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INSTALL: Dave's Metal Works Easyloader - Remington 1100 12ga
The Easyloader from Dave's Metal Works (DMW) is probably the single most installed modification on the Remington 1100 for 3-gun shooters today. Ironically, with as many people installing the Easyloader as there are, not one single tutorial exists online (that I could find anyway). So, I decided to do this tutorial to help anyone who might be contemplating installing one on their own 1100 or 11-87.
It should be noted that this is NOT a mod to be undertaken by just anyone. You should have a good grasp of the inner workings of your shotgun before attempting to install the Easyloader. If you have doubts, take it to a gunsmith! I'm not a gunsmith, and it's not my fault if you follow these directions and screw your gun up!
What you get:
The Easyloader is currently available for $34.99 directly from DMW, but a savvy shopper can probably find it for a few dollars less from another retailer. In the package, you get the Easyloader and a new release button roll-pin (not pictured).
What it does:
The Easyloader is designed to do exactly what its name implies... Make it easier to load your shotgun. It replaces the bolt release button in the carrier assembly on Remington 1100 and 11-87 shotguns, and its benefits are twofold: It makes for a very large, ramped target for guiding the shells into the mag tube, and it provides increased leverage, making it much easier to depress than the standard button.
It should be noted that, for the purposes of this tutorial, I am installing the Easyloader in a Remington 1100 TAC-4. The TAC-4 comes with a longer than standard release button (it's the same as the older Competition Master button) from the factory. The install should be the same for any 1100 or 11-87, but your factory parts might look a bit different than mine.
As in my previous tutorials, I won't be covering how to remove and replace the factory trigger group on the shotgun. If you don't know how to do it already and/or can't figure it out, put the tools down and run (don't walk) to a gunsmith.
Let's look at the factory trigger group.
The first step in the installation of the Easyloader is to remove the roll-pin holding in the factory carrier release button using a small punch. You can do this step after removing the carrier from the trigger group, but I found that it was easier to hold on to while still attached.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the way the factory parts go together before removing this pin!
Once the carrier is off, you can set aside the trigger group. You won't need it for a while.
Modifying the carrier:
The instructions that come with the Easyloader are decent, but they are a LOT easier to understand if you can actually visualize what they're telling you to do. So, while looking over the included instructions, hold the Easyloader up to the carrier to get a good understanding of how the two parts fit together, and where you need to file the carrier to accommodate the Easyloader.
Then break out your file and get to work! Start by filing a bit off the sides of the button hole in the carrier to clearance for the hooked tabs on the Easyloader. It won't take much, just enough for the tabs to fit and move freely in the opening. File a bit and test fit, file and test fit. It can't be emphasized enough that you should take it slow and remove very little metal at a time.
When you're done, you should end up with something like this (notice the shiny spots where I've filed):
The other side takes a bit more work to get enough clearance for the short, fat tab on the back of the Easyloader. This area is marked (A) below.
Once you've got the carrier to the point that the Easyloader fits and moves freely, it's time to put everything back together.
Clean all the metal and plastic shavings off of the trigger group, housing and carrier before you start to reassemble!
If you paid attention when you took everything apart, putting it all back together is pretty easy. Using a 1/16" drill bit to hold everything in place (as recommended in the instructions included with the Easyloader) does work very well, especially for capturing the release button spring. You can also leave it in place and let the new roll-pin chase/push the bit out as you hammer it into place.
As mentioned before, I found it easier to hang on to everything while the carrier was installed on the trigger group (and with an extra pair of hands). It made it much easier for me to drive the new roll-pin into place. As always, YMMV.
Once you've got everything assembled and the new pin in place, put the whole thing back into your shotgun. This is where the REAL fitting takes place.
Perhaps the most confusing thing in the instructions included with the Easyloader is how to fine tune the bolt release point. The instructions mention that the button should release the bolt within its last 1/8" of travel. If it engages too soon, your bolt won't lock back on an empty chamber. If it engages too late, it won't release the bolt.
So... With everything assembled, in the gun and with the bolt locked back on an empty chamber, start pushing up on the end of the Easyloader. It can be difficult to see, but note how far the end of the Easyloader is from the carrier (marked below) when the bolt releases. If it is more than 1/8" you'll need to do some fine tuning.
If you need to tune your Easyloader (most people will), remove the trigger group assembly from the gun, and then remove the carrier assembly.
To adjust the carrier release point, you will have to file the back side of the long, triangular leg on the back of the Easyloader (pictured below). This is the most time consuming part of the entire install process because you'll want to file a bit, reassemble and test. Rinse and repeat until the button releases the bolt within its last 1/8" of travel (a little less is okay, a little more is not).
Once you think everything is fit the way it should be, quickly rack the bolt in the shotgun and let it fly a few times. If things are adjusted correctly, the bolt should lock open on the empty chamber. If it slams shut, you have more fitting to do.
Once you've got everything fitted and adjusted, it's time to reassemble the gun and head out to the range to test it out. Cycling things by hand is a good indicator of how things are working, but no test is quite as good as live fire. During live fire testing you may find that you need to do more adjusting. If so, follow the previous fine tuning procedure until everything works as intended.
All the fitting can be a huge pain in the butt, but when you're all finished, you'll have the fastest reloading setup (outside of "Open Class" speed loaders) available for your 3-gun or home defense Remington semi-auto shotgun.
Big props to my Dad who was in town for the weekend and helped with the "gun projects" and picture taking! Sometimes you just need that third (or fourth) hand and second set of eyes to make sure things go back together with no leftover bits.
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