I think it'd be hard to say that one was a better gun than the other, more like which is better suited for what you want to shoot with it.I have owned both models and I loved both of them even though I use my old trusty Mossberg 500 12 guage for my hunting trips where I may find anything from squirrels to Quail to Deer. But thats another thread. As for 1100 or 11-87, 1100 is by far the easiest on the shoulder shooting gun I have ever shot (except an 870 wingmaster in 20 ga) But the 1100 can only be bought chambered for 2 3/4" and I had a problem with it not wanting to eject the heavier loads ie; #6-#4 hi-brass loads. But as far as using it for skeet and trap shooting or to spend a day shooting Doves it was perfect. The 11-87 comes chambered 3" and I never had the problem ejecting the heavier loads, even in 2 3/4". It is however slightly lighter than a 1100, about 1/2 pound, and that 1/2 pound makes a difference when shooting alot of reps as in trap, sheet and Doves and being able to move your arm the following day. So my conclusion in my opinion, 1100 perfect for trap, skeet, and Doves but stay with the 11-87 for the heavier hunting especially if there is a chance you'll run into that monster buck, nothing beats a 00 buck shot in 3" for him at close quarters and you can't get that into the 1100.
my choice is the 11-87, I have had a 1100 but like he said, you can't shoot every type of shell through it like you can with the 11-87. I shoot a lot of sporting clays and can say that the 11-87 might kick a little more but you get used to it plus I have to, cause I can't afford to have more that one shotgun.lol, mine is a 12 guage and like it from clays to turkeys, including geese and ducks. if you are just a light upland game hunter you will be fine with a 1100 if you want an all round gun get an 11-87, you'll like it.
I like the 11-87 Special Purpose over the 1100 only for the reason that you can shoot both 2.75" and 3" shells in it. The newer 11-87 SP Magnum will chamber 3.5" shells, never owned or fired the SP Magnum though.
Personally I've never owned a better more durable auto loader than the Rem 11-87 SP. This shotgun gets more use and rough handling and exposure to harsh weather than any gun that I've owned or currently own. It's only disadvantage is that it's strictly a field/hunting gun. It's gas system is designed to handle 3 dram or higher reliably, and won't reliablly eject those extra light target loads of less than 3 dram. No problem. It's my waterfowl gun
As the allure of hunting big whitetails becomes more and more a passion for many, we are finding that the recent (historically speaking) popularity of hunting deer from a tree stand is becoming the way to do it. I'll make no statement either for or against that technique here. This will be simply an essay on what I feel are some outstanding rifles for tree stand use.
Before we go even one more step, let's all remember that safety is first and foremost for anyone wanting to hunt...