Every spring of my adult life, I’ve gone afield to chase the elusive eastern wild turkey. And every year in the weeks leading up to the season opener, I find myself sorting through accessories to alter one of my pump-action shotguns—typically tuned for slugs and deer hunting—to better equip the gun for the pursuit of wild turkey. All of this is followed by a few hours of range time pattern testing brutish-to-shoot turkey loads. The process never seems very efficient, and the thought of using a dedicated turkey gun has crossed my mind more than once. That opportunity came last spring in Kansas where the successful and clean harvest of two beautiful Kansas-bred specimens was made possible by a Savage Model 212 bolt-action shotgun.
The Savage 212, available through the Custom Rifle Shop at Savage Arms, offers hunters and shooters a 12 gauge optimized for turkey hunting. It has a typical Savage-style receiver that is drilled and tapped for optics and features the company’s AccuTrigger. A camouflage stock, detachable box magazine and a barrel threaded for chokes makes the shotgun an ideal platform for such pursuits—the gun is invisible to birds, quick to reload and can be tuned to improve patterns.
The example I used on the turkey hunt included a Weaver Kaspa 1-4X 24 mm optic, which helped as the distances began to stretch in the fields of Kansas. The ammunition of choice was 3rd Degree from Federal Ammunition—a mixed-load shotshell designed for targets both near and far. In fact, the second bird harvested was dead before it hit the dirt from nearly 50 yds.—pretty impressive stuff. Federal now includes Tungsten Super Shot within its 3rd Degree line, replacing its popular Heavyweight No. 7 shot, and making it even more effective at distance.
This hunt was also the first time I turkey hunted from within the confines of a ground blind, and I must say the Double Bull blind from Primos was very useful for the ambush tactic used. Both of the jaded old toms did require a bit of coercing with a diaphragm call to seal the deal, and thankfully a helping hand from the Primos Trigger Stick steadied the shot.
The combination of equipment was, without a doubt, effective, and the experience left me with a solid appreciation for dedicated equipment, not to mention a slight bit of jealousy toward Kansas and its mixed breed of turkeys.
Manufacturer: Savage Arms
Action: bolt-action, smoothbore shotgun
Gauge: 12-ga., 3” chamber
Receiver: carbon steel, blued finish
Barrel: 22”, carbon steel, blued finish
Trigger: AccuTrigger; 2-lb., 10-oz. pull
Safety: tang-mounted with forward to fire
Stock: synthetic; Mossy Oak camouflage finish
Sights: none; drilled and tapped for optic mounts
Overall Length: 43”
Length of Pull: 13 3/8”
Drop at Comb: 1 3/8”
Drop at Heel: 1 ¾”
Weight: 7 lbs., 5 ozs.
Magazine: two-round detachable box
Accessories: owner’s manual, sling swivel studs, full choke
MSRP: Savage Custom Shop pricing schedule varies dependent upon parts availability. Call (413) 568-7001 ext. 4299 to build your own custom-designed Model 212.