So I have broken down and decided that I am going to get a semi auto after shooting my sons Franchi Affinity which he received as an early 13th birthday present. I really like his Franchi, which lead me to look at its big brother the M2.
Let’s start with the Versa Max. It is Remington’s new flagship semi auto and it boasts a lot of nice features. First of all is that it can shoot pretty much every shell out there with its Versaport™ gas system which exposes more or less gas inlets based on how long the shell is – which allows it to function and cycle with pretty much every load out there. The other nice part is this is American made, which is important to me. On the downside, some of the early models seemed to have had some quality issues and even now I see mixed reviews when I parse through the major retailers. Some people get awesome shotguns, and others get guns that may or may not be to the quality they were expecting. This uncertainty bothers me. I want to buy American. I really do. But I only have enough dough to buy one nice shotgun, so whichever one I purchase is going to have to be my duck gun, clay gun, and home defense weapon (with a shorter barrel I’ll purchase as an add-on). So now on to my other choice.
My second choice of shotguns was the Benelli M2. I really love my son’s Franchi and how easy it is to clean. The bolt barely gets dirty so pretty much the only thing to clean is the barrel because this is an inertia driven just like the Affinity. The ease of take down and cleaning of the inertia driven guns really appeals to me. The simplicity and the reliability really drove me to rank this shotgun very highly. Even though the Versa Max is supposed to have self cleaning pistons and there are reports of round counts in the six figures, it is still a gas gun, and that means dirty to me. And that means eventually it will fail. While failure to maintain any weapon will eventually cause it to fail, I feel like gas operated shotguns are just too dirty. I’ve spent a lot of time cleaning my 11-87 and the other gas operated shotgun I have, and I don’t really like scrubbing where the gas ports sear their burn marks on the feed tube. In comparison my inertia driven gun is simple, a thousand times cleaner, and much easier to clean.
I really wanted to buy American. I love my Remington 870s (I have a few in different configurations) – but I just couldn’t close the gap in (admittedly perceived) reliability between the M2 and the Versa Max.
So now I am just waiting for my M2 to come in so I can go to the store and pick it up.