The brand new, just announced Savage Renegauge semi-automatic shotgun introduces a reimagined gas system and resets the standard once again.
We got the opportunity to shoot it quite a bit in some friendly (but competitive) five-stand and came away more than impressed.
When a legacy company pushes the envelope with something outside their norm, it's always interesting to see how it's received. Judging by my colleagues' reactions and my own takeaways, the Renegauge will emerge as an instant contender for best "bang for your buck" shotgun.
The Savage Arms Renegauge: First Impressions
Savage Arms has answered the call of the countless hunters and competition shooters that have long since trusted the company for bolt-action rifles and MSRs, but wondered when that reliability would translate to a well-made shotgun.
The company spent years developing the innovative gas system, speeding up the action, and fine-tuning the custom fit features common to their AccuFit system (on bolt-actions and other centerfire and rimfire rifles made by Savage).
The end result is a shotgun that will surprise you.
The way it feels to hold this thing in your hands and raise it up to your cheek is unlike anything I've shot in the same category before.
What makes it so different? It comes to a few smart, sophisticated features that combine to create a near-faultless shotgun with a custom shop-like conformity to what shooters have always wanted.
The D.R.I.V. Gas System
The engineering wizards at Savage designed the Dual Regulating Inline Valve gas system (D.R.I.V.), which helps the Renegauge handle anything from a low-recoil 2 ¾-inch shell up to a 3-inch magnum without requiring any user adjustment.
"We began working on the action in 2012," said Savage's Senior Brand Manager Jessica Treglia. "We kept getting close, but 'close' wasn't good enough. Renegauge had to be perfect. Now it's ready."
The Renegauge's versatility has the dual-valve system to thank. This patented design ensures that just the right amount of gas pressure is released to cycle the action consistently every time. The D.R.I.V. system makes sure the excess gas vents before it drives the bolt, resulting in consistent ejection, far less recoil, and a cyclic rate quicker than most shotguns to come before it.
The D.R.I.V. system will remove more energy from a magnum load than it would an underpowered target shell, ensuring the excess gas is vented properly.
That means there's a consistent cycle of the action every time. Whether it's a hot load or a low recoil shell, the action is cycled with the same high speed and average intensity with each pull of the trigger.
"Renegauge runs magnum loads, low recoil shells, and everything between with the same reliability," Treglia added. "You spend the afternoon on the range, and the next morning hunting and know that Renegauge will perform perfectly without any adjustments."
Add to that the unique stock rod buffer and soft, gel-like recoil pad, and you've got a comfortable gun to hold and shoot.
Fit for Serious Action
All the Renegauge's features translate to a faster action. The action bar assembly and the pusher sleeve are laser-welded to the carrier, adding increased strength and ease of maintenance. Each of these components are then chrome-plated.
"The chrome plated reciprocating components decreases friction," Treglia said, "and they're more durable and less susceptible to fouling."
That means less cleaning and more ease of maintenance.
And, of course, since Savage has already applied significant custom-fit methodology to their rifles, it's only natural to see some of the same principles applied to the Renegauge.
Three recoil pads of varying sizes can be used to adjust the shotgun's length of pull, comb height inserts make it simple to find the proper cheek weld on the stock, and a shim kit allows for the utmost personalization of fit.
Plus, the overall ergonomics of the Renegauge are touted as "competition-ready." The grip designs promote a tight, secure feel, plus the beveled magazine port and angled trigger housing make for fast, easy reloads.
The charging handle, bolt release, and cartridge release lever are oversized, great for a cold morning in the duck blind or a quiet sit in the turkey woods, when gloves are a necessity.
Though seemingly simple, one of the biggest things I noticed right away was the virtual elimination of finger-pinching opportunities. The magazine port of almost every other shotgun I've fired has given me problems eventually, but not the Renegauge.
The other aspect that caught my attention was the fluted barrel. You don't see that too often in today's shotguns, and I'm convinced it helped significantly in overall weight, control, and swing-ability.
Off the assembly line, this shotgun fits well, fires fast, and operates as reliably as you'd imagine.
Savage Renegauge Semi-Auto Shotgun Specs
There will be three available versions of the Savage Arms Renegauge shotgun, each with some subtle differences for varying uses. All models are 12 gauge.
The Field Grade 12-gauge is black with a 26- or 28-inch barrel to choose from. Its MSRP is set at $1,449.
Two hunting-ready versions are offered as well. The Waterfowl model comes in a 26- or 28-inch barrel and is covered with Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo. The Turkey model has a shorter 24-inch barrel and comes in the popular Mossy Oak Bottomland or an optional Mossy Oak Obsession camo pattern. Both bird hunting versions have an MSRP of $1,549.
The shotgun comes standard with a ventilated, carbon steel rib and a red fiberoptic sight. The rib is laser welded to the barrel and includes a Melonite finish, which aids in corrosion resistance.
The Renegauge accepts Beretta/Benelli style choke tubes and comes standard with modified, full & improved options. As an added bonus, the whole package includes a TSA-approved custom hard case.
Savage Arms Renegauge Semi-Auto Shotgun
- Gauge: 12
- Chamber: 3"
- Barrel Length: 24 to 28 inches, dependent on model
- Overall Length: 45.5 to 49.5 inches, dependent on model
- Capacity: 4+1
- Weight: 7.85 to 7.9 pounds, dependent on model
Perhaps best of all, every Savage Arms Renegauge shotgun is made in the U.S., at Savage's Westfield, Massachusetts factory.
The design, craftsmanship, and quality control that Savage has come to be known for seems to have been transferred seamlessly to the development of these new shotguns. Major improvements without complete reinvention is what we've come to expect, and Savage has delivered again.
We'll reserve some more thoughts and details for a fuller review down the line, but know that we were utterly impressed with what's sure to become a new favorite among shotgun shooters everywhere.