Axor Bushpig XT 12-gauge shotgun
The Axor Bushpig XT button-release shotgun ejects a shell and lines up the next, ready to be chambered on your command

Review: Axor Bushpig XT push-button shotgun

Bushpig is an inspired name for a repeating shotgun, especially one as black and beautifully ugly as the Axor Bushpig XT. 

The gun is named for exactly what it’s going to be used for by potentially thousands of Aussie hunters, but there’s a lot more value to this shotgun than its catchy name and its $895 price.

Axor Bushpig XT 12-gauge shotgun
The XT’s angular stock is striking, but the other Bushpig models have more standard contours if this isn’t your style

If I’d been told this was a $1200 shotgun, I would not have batted an eyelid. The quality is better than many sub-$1000 Turkish repeaters and the gas-operated design, folding action, adjustable comb and other features all add to its value. 

The speed and ease of the push-button cycling system is as massive drawcard which we’ll discuss in a sec but the Bushpig’s unique feature is its folding design, which has great benefits for storage, transport, cleaning, loading and unloading. 

Folding? Yes, it opens right up. Unlock it by sliding back the rear sight. The front of the gun pivots on a screw at the front of the receiver. Close it by swinging it back into place. 

The gun packs into a neat and discreet rectangular carry case. The Axor opens up to give excellent access inside the action for cleaning. Filling and emptying the magazine is a doddle, although you can still do both when the gun is closed.  

Axor Bushpig XT 12-gauge shotgun
How to fill your bag, Axor fashion. The gun folds down for easy transport

All good, but let’s get back to the action — the gas-operated cycling with a tang-mounted button to reset it. Fire and then, with a flick of your shooting hand’s thumb, you’re set up for the next shot. 

When you shoot, some of the combustion gas is syphoned out of the barrel to push the action bar and bolt assembly backwards. The bolt stays locked in place for a fraction of a second while the action bar begins to move, allowing chamber pressure to drop, before a lug on the action bar pulls the bolt’s locking lug out of its recess in the top of the receiver. The bar then takes the bolt back with it. 

The shell is ejected, the hammer cocked as the bolt rides over it, and another shell fed onto the loading ramp. Then the bolt is caught by a hook at the back of the receiver and held open. 

You thumb the button, releasing the bolt, which is slammed into battery by the return spring. You’re now set to shoot again. 

Axor Bushpig XT 12-gauge shotgun
The gun is easy to strip for cleaning and maintenance. The gas-operated system means there are more parts but it is not complex

In case you’re wondering, no, it won’t function semi-auto style. It can’t. The trigger and bolt release are both designed to prevent it.   

The design works reliably with notable smoothness. Twice on test the Axor ejected a live shell from the magazine when feeding the first round into the chamber, and once it failed to release a shell from the magazine, but other than that it cycled perfectly every time. Those stoppages are not uncommon any similar gun.  

Once the idea of enlisting your thumb into the cycling process has sunk in to become somewhat subconscious, you don’t have to give it much thought, focussing instead on going from target to target.

The Axor shoulders well and points easily with its 20” barrel, allowing quick and instinctive shots at moving targets. 

Axor Bushpig XT 12-gauge shotgun
An easy gun to point and aim, the Bushpig is also full-size and fits larger adults better than many other similar guns

The angular XT stock fits a full-size adult very well with its 380mm length of pull, although this can be shortened to 365mm by removing the 15mm butt spacer.

The varied textures moulded into the grip and fore-end assist traction and the diameter of both is just on the larger side of medium, giving an impression of solidity in the gun. 

Add this to the gun’s 3.5kg heft and it’s going to suit medium to large gunners very well yet is not so big it rules out slightly smaller shooters.   

Recoil is not unpleasant, with the gas system soaking up a little of it. 

Axor Bushpig XT 12-gauge shotgun
A reflex sight is a good alternative for a quick-shooting gun like the Axor. The adjustable comb helps enormously in ensuring instinctive aiming regardless of sight height

The pistol grip looks straight but there’s a subtle curve at the top that follows your hand’s shape and provides a comfort reach to the 2.5kg trigger. 

The comb can be raised and angled on its pair or risers, making it very flexible for fit. The Bushpig XT’s comb is a bit lower than most, too, so the adjustment may be handy for you. 

The XT comes with rifle-type sights which can be great for a more precise aim with slugs, but their design also permits an instinctive shotgun-style use with shot. You can treat the red hi-vis front sight like a bead and the tapered V-notch of the rear sight like a rib. It works well.  

Both rails on the XT are Weaver-type and smaller than Picatinny specification, which means you’ll need to use Weaver-compatible clamps if you want to fit an optic or accessory.  

Axor Bushpig XT 12-gauge shotgun
Not only does the Bushpig break for storage, it is easier to load and unload when folded open

The Bushpig comes with three screw-in chokes: full, modified and cylinder. The patterns are pleasingly even and round in their spread. 

The gas-operated gun cycled reliably with all the shells I tried, with the lightest being 28g 7½ shot and the heaviest being 76mm (3″) shells full of buckshot.

Most of the time, I hunted goats with the Bushpig and favoured the modified choke for the 16-pellet #1 buckshot I was running. That stuff slays well, both in open ground out to about 40m and in undergrowth at closer ranges, where it cuts through light scrub like a shark through water. 

That combo was devastatingly effective on goats in close country. The Bushpig proved repeatedly that it is an excellent scrub gun.

Axor Bushpig XT 12-gauge shotgun
In close, scrubby country, the Bushpig loaded with buckshot is very effective for culling ferals at short ranges

The matte-black anodised finish on the metalwork is not as tough as Cerakote and seems like it will show some wear and tear after a while, but that’s about as much as I can criticise the quality. No, it’s no $10,000 Italian gem but build quality looks good.  

The Axor Bushpig has many points in its favour, particularly its reliable gas operating system, its natural speed and that very convenient folding design. 

With all that to boast, its price is great. If you’re in the market for a 12-gauge repeater, it has to go on your shortlist, no question about it. 

Many thanks to Mudgee Firearms for facilitating this test and, as always, having a good variety of ammunition available at a competitive price.


  • Manufacturer: Axor Arms, Turkey
  • Type: Button-release, gas-operated repeater
  • Gauge: 12
  • Chamber: 76mm (3”)
  • Frame: Folding
  • Barrel: 51cm (20”)
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Magazine: Tubular, 5+1 capacity (4+1 with 76mm shells)
  • Trigger weight: 2.5kg
  • Safety: Sliding trigger block
  • Sights: Rifle-type V-notch and hi-vis front bead on post; rail for mounting optics
  • Length: 104cm (41”)
  • Length of pull: 380mm/365mm
  • Comb: Adjustable for height and angle
  • Weight: 3.5kg
  • RRP: $895
  • Distributor: TSA Outdoors




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.