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welcome to the forums! I'll try to answer your questions, but I'm no expert so some of the others can correct my mistakes :D

The remington 1100 is an awesome gun, and that 28 inch barrel is great for trap. Some Trap shooters prefer 30 inch or 32 inch barrels, because of the longer sight plain, but 28 inch will be no problem at all. My gun is synthetic stock as well, and I never get strange looks out there. I have seen a couple other shooters using black synthetic stocks, and its a nice change to see some black from all the wood.

For around $250, I would highly recommend the Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500. Right now, on the big 5 weekly ad, they have the mossberg 500 with a 28 inch barrel, with a vent rib, for only $219. This is an awesome gun, and a great buy, normally goes for around $289. I am not sure if this also comes with the 18 1/2 inch barrel, but when I bought myn a couple months ago, it came with the 28 inch barrel and the 18 1/2 inch barrel, for only $219. See if you have a Big 5 Sporting goods in your area.
The remington 870 is also a great buy, but I am not sure if all of them have vent ribs, I have seen some that I have not, maybe they were older models though. In trap, a vent rib is great because it tends to make the shoot go higher, since when a bird comes out of the house, it is always on a vertical path.

About gun placement, I am not sure if that is normal. Maybe on of the experts can chime in proper mounting of the gun.
One of the best things you can have done to your gun, is have it fitted. Having the gun fit proper is a great way to spend your money IMO, although I haven't afforded to have this done myself lol.
Remember, its 5% equipment, 95% shooter.

Hope this helps and I didn't give you any bad advice!
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