pounds.
Associate Editor Christopher Olsen ventured into the rough, open waters off the coast of Maine to beat eider ducks, among other things. The densely feathered birds are North America’s largest and fastest duck, and in this place – with a pocket limit of five eiders a day – there’s always a real chance for a Barnburner shoot. In fact, Olsen has blown many mussels and taken away many birds of a species notoriously difficult to destroy. Although he had the feeling that he could have adjusted the ridge height better – and therefore not quite achieved maximum performance – he was absolutely satisfied with the handling and the performance of the new smooth bore.
I joined the Savage development team and other media people for a classic early-season hunt in North Dakota Pothole Country. Our timing couldn’t have been better. An unusually cold September had driven puddles and huge canadas south, birds that most of the time had not yet received calls. Surrounded by countless acres of freshly picked corn, our guides at Stone Prairie Outfitters primarily opted for field setups where we pushed the limits of layout blinds. I was able to concentrate on the waves of the decoys, because even in this awkward sit-up position my reindeer eye shoulders and swing with natural ease and thus encounter many of the great northern mallards and geese. Later, when I was crouching in cattails in a windy pothole, I was lucky and grabbed a blue-winged teal that was whizzing about three feet above the water with the wind at its back. The Savage fitted and felt great and seemed to go as fast as any other gun I’ve used. Our rental models had red fiberglass front bulges on ventilated steel ribs. Their controls were easy to manipulate, and the loading door devoured fresh grenades. The only problem was saying goodbye to most of the season.
The heart of the Renegauge is its Dual Regulating Inline Valve Operating System (DRIV). It causes propellant gases to escape directly into two spring-loaded valves attached to the bottom of the barrel. The valves are opened precisely long enough to channel the volume of gas required for the cycle, after which excess gas escapes through the front end of the valves. As such, the one-piece action bar assembly pivots rearwardly with enough force to do its job, but minus the additional energy that is often given off by some gas or inertial actions on the buttstock. That’s a big reason this model is such a mild shooter. A shock-absorbing buffer rod that extends into the buttocks, as well as the numerous stock adjustment functions that make an adjustment similar to the award-winning Accu-Fit rifle stock from Savage, contribute to the cushioning effect.
Most internal moving components are chrome-plated for wear resistance and easy cleaning. The barrels, which are provided with a hard-wearing melonite coating, are also protected. [For weight management purposes, the barrels are fluted.]
For 2020, the Renegauge will be available in three basic models: the Field with a 26- or 28-inch barrel and black plastic shaft; the Waterfowl, also with 26- or 28-inch barrels and completely wrapped in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camouflage; and Turkey, with a 24-inch barrel plus a choice of Mossy Oak Bottomlands or Obsession camo. All three come with a choice of choke tubes (including Extra Full for Turkey) as well as a lockable hard case that complies with TSA regulations for commercial air travel.
One conclusive indication of how serious Savage is in entering the extreme wingshooting market is its pricing. If you expected the Renegauge to come on the low end (which I thought first) then think again. MSRPs range from $ 1,450 to $ 1,550. Not the most expensive, but not the cheapest either. Savage came under new ownership last year and returned to independent status after a few years as part of Vista Outdoor Corporation. The restructured management is proud of the company’s good weapons, but still wants to turn the status quo on its head. Knowing that the high-performance shotgun segment is rooted in established models, but with absolute certainty that the Renegauge will fare well against all other brands, they are keen to jump in and compete and thereby reset the perception of American hunters to wild.