Remington V3 Field Sport 12 Gauge Autoloading Shotgun
Something like four years ago, Remington started research and development on what is now known as the V3 and has been shipping through the distribution system since mid-January, 2016. This 26 inch barreled V3 is a full-blown production model in retail packaging.
Externally, the V3 has not changed from the pre-production prototype I have been shooting for the last year. All that is visible is that the Remington Supercell recoil pad is perfectly fitted, where on the prototype, it wasn't. Through the last couple of years, through the extended testing, there have been countless small tolerance and metallurgical changes, but that is part of the development process that is not trackable, nor is it relevant at this juncture.
The V3 has a shim-adjustable stock. The standard shim (which suits me perfectly) is installed; however no extra shims were supplied. Although my understanding was that the V3 was to be offered in its initial models with one choke tube, a Modified Remchoke, this production model comes with three stainless steel choke tubes: IC, MOD and FULL, with the Modified choke preinstalled in the barrel. The Full choke tube is clearly marked, "FULL: STEEL OR LEAD."
Via calibrated electronic gauge, this V3 weighs 7-1/4 pounds with a trigger that breaks at 4-1/2 pounds. As far as I am concerned, the 26 inch barreled V3 is a remarkably better handling, better swinging and better balanced shotgun than the 28 inch version.
When Remington developed the V3, the fundamental design parameter was to build the most reliable autoloading shotgun in the world. The V3 has been through the longest, most intensive torture and durability testing of any recently manufactured repeating shotgun. The V3 was not intended to be the most gorgeous shotgun in the world, the focus was on reliability, soft recoil and lighter weight than the 1100 / 11-87 series, the best-selling autoloading shotguns in history. It also had to be manufacturable in Ilion, New York, USA and affordable to the average shooter.
This shotgun, as supplied, retails at $895, putting the V3 at a significantly lower price point than many gas-operated autoloaders. For example, the matte finished, 3 inch chambered, plastic-stocked Browning Maxus Stalker in the same configuration as the V3 currently retails for $1379.99. Right now, the V3 is available in black synthetic or camo stocked models. The walnut version is estimated to be available in early summer 2016.
By now, most readers are familiar with the Remington V3's 8-port VersaPort system, so there is little point in describing it again here. It should be sufficient to say that it is optimized for 12 gauge shells from 1 oz. 1200 fps loads on up, with automatic blocking off of four of the gas ports when using 3 inch (unfolded length) shells. There are no large gas pistons with ears to crack, no internal springs in a gas piston to crack, no magazine tube in the stock to bend, crack, or break.
I will dispense with the fine details already covered in other articles and go straight to likes and dislikes.
You are going to like the crisp, 4-1/2 pound trigger, which is far better than standard Browning / Winchester repeating shotguns. No trigger job required here. It is also quite a bit better than the Benelli Ethos models and the Remington VersaMax, for that matter.
You will love the fact that the dual gas piston area shoots extremely clean. It can go who knows how long between cleanings.
You are also going to love how soft shooting it is, without resorting to springy things in the buttstock. The SuperCell pad is as good as the best and better than the rest.
It is far softer shooting than the Beretta Outlander, for example, and clearly more comfortable to shoot than inertia guns. No, it is not as soft-shooting as the far heavier VersaMax, primarily because of the V3's lighter weight.
As for rating the felt recoil, that of course depends on how you feel about it. With 1 ounce loads, the V3 is roughly equivalent to the SX3 / Browning Silver / Maxus line, the softest-shooting gas guns in this weight class for many years. It is too close to call, according to my shoulder.
With 3 inch shells, the VersaPort system does a better job of compensating than the "Activ Valve" and feels a bit softer, as well as having less shock and vibration. A steady diet of heavy loads is not as abusive to the V3 as it is to other models, where the bolt speed gets out of hand.
The 26 inch V3 is a far better handling gun than the 28 inch V3 and, if it was up to me, the V3 would be available with a 24 inch barrel. As the V3's gas system comes right from the cartridge chamber, barrel length can be as short as wanted without changing function or reliability.
The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases or a rail. This is, of course, a blessing for those who wish to add optics down the road. For the wing shooter or clays shooter, it means a lot less.
You will also like the generously sized trigger guard and the oversized safety button. The trigger guard is larger than many models, as is the safety button. For cold or gloved hands, this is a very good thing. The trigger guard mounted, cross-bolt style safety is reversible for left-handed shooters.
The stock design is generally quite good. Many European shotguns have combs that are too wide, but the V3 does not have this potential issue.
The V3's composite stock has molded-in swivel studs. Although an increasingly common, cost cutting practice (yuck), metal studs are much superior.
The stock dimensions are very good for most shooters, but the molded fine stippling is not quite as grippy as I would like, although this is a matter of personal preference. This applies solely to the black synthetic V3 and will not apply to the walnut versions.
The outline and silhouette of the V3 is fairly conventional, certainly more conventional then the radical profile of the Benelli Vinci. Still, I feel the trigger-guard has needless insets with "R" in them and there could be some cosmetic improvement without any change in the fundamental design. Like everyone else, I would like to see highly polished bluing and a well-figured walnut stock.
The Remington V3 comes with Remchokes, one of the most popular screw-choking systems in the world. If you want performance consistent with the information printed on ammunition boxes and in reloading manuals, you will need to use barrels that are dimensionally close to the barrels that were used to produce the data in the first place.
The standard SAAMI 12 gauge test barrel has a bore diameter of .725 inches + .005 in., and is 30 inches long. Larger than .730 inch barrels invariably means velocity loss. Oversized bores are potentially less reliable with cheap wads, or fiber wads.
The production V3 barrel, measured by Skeets bore gauge, has a bore diameter of .727 inch. The three stainless steel choke tubes supplied have exit diameters as follows, also measured by Skeets bore gauge:
As mentioned previously, all supplied chokes are steel shot approved, including the Full choke. The supplied Remchoke choke wrench handles 12, 16 and 20 gauge Remchokes. Those that already have various Remchokes, factory or aftermarket, from their 1100s or 870s will be delighted that Remington did not take the "when all else fails, invent a choke tube thread" approach used by Beretta and others.
Directly ahead of the trigger guard, you will see the slide that is a magazine cutoff. This allows you to quickly get the shell out of the chamber when crossing a fence, or do a quick load change without feeding a shell from the tubular magazine. It is well designed and unobtrusive.
As far as lubrication and maintenance is concerned, the V3 is a dream compared to many gas guns. I have certainly cleaned more "self-cleaning" gas actions than most. I don't bury shotguns in the back yard, leave them at the bottom of ponds, or stack them in sheds, so some of the sundry wonder lubes are of comparatively little interest to me. For most of my shotgunning life, I have managed quite well with Breakfree CLP, Hoppe's No. 9, and Super Lube.
Oil is the best lubricant, as grease is merely a mixture of oil and soap, or some other type of thickening agent. It is fine for hinges and latches in O/U shotguns and static applications like choke tube threads, but higher-speed cycling parts need a light film of oil.
On the V3, you will want a light film of oil on the internal receiver rails. It will run dirty, but don't expect it to be at its best when dry. Other than that, the dual-piston array stays quite clean. Eventually, you will want to scrub the pistons and clean out the piston channels with Hoppe's and a .40 caliber brush; perhaps every 2000 rounds.
For regular use, just clean the bore with Hoppe's and wipe the receiver with Breakfree CLP. It is a far cleaner action with less typical maintenance than the 302 / 303 / 390 series Berettas, the B-80 Browning, or the Remington 1100 for that matter. There is no magazine tube and mainspring in the V3 buttstock to crack, bend, or get filled with crud.
It has been rainy and windy in northern Illinois, a far cry from a year ago when there was a pre-Super Bowl blizzard. Despite the wind, there had been enough interest in video coverage of the production Remington V3 that it was time to load up the dog and head down the to the pond.
With 1 ounce, 1180 fps, #7-1/2 Federal Top Gun shells, the V3 has almost no felt recoil. You can barely feel the action working and that's about it. There isn't any recoil to talk about with 1-1/8 oz. loads, either.
With 1-5/8 ounce, 3 inch, 1350 fps #5 lead loads, there is certainly more recoil, as you would expect. However, it is not punishing. The V3 handles heavy loads very well, far better than most other gas autoloaders and wildly better than inertia guns.
All shooting was with the Remington factory Full Remchoke, .694 inch exit diameter, .033 inch constriction. The V3 shoots to Point of Aim at 35 yards, with roughly a 55/45 pattern that is pleasingly dense. Many of the shotguns I test shoot nowhere near the point of aim, so this is good and the reason I mention it.
Currently, the Remington V3 as tested (26 inch, black synthetic) has an approximate 2016 discount retail price in the neighborhood of $725. At this price point, Remington is going to sell hundreds of thousands of these guns.
It is a practical workhorse, an all-around type of shotgun at an appealing price level. Remington is going to have to work hard to keep up with the demand for this model, for the V3 is the best new shotgun from Remington since the Model 1100 was introduced in 1963.
Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.