Firearms

Range Report: Savage Renegauge Security Shotgun

Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun resting on a fence rail

Savage has a long and storied history of supplying good quality shotguns and rifles to the American public. Among the more interesting recent additions is the Renegauge shotgun. The Renegauge, in its sporting versions, is a fine outdoors shotgun.

This isn’t a budget-grade shotgun, but a shotgun comparable to Beretta or Benelli with a price that is a bit less than comparable imports. While a quality shotgun may be versatile and serve as a waterfowl gun with a long barrel, a simple barrel change makes it a home defense shotgun. Even better are purpose-designed shotguns set up from inception for a specific role. The Savage Renegauge Security is one of these.

oversized loading port on a shotgun
A generous loading port makes for fast loads.

Personal defense is serious business. Shotguns are awesome home defenders even in economy versions. The Savage Renegauge is a great home defense shotgun — maybe even more than we need. It also makes a fine 3-Gun competition shotgun.

The Renegauge is far more evolved than the typical pump-action riot shotgun. The Savage is optimized. Not only is it a credible semi-automatic shotgun, with every advantage of a modern gas-operated shotgun, there are features that limit felt recoil. One improvement is in magazine capacity. The Security model features a magazine holding six 2¾-inch shells. The magazine also serves to anchor M-Lok devices for mounting combat lights and other accessories.

Savage Renegauge Security

  • Type: Short-stroke piston operated, semiautomatic
  • Gauge: 12
  • Capacity: 6+1 shells
  • Weight:7 pounds, 6 ounces
  • Overall length: 40 inches
  • Barrel length: 18.5 inches
  • Length of pull: 14.25 to 15.07 inches, adjustable
  • Drop at heel: 2 inches
  • Drop at comb: 1.5 inches
  • Trigger pull: 4 pounds, 8 ounces (tested)
  • Accessories: Rifle-style hard case; 3 recoil pads, 3 Butt plate spacers, 3 cheekpieces, shim kit; Improved Cylinder (.715-in.), Modified (.705-in.), Full (.695-in.) choke tubes.
  • MSRP: $1,499

The heart of the shotgun is the Dual Regulating Inline Valve, or D.R.I.V., action. This is a modern, clean-burning, efficient, and reliable gas drive. The gas operation is similar to the famously-reliable Remington V Max or the Beretta types, but recoils less. The gas piston is grooved to provide self-cleaning operation.

I would count on cleaning the shotgun every 1,000 shells or so. The bolt features a heavy locking lug and robust extractor. It is interesting to look over the shotgun and its packaging to discover the ability to customize length of pull, camber or cast, and even drop from the comb. Small differences in length and angle will result in faster handling.

A shotgun doesn’t achieve its effectiveness by being aimed like a rifle. Instead, it is aimed by feel. There is nothing as fast as a shotgun on moving targets or firing quickly. The Savage Renegauge is possibly the most ergonomic combat shotgun I have handled.

Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun, right profile
The Savage Renegauge is a modern shotgun with much to recommend.

Sporting shotguns don’t usually feature an oversize trigger guard that accommodates gloved hands. The Renegade Security does. Gloved hand use is easy enough — just remember your reduced tactical control with cold or gloved hands.

The bolt release is oversized/tactical sized. The fiber-optic front sight is protected by strong ‘ears,’ Contrast is excellent. The rear ghost ring is as good as it gets on a tactical shotgun. When aimed correctly, the rear sight fades and you center the front sight on the target. As you aim, the ghost ring fades in your vision centering the front post making for good hit potential.

If you choose to deploy slugs, this is a fine choice for fast accurate fire. Another tactical feature is the magazine loading port. Large and easily accommodating a rapid replenishment of ammunition supply, this is a good feature. A red magazine follower helps confirm the shotgun is empty.

The barrel features eight flutes that reduce weight a little and look super cool. The barrel is Melonite coated. I especially like the fact that the Savage Renegauge Security is fitted with a choke tube.

In home defense situations it doesn’t really matter, as any type of buckshot keeps a strong pattern. For longer range, a tighter choke is preferred. Buckshot doesn’t follow the same rules as other shot sizes, so be certain to pattern your shotgun with several loads. I like the fact that three choke tubes are provided from improved cylinder to full choke.

Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun's extended magazine tube
An extended magazine tube holds six shots.

The Savage manual of arms is simple enough. The hammer must be released to load the chamber. A cocked gun will not feed from the magazine. A function lever (near the trigger guard) is used to lock the bolt open. The controls are oversized and easily used whether with gloves or in fast paced competition or a tactical situation. Loading and unloading are fast — very fast — and you may easily keep the magazine topped off in a defensive situation if need be.

While highly unlikely to need a shotgun reload, I don’t want to be the man who drowns in a creek of average three foot depth. A shotgun must be handled by feel and by someone who knows how to move a shotgun quickly. Busting clays is one thing. Moving targets are a simple chore when you have time and proper instruction on a shotgun.

Both the stock and forend are well designed with plenty of stippling and surfacing to provide good adhesion when firing. The forend is a bit long, but it must be to contain the advanced gas operation system. There are several styles of firing and tracking with a shotgun. A representative sample of shooters with different styles found the shotgun accommodating. The recoil pad is soft with plenty of give. The recoil pad is gel filled, a recent development that provides excellent recoil control.

While the shotgun is light kicking for a 12 gauge, I enlisted a few helpers during the test. I elected to fire 200 full-power buckshot shells to establish reliability. I also tested the Renegauge for patterning at 10 yards — with the modified flush-fit choke in place. An 18.5-inch barrel shotgun isn’t designed for long-range hunting. However, the Savage provided credible to excellent patterns for personal defense.

Shotgun Load Performance

Full power buckshot (for the most part).

#4 Buckshot

Velocity (FPS)

10-Yard Pattern (Inches)

Winchester 27 pellets1,12810×10
Remington Ultimate Defense 21 pellets1,1706×6
Fiocchi 27 pellets1,2307×11

#1 Buckshot

Velocity (FPS)

10-Yard Pattern (Inches)

Remington 12 pellets1,0908×9

#00 Buckshot

Velocity (FPS)

10-Yard Pattern (Inches)

Remington Reduced Recoil 8 pellets1,1203×2
Hornady Critical Defense 8 pellets1,2995×4
Federal 9 pellets1,2604×3.8

Savage Renegauge: Range Test

As an aside, after many years of shooting I have developed arthritis in my shoulder. It doesn’t nag me every day, but may make shotgun firing painful. I placed a small shooting pad over my shoulder before firing the first magazine. I resolved to stop firing if there was any damage to be done.

I was surprised. Recoil is modest indeed. I was able to fire several magazines without any difficulty. As shooters took turns firing the shotgun, we never experienced a failure to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Results were excellent.

Some doodle with the shotgun and others play. I put everything into running the Savage fast and hard. I ran through several combat courses. I fired in the dark, just above tomb level, when a shotgun is at its best. This is a credible defensive shotgun — as good as it gets. Some of my fellow shooters remarked that a tactical shotgun may be more than what is needed for home defense. Perhaps.

buckshot hole in a paper target
Buckshot makes for a ragged rathole at combat range.

If your nerves are not crippled by conflict, and you are able to concentrate on operating the shotgun, fast hits come easily. A generous loading port makes it simple enough to top the magazine off during a firing string.

I found the Savage has many advantages and is as credible a choice as any self-loading shotgun for personal defense. As for myself, with all respect to any other shotgun, this is not only the best buy — it is my favorite tactical shotgun.

Do you feel a ‘Tactical’ shotgun is needed for home defense? How does the Savage Renegauge compare to your favorite tactical shotgun? Share your answers in the Comment section.

  • Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun's extended magazine tube
  • Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun, quartering to
  • Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun, left profile
  • Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun, right profile
  • muzzle view of the Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun
  • Adjustable stock on the Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun
  • Assortment of Hornady and Remington shotshell boxes
  • Several paper targets shredded after being shot with buckshot
  • buckshot hole in a paper target
  • Savage Renegauge 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun resting on a fence rail
  • oversized loading port on a shotgun
  • Anatomy target shot with #4 Buckshot

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (6)

  1. Bob
    This top end shotgun is made in Westfield MA
    It cost less than many Beretta and Benelli shotguns but outperforms them in key points

    Colonel K

    A million Remington 870/1100 shotgun fans may disagree

  2. ONE NOTES THAT THIS AUTO FUNCTIONED FLAWLESSLY W/REDUCED RECOIL ROUNDS. BY REPUTATION NOT ALL AUTOS CAN BE EXPECTED TO DO THIS.

  3. Meh. $1500 for an off-brand import shotgun? I don’t think so. Get yourself an AR and at least LOOK professional.

  4. All that design effort on a tactical shotgun and the manual safety is the worst design I’ve ever seen, a cross-bolt located behind the trigger guard. Browning and Mossberg place their ambidextrous safety on the receiver tang where it can be seen and intuitively operated by anyone. Why every shotgun maker doesn’t copy this style is unfathomable.

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