One thing you can always count on is Remington — along with its sister companies — introducing enough new stuff each year to provide plenty of grist for people like me. In addition to Remington, we’re talking Marlin, H&R, Bushmaster, DPMS/Panther Arms, Dakota Arms, and Parker Guns. It should also be noted, however, that for the past several years this family of firearm manufacturers has been marketed under the Freedom Group umbrella, but as of this past summer the name has been changed to Remington Outdoors Co., presumably because non-firearm companies like Barnes Bullets, Advanced Armaments, Mountain Khakis, AAC, Para USA, 1816, and TAPCO are also members of the Remington family.
Anyway, this year we got to see the new goodies debut at Adventures on the Gorge, a scenic venue overlooking the New River Gorge in WV, home of the longest arch bridge in the western hemisphere, and the third highest in North America. By far the biggest news among all the various ROC products came in the way of a totally new semi-auto shotgun dubbed the V3. To come up with a replacement for the iconic Model 1100 has been a real challenge for Remington, because since its introduction in 1963, it became not only the shotgun against which all others are compared, but with more than 4 million of them having been produced, it’s the most successful gas-operated semi-auto shotgun in history. The Model 1100 holds the record for the most shells fired out of an autoloading shotgun without malfunction, cleaning or parts breakage with a record of over 24,000 rounds. Even the Remington people themselves have tried to come up with a worthy replacement for the 1100 in the 11-87 and Versa Max, but neither could match its light weight and handling qualities.
It is interesting to note that when the 1100 was introduced, American-made semi-auto shotguns comprised about 70 percent of the market. Today, that figure is about 20 percent. More reason than ever for Remington’s determination to come up with a worthy, American made successor to the 1100, and with the V3 they may have done just that. Of course that’s just my opinion, and only time will tell, but the overwhelming consensus among all the writers present was that the V3 is indeed a worthy successor to the epochal Model 1100.
Designed over a three year period by an engineering team headed up by Vince Norton, the V3 is a marvel of efficiency. At 7.2 lbs. it is more than a pound lighter than a comparably spec’d 11-87, and it has fewer parts than either the 11-87 or the Versa Max. It does, however, employ the Versa Port gas system of the Versa Max, which makes the V3 the lightest recoiling gas operated shotgun out there. Contributing to the light weight of the gun is the fact that the receiver is almost an inch shorter than that of the Versa Max; only one competitor can claim a shorter one — the Beretta A300. Also, the gas system on the V3 is located just 3” ahead of the receiver, compared to 9” to 11” on competitive guns. That puts more weight rearward and between the hands, making for better balance and pointing qualities. And of course the Versa Port allows the gun to function with all 12 gauge loads from the lightest 1 oz. to 3” magnums without adjustment.
As for the reliability of its rotary bolt mechanism, exhaustive testing has shown the V3 to have less than a 1% malfunction rate, which is 10% better than its closest competitor. I had the opportunity to put about 100 rounds through a couple of test guns and I can tell you this is the lightest-recoiling gun I’ve ever shot, despite its relatively light 7.2 lb. heft.
Just as impressive to me as its handling and pointing qualities is the fact that the V3 can be reduced to its basic components in a matter of three minutes without tools. I’m not talking just removing the barrel and the trigger group, but the disassembly of the entire gun down to the bolt, the carrier, firing pin, extractor, action rods and springs…everything!
For this first year of availability, three iterations of the V3 will be offered, one with a Walnut stock and two with synthetics, one in black and one in camo. All vent rib barrels come with Rem Choke in 26” or 28” length. MSRPs range from $895 for the black synthetic to $995 for the Walnut and camo models.
In case you can’t tell, I’m really impressed with the V3. And I can’t wait `til they come out with a 20 gauge version!
As for other new guns from Remington for 2015, I guess the biggest news is that the entry level Model 770 centerfire rifle is now history, and the existing Model 783 will take its place as Remington’s value-priced rifle. A better looking and more straightforward design, the 783 is being produced in Remington’s Mayfield, KY factory, which they claim is now the largest rifle manufacturing facility in the U.S. Moreover, the 783 will now be marketed only as a package rifle complete with a pre-mounted 3-9×40 scope for $382.78 MSRP, which means a realistic street price of around $325! It’s the kind of gun you can hunt with, then leave with your guide as a gratuity! Also, two calibers have been added to the 783’s list of chamberings, the .223 and .22-250; they join the .243, .270, .308, .30-06, 7mm Rem. Mag and .300 Win Mag.
Not much happening with the Model 700 except that the Model SPS will now have a threaded muzzle as standard for the growing number of hunters who wish to add a suppressor or “can.”
Perhaps of more interest to SCI members is that Remington is expanding the sources for its Custom Shop guns. Places like Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, and other large wholesalers and distributors will now be stocking limited selections of the more popular Custom Shop models. The basic line is comprised of seven Model 700s: the North American Custom in blue or stainless, the Alaskan Wilderness, African Plains, African Big Game, Sendero and C-Grade. All feature trued and blueprinted actions, hand lapped barrels, and lathe-cut chambers. All can be had in a choice of 56 chamberings and various stocks and finishes depending on specific model. In addition to the 700, there are Custom Shop versions of the classy Model 547 rimfire bolt action, the 870 and 1100 shotguns. And lastly, prices on all CS models have been reduced to where they now range from $1999 to $2950.
There’s nothing new on the Dakota, Nesika or H&R scenes, but that’s not the case with Marlin. Perhaps the biggest news — and biggest surprise — is that they’ve deep sixed the X7 bolt action centerfire, which I thought was a damn good value-priced rifle. The X7 represents the third unsuccessful attempt by Marlin to establish itself as a viable manufacturer of a turnbolt rifle. I guess when a company has for 125 years been best known for its lever action rifles, trying to break out of that typecast is difficult.
As for the good news, the changeover to modern CNC and EDM machinery in the production of all Marlin lever action centerfires — the models 1894, 1895 and 336 — is now complete. The fit, finish and functioning of the current guns is markedly improved over those of the past.–Jon R. Sundra