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 Post subject: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:17 am 
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Hi all, I own a Versamax Competition Tactical and I mainly use it for IPSC competition. It served me well in the past 8 months without any major failure. I shot mostly birdshots target load as IPSC requires it. I also shot OO buck and slug from time to time. Never fired a magnum shell.
I estimate around 1.5k - 2k rounds has been fire from my Versamax.

The thing is now I can see that both gas pistons are noticeably battered. However, the gun still functions flawlessly. Should I be worried about the battered gas piston? Is this the kind of wear to be expected over time?

Is this the kind of wear to be expected over time?

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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:10 am 
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Location: Western Tampa, FL
I would send those clear pictures to Remington while they are still working and ask the question. IMO it is not something to be concerned about but I am no expert. If that fails, maybe order those parts now and keep in reserve. Good luck and I would be interested to hear what Remington says.


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:33 am 
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oyeme wrote:
I would send those clear pictures to Remington while they are still working and ask the question. IMO it is not something to be concerned about but I am no expert. If that fails, maybe order those parts now and keep in reserve. Good luck and I would be interested to hear what Remington says.


Thanks for your suggestion. I'm in Thailand where customer service from firearm manufacturer is next to impossible due to import/export restriction. Any suggestions which part I should order as spare parts?


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:54 am 
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Location: Western Tampa, FL
I would look at the owner's manual and see what the parts are that you want to replace. If that does not identify them then how about this schematic from Brownells. The parts I think you are referring to are the "gas pistons" aren't they?

They are $48 plus shipping! I would be darn sure that they are in fact showing abnormal wear before paying that to have them sit around.

https://www.brownells.com/schematics/re ... 194sid1091


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:27 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:16 pm
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Location: Escanaba, MI
I can't imagine what would cause that but it certainly doesn't look like normal wear. Mine is about 2 years old with maybe 2000 rounds thru it. Most of those target loads but maybe 100 3" magnum steel and a dozen or two 3.5" magnum steel loads.

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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:56 am 
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I've never seen a V3 and have no knowledge of their operating mechanism, but I know a little about gas operated autos in general. Those mushroomed ends on the operating rods may be indicative of some larger underlying problem.

I'm assuming that those rods push on the bolt to drive it rearward when a shot is fired. I wonder what the bolt surface looks like where these rods make contact? Then, I wonder WHY it looks like that?

I don't know how the gas is metered or compensated in the V3, but I think I would check to see if the regulating system is working properly. It may be allowing too much gas through the operating system.

Actually, it looks to me like the rods have been subjected to repeated excessive battering which would lead me to ask numerous questions such as: Is the gun properly assembled and snugged down tight? Are all the internal seals, bushings, O-rings, etc in place and in good shape? Is the action/recoil spring (wherever it may be located) in good shape or does it need replacing? Is the gas system itself complete and operating freely? I would also question whether the gun is designed for a steady diet of buckshot and slug loads? Those aren't really "target" loads.

And finally, it could be that these rods just weren't properly heat treated, but I would dig deeply into the questions I asked above (and similar type questions) to try to find out just what is causing the problem. The gun may still be operating, but it appears it may be beating itself to death in the process. I would try to find out why.

EDIT: See my followup comments in my post below.

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Last edited by Ulysses on Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:41 am 
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After looking at a couple of pictures online of the V3 design, it appears that those rods go into a recess in the front of the bolt. I don't see how those rods could become battered and mushroomed IF they're actually inside their recess in the bolt. In fact, if they're a snug fit as they should be, I doubt that the rods would even go inside their recess in the bolt with mushroomed ends like that.

Another comment is that the amount of gas used to operate the system is based on the LENGTH of the shell, i.e. the shorter the length, the greater the amount of gas used to operate the action. Therefore, if a person is using short 2 3/4" shells that generate a lot of gas due to being "hot" loads (such as buckshot or slug loads), they might be overloading the system. But still, I have to wonder how those rod ends became mushroomed if they were INSIDE their recess in the front of the bolt????

Perhaps the gun was assembled in such a way that the rods weren't actually INSIDE their recess, but the gun was able to operate anyway, thereby mushrooming the rod ends so that now they probably won't go inside their recess in the front of the bolt.

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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:14 am 
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Location: Escanaba, MI
Ulysses, topic is versa max. There are similarities with the v3 for sure, but I am not sure exactly how they differ.


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:43 am 
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DooFighter wrote:
Ulysses, topic is versa max. There are similarities with the v3 for sure, but I am not sure exactly how they differ.


Oops! My bad!!!! :oops: :oops: :oops:

Dang! I'm gonna have to buy some new reading glasses. Somewhere I thought it said V3, but that may have been in another thread.

Sorry about that.

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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:05 pm 
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I've now had time to look at some pictures of the Versamax gas system and compare it to the V3 gas system pictures, and to me they look darn near identical. What I can't seem to find are pictures of the bolt assembly and, more specifically, the area of the bolt that these mushroomed rods push on.

Does anyone have a Versamax that they can take good pictures of the front of the bolt... specifically the area or portion that the mushroomed rods in the OP's pictures push on? Due to the very similar nature of the design of the V3's and Versamax's gas system, I now believe that the comments I made in my first post above are equally applicable to the Versamax.

How about the OP??? Can you provide the pictures I'm requesting? If not, can you provide a good description of what these rods push on in your gun and what the condition of that area looks like? Sure would like to hear from you on this.

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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:36 pm 
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OK, I just now saw a video on Youtube about disassembly of the Versamax. It didn't appear from that video that the bolt has a recess for each of these rods (or pistons if that's their proper name). It appears that the rods just push against the front of the bolt body.

So, my thinking is that during the operation/cycling of the gun, the rods should be in constant contact with the lower front portion of the bolt at all times. When the rods are pushing the bolt rearward, it would be due to gas pressure forcing the rods (pistons) rearward. And when the bolt is pushing the rods (pistons) forward, it would be due to the spring pressure from the action spring.

Therefore, IMO, the bolt body and rods/pistons should be on contact at all time. If they were in fact in contact at all time, it's extremely unlikely that the ends of the rods/pistons would mushroom unless the rods/pistons are simply poor quality steel (possibly due to improper heat treatment).

The only other explanation I could come up with for the mushroomed ends is if somehow the rods/piston became separated from the bolt body during the cycling action and the bolt body slammed into the rods/pistons repeatedly. That could certainly mushroom the ends of the rods/pistons, but I can't figure how that would happen and the gun still operate flawlessly. I don't know if lack of lubrication on the rods/pistons could cause this to happen, or if perhaps incorrect assembly of the gas system could cause it. Puzzling. :? :? Wish I had one here to examine and tinker with.

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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:28 am 
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@Ulysses, you're right about the operation on the gun. However, the pistons are not in contact with the lower part of the bolt at all times. It only travels about 1/4 inch pushing the bolt rearward. The bolt then travel rearward by itself until it reach the stop then the action spring push the bolt back forward slamming into the pistons. But I doubt that the bolt slamming the piston will cause the pistons to mushroom out as the pistons would have no resistance when the bolt hits it. Here's the photos showing how far the piston can travel. (the scratch is my mistake, not the piston)

Image

I replaced the mushroomed ones with new ones from Brownells for a L3 IPSC match last weekend. I took the gun apart for cleaning today and had noticed that the pistons are in fact not in contact with the bolt when the bolt is closed. It wiggles even when the bolt is completely closed. There's a tiny gap between the piston and the bolt. It's not much but enough to make a clang when I shake the gun, about 0.5mm wide. Could this be the culprit causing the pistons to mushroom?


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:44 pm 
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theix wrote:
@Ulysses, you're right about the operation on the gun. However, the pistons are not in contact with the lower part of the bolt at all times. It only travels about 1/4 inch pushing the bolt rearward. The bolt then travel rearward by itself until it reach the stop then the action spring push the bolt back forward slamming into the pistons. But I doubt that the bolt slamming the piston will cause the pistons to mushroom out as the pistons would have no resistance when the bolt hits it. Here's the photos showing how far the piston can travel. (the scratch is my mistake, not the piston)

Image

I replaced the mushroomed ones with new ones from Brownells for a L3 IPSC match last weekend. I took the gun apart for cleaning today and had noticed that the pistons are in fact not in contact with the bolt when the bolt is closed. It wiggles even when the bolt is completely closed. There's a tiny gap between the piston and the bolt. It's not much but enough to make a clang when I shake the gun, about 0.5mm wide. Could this be the culprit causing the pistons to mushroom?


I can't say for sure just what is causing the ends of the pistons to mushroom, but with the pistons being separated from the bolt at the time a shot is taken, and then the sudden jolt of the pistons hitting the bolt is like using a small rod (the pistons) as a hammer to pound on something much heavier and probably harder.

Something has got to give in that situation, and it appears that the "giving" is being done by the ends of the pistons. I don't know if that's the way Remington designers intended it to be or if some part is missing or something is out of adjustment or the wrong length.

About the only thing you can do at this point is see what happens to the new pistons. I suggest that you keep a close eye on the pistons when cleaning the gun. In particular, observe if they start to mushroom and ask yourself what loads have you been shooting immediately prior to noticing the mushrooming.

I do think that buckshot loads and slug loads MIGHT contribute to the mushrooming, but can't say for sure. You might compare the muzzle energy of these loads with 2 3/4" target loads to get an idea of the difference in force that could be applied to the pistons with each shot. Most other gas guns that compensate for different loads do so by means of gas valve springs which open more to let out more gas the higher the gas pressure. This design only compensates based on shell length, so the gun gets more battering from a hot 2 3/4" load than it does a mild 2 3/4" load. In effect, there is NO compensation for different loads of the same length. At least, that's the way I understand it.

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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:12 am 
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Thanks Ulysses for your input. I guess the gas pistons of Versamax is the weak point by design. They can't make it as strong as the bolt or it will damage the bolt which is even worse. All shotshells I use are 2 3/4". I suspect that the slugs and buckshots will only accelerate the wear on the pistons but I don't normally shoot them unless the IPSC match requires it.

Guess I need to keep some spare pistons on hand. The only problem is that it costs $45 a piece! :(


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:05 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:16 pm
Posts: 335
Location: Escanaba, MI
I would still get in touch with Remington to get some answers. I would bet money that is not normal wear. Either something else not right with your gun or those particular pistons were defective in which case it shouldn't recur with your new parts.


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:52 am 
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DooFighter wrote:
I would still get in touch with Remington to get some answers. I would bet money that is not normal wear. Either something else not right with your gun or those particular pistons were defective in which case it shouldn't recur with your new parts.


I did asked Remington via Facebook. The very same question I asked here and this is an answer from them "I see no issues other than common wear marks."


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:56 am 
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Why not try their chat line for customer service?

FWIW the gas pistons on the V3 leave a little play between the bolt carrier assembly that it acts on and the ends of the pistons.


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:41 pm 
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Location: Escanaba, MI
Theix, that is unfortunate. Fb is probably better at misinformation than any other type so not sure if trust that. I'll dig a little more.


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:02 pm 
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I will try their online contact form


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 Post subject: Re: Battered gas piston Versamax.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:21 am 
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oyeme wrote:
Why not try their chat line for customer service?

FWIW the gas pistons on the V3 leave a little play between the bolt carrier assembly that it acts on and the ends of the pistons.


Good to know. So I take it that the play is normal.




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