As a baseline, Remington’s V3 is comparable to its sibling Versa Max semi-auto, but the V3 is a new design that shares no internal parts with its Versa Max predecessor.
Remington’s V3 semi-auto in black synthetic. It’s a no-frills semiautomatic shotgun built to handle any waterfowl or upland bird hunting duty.
Currently the Remington V3 is available only in 12 gauge. Finishes include black synthetic, Mossy Oak, Shadow Grass, Blades camo and walnut. The version made available to me was black synthetic.
Remington opted to chamber the V3 for only 2¾ and 3-inch shells. The receiver is shorter than the Versa Max, with a natural consequence of a shorter length of reach. That gives the perception of reducing the length of pull, even though at 14¼ inches it actually matches the Versa Max.
For the V3, Remington also retained the Versa Max’s VersaPort gas system, which regulates gas pressure based on the shell length.
Twin gas pistons straddling the V3's Light Contour barrel are identical to those in Remington's Versa Max, but that is about all the two shotguns have in common.
However, Remington’s engineers simplified the V3’s overall design. The V3 features fewer moving internal parts than traditional semi-auto gas actions. Its gas system consists of a single gas block beneath the chamber that houses two short, slender pistons.
There are eight ports in the barrel near the breech. A 2¾-inch shell exposes all eight ports in the V3. A 3-inch cartridge covers four ports.
Shell size determines the number of gas ports exposed in the Remington V3.
The gas from a fired shell depresses the pistons just far enough to cycle the action. Valves within the pistons open and vent the remaining gas out the forearm. It’s a clean system that eliminates carbon buildup on the magazine tube and drive system.
In the interest of reliability and maintenance, the Remington V3 return springs are inside the receiver. There is no recoil spring inside the stock to rust and break. This also eliminates the long push rod and plunger assembly that actuates the recoil spring in traditional gas guns. Plus the V3 extractor and ejector assembly is long and beefy.
The V3's gas block rests under the barrel and connects to a pair of recoil springs inside the receiver.
The V3’s aesthetics are spartan. The attractive, green foil “R” on the Versa Max grip cap is replaced by an “R” molded into the grip cap. The V3 has a Light Contour ribbed barrel with twin beads.The safety tab is a large black disc on the “safe” side. Grip surfaces are textured. One nice V3 feature is a magazine cutoff at the end of the loading ramp.
The trigger has a noticeable amount of pre-travel, but it breaks crisply with no noticeable over travel. It breaks heavy to a bare finger, but it is about right for safe shooting with gloved hands.
I also discovered that the charging handle on the bolt is extremely difficult to remove.
The V3 is available with 26- and 28-inch barrels. The 28-inch version feels a bit front heavy, but the 26-inch barrel is well balanced and points like a finger. The rear bead on my gun is set too far right on the rib and is misaligned with the front bead.
The overall length of a V3 with a 26-inch barrel is 47 inches, and 49 inches with a 28-inch barrel. The drop at comb is 1½ inches, and the drop at heel is 2-7/16 inches. With a 28-inch barrel it weighs 7 pounds, 4 ounces – the weight slightly less with the 26-inch barrel.
The Remington V3 is simply engineered with only a few moving parts. The entire firearm can be disassembled with only a punch.
The semi-auto ships with three flush-mounted Rem Chokes: Improved Cylinder, Modified and Full. These chokes left something to be desired.
My first shots with the V3 were with 3-inch Winchester Drylocks with 1¼-ounce of No. 2 steel shot. I fired one round with each choke tube at a cardboard target 25 yards away. The target was a 12-inch square, which is roughly the kill zone of a mallard with upswept wings.
The point of impact proved well below the point of aim. The factory Full choke hit well to the right. It placed 77 pellets in the square, 25 of which hit the far right quadrant of the square, and 21 hit the bottom quadrant.
With a higher point of aim, the included Modified choke placed 106 pellets in the square. Forty-two hit the lower quadrant, and 31 hit the right quadrant. Nineteen and 14 hit the left and top quadrants, respectively.
The Improved Cylinder choke had the same point of aim. It placed 89 pellets in the square, with 30 in the lower quadrant, 28 in the left quadrant and 21 in the right quadrant.
With the standard Modified and Improved chokes, many pellets hit about 3-4 inches under the bottom quadrant. A higher point of aim would have improved the scores. Not so with the factory Full choke, which threw a sparse pattern.
Interestingly, a friend who is also the former chief of wildlife management for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, reported the same point of aim/point of impact variance.
Next, I shot three rounds of trap. My loads were 2¾-inch Estates with 1 ounce of No. 8 lead shot.
My scores with the Full, Modified and Improved chokes were 20, 19 and 21, respectively. For a short-barrel field gun right out of the box, 80 percent is not bad, especially with the down-and-out point of aim/point of impact differential.
That differential didn’t seem to be a liability on flying targets, but I wanted better performance for the sake of confidence.
I got it when I replaced the Rem Chokes with Brownells 3-Gun Extended Choke Tubes. They are made by Carlson and are marked as such. These chokes reduced the point of aim/point of impact discrepancy dramatically, but not perfectly.
I put this combination to practical use afield on two turkey hunts in Arkansas and Oklahoma. I used the Full Carlson’s tube with a 3-inch, 2-ounce blended loads Nos. 5-6-7 Hevi-Shot. I made a one-shot kill on a mature eastern longbeard at about 15 yards, and a one-shot kill on a mature Rio Grande longbeard several days later at about 30 yards with the same loads.
The point of aim/point of impact issue with Rem Chokes is a distraction that compromises the functionality of a gun that is otherwise very pleasant and fun to shoot.
Other criticisms include the vents on the top of the forearm funnel gas upward into your sightline. Three shots with Estate shells showered my face with hot particles, but that did not happen with Winchester, Remington or Hevi-Shot ammunition. It also turned out that even with light target loads, the Remington V3 kicks harder than the Versa Max or the Winchester SX3 semi-auto.
In future incarnations, we’d like to see at least a modest attempt to bestow some aesthetic personality in the V3. A tasteful adornment on the grip cap or safety would be enough.
In its present configuration, it looks generic. I don’t like having to tell fellow gunners I’m shooting a Remington. I prefer for the gun to tell them.
Bryan Hendricks, an avid shotgunner, is the Outdoors Editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, Arkansas. He also served eight years with Missouri Department of Conservation and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He has credits in more than 1,000 articles in nearly 80 publications worldwide.