Retay Gordion Turkey Review | Outdoor Life

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My ideal turkey gun would be light and handy, it would be compatible with a red dot sight, it would have nice ergonomics to promote accurate shooting, and it wouldn’t rock me too badly when I pulled the trigger. Most importantly, it would shoot killer patterns. In other words, it would be a lot like the Retay Gordion Turkey. 

This Turkish-made shotgun has many (but not all) of the features a serious turkey hunter expects on a dedicated gobbler gun. And it delivers those features and performance for under a grand. In today’s market of semi-auto turkey guns, I think the Retay Gordion Turkey is one of the best values available. 

See It

  • Action: Semi auto, inertia
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Gauge: 12 and 20 (tested)
  • Weight: 6 pounds, 8 ounces
  • Trigger: 3 pounds, 3 ounces (measured)
  • Overall Length: 43.5 inches 
  • Barrel Length: 22 inches (20 gauge)
  • Choke: Interchangeable MaraPro chokes C, IC, M, IM, F
  • Camo: Mossy Oak Bottomland, Mossy Oak Obsession, Realtree Timber, Realtree Timber
  • Price: $949

Key Features

  • Comfortable pistol grip
  • Dovetail and rail included for mounting optics
  • Deep-bore-drilled barrel and lengthened forcing cone
  • “Inertia-plus” semi-auto action

Review Highlights

  • Excellent pattern performance
  • Points and handles well
  • Light and compact for carrying in the field

Patterning the Retay Gordion

Gordion turkey
The Gordion Turkey comes with a rail that attaches to the dovetail on its receiver.

Natalie Krebs

The first thing I did after assembling this shotgun was throw a Holosun red dot on it. The Gordion’s receiver has a dovetail that accepts an included rail. I fastened the rail to the dovetail, mounted my dot, and then sighted the gun in with some target loads. This easy process took about 15 minutes. 

With the rig dialed in, I stepped back to 40 yards and shot two different turkey loads, three patterns each. I shot Hevi Shot Hevi 18 in both No. 7 and No. 9 pellet sizes. For data, I counted the number of pellet strikes inside a 10-inch diameter circle over the core of the pattern (as is the standard for evaluating turkey patterns). I then averaged the total number of pellet strikes inside the 10-inch circle for each load.

As you can see from the chart below, the No. 9s produced much more impressive patterns (not surprising since there are so many more pellets per shell), but they also produced higher pattern percentages. 

Shotshell Payload 40 YD Pattern Av Percentage in 10” Cir.
Hevi 18 No. 9 1 1/2 oz 239 44%
Hevi 18 No. 7 1 1/2 oz 107 38%

The old standard for effective turkey lethality is at least 100 pellet strikes inside a 10-inch circle (of course, it’s up to you to put that 10-inch core of the pattern over the gobbler’s head and neck). Both loads would be turkey killers at 40 yards. I would also be very confident shooting the No. 9s at 50 yards. Could I stretch the range even farther? Probably, but that would be unnecessary in my opinion. If you want to shoot turkeys at long ranges (first, reconsider) then opt for a 12 gauge and spend lots of time patterning it. 

the retay pattern
This is the best pattern that the Retay Gordion shot with Hevi 18 No. 9s. It’s 269 pellets inside a 10-inch-diameter circle.

Alex Robinson

To put the Gordion’s 40-yard performance in context, the No. 9 loads patterned on par with many of the 12-gauge loads that we tested in our review of the best turkey loads. It’s important to note that the 12-gauge loads were packed with 2-ounce payloads (or heavier). 

For example, the 12-gauge Hevi 18s (No. 9, 2-ounce payload) single-best pattern from three different shotguns was 253 pellet strikes. My best pattern with the Retay was 269 pellet strikes with a 1 ½-ounce payload. In short, the Retay Gordion in 20 gauge shot better than the three 12-gauge turkey guns in our test — at least with the Hevi 18 load.  

For a more apples-to-apples comparison, executive gear editor Scott Einsmann recently pattern tested a Benelli M2 Turkey Performance Shop gun in 20 gauge. This is a $3,000 rig. His best performing load (Apex No. 9s, 1 ⅝-ounce payload) averaged 285 pellet strikes for a pattern percentage of 48%. Yes, that is better than what the Retay delivered, at least with my test loads. But is it $2,000 dollars better? I think not.  

Full Choke vs. Turkey Choke

It’s important to note that I was shooting these patterns with a factory full choke, which was technically not rated for TSS. This predicament leads us to the one real criticism I have for the Gordion Turkey: Retay does not supply a turkey choke with this turkey gun. The Gordion comes with five chokes, ranging from improved cylinder to full, but the IM and F chokes are not rated for TSS (or steel) according to Retay. So, if you want to shoot TSS (and go by the book) you must either run the Modified choke or buy an aftermarket choke. According to Retay, the only current option that fits the Marapro system is the Jebs Head Hunter, which will cost you $100. 

If you’re worried about shooting TSS through a factory full choke or if you really want to optimize this shotgun for ultimate long range patterns, I’d recommend throwing down for the aftermarket choke. But since I was shooting small TSS pellet sizes (and this was a test gun) I felt just fine running TSS through the factory full choke. After shooting about 20 TSS loads through the full choke I have noticed no issues and am thrilled with the 40-yard results.

Deep-Bore-Drilled Barrel

The fact that the Gordion patterned so well is especially notable when compared to some of the other Turkish-made shotguns out there, which often deliver fine but not stellar patterns. So, what’s the secret? 

If you ask Retay, it’s all about the barrel. The company uses a drilling process for producing barrels (as opposed to cold hammer forging). 

“A deep-bore-drilled process involves taking a tube of bar stock, cut to the desired length of the final barrel, placing the bar stock in a lathe and manually drilling out the barrel from the center and contouring and profile the barrel with lathe cutters,” says Rus Hinkle, a service lead at Retay. “This leaves the bar stock in its original, homogenous form as it was cast or forged from the factory.”

Having a more homogenous, consistent barrel contributes to better patterns overall, says Hinkle. “With specific regards to shotguns, the more uniform the vibrations of the barrel [as the shot is fired] correlate to less destabilization of the pellets as they exit the muzzle.”

Initially, Retay went with a deep-bore-drilling process out of necessity (because it was more affordable to start up). According to Hinkle, many Turkish arms companies are wholly or partially funded by the Turkish state through grants, which is one of the primary reasons other Turkish manufacturers are able to keep product costs low. 

However, Retay was not offered such support. So the deep-bore-drilling process was a more affordable option for making barrels out of the gate, albeit a slower one. Now Retay stands behind its barrel making process as a market differentiator and one of the keys to their guns’ overall performance.

Retay, Breda, and Fabarm all use a deep-bore-drilling process for making their barrels. Retay also lengthens the forcing cones of its barrels, which helps further stabilize the shot as it moves down the barrel, according to Hinkle.  

Hunting with the Gordion Turkey

turkey hunting
The Gordion Turkey balances easily on your knee.

Natalie Krebs

I took the Gordion hunting during the first week of the turkey season and I found the gun to handle nicely in the woods and balance well as it rested on my knee. 

Pistol Grip

The Gordion Turkey has a husky rubbery pistol grip that I liked very much (though there are pistol-grip-free options). For grips on bows and rifles, I typically like a slim, firm profile (which is the exact opposite of the Gordion’s grip), but a shotgun is not a precision tool. Turkey hunters want to be able to point and shoot quickly — which I was able to do comfortably with the Gordion. 

Inertia Plus Action

gordion turkey
The field-stripped Gordion.

Natalie Krebs

If you’ve shot Benellis, then the Retay action will look very familiar to you. Retay says that it has optimized its action so that even when you slide the bolt forward gently, it will still go into battery. 

This is actually a big deal for turkey hunters, who might not want to start their morning by loudly slamming a shell into the chamber for every roosted tom to hear. In fact, this is one of the reasons I typically go with pump-action turkey guns. They allow me to very quietly rack a shell, plus I know that as long as the pump is locked forward, the gun will go bang. 

Happily, I can report that I had zero issues with the Gordion. Even when I slid the bolt home gently, the gun would fire. However, I did notice that if I tried to intentionally stop the bolt just short of sliding into battery, I could get the shotgun to misfire. So, it’s not totally foolproof.

As for reliability, I’ve put about 50 rounds through the gun without issue. Turkey guns aren’t typically high-volume tools. Perhaps more notably, we had a standard Gordion in our review of the best shotguns and burned hundreds of rounds through that test gun without cleaning it — we never had a hangup. (In fact, we ended up choosing it as our Great Buy award winner.)   

Performance When It Counts

turkey hunting
The author took this gobbler at 27 yards.

Natalie Krebs

On my second morning of hunting I was set up in a field corner with a pair of gobblers roosted nearby. A few minutes into legal light I yelped softly to get their attention and not 10 minutes later a longbeard flew down, right into the decoys.

As it should be, the shot itself was anticlimactic. At 27 paces the No. 9 Hevi Shot load hit him perfectly and the gobbler was dead as he hit the ground. While the result was completely predictable, it did make me like the Gordion Turkey just a little bit more.  

Hevi Shot
Hevi Shot Hevi 18 loads in No. 9s with 1 1/2-ounce payloads were deadly out of the Retay Gordion Turkey.

Natalie Krebs

What the Retay Gordion Turkey Does Best

This rig is a turkey killing machine. It shoots great patterns, runs reliably, optics installation is easy, and it looks cool — all for under $1,000. I think this is one of the best deals out there in the turkey gun market.  

Read Next: The Best Turkey Hunting Shotguns of 2024, Field Tested and Reviewed

Where the Retay Gordion Turkey Can Improve

The company needs to start shipping its turkey guns with a turkey-specific choke. Otherwise they’ve got a near-perfect setup. 

Retay Gordion
In Mossy Oak Bottomland this is a sweet-looking rig.

Natalie Krebs

Final Thoughts

Many serious turkey hunters are swapping their 12 gauges for sub-gauges these days, and the Retay Gordion is a good example of why. It’s light and handy, and still delivers pattern performance that’s on par (or even better) than what some 12 gauges are producing with TSS. If you want a high-performing dedicated semi-auto turkey gun, but don’t want to drop two grand (or more), then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than the Gordion Turkey.

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