I became interested in the Benelli M4 after noting that the Marines use it in Iraq. The more I learned about it the more I liked it. I even checked it out at my Scheels Sports gun shop. The price tag is $1600 and that is without the magazine extension. Add a two round Benelli magazine extension and the price goes up another $250.00.
So I decided to build my own semi automatic tactical shotgun. Some searching on the Internet revealed the Remington 1100 as a semi auto with a large following and a great reputation. It was introduced in 1963 and has been very popular ever since. In fact, when Remington replaced it with the new and improved 11-87 the 1100 was reintroduced because of popular demand. Since 1963 Remington has produced and sold over 12,000,000 Remington 1100 shotguns around the world.
I located a used Remington 1100 on Gunbroker.com. It was described as a deer gun with a 12 ga smooth bore 21 inch barrel and rifle sights. The starting price was $250. I ended up paying $325 for it.
My original plan was to put together an inexpensive home defense shotgun. The tactical version of the Remington 1100 costs about $700. I thought I could put one together cheaper. The idea was to buy a used shotgun, sand the stock and fore end and paint them tactical black, then Parkerizing the receiver and barrel, and add the magazine extension. I thought I would have about $400 in the gun when finished but that turned out to be quite an under estimate. The problem was that once I got started I kept building to make it better. The original stock was a beautiful walnut that I couldn’t bring myself to paint. I replaced it with the Speedfeed III stock and fore end. Then the magazine extension, then a few parts replaced to make it cycle like new, and the Dave’s Metal Works Easy Loader.
I didn’t know anything about the Remington 1100. I searched forums and found a lot of good comments about it. My 1100 was made in the early to mid 1980’s. It is a deer gun with a smooth bore slug barrel. I felt that being a deer gun it really had not seen much service. You just don’t shoot as many slug rounds in a season compared to a skeet gun which can see hundreds of rounds in a season and many thousands of rounds in the course of 30 years.
The first thing I did was purchase a shop manual. I found one called The Remington M870 and M1100 Shotguns, a Shop Manual. It is a great book, very comprehensive and just over 200 pages. I highly recommend this book. Also, there are some very informative YouTube videos about the 1100. I learned a lot from the samples of the AGI series on the 1100.
While familiarizing myself with the gun, I loaded training shells in the magazine and proceeded to cycle the bolt to eject the dummy shells. It jammed and locked up. After some playing with it, I found a part rattling around in the receiver. The Feed Latch had come out of its recess in the receiver side. The feed latch fits into a recess in the side of the receiver and is staked in place. A special tool is required to accomplish this. I saw the process in one of the AGI sampler videos and read more about it in my new Remington 1100 shop manual. To do the job I could go to a gunsmith and pay anywhere from $25 to $50 to get it repaired or I could order the staking tool from Brownells for $27.50 and do the job myself. I ordered the staking tool and a new feed latch. I ended up reinstalling the old feed latch because it looked like new and staked it in place without a hitch. Now I have the tool for my next 1100 feed latch replacement should I ever need it.
Reading about the Remington 1100 and watching YouTube videos helped me to determine the common problems and to replace the parts required to make the gun cycle like a new one. I installed a new action spring assembly. The old one was more than an inch shorter than the new spring so this would be a source of cycling problems. I installed a new “O” ring seal, and a new piston assy. Checked the gas ports, two in my barrel, cleaned the gun and put it together and took it to the range. It cycled great! It can shoot virtually any type ammo with no cycling problems. For all those who own a Remington 1100 with a few years on it or if you have an 1100 that doesn’t always cycle, replace the action spring, and gas piston and seals. Your gun will operate like new.
My enhancements to make it the Home Defense Shotgun that I wanted included the SpeedFeed 3 stock. This is the full size stock with pistol grip and 14″ LOP. It also has magazine storage for two shells in each side of the stock. The stock kit included the fore end. The stock and fore end are in tactical flat black. I didn’t like the sharp edges so I cleaned up and rounded the edges on the Speedfeed stock.
Next the magazine was extended using a Choate 3 round magazine extension. The follower plug is bright orange to make it easy to see when the magazine is empty. The magazine extension increases magazine capacity to hold seven 2 3/4″ shells. So with one in the chamber and 7 in the magazine that gives me 8 rounds of 00 buck and slugs. Each round of 00 buck holds nine .33 caliber pellets. That provides a total barrage equivalent to 72 .33 caliber bullets in as much time as it takes to pull the trigger 8 times. This is devastating fire power and not to be taken lightly.
Loading the 1100 is a little awkward. It requires depressing the release button while the shell is pushed against the carrier and into the magazine. An inexpensive modification called Dave’s Easy Loader makes the 1100 load as fast as you can push the shells into the magazine. Takes a little bit of effort to remove the trigger group to install the Easy Loader but well worth it. Click here for a great step by step slide presentation to install Daves easy Loader.
So there you have it, my Home Defense Remington 1100 Shotgun. The total cost of the project was $661.17. The cost of a Remington 1100 tactical 12GA shotgun is about $700.00. Now at first you might think that it isn’t worth it to build your own. But my project gun has 7 + 1RD capacity compared to 6 + 1 RDs for the Tactical 1100. My gun has the Speedfeed III stock with shell storage which I like. My gun has rifle sights. And finally, my gun has the Dave’s Easy Loader which makes it just very easy and fast to load the 1100. Another advantage is that the project can be accomplished a little at a time.
Remington 1100 Project List
Used Remington 1100 $325.00, GunBroker.com
Action spring, $4.99, MidwayUSA
Link, $13.79, MidwayUSA
Breech Bolt Buffer, $3.09, MidwayUSA
Shipping, $8.86, MidwayUSA
Staking Tool, $27.45, Brownells
Barrel Seal, $5.99, Brownells
Piston/Seal Assy, $17.99, Brownells
Feed Latch, $16.90, Brownells
Shipping, $11.50, Brownells
SpeedFeed III stock, $99.99, Cabela’s
Shipping, $12.95, Cabela’s
Tru Glow Front Sight, $17.45, Brownells
Shipping, $5.35, Brownells
Choate mag 3RD extension, $43.99, MidwayUSA
shipping, $7.79, MidwayUSA
Dave’s Metal Works Easy Loader, $33.99, MidwayUSA
Shipping, $4.10, MidwayUSA
Project total $661.17