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Savage 212 Slug Gun

If you can remember back many years ago, slug guns consisted of the shotgun that you used to hunt birds and squirrels.

They were all smooth-barreled, and some had an adjustable choke on the end of the barrel. But none had a rifled barrel or the ability to have a scope mounted.

Back then, the slugs were like shooting a punkin ball from a smooth-bore musket – with about the same accuracy. After the chunk of lead traveled more than about 35 yards, you’d better hope your target was as big as a car door, or you probably were going to miss.

In the past several years, slug guns have gone from a smooth-bore, “hope-you-can-hit-it” gun firing a big ol’ chunk of lead to fine-tuned rifles that are capable of one-inch groups at 100 yards with the right slugs.

I have had the pleasure of shooting several slug guns, and the Savage model 212 is by far one of the most accurate, as well a pleasure to shoot.

Like any other rifle, you are going to have to put in your time at the range and spend a little money to find the slug that your slug gun likes best.

Before I went out and purchased slugs at $12 to $20 box, I looked to the internet to see if other shooters with the same slug gun had posted information on accuracy for this gun.

On several occasions I have started a new thread or post asking members of different shooting forums if any of them had a particular slug gun and what slug shot best for them.

But, if you have deep pockets and feel that it is only money, just purchase several brands and head to the range.

Upon unboxing this fine gun, one feature jumped out at me. The monster-sized, soft-rubber recoil pad really makes shooting a big thumper like this easier on the shoulder.

The reason you need a giant soft recoil pad on a 12-gauge slug gun is because the amount of energy felt when you pull the trigger is somewhere around 50 pounds – about 35 more pounds of recoil than a .308 rifle.

The stock is made of a synthetic material that provides a nice, non-slip grip that is weather-proof and “hunting proof.” You can bang this stock on tree stands and ding it on the truck door without damaging it. This stock is offered in two colors – black and a nice-looking woodland camo.

The Savage 212 12-gauge slug gun comes with a heavy-duty, 2-round detachable box magazine that locks up tight and does not rattle around in the magazine. The barrel is 22 inches long, with an overall length of 43.125 inches.

Like many of Savage’s rifles, the Savage 212 12-gauge also comes with the AccuTrigger. I have several rifles with this trigger and love it. The AccuTrigger is adjustable, but I have never found that they needed any adjustment from the factory settings.

If you were using the rifle for bench-rest target shooting, you might find the need to adjust it, but for hunting, it is right on the money.

The 212 is following (or maybe setting) a new trend of larger bolt handles. It has a nice, big, fat bolt handle that is easy to cycle for those follow-up shots we need to take every now and then.

The metal is blued carbon steel with a matte finish, and the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts, as this has no iron sights.

It has a forward and aft sling stud, as you will likely need a sling for long walks to the stand. This slug gun weighs in at only 7.45 pounds before you add a scope and a few slugs, which is about the same as most rifles.

The 12-gauge shotgun slug is a remarkable hunting tool because it has so much mass. When it comes in contact with small twigs and leaves, it pushes them out of its path without being deflected, like smaller rifle bullets are.

I once shot a boar that was on the other side of a vine thicket with a 12-gauge slug, and the slug went right through all of the vines and leaves without deviating a bit from its target.

A smaller rifle bullet might not have made it through the thicket, much less hit the target.

Most slugs for rifled barrels weigh between 275 and 350 grains and leave the barrel somewhere around 2000 feet-per-second speed.

In today’s world of 4000 fps .17 caliber, this is relatively slow. But, fastest is not always best.

There are two types of slugs: rifled barrel and smooth bore. Be sure you have the correct ones or you will never find one that shoots well for you.

I mounted a new Redfield scope to this gun and headed off to the range. I had several types of slugs for rifled barrel guns and really wanted to see how this slug gun performed.

I brought the Lead Sled, but wanted to see how the recoil pad worked, so I was going to be shooting from sand bags to get the full brunt of the recoil. After a few shots to sight-in the scope, I was off to the 100-yard range for some fun shooting.

My first slugs were Hornady 2-3/4-inch 300-grain, and I was already impressed, as the gun was shooting groups of 1.5 inches. This was not even with the slug that the forums said would be the most accurate!

Next up was Federal 2-3/4-inch Vital Shock, and I found I was going the wrong way. The groups were supposed to be getting smaller, but this group was over 3 inches, which was still not bad for a big chunk of lead.

I shot several more, and had groups from 3 to 6 inches, with one group shooting 8 inches.

The slug that the forums stated was supposed to be the best was the Remington 385-grain AccuTip 3-inch. I shot the first one of these down range, and it slapped the paper with great authority. The next shot was almost on top of the first one. After a few more shots, I saw they were all in a big clover leaf design.

When these three groups were measured, they performed slightly better than the Hornady and were definitely the most accurate in this slug gun.

I would not hesitate to shoot either the Hornady or Remington slugs in this rifle with confidence that my slug would go where the crosshairs were pointing.

I wish I had been able to test every brand out there, but I had to stop when I got to around $400 worth of slugs! The high cost of these lead projectiles makes it cost-prohibitive for me to buy every brand out there.

The Savage Model 212 is a fine slug gun that is well made, very accurate and a blast to shoot. It feels good in my hands, and with the giant recoil pad, it did not make mush of my shoulder despute sitting over it and firing over 100 slugs in one sitting.

With this gun sighted-in at 150 yards, I am certain I can make accurate shots from a few yards outward to around 200.

With a little money and practice you should be able to hit the target at 250 yards. This is definitely an all-around hunting tool that will bring you many years of quality service.

Savage Arms also makes this fine gun in a 20-gauge version in both adult and youth sizes, as well as a stainless version.

I believe I might just have to keep this one.

Remember, if all firearms were treated as if they were loaded, there would be no more accidental shootings.

Shoot Safe, Shoot Straight!


Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”