Well it appears as though the folks at Ruger aren’t the only ones borrowing great and innovative ideas from other companies and making them their own. From what we saw at SHOT Show 2012, it looks like Remington has mastered the art of imitation with last year’s release of their VersaMax auto 12 gauge shotgun all but replacing the 1187 series of sporter shotguns. The VersaMax employs a ported interior bolt system VERY similarly mimicking the groundbreaking design of the Benelli Vinci/SuperVinci released a few years ago. When Benelli’s patents ran out on their design, Remington decided they could do it better and in such a way that the gas release happens entirely through the bolt and almost entirely without regard to the length of the barrel. This means it’s a more reliable and better functioning auto shotgun regardless of the size of the shell. This gun will digest 2 3/4″ to 3 1/2″ without hesitation.
I heard directly from one of the designing engineers who claims to have sawed off the barrel of a test shotgun one inch at a time and incrementally testing all three shell sizes after each modification with no failures or error. He did this all the way down to a foot in barrel length! He said once it got that low you could tell it was laboring a little more to cycle the rounds, but it still did so reliably. All of this is based on me taking the word of a Remington employee, but I’m inclined to believe this one. Some you can tell are just there to blow steam and will tell you anything you need to hear, while others are genuine and honest. For instance, the engineer who told me about the sawed off test is the same one who revealed the secret about patents expiring on the Benelli Vinci series and Remington jumping on the chance to learn from their tech. Like I said, honest guy, no reason to disbelieve him.
As of right now the Remington R12 auto Shotgun is limited to Military and LEO applications, but with the rabid success of the 870 for defense purposes, and Magpul’s recent release of the 870 MOE Shotgun Furniture, I’m inclined to believe we won’t be deprived of the R12/VERSAMAX for our own defense purposes for very long.