Remington Model 105 CTi Autoloading Shotgun
There has been a lot of talk about Remington's first substantially new autoloading shotgun since their 1100, which was the most popular semi-auto ever released. The 1100 is over forty years old now, and what was once an instant hit is now considered a bit long in the tooth. The classiest Model 1100 currently offered is the "Sporting" Competition model, available in 12, 20, 28, and .410 gauges. The 12 gauge comes with a 2-3/4 in. chamber, vent rib, twin sight beads, highly polished blue finish, and semi-fancy walnut stock. It tips the scales at a stated eight pounds with its "Light Contoured Barrel," and carries a MSRP of $1057.
That best defines the gun that we all fell in love with four decades ago, a good looking gun that ruled the skeet fields, showed us little recoil, and came at a time when 1-1/8 oz. was "the" 12 gauge load. Times have changed and many find a 2-3/4 inch chamber limiting, though 2-3/4 inch 12 gauges have filled more limits than any other combination over the last 100 years.
Remington apparently knew the 1100 couldn't compete forever, and the 11-87 was Remington's 1987 attempt to update their old flagship semi-auto. It didn't work well; Remington stuttered and has alternatively discontinued and re-introduced various 1100 models ever since. The weight of the gun was never addressed, nor was the O-ring gas assembly that, rightly or wrongly, has garnered its share of criticism over recent decades. Cycling 1 oz. to 1-7/8 oz. 12 gauge shells in three inch chambers has become standard, expected fare from the best competing brands, with no user-adjustments required, along with magazine cut-offs, shim-adjustable stocks, and the like. For over forty years Remington ignored these trends.
Well, 2007 has arrived, and the long-awaited Remington 105CTi (Model 2005, carbon titanium) finally started shipping very late last year. It was introduced at the 2006 Shot Show, and introduced again this year in Orlando.
The primary touted features are the skeletonized carbon-titanium receiver, rotating bolt lock-up, bottom feed and ejection, an oil-filled shock absorber strut inside the butt stock to reduce recoil, roller rear that provides a crisp 3.5-4 lb. trigger pull, TriNyte coating that forms a barrier to corrosion and scratching, convex R3 recoil pad, and a carbon fiber rib. The idea is to save weight, down to a claimed 7 lbs. from previous Remington autoloaders while still being extremely soft shooting. The MSRP is a hefty $1511, a bit salty compared to many models from other industry leaders. Clearly lighter than the 1100 and 11-87 genre, it is an ounce or two lighter than standard Beretta 391 models, and maybe an ounce heavier than the Browning Superlight Hunter.
Remington adds the same hyperbole as other manufacturers as far as "overbored barrels" and "lengthened forcing cones." Remington is no better or worse in this respect than the others. Obviously, the bore of the 105CTi has never changed since it was first released, meaning right now, and the 105's forcing cones are no longer or shorter than they ever were.
The bottom ejection is a feature that has never really caught on with the masses. Bottom ejection is not something Remington has ever mentioned when selling 870's against the Browning BPS, the most common bottom-ejector of today. One benefit is, when coupled with a tang safety (as in the BPS) it makes the gun ambidextrous. No autoloader can really achieve that, with an exposed cocking lever on one side of the action, as is the case with the 105CTi.
Hefting, swinging, and shooting the 105CTi gave me some distinct impressions. Yes, the 105 CTi is an extremely soft shooter, perhaps a tad softer than a factory Browning or Beretta with a standard recoil pad.
I found the "tournament" trigger on the 105CTi to be better than other Remington triggers, clearly better than out-of-the box Browning Golds, but no better than the Beretta 391 Urika 2 I shot the same day. It is a far better than average factory shotgun trigger, particularly in today's peculiar environment.
The Remington CTi did not fit me well. Unfortunately, unlike Beretta and Browning models that have shim-adjustable buttstocks, Remington has ignored that feature. It is a big negative as far as I'm concerned: it either fits you, or you need stock work.
The new Remington gas system is not a compensating system. Remington representatives cautioned me that 1200 fps 1-1/8 oz. loads were the bare minimum required for reliable function.
Many will ask if the 105 has O rings. Well, it has rubber gaskets. Remington refers to these gas system parts as "#2 Action Sleeve Seal," "#21 Gas Cylinder Seal," and "#23 Inner Seal." Apparently no O rings, but parts that are supposed to be sealing, in any case. The oil-filled shock absorber rod that enters the butt stock is designated the "Rate Controller."
The inability to cycle light loads in three inch chambered autoloaders plagued 1100 Magnum models for years, and it is still with us in the 105 CTi. Remington advised me that this was considered a "field" model (traditional field loads bottoming at 1-1/8 oz.), and that "clays" models (likely with 2-3/4 in. chambers) were in the works. Presumably those will handle light loads with aplomb.
The Remington loads from the bottom with a speed-loading feature that I found a bit clumsy. Speed loading has been around for a long time, becoming popular when Browning added the "two piece shell carrier" to their A-5. Browning 'Double Autos' had it, as did the gas-operated Browning B2000. It has been featured on the Browning Gold since it was introduced in 1994.
With the 105 CTi it seems that the shell goes forward into the magazine tube first, the only way it can be loaded as you have no open conventional breech. Not too far, though, and then the magazine tube spring shoots the shell back in the base of the receiver, where it is carried upstairs by the double fingers of the carrier. It is more finicky than the Browning treatments, at least in my clumsy hands, as I found it easy to go too far and just load the magazine tube. Perhaps the solid metal flap of the Gold just made it easier for me than the open "fingered" carrier of the 105 that Remington calls "Turbofeed" when attempting speed-loading.
The unusual looks of the receiver leave little room for middle of the road feelings. Some might feel it spacey, cool and nouveau, but I found it hard to look at. The change from the rough-looking, carbon fiber texture to smooth blued steel was more than I could bear. It is remarkably homely, to my eyes, when compared to the Model 1100.
The Remington 105CTi is pricey. The shooter who likes the carbon fiber look and whom it fits will probably feel it is money well spent. The more traditional shotgunner who wants to shoot a very broad spectrum of shells and who feels the need for an adjustable stock will probably look elsewhere.
NOTE: There is a full-length review of the Remington 105 CTi-II on the Product Review Page.
Copyright 2007 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.