Remington Versa Max Waterfowl Shotgun Review by Edward Gramza IV
The growing popularity of bird hunting has created an ever growing need for shotguns. Manufacturers are following suit and have produced an abundance of choices for the consumer to choose from. A majority of hunters still use the tried and true pump action models that our fathers and grandfathers used back in the day. However, more and more hunters and shooters are looking for a semi-automatic shotgun that will serve as a multipurpose firearm.
Recently I picked up the Remington Versa Max Waterfowl in Mossy Oak Duck Blind camo. This shotgun uses a new gas system that Remington calls Versaport. They claim that this shotgun is the most versatile and reliable shotgun on the market. These are bold claims with the competition they face from manufacturers in Italy as well as the US. After shooting it a few times at the range and the field, Remington might just be able to back up those claims.
Before picking up this new shotgun, I owned a Remington 11-87 Super Mag that served me very well. The 11-87 has a reputation of jamming in the field and ruining a hunt. I can honestly admit that I never had this issue. From talking to other hunters it would seem that I was in the minority. The only issue I ever had with the 11-87 was when I would attempt to use it at the sporting clays course. Owners were required to play with a gasket or o-ring to go from light field loads to heavy turkey or waterfowl loads. If you didn’t make the adjustment with the o-ring, the 11-87 wouldn’t cycle target loads correctly. Remington has solved this issue with their new Versaport gas system.
The Versaport gas system adjusts automatically based on the size of round you put into the shotgun. Various ports open or close based on the size of the round to help properly vent the gas when the shotgun is fired. After picking up my new Versa Max, I headed right to the range to test the firearm out. I bucked traditional wisdom and did not clean the firearm prior to shooting it for the first time. I figured that might simulate real world conditions we experience after a day in the field. After putting 100 rounds of target loads through the gun, I was impressed by the speed the firearm cycled these light loads.
The first thing I noticed after a box of shells was the amount of recoil from the firearm. Or should I say, the lack of recoil. After a day in the goose blind, I also noticed the reduced recoil from the heavier goose loads I was feeding the gun. Having spent weeks at a time in North Dakota in the past, I will never forget coming home with a black and blue shoulder after shooting so much with the 11-87. I have a feeling that I wouldn’t experience that same pain as I have in the past.
The finish on the Versa Max is a thing of beauty. A nickel plated barrel and nickel teflon plated internal parts help to protect it from the worst conditions you can drag the gun through. The synthetic stock is dipped in Mossy Oak Duck Blind camo and seems very tough. The best part are the rubber type material on the grip and fore-end of the firearm. In wet conditions this will help to provide grip on the gun. There is also a rubber cheek piece that is great when shooting the heavier shells. The trigger guard is oversized to accommodate shooting with gloves on.
The Remington Versa Max Waterfowl shotgun also comes with plenty of accessories to help customize the shotgun for any hunter or hunting situation. The fact that I am 6’5″, I seem to have a hard time finding guns that “fit” me. The included stock shims have allowed me to adjust this shotgun and the length of pull so that it feels like a custom gun. Never before have I had a shotgun that seemed like it was made for taller shooters. The shotgun also comes with a locking hard case to protect the firearm as well as the included accessories.
The Versa Max has four chokes included in the package. They are labeled as Over Decoys, Flooded Timber, Pass Shooting, and Turkey/Predator. They are essentially IC, modified, full, and extra full. All of them are extended choke tubes. When Remington came out with the Versa Max, they created a new choke system they call the ProBore. These are different than the old tried and true Rem Choke system that hunters are familiar with on their 870’s. While the chokes that come with the shotgun will fill a lot of needs, a lot of hunters have their favorite brands of aftermarket chokes. The one thing that I have found is that finding ProBore chokes in retailers is all but impossible. And even looking online for aftermarket chokes is a chore.
One aspect of purchasing a new firearm for hunting or shooting is the price. It seems like the prices just keep going up and up on firearms. When you start looking at the more “premium” shotguns, you will find that the Remington Versa Max is more aggressively priced than its counterparts. A lot of hunters and shooters are brand loyal and will only buy the more expensive imports that they think are superior. I too am brand loyal and couldn’t justify a reason to move away from Remington Arms.
Is the Remington Versa Max the more versatile and reliable shotgun on the market? That question is probably something that will never be answered as everybody has an opinion on what gun is the best. I will say that it is extremely versatile. I honestly feel that this is a shotgun that will function everywhere from the trap range to the duck blind. As for reliable, I am sold on it. After putting 100 rounds through the gun without it being cleaned I realized quickly that this shotgun might actually take everything I can throw at it. Before you discount Remington for your next shotgun purchase, take a look at the Versa Max lineup and see for yourself just how great these shotguns are.