Savage Arms Model
220 Turkey

Inspire A Change Of Heart
; .

The Savage Model 220 Turkey makes an ideal gobbler-getter
when paired with a Primos Trigger Stick rest.

It’s a funny thing about life — as you transition during the journey, thoughts and opinions about things sometimes change over time as age has a unique way of changing our attitudes and perceptions. Take shotguns for example; if you told me 30 years ago I would be hunting with a bolt-action scattergun, I would surmise your mental well-being was compromised or at least confused. After all, a real hunting shotgun is either a pump or semi-auto while trap, skeet and sporting clay shooters commonly utilize over and under, single-shot and semi-autos. What purpose does a bolt-action shotgun serve on any field? It makes about as much sense as mounting a 24x scope on a lever-action 30-30!

Things Change

Well, today my shotgun needs are primarily focused on turkey hunting. Fortunately I grew up and still reside in a rural area with a stable population of wild turkeys. We enjoy a three-week spring season allowing us to harvest two gobblers and in the fall we have a month long season allowing two birds of either sex.

I love hunting turkey and since I was a kid, turkey hunting has been ingrained into a way of life. The vast majority of my hunting has involved a pump-action 12 gauge and I have taken a considerable number of birds through the years.

Now I’m a card-carrying member of retirement organizations, my attitude and perceptions about turkey hunting and shotguns have changed. When I first laid eyes on a Savage Model 212 and 220, I wondered what on earth they were thinking?

However, I was assigned to review this shotgun and, to be honest, I wanted to take a closer look at this bolt-action scattergun and see for myself if this really was a good option for turkey hunters — or was it just snake oil?


On Mark’s test gun an UltraDot MatchDot II was mounted on the one-piece rail.

From The Beginning

The Savage Model 212 and 220 are both built around the company’s Model 110 rifle action. Ironically, I had just finished reviewing one of the various Model 110 versions and was impressed with the rifle from start to finish. So, the Model 220 20-gauge test gun I received was already off to a decent start. Like the previously tested Model 110, this shotgun features attributes most any turkey hunter would appreciate.

The Model 220 comes with the Savage AccuFit stock system, a very practical feature allowing the shooter to easily adjust the comb height and length-of-pull for a custom stock fit. No need for a trip to the gunsmith.

The one-piece synthetic stock comes with a cool looking Mossy Oak Obsession camo pattern that will surely appeal to avid turkey hunters. There are rubber-like, textured inserts around the grip and forend for a secure hold even in wet weather. The Model 220 tipped the scales at 7 lbs. before adding the optic so it wasn’t like packing around a log.

The 22″ free-floating barrel features an extra-full turkey choke. The blued carbon-steel, smooth bore barrels are secured to the receiver using a locking nut. The barrel does not have a bead sight but sports a one-piece rail begging for an optic.


Put the red dot on the gobbler’s chin and pull the trigger! Pattern of the Federal Premium TSS load with #7-9 shot from 30 yards.

Gobbler Dots

I mounted an UltraDot MatchDot II on this shotgun and I’ll have to confess, it’s wonderful for aging eyes like mine. Have you ever missed a turkey? I have — and more than once. I know what you’re thinking, “How in the world can you miss a big bird with a shotgun?” Well, it may be easier than you imagine.

For me, this occurs when I take my head off the stock and focus on the gobbler, not the sights. With the UltraDot red dot, I can see the gobbler clearly when he struts in to range. Put the red dot on the lower portion of his neck and pull the trigger. The Model 220 has a 7.5″ rail long enough to allow flexibility of where the sight fits the shooter best.

Another attribute I appreciate is the user-adjustable AccuTrigger. The trigger pull weight can be adjusted from 2.5 to 6 lbs. My test gun’s trigger broke clean and crisp around 4 lbs. The wide, three-position, easy-to-operate safety is located directly behind the bolt and situated ideally to operate with your thumb. The 220 Turkey also comes with a detachable box magazine holding two rounds plus one in the chamber. I also enjoyed the oversize bolt knob — it makes running the bolt painless even when wearing gloves.


The oversize bolt handle and three-position safety makes handling easier
during those hectic moments when a big gobbler is in range.

Range Time

Turkey season was in full swing and I had already taken one bird with another tag left to fill. I wanted to pattern the Model 220 and get the gun sighted-in with the UltraDot before heading to the woods. A few different loads were tested and here is another area I have experienced an “attitude adjustment.”

I’m an old-school kind of hunter where most of the turkeys taken in my life fell to #4 shot. Today’s technology has changed the landscape to say the least. For example, Federal offers several loads specifically for turkey hunting and I procured some of their 3rd Degree loads with a blend of #5, #6 and #7 shot that includes Tungsten Super Shot (TSS). For the 20-gauge, I tested 3″ loads with 1-5/8 oz. of 7 and 9 shot. The TSS pellets delivers as much penetration energy as a #5 lead pellet, plus there are a lot more pellets being launched.

At the range, it took a few shots to get the red dot sight lined-up. The bolt was easy to manipulate and the red dot provided a consistent aiming point. After setting up a turkey head target from 30 yards, I unleashed the Federal Premium Heavyweight 3rd Degree TSS load. To say I was impressed wouldn’t be an overstatement. There is no doubt these new offerings have been an incredible achievement for turkey hunters. When I was younger, the thought of using small shot size would give me cold chills but after witnessing the performance of the TSS Federal premium loads, I realized a new day has dawned!


In The Field

The first morning I hunted with the Savage 220 was not ideal. The morning started off with a slight wind and light rain but I stayed dry in a ground blind while waiting for the rain to subside. Later in the morning I heard one bird gobble. With a two-hen decoy set-up, I began calling.

I soon heard the drumming sound as a gobbler strutted just out of my sight. A few more gobbles and the big tom strutted in view. He had his eyes fixed on the decoy as I eased the shotgun out the window — I can’t tell you how nice the red dot appears on the neck of a turkey. As the bird stopped and raised his head at 34 steps, I pulled the trigger. The high-density payload of TSS shot took care of business quickly.

While this encounter marked my first with a bolt-action shotgun, it will not be the last. This Model 220 is specifically designed with the turkey hunter in mind and comes loaded with features any hunter will appreciate. Better yet, at an MSRP of $695, you can’t go wrong. For serious, turkey hunting aficionados, the Savage Model 220 Turkey is worth a closer look, especially if you’ve been on the fence about a bolt-action shotgun.

Subscribe To GUNS Magazine

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine May 2021 Issue Now!