Revo Venator 12g semi auto
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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
Over the past few months I’ve shot nearly all of Sportsman Gun Centre’s range of Revo branded shotguns and never failed to be impressed.
When it comes to genuine value for money combined with an ability to perform straight out of the box, to date very little else has come close. So when Dan Kingdon gave me a call and said they’d introduced another gas-powered semi into the range I was delighted to be given the chance to be the first to test it. Called the Venator, the gun takes its name from the Latin word for hunter namely venator along with the Roman gladiator of the same name. In the case of the gladiator, he was the chap taking on a variety of dangerous beasts armed with nothing more than a short spear called a venabulum and occasionally a small shield. In other words, a man on his own with the odds stacked against him.
Now whilst modern day hunters certainly don’t face the same dangers as their Coliseum counterparts, skilful hunting is something all of us try to achieve. And with the new Revo against your shoulder you’ll stand a better chance than most, as this Turkish gasser is right on the money from the word go. When it comes to money once again Revo have set the standards for outlay versus performance, just £365.99p of your hard earned is all it takes to see this no-nonsense 12-bore become a permanent resident in your gun cabinet.
So what do you get for your minimal outlay? Open the box and apart from the small case of accessories that include a set of three flush-fit choke tubes and stock shims the first thing you’ll find is nicely grained, oil finished walnut with neat machine pressed checkering, a well radiused, ambidextrous grip and elongated forend. The stock is of the well proportioned game style complete with a soft rubber recoil pad, the minimal cast meaning most shooters should be looking along the barrel the moment they bring it to their shoulder. Further mention needs to be made in respect of the forend; the design promotes fluidity of the leading hand whilst the ratchet lock fluted mag cap rates as one of the largest you’re likely to see, the handful design ideal if you need to field strip with gloved hands.
Ornamentation of the alloy receiver has been kept to a minimum, the white Revo and Venator script standing out against the gloss black surface. But perchance you overlook these discreet nuances both words are repeated along the length of the polished silver, single claw bolt. Elsewhere the usual bolt release is situated just below the ejection port whilst the bolt lock and cross-bolt safety are located on the broad, front span of the trigger guard, a neat chromed non-adjustable blade located to the rear of the guard.
Beneath the forend sits an extended two rail action slide and robust spring. Like many Turkish shotguns, to slide the barrel extension of the 3” chambered 28” long gloss black barrel into position you must do so with the bolt in the forward position, easing it out of battery as the barrel starts to locate. Noticeably stiff at first, the process smoothes out as the Venator gets itself shot-in and things in general start to relax.
Topped off with a vented 7mm rib prior to assembly the shooter can select from either of the two gas valves. From 24grams up to about 36grams, the standard valve does an excellent job. But for those who like their magnum ammo for duck or whatever, the Heavy Duty valve makes light work of 50gram loads, metering the gas the system requires and helping take the sting out of the heavier charges. Combined with the soft butt pad and well conceived angles, with the Heavy Valve fitted even heavy BB and SSG loads were well within physical tolerance adding to the Venator’s list of potential users, keepers’ especially keen on launching serious quantities of lead in the direction of vermin and the like.
Swing To and Fro
Physically the Venator is an average size and weight, 48¾” in length and 7lbs 8oz on the scales. Drops at comb and heel are a sensible 1 9/16” and 2 3/8” with a 14 3/8” length of pull, the only physicality some may find a tad heavy being the breaking pressure of 7lbs 2oz for trigger. Weights and measures aside the Venator’s natural attitude is that of a flat shooter, a fact confirmed by the Arrow Laser Shot. Likewise, the comb fits comfortably against the cheek, the slim grip open to promote instant handling, the forend sliding along the lead hand, checkering and finger grooves allowing the gun to be locked instantly into position.
Fitting ¼ choke and loading up with 28gram Eley VIP Sporting load, the hallmark of any shotgun is how it performs from the off. Needless to say the Venator was an instant winner, one bird away on the first stand with straights on the second and third stands, a forty plus score meaning the Venator failed to connect with less than six of the fifty sporting clays its was swung against.
Shifting up a gear to ½ choke and 36 gram VIP Extreme to tackle a few of Huntroyde’s ever present crows, the Revo performed flawlessly with no obvious need to change valves. The gun swings smoothly and mounts well, the cyclic system running impeccably even when three rapid fire shots were taken on numerous occasions. At all times the Revo absorbed all but the last discernable effects of recoil even from the heavier loads, the gun remaining relaxing to shoot over extended periods. The other most notable aspect of the Venator was that in handling and shooting, the gun performs way in excess of what most shooters might well expect, the overall sensation being of using one of the far more expensive Italian semis on which of course this Revo is based.
More For The Same
For those who find £365.99p a little on the pricy side the synthetic Venator can be all yours for just £335.99p whilst the Section 1 4+1 shot versions of either variation cost the exact same. Let’s face it, if Sportsman offers their range of Venator semi-autos for any less, they’ll be paying you to take them off their hands. Just how the Venator can be sold at what it costs beggars belief, the fact it shoots like a gun that costs five times as much or more is testament to just how right the gun’s Turkish manufacturer has got it right.
One thing I must point out is that the Venator and many of the various Revos shotguns has become the subject of debate on many of the shooting forums. My advice is to take no notice of them, the favourite mistake is to claim that these guns won’t cycle 75mm 28gram loads. All I’ll say is that all of them run perfectly when loaded up with Eley and in the case of the Venator, anything above 38grams, change valves. And no, I’m not in the pay of Sportsman GC so I have no vested interest in evaluating or pointing out others’ inaccuracies.
For those of you who know how to use and operate a semi-auto and appreciate one that works well, shoots where it points, delivers the goods and won’t set you back too much, Revo’s Venator is the 12-bore for you. Pigeons of both feathered and clay varieties along with crows, magpies or any other fur covered critter all fall easy prey to the Venator, a shotgun more than worthy of carrying the hunter’s name. GM