To say that 2020 was a year of new experiences would be the understatement of the century. Many of us telecommuted for the first time or homeschooled our children. And Massachusetts-based “rifle” maker Savage charted unfamiliar territory as it developed and eventually released a new semi-automatic shotgun, the Renegauge, with a later Security model to come.
The Savage Renegauge Security 12-Gauge Shotgun
This new shotgun was geared towards hunters and quickly gained a reputation for soft shooting and fast cycling. While these attributes are revered in the field, they pay even greater dividends in a home-defense application.
So, as the world fell to pieces and people were literally killing each other over groceries and toilet paper, Savage got to work on a shorter package to serve the homeowner better.
Billed as the Renegauge Security, it came to fruition in the opening days of 2022 at SHOT Show. And I had the opportunity to give it a test fire at the NSSF Industry Day at The Range Event. This was before getting one back home for a thorough evaluation.
Built to Fight
The Renegauge Security utilizes the same Dual Regulating Inline Valve gas system (D.R.I.V.) as its longer brother. This is largely responsible for its lower felt recoil. This system vents away excessive gas before it hits the bolt carrier. As a result, it ensures that your shoulder doesn’t take more of a punch than necessary to cycle the action.
A secondary buffering system that is similar to that of an AR-15 is housed in the buttstock to absorb a bit more of the recoil and mitigate muzzle flip. Other contributing factors to the Security’s controllability include an extra thick rubber recoil pad and, of course, its sheer weight. At 7 pounds, this shotgun offers far more mass to soak up that resultant inertia than the next guy’s scattergun.
As the Security was an unbelievably hot item, it took several months to get my hands on one. However, when I did, boy, was it grand. I started by unpacking the shotgun and was impressed with the hard-sided case that was included. It signified an upgrade in the packaging department from our friends up north.
It housed not only the shotgun but the array of components that allow the end-user to swap out cheek risers and stock spacers to make it their own. These parts flanked a set of cast adjustment shims to round out a uniquely custom fit.
In addition to the fitment components, Savage includes a three-choke set that is manufactured by Trulock. Trulock specializes in choke tubes and choke tubes only. This is a bold move and a serious nod toward quality to anybody familiar with the brand.
The Security leaves the factory with the modified tube installed, leaving you full and improved cylinder chokes on deck to adjust the pattern as you see fit.
Designed for Hard Use and Control
Further inspection showed me that Savage designed the Security for rough service and unparalleled control. The initial signs of this were the aggressive grip notches cut into the underside of the forend and vertical grip. These ensure that you have the upper hand should a struggle for the weapon ever break out.
Sandpaper-like texture panels are found adjacent to these areas to provide additional grip for a solid purchase when firing. Other defensive-minded features included the enlarged loading port and oversized control suite.
These go a long way to hasten shell loading and make dual and quad loads a bit easier. This is especially true when an adrenalin dump impedes your fine motor skills.
Lastly, this Renegauge features M-Lok slots out by the muzzle that pave the way for flashlights, lasers, or anything else that you may wish to hang off of it.
My range day consisted of all of the fun stuff, including formal pattern testing alongside maneuverability in a close-quarters scenario. I started the live-fire test using Federal’s Force X2 Shells to get an idea of how this gun patterned.
These shells were built to bring the pain. They feature nine 00 buckshot pellets, designed to split into two pieces after hitting an intermediate material, like clothing. This creates twice the wound channels and also reduces the chances of overpenetration.
So, from a distance of 10 yards, I pumped a series of Birchwood Casey 12×18 silhouettes full of these shells. With the modified choke installed, I gathered an average pattern of around 5 inches. However, the occasional stray pellet landed a few inches outside of the other eight.
Although the patterns impressed me, that paled in comparison with how light this defensive-style fodder was on the shoulder. This directly translates to faster follow-up shots and, in this scenario, an extended range session.
Testing for Accuracy
As the Renegauge Security is outfitted with a fully adjustable ghost-ring rear sight and a bright green fiber-optic front sight, nothing is stopping it from serving double duty as a deer slayer in the winter months.
With that in mind, I opted to test it for accuracy at 25 yards with Winchester’s Super-X Rifled Power-Point slugs. The buckshot was extremely light and even on par with most birdshot that I’ve ever fired. But I certainly knew I was shooting those slugs.
However, they undoubtedly felt lighter out of this gun than many of the other shotguns that I’ve fired them from. This, again, is another sign that Savage’s recoil absorption system is indeed doing its job.
Five-shot groups were terrific, with our best one measuring 2.36 inches and the five-group average coming in at 3.34 inches. After running another ten rounds over our Caldwell G2 Chronograph, we came up with an average velocity of 1,648 feet per second.
This is pretty darn fast for an ounce of lead to be moving. Not to mention, only about 50 feet per second slower than advertised. This is most likely due to the reduced-length barrel of the Savage Security. But nonetheless, it is more than enough to fill that tag.
Running an Obstacle Course
Satisfied with what I’ve seen thus far, I set up an obstacle course featuring retired wire spools and discarded plastic barrels to see how this 40-inch bang stick maneuvered through tight spaces.
After stuffing the six-round magazine full of shells, I clipped on a shot timer and got to work. Starting with a single target, I found that I could pop out from behind cover and get lead on target in less than one second in most instances. Best of all, I barely needed to pie the corner thanks to the 18.5-inch barrel.
Moving on to split times, I found that I could run the trigger of the Renegauge Security rather quickly. This allowed me to get split times as fast as a quarter second without much practice. I attributed this to the trigger’s snappy reset and its light pull weight. This was later measured at 5 pounds, 7 ounces.
Of course, the only reason both patterns were on target was that the gun had barely any muzzle rise. But this is the function of its heavy-for-platform barrel. Looking down at this fluted beast, I giggled and said to myself, “that’s what you get when a rifle company designs a shotgun barrel.”
On the Move
The second phase of this course of fire involves moving between the obstacles, engaging targets, and reloading. Here, I had a chance to make use of the beveled loading port and found it rather simple to dual and quad load. Particularly when employing a quality shell caddy.
Doing so on the move wasn’t much trouble, and the beefy barrel didn’t seem to heat up as bad as conventional thin-walled designs. While on the move, I enjoyed the oversized bolt release button. It allowed for a firm smack to send the bolt home and is far easier than a fingertip press when the chips are down.
I would say the same about the robust charging handle. However, the only time I would have needed it was if the gun malfunctioned. But that did not occur even once during our 150-round test.
A Fun to Shoot and Reliable Shotgun Option
The Savage Renegauge Security performed admirably in every department, checking all the boxes except for the budget. At an MSRP of $1,499, it isn’t going to be for everybody. But for those that want a weapon that is fun to shoot and is as reliable as the sunrise, this is your gun.
Aside from being controllable and concise, I liked that it came threaded for chokes. They are sadly overlooked in today’s defensive shotgun designs. Being able to pattern your buckshot might just be the difference between putting all of your pellets into a threat or sending them so wide that they overspray and go through your walls.
It’s also nice to be able to screw in a turkey choke tube for a gun that’s easy to swing around in a blind and won’t flair as badly as something wearing a full-length barrel.
There’s value to be had in this gun’s versatility, not to mention its adaptability to the human form. Through these features and its overall quality, the value of the Savage Renegauge Security quickly becomes apparent. And you owe it to yourself to check one out sometime.
For more information, please visit SavageArms.com.
Savage Renegauge Security Specs
Barrel: 18.8 inches
Overall Length: 40 inches
Weight: 7 pounds (empty)
Sights: Fiber-optic front, ghost ring rear
Finish: Matte black receiver, Melonite barrel
This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World April/May 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email [email protected].
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