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How I Opened Up The Loading Port On My Versa Max


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A while back I decided to open up the loading port on my Versa Max to facilitate smoother quad-loading. There are a lot of good smiths out there who do this kind of work, but I like being independent in such things, plus the optimal loading port configuration is quite a personal thing and something that may take some trial and error to get right.

Having seen some great work and also some epic fail when Dremel and gun collide, I went really slowly and erred on the side of removing less material at first. In general, you can be fairly aggressive around the mouth of the loading port, but should exercise extreme caution in the area of the shell latch and where the magazine tube screws into the receiver.

Here is how I did it:

1) I used another Versa Max, with an already-modified loading port, as a guide as to where I should and should not remove material. That gun had been worked over by a trained gunsmith, and had loaded very smoothly for me in the past. I wanted the new gun to mimic the older gun, but with a little more contouring around the left-side port mouth to match my strong hand loading technique. If you can't get a gun to use as a guide, search this forum for the many photos others have posted (MarkCO has posted some great images that were quite useful for me).

2) I field stripped the gun, then removed the trigger group and the shell latch assembly (with the shell latch out of the gun, I took the opportunity to lightly radius and polish it where the shell rubs during loading). Some folks also remove the buttstock and magazine tube, but I left both in place.

3) I masked off the receiver, using blue painters tape to outline the area in which I planned to remove material. Anything I did NOT want to remove got covered generously. I augmented the blue tape with duct tape, and used a grocery bag to cover the buttstock. Lastly, I stuffed some shop rags in the receiver to prevent metal chips from getting into the action spring tube.

4) I secured the receiver gently in a vice, using scrap wood to prevent marring. I then used a rotary tool with a Dremel tungsten carbide cutter (#9901) to carve away the receiver material until I got the profile I wanted. This particular cutter worked well for me, removing aluminum from the receiver like a hot knife through butter. A gentle hand and light, even strokes are the key... only remove a little at a time, and check your work often. Again, go very easy inside the receiver, around the magazine tube and especially in the area of the shell latch.

5) Once I had the profile I liked, I smoothed out the bare aluminum with progressively finer abrasive paper on my fingers. Some folks go so far as using rubbing compound, but I did not bother... the soft un-anodized aluminum is going to get dinged up in use anyway. Lastly, I removed the tape and blasted the debris out of the receiver using carb cleaner.

6) Before reassembling, I used a hacksaw to cut some material off the bottom-rear of the handguard so as to match the profile of the modified loading port. The idea is for the port cut and the handguard cut to create enough clearance that the loading thumb enters and exits the port in one smooth and continuous motion.

That's it. I have actually done this on two guns, and not screwed up either of them. As an aside, I also polished the barrels using a FlexHone set, and can HIGHLY recommend this modification - it is stupid easy, and completely eliminates barrel leading due to slugs.

Here is a time-lapse video I took as I performed the loading port modifications. Unfortunately it is not as clear as I would have liked, but timelapse footage is always fun to watch. Enjoy, and good luck all you Dremel Drivers out there :devil: .

Edited by StealthyBlagga
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  • 2 weeks later...

Pretty conservative (read: insufficient) :)

The video shows me working on my son's VM. I wanted to be conservative as it is not my gun. Still, it is probably an 80% improvement versus the factory configuration.

My personal shotgun has a little more aggressive hogging. Even that is not as much as on some guns I have seen. I figure it is much easier to remove more material later than to add material if I go too far. :blush:

Edited by StealthyBlagga
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  • 3 years later...

Hi, I've had a Remington Versamax, Zombie Green edition, since 2014 but only now looking at ways to not get my thumb jammed in the port, as I've started to enjoy the local 3Gun competitions.  I just found your helpful post and video recently and was hoping to reach you on follow up questions (years later).  I did exactly as you wrote, got the 9901 dremel cutting tool, practiced a bit on a few aluminum bottle caps, then went at it to modify the port.  I didn't want to go the expensive route and get an M2 Benelli, then send it to TTi for that legendary, John Wick3, $1300 modification but found the DIY solution much more efficient.  However, in my zeal, I didn't realize that I may have cut the follower catch.  Where/what keeps the follower in place but lets the shells get loaded?  Is it near the lip where the port modification is taking place?  I couldn't see it in the photos.


Also, I wanted to follow your suggestion on the Flex Hone set as well.  What did you mean by the set?  On their site, they had different silicon grades and sanding grades, which ones did you get?

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