Cheaper Remington Versa Max Sportsman Coming 2013

Next year Remington will be introducing the Versa Max Sportsman. The Sportsman will have an MSRP of around $1000, ~25% lower than standard $1,300 Versa Max.

Shotgun pictured is the original/standard Versa Max

The Sportsman loses some of the premium features of the standard Versa Max. It does not include a grey rubber overmold on the stock, a TriNyte barrel finish or nickel plated internals. Instead of a selection of chokes it will only ship with a modified choke. Instead of Hi-Viz fiber optic sights it ships with a bead sight (front ivory bead and mid steel bead).

The shotgun is priced just low enough to persuade customers to buy the higher priced Versa Max Sportsman instead of the $800 Model 11-87 Sportsman, but lacks enough features that hardcore shotgunners won’t be tempted to go with the cheaper option. Personally, as much as I love the 11-87, I would pay the extra $200 and get the Versa Max Sportsman rather than the Model 11-87 Sportsman.

*[ Many thanks to Aaron for the tip. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Doug

    I’ve never quite understood what the chamber ports do. Can anyone fill us in?

    • Trev

      It’s a gas operated semi automatic shotgun. The gas to cycle the bolt has to come from somewhere.

      • Samopal

        So it doesn’t take regular unleaded, then?

  • This was an excellent comparetive review on the cheaper Remington v’s the Max Sportsman. If all reviews were like this it would make my search on google much easier.

  • J.J

    this is off topic but am I the only one that doesn’t like the phrase “self cleaning” when applied to firearms? I feel like it tricks people into believing they never or almost never have to perform basic maintenance. personally I would have them say low or lower maintenance or something similar. even the toughest rifle designs, like the AK platform, need to be maintained.

  • Eric Lundgren

    Gas operated shotguns use the expanding gas from the fired shell, ported through a small holes (or holes) in the barrel into the receiver to cycle the bolt back.

    The problem with gas operated shotguns is that because a 3.5″ magnum shell produces dramatically higher gas pressures than the 2.75″ target loads, the amount of gas that travels through the ports varies based on shell length and loads.

    If you port too much gas through, the bolt will slam the back of the receiver so hard that it can and very likely would, eventually damage the gun. And it produces a lot of recoil. Not enough gas ported and it can’t cycle the shell. That’s why many gas operated shotguns claiming to shoot all loads, sometimes have a very difficult time consistently cycling light loads. The 11-87 Super Mags actually say, “Not Intended for Light Loads” on the barrel.

    The VersaMax was designed with seven ports (as seen in the picture above). The amount of gas is regulated by the shell length. A 3.5″ shell only needs three ports to reliably cycle. So, a 3.5″ covers four of the seven ports. A 2.75″ produces such low pressures that all seven are required to cycle. The shorter shell means that all ports are open.

    The great thing about the VersaMax is that it was designed to shoot exactly the load in it at the time.

    • Kev

      Slightly off topic, but can a rifle have a port this close to the chamber like the shotgun?

      • Zincorium

        You could, but the gases would be hotter and at higher pressure, causing unnecessary wear on the gas system. The only reason to put it anywhere near that close is with an extremely short barreled rifle where it’s not possible to get enough pressure to cycle the action otherwise. Shotguns, compared to most rifles, operate at extremely low pressures, so the same justification exists.

        Generally, though, unless you have a specific reason to put them close to the chamber, you’ll have better reliability moving the gas ports out along the barrel.

      • Tinkerer

        Research the Benelli ARGO system.

  • Mike Knox

    Nowadays, sometimes cheaper sounds like something lessser quality, seeing how muchare made in china nowadays..

    • Anonymoose

      Remington imports (or used to import) Russian shotguns (and maybe some Saigas too, back in the day), but none of their mainline stuff has ever been made anywhere but the US. Red China did copy the 870 and 1100 though, and those copies are some of the few Chinese firearms still imported into the US (but they’re neither imported nor sold by Remington), and I’m pretty sure they’re currently standard issue for the Chinese military and police.

  • Mike P

    I have never met the owner of a Remington semi-auto shotgun that didn’t complain about it. I wanted a Remington several years ago, bought an 870 Express Magnum, and have killed a stack of turkey and deer with it. No complaints, ever.

  • mechamaster

    I believe in rugged and reliability gun, but I don’t believe the words of ‘self-cleaning’

  • strongarm

    Details of Versa Max workıng principle can be found at Benelli’s
    US Patent, 5959234.

    This reveals, gas ports drilled close to the shell chamber, will
    produce cleanest and hottest gases available and effectively
    usable on breechbolt actuating provided with suitable gas ports
    on both rifles and shotguns.

    Benell gas regulation is carrıed on via standart gas valves, and
    Versa Max regulatıon via various gas ports to be closed by plastic
    shell bodies of different lenghts. This innovation is also belongs to
    another Italian named Gian Mario Molinari, and both gun’s self
    cleaning feature may come from the cleanest gases used through
    closest gas ports to the shell chamber and cleaning rings cut over
    the gas pistons.

    Versa Max gas regulation will of course works with first used shells
    but working with several reloaded shells would be questionable.
    Benelli’s gas valves regulation is superior on this purpose.

  • Bryan

    First of all, I am a big fan of Remington guns. I have not had any problems until now, but these are major problems that paying customers need to know about. I purchased my new Remington Versa Max 28’’ barrel in MODB. I thought this would be a great shotgun after reading all of the reviews and reading Remington’s ads. I will tell you my pros and cons with this gun and then a short story on how the Versa Max failed after 1 box of rounds through it and the customer service that I received.
    Pros in a nut shell: Great feel, rubber grips, TriNyte finished barrel and nickel/Teflon plated internal components for extreme corrosion resistance, Hi-Viz end sights, comes with nice case, supposed to shoot any load without fail, mostly good reviews
    Cons in a nut shell: It is heavy, the back end of the fore-end moves up and down even with the magazine cap fully tightened down, the bolt handle literally fell off into my hand after shooting less than 1 box of shells, the extractor sheared off causing this gun to become a single shot shotgun after 1 box of rounds
    Here is my story. I got the Versa Max on a Friday 11/30/12. That night I took it apart, cleaned it, and assembled it. When the barrel is removed, there is no play in the fore-end. (PROBPLEM #1) When the barrel is installed, the back part of the fore-end moves up and down even with the magazine cap fully tightened down. I went duck hunting the next morning. (PROBPLEM #2) During the hunt the bolt handle literally fell off into my hand. I was in waist high water and this piece could have easily been dropped into the water and lost. For those who have not taken one of these guns apart yet, the bolt handle comes off and it installs with some force by pulling or pushing. There is a notch in the handle that locks the handle into the bolt assembly and keeps it installed. This piece was fully inserted when I started the hunt. To make sure that I did not lose bolt handle, I kept it in the boat and grabbed it from the boat if I needed to use it. (PROBPLEM #3) Shortly into the hunt, this Brand New Remington Versa Max Jammed Every Single Round! At this point I only shot 1 single box of Remington Hyper Sonic 12Ga 3” #2 shot rounds through this brand new shotgun. The extractor sheared off and was completely flush with the bolt head. I am in the middle of my first hunt with this shotgun and the fore end is loose, the bolt handle is in the boat, and my Versa Max shotgun is now a single shot shotgun. I am furious with Remington and the Versa Max.
    That Monday morning 12/3/12, I called Remington and told them what had happened. All they said is “OK” and to send it back to the factory via UPS standard ground. The instructions Remington sent me to return the Versa Max said that “our returns process will take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete and a confirmation email will be sent once we have shipped your firearm.” I can’t wait 2-3 weeks! I talked with Remington because I already have a hunting trip planned before 2 weeks and that I need this shotgun to be sent overnight both ways because I already have money invested into this hunting trip. Remington told me that I could pay to overnight the gun, but Remington does not reimburse hunting trips and will not pay to have the gun sent overnight. This is Remington’s fault and they should pay to fix it and to get this expedited. Not only am I missing out on a big hunting trip, I am also missing a lot of local hunting.
    I am highly disappointed in Remington’s customer service and the Versa Max. My hunting partner that was with me is about to buy a new 3 ½ “ shotgun and was leaning toward the Versa Max, but after seeing what happened with mine he said that there is no way that he would buy one now.
    I am still contemplating if I should sell or trade the Versa Max after I get it back from Remington. It looks like I have 2-3 weeks to think it over.

  • ohn

    Atleast the bolt handle fell off in your hand. I lost it in the mud 10 minutes into shooting, on opening day, a 6 hour drive south to hunt.

  • Steven

    Plan and simple… DO NOT BUY THE VERSA MAX. Mine breaks every hunt.