The Aptly-Named Remington Model 11-87 Premier


The 11-87 Premier, with a Ruger Single Six that wouldn't shoot for sour apples.

The 11-87 Premier, with a Ruger Single Six that wouldn’t shoot for sour apples.

Last October, I picked up a pristine Remington 11-87 Premier ‘Light Contour’ 12 gauge auto. The gun came with the factory hard case and all accessories including the manual and warranty card. It has nice bluing and a high-gloss stock, but lacks the stamped scroll-work on some Premiers. It was apparently built toward the end of the Premier Series in 2006. This is my first automatic shotgun in ages.


I’ve favored short barreled shotguns for most of my life; but I couldn’t bring myself to cut the barrel of my old 11-87 Premier. I shopped around for a decent, light contour 11-87 barrel and discovered they were bringing as much as a good, clean 870! I saw a few 11-87 slug barrels around, but slug barrels have gas ports designed for heavy loads only. The ribbed barrels have ports amenable to the sporting 11-87’s self-adjusting gas system, so I figured they’d be more likely work with the full range of loads. Besides, I just like vent rib barrels.


I eventually found a 28” light contour barrel at a gun show, for 150 bucks.  It slipped right on my receiver, my forend fit it perfectly and it functioned and shot fine. The used barrel had a RemChoke ‘full’ tube in it that patterns substantially better than the full-choke tube that came with my gun- so that was an unexpected bonus. I stowed that one for use with my 28” barrel.


I laid out the cut to land in front of a rib post. I deburred the muzzle, inside & out, with a round handheld stone. I squared it first at 90 degrees to a sanding belt; and finally by filing across the muzzle ‘around the clock’. The cut went well and the barrel finished right at 21”. The sight is a simple clip-on fiber optic available at any WalMart and it has not moved since I installed it. It’s hard to miss thrown birds with this set-up and the first slug from it cut a 3” target dot, at 25 yards. Olin MilSpec OO Buck will stay on a B27, but it’s not tight by any means. I may, at some point, have an I/C tube installed.


My only other modification to the 11-87 has been a Limb-Saver pad that was originally intended for a wood-stocked 1979 Wingmaster. It fit the 11-87 perfectly and it turned this already soft-shooting shotgun into a real pussycat. It is reliable with hunting loads but stovepipes occasionally with chain-store field loads such as Winchester Universals or Federal ‘Multi-purpose’. Otherwise, the 11-87 Premier is a peach of a shotgun, if you can find one. 


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