Analysis: Gas and the Remington V3
This is an unusual article, for I'm discussing a problem that I do not have, have never had, and have never personally experienced: the notion of “blowback” (whatever that means, exactly) from a Remington V3. About a decade ago, the Remington Versa Max was released, a 3-1/2 inch gun with a related action. The Versa Max shotgun has a vented gas block. The idea behind a vented gas block is to offer another incremental way of adjusting action speed to protect the system.
While someone, somewhere might have a complaint about blowback from a Versa Max, after a decade there has been little to no commentary about it. The vented gas block was initially used in the V3 as it was a well-known, well-proven system. There was no reason to fix something that not only wasn't broken, it was something that was and is proven by over a decade in the field.
WHERE COULD GAS COME FROM?
Well, you aren't going to like this, but all side-ejecting repeating actions inclusive of pumps put debris in the air. It is certainly possible to get some unwanted gas from all of them, even if it is from just one brand of shell or when shooting directly into a 25 mph wind.
Some gas, in the V3, is going to come out of the ejection port, some out of each of the two gas pistons (if it didn't, they wouldn't work), and each of the ends of the two gas compensating plugs (just a spring-loaded secondary bleed) or the ends of each of the exhaust tubes as the case may be.
Additionally, with a synthetic forearm, you have not just vents but also forearm flex. We are all going to run out of fingers and toes quickly, counting all the potential sources of gas, debris, and the potential exit paths for all of them.
THE QUICK FIX
There is no quick fix, due to all the variables. No matter what Remington or anyone else does, there is still going to be a side-ejection port, gas will exit through or around the forearm, and you can still shoot into the wind, with a wide and unknown variety of ammunition.
Prior to the release of the V3 walnut model, the vented gas block was looked at. Not due to blowback concerns, but due to forearm cracking concerns. A walnut forearm does not flex like a synthetic forearm can, which is part of the problem.
As Remington has said, “We started the V3 program with the vented gas block like the Versa Max and didn’t investigate removing it until we got into the development of the walnut gun. The vents are positioned right at the end of the piston stroke to reduce the gas cylinder pressure after bolt unlock and initial actuating forces to reduce the impact of the pistons on the piston stop plate attached to the receiver. This was done to reduce stress on the piston and the impact on the piston stop plate to improve the durability. It wasn’t until we got into the development of the walnut gun that we investigated and validated through a lot of endurance testing that removal of the gas vents did not adversely affect durability of any aspect of the platform.”
Remington was concerned about unintended consequences by using a non-vented gas block. As a result, several non-vented gas block guns were tested past 10,000 rounds, and checked for any wear as compared to the vented gas block systems. As no additional wear could be detected, the non-vented gas blocks were then put into production.
Today, as far as I know, all V3 models being produced have non-vented gas blocks. While the vented gas blocks contribute somewhat to the filling of the forearm with gas and debris, it looks like it isn't significant nor is the forearm vents or slot position particularly significant. It is all cumulative, though, but to what extent with every brand and load of ammo on the market is unknowable.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Eventually, I would expect all V3 field and target models to have exhaust tubes. The new V3 TAC-13 has neither exhaust tubes or compensating plugs, just solid plugs. The dramatically shorter barrel (13 inch) makes tubes or compensating plugs unnecessary.
I personally do not know how many people have sent V3's to Remington with blowback concerns. I can speculate it is a grand total of 25-35 guns out of tens of thousands sold, which is at a low enough level not to move the needle.
It is highly probable that the most significant change to the older V3 synthetic models is just the simple addition of the exhaust tubes. For those that don't want to part with their synthetic V3's, ordering a pair of exhaust tubes from Remington is likely the best path. If that is not to your liking, then of course, Remington V3's have a lifetime written warranty, so send it in and Remington will address it on a personal basis for you.
So, that just about wraps it up. If Remington has any commentary or additions to what I've described here, I'll update this article to include that information.
Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.