We told you about the release of Remington’s new semi-auto non-NFA “firearm” at the beginning of last month, but at Range365, we’ve been waiting a few months for its release since we first laid eyes on it at Big Green’s headquarters in Alabama.
By now, you’ve probably read a lot about it, as the idea of a semi-auto 12 gauge the same size as a pump action 870 TAC-14 or a Mossberg 590 Shockwave that doesn’t require a tax stamp is…attractive to say the least.
I got a chance to take it for a spin at the range recently. You can see the TAC-13 in action in the video above. Here's how this beastly gun performed:
SPECS and FEATURES
Let’s get the details out of the way so we can get to he range report.
Much in the same way as Remington cut down its popular 870 to make the TAC-14, it took the reliable and flexible semi-auto gas gun platform in the V3 and gave it a similar treatment.
Since the V3’s autoloading system doesn’t have any components in the buttstock, it made for a natural choice.
The tax stamp trick of the new V3 is the same as its pump gun predecessors—in short, per the definition of a “shotgun” in the NFA, if a firearm is assembled at the factory with a pistol grip and not a buttstock—and a buttstock is never attached, it isn’t technically a shotgun, which means it’s exempt from the barrel length rules in the NFA.
So you can buy it like any long gun, in MOST states, but that doesn’t mean it’s legal everywhere (see below).
The TAC-13 has a 13-inch barrel, hence the name, and an overall length of 26.5 inches. That barrel comes with a brass bead front sight and a cylinder bore. The TAC-13 weights about six pounds unloaded, and that weight is excellently balanced, making it feel lighter in the hands.
Functionally it works just like a normal V3 shotgun. There’s a charging handle on the bolt, bolt release button just behind the handguard, and a push button safety behind the trigger.
It uses the same Raptor grip from Shockwave Technologies found on the Mossberg Shockwave and TAC-14, which we know is much better at handling recoil than a vertical pistol grip.
At the muzzle is a newer barrel clamp design from Remington that not only gives the gun a mean and sturdy look, but it also provides some precious rail space on the short gun for accessories like a gun lights or a laser sight, which can be extremely useful on a gun designed to fire best from the hip.
With the 3-inch chamber, you can use magnum loads if you want…but it might be a bit of a rough experience.
A key feature that was surprising in just how key it was is the adjustable nylon strap on the hand guard. It’s function is two-fold—it prevents the support hand from somehow getting in front of the short muzzle while firing (which is more of a risk with a pump gun than a semi), and it really helps you control the gun.
With the pump gun, you get a half second to reset yourself between shots as you cycle the action, but you don't with this semi-auto, so the strap helps you keep the muzzle down during rapid fire, and it really helps you control the recoil a lot more than I thought it would, letting your weak hand absorb some of it.
TAC-13 RANGE TEST
The inclusion of the V3 gas system was said to allow the TAC-13 to fire pretty much any 12 gauge shells you want to feed it, from light field loads to heavy hunting loads.
So, I ran a variety of shells from Federal Premium Ammunition through the gun, along with some random shells that were floating around in my ammo boxes. I switched back and forth at random, loaded three types of shells in the same mag tube, mixed up, I held the gun loosely and tightly, fired from the hip and from a high aiming position—I did everything I could to get it to hiccup, but I couldn’t do it. It ran all day like a champ.
Some of the loads we tested included:
Federal Hi-Bird: 8 Shot, 1-1/4 oz. designed for upland hunting
Federal Gold Medal Target Loads: 8 Shot, 1-1/8 oz.
Federal Vital-Shok: 00 Buck
Federal Personal Defense: 00 Buck
Federal Power Shok: 00 Buck
Plus about 20 random shotshells that included some steel duck hunting loads
The gun didn’t have one problem cycling through about 300 rounds of shooting that day, and it was shot by three different people.
So how does it feel? If you’ve fired a TAC-14 or Shockwave, you know that the Raptor grip does a great job of distributing recoil so it doesn’t slam into the palm of your shooting hand like a vertical pistol grip does, which solves one of the big problems with stock-less shotguns.
Recoil was manageable with every load we tried, almost.
The buckshot loads were a little tougher to control in rapid fire, meaning it took a larger fraction of a second to get back on target between shots when fired from the hip. Slower, aimed shots were much easier to manage with the heavier loads, but let me be clear, the gun is perfectly shootable with 00 Buck self defense and hunting loads.
The support hand strap is vital with all but the lightest kicking shells. It’s adjustable, which is nice because you can really torque it down if you want, and there’s really no reason to pull your hand out of the strap unless you’re putting the gun down.
The recoil of the heavier loads tended to push the gun rearward hard enough that my shooting hand and the Raptor grip wouldn’t be enough to hold it firmly alone. During recoil with these loads, the front of the strap would come up against the index finger of my support hand, which wasn’t super comfortable, but it kept the gun and my hands where they all needed to be to continue firing on target. It was more comfortable after tightening the strap down a bit.
With the lighter target and upland loads, it was an absolute pleasure to shoot…and can be shot all day. Hell, I shot full mag tube after tube of all the ammo mentioned above and the gun didn’t beat me up when the day was done…far from it.
Since it’s not a pump gun, you can really wrap your left thumb around some of the barrel, if your hands are big enough, in almost a C-clamp grip, additionally helping control recoil, and not have to reposition that hand between shots.
I did load one 3” magnum turkey hunting shell in the TAC-13, and one was enough for me. I wouldn't recommend the experience.
Shots were taken at 15 and 20 yards, which is the outer edge of self-defense distances and in-the-room range, which seemed appropriate as this primary use for a gun like this would be self and home defense.
I was shooting a little low from the hip to start, but a quick adjustment kept me on target for the rest of the day. Aimed shots were simple at those ranges and patterns were excellent as expected, especially with the self defense loads.
My first target, stiff cardboard on a wooden stake, was cut in half fairly quickly, lazily flopping in the breeze down range.
TAKEAWAY AND LEGALITY
The TAC-13 puts up a wall of lead, is easy to operate, load, and control with all but the most powerful shotshells, which you shouldn’t be using for self defense anyway.
The learning curve for anyone who has fired a shotgun will be fairly short. It only takes about a day of shooting to become proficient and confident with the firearm.
With a gun light and laser sight installed and loaded with some low recoil self defense shells, it would be a devastating, effective, and compact tool for home defense, or an excellent truck gun with a lot of power on board a small, light package.
Now, a note on the gun’s legality if you live in “restricted” state. Since the firearm follows the same rules as the TAC-14 and Shockwave, one might assume that if you can buy either of those where you live, you can legally purchase the V3 TAC-13—but it’s not quite that simple.
For example, I found that if you live in the decidedly gun un-friendly state of New Jersey, you won’t be able to have the gun transferred to you, at least as of the writing of this review. The reason? It’s a semi-automatic. Per the NFA, it doesn’t seem like that should make a difference, but NJ has strict rules about semi-auto shotguns, while the rules for pump guns are fairly lax comparatively, and so far, the state police are telling gun dealers that the TAC-13 is a no-go.
Remington says they haven’t yet gotten a state-by-state report on the legality of the TAC-13 yet, but is expecting one soon.
Being an NJ resident, I was fortunate that the folks from my gun shop were kind enough to head out to the range for a day and bring along the TAC-13 so I could test it.
But, for the first few months after the Mossberg Shockwave was released, it wasn’t allowed for sale in NJ either, but LE eventually changed their minds, so fingers crossed. But make sure to check your local laws before ordering one.
UPDATE 1/17/19: I was just informed by the New Jersey State Police that they will be following the ATF guidelines in regards to the TAC-13 and it is legal for sale in the state. So, if you're local law enforcement was saying no when the gun first came out, it might be worth another check.
A special thanks to Legacy Indoor Range & Armory of Cinnaminson, NJ.
Remington V3 TAC-13 SPECS
- Gauge: 12
- Action: Semi-auto gas operated
- Chamber: 3"
- Overall Length: 26.5"
- Barrel Length: 13"
- Overall Weight: Approx 6 lbs.
- Capacity (2.75" shells): 5 rounds
- MSRP: $915
So, first off, according to the New Jersey State Police as of late last month, the TAC-13 is legal for sale in NJ. So if you live in a restricted state and the law said no before, check again. They may have changed their mind and come into line with ATF regulations.
A NOTE ON 1.75" "MINISHELLS" OR SHORTY SHOTSHELLS AND THE TAC-13
As many did when they saw the TAC-13, I wondered if I could up the capacity by using "Minishells" or Shorty shotshells like with the Shockwave. It was a longshot, as even the Shockwave doesn't run the short shells reliably without an adapter and the TAC-14 doesn't like them at all. Well, I'll save you some time. The Remington TAC-13, for all its attributes, does not run 1.75" shotshells. It tends to try and feed two of the little shells at once, getting jammed up pretty good.
But they seem to eject just fine, so you can keep one in the chamber, if you want for some reason. Instead, you'd be better off with some 2.75" low-recoil buck shot ammo and sticking with the 5+1 capacity. As a friend of mine recently said to me, if you run through six rounds of buck shot and you still have problems, you needed something more than a shotgun in the first place.
Video by Jeff Rife