Remington Versa Max Tactical Shotgun Review

by Ryan Cleckner

February 2, 2022



Remington Arms has long been known for making quality firearms. And that reputation is definitely upheld by this shotgun – as we will explain in our Remington Versa Max Tactical Shotgun Review.

The Versa Max Tactical is the centerpiece of Remington’s Versa Max family. It retains the trustworthiness of the original but adds on a Picatinny rail, forward barrel clamp side rails, and an extended magazine (8+1).

Now, let’s take a further look into this weapon and find out if the Remington Versa Max Tactical is the right shotgun for you!

Versa Max Tactical Specs

  • Operating System Versaport Gas System
  • Gauge/Bore 12 Gauge
  • Weight 7 3/4 lbs
  • Overall Length 43 15/16″
  • Piston Long Stroke Piston

The Remington Versa Max Series: A Revolutionary Shotgun

What if I told you that you could fire a 12 Gauge that only kicked like that of a 20? And not only that but fire reliably regardless of the choice of ammo?

You’d probably think I was crazy. But those were the questions that Remington engineers took on as a challenge.

The first generation of Versa Max shotguns were released back in 2010 and left a lasting impression on the gun community.

Since then, many reiterations of the Versa Max have been introduced–including the Versa Max Tactical–and each hold true to their predecessors.

The Versa Max does more than just lower recoil and improve reliability. This is accomplished through features such as their internal alloy coatings for durability and oversized features for comfort.

Remington Versa Max Tactical Features

1 Receiver Mounted Picatinny Rail

Allows for any Picatinny compatible accessory to help customly optimize the shotgun.

2 Enlarged Trigger Guard Opening

This feature comes in super handy (and adds more safety) when firing the weapon while using gloves.

3 Nickel Teflon Plated Internal Components

This particular coating makes the firearm much more durable to the elements and adds a major boost in corrosion resistance.

4 Oversized Bolt Release and Bolt Release Button

The oversized components allow for a much more comfortable shooting experience.

5 Probore Choke System w/ both IC and Tactical Extended Choke Tubes

The different chokes tubes allow you to further customize your gun by helping you to shape the spread of your shots.

Remington Versa Max Tactical – Our Take

Summary: The VersaMax is an amazing shotgun platform, and our very own Ryan Cleckner still swears by it as his go-to shotgun for 3-gun competitions. However, there are some quality control issues that have previously plagued this scattergun.

It is so rare in the firearms industry that true innovation happens – the Remington VersaMax is one of those moments.

You see, semi-auto shotguns used to kick… hard! Manufacturers worked to invent a system that was reliable but softened the recoil of the system. Unfortunately, shotguns aren’t as easy to make into a gas operated semi-auto system as a rifle is – a rifle has fairly consistent pressures and velocities from different brands and types of ammo. A shotgun on the other hand needs to be able to fire super light target loads and sometimes super potent 3.5 inch magnum shotgun shells.

Most manufacturers (Benelli excluded) use a gas system that uses a small port in the barrel to redirect the gas pressure down and into the handguard area (the port in the barrel is usually as far forward as possible without being past the handguard) where some combination of pistons, springs, and operating arms would then push the operating mechanism rearward.

This has worked well for MANY years. The small downside is that there sometimes isn’t enough gas pressure for super light loads and too much pressure for super heavy loads. Also, these systems were prone to getting dirty (and not working as well when they did).

Enter Remington’s VersaMax, a truly revolutionary operating system that fixed all these issues.

Instead of ports a ways down the barrel, the VersaMax has 7 ports right in the chamber area that lead to two short and self-contained pistons. When a short and super light shell is in the chamber, all 7 ports are unobstructed and can help operate the pistons. However, when a longer and stronger shell is in the chamber, many of the ports are blocked by the shells body and therefore fewer ports are used to operate the system – GENIUS!

The VersaMax port system is SUPER reliable and is known for running any type of shotgun shell (2-3/4 to 3-1/2) that you can throw at it.

Another thing Remington did right? The controls on the shotgun.

They changed from their standard bolt release system on the lifter of the shotgun and changed it to a button on the side like everyone else.

For the VersaMax tactical, Remington put a HUGE button that is super easy to press under stress or with gloves on. This is an upgrade that many competitive shooters would do on their own – it is awesome to have this from the factory.

We’re also big fans of the large trigger guard and the trigger. For a tactical shotgun, the VersaMax tactical trigger is my favorite.

The bolt handle is also oversize and easy to use. However, this can start the explanation of the problems that early VersaMax shotguns had (although they appear to be fixed on new models).

Early VersaMax Tactical bolt knobs (the oversized ones) would either break or fly off – neither are a good thing. They were so long that the leverage was too much so they’d snap or they’d go missing during shooting and it was difficult to safely unload the gun.

The early VersaMax shotgun barrels were crooked (this is fixed now). Although 3-gun competitors raced to get themselves a VersaMax tactical shotgun, they all knew that the shotgun worked fine until they tried to shoot slugs and would watch them fly feet to the left. Remington was aware of the problem and they worked to fix it.

This shotgun is is our number one pick for a tactical semi-auto shotgun.

Video Review of the Remington VersaMax Tactical

Remington Versa Max Tactical Pros and Cons

  • Revolutionary gas system
  • High capacity
  • Soft shooting
  • Reliable and easy to operate
  • Early quality control problems
  • Heavy

Report Card


The VersaMax shoots everything you feed it


Early problem here, but it seems to have been fixed.


Not much to customize – this is a good thing because they’ve already done it for you!


This shotgun fits us well but we’re big – if you’re smaller framed, it may be too big and heavy for you.


It’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth every penny!


Our Grade


Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade


Based on 5 Reviews

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The Remington Versa Max Tactical is a phenomenal shotgun, and just like any firearm it needs to be taken care of in order to function properly. Here are some key essentials that every gun owner needs to have, in order to maximize their owning experience.

Now that we’ve got the must-haves out of the way… Let’s get to some extras for the Remington Versa Max.

Best Cases for the Remington Versa Max Tactical

There are a lot of things you can say are that are top priorities by owning a firearm. one priority when it comes to a new firearm, is the need to protect it. There are only a couple options in order to accomplish this goal. One, I clean and maintain my firearm consistently. Second, I get a gun case to make sure it is out of the elements and I can transport it in safety.

Hard cases for my firearm are vital to me because I travel so much. Of all my rifle/shotgun cases, the hard enclosed cases keep my gun the cleanest. I like this one as the editors choice because it has great protection and is reasonably priced . Travel is easy at the airport with this case, just as long as you use some good locks from Amazon.

This bag gets our Durability Award. It is strong and well made with good padding. The extra pockets and protected zippered compartments are a perfect fit for my extra shells, mags, lights and more.

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Great bag. It has great value, but not at the cost of good quality. You can count on this bag and it locks up tight . This easily gets our Best for Budget Choice award.

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Other Shotguns of its Class to Check Out

We know that some of you reading this are still needing more info because your still not sure.. The Remington Versa Max Tactical Shotgun is an amazing gun, but there are so many others in its class that are just as good and maybe even better. So we want to help relieve any stress by giving you at least one more review to see what else might compare.

#1 Mossberg 500

Mossberg 500 pump shotgun

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  • Shootability A-
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A+

Our Grade


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Based on 32 Reviews

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The Mossberg 500 is a fantastic pump action shotgun and can be completely trusted. Whether it’s knowing that its perfectly reliable or the fact that it is budget friendly, it is an all around solid pick for me, or someone in the market for a new shotgun. A key feature I would like to highlight about the Mossberg 500 is its ability to shoot mini shells, which allows me to shoot small rodents and is easier on the wallet. READ MORE

How to Care for Your Remington Versa Max Tactical

Let’s take care of our firearm and keep it clean and maintain it. The Remington Versa Max is a stellar shotgun, so it’s important to take care of it and keep it operational. Keeping up with the maintenance will make it last a lifetime! To help you do this, here is a video on field stripping and cleaning the Remington Versa Max Tactical.

If you want to begin cleaning your gun right away, here is the recommended cleaning kit I use on my Remington


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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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