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If your father took the leap and bought one of those new-fangled auto-loading shotguns, there’s a good chance he bagged rabbits, busted clays, killed turkeys or downed ducks with an elegant Remington 1100 or the more workmanlike (but versatile) Remington 11-87. Big Green still sells both guns, in large numbers, for good reason. They remain useful, reliable and affordable firearms. Yes, but . . .

Today’s shotgun-buying public demands both innovation and evolution. Over time, European shotgun makers (with names that begin with B) have elbowed their way onto store shelves and into shooters’ hearts with innovative, ultra-reliable designs. Faced with quality competition and a loss of market share, Remington went back to work.

In 2010 Big Green rolled out the large-chambered Versa Max. The waterfowler’s delight featured their new Versaport gas system.

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Rather than using the usual array springs, gaskets or other doohickies to regulate the gas pressure for various sized loads, the Versaport system “decides” how much gas to feed back into the system based on the shell’s length. Longer shells obscure some of the ports as they produce more gas to cycle the gun. Shorter, softer-shooting, less powerful loads expose more ports and — voila! — more gas is bled into the system to help cycle the action.

Bottom line: a Versaport equipped shotgun reliably cycles just about any load — from heavy 3 1/2-inch shells to shorter 2 3/4″ 1-ounce target loads — while minimizing felt recoil.

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Bonus! The dual piston Versaport design also moves the gas system from its usual spot down the barrel back towards the receiver. With more of the gun’s mass moved aft, the shotgun’s center of balance is directly under the front edge of the receiver. That means a lighter feeling, more easy-swinging shotgun.

Speaking of more, the 3 1/2-inch chambered Versa Max cost and weighed more than many shooters wanted or needed.

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Hence Remmy’s introduction of the Versaport-equipped V3. It’s slimmer and almost a full pound lighter than the 11-87, costs less than the Versa Max and offers a more popular three-inch chambering. In fact, the V3’s just as light and more affordable as many of its foreign-made, inertia-driven, harder-kicking competitors.

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Our test gun came finished in Mossy Oak Blade. It’s also available in Like We Never Loved at All (i.e. Break-Up Country) or basic black, for a Benjamin less. While it’s tough to see above, the receiver’s been drilled and tapped for mounting an optic.

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While Remington’s recent history was rife with quality control issues, the V3’s extremely well put together. Solid. OK, some may quibble with the plastic trigger guard, but that’s the price you don’t pay for affordability. And while the What Hurts the Most pattern makes “spot the tool mark” harder than finding Waldo in a Waldo clone factory, I found a couple.

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Remington ships the V3 in a Plano Gun Guard case and includes the usual lock, a choke wrench, a two-round limit plug and three Rem Chokes: improved cylinder, modified and full.

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The V3 features front and rear studs for your sling-mounting pleasure. The V3’s magazine tube cut-off is a handy safety feature for hunters, should they find the need to hop a fence or climb into a tree stand with a loaded gun.

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If you have a full mag tube, raise the lifter slightly and slide the magazine cut-off forward. That blocks the magazine and allows you to rack the action and eject a chambered round without loading another shell. Lock the action open and you’re good to traverse your obstacle safely.

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The trigger provides a clean break somewhere in the 4 1/2-pound neighborhood. And quite a nice neighborhood it is too. After nearly 500 rounds of ammo — ranging from light one-ounce skeet loads to heavy three-inch steel waterfowl and lead turkey rounds — the V3 took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. It ran everything I threw at it and begged for more, without so much as a look at a cleaning brush or a sniff of CLP.

The V3’s rated at 7 1/4 pounds (mine weighed in at two ounces more). What’s a couple of ounces between friends? The V3’s light enough to tote all day in the field and swings on target like a big-*ss BB gun. Better still, the Versaport system and the Remington Super Cell butt pad make the V3 one of the softest shooting gas guns you’ll ever shoulder. Follow-up shots are fast and instinctive.

While Remington says it has no plans to discontinue the venerable 11-87, it’s hard to see both models staying in the Big Green lineup long term. The V3 is the superior shotgun. It’s a light, reliable, soft-recoiling three-inch smoothbore for sport shooters and hunters who want to pay south of a grand, but want a modern design that’s built to compete with the best the foreign gun makers have to offer.

Specifications: Remington V3 Field Sport Shotgun

Gauge: 12
Capacity: 3+1
Barrel Length: 28 inches (a 26-inch model also available)
Overall Length: 49 inches
Length of Pull: 14 1/4 inches
Weight: 7 1/4 pounds
MSRP: $995 (about $850 street…the black version MSRP’s for $895,  about $750 street)

Rating (out of five stars):

Fit and Finish: * * * *
Surprisingly good. Or maybe that’s my prejudice showing. Only a couple of visible tool marks. The Mossy Oak Blade camo finish held up well despite me dropping the receiver.

Reliability: * * * * *
The V3 cycled 500 rounds without cleaning, with nary a failure.

Value: * * * *
Remington’s marketing campaign for the gun proclaims, “The finest autoloading shotguns in the world aren’t made in Italy, Belgium or Japan. They’re built right here.” By those standards, the V3 is a bargain: $600-$700 less than comparable Browning, Beretta or Benelli guns. Weatherby (SA-08) and Mossberg (930) can compete on features and price, but the V3’s gas system is a step above.

Customize This: *
Not really. You could swap out the front sight if you’d rather have fiber optic, but that’s about it.

Overall: * * * * *
Remington V3 challenges a plethora of well-established, highly-respected competition —  and doesn’t lose. This is a full-featured, soft-shooting, reliable, semi-automatic shotgun at an affordable price point. Which should make it easy to go green.

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37 Responses to Gun Review: Remington V3 Field Sport Shotgun

  1. IIRC this is DU ‘s gun of the year. Which means everyone on the editorial staff prob received a complimentary one…..glad to see a review here.

  2. I’m glad at least some of their products are still quality. I bought an 870 last year and it wouldn’t eject any shells… Sold it and got a mossberg.

    Older Remington’s are legit, I’ve got a 30 year old wingmaster with the smoothest shotgun action I’ve ever felt

  3. Not to rain on a parade, but I have a concern about this gun. We went shooting sporting clays and my buddy brought his new V3. It was the second time he’d had it out, and he was sharing with his brother. The first time around, it was struggling to feed, which we attributed to needing to be broken in. Halfway through our second outing with it, the little black pin you see in the underside picture noting the magazine cut off fell out mid round. It lost a spring that was mounted behind the plate inside the receiver. He said he was sending it back to them, but I’ve never thought to ask where they are with it.

    I will say it did shoot nicely while it was working.

  4. And what problem does this particular gun solve that the 1100 or 1187 had? Mind you, I’ve been into a bunch of 1100’s and 87’s. They’re OK shotguns. Not super-nice, but competently made shotguns that work as intended. What screaming problem do these widely sold, widely owned Remington products have?

    Oh, price. Remington wants to make a cheaper, crappier shotgun to obscure the fact that you can’t buy a quality shotgun for under $1K any more.

    Months ago, I put a stake in the ground here on TTAG when I said it isn’t really possible to build a quality gun for under $1K any more. People howled.

    Whelp… once again, you’re going to see evidence that I have an idea what it costs to make a quality gun when you put this up against a 1100 or 1187 (never mind a Browning, or European semi-auto). What we used to consider “field grade” semi-autos are now all sporting MSRP’s over $1K. Never mind a nice semi-auto or pump.

  5. Thanks for the review.

    I’d rather pay a little more and get the Benelli 3 1/2″ version. Or the Browning. It’s really immaterial at this point because I don’t have time for duck and goose hunting. If I did, I could use my pre-FG 870 3 1/”2 Express Mag.

    I also guess I’m one of those weird guys who doesn’t mind a little weight in a magnum shotgun. Or a magnum rifle. Or a magnum revolver.

    • You and I both.

      I simply do not understand this obsession with “light, lighter, lightest” in “magnum” firearms. After people find out that the recoil hurts, they then start going down stupid paths, like porting, comps, muzzle brakes, etc. ’round and ’round they swirl, trying to tell ol’ Isaac that he was wrong, that there is no such thing as conservation of momentum because…. marketing!

      • Word up.

        I wish you were my gunsmith because the last one I had didn’t know the difference between mechanical zero and optical zero. He also called my waiting period waiver a “Micky Mouse letter.” I haven’t darkened his door since.

        I’ve never paid you a cent but you’ve taught me more than any of the gunsmiths I’ve met so far. Thanks for that. I’m going to take a Gunsmithing class when my schedule allows it. At this point I just know enough to know that there’s a lot more to learn.

        • I know it is a fair hike form SoCal where you’re based, but the two schools I recommend the most for a summer class (which would be one or two weeks in duration) would be Trinidad State Junior College, in Trinidad CO (you’d fly into Colorado Springs, which is two hours to the north, or you could drive over on US 50 (go up to Sacramento, then just follow US 50 to Pueblo, CO, and drive an hour south – this would be a spectacular drive if you like the remote west), or you pick up US 40 in Barstow, drive out to ABQ, then drive north about 3 hours.

          Pluses for Trinidad:
          – You’re only 45 minutes away from the Whittington Center, one of the best ranges for any shooting discipline in the US
          – TSJC’s library has more odd and rare books on guns collected in one place than anywhere else I’ve been, ever. You can’t check most of these books out of the library, but you can read them there without having to deal with a “closed stack” sort of setup.
          – You’re about equidistant from Denver and Albuquerque, if you want to explore those areas. The museums in Denver are quite good. The history in NM in the southeast part of the state is incredible. The touristy things to do in the northern part (Santa Fe, Taos, etc) are quite nice during the summer. The San Luis Valley (north and west of Trinidad – go to Walsenberg and drive west to Alamosa) is beautiful if you like the high desert.
          – It’s the high desert, and it gets cool at night, with relative humidities of only 5 to 20% during the day. “It’s a dry heat” is so very true in the high desert in the summer.

          Downsides:
          – Trinidad is a hole. Over one-third of the population is on welfare, another third works for the county government, and the last third is hard-core union thugs. The town’s appearance reflects this. There are Mexican gangs east of town that will rival anything you’ve seen in SoCal.
          – There’s few good places to eat in Trinidad. A couple of really good Italian places, a good taco joint or two, and after that… things go downhill fast.

          The other school I can recommend is Murray State, in Tishomingo, OK.

          Pluses:
          – As good as TSJC, a well-equipped school with lots of good professional ‘smiths who come in to teach
          – Their labs are spotless and well-equipped.
          – Okies are seriously nice people.
          – Pretty close to Dallas/Ft Worth as a place to fly into. I drove down from Wyoming, but if I were flying, I’d go into DFW and drive north.

          Downsides:
          – They have tornadoes that can kill your ass dead. In 2013, I came away from Murray State on a Friday after a week-long class, and the FM radio popped off at about 1400 local, saying that there was a “significant likelihood of a severe weather event.” WTF? Translate that for me, please. OK, well, in three hours, there was a wall of black to the northwest of my driving path that stretched from the ground to “higher than I can see” and I literally could see nothing inside this wall of black. The sirens started wailing, the TV’s in restaurants started flashing red, the radio was blaring – F3+ twister touching down here, here, there and there, and baseball sized hail behind the twisters.

          When I drove into Anadarko, OK just before dark, there was not so much as a twig left on a tree in that town. Cars, houses, you name it, had been shredded by hail the size of your fist – no lie, because you could see hailstones everywhere in the town, in piles. Water was 9″ deep in the streets. Bankers in two-piece suits were directing traffic to allow cops to get up on the interstate and deal with the wreckage and injured.
          – The weather is hot and humid. Did you train at Twenty Nine Palms? Yea, forget that. That was pleasant. Oklahoma east of the “dry line” is like a triple-canopy jungle of sweat and humidity. Holy crap, is it humid. Tishomingo is about 50 miles east of the dry line.
          – Tishomingo is actually a pretty small residential town. There’s not many places to eat out there. There is a supermarket. The dorm rooms will have a microwave and a small fridge. The food in the Murray State cafe’ is OK, but nothing special. You’d have to drive 45 minutes west to get a good steak or something like that.
          – There will almost certainly be thunderstorms within any given week there that will raise your hair. Holy. Crap. I’d thought I’d seen thunderstorms in my life. I was wrong. So very wrong. Fortunately, the Okies take care of their guests. “Go here, do this, don’t do that. Y’all will be OK if you don’t panic.” Absolutely wonderful people. I can hardly say enough nice things about the folks in Oklahoma. They know their weather, too.

          After my trip to Tishomingo, I never complain about the weather in Wyoming. Ever. I don’t care if we got 6′ of snow tomorrow, I’d cheerfully shovel it rather than deal with what the Okies do.

        • DG,

          Thanks for the info! I’ll be archiving that for the future. Currently the “Black Lives Matter” and “Day of Rage” situations are the highest priority on my radar screen. I sense some overtime coming my way – which is looking on the bright side of life.

          Both New Mexico and Colorado could be doable. I’ve currently got a bullet button rebuild (easy) and an under-gassed, over spring, and / or faulty extractor on an AR-10 to deal with (probably easy).

          If you’re ever in the SoCal area, and you like scotch, feel free to contact me at accur8@mac.com.

          Cheers,
          Aaron

      • Hey Dyspeptic do you know of any good gunsmithing schools on the east coast close to Maryland. This AGI place keeps bothering me and looks like some distance learning BS. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance

  6. Put 500 rounds of 3 and a half inch turkey Loads through it and if the receiver is still in one piece give me a call. Until then you can keep it. Let’s just say I’ve had too many bad experiences with big green

    • That will be hard since it’s only chambered for three-inch shells. Might want to re-read the review.

        • You can, indeed, put too-long shells into a shorter chamber. What will tend to happen is:

          1. Your pressures will go up – but not as much as most people fear.
          2. Your shot might tend to be deformed in older guns with the more severe forcing cone angles, because the shot cup was squished down as it left the shell.
          3. In some guns, the shotshell might have trouble extracting.

          I’ve seen lots and lots of too-long shells fired in short chambers, but not 3.5″ in 3″ chambers. No, I’ve seen lots of 2.75″ shells fired in 2 1/2, 2 5/8 and 2 9/16ths long chambers. People forget that 100 years ago, chambers often were shorter than is “standard” today. People also forget that most shells 100 years ago were made of waxed paper. People further forget that 100 years ago, there were no one-piece buffer/wad+shot cup. Wads were felted wool under the shot. This required a steep angle on the forcing cone in order to get the felt wad to “seal up” as it came out of the shell, so that the pressure would be behind the shot, and not blowing through the shot column in the barrel.

          One of the jobs I do to old shotguns is possibly lengthen a chamber, and sometimes I smooth the forcing cone to be more like modern forcing cones. I could write up a whole article on old shotgun chambers vs. modern chambers.

          The upshot is that putting a 3.5″ shell into a 3″ chamber probably won’t do anything catastrophic, but it isn’t recommended. If someone is really bent on using a 3.5″ 12ga shell, I’d recommend they step up to a 10ga gun.

  7. I’m going to be “that guy” and goes there. $850? With a plastic trigger guard? This isn’t a concealed carry piece. Plastic is not a pro. Why would I pay this? Not going to happen.

    • $850 with a plastic trigger guard because they figure thats better then $900 with a metal one. The trigger guard doesn’t make a difference in how it shoots so they figured it wasn’t worth making the gun more expensive by using a metal one.

  8. When VW ships me my 5 large for cheating the government (I applaud their engineering smarts) on a ridiculous low NOX standard for the TDI I will be buying a brand new Browning A5 because it works. I say that a fully satisfied 11-87 owner.

    • If you like the way it performs, avoid getting the engine management code ‘updated’ in the recall…

  9. Get a double barrel,learn how to shoot, try different loads – PRACTICE – Pattern the gun and be done with it. If you can’t hit it with 2 shots of 2 3/4 don’t shoot at it. It’s YOU not the gun. Most shooters I’ve seen couldn’t get their limit with a Market Gun. I blame most of these problems on the ADD instant expert ads/reviews. if you buy SUPER Magnum XYZ shotgun with the laserbeam choke and shoot super blackout 3 1/2 inch buffered,flightwad,XXL morracan oil infused magic bean shaped shot made of unubtaininum you’ll get your limit in 30 mins.

  10. I have a Benelli M4 & had a VersaMax. The Remmy gas system is a copy/license of Benelli’s ARGO system. The biggest issue I dealt with while I owned the VersaMax was the firing pin retaining pin. On the Benelli, this cross-bolt pin is shrouded by the receiver, you can only remove it by disassembling the gun. On the Remington, the genius that adapted the design just hogged out the ejector port to cycle larger shells & exposed the pin when the bolt is forward. Also, the pin is held in place by friction of an o-ring only. Just fine in the Benelli because of the shrouding, but the Remington will spit the pin, firing pin & firing pin spring out the back of the bolt every 500 rounds or so if you don’t check it. I figured at least a retaining groove for o-ring was needed & had a local machine shop cut a 1/16 deep groove that solved the problem. I flunked out of a mechanical engineering degree 15 years ago. Remington must have paid a marketing major to convert/ruin Benelli’s design.

  11. I like mine even though they looked Jerry rigged with two little return springs I guess time will tell👍

  12. I bought one and love the gun. I think it is funny how a lot of these people are dissing this gun, yet they never picked it up. I shot my V3 next to a Benelli Super Vinci and SBE II. It had considerable less recoil and I like the weight distribution on the V3 more. I shot two boxes out of this gun in one session and my sholder wasn’t sore at all. Sure the trigger guard is not medal, but the gun is also under 1K. This is not a show off gun, this is a get the job done firearm. So far it never jammed on me and it points great. There is a lot of great guns currently on the market, but in my opinion the V3 is the best for the value. If you really want inertia, then get a Franchi. But I have one of them too and it constantly jams.

  13. Word was the Remington would be bring out a tactical version of the V3. Assuming that it has characteristics similar to the Versa Max Tactical and cost similar to other V3s, this might be a good thing.

    Anybody heard about a V3 Tactical?

  14. Some folks have commented on the plastic trigger guards. My beef is the little nub that got molded into the butt stock for the sling swivel. How long will it be before that little blob of cheap plastic breaks off? Certainly not duck hunt ending, but c’mon. I should send Remington a picture of the quick disconnect ball bearing and socket system on my Fabarm XLR left hand semi. All metal. Looks great. Works great. Didn’t keep me from buying the gun.

    • You just compared a $540 V3 (from Bud’s Gun Shop) to a $2800 Fabarm. SMH. They aren’t really competitors in the same market at that price disparity.

  15. W O W, what a bunch of snobs!

    Not everyone can afford or likes the “B”- bombers out there. However, I can afford but don’t like them! I shoot weekly with guys that have them and at least once during a shooting session one of the jams at least once. My favorite Clay’s is my Remington camo 11-87 field gun, well used for about 10 years, and it has NEVER failed to fire, misfeed or had an ejection malfunction!

    We should all be so lucky to own and shoot what we want or like but all of us cannot, so I don’t think it is right to look down on a very good gun as the V3 or those that is all they can afford or maybe want. Don’t get me wrong I like my Citoris, Winchesters, Mossbergs, etc but I love my Remington’s, they are my “go to” guns when I need to take care of business!

    To each his own but what kind of “sportsmen” bad mouth others and what they have ,,,,,,, what does it really say about them?

  16. I have a V3 and really like it.My only gripe is when feeding a shell into the magazine tube,when taking my thumb away the shell carrier comes down and traps it in.There is too much of a gap and the opening down the center of the carrier contributes to the problem.Ihave to use my left hand to hold the shell carrier up while putting the shells in right-handed.I am considering getting rid of it because of this.

  17. I just got my v3 for chirstmas this past year I have had no problems at all. I have shot 300 rounds so far an killed a lot of ducks with it. best auto loader I ever owned. I looked at a A5, all my friends have them but I went with something diff that nobody had. Best choice ever

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