Three days ago I found myself at The Range At Austin with Dan and Jeremy. Jon heard there were donuts and made a cameo. Towards the end of our range session I noticed a plain white cardboard box had appeared. Good things typically come in cardboard boxes of that size and shape. The brand new VR80 semi-auto shotgun from Rock Island Armory Imports (RIA Imports) came in this box.
Basically, it’s a magazine-fed, gas-operated, semi-automatic shotgun that uses a short stroke piston and kinda looks and feels like an AR. Before you ask, yes, those trigger pins look an awful lot like AR trigger pins. And, no, an AR trigger will not work in it. I’ll go into more detail in the full review to follow.
The VR80 ships with a set of choke tubes and, as near as I can tell, they’re Benelli/Beretta compatible. The fluted barrel shroud (that’s not the shoulder thing that goes up) gives it a cool look.
It uses a unique BufferBolt system that puts somewhat of a shock absorber on the rear of the bolt carrier. More testing is needed, of course, but initial impressions are of a very smooth recoil impulse. A fixed, reciprocating charging handle is mounted directly to the bolt and can be switched between right and left sides.
Controls are extremely AR-like. From the location of the bolt catch to the ambidextrous safety to the magazine release and all of the ergonomics, the VR80 is instantly familiar.
I couldn’t tell you if it hurt to shoot the thing. A mag dump of 00 buck as fast as you can pull the trigger is about the most fun you can have with a shotgun. I fired 15 rounds of Federal 00 through the VR80’s three, 5-round mags as fast as possible. I shot a few boxes of Winchester’s 3″, 15-pellet 00 through the VR80 as well. Holy cow the fireball, bark, and whump of those rounds was impressive, but I was having way too much fun to notice any shoulder pain.
The next day my built-in recoil pad was a little tender but I didn’t care. I like recoil sometimes. I like distinctive bruises.
In short this thing is awesome. Full review should be ready before SHOT Show. For more information on this $699 MSRP shotty, visit the VR80 on Armscor’s website here or click the image below to expand it: