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Shotgun Review: Retay Gordion Turkey

This semi-auto shotgun offers everything turkey hunters need at a moderate price.

Shotgun Review: Retay Gordion Turkey

An inertia action, oversized controls, deep-bore-drilled barrel, pistol grip and optics mount are all features of the Gordion Turkey. (Photo by Drew Warden)

It seems as though an increasing number of hunters relish having pursuit-specific firearms. While rifle hunters once led this charge, it’s becoming just as true for shotgunners, too. Certain attributes on a scattergun better fit some pursuits than others. Nowhere is this clearer than in the realm of turkey hunting, where purpose-built guns have become almost ubiquitous.

To be fair, turkey hunters do have distinct needs, and guns have evolved accordingly to meet them. Like all hunters, gobbler gurus want a reliable gun, but that’s just a starting point. They need a shotgun that can deliver dense patterns—often at extended distances—on a relatively small target. The gun should be comfortable to use and handy when sitting in the tight quarters of a blind or scrunched against a tree, too. Many also want the ability to easily mount an optic—perhaps a low-power scope, though more likely a non-magnified reflex red-dot sight. The Retay Gordion Turkey delivers on all these points, and it costs less than $1,000.

For starters, the Gordion uses an incredibly reliable proprietary inertia operating system. In 2006, when Benelli’s 1986 patent on its Inertia Driven system expired, it opened the door to outside development of similar designs worldwide. Retay (pronounced REE-tay) was founded in Turkey that same year. While the company was far from the only overseas manufacturer working with an inertia design, it may have produced one of the best, for which it was awarded a patent in 2018. Designated the Inertia Plus System, it improves upon Bruno Civolani’s 1967 rotating-bolt-head design by adding a rollover internal torsion spring that forcefully rotates the bolt head into battery. What that does in practice is virtually eliminate out-of-battery failures, probably the most notable (though rarely encountered) flaw in other inertia-operated systems.

turkey shotgun
The Gordion Turkey’s rubberized pistol grip provides a comfortable means of keeping the shotgun at the ready during long sits. (Photo by Drew Warden)

On many inertia guns, you usually cannot ease the bolt closed. You must close it by using the bolt release on the receiver or pull the bolt handle back then let the bolt come fully forward on its own. Otherwise, the bolt head won’t fully rotate into battery. Because inertia shotguns rely on recoil to operate, this can occasionally happen when shooting light target loads, too. If the bolt head doesn’t lock into battery, upon trying to fire the gun you’ll hear a disappointing click and typically watch your quarry fly or run away. You can manually rotate the bolt head into battery with your finger, but this is a poor fix—and one that Retay’s Inertia Plus Bolt makes irrelevant.

During testing, I repeatedly tried causing an out-of-battery failure by easing the bolt shut. Each time, the bolt head faithfully rotated into position no matter how little force I applied. Because light loads can occasionally trip up inertia systems, I also ran some 1-ounce target loads through the gun. The Gordion quickly cycled them without issue.

Obviously, turkey hunters won’t be rapid-firing target loads at gobblers, but the gun’s success with the light stuff means lead, bismuth or tungsten turkey loads should be no problem. In fact, I encountered zero failures throughout testing with any type of load. It’s worth noting that my gun was not brand new, so it may have been broken in already. In its manual, Retay advises users to run a few boxes of standard hunting loads through a new gun if it is initially having issues cycling light loads.

The only major tradeoff to any inertia gun’s simple, clean and reliable operation is felt recoil, even more apparent with heavy turkey loads. This is why many inertia-operated shotguns feature some form of recoil mitigation. The Gordion sports a sculpted microcell polyurethane recoil pad that is serviceable, but recoil is still stiff given the gun’s 6 1/2-pound weight. This, again, is a tradeoff. The same scant weight that amplifies the gun’s felt recoil is also what makes it a joy to tote through the turkey woods.

The Gordion’s controls and assembly/disassembly process will feel familiar to anyone who’s owned or shot other inertia-operated semi-autos. A standard crossbolt safety lies above and behind the trigger on the trigger guard, and the cartridge drop lever is in its usual position, protruding just below the receiver. The bolt handle and bolt release are enlarged, a nice touch for those wearing gloves, and one that more and more manufacturers are adopting. One key—and handy—difference in operation is the Gordion’s “Easy Out” unloading feature. Once you’ve cleared the chamber, simply flip the shotgun upside down, push in on the feed ramp and then pull the bolt release away from the receiver. Shells will slide out of the magazine and into your awaiting hand.

To make this a true purpose-built turkey gun, Retay added key upgrades to its standard Gordion autoloader. First, it is optics ready with a rail mount that attaches to the receiver dovetail. Non-magnified red-dots with unlimited eye relief have become standard for many turkey hunters due to their ease of use and efficacy. Mounting one—in my case a Bushnell RXS-250 Reflex Sight—on the Gordion Turkey’s rail proved simple, and I had the unit dialed in no time.




While the gun reliably printed excellent patterns with the RXS-250, I went without the red-dot when I traveled to Florida last spring to hunt Osceolas. Call it excessive worry, or maybe paranoia, but I couldn’t shake the fear that during my flights the optic might be knocked off its zero and I wouldn’t have time to re-check it before my first hunt. Thankfully, the gun also has a single TruGlo fiber-optic bead, which served me well in the Sunshine State.

Because many diehard turkey hunters prefer a pistol grip, the Gordion Turkey is available with or without one. I’m undecided on whether I like a pistol grip on a turkey gun. It’s nice when holding the shotgun in a ready position for any length of time, whether resting the gun on shooting sticks or a knee. A pistol grip limits a shotgun’s use beyond turkey season, but on dedicated turkey setups, this is a non-issue. Regardless, I found the grip’s rubberized finger grooves comfy, and the texturing was grippy without being abrasive.

Most turkey guns are now offered in season-appropriate camouflage patterns, and the Gordion Turkey is no exception. The sleek semi-auto is available in Mossy Oak New Bottomland, Mossy Oak Obsession and Realtree Timber. It also has a shorter 24-inch barrel, making it a nimbler option when running and gunning or hunting gobblers from the confines of a ground blind.

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Retay creates its barrels by using a process called deep-bore drilling, in which the manufacturer drills out a solid cylinder bar of 4140 steel from end to end. Compared to the hammer forging used for most field guns, deep-bore drilling reportedly induces less stress on the metal and results in a highly concentric, precise barrel that shoots straighter. As with all Retay shotguns, the Gordion also features a lengthened forcing cone. This creates a smoother transition from chamber to bore and yields less pellet deformation for improved patterns. Through independent testing, Retay claims these two improvements result in at least 20 percent more pellets in the target zone and 67 percent better shot-to-shot consistency.

In my own testing with the Gordion’s MaraPro full choke (five interchangeable chokes are included), the gun performed well on paper. With Winchester’s Long Beard XR 3-inch 1 3/4-ounce No. 5 load, the gun placed an average of almost 84 percent of the pellets in a 30-inch circle, and roughly 70 percent and 35 percent in 20- and 10-inch circles, respectively, at 40 yards. In two patterns, more than 100 pellets struck within a 10-inch circle, with no major gaps evident. For comparison, I also ran a few of these loads through another inertia-operated turkey gun. The Gordion Turkey placed 7 percent more pellets in a 20-inch circle and 6 percent more pellets in a 10-inch ring. While not 20 percent, those figures aren’t anything to discount. During pattern testing, I also noted that the Gordion Turkey’s point of impact shifted about 7 inches less, on average, than that of the other gun, which tended to shoot quite a bit higher than point of aim.

I tested a couple other turkey loads as well—Remington’s Premier Magnum Turkey 3-inch 1 3/4-ounce No. 4 and Kent Cartridge’s Ultimate Turkey Diamond Shot 3-inch 2-ounce No. 5—though Winchester’s Long Beard XR, with its Shot-Lok Technology, was the gun’s clear favorite. The Remington load averaged 48 percent of its pellets in a 20-inch circle, while the Kent load averaged 37 percent.

The Gordion Turkey served me well on my hunt in Florida. Less than three hours into my first afternoon sit, a pair of Osceola gobblers came rushing toward a half-strut jake decoy after about 10 minutes of back-and-forth calling. At less than 30 yards, the gun delivered a 2 1/2-ounce payload of Boss Shotshells Boss Tom No. 9 tungsten that dropped the first bird where he stood, just steps from the decoy.

With its reliable—and improved—inertia operating system, deep-bore drilled barrel, lengthened forcing cone and optics mount, the Gordion Turkey may be the best value in turkey guns available. Most other dedicated optics-ready semi-auto turkey guns run north of $1,000, some considerably higher. In the past, many American hunters might’ve turned their noses at Turkish shotguns. However, today many quality options are being produced there, and the Gordion Turkey certainly qualifies. For those looking for a dedicated turkey rig that won’t break the bank, it’s worth serious consideration.

Retay Gordion Turkey Specs
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Retay Gordion Turkey shotgun.
  • Info: retayusa.com
  • Type: semi-automatic shotgun
  • Gauge: 12 (tested)
  • Chamber: 3”
  • Capacity: 4+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 24”
  • Overall Length: 45 1/2”
  • Weight: 6 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Stock: composite; Realtree Timber finish
  • Length of Pull: 14.37”
  • Drop at Heel: adjustable (2.16” factory setting)
  • Drop at Comb: 1.45”
  • Sights: TruGlo fiber-optic front bead; dovetail rail mount for optics
  • Choke Tubes: 5 MaraPro (C, IC, M, IM, F)
  • MSRP: $949

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