Today, we’re going to talk about the VR60 from Rock Island, which is one of a new slate of shotguns that have recently come on the market. We’ll kick things off by telling you a little about the gun in terms of specs and performance.
From there, we will then walk through four problems that some users have experienced, as well as suggesting some solutions for each of them. All in all, we think this is an interesting design and we have a lot of hope for these kinds of shotguns but, as with any firearm, some early teething problems can be a bit annoying.
Its important to note that in all of our “problem” articles on this site, these are not necessarily signs of a bad product, but just common issues that typically arise for a small group of users. We want to help solve any issue that a gun owner might face.
The VR60 is a Turkish-made semi-automatic shotgun that is shaped like an AR and comes standard with 6-round magazines and a 20” barrel. There are several companies currently making and importing shotguns like this, and we’ve seen them for sub-$500 price tags. At that price, the idea of a semi-automatic shotgun, which has been a pricey affair for decades, looks better to us than it has in the past, but there might well be some issues to work through.
Here are some of the most common problems that people tend to come across with the Rock Island VR60 shotgun:
Failures to Extract
The most common issue that some users seem to experience with the VR60 is a failure to extract with low-powered or low-recoil ammunition. This is not uncommon in semi-automatic shotguns at all: these are gas operated weapons, and, thus, the less energy that the ammunition provides the gas system, the less likely it is to eject properly.
Additionally, newly-made shotguns, especially those that are semi-automatic, require a break-in period as tightly toleranced parts might have a little more friction than totally necessary, which only adds to potential issues. With not enough gas and too much friction, it’s possible that your VR60 will not eject reliably.
This problem can be initially addressed with a single solution: get as much affordable, but powerful 2.75 or 3 inch buckshot or slugs, and shoot them in a long range session. Your shoulder might not love this, but it’s a good opportunity to get to know the gun, and a hundred or so rounds of high-powered buckshot ought to wear in the firearm a little bit, which will improve extraction.
Failures to Eject
In what might be a related problem, some users report a failure to eject wherein the spent cartridge extracts, but does not fully eject, resulting in simultaneous stovepipe and high potential for a failure to feed.
This might be caused by needing to be broken in, as we described above, and if you’re having that issue, start with the above-mentioned procedure. From there, several people have been of the mind that the new, and rather stout, recoil spring might prevent the bolt from going back far enough to give the spent cartridge the room to escape the receiver and fly into the wild blue yonder.
To remedy this, after breaking in with a few hundred rounds, some people have locked the bolt to the rear and left the shotgun in storage for several weeks. This is safe to do as long as there is no ammunition in the firearm, and will likely weaken the recoil spring slightly. It may well be enough to give the shells a greater chance of ejecting properly.
Difficulty in Loading the Gun
Some folks report that it’s hard for them to insert and lock a magazine into the magazine well. If you cannot do this, then you won’t be shooting at all, so this needs to be fixed immediately. Our suspicion is that fighting two springs at once is not doing people any favors.
To help with this, then, we recommend two things. First, lock the bolt to the rear before loading the weapon. This clears the chamber, which is above the magazine well, and means that you do not have to fight the bolt or recoil spring at all when inserting a magazine.
From there, consider loading your magazines with 5 rather than 6 rounds: the magazine springs in these magazines are very stiff from the factory since they have to push around heavy shotgun ammunition, and having to fight them at full strength might be the cause of the loading issues.
Lastly, it’s a solid idea to check the magazine itself: if the feed lips are damaged, or something is bent, then that won’t help any problems that might already exist.
Some people report that the fore-end and attached rails rattle and do not retain zero. This is an irritating problem even without accessories, but could seriously throw off a laser or some other accessory that you would want to mount. We suspect, at this price, that there might be a little less quality control than we would prefer, and thus this is something that might happen from time to time.
Before you contact Rock Island about it, it might be worth having a local gunsmith take a look: if the issue is a bolt that did not get torqued, or something that can be shimmed for a few dollars, then that might be the fastest and easiest way out of this issue.
If your local gunsmith cannot solve it, then contacting Rock Island directly to diagnose the problem or ship the gun back to them to get it replaced for you might be the way to go. Regardless of the affordable price, companies have an obligation to do right by their customers, and Rock Island is no exception here.
Many of the issues we’ve heard about with the VR60, frankly, do not worry us that much. Semi-automatic shotguns can be a little finicky in terms of breaking them in and finding ammunition that they cycle well.
Break it in with a few hundred shells, then find ammunition that works well in it, and we’d expect this to be an excellent gun for years to come. Some more serious quality control issues might arise, but the idea of a magazine-fed, semi-automatic shotgun for the price of a budget AR15 is an idea that we’re excited about to say the least.
George has been an avid shooter for twenty years. He began shooting when he was gifted a Browning SA-22 for target practice. Now, as an academic, he combines his love of firearms and knowledge of history to write for firearms blogs and is still a frequent sight at the local range.