Classic small bore fun! (with Colonel Smoothbore)
By angelamontana

Posted: December 1, 2019

In a couple of previous columns I’ve discussed the venerable Remington® 1100 shotgun. Today we’ll look at the small bore .410 Sporting model.

The 1100 was introduced in 1963; it is a gas operated semi-auto shotgun. It replaced the earlier models 58 and 878, also gas operated guns. The 1100 is basically a Remington® model 870 pump gun that with substantial modifications and engineering expertise, was transformed into one of the most successful shotguns of all time millions have been sold over decades of production. With the introduction of plastic shotgun shells and improved coatings on paper shells, reliability of semi-auto gas shotguns was immensely improved and the 1100 was the most successful beneficiary of those ammunition improvements.

Remington® has been manufacturing firearms for over 200 years and for 56 of those years, the 1100 has been part of its firearm line-up. Today, Remington® has several other semi-auto shotgun models and the 1100 models are primarily designed for the clay target sports, but the Sporting and American Classic guns can also be used for hunting. There are four different models; the 1100 Sporting models with a suggested MSRP of $1254, the really cool 1100 Competition Synthetic, MSRP, $1305, the 1100 Classic Trap, MSRP, $1334, and the gorgeous 1100 American Classic priced at $1682 MSRP.

With the exception of the 1100 Synthetic, all the guns have very, very nice gloss finished walnut stocks and for-ends, and blued receivers and barrels. These are really pretty guns with a style and reliability that has become the standard by which others are measured.

Now let’s look at the Sporting models (12, 20, 28 gauge and .410 bore) in particular, the 410 Sporting. The .410 bore shotgun is an expert’s gun. The small shot payload makes it difficult for new and novice shooters to consistently hit targets. While I have seen a few beginners have decent success with the .410, I do recommend a 12 or 20 gauge gun loaded with light recoiling loads for inexperienced shotgunners.

For years I’ve coveted a Remington® 1100 in .410. There are not a lot of .410 semi-auto shotguns available in today’s market and production runs are limited. There are some new models manufactured in Turkey that have arrived in the U.S. in recent years. They are decent guns and yes, they are less expensive that the 1100s. But there is nothing like the classic looks of the 1100 and the distinctive sound of the action as it cycles in its real steel receiver.

Recently, I was able to find and buy my own Remington® 1100 Sporting 410. I love it! The gun is chambered to accept both 2 1/2 and 3 inch shells. The deep brown walnut is highly figured and the finish makes the wood look like it is preserved in crystal clear ice. The gun has a 27 inch barrel and came with 5 extended interchangeable chokes. This sweet little repeater weighs a scant 6 ¼ pounds, heavy enough for a smooth swing, yet light enough to be carried all day.

Shooting this smoothbore is really a treat. The smaller bored shotguns inherently shoot tighter patterns. This along with the lighter shot payload makes for some challenging shooting. While I really enjoy “vaporizing” clays with a 12 gauge, there is also great reward in shooting a perfect or near perfect score with the diminutive .410. Because of a recent hand surgery, I haven’t been able to shoot this little gun as much as I would like to, but the hand is rehabbing nicely and the little 410 is finally getting some action. I can’t hardly wait for next year’s warm September upland bird season to begin.

I am really pleased that I chose to spend a bit more money and buy a Remington® 410. Owning a classic American smoothbore is great fun and surely worth the extra dollars.

Be safe and good shooting.

Colonel Smoothbore