A semi-auto shotgun duo for dynamic action: Savage Arms Renegauge Competition and Security in 12 gauge

Three years ago, Savage Arms surprised everyone at the SHOT Show with the complete "Renegauge" series of semi-automatic shotguns featuring tubular magazines, which consisted of the Field, Turkey (with different camouflage finishes as the Turkey Bottomlands and Turkey Obsession models) and Waterfowl hunting models right from the start. The new model family won a whole series of awards in the USA, such as "Guns&Ammo Shotgun of the Year 2020". Just one year later, the Renegauge Competition match shotgun with a 24"/61 cm barrel instead of 28"/71 cm and an extended magazine tube with a capacity of 9+1 instead of 4+1 cartridges was presented, which was primarily of interest to dynamic IPSC/action shooters. As a side note, magazine plugs are available that limit the capacity to two cartridges (which is also mandatory for waterfowl hunting in the USA). The Savage Renegauge Security with 18.5"/47 cm barrel and 6+1 firepower, as well as ghost ring sights, has recently appeared on the market.

We tested the Savage Renegauge semi-automatic shotguns Security (above) and Competition (below), both in 12 gauge with 76 mm chamber. 

What characterizes the technology of the new Savage Renegauge shotguns "Competition" and "Security"?

At the heart of the Renegauge series is the patented "Dual Regulating Inline Valve" (D.R.I.V.) gas system with a two-lug rotating bolt head, which is housed inside the aluminum receiver. All functional parts subject to stress during firing are made of steel. Two gas pistons/valves arranged parallel to each other under the barrel feed only the gas required for reliable operation into the system during firing. Excess gas is tapped off and dumped from the system. The self-regulating system thus digests a wide range of cartridges with different performance levels, from soft sporting loads to powerful hunting cartridges. It is also designed to protect the shooter's shoulder through moderate recoil and the shotgun components through reduced energy acting on the inner workings during continuous use.

Of course, the Savage Renegauge Competition has the usual features of a match shotgun: enlarged loading port and user-friendly charging handle. 

Let's start with the Competition model – it was the main focus of our test: weighing around 3.7 kg when empty, the sports version with a sleek design and an impressive overall length of almost 118 cm, like other shotguns of its kind stands out at first glance due to its striking surface finish. The receiver, the tubular magazine, the trigger blade and the "Extended Skeet2 Light Modified" choke have a red Cerakote finish. The fluting on the barrel with a "Melonite" surface finish is intended to reduce weight by ten percent and improve heat dissipation. A steel, ventilated sight rib with "Hi-Viz" front sight sits on the barrel. Many manufacturers now use this sight, which can be fitted with different fiber optic inserts. In addition to the mounted, triangular front sight with the fiber optic insert, the scope of delivery also includes front sights with a small and a larger dot. As an alternative to red, the sight inserts with their different contours are also available in green in the set.

The barrel ends flush with the 9-round tubular magazine, which contributes to the impressive appearance of the shotgun. In favor of a higher cartridge capacity, a protruding magazine extension can of course also be used here, so that a capacity of 12+1 cartridges can be achieved. The user-friendly loading spoon in the enlarged loading port of the tubular magazine can be easily pushed into the cartridge chamber for loading. Experienced, skillful shooters can thus reload two or four cartridges into the magazine in one handling sequence. Cartridges can be reliably loaded or reloaded in high or lower loading position. The oversized controls are easy to operate even when wearing gloves. The choke, which protrudes beyond the muzzle, can be quickly changed as required.

Black and compact: the Savage Arms Renegauge Security with an 18.5" barrel and the firepower of 6+1 cartridges. 

The receiver its threaded holes sealed with plastic plugs is ready for the attachment of a mounting rail with a red dot sight. The Picatinny rail included in the scope of delivery is so flat that it does not need to be removed when shooting over the long sight rib.

The trigger with a pull weight of just under 2 kg releases crisply, the reset travel for a new shot release is about 2 mm. These are very decent values and the shotgun trigger is suitable for competition out of the box. The matt black stock made of durable synthetic material, which is equally suitable for right- and left-handed shooters, can also be adapted to the shooter's personal preferences in terms of cast and drop by means of interchangeable recoil pads and cheek pieces as well as shims. It is worth the effort of experimenting to create the individual ideal stock. In addition to their attractive design, the recoil pads also have a gel-like texture, which facilitates effective recoil absorption. The improved recoil absorption results in faster and more precise shot strings, which will certainly delight some shooters.

Test: the two Renegauge shotguns from Savage Arms in practice

Savage Arms Renegauge shotguns: the patented, self-regulating D.R.I.V. gas system with two gas pistons/valves positioned next to each other close under the barrel in technical detail. 

In fact, the Savage Renegauge shotguns shoot very comfortably with moderate recoil thanks to their D.R.I.V. system. With different types of ammunition, the ppositive shell ejection with short shot-to-shot times (split times) was noticeable. Even with weak 24-gram shotshells, the Competition ran with absolute reliability. We shot at steel plates at 10 and 15 m at high speed and were able to send four to five shots into the target within one second after a short familiarization phase. If any target remained upright, the fault was not so much with the shotgun as with the operator. Thanks to the pleasantly soft, recoil-absorbing butt pad, the shoulder does not tire so quickly during extended shooting range sessions. This also applies when using hard-loaded hunting ammunition, with which the recoil level increases noticeably, but was still easy to manage overall with increased muzzle rise. The shotgun fires smoothly and offers very good recoil and sight control which, together with the quick-change chokes, underlines the fact that the Savage Renegauge Competition was developed for competitive sports. With the supplied ½ choke, we shot at 15-25 meters with sporting shotgun slug ammunition on paper targets, whereby the groups were absolutely centered right away, which is not always the case. Finally, we switched to the 50 and 100 meter ranges to work with hunting Brenneke slugs on steel targets. At 50 meters, we had to choose our aiming point well below our 30 cm round steel target in order to hit it. At 100 m, we used the large 60x40 cm steel plate and aimed on the spot. Here too, after a clean trigger pull, the steel target acknowledged the hit with a pleasant "pling".

The Savage Renegauge Security offers all the features of the Competition in a far more compact package, such as the highly functional gas-operated loading system, an adjustable stock, an enlarged loading port and oversized controls. The mechanical, adjustable ghost ring sight with a fiber optic front sight for fast, precise target acquisition is also included. 

Three flush choke inserts are included with the Savage Arms Renegauge shotguns. 

The sights of the Security version are adjustable and can therefore be adapted to different applications. The four holes in the receiver make it easy for the user to mount a Picatinny rail and a red dot sight, which extends the range of use, especially in poor light conditions. Three flush chokes (IC, M and F) are included in the scope of delivery, as is a polymer carrying case. We fired the shotgun not only with sporting and hunting cartridges, but also with special LE breaching rounds (powdered zinc or stainless steel slugs). Unfortunately, the tactical shotgun is still underestimated as a multifunctional tool, at least in Europe.

With just a few simple steps and different types of ammunition, it is possible to switch from breaching ammo to buckshot and slugs, which enables scenarios ranging from absolute close range to 100 meters and beyond. Even though our main focus in the test was on competition, the equally versatile, more compact Security did not have any weaknesses in practice.

Savage Arms Renegauge shotguns specs and prices

Savage Renegauge CompetitionSavage Reneguage Security
12 (with 76 mm chamber)
12 (with 76 mm chamber)
Gas-operated with rotating bolt
Gas-operated with rotating bolt
Barrel Length:
24“ (61 c m)
18.5“  (47 cm)
9 +1 rounds
6 +1 rounds
Adjustable synthetic stock, Monte Carlo design
Adjustable synthetic stock, Monte Carlo design
Length of Pull:
Adjustable from
36.2 to 38.3 cm
Adjustable from
36.2 to 38.3 cm
Trigger Pull Weight:
1,980 g 
2,150 g 
Fiber optic insert
Ghost ring
Overall Length:
1,173 mm
1,016 mm
3,720 g
3,180 g
Prices (RRP in Germany):
2,749 euro
1,950 euro

Conclusion: how good are the Renegauge shotguns from Savage Arms?

The buttstock of both Renegauge shotguns from Savage Arms can be individually adapted to the user using interchangeable shims. 

The Savage Renegauge shotguns are an all-round success, but they have to hold their own in a highly competitive market and are comparatively expensive. For example, the Savage Renegauge Competition costs a whopping €2,749, while a Benelli M2 Speed costs €2,150, a Beretta 1301 Competition Pro costs around €2,000, and a Mossberg 940 JM Pro even changes hands for around €1,500 (prices: all German RRPs). It will therefore be interesting to see whether the Savage Renegauge shotguns, which can certainly impress with their clean workmanship, function, handling and shooting performance, will prevail on the market.

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