• Savage Model 212 Camo Slug Gun Review

    The Model 212 Camo as delivered from Savage.Aside from introducing a number of new models to their catalog each year, the engineers at Savage Arms have also kept busy making small changes and improvements to many of their existing models. Some are for the better and others have proven to be for the worse or utterly unnecessary from a functional standpoint, but at least they're not resting on their laurels and are always working to improve upon their products.

    The Savage Model 212 12-gauge slug gun being reviewed here is the successor to the Model 210 and is a prime example of freshening up an existing product with some new features. The Model 210 had been around for some time and lacked one of the core features that the Savage brand is now known for - the AccuTrigger. With the new Model 220 20-gauge slug gun that was introduced in 2010 featuring the AccuTrigger, it was only natural that the Model 210 would soon be updated. The Model 212 is the result of that update and Savage did more than just add the AccuTrigger. Like the Model 220, the 212 now also features a two-round detachable magazine and the new-style bolt release mechanism located in the forward part of the trigger guard. About the only "new" feature Savage has left out of both the Model 212 and 220 is the AccuStock - presumably to help keep the cost down.

    For this review I received the Model 212 Camo, which as the name implies features a camo clad synthetic stock in what appears to be the MossyOak Treestand pattern. The stock is nothing special, but it serves it's purpose adequately and gets the job done. The P.A.D. recoil pad helps absorb some of the kick associated with 12-gauge slug guns, but given the relative light weight (7.45-lbs) of the rifle it still delivers a noticeable wallop to the shooters shoulder.

    Close-up of the new detachable magazine and the bolt release forward of the trigger guard.The main components of the action for the Model 212 remain relatively unchanged from it's 210 predecessor. It still features dual extractors, a plunger-style ejector and a large BT-style bolt handle. The rest of the bolt components have been updated to those used in the Model 220. The hunting weight AccuTrigger (adjustable from 2.5 to 6-lbs) is a huge improvement over the non-adjustable triggers found on the 210. The action is drilled and tapped to accept scope mounts and 2-pc Weaver style bases are included, but the included bases are all but useless unless you have an older scope with a long main tube that will span the gap between the rings. Most owners will find a 1-pc rail-type mount much more accommodating and useful with today's shorter scopes. In my case I opted for an EGW rail and Burris Signature Zee rings to mount a Leupold VX-II 3-9x40mm for my range work.

    The 22" barrel on the Model 212 is of a very light profile to help keep weight down and provides for a very balanced feel when shooting off-hand. In traditional Savage fashion the barrel is attached to the action via a slotted barrel nut. Unfortunately open sights are not available on any of the Savage slug gun models.

    Functionally the Savage Model 212 performed without a hitch. Feeding from the new detachable magazine was flawless, as were extraction and ejection. Cycling the bolt was a little stiff at first, but smoothed out nicely after working it in at the range. Trigger pull measured in at 3.75-lbs as set from the factory and I didn't see any need to adjust it.

    Bolt head features dual extractors and a plunger-type ejector.Accuracy with the Model 212 was a little disappointing after reviewing the Model 220 last year, but it definitely wasn't horrible for a slug gun. My test rounds included the Federal Power-Shock, Hornady SST, and Remington Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded - all being 2-3/4" in length. All groups were shot at 75 yards from a standing supported position with shooting sticks. If I've learned anything over the years it's that shooting a 12-gauge slug gun from the bench isn't a pleasant experience!

    The Remington Core-Lokt Ultra yielded the best overall accuracy, but the third shot in the string spoiled things as you can see in the target below. The Hornady SST's offered the second best group, but weren't nearly as consistent as the Core-lokt. Third place went to the Winchester Platinum Silver's and the Federal Power-Shock's brought up the rear. I should note that all of the Savage recommended loads in the owners manual were 3" saboted slugs, so it's possible the harmonics of the lightweight barrel prefer the harmonics generated with the longer/faster shells.

    Overall I was relatively pleased with the Savage Model 212. There's really nothing I can complain about with it, and while the accuracy wasn't on par with the Model 220 I reviewed last year I know from experience that in general 20-gauge slug guns typically offer better accuracy than those in 12-gauge.

    Additional Photos:

    Close-up of the new 2-round detachable magazine.
    Group shot with Federal Power-Shock 2-3/4" saboted slugs at 75 yards Group shot with Hornady SST 2-3/4" saboted slugs at 75 yards.
    Group shot with Remington Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded 2-3/4" saboted slugs Group shot with Winchester Platinum Silver 2-3/4" saboted slugs at 75 yards.

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