Born in the early ’80s, 3-Gun popularity has grown to record proportions, and the sport is now a major attraction at shooting clubs across the country.
During that time, competitors started pulling the trigger faster than ever with purpose-built race guns. Unfortunately, those customized guns require significant gunsmithing skills, preventing ordinary shooters from joining the sport.
Luckily for those interested in shooting 3-Gun, race-ready guns are now available right out of the box from major manufacturers that are investing in the sport’s growing popularity. Firearm companies are seeing a big opportunity to reach both new and experienced competitors with a single offering.
Smooth Is Fast
Shotgun phases of 3-Gun competitions invite a huge margin of user error. Quite simply, any occasion when you’re not shooting or moving during a 3-Gun match is wasted time.
Under normal circumstances, loading shells into a shotgun’s magazine tube is nonergonomic and sometimes painful. Add the stress of a shot timer, and shotgun handling often becomes the make-or-break aspect of a match. It’s important to counteract the awkward nature of shotgun maneuvers by equipping the gun with specific components to reduce the possibility for user error.
When the fastest time wins, it’s simply intolerable for the firearm itself to slow a competitor’s split times. Remington caught on to this when it recognized that 3-Gun champions are using shotguns built with strategic modifications for smoother, deliberate reloads and faster follow-up shots. The Versa Max Competition Tactical comes race-ready right out of the box, packed with winning features that are in high demand by the 3-Gun crowd.
Competition Meets Tactical
The fundamentals of tactical shotgun operations regularly cross over into 3-Gun shooting. Unlike trap and skeet, 3-Gun includes many reactive ground-based targets and close-quarters engagements. With this in mind, Remington’s Competition Tactical shotgun was inspired by the Versa Max Tactical and then refined into a purpose-built competitor.
The gas-operated Competition Tactical employs Remington’s trademarked Versaport operating system with which we’ve become familiar from the Versa Max platform. The Versaport gas system regulates semiauto cycling pressures based on the length of the shotgun shell. This allows shooters to run 2 3/4- to 3-inch loads with reliability while maintaining consistent perceived recoil.
The Versaport gas system operates inside a green Cerakote-coated receiver that’s had a full-body massage. The top of the aluminum receiver is drilled and tapped for the optional addition of optics for those highly competitive 3-Gunners who shoot in Open division. On the bottom of the receiver, an enlarged loading port and rounded shell carrier make for quick and painless loading when the shooter is shucking shells into the magazine tube.
Competitors don’t have time to fumble around with shell loading or the external controls of a shotgun. Competition Tactical’s oversize charging handle, bolt release and safety selector solve the manipulation issues that shooters commonly experience while under pressure. Not only are the controls larger, they’re also machined with a pronounced shape and significant grip patterns to ensure that the external controls will not contribute to added time.
Those who shoot 3-Gun also need the option to run in Limited or Open divisions, and it’s an added bonus when their shotguns can be easily converted to give the option of running either. Out of the box, the Competition Tactical is equipped with an eight-round carbon fiber magazine tube that holds the maximum number of shells typically allowed in Limited division. For those who choose to run Open division, where there’s no limit on magazine capacity, the shotgun comes with a two-round extension to increase its capacity to 10+1 2 3/4-inch shells.
A threaded 23 1/4-inch raised vent-rib barrel is an ideal length for 3-Gunners who need to maneuver in close quarters while maintaining the necessary velocities for knocking down heavy steel plates. Included with the Competition Tactical is a set of Carlson’s Pro Bore choke tubes that cover an array of patterning options desired in 3-Gun: Light Modified (LM), Modified (M), Improved Cylinder (IC) and Skeet (SKT). Topping the barrel is a green fiber optic front sight for fast alignment and a shallow rear XS Express sight dovetailed in the rib for quickly lining up precise shots when distances require more precise scenarios.
The modular theme reappears in this model’s synthetic stock, where an interchangeable cheekpiece is adaptable with one of the taller or shorter replacements supplied with the shotgun. The soft recoil pad is also swapable to adjust length of pull for a variety of shooters. The stock and forend are also equipped with quick-detach adapters for sling use when 3-Gun stages require added retention.
During a recent event at the Academi Training Center in Moyock, North Carolina, the Competition Tactical was on hand for heavy testing. Dozens of shooters put thousands of rounds through a single sample while shooting clays were thrown by a Crazy Quail target system. The shotgun performed flawlessly without cleaning or additional lubrication. It quickly became the preferred shotgun as it continuously dusted clays on a humid, 85-degree day.
In repeated testing, none of the many evaluators was able to pull the trigger faster than the shotgun could cycle.
During a patterning test at 25 yards with the included LM choke, the Versa Max Competition Tactical exceeded our expectations. Point of impact measured 4 1/2 inches low from a center aiming point with Winchester 2 3/4-inch steel No. 7 target loads. The pattern’s center was 3 1/2 inches low from center with Hornady Superformance 00 buckshot. Winchester PDX1 Segmenting slugs impacted just 2 1/2 inches below point of aim. Birdshot patterning yielded 93 percent of the pellets impacting a 30-inch circle, while 00 buckshot landed inside a 10-inch circle.
Going for Gold
With its sights set on creating a new standard for race-ready shotguns, Guns & Ammo feels that Remington has cooked up a winning recipe with this new Versa Max shotgun. Its smooth-cycling operation combined with purpose-built features from stock to choke makes it a scattergun that will soon be seen winning matches. Remington may dominate the top of the podium for years to come.
<h2></h2>The large safety selector switch is quickly accessible during intense run-and-gun shooting.