Remington 11-48 Semi-Auto Shotguns




Model 11-48 :  This model was the first of the "New Generation" semi-auto shotgun produced after the war which is considered a recoil operated firearm.  

It's model number was derived from the older humpback Remington model 11 that the recoil system was copied from, and the newer stamped out internal parts that have become so popular since, developed in 1948, but not introduced until 1949.   It was discontinued in 1968.  It was made in 2 3/4" 12, 16, 20, 28 ga. and 3" 410.   The walnut stocks were machine checkered.  There was no engraving on the receiver.  It utilized many stamped out sheet-metal  parts, used during WW II, an aluminum trigger housing that became common to most all of the Remington line of pumps and semi-autos that allowed easy removal by pushing out 2 pins that are spring detented to hold them in place.   It 's magazine held 4 or 5 rounds.

Remington 11-48

The receiver was machined from a solid billet of steel.  The magazine tube and action spring tube were silver-soldered into the receiver.

This firearm functions by using 2 opposing springs.  One small diameter, but strong spring is housed in a approx 1/2" tube that is silver soldered into the rear of the receiver,  protrudes into the buttstock.   The rear external portion is threaded that then is utilized to hold the buttstock onto the receiver with.  Inside this tube the spring has a follower fitted to the front, 2 heavy sheet-metal links pinned from the breech bolt drive the follower rearward which subsequently back forward to close the action.

At the same time there is a large coil spring around the magazine tube that puts friction against bronze plated steel friction rings on the front that are pinched in the barrel hanger bracket on firing and subsequent recoil.   This recoil spring is made in different compression strengths, corresponding to gauges and barrel lengths which is critical in relationship to the actual power of the round used in the gun.  It is critical that the magazine tube be lightly sanded lengthwise with light emery cloth with a light coating of oil of about 30 weight motor oil on this tube for the gun to function properly.

Also any recoil operated firearm can be very sensitive to how the person firing it holds the gun.  The word is that you have to "Back it Up".   This means that you need to hold it tight against your shoulder.  A skinny 110# weakling will have trouble with these guns not cycling, while a 250# logger may well have no trouble at all.  The guns have to have some resistance at the buttstock to function properly, otherwise the whole gun moves, negating the ejection, recycling process.

One of the Remington service personnel said that this gun never really worked when it was new and that he was glad that he came onto the scene right after it was discontinued as the factory repairmen could always count on something to do when they showed up for work.  He said that they could get it to function with one brand of ammo, but another brand would malfunction.

However, I used one for a good number of years and never really had a problem, even with reloads.


Remington 11-48 factory exploded views

Gunsmithing the 11-48 :  Spare parts are not available from Remington if you order from the 11-48 list.  However the firing pins, FP springs, extractor, spring and plunger for the 870 will interchange.  The 11-48 operating handle is held into the slide (officially referred to as the breech bolt carrier).   This slide in turn holds the locking block/bolt in position.  There is a spring detent uses a detent plunger putting pressure on the BOTTOM of this handle, which uses a thin flat spring that is about impossible to salvage, whereas the later 1100 coil spring type, uses a coil spring activated detent on the EDGE of the handle.


The current model 1100 handle #91197 is designed to accommodate both the 11-48 bottom plunger with the 1100 plunger which comes in from the rear.   Therefore you can use the 1100 handle as a replacement on the 11-48 series guns.

The friction piece and shell latch are usually the first to need replacement.   Recently Gun Parts Corp. has listed these friction pieces in their catalog.


Replacement wood is a problem, especially forearms, but a later model 1100 buttstock CAN BE MADE  to fit.  


Upon firing/recoil, the friction piece/action bars move rearward which was attached to the breech bolt carrier, which are in turn attached to twin links that are internally in the action spring tube inside the buttstock.  At the same time, this was driven against an opposing recoil spring housed outside the magazine tube.


General Gunsmithing :   To remove the buttstock, remove the buttplate or recoil pad, there is a large hole under the buttplate.  Inside this is a large slotted head threaded cap that can be unscrewed using a large screwdriver, a 8" or 10" Crescent wrench on a large square screwdriver shank, while applying end pressure to the handle, unscrew this cap.

With the buttstock off, and the cross-pin removed from the rear of the recoil spring tube that is attached to the rear of the receiver, will expose the recoil spring guide, spring and follower. The inside of this tube needs to be cleaned along with the recoil spring.

To remove the bolt assembly, with the above done, stock and forearm off, barrel removed, recoil spring removed, and the trigger group out, pull the operating handle straight outward (there is a detect ball holding it in place in the bolt carrier). Now you can slide the breech bolt unit forward out of the receiver. Attached to this bolt unit by a cross pin, is a RH and LH link that go inside the recoil tube and against a recoil spring follower. Check to see if these have not become bent.

Also check the extractor tension, the spring and detent holding it in may need to be removed and cleaned, even the spring replaced. If the extractor does not spring back under full power if you pry the front outward, remove it by forcing an ice-pick or small screwdriver in between the plunder and the rear thrust part of the extractor, and separate the two, allowing the extractor to slide outward. Be careful to not loose the plunger and spring in the process as they may exercise their flying lessons. Clean the spring hole and apply light oil. These parts are obsolete, but these current model 870 parts will interchange.

Also one thing that may be slowing down your extraction, is a dirty chamber. IF this gun has been using Remington plastic ammo, for some reason that plastic, over time can create a plastic buildup where you can even see the ribs of the plastic inside the chamber. Steel wool will clean it out, and then oil the internal chamber and barrel.
Another thing to be sure that the magazine cap is tightened securely at the forearm end, otherwise the locking lug/breech bolt may not align properly. While we are here, these forearms have a thin steel liner inside of them, that on the front contains a small spring loaded detent spring that keeps the magazine cap from unscrewing during normal operations. I have seen a number of these forearms/liners worn/damaged so bad that the location of the barrel is compromised.

Spitting Operating Handles :  When this gun starts spitting operating handles, the usual things to look for will be a weak detent plunger spring or worn handle detents.   These detent plungers are however factory staked into the BOTTOM of the bolt slide, not really designed to be replaced.  If cleaning up the worn detent hole does not work, I would first try a new 1100 operating handle.

I had one customer bring a gun in with a hole drilled in the outer end of the handle with a piece of fish line tied into it and on to the trigger guard, so that he could recover the handle when the gun spit it out.

In all actuality the handle is only needed to charge a live round into the chamber or to extract a live round.   It does not effect the firing of the gun.

On the above gun, after much trial and error, then some head scratching, I finally, many years ago (about 1975) called the factory and was fortunate enough to be able to talk to a repairman that worked on these guns at the time they were being factory serviced.   The real problem he said on this issue is that there is too much headspace.   A harmonic vibration is set up at the firing/unlock time that results in spitting these handles out like popcorn.

Look at the locking lugs on the barrel and on the locking block.  These will usually be worn, and or set back   This repairman said the method of deciding if this was the problem, was with the gun unloaded, place a ½" dowel down the barrel until it rests on the face of the breech bolt, mark on the dowel the muzzle location with a pencil.    Now push the dowel down until you feel the locking block unlock from the barrel lugs, but before the bolt itself starts to move rearward.   Mark this position on the dowel also.

Ideally there should be minimal movement.   I do not really remember his exact dimension, but it seems that if it moved more than about .040", this was the problem, and the symptoms get worse as the wear increases. The solution that they used then, was to replace the locking lug with a oversize one.  These lugs were numbered using letters, I have encountered many with just the gauge stamped on them, but a few with letters.   I assume the non lettered are standard and the A size to be the next oversize or longer.   And not sure how many oversize sizes were made.

Since no spare parts were available from the factory or any of the parts suppliers even then, I cleaned the barrel lugs up the best I could with a Dremel tool, then took dimensions of the locking block, annealed it, and TIG welded 3% nickel material onto the back of the locking block lug area.   I figured that if I screwed up that maybe I could find another locking block, but to find a barrel extension would take time and perseverance.  I then refitted it, using lay-out die as a wear marker, and then heat treated and tempered the whole block.   If anyone would try this I recommend you take a Rockwell hardness reading of the locking block before you start, so that you have a known hardness to return to (mine read 53 Rockwell C).  It could be slightly softer by a point or two, but not any harder, since it could break off.

I however think a simpler solution would be to soft solder a piece of steel shim stock to the bolt face.   In order to determine the proper thickness, a piece of different thickness shim stock cold be cut to the approximate shape of the bolt face and tried under a loaded round until one too thick was placed there so that the locking block would not close.   Then back off and use a thinner one.   You might even Super Glue a shim onto the bolt face as a trial to see if it would work first.

Heating it to a soft solder condition would create no problem since the breech bolt only is a means of holding the locking block in place.   To do this, tin the bolt face and the steel shim with solder.  Then heat them up, place the shim on the bolt.  After it cools you can cut the shim off with a sharp knife or a Dremel tool.   You would of course have to have enough clearance for the extractor to hook the shell's rim.  I have used this method many times on the old Savage 99 takedown rifles.

Model 48 Sportsman :  The 48 Sportsman was the same gun as the 11-48 except it was made so that it would only accept 2 rounds in the magazine, conforming to the Federal Migratory bird regulations.  It was introduced in 1949, discontinued in 1959. 

This magazine restriction was made possible by simply taking a 11-48 magazine tube, stamping 3 detent dimples around it radially thereby restricting the follower from going beyond this, limiting it to 2 rounds in the magazine.

You can modify these dimples by using a long rat tailed file, filing off these detents inside the magazine tube.  Do not try to swage them out, as you WILL deform the outside of the tube.  These tubes are what the recoil spring’s friction piece slides on to make the gun function.

 Model 48 Mohawk :    This gun was apparently a final clean up of the 11-48  and the 48 Sportsman spare parts.  They appeared a few years after the previous models were discontinued. They were usually found with walnut stained birch wood.  Possibly distributed thru some of the mass merchandisers




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Originated 05-17-06  Last updated 12-25-2017
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