Remington 1100 Sporting 12 12-Gauge, $859
More often than not, sporting autoloaders are separated from the field models by an expanded feature set, which usually includes a complete set of choke tubes from Cylinder to Full, tube wrench, a different buttplate, improved metal cosmetics, extended barrel lengths, and upgraded wood quality. So, for the most part, they are the same as the mainstream guns in their home stables, which made us curious about whether the sporting tag truly offered some value in terms of performance, or whether such autos were merely prettied up hunting guns.
We expected to have a lot of fun finding out, and we werent disappointed when we tested the Remington 1100 Sporting 12.
The 1100 Sporting 12 (catalog number 5315) joins the 1100 Sporting 20 Autoloader and 1100 Sporting 28 Autoloader in the Remington stable this model year. They all MSRP for about $860, and sell for around $675 (Gun List).
The Sporting 12 comes with only a 28-inch barrel and 2 3/4-inch chamber. It measures 49 inches overall, and has a 14.2-inch length of pull, a drop at the comb of 1.5 inches, and a drop at the heel of 2.25 inches. It has a ventilated rib to disperse barrel heat, and the muzzle accepts Rem Choke choke tubes (Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Light Modified, and Modified come with the gun). There are two beads on the ventilated rib, the smaller, silver mid-rib bead measuring 0.07 inch wide and the front white bead measuring 0.12 inch wide. The rib itself is 0.29 inch wide and is lined to reduce glare. The semi-fancy American walnut stock has a gloss finish, and the receiver is blued with a high polish.
Our test sample had gorgeously figured buttstock wood and a 0.70-inch-thick soft-rubber buttpad. The pad had been cut down on top and rounded at the toe to reduce the chances of it snagging on clothing. We never had any trouble shouldering the gun as a result. We didnt particularly like the gloss finish on hot summer days; it was very slick on both the forend and wrist, despite the nicely executed checkering.
The gun shot a variety of light target, field, and heavy game loads, up to the maximum its 2.75-inch chamber would acceptunlike the 11-87 SC NP Premier, whose target barrels are not equipped with a pressure-compensating gas system and can only handle loads up to 3.25 drams of powder and 1.25 ounces of lead shot, according to Remington specifications. It patterned acceptably with all the lead rounds we tried.
Looking down the receiver and the barrel, we liked the clean sight picture on top of the gun. The flat-top receiver blended a little off-center with the barrel, but it didnt bother us. Wed remove both of the damn beads, however, since its easy to shift eye focus to the beads and away from the target. The Rem Chokes could be installed and removed by hand, which made swapping them out station to station a breeze. The trigger needed work, in our opinion, to remove creep. But it broke at only 4 pounds.
The guns handling was sluggish compared to the Benelli, we thought, mostly due to its higher weight. We recognized, however, that this extra heft had an upside as well, because when we shot the guns a lot, we welcomed the soft kick of the 1100 more than the Benelli. We really began to notice the difference around the 65-target mark in a 100-bird round, about the same time the Remington began to feel heavy in our hands.
It is precisely this balancing act that makes choosing one gun over the other fairly difficult. The Remington is much cheaper. And many shooters will prefer the 1100s weight, since they can condition to move the gun quickly, but they dont want to flinch because of recoil.