When you’re choosing a shotgun, you need to balance a range of attributes depending on your priorities and intended use. Most hunters aren’t just looking for raw stopping power. They want a weapon that’s light, handles well and functions perfectly whether used with normal or magnum loads. But creating a shotgun that combines power with finesse and elegance is no mean feat, and not every manufacturer is up to the challenge.
Heck, even this Massachusetts based manufacturer very nearly gave up during this weapon’s development. Savage’s President and CEO Al Kasper admits that he almost gave up on the project three times as his team grappled to bring down the weapon’s weight and give it a market-friendly price point.
Fortunately A17 lead engineer John Linscott took over the project, reducing the weapon’s weight by a massive 10% by fluting the barrel and installing a patented dual-valve gas system. The result is this magnificent specimen which weighs in at just 7.9 pounds and has a price tag of around $1450. But how does this feat of engineering measure up in the field? Let’s take a look…
Testing the Renegauge’s field performance
Let’s not bury the lede. While we’ll get into the particulars under the hood that make this weapon special, and its fit and handling, you’ll likely want to know how it performs on a hunt. After all, a weapon can have an impressive list of specs yet leave you feeling sore and frustrated after several days’ continuous use.
After field testing this model for several days we found that there was none of the soreness on the cheek and shoulder that are usually common after days of hard gunning. The low weight, stock rod buffer and innovative dual-valve system really work wonders in reducing recoil and keeping use comfortable. There’s also plenty of cushioning on the butt and optional cheek pads. So you can fire comfortably, even when you don’t get the chance to get a perfect mount before firing. Like when duck hunting in a boat, for instance.
This weapon functions flawlessly with both light target and magnum loads. With the trigger set to 4 lbs we found that this gave an experience that was perfectly responsive. This weapon also has some features that are usually only seen in competition models such as a beveled loading gate and angled trigger guard. These make for fast and convenient reloading. Out hunting on a cold day? Not a problem. The bolt-release button, safety, and trigger guard are all oversized, making the gun easy to run when wearing gloves.
This slightly forward-weighted balance and stock configuration make the Reneguage almost feel more like a rifle than a shotgun. It points and holds on target well nicely and held on target well, with the reassuring weight making for a nice smooth swing.
Of course, when it comes to field use, you need to be able to strip down and clean your weapon quickly. And the Reneguage doesn’t disappoint on that front, either. It’s quick and easy to field strip and cleaning in the field is virtually effortless. So you can enjoy hassle-free, easy shooting!
Scratching the surface- What powers the Renegauge?
Of course, while we all want to know how this weapon handles in the field, true gun geeks will want to take a glance under the proverbial hood to see the engineering that powers this uncommonly light shotgun.
And getting to know the workings of the Renegauge means getting to grips with the innovative patented drive system.
This is dual valve system is located at the fore-end of the weapon, giving it a discreet bulge on both sides of the barrel. Look closely and you’ll also see two circular valves along the length of the barrel. This Dual Regulating Inline Valve (D.R.I.V.) system combines some familiar facets of gas powered weapons with some clever innovations from Savage.
Like any gas gun, it facilitates easy cycling by using the gas from the fired shell to power a piston that drives the bolt carrier backwards. However, Savage have built a functionality into the Renegauge’s design that improve on the tried and true. The action doesn’t actually require that much gas. So the weapon has two valves so that it can vent any excess gas that’s not needed to run the action.
Not only do two valves vent the gas faster, they allow for more consistent cycling no matter what load your using. The dual valve system ensures that with every shot, the same amount of gas is taken in to cycle the bolt. It doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting with light target loads or heavy magnum loads.
If a load is under 1,000 fps, the system will use all the available gas to run the bolt, and as a result, no excess gas is vented. When loads exceed 1,000 fps, the valves release any excess gas. While complex, this system is designed to need no user adjustment. So it’s a great low-maintenance weapon.
Handling and fitting
So, now we know the tech that powers this light recoil shotgun. But how well does it handle? As previously stated, this model can stand up to days of hard gunning without the typical bruises and soreness that come with regular shotgun use.
The stock is a variation on the AccuFit stock that will be familiar to those who know the Savage brand as it’s used in many of their bolt-action rifles. There are three recoil pads allowing you to adjust the length of the pull adjustment, as well as three cheek pads for comb adjustment. There are also optional shims, allowing for up to 20 different variations. This might be impractical were it not for how quick and easy the AccuFit system makes adjusting for a perfect fit. There’s no need to fiddle around with screws in the field or at home. Pads can simply be pulled off and changed in seconds.
Combining clever engineering with convenience and comfort, the Renegauge is a high-performing unique model at a pretty darned reasonable price point.