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Remington 1100
Length Overall Barrel Length Weight  Gauge Action Type Magazine capacity
48.5" 28" 7 pounds 12ga Recoil Semi Auto 8
    A recoil operated shotgun based on the original design of John M. Browning. This is a streamlined version of the browning model 12, hump-backed shotgun. This is a recoil operated piece, where the backthrust of the cartridge works on the bolt directly. This is not too different from the action of the Colt/Browning pistol system, as used in the 1911 Government pistol, and most others. As this is the older 11-48 model, the similarities in the operating system extend to the barrel and bolt recoiling together for a portion of the operating cycle. This is in contrast to most semi, and fully automatic arms, which use the less touchy, and more easily adjusted gas system. In it's favor, the recoil system is somewhat less delicate, and is a bit more forgiving of sporadic cleaning and maintenance. Since it uses the kick of the cartridge to work the action, it diminishes, and smoothes perceived recoil a bit.
     Those of us who are used to the elegant simplicity of the box magazine, as employed by the semi auto pistol, or assault rifle, can be a bit wary of the oddball feeding systems used in most repeating shotguns. This is, in general, the same system used in the classic lever action rifle. It uses a capped steel tube with a spring loaded follower to push the cartridges back towards the bolt. Upon cycling, a single cartridge is released to be driven back into the carrier. As the bolt goes all the way to the back, the carrier snaps up to align the shell with the chamber. The bolt is then driven forward by the recoil spring, and pushes the cartridge forward into the breach, as the carrier snaps back down. Upon coming to rest in contact with the barrel, the bolt is locked in place. The magazine is loaded by pushing the carrier up, and inserting the shells forward into the magazine tube. Because of the size, and shape of the shells, there can be no loading gate as there is in the classic lever action rifle.
    One consequence of having the barrel recoil along with the bolt is that it can be problematic to install an extended magazine. The first tiem I used thsi gun, with the magazine extention in place, the extention tube flew off the end of the gun after a few rounds, due to the pounding of the barrel. Most of these tubes are crush fitted onto their mounts. I had to tack weld the tube and mount. It has given me no trouble since.
    The well regarded Remington 870 slide action shotgun is a direct descendant of this weapon. It shares the bolt, magazine, and in some models, the barrel, and reciever of the 1100. It also shares the dual action bars of the newer model 1100. Where the 870 and 1100 differ is in the way the bolt is unlocked, and forced to the rear. In the 870, the dual action bars are forced back by the cycling of the slide. In the 1100-48 model, the bolt is driven back by the motion of the barrel, as the two recoil back together. In the newer models, a gas system is used. In the gas system, a piston works the action bar, which in turn works the bolt. The piston is driven back by a small amount of gas bled off from a port in the barrel. The gas system permits the use of a stationary barrel, and makes factory adjustment of the gun less critical.
    My example is clean, and seems to have lead an easy life, considering it's age (I wish I could say the same for myself). I have a magazine extension which gives it a capacity of 8 rounds (plus 1 in the chamber). I have also added a carry strap with ten cartridge loops. This is a pleasant gun to shoot, and can be fired very rapidly. The newer models have a stationary barrel which does not travel with the bolt during recoil. In an interesting case of payback, this new stationary barrel was initially an improvement to the 870 model, but was soon incorporated into the parent model, requiring it's conversion to the gas system. It seems that this is one of those rare occasions in which a parent picks up a bit of improvement by way of the offspring.