TarHunt’s Savage 220 Barrel Upgrade

As a slug shooting enthusiast, I am in the constant pursuit of perfection. Nothing spells slug gun perfection like Randy Fritz’s TarHunt custom slug guns. Anyone who’s been in the slug game for any amount of time knows about the masterpieces Randy creates. His slug bolt guns are literally the Bentley of slug guns. They come with a hefty price tag as well. So, when I heard that TarHunt recently came out with an affordable custom barrel for the extremely popular Savage 220, I was pretty stoked about it.

When Savage released the 212 and 220 slug bolt guns to the public a few years back, it took the slug hunting world by storm. New advances in sabot technologies naturally made the 220 (20ga) more popular than the 212 (12 ga) due to less punishing recoil. The inherent accuracy of the bolt gun paired with Savage’s famed AccuTrigger™ system quickly made it a favorite among hunters. However, according to Randy, some 220s came with quality control issues such as loose barrels in poorly fitted stocks and barrels not being made to SAAMI specs. Speaking of stocks, the factory stock is plastic, light, and has a “cheap” feel to it, so the first thing I did after purchasing mine was to install a Boyds thumb hole stock.

As an answer to this potentially troubling issue, Randy created affordable custom barrels for the 220 made to tight SAAMI tolerances that come in two styles. Option #1 is a matte stainless steel, 24″ barrel with a 1-24″ twist. The barrel is slightly heavier than factory, measuring 0.870″ at the muzzle brake and adding about a quarter pound to the overall weight of the gun. Option #2 is similar, but comes beautifully fluted and slightly thicker than option #1, measuring 0.935″ at the muzzle brake. Since this option is thicker than option #1, it adds about 3/4 lbs to the overall weight of the gun. I chose option #1 and opted for Randy to glass bed the Boyd stock.

TarHunt's Savage 220 Barrel Upgrade 3
Randy Fritz’s stamp of approval.
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Close up of the muzzle brake.

After a couple weeks of ‘impatiently’, patiently waiting for my slug gun to come home to daddy, it finally arrived. I headed to the range to film a review for my YouTube channel, Buck and Slug Reloaders. In my excitement of packing up the truck for some trigger time I forgot to bring the battery for my camera. Oh well….guess that will be my excuse for next time.

Range conditions were less than ideal. The wind was gusting up to 20 mph and it was a bit on the chilly side for this ‘ol Carolina-raised Texas boy. Now Randy recommends using Lightfield slugs, but since I don’t have any on hand, I brought some of my cast 20 ga Hammerhead slugs: one lot loaded with Herco and the other with Longshot powder. Hammerhead slugs are similar to Lightfields in the fact that they are both non-discarding sabot slugs.

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This is the first group using SlugsRUs published data and Herco powder.
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This is the first group fired with Hammerhead hand loaded slugs using SlugsRUs published data for Longshot powder. Both groups were shot at 100 yards.

Both groups of hand loaded Hammerhead slugs printed mighty fine accuracy at 100 yards despite the windy conditions. I had planned to film the gun shooting popular sabot slugs like Remington Accutips, Copper Solids, Hornady’s SST’s, etc, but that will have to wait until next time, so stay tuned.

All in all, this is wonderful upgrade to the Savage 220 that won’t break the bank or require you to take out a second mortgage on your home. The quality of these custom barrels are carefully built to very tight tolerances with the blue collar hunter in mind. The fit and finish is what is to be expected whenever the famous Randy Fritz from TarHunt is involved. While it may not be that RSG-20 “Bentley”, I’ll settle for my Savage 220 Cadillac.

Be sure to checkout his products and services at https://www.tarhunt.com/. And as always, drop by and say hi on my Facebook page (and YouTube channel with the same name), Buck and Slug Reloaders: https://www.facebook.com/groups/buckandslugreloaders/about/

Savage website: https://www.savagearms.com/firearms/centerfire/hunter-series/220-slug-gun

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