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Customized Versa Max & M2 comparison


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I am going to start a comparison topic between the two most popular 3G shotguns currently being used by most competitors, the Versa Max and the M2.

My M2 was done by Mike at Accurate Iron and to say that I absolutely love it would be an understatement. I have several thousand flawless rounds through my M2 since Mike worked on it. I have had two total malfunctions that were due to a weak mag tube spring and the malfs came within 25 rounds of each other. I now make sure the spring length is 12" passed the tube and haven't had any malfunctions since.

I recently received a new customized VM from Andy at 303 Arms. The quality of the workmanship looks top notch. I shot the gun for the first time this past weekend in a local match. I put 15 rounds through it before the match and then only about 35 rounds in the match. No malfunctions in the first 50 so I guess we are off to a good start. Initial impression of the VM is that the recoil is much less than the M2 and it does seem to load easier.

Over the next few weeks and months, I will report back on comparing the two guns on the following criteria.

1. Reliability

2. Split times

3. Loading speed and consistency

4. Slug accuracy

5. Feel & handling

Here are a couple of photos of the shotguns I will be comparing. Let me know if you have any suggestions for the comparison.



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My C-rums lifter should arrive today so I went to the range without trying to load it quick - didn't want to lose a thumb.

75 rounds through mine this morning, three different brands / loads, a couple of hangups because I didn't have any lube on the bolt to start but then smooth as glass after that. I shot 2 groups of 3 slugs from 30 feet and 100 feet (short bays). My POI is low and right, shooting offhand. I didn't go to the rifle range / bench to see if it was me or the gun.

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Slug Accuracy

I finally got out to the range today and was able to do a side by side comparison between the M2 and VM with slugs. I only used the Fiocchi low recoil 1oz slugs because that is what I have always used in my M2. I shot groups at 50 yards and 100 yards with each shotgun. The first picture is a 5 shoot group at 50 with the VM. I also shot a second 3 shot group which is at 11 o'clock on the target.


This picture below is with my M2 which shoots about 8-9" high and left at 50. 1 shot missed the target completely and then I had 2 high left. I corrected my POA and the last 2 found the center.


This is a 3 shot group at 100 with the VM.


This is a 3 shot group with the M2.


It looks like I need to drift the rear sight on the VM slightly to the right and a lot to the right on the M2. Elevation at 100 was good on both.

The main difference for me between the two was that the recoil on the VM was much less and a quick follow up shot on a miss would be much easier. As far as accuracy goes, I will let you decide by looking at the pics.

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Feel and Handling

This is a link to me shooting the VM in a match on 7/27/13. This gun recoils very little and it allows me to shoot on the move much easier than my M2. As you can see in the video, it has very little muzzle rise.

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The VM weigh's about 14oz more than the benelli.

And I feel every bit of this extra weight during quick consecutive shots toward the end of the swing. As well as for shots that require quick movements. Going to try out my A400 unico modified to see how well that works because it is light and recoil friendly as well.

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Thanks for posting this comparison James. I'd like to run both of these shotguns against my SLP at our next practice session. I have been happy with my FN but have had the itch to switch to either an M2 or VM.

After shooting about 8 rapid fire rounds through your VM I must say the recoil is very very soft. Those guys at 303 arms did great work and I might be giving them a call, but I want to shoot it some more before making up my mind.


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It would be great to here a side by side review of all three. I just sold my jm and bought an m2. This thread helped me decide between the m2 and vm.. the lighter weight of the m2 and several reports of soft hammers in the vm getting deformed were the deciding factors.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Well, I wanted to get to at least 500 rounds through the VM before I considered mentioning reliability. I know this is not enough rounds to conclude anything about the reliabilty of this gun but as an update, I have had Zero malfunctions with any type of bird shot, which includes #8 shot at 1100fps and the cheap bulk pack Winchester rounds. I did have 1 malfunction out of 30 while shooting Fiocchi 1oz 1150fps slugs.

As a comparision, when I first got my M2, which was before I sent it to Accurate Iron, I probably had 20 failures in the first 500 rounds. Almost all malfunctions were when I used light loads.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Loading speed and consistency

Well, after a couple months of comparing the loading differences between the VM and M2, using the strong hand method of loading 2, quad loading, and traditional weakhand loading from a caddy, I can conclude the following based on my experience.

Load 2

I am slightly faster and more consistant with the VM when loading 2 shell at a time. The VM seems to just suck the shells into the receiver. Having the extra 1/2 inch length and wider opening really makes a difference for this loading technique.


Here is where I was surprised. I can quad load with both guns equally at the same speed, which is between 2.9-3.0 secs for 8rds. However, I am much more consistant with the M2 when quad loading. I am pretty sure the difference is because of the raised fore-end on the VM. The second set of shells hit/rub on the fore-end and disrupts the shells in my hand and causes the fumble. I have cut down a lot of material on the fore-end of my VM but am still having some issues.

Traditional weak hand

The VM is much easier for me to load weak hand from a caddy. I fumble a lot less with the VM than the M2 when using this method.

Once again, this is based off of my experience with two really awesome shotguns. Hopefully this might help someone considering between the two platforms.


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Good post, informative.

The second set of shells hit/rub on the fore-end and disrupts the shells in my hand and causes the fumble. I have cut down a lot of material on the fore-end of my VM but am still having some issues.

This has been my main problem on my SLP. A slimmer foregrip is a good thing. The 1301 looks awfully nice for that.....

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