Remington® VERSA MAX™ – the New Pinnacle of Autoloading Shotguns Any Load, Any Where, Every Time

The four Versa-Max guns out for 2011.

The guts of this shotgun are not like any other auto-shotgun. These twin pistols are unique.

The comb is removable and you can see the internal adjustments to fit the gun to you.

Remington Arms Company

Guns can sometimes be like laundry detergent. Year after year you hear the words “new and improved,” or “revolutionary new technology,” or even “completely new design,” but you open the gun up and it looks pretty much the same as it did last year. Something in the gun or the way it operates may be might be slightly new, slightly improved, but more likely it is a small incremental change and not something that you really have to wrap your head around to re-evaluate the way you think about how guns work.

That wasn’t the case when I stopped by the Remington booth today to check out the new Versa-Max shotgun today. I have owned many Remington 1100 and 1187 auto-shotguns over the years, and this gun looks nothing like them. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Remington has one of the truly unique stories this SHOT Show.

I think the story is the whole gun, not just one aspect of it, but as you can see from the accompanying video from Remington, the most visually newsworthy thing is the porting system that Remington has developed to handle different shell lengths. It is based on the premise of consistent bolt velocity, which makes a ton of sense.

These days you have shot shells ranging from extra short, reduced recoil, to 3 ½ inch reach out and touch that turkey full snot magnum. Just about every auto-shotgun company says that they can reliably shoot all the different sizes of shells. But you have to wonder, if they are using a lowest common denominator in the spring buffer system to do so, at what cost is it that they can do that? There has to be some fall off on both ends of the spectrum. In order to handle the extra hot shells, there has to be some risk of failure to cycle with light loads, and if the curve has been slanted toward light loads, that would mean that the heavy loads are most likely beating up the gun, the shooter, or both in the name of reliability.

The new Remington system uses the length of the shell to determine how the gun buffers the power of the shell. It isn’t some kind of electronic sensing technology though. They just drilled the gas port holes at varying distances from the breech of the shotgun. It is painfully simple and makes perfect sense. The shorter and weaker the shell, the more gas you need to capture from the powder burn to work the action of the gun. You want the maximum number of holes to capture that gas on a short shell. But on a longer, more powerful shell, you need less gas to achieve the same bolt velocity, so you let the shell cover some of those gas ports.

The result is that you are not forced to rely on one spring strength that was chosen somewhere in the middle of the curve. By equalizing the force on the bolt with a simple system of automatic gas regulation, one spring can handle all sizes of shells without any fall off in performance on the different ends of the spectrum, light loads to heavy loads.

According to Remington, this system has resulted in unparalleled versatility and reliability. There are fewer parts in this Versa-Max system than a regular auto-shotgun, so there is less to go wrong. In initial field tests the gun shot over 6,000 rounds with no cleaning and no failures. It is a 100% true gas gun, not an inertia gun, so this level of reliability will surely be a force in the marketplace. I witnessed the take down and cleaning of the gun, and it is far simpler and intuitive than any gas gun I have ever owned.

Recoil management is something that auto-shotguns are traditionally good at as compared to fixed breach guns. Examples of fixed breach guns are pump shotguns, single barrels, over/unders and side by sides. There is nothing to buffer recoil in a fixed breach gun, so your only ally in not getting beat up is the weight of the gun, and that isn’t enough.

With an auto-shotgun, the gun uses the forces of the fired shell to cycle the gun, and this dissipates the energy in other directions than back into your shoulder. They shoot somewhat lighter. Gas guns are generally far superior to inertia driven systems in this regard, but it is thought to be at the cost of reliability and ease of cleaning. It will be interesting to see if the gas vs. inertia argument goes away with this new gun. Remington added a patented new SuperCell recoil pad to the Versa-Max as well. And if their claims are true that the 12 gauge gun recoils less than a traditional 20 gauge, this could be a new standard by which all other shotguns are measured.

A lesser story on the Versa-Max shouldn’t be a lesser story but it is because most people don’t understand the ergonomics of shotguns. When I go into my favorite gun shop, Kittery Trading Post in Maine, on a busy Sunday in August, I see literally dozens of people lifting shotguns to their shoulders to see how the gun “feels.” They work their way down the rack like Goldilocks in the house of the three bears until they find one that “feels just right.” Little do they know that lifetime shotgunners and of course professional shooters actually “fit” their shotgun to their own body dynamics. They do this using different types of stocks, and some gunsmithing to make spacers between the stock and the receiver.

Remington has taken this system of fitting a shotgun and made it a part of the design of the Versa-Max. The “length of pull,” which is the distance between the trigger and the buttstock, can be adjusted with spacers that come with the gun. The inside of the stock itself has yet another spacer plate system that is adjustable with shims and an included wrench for “cast,” which is a left to right angle adjustment, and “drop,” which is the down angle of the stock from the bore-line. I will reserve judgment on this until we get a gun for a full review, but if it is as usable as promised, it means that if you go into a gun shop and pick up a Versa-Max and you don’t like the way it feels or points for you, simple adjustments can cure whatever aspect of the gun isn’t working for you. The comb on the stock is also removable and it comes with the flush version, and a 3/8” and 5/8” version is available from Remington.

Some other details you would might want to know is that every gun comes with a hard case, and in the black variety of the guns, five Flush Pro Bore® chokes (Full, Mod, Imp Mod, Light Mod and IC). Both camouflaged versions come with four Pro Bore Extended choke tubes (Flooded Timber, Over Decoys, Pass Shooting and Turkey/Predator). If you are a waterfowl hunter, one important detail of the gun is that all of the internals are made from either stainless or nickel-teflon coated so the gun doesn’t rust from the inside out. Right now the gun is in stores in a 28” black model (MSRP $1,399) and 28” Mossy Oak Duck Blind® (MSRP $1,599), and by spring there should be a 26” version in black and a 26” version in Realtree® AP™ Camo for the same prices respectively. All the guns come with Remington’s Platinum Service Plan. Free to all who participate, the plan includes one courtesy cleaning and detailed inspection within the first 12 months of purchase, 7-day turnaround on all repairs and free shipping on all warranty repairs.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Brian Alban February 13, 2015, 12:46 pm

    I just bought one and it jams constantly. I have cleaned it and sent it to a gunsmith to ensure that I was not missing something and he cleaned it. Used 3″ Remington HD 4’s for ducks here at home and 3″ Winchester Drylock Steel BB’S for Snow Geese in Arkansas. This thing is going to an auction house. Should have never gotten rid of the 1100s.

  • Andy Hitchcock November 17, 2013, 7:41 am

    Does anyone know if you can use steel shot with the turkey/predator choke tube?

  • Andy Hitchcock November 16, 2013, 2:47 pm

    I was wanting to know if you can shoot steel shot through the predator/turkey choke?

    • RealRay October 7, 2017, 4:57 pm

      Old post but I’ll reply for the new guys visiting…All of the Remington chokes are rated for Steel shot and they work.

  • toolmaker September 22, 2012, 1:09 am

    Undoubtably an import, everyone knows it is an overseas look, and if Remington made it, they would have changed that hidious trigger guard. I got the usual innovative space age technolegy bull (cnc) and polymer bull (plastic) crap talk. Ordinary people don’t realize how cheap it is to make this stuff. It’s about 5-600 dollars too high. On the plus side the teeth on the compensator might relieve butt itch if you unload it first. Another slightly modified copy of someone elses gun.

  • Gary Lynch February 24, 2012, 11:33 am

    how many chokes comes with new black Remington Versamax ? some writers on computer says four some says five

  • shawn January 24, 2012, 8:10 pm

    Im looking at the versa max and the 1100. Im a novice and not sure what to do. I want something easy for me. Any help?

    • lee September 3, 2012, 3:40 pm

      just bought a vermax,sorry to say 12 jams on recycle on reloading, thats in two boxes of factory remington trap gun club series. wish i had MY OLD 11-87 back. bad move for me

  • James January 16, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Comments on the versamax. I shoot one every day guiding waterfowl hunters. The wet gun just gets left in the wet soft case until the next day. It drys out while hunting. If we hunt in the rain, I do take it out of the case and set it muzzle down until the next day. Wash and wear, like my dog. This thing shoots 3-1/2″ steel every day and just runs. Have not cleaned it since the first of the season. As for weight, Remington got it just right in my opinion. I feel most of the current 12ga magnums are too lite, extrema2 excepted. I also shoot competition skeet. I am ashamed to say I shoot better scores on doubles than I do with a $15k fitted o/u. Guess that answers the handling question. hats off to Remington, after several duds, I do feel they could just have the finest autoloader in the world. The downside. fit and finish are below the “B” gun standards. The forearm shoots lose and needs to be redesigned.
    PS: SHHHHHHH The Versamax will do the Benelli Shuffle that made the old Super Black Eagle “The Arkansas Purdy” and launched it into fame, if you’re into that sort of thing. It is the only current production gun that will do that dance.

    • s5traut October 21, 2013, 1:45 pm

      I would really like to know more about this “Benelli Shuffle”

  • Chad October 20, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Steve & Todd,

    I am considering buying a new shotgun, and will definitely buy an autoloader. The VersaMax is the one I am most interested in, but like most people, I’d prefer it to have a few more seasons under its belt to really develop a track record worth noting. Of course Remington makes it sound awesome, and most reviews I’ve read about it make it sound pretty good, but they all end by saying something like “time will tell” or “final opinions after more testing”, etc.

    Do you two still like your guns? Any cycling problems or jams? Either of you hunted in really cold weather with them and had any problems? Still feel like it was the right gun to buy?

    Thanks for your input!

    • Todd Smith January 20, 2012, 12:03 am

      Chad, I’ve been at it hard all duck and goose season thus far. Not a single jam! I’m most impressed with the lack of recoil. Remington offers a free factory cleaning within one year of purchase. I’m going to send mine back some time in February. I’ll let them know the ONLY problem I’m having is that the mag head cap gets loose after you run a few rounds through it, requiring me to constantly check to make sure it is tight. Hopefully they can resolve this for me. I’d tell you to go for it!

  • Todd Smith August 27, 2011, 12:24 pm

    I have just purchased Versamax and am impressed so far. I had trouble with the loose fore end, but upon playing with it a bit, have resolved the problem. When you install the mag plug, make sure the mag spring retainer is not pushed too far into the tube, or the mag head cap won’t seat down and secure the fore end. There is a good explanation of this on page 15 (pic 15) in the owner’s manual. Mine runs like a scalded cat so far!

  • Roger King June 10, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I have recieved my new Versa Max at long last in the UK. The gun is soft shooting but I have a big issue with the fore end coming loose after 20 shots. The quality of the choke tube threads is very bad with sharp edges on the end of the tubes.
    The trigger block is the worst I have seen being a die cast part with cheap pressed steel parts. The barrel internals look poor with not the same quality of my Beretta and Benelli auto guns. I cannot see how the problem can be resolved on the loose fore end. I shall be in contact with my gun shop tomorrow with the view to asking for my money to be refunded. I also have a friend who is an top clay shot in this country(UK) and the fore end also comes loose.
    Again Remington have produced a gun which is not up to my expectations.

  • Steve Cuthbertson May 18, 2011, 4:36 am

    I recently bought and used the new versamax on opening week of the New Zealand duckshooting season.

    First impressions are:
    incredibly soft shooting and quieter to shoot for some reason than my Fabarm auto
    cycles anything you put in it – i deliberately tried filling it up with trap to 3.5inch loads in any order – very impressed
    points very nicely
    Shot 53 mallards first morning – always a good sign with a brand new gun
    was easy to adjust the gun to fit to me with the provided shims etc
    I love the easy to clean and low moving parts.

    the forestock was a little loose feeling and i found the magazine head cap (which secures the forestock) tended to come loose with repeated shooting. Im sure i can fix this but needs to be mentioned.
    Would be well served by the availability of an aftermarket magazine extension to lift capacity to 7-8 rounds. Especially for shooting canadas.

    Overall impression –
    given how hard our shotguns get used – a lot of rounds in mud, snow, blackberry and constant water/rain etc – to have a gun that will cycle everything this effortlessly and shoot so softly is pretty impressive.
    Two of my shooting companions are now committed to buying one after trying and seeing mine in action. Overall – annoyed that they didnt finish it as nicely as they could have with the loose fitting forestock but an absolute pleasure to shoot. Very happy.

    Hope this helps.

  • Roger King May 9, 2011, 5:09 pm

    We have been waiting for the Versa Max to be released in the UK. There seems to be a big problem with getting the guns through the British proof house. I have been waiting for my gun which has been on order for at least 6 weeks. My dealer and the importers Egar Brothers cannot give an accurate delivery date. I am very worried that the problem with the barrel will not be resolved. I shall keep the gun on order but will keep my Beretta A391. I have also a Benelli Supersport which are great autos. Has any shooter in the USA had any experience with the Versa Max. Yet again Remington have gone off half cock with this new gun.

  • Jim February 19, 2011, 3:12 am

    Is this shot gun as good as the Binelli Super Black Eagle how does it compare?

  • Ali February 6, 2011, 5:02 pm

    i would like to know if there is an extended Mag. capacity for VERSA MAX ???

  • Bill James January 23, 2011, 4:11 pm

    How do you clean the ports and pistons?

    • Administrator January 23, 2011, 5:32 pm

      When you take the gun apart there is easy access to everything. The pistols slip right out.

  • Steven Tetterington January 22, 2011, 4:04 pm

    Could you please say more about the twin pistons function and purpose(s) in this system.
    Many Thanks

  • Mark B January 22, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Having been one of the unlucky ones who bought into the hype around the 105CTi, I’ll reserve judgement until the gun proves itself in the field but the use of ports that are exposed by shorter shells sounds like a very clean and elegant idea. One note, though: Benelli has been including spacers and shims to adjust length of pull, cast-off, etc. with the SuperSport for years. It *is* a good idea, but it isn’t Remington’s good idea.

  • Wayne January 22, 2011, 2:10 pm

    Are they making the gun in the USA from American made components or is this another ploy to import a foreign made firearm under an venerable American label? I know it is not important where things are made until of course it is your job or its source that is out sourced to an off shore manufacturer.

  • Dustin January 22, 2011, 8:29 am

    Any mention of an extended tube version? Sounds like possible system for 3-gunning and personal defense/tactical applications.

  • siavash January 22, 2011, 4:10 am

    HI , i wish to know if 3o ” barrel is also available on stoke or shall i have to make an order for it .
    thank you . siavash

  • Mike January 22, 2011, 1:32 am

    Will Remington make a version that blued and with wood stock? Will other Gauges be made or only a 12 ga? Please make a Left hand version, Please, Please Please!!!

  • Harry Jeffers January 21, 2011, 9:05 pm

    I am a skeet shooter using thousands of rounds per year. Is this gun the usual very light weight field gun that moves to fast for serious competition or is there a way to adjust the weight to the individual needs ?

    • Administrator January 22, 2011, 12:10 am

      I didn’t see any front weights option on it at all but they may make a heavier version later if the demand is there.

    • steve January 22, 2011, 12:33 am

      Good question,6-7 pounds is my guess, I’m impressed with the stock adjustment fitting features, and I have to say, 95% of the recreational shooters who purchase a shotgun off the rack; fail to take into account the proper fitting needed to enhance your overall performance. It’s kind of like joining a bowling league and using a house ball… this is the fault of the (underservice) dealers.

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