I've been a remington kind of guy my whole life... I've owned piles of 870's, and still currently own a 14" barrel 870, (2) 28" barreled 870's, and a 20 gauge 870... as well as an 1100 magnum... So, I thought it would only make sense to go ahead and buy the latest and greatest 12 gauge remington has to offer, the versa-max! I bought it well before the season started, months in advance.. the first thing I did with it was to take it to the skeet range and shoot several rounds of skeet through it. No problems cycling my light 1oz target loads.. I didn't like how the magazine cap turned itself loose after a few shots no matter how tight I put it on. Anyway- months go by, I patterned a few of my favorite duck loads with it... pretty darn good patterns.. so far, everything is going wonderful with me and my new versamax. Duck season... day 3 of duck season and I finally make it out to go shoot some birds. I took the boat out and tried settin over decoys, it was too windy nothing was flying. So I went to another marsh where jump shooting is the method of choice.. here we go, a true test of a shotguns durability, walking 5 miles through chest deep mud and thick weeds.... So, at the end of the day, heres why I decided that I hate my versamax (which I no longer have, a buddy of mine really wanted it, so I sold it to him..)
1) That F&*@(ing magazine cap.. it doesn't matter what you do, it will come loose after you shoot with it for a while
2) Its overly long.. I don't understand why a 28" barreled gun has to be so long.. its like the receiver is at least 30% longer than it should be
3) Hello 7.7 lbs... hello heavy shotgun...
4) Its a pain in the @$$ to unload this shotgun... you have to eject the shell out of the chamber, then either close the chamber and dry fire it to release the next shell, or manually release the shells from the magazine with your fingers.. good luck doing that with cold hands.. and having to dry fire your weapon to release the next shell is just begging for an unfortunate malfunction to happen eventually.
5) The shell carrier has a U notch in it that opens up into the receiver, when you are walking in the weeds, vegetation hangs up on this U notch, tears off, then finds its way into the receiver. Hello failure to feed malfunction, how are you today? Me, I'm pissed, because you are causing me to fire a single shot weapon!!
6) It doesn't kick any less than any other 3.5" gun I've ever shot, and they toot their horns saying it does... a 3.5 kicks hard no matter what it comes out of I guess. Even a 7.7lb shotgun...
7) Good luck finding a replacement barrel to make your ridiculously long 28" barreled gun shorter.. can't cut the barrel and rechoke either, because its tapered and fatter at the end of the barrel.
8) Did I mention that out of 1 box of Kent 3.5" #2 @ 1550 FPS, I had 4 jams where the next shell got stuck on its way into the receiver? Cost me a few birds. Might as well get an H&R single shot.
Well... I couldn't stand the idea that I payed so much for a shotgun that I really can not stand. A buddy of mine fell in love with the idea of the versamax and was going to go buy an identical one to mine anyway- so he bought mine off me for $100 less than what I payed for it. So he's happy, I'm happy, and also the happy new owner of a Winchester SX3 in max-4