April 12, 2013
The Remington 1100 Turns 50
By Phil Bourjaily
This year marks the 50th birthday of the Remington 1100, one of the handful of shotguns you can truly call revolutionary. The soft-shooting, reliable 1100 changed the way we thought about semiautomatic shotguns. This movie, the 1100 story, was produced internally at Remington and has not been seen much until now. It shows just how cutting edge the 1100 was in 1963. Plus, the narrator has the “60’s narrator” voice down pat and it is just fun to watch and listen to.
Judged against previous gas semiautos, the 1100 was vastly more reliable. Today it doesn’t compare with Brownings, Berettas, and Benellis but if you keep it clean, it will not fail you in the field. It may break down in competition and most serious 1100 target shooters—if there are any left—carry spare parts and can put their guns back in action in minutes. A friend who hunted hard with 1100s and 11-87s for years always took his gun apart and ran the gas system parts through the dishwasher every time he shot them. He never had a problem with his gun. Incidentally, Remington’s Jay Bunting told me it’s a mistake to replace the factory O-ring with a thicker, more durable ring. All that does, he says, is potentially keep the gun from closing completely, leaving it out of battery.
At any rate, the 1100 is the best-selling semiauto ever and to celebrate the gun’s 50th, Remington has offered a run of specially decorated anniversary guns with an engraving pattern based on the 2 millionth 1100 made several years ago. It sells for $1999 and it’s a nice, well-finished gun. It is good to see that Remington can still make a nice-looking shotgun if they try. With it is my own beat-up 70s era 1100 trap gun which, like so many old 1100s, is still alive and kicking out empties.