Savage’s New Model 210FT 12 Gauge Turkey Gun


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

March 28, 2005




As just about anyone who has ever hunted the American wild turkey will tell you, it is one of the most enjoyable and addictive of the hunting sports. Turkey Hunting is much more than just sitting somewhere waiting for game to show up. It involves the art of calling in the bird. When everything is going right, it is a conversation between the hunter and the long beard Tom. Most wild turkeys that have been hunted before are very wary animals, and the hunter must convince the bird that he is not a hunter at all, but rather a hen who is interested in romantic activity. Another wonderful thing about turkey hunting is that it takes place in the Spring, just as plants are breaking dormancy and showing all the signs that Winter is finally over, as opposed to hunting in the bitter cold as is sometimes the case during deer season. Calling in a bird requires very little in specialized equipment. Just a good call and the knowledge of how to use it, along with a shotgun of ample power, will get you started. However, as with most of the hunting sports, using better equipment can increase your odds of success, and only adds to the enjoyment of the sport.

Turkey hunting is unlike most shotgun sports in that the gun is actually aimed like a rifle, instead of quickly pointed as in dove or pheasant hunting. In fact, where it is legal, hunting turkey with a rifle is the preferred method. However, most states do not allow the use of a rifle for turkey hunting. Most dedicated turkey guns come with provisions for the mounting of optical sights, to increase the hunter’s ability to pick out his target in thick woods or dense brush.

Savage has recently introduced a new bolt action shotgun built specifically for those who pursue the wild turkey. It is more like a rifle that shoots shotgun shells than like a shotgun adapted for turkey hunting, in that it is a bolt-action repeater with a two-shot box magazine, allowing a total of three shots to be carried in the weapon.  The new Savage 210FT has a massive bolt that dwarfs that of a center fire bolt-action rifle. The bolt in the 210FT weighs one pound and seven ounces, and has a diameter of .993 inch, not including the three full-length guide rails. The twenty-four inch barrel is also substantial, looking more like a ten gauge than a twelve.  The oversize bolt handle lifts only sixty degrees to easily clear a low-mounted scope sight. The heavy-duty rotating bolt head carries two opposed extractors, and the 210FT uses a fixed blade ejector that tosses the empty shell out with authority or rolls it gently into your hand, depending upon how forcefully the bolt is operated. The lightweight synthetic stock is finished in a RealTree Advantage pattern, with the barreled action and trigger guard finished in a matte blue. The bolt is stainless steel. As can be seen in the photos, the camo pattern is very effective in the hardwoods. The stock is equipped with sling swivel studs, also finished in the RealTree pattern, and the butt wears a welcome ventilated recoil pad.  The 210FT weighs in at just over seven and one-half pounds, which is about right for a turkey gun. The trigger pull on the test gun measured five and one-quarter pounds, and released crisply. The manual safety on the 210FT is right on the top tang, just as God intended. I detest the crossbolt safeties that  are on the trigger guards of most shotguns.  The Savage comes with one screw-in choke tube that measures .695 at the muzzle. It will accept any standard screw-in choke tubes that fit Winchester, Browning, or Mossberg twelve gauge standard bore shotguns.

While the 210FT is equipped with open sights, I decided to mount an optical sight, just as almost all purchasers of the gun will do. I prefer an optical sight on my turkey guns. Hunting in the deep woods, a good low-powered scope allows the hunter to see through the brush and undergrowth to better judge the size, sex, and age of the bird. The Savage is drilled and tapped to accept any two-piece scope mount that will fit their 10 and 110 series bolt action rifles that are equipped with the AccuTrigger. In other words, the round-top receiver rifles. Two Weaver number 46 bases will work, but due to the length of the action, they place the rings too far apart to fit many of the scopes which are best suited to this weapon.  Instead, I chose the superb Leupold Quick Release bases and rings. This system places the rings closer together than does the Weaver system, and allows the quick and easy removal and replacement of the scope without loss of zero.

In the Leupold rings I mounted a new scope from Mueller Optics that is designed specifically for the turkey hunter. While this Mueller 2 to 7 power scope would also be a good choice on a big game rifle, its unique reticle makes it an excellent choice for the turkey hunter. The reticle consists of heavy crosshairs that lead to a center circle which covers fifteen inches at forty yards when set on the scope’s two-power setting. Inside the circle are fine crosshairs that lead to a one minute center dot. With the turn of an eleven-position rheostat dial atop the scope, the center dot can be illuminated by battery power. This scope offers the advantages of a low-powered variable scope, along with the low-light advantage of a red dot sight, but unlike a standard dot sight, if the battery runs down due to forgetting to turn it off, you still have a very useable 2 to 7 scope atop the gun. The windage and elevation adjustments are easily made without the use of a coin or tools, and are graduated in one-quarter minute intervals.

In addition to various other turkey loads, I tested out some of the new Winchester Xtended Range Hi-Density shot loads specifically built for turkey hunting. Hi-Density shot is ten percent heavier than lead shot of the same size, and is more consistent and round. A look at the photo of the shot shows very uniform size and shape of the individual shot pellets. Winchester claims better patterns, deeper penetration, and harder-hitting long range performance as compared to lead. As can also be seen in the photos, the Xtended Range ammo provided for some very good patterns from the Savage. I tried a variety of choke tubes from Trulock, Kicks, Comp-N-Choke, and Hastings ranging from a tight .640  to a .700, but none bettered the performance of the factory Savage tube while using the Xtended Range shells. The patterns of the number five shot proved tight enough that I would have no problem taking a shot on a Tom out to sixty yards. The 210FT is chambered for all three-inch shells, and the velocity of the Winchester ammo starts out at 1225 feet-per-second. For turkey hunting, I prefer a three inch shell to a three and one-half inch, as my experience shows that I usually get better patterns with the shorter shell. A turkey is killed with three or four well-placed pellets. There is nothing to be gained by throwing more shot downrange. In fact, I often use a two and three-quarter inch shell, depending upon the patterns thrown by a particular gun. Winchester offers this new Xtended Range ammo in a variety of shells lengths and shot sizes. A tight pattern from a hard-hitting load is all that is needed, and the Savage bolt gun shooting the Xtended Range ammo makes a lot of sense. With turkey season just a few days away, I intend to try out this combination on a bird very shortly.

For more information on the extensive line of Savage firearms, check them out on the web at:

For a look at the entire line of Winchester Xtended Range Hi-Density turkey loads, go to:

You can purchase the Mueller Turkey scope directly from Mueller Optics at:

For a look at the extensive line of Leupold mounts and rings, go to:

Jeff Quinn


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Savage’s New Model 210FT 12 Gauge Turkey Gun.



Comparison of bolts between Savage's new 210 and their 110 rifle: on the left is the 210 shotgun, on the right is the 110 rifle.



The 210 features a heavy-duty rotating bolt head with dual opposed extractors and a fixed-blade ejector.



The RealTree camo pattern on the 210's stock is very effective.



The butt stock features a welcome ventilated recoil pad.



The two-shot box magazine means the 210 carries three shots at the ready.



The 210's oversize bolt handle is easily and quickly manipulated, and lifts only sixty degrees to easily clear a low-mounted scope sight.



The 210 comes with an open rear sight and bead front sight, and is also drilled and tapped for two-piece scope mounts.



For a turkey gun, a low-powered scope is much preferred to open sights. Jeff chose Leupold's quick-release scope mount, which places the scope rings close together for the large 210 action.



Author chose the excellent new Mueller 2-7x turkey scope for the 210FT. This is a quality scope with a unique reticle designed specifically for the turkey hunter, but would work equally well on a rifle.



The 210FT is chambered for 12-gauge 3" shells, which Jeff prefers to 3-1/2" shells for turkey hunting.



The 210 features a top tang safety, which Jeff much prefers to the cross-bolt type.



Author tested the 210FT with a variety of choke tubes.



Winchester's new XTended Range high-density turkey loads proved to be very effective in the Savage 210FT.



Winchester's XTended Range shells, patterned from the Savage 210FT at 40 yards (top), 50 yards (center), and 60 yards (bottom), show that this would be an effective turkey combination even at longer ranges.