The Evolving American Semi-Auto

Remington’s New V3 Field Sport 12 gauge
Redefines the self-loading field shotgun

Remington has been turning heads in the semi-auto shotgun world ever since 1963 when it introduced the shotgun designed “to make any shooter a better shot,” the Model 1100, which dominated the gas-operated shotgun market for the next two decades.

Designed by Remington engineer, Wayne Leek, the Model 1100 achieved a reduction in “perceived” recoil of 40 to 50 percent by delivering three, short recoil impulses to the shooter within microseconds, thus flattening the recoil curve. The design also included a gas system moved outside the magazine tube and closer to the chamber where gas pressures were more consistent and higher, resulting in a cleaner system. Its only limitation was the Model 1100 was a 2-3/4- or 3-inch gun, a problem addressed by Remington with the introduction of the Model 11-87.

Remington Staff Engineer Vince Norton was the design
genius behind the new V3 12-gauge.

Because of the VersaPort’s location, the geometry of the V3 fore-end is superb.

Then in 2010, Remington’s semi-auto line went through a major redesign with the introduction of the VersaMax featuring a completely new gas-handling system.

Located below the chamber, is a compact VersaPort gas block fitted with two pistons, which drive the bolt assembly to the rear upon firing. The VersaPort system self-regulates the gas pressure depending upon the length of the shell being fired by way of a series of small ports drilled through the bottom half of the barrel chamber.

In the VersaMax model, which can handle 2-3/4-, 3- and 3-1/2-inch shells, there are seven ports along the chamber wall. When a 2-3/4-inch shell is fired all seven ports are exposed and feed the resulting gas into the gas block and its pistons. Firing a 3-inch shell results in only four ports being exposed and available for gas transfer. With a 3-1/2-inch shell, only three ports are open.

The VersaPort design also moderates recoil by venting off gas right at the chamber. This means excess, high-pressure gas is bled off immediately, reducing recoil and minimizing piston fouling. In fact, if absolutely necessary, it only takes a couple of minutes to pull both pistons and clean them and the gas block cylinders in which they operate. It’s an ultra low maintenance system.

The VersaMax shotgun line has been popular, especially with waterfowlers. Yet, it’s a large gun and expensive with pricing ranging from $1,400 to $1,700.

The V3 uses a barrel without a long extension.

The V3 uses a barrel without a long extension (above) mated to a rotating bolt (below) to provide excellent cartridge control and reliability.

Mike Vrooman, Remington’s Senior Product Manager for shotguns, decided a lighter, field-sport model, using the advanced VersaPort gas handling system and priced more competitively was a doable project. The compelling idea was to design a lighter, more compact, multi-purpose shotgun that would appeal to upland hunters, waterfowlers and recreational target shooters alike. He assigned the project to staff engineer, Vince Norton.

Unveiled late last fall was the result—the American-designed, American-made, Remington “V3 Field Sport” model in 12-gauge. That’s “V” for VersaPort and “3” for a 3-inch chamber. Having had the opportunity to shoot the V3 in a trap and sporting clays environment, I’m here to report Remington achieved what it set out to do. The V3 is a versatile and dynamic handling shotgun.

The V3 is both more compact and lighter than the VersaMax. The length of the VersaMax receiver is 9.27 inches while the V3 has been shortened up to 8.36. The weight of the VersaMax is 7.7 pounds plus, while the weight of the V3 has been held to 7.2 pounds in both wood and synthetic-stocked models. The V3 also features a light contour barrel without a barrel extension and a rotating bolt head.

After shooting a 100 or so rounds through the V3, two qualities of the new gun impressed me more than any other. It’s dynamic handling qualities and is reduction in perceived recoil.

By shortening the receiver and having the VersaPort gas block directly beneath the chamber—and not 9 to 10 inches—down the barrel (a feature of many competitors’ guns), the weight of the gun is better distributed between the hands and the fore-end is made slimmer and trimmer, providing that hands-in-line, hand-to-barrel relationship so important to accurate shotgunning.

In short, with either a 26- or 28-inch barrel, the V3 is a fast pointing, smooth swinging shotgun which will be equally at home in the field, on the water or over the course.

The VersaPort gas system is simple, controls recoil and is ideally located.

The V3 stock is shim adjustable for drop at comb.

When shooting trap, we were firing Remington STS 12-gauge target loads. From the V3, they felt like light 20-gauge loads. I turned to Mike Vrooman and asked if, by any possibility, there were any 3-inch loads on the field. A few minutes later, he handed me a box of Remington, 3-inch Nitro Steel waterfowl loads (1-1/4 ounce at 1,450 fps). If you had blindfolded me and handed me the V3 secretly stoked with those 3-inch mags and then asked what I thought of the recoil, I would have responded that they felt like your average 2-3/4-inch loads, certainly not like smoking 3-inch mags. The VersaPort system is really proving to be sensational.

As you read this, Remington’s new V3 shotguns should already be in your dealer’s racks. At this time, there are six models of the V3 available featuring either 26- or 28-inch ventilated rib barrels. There are four models being offered with synthetic stocks in either black, Real Tree APG or Mossy Oak Shadow Grass camouflage and two models with walnut stocks.

The innovative V3 Field Sport should be well received by a variety of shooters. Its mechanical simplicity, dynamic handling qualities, recoil control and pricing make it a very attractive package. The American semi-auto just keeps on evolving and getting better with every passing season.

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