The worst hunting rifles of all time

My father, who became almost pathologically cheap as he got older, almost bought me one of the worst rifles of all time. It was the day before pheasant opened, he was shopping at K-Mart and knew I wanted a double 20 yard pistol. He almost talked himself into spending $100 on a Boito side-by-side for me. Fortunately, he couldn’t pull the trigger. He came home empty handed and told me about the gun he didn’t buy and I was so relieved. While it was touching for him to think of me, even then I knew nothing good could come of a $100 K-Mart shotgun.

Boitos are known as terrible weapons, and they are not alone. They aren’t the worst, but they make this list of the top five worst guns ever made. I know I’m going to offend some people because every gun has its fans and every gun has owners who have been shooting it for years with no problems. They may even have loved that gun. However, some shotguns have terrible records.

1) Boito Double

Boito double barrel shotgun.
K-Mart Boito over-under. Rock Island Auction Company

K-Mart, as of this spring, still operated three stores in the US, but not long ago there were 2,000 K-Marts from coast to coast. If you’re too young to remember K-mart, think of it as a cheaper Wal-Mart. K-Mart had a gimmick, the Blue Light Special, a flashing blue light placed in an aisle so you knew something was on sale. “Blue Light Special” became a byword for anything cheap and sleazy, and the term was applied pointedly to the Boito duo.

In the early 80s, K-Mart imported shotguns from Brazil. They were crudely finished, made of mild steel, and many did not work very well. They also had “K-Mart” stamped on the barrel, which wasn’t bent like K-Mart thought it was. There were two doubles and back to back.

The Boito’s only virtue was that it was cheap, though fortunately not so cheap that my dad would buy me one on impulse. If he had, and I had kept it pristine all these years, and it still hadn’t broken, it would be worth $175 today, forty years later.

2) Winchester Model 11 SL

Winchester model 11 shotgun.
Winchester Model 11 SL. Rock Island Auction Company

Unlike many genius inventors, John Browning was also quite shrewd on the business side. When he invented the automatic rifle 5 120 years ago, he patented everything he could think of, including the charging handle. TC Johnson, Winchester’s in-house genius and inventor of the Model 12, was tasked with the nearly impossible task of designing a semiauto that did not infringe on Browning’s patents.

Since he could not fit the charging handle on the gun, Johnson fitted a crimped part to the barrel. To open the gun, put the butt on the ground, hold the barrel and push it down. Tragically for some Model 11 SL owners, the paper shells of the time often washed and swelled and got stuck in the chamber. If you were to try to clear a jammed shell by placing the butt of your Winchester semi-auto on the ground and pushing it as far as you could on the barrel, it could fire. And if you had your head up at the time, you shot yourself in the face.

It happened often enough that the Model 11SL earned the nickname “Widowmaker”. While this was its fatal flaw, the Model 11SL had others, such as fiber buffers instead of Browning’s metal friction rings. The guards would wear out, the gun would hit too hard and the stock would split. Considering it actually killed its owners, the Model 11SL is probably the worst gun of all time.

3) Brownings from salt wood

Browning shotgun on a white background.
A Browning wood salt overlay. Rock Island Auction Company

Who would want a gun that rusts from the inside out? If you were unlucky, this is exactly what you could buy from Browning in the 60’s and 70’s. Most of the so-called “saltwood” Brownings were overstocked, but a few T-bolts, Safari, Olympian, and Medallion rifles, and some commemorative 2,000,000th Auto 5s edition, were also equipped with salt wood.

Gunstock wood is dried, a process that takes several months. In the 1960s, demand for Browning guns was high and the company had just stockpiled large quantities of California walnut. California walnut is prone to cracking if quickly kiln-dried, so Browning turned to Morton Salt for a solution. Morton had developed a salt drying process for the furniture industry that cut drying time dramatically and worked very well. Browning bought it. What can go wrong if you put salted wood on steel gun parts?

A lot, it turns out. The wood was piled in an area the size of a football field and salt was applied. The process drew moisture from the wood very effectively, but in doing so created a brine solution that dripped down and soaked the bottom boards in the stack. Once the pickled wood was made into stocks and sides and placed in steel frames, the guns began to rust. Often, you couldn’t tell by looking at the outside of the gun, as the rust started where the stock met the metal.

The saltwood era lasted from 1966 to the 1970s. To its credit, Browning took the issue and would replace the saltwood stocks, but it would have been better if they had never put them in. stock in weapons at first.

4) Remington CTi 105

Remington CTi Centennial Edition Shotgun.
Remington CTi 105. Rock Island Auction Company

This is embarrassing because I gave once Field & Stream’s Best price for the CTi 105. In my defense, it was one of only two entries that year, but still.

Eager to regain the place at the top of the gas gun pile that Remington had owned for so long with the 1100, the company asked its engineers to think outside the box in the ’00s. They did, and they came out with the CTi 105. It had a part-titanium receiver, a carbon fiber rib, and an unusual breech design that I don’t believe has been done on a semi-auto shotgun before or that from that time. , perhaps with good reason.

CTi 105 had many pluses. It was a soft shot. It didn’t throw shells at the person next to you. I had one, and I could shoot it pretty well. It was beautiful and balanced. Remington function tested the gun extensively, firing thousands of rounds through early versions. Unfortunately, they forgot to test the guns with the cheap Winchester Wal-Mart loads sold in 100 packs that were probably the most popular shells in the country at the time.

Shells caused problems in other guns as well, but the otherwise awesome CTi 105 would bend them in the middle instead of up in the chamber when the gun cycled. If your gun won’t shoot the shells that America fires, it’s a pretty tough sell. Remington tried to fix the gun’s flaws with the CTi 105 II and couldn’t. The CTi 105 went away and Remington went back to making the 1100 and 11-87, before trying again with the much better VersaMax.

5) Winchester 1400

A Winchester Model 1400 shotgun on a white background.
Winchester 1400. Rock Island Auction Company

Most bad guns are not equally bad. But there are more lemons than usual when it comes with a poor design like the Winchester Model 1400. Just because your 1400 has never been a problem, or because the great skeet shooter Wayne Mays shot a 1400 forever in 12 events with meter, not Do not make it a good weapon.

The Model 1400 was introduced in 1964, the year Winchester downsized its product line to cut costs and adapt to the new trend in gun manufacturing that had produced successful and affordable designs in the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 and the 1100. The latter, a truly fantastic gas semiauto, came out in 1963, a year before the 1400 was introduced, and was an instant success and an almost impossible act to follow.

While the Remingtons and Mossbergs made extensive use of stamped parts, the 1400 went even cheaper and used plastic, especially in the magazine well, which doubled as the bolt release. And while the plastic magazine throat/bolt release may hold up to normal hunting use, it’s not a sustainable feature in a gun that will be loaded many times on the Skeet field.

Read more: The 5 Worst Hunting Rifles Ever Made

It just so happened that Winchester was franchising gun clubs around the country at the time, and they used the 1400 as a rental gun. Guns for hire get shot a lot. The 1400s caused a ton of headaches for franchise owners until the plastic throat was redesigned in 1968 for the 1400 Mark II.

How bad was the year 1400? It was bad enough that Winchester not only had to improve the gun, but tried to introduce its complete opposite, the Super X1 in 1968. The X1 was everything the 1400 was not: it was all steel, all machined, all custom nice and finished, and it worked. It was also very expensive to make and only lasted a few years. The improved 1400s were sold until 1994, when they were replaced by the infinitely better Super X2.

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