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Remington's lightweight Model 1100 made for the field.

* In less than 20 years of production, Remington has manufactured over 3,000,000 Model 1100 autoloading shotguns. Introduced in 1963 in four 12 gauge models--field, magnum, skeet and trap-- since then virtually every imaginable configuration has been offered.

Today's array of available Model 1100 variants is awesome. Now chambered for 12, 20, 28 and .410 bore (the 16 gauge was quietly put to rest in 1982) and with barrel lengths ranging from a short-coupled 20- incher through a 34-inch long-tom variant, standard 2-3/4-inch and 3-inch chamber magnum models are also offered. south- paws aren't left out in the cold as Remington has seen fit to make available five special left-hand models--a deer gun with rifle sights, a 3-inch magnum, the SA skeet gun and a brace of TA trapguns.

Scanning through Remington's current price list we compiled all the Remington Model 1100 forms (there are 56) plus 48 extra barrels for a staggering sum of 104 different catalog numbers. Many gunmaking companies don't offer that many examples in their entire product line, much less variations on a theme!

Remington Arms Company, Inc., traditionally has been a highly innovative gunmaking firm since that early August day in 1816 when young Eliphalet Remington II leaned over his father's forge and began to ring blows on glowing metal. A glorious history was started that day, as tens of millions of guns would eventualy bear the proud Remington name.

The Connecticut firm has long sought to serve the entire gun market with a wide variety of products. Flintlock through centerfire cartridge rifles, shotguns and handguns have all been manufactured by Remington since the early 19th century. Many models have made such an impact that they are considered to be the "standard" by which all others are judged. Remington's fabled rolling block rifle action was a symphony in simplicity and has withstood the sands of time because it is still available in single- shot pistol configuration offered by Navy Arms. Remington's classic Double Derringer has been widely emulated and is the core design for a host for modern-day two- shot vest pocket guns.

In more modern times, Remington bolt- action rifle actions like Models 30S (Enfield), 721, 40X and the current 700 are production patterns that have been rarely equaled, much less surpassed. Great shotgun plans have not escaped the Remington rollmark--the Model 32 over and under was the first successful production stack- barrel in existence. The Model 870 slide action repeater burst on the shotgun scene in 1950 and its success story is stratospheric. Remington pioneered the shotgun barrel extension sheme which enabled a quick and inexpensive mating of the barrel to the shotgun's receiver. Virtually all of today's repeating shotguns--both pumps and autos --employ this same system. But, when it comes to success and innovativeness, the Model 1100 heads the list.

In the tool room for nearly a half decade before its debut in 1963, this revolutionary gas-operated five-shot autoloading scatter-gun took the shooting world by storm. No other shotgun project has ever had such a dramatic impact as the Remington Model 1100 and that includes Winchester's Models 97 and 12, as sales figures prove. Combining the graceful styling of its older brother, the Model 870, and employing the barrel extension procedure along with a revolutionary self-regulating gas-operating system, the Model 1100 provided all the ingredients a shotgun shooter demanded--excellent balance, good looks, reliability and an affordable cost. The Remington Model 1100 was indeed a better mousetrap!

Recently, Remington announced their newest creation--the Special Field grade designed expressly for upland game hunting. Available in either 12 or 20 gauge chambering, this straight stock motif and shortened barrel rendition is cosmetically appealing. But there have been significant internal engineering changes that the eye does not immediately comprehend. A shotgun's delicate balance can be compared to a teeter-totter, with the fulcrum, or center of balance, usually at the junction where the barrel meets the receiver. Now, merely shortening the shotgun's barrel will move the center of balance too far rearward. Therefore, Remington engineers redesigned the gas-port assemblage, magazine tube and fore-end to bring the shotgun back into exact balance.

The Model 1100 Special Field is offered with 21-inch barrels and in the three most popular choke constrictions--Full, Modified and Improved Cylinder. Now there are those who will predict that a 21-inch Full choke barrel won't "hit as hard" as a traditional length shotgun tube. Tain't so, thanks to rapid-burning shotgun powders, shot buffering materials and the use of plastic wad columns.

For the past 20 years or so, exhaustive tests by munitions companies and powder producers have conclusively proven that shotshell gun powder is burned within the first 18 to 20 inches from the chamber. The skeptic might then ask, "Why do we have shotguns with barrel lengths longer than 20 inches?" There are two answers to this question; first, barrel length affects a shotgun's handling characteristics and balance; and second, the barrel length controls the sighting plane. The further the target is from the shooter, the longer the barrel length should be. For example, skeet is a short-range game and barrel lengths are normally 26 or 28 inches, whereas trap shooting is a long-range sport and barrel lengths are customarily 34 inches on single barrel trapguns and 30 inches on pumps and autoloaders (both of which provide a sighting plane of approximately 35 inches as the length of the receiver is added to the entire dimension). But, as far as external ballistics are concerned, there's little difference in performance between barrels with lengths ranging from 20 to 30 inches.

The LT-20's ventilated rib barrel is a modest 21 inches, in either gauge, and adds additional speed to the gun's inbred swift handling qualities. The sights are especially noteworthy as a white Bradley-type front sight is coupled to a mid-rib small silver bead--just like trap and skeet guns--which are standard equipment on this hunting model. In this writer's opinion, all shotguns should be so equipped with double sighting beads to help the shooter to determine proper stock fit. Without the "rear" sight bead to act as a reference point, it is virtually impossible to establish this vitally important requirement. The weight of the 20 bore is 6-1/2 pounds, while the 12 gauge interpretation ups the scale to an easy-to-carry 7-1/2 pounds. I was personally pleased to find that the weight wasn't reduced further as ultra-light 12 and 20 gauge shotguns produce additional felt recoil and frankly, are uncomfortable to shoot over a prolonged period of time.

There are two schools of thought regarding the straight stock concept. The original hypothesis of a straight stock was for use on shotguns equipped with double triggers. The shooter had to shift his hand position--usually an inch or more--while sliding the trigger finger back from the front trigger to the rear trigger. Today, twin triggers are rarely found on production shotguns and initially it would appear that the straight stock design on a repeating shotgun is wholly out of place. On the LT-20 Special Field, however, the straight stock provides a larger percentage of shooters greater shooting comfort. For those with small hands and stubby fingers, they find some pistol grips are too thick and therefore, must unnaturally stretch their hand to reach the trigger. Conversely, scattergunners with ham-size mitts find the typical pistol grip is too far forward and they must incorrectly position their hand too far down on the pistol grip to make proper contact with the trigger. The straight grip design compensates for both of these inherent pistol grip also pares a few ounces off the weight of the buttstock to help reestablish proper balance.

Because of the Special Field's abbreviated appearance, one might assume that the stock's dimensions are tailored for junior or distaff shooters--not true. Length of pull is 14-1/8 inches, drop at the comb 1-1/2 inches and drop at the heel measures 2-1/2 inches. Downpitch is a modest 2-1/2 inches and there's only a light hint of cast-off.

The trigger pull is both light (3-1/2 pounds) and crips (1/8 inch of travel)--both of which are rarities on most current, production firearms. Remington has prided itself on its trigger actions, and our test gun certainly won't tarnish that reputations!

The magazine tube on the Special Field pattern has been shortened along with the redesigned fore-end and subsequently, the magazine capacity has been reduced to three--plus one in the chamber for a total of four rounds. This engineering change was necessary to maintain the balance point of the Model 1100 Special Field midway between the shooter's hands. Some might scoff at the shell propensity reduction, but with the federal and most state regulations demanding a full capacity of only three rounds in a shotgun when hunting migratory and most indigenous birds, what's the big deal?

The handling and shouldering qualities of this new shotgun are lightning swift with the lion's share of credit to its overall length of only 41-1/2 inches. The LT-20 Special Field shoulders quickly, points precisely and swings smoothly. The "short" barrel provides an unrestricted sighting plane for most field conditions and the LT-20's quick handling and immediate response should be a boon for those who chase elusive eastern woodcock and quail. The slim fore-end and stock wrist are embellished with a distinctive cut checkering pattern. The receiver, like all Remington shotguns, is milled from a single block of ordinance-grade steel and is sans scroll engraving. The stock and fore-end are protected with a matte epoxy finish that reduces glare, but yet provides ample protection against everyday bumps and dings. Despite its sleek and somewhat fragile looking appearance, this Model 1100 is just as tough and durable as its heavier and bigger brethren. Remington has seen fit to beef up the fore-end tip with a reinforcing crosspin that should prevent breakage at a possible weak area. Also, the hard rubber buttplate is now a two-piece affair with a removable insert that permits entry to the stock bolt, and provides supplementary resilience, thus preventing breakage should be shotgun be dropped on its buttplate.

The Pattern tests were conducted with two of Federal's most popular shells--Premium 2-1/2 dram loads stuffed with one ounce of copperplated #7-1/2 shot and Game Loads also 2-1/2 dram equivalent but containing a 7/8-ounce payload of #8 hard shot. As expected, the improved cylinder choke produced patterns in the 40 to 45 percent range with the shot swarm nicely dispersed and there was no evidence of gaping holes in which targets--clay or feathered--could slip through unscathed. The LT-20's bore measured .618 inch and the choke miked .611 inch for a constriction factor of .007 inch which falls right into improved cylinder specifications.

Felt recoil with this miniaturized marvel of machinery was tolerable except when shooting 2-1/4-inch, 2-3/4 dram magnum shells. Although the LT-20's gas mechanism can easily handle these high-pressure loads, it's doubtful that the shooter can for more than a few shots. The LT-20 Special Field was not designed to be a water-fowling was not designed to be a water-fowling piece and therefore, the use of heavy duck and goose loads should be avoided.

The price of the Special Field is $524.95--a far cry from the Model 1100's 1963 debut charge of $174.95, but in fairness, a loaf of bread then cost less than 30 cents!.
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Title Annotation:evaluation
Author:Blatt, Art
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Mar 1, 1984
Previous Article:Dangerous game rifles.
Next Article:Double-barreled gunsmith.

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