Shotgun modification

It was just supposed to be a simple replacement of a Side Saddle.

My old Side Saddle fell off the other week… I don’t know how it got into this state, but the holes of the mounting plate were loose… stripped. I have a few theories, but it doesn’t matter… it fell off, it had to be replaced.

So I start to apply the new plate to the side of my Mossberg 500 and I see that it doesn’t fit. That is, when the forend is slid to the rear position, the end of the forend comes in contact with the plate. Eh? I don’t recall this being a problem before? But sure enough… so I don’t know how she managed to work before, but here we are.

The solution is simple: the furniture is wood, so I took off the forend and applied a coping saw. 🙂  Took about an inch off the back end of the forend. Applied a little tung oil to seal the wood. Back together. Ah, much better.

But I got to thinking…. back in May when Tom Givens was out here for his Defensive Shotgun class, he promoted a shorter length of pull. There’s no question going from that long 14″-ish LOP down even just an inch to 13″ makes a HUGE difference in your ability to quickly mount the gun. So why not… I pulled off the 1″ thick recoil pad and tried mounting the gun. Yeah, that 1″ will do it. So why not… I taped off the buttstock, drew my lines, then applied circular saw and took an inch off the back of the buttstock. I put the original factory recoil pad back on… it overhangs a little bit, but that’s fine. I can grind or replace it later. While the factory pad isn’t the best (it’s no Limbsaver), I like that it’s got that “hard/slick” finish to it as opposed to the tack the Limbsavers have, so there’s no hang-up on clothing. Shaving off that inch makes a huge difference in the ability to quickly shoulder the gun.

And while I was at it, that elastic buttcuff to hold extra ammo? Applied a small wood screw at the base to keep the buttcuff from sliding around.

I don’t have a before picture since I didn’t plan on doing these mods, but you can see in the picture that the forend is quite clear of the side saddle, you can see the screw to hold the buttcuff, and if you look carefully at the butt you’ll see the recoil pad overhanging just a bit.

Some months ago I purchased an Aimpoint T-1 so I could put a red dot on the shotgun. When I bought the replacement Side Saddle I also found a bolt-on rail that would allow me to mount the scope atop the receiver. Well… as soon as I bolted on the rail I hated it. When I mount the gun my eye goes right down the top of the receiver and barrel, right to the brass bead front sight. With the rail, all I see is rail. Then throw that T-1 on there and I’m going to have to raise up a good deal to see things right and well. I recall checking out Tim’s shotgun when we picked up my STI Spartan… he’s got ghost rings on it and I just didn’t like how high I had to get. Oh sure, get a new stock, get a riser for the cheek weld, but that’s just more stuff to have to get, more money, more things to go wrong. You know, I ran the Givens course with the bead front sight and shot damn well. For the intended purpose of this gun? I’ll just stick with the bead because it works.

Yeah, the gun doesn’t look as pretty as it did before, yeah it was a couple of hours of redneck hacking. But it’s sure improved the shootability of the gun, and in the end, that’s far more important.

8 thoughts on “Shotgun modification

  1. It looks very practical. Have you used that brand of side saddle before? It is easy to mount? I bought my first shotgun , a Remington 870 recently and I’m looking to get a side saddle and a sling attachment for it.


    • Yes. This is a TacStar Side Saddle… my second. I am thinking the reason the first fell off was my own fault… maybe originally overtightening and stripping the threads, maybe the old forend kept hammering it and loosened it up. I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I’m chalking up the failure to my problem, not theirs.

      Easy to mount? Well, it was on my Mossberg 500. I don’t know what the procedure is for the 870…. and I threw away the instructions so I can’t look and see. But I would reason yes, it’s pretty simple. Just be sure to put Loctite 242 (blue) on everything! 🙂

      Note that since you have a 870, there are a lot of options out there for saddles. For instance, check out the stuff Wilson Combat sells:

      Those “SureShell” are aluminum, whereas the TacSar has a metal baseplate with plastic holders. The plastic isn’t flimsy but isn’t stark rigid either, so it can take some beating… but in the end, it’s still plastic. How well those aluminum ones hold tho, I don’t know… and do they have any “adjustment” for shells that might have slightly different diameters? I don’t know.

      Vang Comp has an interesting setup:

      The use of hook and loop makes it easy to take on and off, and even perhaps for reloads! Have a few of the shell holders in a “bug out” bag and it’s easy to swap if needed.

      There’s lots of options out there.

  2. and this is why I have you on speed dial when the zombacolypse begins……and it will begin:)

    • Since I won’t be able to get there fast enough, you really should think about getting one of your own.

      I can help you with that. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Shotgun Primer « Stuff From Hsoi

  4. I’ve had exactly the same problem with my TacStar sidesaddle, holes were stripped. Ended up using velcro sidesaddle. It enables you to quickly remove empy sidesaddle and attach a new one.

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