Remington’s VersaMax: The Next Step (page 2)
The VersaMax has an innovative gas system unlike anything we’ve seen.
By Jim Wilson
Fielding The VersaMax
My test gun was the 28-inch, 12 gauge with the black stock and gray panels. It weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and balanced very nicely, came to the shoulder smoothly and looked sharp. Still, good-looking guns are one thing but it has always been good-shooting guns that interested me. And I figured that this Argentine trip should tell me which one the VersaMax is.
July is winter in Argentina. This climatic fact was driven home to me when it snowed on us the whole first day of our hunt. We had set up right next to a woods, with an open pasture at our backs. The dove and pigeons came over the woods, at tree-top height, headed for the open country. And they sure didn’t seem to be bothered by that falling white stuff.
The Argentine dove is about the size of our white-wing dove of South Texas; however, they are colored more like the mourning dove. And the pigeons looked for all the world like the common rock pigeon that we find in the United States. It’s just that in Argentina there are lots more of both. To say the sky was blackened with birds is a gross exaggeration. I will say that at any given time you could look in the sky and see birds and somebody was getting a shot. The short of it is that Argentina has a very healthy dove and pigeon population.
Prior to the day’s shooting, I installed the improved cylinder choke in my VersaMax. This turned out to be a good choice as the shots could easily be taken at 25 to 30 yards. Also, being somewhat of a seasoned dove hunter, I knew that these birds weren’t all that hard to kill. They were just hard to hit. Pretty soon the sky was full of diving, darting and falling dove and pigeon. Birds and empty shotshells were soon stacking up. These days of hunting were spent near San Luis, in Argentina’s San Luis province. About half way through our hunt, we loaded up and drove down to a hunting lodge near Mercedes, also in San Luis province, near the Patagonian border. The several lakes on the property teemed with ducks and the pastures were alive with perdiz, Argentina’s upland bird.
For duck hunting we were provided with the new Remington HyperSonic 12-gauge, 3-inch shotshells, using the new Xelerator wads. These amazing new shotshells drive loads of No. 2 shot at 1,700 fps. That’s right, 1,700 fps. Surprisingly, though, the recoil of these shotshells was not that punishing when fired in the VersaMax shotgun. In no time at all, quite a few ducks were added to our overall game bag.
In the afternoons, we adjourned to the pastures around the lodge and hunted perdiz. There are about five species of this Argentine upland bird—the smallest being about the size of a chukar and the largest being almost as big as a prairie chicken. As with most upland birds, these have white meat. Remington’s VersaMax shotgun is all about versatility. And our Argentine hunt, taking a mixed bag of dove, pigeon, ducks and perdiz, proved that the shotgun has plenty of versatility. As I mentioned, I found that the VersaMax balanced very well, did not seem too heavy and (most importantly) shot where I looked.
The best thing that can be said about Argentine shotgun shells is that there were plenty of them. Whichever propellant they use happens to be just about the dirtiest burning I’ve ever seen. And frankly, we had a few malfunctions with the VersaMax, all of which I lay at the feet of those abominable South American shotshells. During its testing of this shotgun, using American ammunition, Remington fired hundreds of thousands of rounds through the guns.
Whether you are an upland hunter, a waterfowler, or a turkey hunter, the new Remington VersaMax is worth taking a look at. It’s an impressive shotgun.
Manufacturer: Remington Arms Co.; (800) 243-9700; www.remington.com
Action: gas-operated, semi-automatic shotgun
Gauge: 12, 23⁄4", 3" or 31⁄2"
Magazine Capacity: three (23⁄4" & 3"), two (31⁄2")
Barrel Length: 28” (tested), 26"
Overall Length: 4915⁄16"
Stock: Synthetic (black or Waterfowl Camo): length of pull, adjustable, 141⁄4 -151⁄4"; drop at comb, adjustable, 1½"; drop at heel, adjustable, 2"
Weight: 7 lbs., 9 ozs.
Trigger: single-stage; 4 lbs., 2 ozs.
Chokes: five ProBore interchangeable screw-in chokes
Sights: tapered target style rib,
Suggested Retail Price: $1,399 (synthetic); $1,599 (waterfowl model)