The bolt-action shotgun has some rather strange origins in that its invention predates its useful role.
The original bolt-action scatterguns were a product of German arms manufacturers like Mauser grasping around for some sort of sporting arm to produce after WWI.
The terms of the armistice stated that the Germans couldn’t produce military arms or rifles, but they had hundreds of thousands of bolt-action receivers laying around.
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The end result was bolt-action shotguns that functioned rather well but were never going to win any beauty contests. Shotgun owners are notoriously picky when it comes to aesthetics, so aside from a small cult following, these bolt guns never really caught on.
Now, if we fast forward to the present day, with shrinking hunting areas and the advent of the rifled shotgun barrel, we begin to fully appreciate the possibilities of the bolt-action.
For the last fifty years, the bolt-action has been the uncontested choice of rifle shooters who require greater accuracy and energy from their rounds. If it works for rifles why not try it with shotguns?
To fill this niche in the market, several companies have begun producing bolt-action, rifled-barrel shotguns. So far, of the companies that have delved into this fray, the one that impresses me most is Savage.
To begin with, like a lot of Savage equipment, these offerings are generally far less expensive than their competitors. This is an important point because chances are the rifle-barreled shotgun is not going to be your primary hunting arm.
These guns are used for a short period during the general season along with rifles, handguns or other shotguns geared towards bird hunting. A hunter doesn’t want his slug gun to break the bank and Savage’s slug guns won’t.
The second point that makes Savage’s offering stick out in the market is their commitment to accuracy. Put simply, whether it’s a rifle or shotgun, nothing shoots like a Savage.
The company’s 110 action set a new standard for factory accuracy when it came out, and the Savage slug guns make use of this very same, albeit slightly enlarged, action. Paired up with an AccuTrigger, Savage’s oversized 110 action will change the way you think about shotgun slug accuracy.
Currently, Savage offers two bolt-action slug guns: the 212 in 12 gauge for those who like a big payload, and the 220 in 20 gauge for those who prefer a little less recoil.
Both of these guns make use of the 110-type action, have detachable box magazines, feature the AccuTrigger system and come tapped for a standard Savage scope mount.
If I had my druthers I’d probably pick the 220, because a 20 gauge has always been sufficient for my hunting needs and it can be had in a left-handed model, but I could certainly make the 212 work if I had to.
Either of these very well thought out shotguns will serve the big game hunter well and can be purchased for considerably less than any of their competition.
If you think it’s time to take your slug hunting to the next level, Savage is the company that can help take you there.
Featured image via Savage Arms