There’s one autoloading 12 gauge shotgun that has been responsible for more of my wing-shooting shoulder bruises than any other, hands down—Remington’s 11-87. I shed a lot of bird blood with the good ol’ 11-87.
We saw good days and bad, and for the most part it held up like a champ. During the years of abuse, I did have some jamming incidents. Most—if not all—jams occurred when the gun was filthy dirty, extremely cold or a combination of both.
At any rate, I’m ready to move on, so I’m in the market for a new all-purpose autoloader. I want a gun that will allow me to shoot clays, turkeys, ducks, geese, pheasants and grouse in the same hunting trip. (Yes, that is possible.) That means the gun must be able to fire a variety of cartridges—small to large—and it better not fail me, not even in the most miserable of conditions. (If I am to make it through and live to write about it, let my shotgun be my pen.)
When I first heard news of Remington’s new Versa Max autoloader, I began doing my research. I harassed local sporting goods stores for weeks when I heard it would be hitting store shelves, but it wasn’t until SHOT Show last January that I finally got one into my hands. It looked and felt great, but I needed to shoot one. Humbly, this spring I got the green light from Remington to test one for the year.
I patterned it for turkey hunting and I was impressed. The gun fit like an 11-87, but the felt recoil was minimal—even with 3.5-inch turkey loads. But we all know that eight shots at paper don’t cut it. I plan to run the Versa Max through the ringer this fall for some “true” testing during warterfowl and upland bird seasons. At the end of the year, I’ll send my notes to Remington and make a purchase if the Versa Max treats me well. Thus far, things are looking promising, but I’ll keep you posted.
Beyond crushing ducks and other feathered friends this fall, I plan to shatter plenty of clays. Last weekend I spent some time shooting light target loads at clays with the Versa Max. For three consecutive boxes it performed flawlessly. Check out the video below to get in on the action. (Note: No, I don’t think I’m Patrick Flanigan, but we all can have a little fun and dream!)
If you’ve been shooting a Versa Max, I’d love for you to share your thoughts, comments and experiences regarding the shotgun below.