It was the fall of 1962, and a meeting was underway at the Remington firearms plant in Ilion, New York, to brief Remington's advertising agency team on the company's 1963 new gun introductions. Lifting one of the new guns from the wall rack behind him, a tall, boyish-looking engineer with an infectious smile turned to the agency group and said "Gentlemen, this is the new Model 1100, and it's going to revolutionize shotgun shooting."
The engineer's name was Wayne Leek, and his words showed obvious enthusiasm for the latest creation of the design team he headed.11 As history has recorded, his statement was also correct, and prophetic.
By 1959 Remington was making three different autoloading shotguns: the recoiling barrel, Browning-based Model 11-'48, the gas-operated Sportsman-58, and the Model 878. But selling three different autoloaders simultaneously didn't make sense, and the company didn't project any of the three as its autoloader of the future.
It was looking for something superior that combined in one gun the elements of dependable performance, shooting comfort, good-handling qualities, attractive appearance, versatility, and broad-based marketing appeal. That was a large challenge.
Leek's team and Remington management thought they had the answer in the Model 1100. Again, they were right, undoubtedly more so than any of them imagined at the time.
The new Model 1100 gas-operated, five-shot autoloader was announced in January 1963 as a shotgun designed "to make any shooter a better shot." Handsome styling included scrollwork on both the receiver and bolt, generous, fleur-de-lis checkering on the stock and forend, a white diamond inlay in the pistol grip cap, and white-line spacers separating the stock from the pistol grip cap and buttplate. The wood was given a durable new finish, similar to that used on bowling pins, that was weatherproof, oil-proof, and chip and scratch resistant.
Gas to operate the action was accessed nearer the chamber, where pressures are higher and more consistent. The gas piston was located outside the magazine tube, rather than within, permitting easier venting of excess gas and reducing carbon deposits in the gas orifice and on the gas cylinder.
This gave the Model 1100 cleaner and more dependable operation through the high-volume shooting of trap and skeet tournaments. Takedown was simple and did not require tools, permitting easy interchangeability of barrels of different lengths and chokes.
Another benefit of the new gas system was a flattened out recoil curve that reduced perceived recoil to the shooter. Comparative recoil tests conducted by Remington indicated that the Model 1100 had forty percent less felt recoil than other autoloaders and fifty percent less than fixed-action shotguns. This was the most "user-friendly" shotgun ever made, long before the term became a cliche in the marketplace.
A remarkable saga was about to begin. Field gunners liked the shotgun's balance and handling qualities. Trap shooters finally had a dependable, light-recoil autoloader that reduced fatigue and flinching during long 12-gauge tournaments. When the Model 1100 ultimately became available in all four competitive skeet bores in 1969, it literally took over the sport. During the 1970s and '80s, Model 1100s often accounted for sixty to seventy percent of shotguns in use at major skeet shoots. The shotgun was setting records, in both sales and in competition. By 1972, just nine years after its introduction, the one-millionth Model 1100 was produced.
Five years later, in 1977, the figure reached two million. In 1975, at the famous Remington Great Eastern Skeet Championships, Patricia Malinosky, the wife of a Remington employee, became the first woman to score 100 straight in registered .410-bore competition. She did it with a Model 1100. Interestingly, her husband, Carl, also ran a perfect 100 in the same event and lost the ensuing shootoff to his wife. During the same shoot, in the industry competition, Remington's Jimmy Prall, using four Model 1100s, set a new skeet and world record of a perfect 500 x 500 in four different gauges. Throughout the country, countless other new skeet records were being set with Model 1100s.
In 1987 the new Remington Model 11-87 seemed to replace the Model 1100 as a 12-gauge autoloader. That's only partially so. In fact, the Model 11-87 is really an upgraded Model 1100 with internal changes to improve durability and reduce cleaning needs and with a pressure-relief valve to enable it to handle both 2 3/4- and three-inch magnum shells interchangeably for hunting uses. The Model 11-87 would not have been born without many of the basic Model 1100 design features to build on.
Over the years, Remington has introduced a continuously expanded variety of Model 1100 shotguns. The following list is a brief chronological summary:
1963 - Remington introduced the Model 1100 autoloading shotgun in 12-gauge Field Grade (with plain and vent-rib barrels), Magnum Duck Guns chambered for three-inch Magnum shells (with plain and vent-rib barrels), SA Skeet Grade, SC Skeet Grade, and TB Trap Grade models. High-grade Model 1100 shotguns from the Remington Custom Shop included a D Tournament Grade and the F Premier Grade.
1964 - Model 1100 16-gauge Field and 20-gauge Field, Magnum, and Skeet versions were added to the line.
1965 - Remington introduced the Model 1100 TBMC Trap Gun, in 12 gauge, with twenty-eight-inch (Full and Modified choke) and thirty-inch (Full choke) vent-rib trap barrels.
1966 - Remington introduced a new Model 1100 Lightweight 20-Gauge Shotgun with standard 20-gauge frame but with a lightweight, checkered mahogany stock and forend, in Field (plain and vent-rib barrels) and SA Skeet models. Also, the Model 1100 Deer Gun in 12 gauge with twenty-two-inch plain barrel housing a ramp front sight and adjustable rifle-type rear sight choked for rifled slugs and buckshot loads was introduced. This year marked Remington's 150th Anniversary, and two commemorative versions of the Model 1100 (Trap and Skeet configurations) were produced. A total of 2,929 were sold in 1966 and early 1967.
1969 - .410-bore and 28-gauge Field (mahogany stocks, plain and vent-rib barrels) and Skeet (walnut stocks) models with twenty-five-inch barrels were added. For this year the two smallbore skeet guns were available only together as Model 1100 Matched Pairs, supplied in a hard carrying case, with matching serial numbers gilded in gold.
A total of 5,067 Matched Pairs were sold in 1969 and 1970, with sales of remaining stock in 1971 and 1972. Remington began offering the Model 1100 Field in .410 with Full choke and in 28 gauge with Modified choke in late 1969. Also in 1969, Remington introduced a 20-gauge Model 1100 Deer Gun with a twenty-two-inch Improved Cylinder barrel and rifle sights.
1970 - Model 1100 20-gauge Lightweight Field Guns were announced. They were built on a smaller 28-gauge frame and wore lightweight mahogany stocks. Remington also began marketing .410-bore and 28-gauge Model 1100 SA Skeet guns individually as standard models in 1970.
1971 - Remington added a Model 1100 20-gauge Lightweight for three-inch magnum shells, with plain or vent-rib barrels and weighing six pounds, tweleve ounces.
1972 - In January Remington proudly announced the production of the one-millionth Model 1100 autoloading shotgun, serial numbered L509235M. In just nine years of production, the Model 1100 exceeded that of the venerable Model 11 autoloading shotgun, which had been in production for more than forty-five years. Other new additions included a reversed, mirror-image, left-hand version of the Model 1100 in 12- and 20-gauge Field and SA Skeet grades. Also new were a 12-gauge only Magnum (with three-inch chamber and thirty-inch Full choke baarel) and the TB Trap (with thirty-inch barrels and regular or Monte Carlo stocks).
1973 - Remington introduced the special limited-edition Model 1100 Ducks Unlimited Commemorative Shotgun, a 12 gauge chambered for 2 3/4-inch shells with thirty-inch vent-rib, Full choke barrel. The right side of the receiver was roll stamped with a simple gold-colored scroll pattern. Centered on the left receiver panel was a multi-colored bronze medallion and the Ducks Unlimited mallard head logo. On the lower right was the serial number preceded by DU. A quantity of 600 of these guns were sold directly to DU Chapters for fundraising dinners in 1973, and 10,000 were sold conventionally.
1975 - Remington offered a 12-gauge Model 1100 TB Trap Gun in right- and left-hand versions, in either regular Trap or Monte Carlo stock styles.
1976 - To honor America's Bicentennial, Remington brought out four commemorative 12-gauge variations of the Model 1100: 1100 SA Skeet Bicentennial (twenty-six-inch vent-rib Skeet barrel); 1100 TB Trap Bicentennial with regular or Monte Carlo trap stocks (thirty-inch Full choke trap barrels) and distinctive colonial surrounded by decorative scroll work was centered on the left side of the receiver panel,and the gun was marked with the dates "1776" and "1976." Approximately 5,000 Bicentennial Model 1100 shotguns were sold.
1977 - In March Remington announced the manufacture of the two-millionth Model 1100 shotgun. Also in 1977 Remington introduced a new, redesigned Model 1100 20-gauge Lightweight (called the LT-20) in Field Grade, Magnum, and Skeet versions. These guns are visually distinguishable from previous 20-gauge models by the contoured ejection port and longer barrel extension.
1978 - The Model 1100 LT-20 became the standard 20-gauge Model 1100 in all Field Grade versions. Formerly, this gun was built on a larger 12- gauge frame. Concurrently, the Model 1100 20-gauge left-hand version was dropped and was not available in LT-20 versions. The new Model 1100 LT-20 Deer gun replaced the previous, large receiver 20-gauge Deer Gun. The new gun had a twenty-inch Improved Cylinder barrel with rifle sights. Stocks on all Model 1100 LT-20 Field guns now were made of walnut instead of mahogany.
1979 - New stock checkering pattern and receiver scroll markings were introduced on all standard Model 1100 Field, Magnum, Skeet, and Trap models. Model 1100 12-gauge three-inch Magnum shotguns were adapted to function with extra barrels chambered for 2 3/4-inch shells. Remington also introduced Model 1100 Tournament Grade Trap guns with thirty-inch Full or Modified choke Trap barrels; new Model 1100 Tournament Skeet guns in 12, LT-20, and 28 gauges and .410 bore. The new guns featured select walnut stocks with a new cut-checkered pattern. Remington also introduced Model 1100 TA Trap guns with regular-grade stocks, as distinguished from Tournament Grade Trap guns, and these were available in both left- and right-hand versions. Model 1100 TB Trap guns were discontinued this year.
1980 - Introduction of the Model 1100 LT-20 "Limited," a 20-gauge lightweight Model 1100 Field gun with stock 1 1/2 inches shorter than standard and with a twenty-three-inch barrel for young and small-stature shooters. In September the Model 1100 Limited Edition "One of Three Thousand," a high-grade 12-gauge gun with positive, cut-checkered fancy American walnut wood; gold trimmed, etched hunting scenes on the receiver; and high-luster metal finish was announced. This special gun was available only in 1980, and it was supplied with a twenty-eight-inch, Modified choke, vent-rib barrel. Serial numbers went from LE-80-0001 to LE-80-3000.
1981 - Remington introduced the first of two Model 1100 Ducks Unlimited Commemorative guns in limited editions of 2,400 each, sequentially serial numbered with special markings. These guns were intended to be sold or auctioned only by Ducks Unlimited in 1981-1982. Guns in this DU series were designated "Atlantic Editions," the first of four Ducks Unlimited special editions to commemorate each of the country's flyways.
The first was "The Chesapeake," a 12-gauge Magnum with a Full choke, vent-rib, thirty-inch barrel. It featured select, high-grade checkered wood, gold-colored trigger, and ivory bead front sight. It was supplied with a foam-lined, hard-cover carrying case. The right side of the receiver was stamped DUCKS UNLIMITED ATLANTIC EDITION with the Ducks Unlimited mallard head symbol. The left side of the receiver was marked THE CHESAPEAKE, surrounded by simple scroll markings, and, centered in the panel, was a bronze medallion depicting a canvasback duck.
A second Ducks Unlimited gun for 1981-1982 fund raising was a Model 1100 LT-20 called the "Ducks Unlimited Special," a lightweight 20 gauge with a twenty-six-inch Improved Cylinder, vent-rib barrel, and 2 3/4-inch chamber. It had special decorations on each receiver panel, and the right side of the buttstock was laser-etched with a reproduction of the DU crest. Remington also announced a limited-production run of Model 1100 12-gauge Magnum shotguns with twenty-six-inch Full choke, vent-rib barrels and three-inch chambers.
1982 - A new, retail-available Ducks Unlimited Commemorative Model 1100 was produced this year. It was a 12-gauge Magnum chambered for three-inch shells with Full choke, vent-rib, thirty-two-inch barrel. Titled "The Atlantic," it was dedicated to the Atlantic Flyway, with appropriate and related receiver decorations.
1983 - Production of the three-millionth Model 1100 autoloading shotgun was announced. Added to the line was a left-hand 12-gauge Model 1100 Deer Gun and a new Model 1100 "Special Field" shotgun in 12 and 20 gauges. This gun had a checkered, straight-grip, English-style stock and twenty-one-inch, vent-rib barrel in three field chokes.
1984 - The Model 1100 LT-20 "Limited" name was changed to Model 1100 LT-20 Youth Gun with a change of the barrel length to twenty-one inches.
1985 - The Model 1100 SP "Special Purpose" Magnum Shotgun, designed specifically for waterfowling and turkey hunting with a non-reflective finish to the hardwood stocks and a sandblasted, dull-blued finish on all exposed metal parts, was intorduced. This gun had a three-inch chamber and a chrome-lined twenty-six- or thirty-inch, Full choke, vent-rib barrel. Standard features included a camouflaged nylon sling and sling swivels.
1986 - The Rem Choke system of interchangeable choke tubes (Improved Cylinder, Modified, and Full) was incorporated on all Model 1100 12-gauge Field, Magnum, SP Magnum, and Special Field shotguns with twenty-one-, twenty-six-, or twenty-eight-inch barrels.
1987 - The Rem Choke system was added to 20-gauge Model 1100 Field and Tournament Skeet models and 12-gauge Field and Magnum versions with thirty-inch barrels. Also, in conjunction with the introduction of the new Model 11-87 12-gauge autoloading shotgun, the following Model 1100 versions were discontinued: SP Magnum, SP Magnum Deer Gun, 12-gauge Trap and Skeet guns, and 20-gauge SA Skeet guns. This began a continuing substitution of new 12-gauge Model 11-87 specifications for comparable, former Model 1100 specifications.
1994 - Remington added a 20-gauge Model 1100 Deer Gun with a fully rifled, twenty-one-inch cantilever scope mount deer barrel. The barrel length on Model 1100 12- and 20-gauge "Special Field" shotguns was changed from twenty-one to twenty-three inches with the Rem Choke system.
1996 - The Model 1100 LT-20 Skeet Gun was reintroduced. This 20-gauge shotgun included a satin-finished American walnut stock with sharp-line checkering and a twenty-six-inch, vent-rib barrel that included the Rem Choke system. The Model 1100 Sporting 28 was also introduced this year. Designed for sporting clays competition, it was based on the original Model 1100 28-gauge Tournament-Grade Skeet Gun, and this version offered a twenty-five-inch, vent-rib, chrome-moly barrel with four interchangeable Rem Choke tubes in Skeet, Improved Cylinder, Light Modified, and Modified constrictions. A new Model 1100 Synthetic was also offered; it had a synthetic stock and forend and was available in both 12- (twenty-eight-inch barrel) and 20-gauge (twenty-six-inch barrel) versions. Vent-rib barrels with the Rem Choke were standard.
1997 - Two new synthetic-stocked Deer Guns introduced this year included the Model 1100 Synthetic FR/CL, a 12-gauge, fully rifled, cantilever deer gun, and the Model 1100 LT-20 Synthetic FR RS, a 20-gauge, rifle-sighted, fully rifled deer gun. Both of these models had twenty-one-inch barrels.
1998 - New this year was the Model 1100 Sporting 20, a sporting clays adaptation of the famous Tournament Grade Model 1100 20-gauge skeet gun. An interchangeable Rem Choke system with four barrels provided station-to-station shooting versatility. The twenty-eight-inch barrel was fitted for four extended Rem Choke tubes.