November 16, 2020
One of the top news stories from SHOT Show 2020 was an entry into the autoloading shotgun market. Known as the Savage Renegauge, the new shotgun did more than position the brand to be a player in the field. Instead, Renegauge is reshaping the way firearm enthusiasts see semiauto shotguns.
At the heart of the sleek new Renegauge is Savage’s patented D.R.I.V. (Dual Regulating Inline Valve) gas system. Older gas-operated semiauto shotguns do not offer gas compensation, and this means that all of the gas from the shot channels through the operating system. Because of this, semiauto shotguns without gas compensation systems produce heavier recoil and do not control bolt speed (which can result in breakage). What’s more, shotguns that don’t compensate for the wide variety of shotshell ammo on the market may not effectively run all loads.
The Savage Renegauge shotgun’s design is different. The gas vents are staggered (which prevents wad shaving and keeps the operating system clean), and when gas enters the system, only the amount of gas that is needed to operate the action is used. Excess gas bleeds off through the front of the forearm, and that ensures the same amount of gas is used to cycle the action with each shot, regardless of the load.
As a result, the Renegauge is a fast-shooting, smooth-cycling semiauto that generates pleasantly mild recoil. There are no O-rings or interchangeable pistons to mess with (or lose), and consistent bolt speed significantly reduces wear on the system. The Savage produces less recoil than competing semiauto shotguns and, perhaps most importantly, it cycles everything from light target loads to magnum waterfowl loads consistently without the need for manual adjustment. It’s a low-recoil, no-hassle alternative to earlier semiauto shotgun designs.
Some Savage rifle models allow customers to customize stock fit using interchangeable spacers and comb inserts; that same versatility has found its way into the Renegauge shotgun line. Proper gun fit is critically important for consistent shooting, and virtually all premium competition shotguns come with adjustable stocks. However, those world-class competition shotguns use bulky, expensive metal adjustment hardware that doesn’t make sense on a field gun. Renegauge uses lightweight polymer inserts that can be swapped out in seconds to customize comb fit, length-of-pull and drop-and-cast. Proper shotgun fit promotes consistent shouldering of the gun and allows for faster target acquisition. Renegauge can be configured in 20 different ways for drop-and-cast, length-of-pull and comb height, ensuring the right fit for every shooter.
Renegauge shotguns are loaded with premium features. The oversized controls are easy to manipulate with or without gloves, so hunters will be able to operate the gun efficiently in the dead of winter. The competition-ready, easy-loading magazine port allows you to insert shells in the tube rapidly without taking your eyes off the sky. The included stock-rod buffer also helps further minimize recoil impact and allows for very fast follow-up shots.
The one-piece action bar assembly and reciprocating parts are all chrome plated for ease of cleaning and durability, and the fluted barrel features a melonite finish and comes with a carbon-steel ventilated top rib with a fiber optic front bead. Renegauge barrels feature stylish fluting that gives the gun a unique, modern look.
There are currently four different 12-gauge Renegauge models available: Renegauge Field, Renegauge Turkey Bottomland, Renegauge Turkey Obsession, and Renegauge Waterfowl. The Turkey models come with 24-inch barrels and Mossy Oak camouflage, while the Field and Waterfowl models come equipped with either 26- or 28-inch barrels. The Waterfowl model comes with a full Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo dip while the Field version comes in black. Weights range from 7.75 to 8 pounds, depending upon the model. MSRP is $1,449 for the Field version and $1,549 for the camo models.
Renegauge Performance on the Range
Renegauge’s customizable stock is reason enough to own this shotgun. I was able to quickly reconfigure the shotgun’s stock so that it fit me properly, and when it did, Renegauge came naturally to my shoulder. That kind of fit helps you break targets and harvest birds more consistently, but it also helps mitigate recoil. Combining proper fit, an advanced self-compensating gas system and rubber cheek inserts, Savage has made the Renegauge one of the gentlest shooting 12-gauge shotguns on the market.
After a full round of sporting clays (100 shots) my face and shoulder felt good. If you’ve been considering dropping down to a 20-gauge to reduce recoil fatigue, Renegauge is a better alternative. You get a 12-gauge payload with 20-gauge recoil from this gun and, in truth, I’ve shot lightweight 20s that kicked noticeably harder than this 12-gauge Savage. Even when firing 3-inch magnum waterfowl loads, the 8-pound Renegauge is manageable.
I was impressed by the gun’s ability to cycle very light loads without failure. After shooting 200 rounds of 1- and 1 1/8-ounce target loads, the Renegauge Waterfowl was still cycling consistently. Because the D.R.I.V. system vents away all the excess gas and debris, there isn’t a lot of fouling inside the action. I wiped down the action after those first 200 shots, but there wasn’t excessive buildup and the chrome-plated parts were easy to scrub down.
I also was impressed by the quality and finish of the internal components. The action-bar assembly and pusher sleeve are precision-laser welded to the carrier for added strength and longevity. The Savage doesn’t demand a lot of maintenance compared to other semiauto shotguns, and when you do break it down for cleaning, the process isn’t a major chore.
Shotgun shooters want a gun that balances well, and Renegauge does just that. The red fiber optic front bead is highly visible even at first shooting light on overcast days. Savage offers thread-in choke tubes with every Renegauge shotgun: the Field and Waterfowl version come with improved cylinder, modified, and full chokes while the Turkey models come with an additional extra full tube. Because Savage chokes use the Benelli/Beretta Mobil Choke thread pattern, there are plenty of aftermarket choke tube options.
Savage is reinventing the American semiauto shotgun design. The Reneguage offers an effective, efficient gas system that promises excellent reliability now and for years to come. These American-made shotguns are built to a very high standard, ensuring that Savage will be a major player in the semiauto shotgun market going forward.
Savage Renegauge Shotgun Specs:
Operation: Gas-operated semiauto shotgun
Chamber: 3 in.
Capacity: 4+1 (2 3/4 in)
Barrel Lengths: 24, 26, or 28 inches
Receiver Material: Aluminum
Receiver Finish: Matte Black
Barrel Material: Carbon Steel
Barrel Finish: Melonite
Weight: 7.75-8 lbs
Overall Length: 45.5 to 49.5 in.
Length of Pull: 14.25 to 15.07 in.
Chokes: IC,M,F (IC,M,F,EF for Turkey models)
Finish Options: Black, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades, Mossy Oak Obsession, Mossy Oak Bottomland
MSRP: $1,449 to $1,549
Contact: Savage Arms, www.savagearms.com, (800) 370-0708