Although introduced in 2015, Remington’s new V3 autoloader wasn’t available until 2017 due to a delay in production. Let’s hope by the time you read this it will be on dealers’ shelves in your area.
It took over six months for my test gun to arrive. Most hunting seasons were over, but I did manage to squeeze in some field time with the V3. The V3 is rumored to be replacing the 1100/11-87 series as Remington’s new flagship semi-auto. That’s a tough act to follow, as the 1100/11-87 enjoys a loyal following of fans — myself included.
There’s a temptation to compare the V3 to its Versa Max predecessor at first glance. However, the two guns are more dissimilar than similar. Suffice it to say the V3 uses a modified Versa Port gas system similar to the Versa Max. Besides that, they are two entirely different guns.
The V3 is currently available only as a 3-inch 12-gauge field gun (the Versa Max has a 3½-inch chamber), but expect target, tactical and 20-gauge models to follow. Load versatility is often better in a 3-inch gun than a 3½, especially on the low-end of the payload spectrum.
Available finishes and barrel lengths include black synthetic with a 26- or 28-inch barrel, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades with a 28-inch barrel and Mossy Oak Break-Up Country with a 26-inch barrel. A wood-stocked model was initially offered, but has apparently since been dropped from the line-up. My test gun was the basic black synthetic model with a 26-inch barrel. A white front bead and steel mid-bead sit atop a slightly raised, ventilated rib.
Three screw-in chokes are provided — improved cylinder, modified and full. These are Rem-chokes, not the Pro Bore tubes of the over-bored Versa Max. This means the same chokes that fit an 870 or 1100 will also fit the V3 — welcomed news for those who, like me, have accumulated a host of aftermarket Rem-chokes.
The stock is capped by Remington’s excellent SuperCell recoil pad, which does a nice job of protecting the shoulder. Sling attachments are integrated into the magazine cap and composite stock.
The forearm is rather wide near the receiver to accommodate the dual pistons residing beneath it. That width may make it difficult for those with smaller hands or wearing gloves to comfortably grasp the gun. Three vents directly above the pistons on each side of the forearm are angled forward to prevent powder residue from blowing back into the shooter’s face. This is a problem on the Versa Max, and the new shape of the V3 vents helps address but doesn’t fully alleviate the issue.
There is no checkering on the stock or forearm, but rather a textured surface, which I found to be rather slick without gloves.
The lightweight aluminum receiver, along with the Light Contour barrel, helps reduce overall weight of the V3 to around 7¼ pounds. The receiver is drilled and tapped to accept a scope mount. “V3 Field Sport” is etched on the receiver’s left side, while “Remington” is etched on the right. The bolt release button is also on the right side of the receiver, along with the gun’s serial number and a QR code. I found the QR code a bit unsightly, but I’m told a lot of guns are stamped with one these days.
A magazine cut-off at the front of the trigger guard simply slides forward to lift and lock the shell carrier in place, preventing another round from being released from the magazine. This convenient safety feature also allows a duck round to be quickly swapped for a goose load, and vice versa. The cut-off button was initially stiff, but eventually loosened, becoming easy to engage. The carrier itself is prone to pinching the thumb when loading the magazine, which didn’t improve over time. A slightly longer carrier might help, but until Remington revises it, you may want to tape your thumb.
The V3’s wide trigger has a notch at its top that can also pinch the trigger finger, especially when shooting heavy loads. A more uniformly shaped trigger might help. Trigger pull on my test gun is a crisp and consistent 5½ pounds. The safety is conveniently located behind the trigger.
The V3’s bolt has no fewer than 17 parts. Space prevents describing them all here. It’s the most complicated bolt I’ve seen and took me the better part of an afternoon to reassemble.
Dual-action springs are located within the V3’s receiver. This means there is nothing inside the stock except the stock bolt, which indicates Remington will likely offer other stock configurations in the near future. The receiver-contained action springs combined with the pistons close proximity to the receiver and the Light Contour barrel means the bulk of the gun’s weight is placed between the shooter’s hands. Indeed, the V3 is very nimble and feels lighter than it is.
The V3 employs a modified Versa Port gas system in which eight ports in the chamber (compared to the Versa Max’s seven) self-regulate gas pressure based on shell length. With 2¾-inch shells, all eight ports remain open. With 3-inch shells, only four ports stay open.
The V3 is designed for reliable operation with 1-ounce target loads up to the heaviest 3-inch magnums. However, the owner’s manual suggests a short break-in period with 1 1/8-ounce loads. While a break-in period is commonly recommended for semi-auto pistols, this was the first time I’d seen one suggested for a shotgun.
Test loads included 1 1/8-ounce Federal Field & Target at 1,200 fps, 1 1/8-ounce Winchester Super Target at 1,145 fps, 1-ounce RC2 Competition Line at 1,200 fps, 1-ounce Winchester AA Steel at 1,450 fps and 1 1/8- and 1-ounce Gamebore Blue Diamond at 1,285 and 1,290 fps respectively. I also fired a couple rounds of 1¼-ounce Hevi-Steel 3-inch magnums at 1,500 fps left over from duck season. Everything cycled and ejected perfectly. Recoil was most noticeable with 1 1/8 ounce and greater loads. The V3 isn’t quite as soft-shooting as the Versa Max, but that’s to be expected from a gun weighing nearly a pound less. During testing, one trigger group pin worked itself partially out, but was easily pushed back in and didn’t come loose again.
Testing was mostly limited to clay targets. However, rabbit season was still open when the V3 arrived in February, so I took it hunting one afternoon and bagged a cottontail using some 2¾-inch Hevi-Metal 1 1/8-ounce number 5s at 1,500 fps left over from pheasant season.
It’s difficult to tell how responsive a shotgun really is until you actually take it hunting. The V3 carried nicely, shouldered quickly and pointed naturally. Any recoil noticed while shooting clays was unnoticed while hunting. In its current configuration, the V3 is definitely a field gun, hence its “Field Sport” moniker.
Time will tell if this latest generation of Remington gas-operated autoloaders will enjoy the longevity of the 1100/11-87 series. The V3 may need a few refinements before it’s ready to enter the target-gun arena, but Remington is on the right track with the reliable Versa Port system.