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930 vs. Versamax - which is better made, more reliable, price aside


DHart
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I'm about ready to pick up one of these two models for potential use in casual 3-gun shooting and as a possible defense gun. I already have a number of other pump and semi auto shotguns for defense and sporting purposes, but I don't have a semi auto that is suited to 3-gun.

I'm not so concerned with which one is better equipped for 3-gun right out of the box, nor am I necessarily wanting to buy the very best, most competitive model right out of the box, for the sport. I'm fine with doing some mods, as need be. I am more interested in which basic design has proven itself to be more reliable and of better build quality.

I know that lots of folks will want to chime in saying that they bought such and such model and it has been reliable. And I guess that is the kind of feedback I want to hear. But perhaps hearing from people who have had problems may be more instructive... I don't know.

Certainly most of you know where I am coming from as a consumer who is considering and trying to choose between two competing semi auto shotgun models.

Reasons I might lean toward the 930 include availability of 18.5" barrel (for home defense use) and wood furniture (which I just like the feel of.) I would probably buy the All Purpose model with wood furniture and modify from there with additional barrel and mag extension.

Reasons I might lean toward Versamax include availability of aftermarket 1-piece mag tube and, possibly, higher build quality, more reliability. These last two elements, however, I'm not certain of, though higher price often does provide a higher quality and, possibly, better reliability. No option here for 18.5" barrel, nor for wood furniture that I'm aware of. But if the quality and reliability had an edge... that could sway me anyway.

Does either model seem to have a stronger lead among 3-gun shooters?

Do you think that lead is reflective of a superior gun design or simply reflective of a stronger head start in the game?

Moving forward, which base model do you feel may be a better made, more reliable model to work with?

The price difference between the models, which would be forgotten over passage of time, is of no concern to me in this comparison.

Edited by DHart
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The versamax is by far a better made shotgun. Very reliable. Will shoot any load you put through it. Very simple gas system. Softer recoil. The loading port can

be opened up much more than the mossberg. I have shot and worked on both and the versamax is the way to go.

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It seems to be that the versamax is in a good lead over the mossberg, but then I dig a little deeper and see that so much of the versamax hoop-la is from the same small group of people. There are almost as many horror stories about the versamax as there are fanboys. Bent barrels, frozen bolts, two and three trips back to Remington for the same issues. I'm not so sure that it has been properly vetted just yet.

As for the mossberg, I have honestly only seen one. I know that they are in high demand and short supply at the moment. That could be why it doesn't have the fanboys and the horror stories yet.

I have felt both and I can tell you that they both feel like they were designed and assembled with a hammer as the most sophisticated tool on the bench. Parts fit together loosely, neither is very ergonomicly friendly, they both have too little material in some places and too much in others.

I think that if the truth he told, the reason that these two guns get the hype that they get is because they are gas guns and they have less felt recoil than a benelli. They certainly lose on all other points when compared to benelli.

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Of the 4 shotguns most suitable for 3Gun; M2, 930, SLP and VersaMax, there are certainly some plus and minus depending on which feature and which shooter. The execution of the VM, had it been on a par with the SLP, would have been the clear winner IMHO. Sure the VM had a few out of the gate issues, but those seem to have been fixed at this point. The VM is certainly preferable over the 930. I prefer the ergonomics of the VM over the Benelli anyday.

Most people are going to tell you the one they are invested in is the best, until they switch and their opinion follows.

Shoot them all, in a variety of situations and choose the one you like for how it works for you.

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The key here is casual 3 gun shooter and I also put myself in this category. Just let me say I was raised on Remington shotguns (hunting only) and I love their products. I have owned many over the years and haven't had any complaints. I spent a solid two months trying to decide between the Versa Max Tactical or the 930 JM Pro. I had never owned a Mossberg before. I ended up lucking into a JM Pro at a very good price. Now this was before all the panic set in. That was the key decision maker for me was price. I have 4 kids that normally take all of my money. Now back to the JM. The only issue I have had with it was the follower hanging up. It would always happen when I was practicing my load two. It would always hang up where the mag ext. attached I would normally just give the gun a little shake and problem solved. My thought process here that during live fire the recoil would always solve this issue. Wrong. It happened when firing the gun also. I did a little research and bought a Nordic low drag follower and problem solved. The trigger group is a little sloppy and has some minor wiggle to it. I have read that others have this issue. Other than that I love the gun, runs great and haven't had any issues after adding the nordic. I did handle the VM tactical numerous times and loved the way the shotgun felt. In the end I feel like I made the right choice.

The problem you may have now is the JM's have jumped up in price. I have seen several in stock just here in the last few days for 899.00. Now if I were in the market right now..............tougher decision for me.

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I own a VM Tactical and a FN SLP Comp. My buddy has the JM 930. The fit and finish of the VM is better than the JM. In particular the welds on the rib are sloppy on the JM. I love my VM, I grew up shooting an 870 and that may have something to do with it as they feel similar. I have had some issues with light target loads not cycling the VM's bolt back far enough to strip the next round and seat it in the chamber. This was with a low round count of about 150 rnds. These were the light and cheap Estate brand target loads 1oz shot and 2 3/4 dram powder loads. I shoot 11/8th shot 3 dram all day long 3 Gunning. It also shoots those same light skeet loads from better manufacturers without a hitch. My VM was $1050 and the JM was $690. JM is a lot of shotgun for $690 but I prefer my VM.

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Hello: I like that I can phone up Remington and get the parts I need :cheers: I have not needed any yet but it makes sence if I need spares. My Zombie has been great and has had no problems. It will cycle 7/8oz loads and shoots very soft. As was stated above try each of them before you buy one if you can. I know I like the Versa Max more than the Benelli M2 I had. Thanks, Eric

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It seems to be that the versamax is in a good lead over the mossberg, but then I dig a little deeper and see that so much of the versamax hoop-la is from the same small group of people. There are almost as many horror stories about the versamax as there are fanboys. Bent barrels, frozen bolts, two and three trips back to Remington for the same issues. I'm not so sure that it has been properly vetted just yet.

As for the mossberg, I have honestly only seen one. I know that they are in high demand and short supply at the moment. That could be why it doesn't have the fanboys and the horror stories yet.

I have felt both and I can tell you that they both feel like they were designed and assembled with a hammer as the most sophisticated tool on the bench. Parts fit together loosely, neither is very ergonomicly friendly, they both have too little material in some places and too much in others.

I think that if the truth he told, the reason that these two guns get the hype that they get is because they are gas guns and they have less felt recoil than a benelli. They certainly lose on all other points when compared to benelli.

I know exactly what you mean, lol.

Benelli has the best build quality but terrible customer service. Even so, my 21" M2 had to have the barrel bent because it shot slugs way too high. My Benelli Nova 24" is probably my favorite shotgun. You can always get a short barrel for a Nova/Supernova.

I had the chance to shoot a VM and couldn't believe how soft it shot, I instantly started researching/looking for one. When I bought my VM I did so after reading the complete 100+ page thread on shotgunworld.com knowing full well what problems my VM may come with. I also knew Remington customer service would take care of me eventually. I just didn't know my 26" would come with all of the problems I read about, luck of the draw. Or that my patience would wear thin while waiting for reliable customer service, my personal issue. Build quality is not as good as the Benelli. What I have determined is my VM was built about 1-2 years ago, before quality control was improved. I do like that I can use a lot of Remington and Benelli parts in it. I wouldn't worry about barrel length so much, Personally I wouldn't go shorter then 24" anymore after trying most lengths unless it were a car gun.

I sold my Win SX2/FN SLP, Benelli M1 with pistol grip and kept my M2. Sold my M2 and will be keeping the VM, it shoots that much softer. My Nova is a keeper no matter what. I had a CZ 712 for a while, liked it quite a bit but didn't really shoot it much as I had the Nova and M2. I would probably do a 712 over a Mossberg.

As far as the Mossberg 930 I have only held one, didn't like the way it felt. Although I am sure I have a 500 somewhere in the back of the safe.

YMMV, good luck.

ETA: I was able to shoot all of them well, we really are splitting hairs here. For example, if I weighed a little more and didn't have a slender build I would have kept the M2 as the reduced recoil of the VM wouldn't be as large of an advantage. Remember, all of them needed work done to them to get them to their best.

Edited by carbon9
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I have yet to have a malfunction of any kind and I have been shooting a VMT since last April. In the matches I have shot and in the squads I was put in I have had a chance to see quite a number of shooters using various versions of the Mossberg 930, and I've seen a lot more people shooting the Mossberg as compared to the Versamax. In the last year I have seen one Versamax jam, one time at the FN 3 Gun. In that same time frame I have only seen two 930 shooters make through a match without a problem. A very small sampling, but telling none the less.

Tim

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I'm about 800 in to my 930 and I have no complaints. I opened the loading port, had the lifter welded, barrel cut and threaded and a nordic kit and couldn't be happier. I have had one jam in a few thousand rounds from Walmart bulk but flawless with winAA and rem sure shot. I wanted something I could modify as funds allow and I am glad I chose the 930.

Edited by JesseCJC
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I went with the VM and my buddy went with a 930.

The 930 has been a headache out of the box. It would constantly send 2 shells on to the lifter and jam up. It doesn't cycle value pack ammo. It had several hulls to stick in the chamber and lock the gun up. This was all in the first 50 shells. We tore it down cleaned it and polished up a few things and it ran a little better. It has gotten better after 500 rounds but it still won't run value pack ammo with out trouble.

The few JM pros and other variants of the 930 I have seen at the local clubs have not impressed me either. All of them seem to have feed issues where the gun will cycle but not pick up the next round or it will send 2 shells to the lifter. I have seen 2 that the extractor rips the rim of the hull leaving stuck in the chamber.

As for my VM I have had zero issues. It eats everything I stick in it. The adjustment kit parts are a plus so that I can fit the gun to me. The only bad thing about this gun was explaining the bill to my wife. My buddy constantly tell me that I could of got 2 930s for what I paid for the VM, but I am happy withy choice.

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It is always someone else's mossberg that has problems. We have 4 of them in the group of guys I shoot with and the only problem we have had is with the follower replaced them with nordic low drag follower. My JM pro has over 2000 rounds through it with out a failure. Most of the shotgun problems I've seen no matter what the brand tend to be poorly maintained shotguns.

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Most of the shotgun problems I've seen no matter what the brand tend to be poorly maintained shotguns.

Maintenance is important. On the other hand I shot my first VMT from April to December, 10 matches plus some practice and test firing and never cleaned it. The only maintenance it got was a little Breakfree in the action before each match. I was trying to run the gun til it stopped working but it never did. Ended up selling it to a friend so I could buy the Zombie version. It has been problem free also.

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I must have a mutant 930 SPX. Eats anything and has been nothing but reliable in use. Slugs group really well at 50 yds and hit POA/POI. I did replace the factory barrel with the 24" barrel ordered direct from Mossberg. It does need the loading port opened up and if I did load 2 or quad load it would definitely benefit from a welded and extended lifter. For the price, and the problems I've heard of with the VM I have not gotten motivated to switch platforms.

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I was in this same boat about a week ago, I ended up going with the versa max 26" synthetic.

Here are my reasons why:

Seems like the 930 JM pros were the only ones really worth getting since they are pretty much setup for you out of the box.

Can't find any JM pros...anywhere. and when you do occasionally find one that isnt sold yet. it's going for $900. at least they are in California.

The Versa Max, from what i've read and seen in person, does seem a bit higher in quality than the 930s,

where the 930s seem like they were put togther with a sledge hammer, the versa max seemed like it was put together with a slightly smaller more delicate sledgehammer lol.

with the Versa Max selling for 1050 from grabagun and with a $100 rebate. the prices were way to close not to get the remington.

At least those were why i ended up with the Versa.

Edited by stage12m
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Thanks to you all for the input. I'm going to throw in with the Versa Max. Since the 28" Field version is fairly easy to find, I'm thinking of going that route and then buying a 22" barrel, if they are available. I would prefer the 22" barrel length on this gun for defense applications and would use the 28" for clays and hunting. Don't see much use for the 26" except perhaps for 3-gun?

Does anyone know if 22" Versa Max barrels are available?

Edited by DHart
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I have both shotguns. A 22" JM Pro and a 26" VM and love them both. For small stages (16 or less shotgun rounds), I prefer the 930 since I can point and shoot faster. It also seems to have a little less recoul. For higher round stages I prefer the VM since I can load faster.

They both are soft shooting and I've never had jams in either. They both eat the cheap 100rd wally mart value packs. I spent $700 total on the JM (gun + welded lifter) and $2000 on the VM (gun + TSS mods).

All in all, the VM has a very slight advantage IMO. If I could only choose one, I'd flip a coin and hope it lands for the VM. If it landed on the 930, I would still feel good.

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New to the forum, and i was debating this same choice but ended up going with the jmpro 22" due to getting it for $599. It didnt come in yet and almost debated cancelling the order and going with the VM, but i think ill stick it out with the JM. With that said are there any mods that can be done to the jm pro in the event it proves to be less than reliable? Ive already read through the huge jm thread and im aware that benny hill is basically responsible for the design.

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