Shotguns > Semi-Auto

Remington VersaMax Shotgun

The Remington VersaMax is at home in the upland field, the duck blind and even in the dove field. After all, maximum versatility is what the VersaMax is all about.

8/31/2010

I recently got one of those phone calls that just makes you want to jump up and down. I was invited to spend a week in Argentina. The week would involve shooting dove, pigeon, ducks and perdiz. And we would be shooting with a new autoloading shotgun from Remington. I'm thinking, “Now the downside is...?”

Well, as you might imagine, there was no downside. A group of us had a wonderful time shooting birds with Luis Sier in the San Luis province of Argentina. And, while we had a wonderful time, the real story is this new shotgun from Remington, called the VersaMax.

The Remington VersaMax is a gas-operated, autoloading shotgun in 12 gauge that uses two gas pistons to cycle the action. The gun is chambered for 2 ¾-, 3-, and 3 ½-inch shells, and handles the three shell lengths interchangeably, without any adjustment.

The reason for this feature—to handle a variety of shell lengths—is that the Remington VersaMax makes use of seven gas ports that are strategically located in the shotgun's chamber area. The length of the shell dictates how many ports allow gas to escape, thereby cycling the action. The 2 ¾-inch shell exposes all seven ports, the 3-inch shell exposes only four ports, while the 3 ½-inch shell allows only three ports to function. You could load all three sizes of 12 gauge shells into the gun, at the same time, and they all would cycle reliably, with minimum recoil. While this gas system is an exciting feature, the VersaMax has even more going for it.

The shotgun disassembles into five major components without the use of any tools; no screwdrivers, tire tools or pry bars are needed. The gun is designed so that it can be taken apart completely by hand and the shooter only uses the firing pin to punch out a couple of pins. After a wet day in the duck blind, or pheasant field, a sportsman can easily take his gun down for cleaning and protective lubrication.

The VersaMax features an anodized aluminum receiver, which helps to keep the weight down to a manageable 7.7 pounds. It has a TriNyte coated barrel, and all of the internal parts are plated with nickel Teflon. So this gun is designed to take a lot of abuse, with only a little bit of TLC.

All VersaMax shotguns come with a synthetic stock with rubber overmolded grip panels. In addition, they have a soft rubber over-mold at the top of the pistol grip for shooter comfort. A SuperCell recoil pad is standard equipment. Out of the box, length-of-pull is 14 ¼ inches and the gun comes with two shims to lengthen the stock, if needed.

Another interesting feature of the VersaMax is that it has interchangeable stock combs. The comb is popped out by hand, and extra combs of differing heights are available to fit the gun to a particular shooter. While the shotgun comb is off, an adjustment plate can be accessed that allows the shooter to change stock drop and cast to suit his particular needs. The stock shims and extra combs are included with the standard VersaMax package.

VersaMax stocks can be ordered in an attractive black synthetic with gray over molded grips, or in Mossy Oak Duck Blind cam with black over molded grips. A VersaMax with Realtree AP-HD camo and black grips, will be available in January, 2011.

Currently, the VersaMax is being shipped with a 28-inch vent-rib barrel, with a 26-inch version coming in January. The gun comes standard with ProBore screw-in choke tubes and features a lengthened forcing cone and a Hi-Viz front sight.

Remington's idea is to provide the shotgunner with an autoloader he can adjust to his own particular size and shooting style. Obviously, being able to quickly change the gun's length-of-pull is important to the guy who hunts dove in a T-shirt and, later in the year, will hunt ducks wearing all the clothes that he can put on. Being able to adjust the comb, drop and cast of a particular gun just goes toward customizing it to fit better. And the gun that fits better hits better.

The particular VersaMax that was shipped to me for use in Argentina was the 28-inch shotgun featuring the black synthetic stock with gray stock panels. While I did not have time to shoot the gun on a patterning board or at clay birds, it seemed to fit me pretty well and seemed to be nicely balanced. As attractive as it looked, I wouldn't be satisfied until I could see what it would do in the field.

Our Argentine hunt began with a day of cross-shooting dove and pigeon on a ranch near the town of San Luis. July in Argentina is winter time and, would you believe, it snowed on us just about the whole day. However, the pigeon and dove were flying like mad. Taking a stand at the edge of some woods, we enjoyed some fast action as the birds sailed over us. You could hear the shooters calling, “Mas cartuches (more cartridges)”, as birds fell all around us.

My initial impression of the VersaMax was that it came to shoulder in an effortless fashion. More importantly, it shot where I looked. I had chosen to install the Improved Cylinder choke and that turned out to be a good choice, as the birds could easily be taken at 30 yards or closer.

Other interesting days were those spent at a local feedlot, shooting the thousands of doves and pigeons that swarmed around the place and dove shooting on a local ranch. They were days of falling birds, hot shotgun barrels and bird boys running to bring “mas cartuches.” The ranch had sandy soil and an Argentine variety of mesquite trees. You'd have thought, for all the world, that we were hunting on the King Ranch down in South Texas.

We also drove down near the Patagonian border to hunt at a hunting lodge near Mercedes, San Luis Province. The several lakes on the property were teaming with ducks for our shooting pleasure. And the pastures abounded with the local upland bird, called a “perdiz.”

Throughout it all, the VersaMax shotgun performed like a trooper. Regardless, I had a few suggestions for Remington to improve on their product. They need to offer a left-hand safety for us southpaws and they need to change the shape of the front of the shell lifter. The latter tends to pinch the thumb when one is cramming shells into the gun so that he can get back into the action. I was pleased that the Remington folks took note of my suggestions and are willing to consider them.

I found that the VersaMax balanced well and, as I mentioned, shot where I looked. While I realize that felt recoil is a very subjective thing, I have to say that I found the VersaMax very comfortable to shoot. I lost count, but I'm sure that I fired more than 3,000 shotshells through the gun during my Argentine adventure. My shoulder did not bruise at all and there was no accompanying stiffness. The gun is just darned comfortable to shoot and even does a lot to tame the 3 ½-inch shells.

I believe the Remington VersaMax will be just as much at home in the upland fields as it will be in the duck blind. Maximum versatility appears to be what the Remington VersaMax is all about.

For more, check out the photo gallery from the author's Argentine adventure.

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18 Responses to Remington VersaMax Shotgun

Ed Rollins wrote:
March 17, 2014

You have to realize that the negative comments are coming from Jamnelli owners and Browning owners and Berretta owners...they want this gun to look bad and fail because it is out selling all other shotguns.....Best shotgun Remington has ever made...hands down !!!

Clifford wrote:
January 11, 2013

Got a VersaMax Waterfowl edition for Christmas. Shot great for about a week and then the extractor sheered off. Now it's a single shot... I want to get it fixed ASAP because I loved shooting it when it worked. I'm going to order the part Monday and see if I can get it swapped out on the bolt head. All in all though... great gun, they just need to use higher quality steel on the extractor.

Bryan wrote:
December 04, 2012

First of all, I am a big fan of Remington guns. I have not had any problems until now, but these are major problems that paying customers need to know about. I purchased my new Remington Versa Max 28’’ barrel in MODB. I thought this would be a great shotgun after reading all of the reviews and reading Remington’s ads. I will tell you my pros and cons with this gun and then a short story on how the Versa Max failed after 1 box of rounds through it and the customer service that I received. Pros in a nut shell: Great feel, rubber grips, TriNyte finished barrel and nickel/Teflon plated internal components for extreme corrosion resistance, Hi-Viz end sights, comes with nice case, supposed to shoot any load without fail, mostly good reviews Cons in a nut shell: It is heavy, the back end of the fore-end moves up and down even with the magazine cap fully tightened down, the bolt handle literally fell off into my hand after shooting less than 1 box of shells, the extractor sheared off causing this gun to become a single shot shotgun after 1 box of rounds Here is my story. I got the Versa Max on Friday 11/30/12. That night I took it apart, cleaned it, and assembled it. When the barrel is removed, there is no play in the fore-end. (PROBLEM #1) When the barrel is installed, the back part of the fore-end moves up and down even with the magazine cap fully tightened down. I went duck hunting the next morning. (PROBLEM #2) During the hunt the bolt handle literally fell off into my hand. I was in waist high water and this piece could have easily been dropped into the water and lost. For those who have not taken one of these guns apart yet, the bolt handle comes off and installs with some force by pulling or pushing. There is a notch in the handle that locks the handle into the bolt assembly and keeps it installed. This piece was fully inserted when I started the hunt. To make sure that I did not lose bolt handle, I kept it in the boat and grabbed it from the boat

Rod Malpert wrote:
November 04, 2012

I have owned a versamax for one year now and will be sending it back for the third time . I am not sure I chose the right gun

David wrote:
October 18, 2012

Versa max is the gun! I shot a Browning A-5 Mag for 40 years and had to quit it for waterfowl when steel shot came on. I've burned a lot of powder through this versa max and wouldn't trade it for any other mag auto....except maybe my old browning??? I have noticed that when you release the bolt forward on this versamax, don't have your knuckle under the receiver or that little deal that picks up the shells will give you a knot.

Ronnydecker wrote:
September 22, 2012

Love this gun!!! I shot a few rounds of skeet today and no problems. The real test will be below freezing temps during duck season but this gun shoots really smooth.

Dan wrote:
September 08, 2012

Just purchased a new versa max and after ten rounds am very unsatisfied due to the amount of burnt powder that is discharged from the two opening in the forearm just in front of the receiver which ends up in my eyes. Hope Remington has an answer.

Ralph wrote:
August 20, 2012

Does anyone know if the versa max shotgun will pattern buck shot well

kuffs06 wrote:
March 06, 2012

Comm I bought one 6 months ago...its been mostly used for trap. Handles 7/8 oz to 1 1/8oz nicely. Not one jam...about 4000 rounds through it now. You wont regret it. There's a great thread in a forum 54 pages long at shotgunworld.com .

Dave F wrote:
December 31, 2011

Bought a Versa Max about 4 weeks ago and it is OUTSTANDING! Performs flawlessly with all types of shells and it's total shooting enjoyment even after putting a couple hundred rounds through it in one day! Thanks for the review!

Anonymous wrote:
December 30, 2011

Great gun just got one love it and whoever is second-guessing themselves about getting one get it and I can assure you you will love it

keene wrote:
December 08, 2011

consider buying one for turkey next spring, will it deliver a well placed deer slug?should this be my shotgun of choice?

josh wrote:
November 29, 2011

i'm thinking about buying a versa max. for those of you out there that already has one am i making a mistake?

joe wrote:
November 07, 2011

do they make it left handed?

Jesse swallie wrote:
November 02, 2011

I bought one took it pheasant hunting in north Dakota the are junk it broke the second day there

gbam 1965 wrote:
May 13, 2011

I'll be happy to take a VersaMax and test it for a few yrs,I bet it operates as flawlessly as my Model 700 has for the last 20yrs!Let me know Remington!

Noel Davis wrote:
April 19, 2011

Reading the May 2011 edition of the American Rifleman does something to this story. See on page 94 the Product Safety Notice that says"do not use your Remington "Versa Max" shotgun.

mary wrote:
November 22, 2010

im so glad you enjoyed this gun, my hsband works at remington and helps make these guns. thx for buying