Had enough of the zombies? Â Not yet, I guess, considering The Walking Dead seems to be one of the most popular shows on TV. Â Fortunately, Remington introduced the Versa Max Zombie shotgun to help quench the thirst for zombie-related gun gear.
The Versa Max is Remington’s newest autoloading shotgun, and in the past couple of years it has become very popular due to its ability to reliably digest all kinds of ammo. Â I’ve not had the chance to spend much time with one myself, but a lot of people are giving the Versa Max very positive reviews. Â So, what better gun to have in the apocalypse than a 12 gauge, semiautomatic shotgun that is not picky on with what ammo it will run?
Of course, the Zombie slaying shotgun is more about form than function. Â Remington just built the form on top of a reliable platform.
The Zombie Annihilator: Â The first zombie-related product that I actually think is pretty darn cool.
I stumbled across the Annihilator when I went to the Yankee Hill Machine Co. (YHM) website looking for an upper for a new lower I am going to review in the near future. Â When I hit the site, I saw this freakin’ cool gun.
One day, the shooting community will look back on the zombie meme and think “WTF?” Â Right now, however, the industry is running at ludicrous speed toward all things zombie. Â The latest aboard the crazy train? Â Crosman.
The Undead Apocalypse line of airsoft shotguns, pistols, ammo and targets are all part of the “green is in” movement. Â That way if you want to pretend the zombies are attacking, while you are pretending to play war, you will be prepared.
â€œAll you need to successfully guard against impending doom is included in this new category of airsoft products,” said Roy Stefanko, VP of Marketing for Crosman Corporation. Â Uh-huh.
Concerned about zombie gophers? Maybe a hog that’s turned undead?
Hornady once offered an ammo line they believed was the best ammunition for zombies. Called the Z-Max line, the completely real ammunition used a polymer tipped hollowpoint bullet that was identical to those found in the A-Max line.
Depending on when you are reading this article, you may not be aware that a zombie craze dominated pop culture from about 2008 through 2013. There were movies, TV shows and video games around the idea of a post-apocalypse zombie nation.
Before the fad faded, the gun and outdoors industries were hit by the same bug.
Gun accessories, knives and other things were offered in zombie green – a near-fluorescent green that people frequently associated with chemical substances that would turn a man into the walking undead.
Here are just a few of the zombie-themed goodies that were offered by companies:
Hornady got in on the act with the Z-Max line of ammunition.
Z-Max: Best Ammo for Zombies
The Z-Max line of loaded ammunition used polymer-tipped hollowpoint bullets. That polymer tip was zombie green, but the rest of the bullet’s construction was identical to the company’s existing A-Max line.
In other words, the difference between the Z-Max line and the A-Max line was purely cosmetic.
That also meant that Z-Max ammunition was serious business.
Specifically designed to “…vaporize zombie varmints,” Hornady claimed the Z-Max bullets had “ultra-flat trajectories” to “send mangy menaces to the varmint graveyard.”
In rifle calibers, the Z-Max loads performed identically to the A-Max loads. Deer, hogs and bear all went down when hit by the Z-Max. I am not aware of any that became zombies afterward.
According to Hornady, the Z-Max bullets are built to “make dead permanent.” I’d still suggest headshots. I’m sure the new technology is good, but the tried-and-true headshot is the reliable method for zombie killing.
My experience with the Z-Max rifle rounds was limited. However, I did have a chance to shoot some and see their results first hand.
Z-Max Review: Hog Hunt
In 2012, I went on a hog hunt with Paul Carlson of Safety the Solutions Academy. Carlson had a new Desert Tech SRS rifle he wanted to test. As it was the middle of an ammo shortage, Carlson was only able to turn up a few boxes of Hornady Z-Max in .308 Win for the hunt.
Carlson flew down to my home state of Florida where we have more feral hogs than retirees.
Before heading out to the field, Carlson sighted the rifle in. Five shot groups were all touching with the Z-Max ammo. Not bad for factory stuff sold as a gimmick.
I also got some time behind the Desert Tech rifle. Like Carlson, I was eating the center out of targets at 100 yards from a prone position. The rifle combined with the Z-Max ammo made it look easy.
Initially, we had a guide take us upriver to a private hunting preserve. However, conditions were not optimal and we had to change our plans.
The guide was fantastic, and he immediately shifted to plan B. He arranged for a hunt on the lands of Ross Hammock Ranch near Inglis, FL. The folks there treated us like kings, and their facilities are top-notch!
Later in the day, we set up in an elevated box near a feeding area the hogs liked to use. As the evening brought dwindling light, we thought that the hogs weren’t coming. So, like rookies we descended from the box.
Once on the ground, they came in. From a prone position about 85 yards from the hogs, Carlson took a single shot on a sow that had turned to expose her left shoulder.
The track was short – maybe 15 yards – with lots of blood plainly visible. At the end of the run was a 220-ish pound hog that put meat on the table and in the freezer for both of us.
The Z-Max bullet entered the center of the left shoulder and exited a little lower on the right side of the body. It did extensive damage and caused massive bleeding. The kill was quick and as clean as one could hope for.
After examining the results, neither Carlson nor I could find any performance issues with the Z-Max round.
Hornady Z-Max Bullets for Reloading
Hornady also released its Z-Max bullets as a component for all of the handloaders out there.
The green polymer-tipped bullets were initially offered in a variety of popular varmint sizes and weights (see below for the specifics and a video). The company later expanded this to include additional bullet sizes and weights.
The initial Hornady Z-Max bullets manufactured were:
17 caliber (0.172″, 20 grains)
20 caliber (0.204″, 32 grains)
22 caliber (0.224″, 40 grains)
22 caliber (0.224″, 50 grains)
22 caliber (0.224″, 55 grains)
6mm (0.243″, 58 grains)
7.62×39 (0.310″, 123 grains)
I don’t know where the zombie meme ends, but it abated during the past several years. Maybe we’ll someday see a anti-zombie revolver from Taurus called JUDGEment Day.