Most of you probably don’t recognize the brand name “Retay” as a shotgun manufacturer, and neither did I. However, after decades in the shooting sports I’ve learned not to discount newcomers to the industry; Glock was once the unfamiliar name of a foreign manufacturer.
Relay’s manufacturing is based in Turkey and US operations are handled by RetayUSA.com. I’ve reviewed several Turkish-made guns in the last couple of years and all have been outstanding; the Retay Gordion is no exception.
The Gordion appears to be somewhat Montefeltro-like, but that’s where the similarities end and the enhancements begin.
The Gordion uses the patented Retay Inertia Plus bolt to eliminate bolt bounce and potential misfires. If you have used inertia shotguns long enough you have probably experienced this problem, I certainly have while shooting 3-gun action matches.
When it does occur, the bolt is out of battery and you get a misfire when you try to fire the shotgun. So, the solution is to rack the action to re-cock the hammer which ends up ejecting the shell in the chamber and forces you to have to rechamber another.
Well all that takes time and you lose a live round which in competition hurts your score, and in hunting may very well cost you the opportunity to bag the game you were aiming for.
The good news is the Inertia Plus system keeps it from happening. Retay utilizes an internal Rollover Torsion Spring installed in the bolt to keep it closed in battery. The test gun I was provided functioned flawlessly during patterning, hunting, and function testing.
Well, let’s take a look at the rest of the Gordion attributes before we get into the most interesting feature. The gun weighs a little less than 7 pounds so it’s light and is fast and fairly effortless to handle. There are no concerns about carrying the Gordion all day afield. The balance of the 28” model tested is made for smooth easy mounting.
The style and quality of the checkering are much nicer than you would expect for a shotgun of this price range. The Turkish walnut stock and fore-end are both pretty and very comfortable. The length of pull is 14 ¼ inches and it has a great recoil pad on it for comfort.
The fore-end is long and slender providing a great fit for the shooter. The sculpting provides a very comfortable grip while the deep, sharp checkering makes it secure in the hand.
The stock and fore-end cap come with installed sling swivels studs, the matching swivels are included in the case on arrival. Speaking of the case, it’s the nicest case I have ever seen on a gun costing less than thousands. It’s padded and inletted for the gun and all the chokes and accessories.
The case also contains a bottle of gun oil, an owner manual, and a full set of stock shims so the user can adjust the stock for drop and cast to get the best fit for accurate shooting.
- Model Gordion
- Gauge 12
- Chamber 3”
- Barrel 28” (tested)
- Weight 6 lbs 14 ¾ oz
- Stocks Turkish Walnut (tested)
- Finish Black Chrome
- Choke 5 Screw in
- MSRP $899
A Different Barrel Process
The heart and soul of any shotgun is really the performance of the barrel and how it patterns. Retay claims much better performance due to using a deep bore drilling process rather than hammer forging their barrels. This is supposed to induce less stress and result in a straighter shooting barrel.
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical having shot and patterned many shotguns over the years that this would make a substantial difference. But I was thinking that deep bore drilling a 4140 steel blank had to have some advantage or why would they go to the trouble and expense?
In addition to drilling the barrels, they also bore a lengthened forcing cone from the factory. A lengthened forcing cone allows for a smoother transition from the chamber to the bore; resulting in less pellet deformation and better patterns downrange.
The barrel has a fairly flat style ventilated rib, which I prefer to some of the higher ribs. It proved to pattern about 50/50, half above point of aim, half below. This makes a great all-around game gun as you never know if your quarry is going to be flushing up or landing.
I tried several times but failed miserably at getting an acceptable picture of the inside of the barrel. I don’t have a quantitative measure but it was the shiniest slickest looking barrel I have seen short of my Perazzi.
No two patterns are identical so testing this performance function is a bit of a challenge. I shot shells from the same box of Winchester AA 1 ounce 7 ½ shot through the Gordion and from my Benelli Vinci. I shot the patterns with an Improved Cylinder (IC) choke installed in each gun from 30 yards and then started counting pellet holes in a standard 30 inch circle.
My Benelli shotgun only averaged 71.5% of the pellets in the 30” circle at 30 yards. The Gordion averaged 86.5% of the pellets in the same 30” circle. That meant the Retay had 15% more of the pellets in the target area.
This was an earth-shattering moment. How many more birds and targets would I have hit with 15% more pellets in the kill zone over the years? In addition, to the lengthened forcing cone and deep bore drilling, Retay finishes the barrels in a black chrome that is as beautiful as it is durable.
My performance numbers may not match those advertised by Retay, but I’m sure they did much a more in-depth test and there are many variables such as ammunition used, and the firearms they compared too. However, I will always take a 15% increase in pattern density (or more) if I can get it.
I function-tested the Gordion with 9 different types of ammunition. They ranged from light loads going only 1145 feet per second (FPS) to 3” magnum loads going 1450 FPS. Payloads ranged from 1 ounce to 1 3/8 ounces.
The Retay fired, ejected, and fed all the loads from the 4 manufacturers I had on hand. The Federal 1 3/8-ounce, 1450 fps, 3” Magnum Bismuth loads were definitely a bit stout out of the light gun but the recoil pad made is tolerable and with typical winter layers it wouldn’t be bad at all.
Retay also offers several other shotguns in various camo patterns and barrel lengths for waterfowl and turkey hunting. Based on the improved patterns I saw I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to pick one of those up and head to the blind for ducks or geese.
The Gordion handles great, balances well, looks fantastic, and functions with all types of ammunition and patterns significantly better than other guns. In my opinion, Retay is certainly giving the consumer a whole lot of gun for the money.
The Retay Inertia Plus bolt eliminates bolt bounce misfires and the barrel manufacturing process will put more pellets where you aim it. How many more hits can you get with an increase in shot on target?
I’m not sure how they improve on inertia gun performance, deep bore barrels, black chrome finishes, and put it all in a great case with accessories for $899, but I’ll take it. Go check them out today, it’s hunting season! For more information, visit Retay HERE.