Author:Bodinson, Holt

Americans love their tactical shotguns. I think there's a whiff of buckshot embedded in our collective DNA. As a country, we've carried them in every battle and police action over the last two-and-a-half centuries. They ride in our squad cars and guard our hearths and home. When the fighting gets close in, there's still nothing more devastating and demoralizing than a fast volley of 00 or No. 4.

But something new is in the air. This year is turning out to be the year of the detachable-magazine, tactical shotgun. Mossberg and Remington modified their existing pumpguns, but not Armscor USA, which just unveiled a serious looking 12-bore AR.

Meet the Armscor VR-60, made in Turkey and imported by Rock Island Armory.

To three generations who've grown up with AR variants, the black VR-60 will prove to be a familiar beast. The stylized look is familiar. The controls are familiar. The feel is familiar. But it's a 12-gauge with a 20" barrel, a 3" chamber and dressed out with removable choke tubes--IC, M and F to be exact. With a modest MSRP of $499, it's a very appealing "big-bore AR."

The VR-60 looks massive, like an ARIO on steroids, but don't let the look fool you. The one-piece buttstock, lower receiver and sights are polymer. The deep forend is polymer, sporting not one, not two, not three, but four Picatinny rails for any mix of accessories. A red-dot and a flashlight would fit nicely.

What's not plastic? Well, the receiver, bolt and fire control system. The bolt, by the way, features a vertically operating lug locking into the steel barrel extension plus a generous buffer pad mounted at its rear.


The big surprise to me was the 5-shot magazine is real honest-to-god, magnet-attracting steel. The Turks who build these guns know where to put steel. The magazine, accepting 3" as well as 2-3/4" shells--is fitted with a very stiff follower spring and is somewhat of a thumb-buster when it comes to seating the fifth round. The trick to loading the magazine is to place the base plate against an immovable object and inset the rounds so the rim of the next round presses down against the brass base of the proceeding one. If the engaging rim presses down against the plastic body, not the brass base, of the proceeding round, the rim digs into the plastic, making it darn difficult to seat the round to the rear of the magazine.

What's nice about a shotgun accepting detachable mags is the reload is snappyfast, and you can mix your loads-buckshot...

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