Yesterday I replaced the small Breech Bolt Return Plunger Buffers that are located on the end of the Action Bar, on two Remington 1100's. The Buffer assembly parts on the 12 gauge and the 20 gauge were the same size. However, the Operating Handle Retaining Ball and spring is not part of the Return Plunger Assembly on the 20 gauge.
After removing the Action Bar and cleaning it, I used a couple of pieces of hardwood to block it in place and keep it from moving. I used one of the blocks to raise and support the Slide Block to remove the Return Plunger Retaining Pin. Using a 1/16 drift punch, I removed the Pin, starting from the side of the Sliding Block where the Retaining Pin hole was visible. It took a couple of fairly strong taps to get the Retaining Pin moving.
Knowing the Return Plunger is spring loaded, I placed a towel to catch any parts that might come flying out as the Retaining Pin was removed. This was not necessary in this case. With the Retaining Pin removed, I could not get the plunger and old Buffer to come out, even after several tries and using the pliers with some fairly strong pulls.
What to do? I called the Remington Arms Co. repair number listed on their web site, wondering if this huge corporation would even let me talk to a repairman. Surprisingly, I got to talk with a gent named Travis who was familiar with the parts and repair I was stuck on. I was instructed to grab the plunger with the pliers again and apply a stronger pull. Relieved, I returned to the task at hand and pulled very hard and wiggled the plunger this way and that and out it came. The spring stayed in its place. Nothing flew out.
The Washer that is part of the Return Plunger Assembly is a tight fit and was what provided most of the resistance to remove it. The remainder of the old Buffer was also a tight fit which added to the resistance. On the 12 gauge, the steel ball that holds the Operating Handle in place rolled out when the Plunger Return Spring was removed. The 20 gauge Operating Handle Detent Ball is not part of the Return Plunger Assembly.
The Return Plunger, Spring, Detent Ball and Slide Block hole, were all cleaned and mucked out and re-greased. It appeared that the original lubricant was a grease and I chose to use an automotive axle grease as a replacement. I'm sure some will use other lubricants. I doubt that it will matter much.
After cleaning and lubricating, the Detent Ball went in first, then the Return Spring, next the Return Plunger with it's Washer was placed over its hole. The Washer was a tight fit and I used a piece of copper tube that I placed over the Plunger and tapped the Washer down into place. Next the Buffer was placed on the Plunger. It, too, is a tight fit and I put a little grease on the end to get it started. At this point I used a 12 inch Channel Lock pliers and adjusted it wide for a perfect bite to squeeze the new Buffer into place. Once the Buffer was in place it was tight and would not spring out. Yours may be different.
Next came the drill motor with a 1/16 inch drill. The drill is used to create a shallow channel in the new Buffer for the Retaining Pin. Use the hole for the Retaining Pin and drill once or twice through and then blow out the debris. The Retaining Pin has a bevel end and the opposite end has small fins to lock it in place in the hole. Lube the bevel end of the Pin to get it started and to help hold it in place and tap it with the light hammer to start it. Finish drifting the Pin into place with a larger drift till it is flush with the side of the Slide Block. Wipe off any debris, take the Channel Lock pliers and test the Plunger for it's spring back function. It may be a little tight but it must be free to move back and forth.
Now, you're all done with your repair and replacement of the Breech Bolt Return Plunger Buffer. Look to see how your new Buffer stands proud from the face of the Slide Block and will now prevent hard metal to metal contact between the Breech Bolt and Slide Block. Reassemble your 1100 and you're back in business.
I spent about two hours doing this repair on the first 1100, most of the time was spent gathering tools and setting up a comfortable work space, examining parts and thinking out methods to remove and replace the parts. Replacing the Buffer on the second gun took about half an hour. These parts are very small, take extra care to keep them from falling off your work space. The cost for the parts involved are about $3.50 each from Remington not including shipping. I ordered only 3 buffers and used two of them. Perhaps I should have replace the springs too. I would if I were to do this job again. This turned out to be a fairly straight forward repair and by doing it myself, saved me, my guess, about $60 dollars or more. Which is not really savings because I'll apply it straight to the skeet field. For more complicated repairs I'm grateful there are competent gunsmiths available.
Thanks to Shotgunworld.com forum and it's the readers and posters who offered advice on this repair and to Remington Arms Co., their parts and repair people, Owner's Manuals and for their excellent 1100 series shotguns.
Terms used in this repair:
Breech Bolt Return Plunger
Breech Bolt Return Plunger Retaining Ring (Washer)
Operating Handle Detent Ball
Operating Handle Plunger Retainer
Operating Handle Detent Spring
Action Bar Assembly
Slide Block Buffer