Mako Remington 870 Recoil-Reducing
Folding Collapsible Buttstock Review
With the popularity of home defense shotguns continuing to grow, there is also a growing increase in quality aftermarket accessories. One of the key accessories that you can put on a shotgun is a replacement buttstock. It doesn't matter if you were budget minded when you purchased a standard stock on your shotgun, or if you spent the extra money and purchased one with a collapsible pistol grip stock, I would bet you still find yourself looking at the different new buttstocks on the market. I recently acquired a Remington 870 Express Tactical Shotgun which came with a standard stock and immediately started looking for the ultimate aftermarket buttstock to add to this shotgun. I remembered seeing a 870 buttstock back when I was doing research on a different product I reviewed from The Mako Group (hereafter Mako) (Mako Recoil-Reducing AR15 Butt stock with an Adjustable Cheek Riser) and thought the Mako 870 buttstock might meet this "ultimate" criteria. This review is for the Mako Recoil-Reducing Folding Collapsible Buttstock for Remington 870 Shotguns (Product Code AGRF870-FKSB). Just as the name says, this is a recoil-reducing, folding, collapsible buttstock that includes a pistol grip and two storage compartments (one in the grip and one in the actual buttstock). If you could ask for more features in a replacement buttstock, I'm not sure what they would be. I usually don't borrow manufacturers photos for my review, but Mako did a great job showing their product in their photo below.
At the Mako website, you will see that this replacement Remington 870 Buttstock sells for $281.10 plus shipping and handling. After doing a quick search on the internet to compare prices, I was able to find one as low as $208, a couple around $230, and most at $250 and above at online retailers that were familiar to me. The key point here is to shop around before you purchase.
At the Mako website they list these items below in colored italics as the key features of this product. The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos or commentary. I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some details if needed.
Personally, I think Mako may have sold themselves short by only listing these above features because this stock is actually made up of some key components that are sold separately at Mako and have their own list of features. The most significant is that this buttstock incorporates Mako's M4/AR-15 Stock with Battery Storage and Rubber Butt Pad (Product Code GLR-16) with these unique features below.
Another key component is Mako's Remington 870 Pistol Grip (Product Code AGR870) with these unique features below.
When my buttstock arrived, it came packaged as shown in the photo below. Throughout this review, you can click on a photo to see a higher resolution photo showing more details of this product.
The stock comes fully assembled and the mounting screw was located inside the pistol grip storage compartment. The next several photos give you a good look a the different sides of the assembly (the buttstock in the fully collapsed position). I was pleased with the overall looks and smoothness of these molded synthetic parts.
The total assembly weighed in at 1.80 pounds. My original 870 stock weighed in at 1.02 pounds. This means that this stock will add about ¾ pounds to your total shotgun weight. Since this weight is close to your shoulder, it does not have any significant impact on the point-ability of the shotgun.
The buttstock breaks down into these basic components for installation. You have the buttstock/buffer tube/attachment screw (tube to disk), buffer tube attachment disk, attachment screw (grip to stock), and the pistol grip. Later in the review I breakdown the buttstock/buffer tube assembly to show details of the buffer tube.
The pistol grip used in the assembly is Mako's Remington 870 Pistol Grip (Product Code AGR870). It is ambidextrous and has a good shape and feel. I must be honest that I do have a preference for this style of grip that has molded grooves for your fingers. The added texture reduces the slickness of the synthetic material. The angle of the grip also has a very natural feel and seems to match the shape of my hand when relaxed.
The end of the grip is threaded to match that of standard buffer tubes (Mil-Spec or Commercial). I had some concerns about preventing rotation of a standard buffer tubes so I contacted Mako and they said there is a small ring with two tabs that has sling mounts on it, and the buffer tube can be held in place with a small set screw as well. There are no worries on this review buttstock assembly because the folding portion of the buffer tube nests in the slots on each side of the grip.
The grip has a large storage compartment. I was not able to open the compartment door with my fingers and had to use my pocket knife to push the catch down. This compartment is not waterproof.
To install the pistol grip, you must first remove your original stock. If you are not sure how to do this, take a look at my Mako 870 Sling Adapter Review for basic instructions. I want to point out that if you are planning on using the Mako Sling Adapter (or potentially any others) with this buttstock, you will need to get a longer grip attachment screw. The buttstock comes with a 1/4-28 x 3/4" socket head cap screw. I was able to go to Home Depot and purchase a 1/4-28 x 1" hex head screw for $0.16 and it worked fine. Since the longer screw would have even worked without the sling adapter, I think it would be nice for Mako to provide the longer screw in the future as part of the standard package.
The Mako Remington 870 Pistol Grip weighed in at 0.34 pounds.
When I first installed the grip on my 870, I noticed that it was not pulling up flush to the receiver as shown in the left photo below. It seems that Remington keeps tweaking their trigger plate mold which causes issues with aftermarket parts. There was a slight interference between the back of the trigger plate and the grip. This basically gives three options; mod the grip, mod the trigger plate, or add a sling adapter. I had already planned on adding the adapter, so the third option was a simple choice. For the purposes of the review, I also decided to mod the grip. I did not want to file off the back of the trigger plate because I wanted to maintain the configuration of my 870 so I can evaluate other aftermarket products in the future. Mako is aware of this issue and is looking into changing their mold. Depending on the age of your 870 and when Mako incorporates this change into their mold, this may not even be an issue for your setup.
The two photos show the before and after areas where I modified the grip. I took a Dremel with a ball end cutter and slowly removed material until I had the fit required. It was actually simple to do, but be careful because you don't want to scratch any exterior surfaces. Once installed, you could not tell that any modification was made to the grip.
Once I completed making the modification, you can see below that the grip fits very nicely on the shotgun. One thing I noticed is that you want to remove enough material (if needed) so that you don't put pressure on the trigger plate with the grip because it causes the synthetic material behind the safety to press into the cross bolt safety and this makes it harder to operate. Check it before you tighten the bolts and if it seems to have the same resistance before and after you tighten the bolt, you have removed enough material.
The photo below on the left shows the pistol grip installed along with an ambidextrous sling adapter. The rough looking area on the threads is actually some type of lubricant. The photo on the right shows the grip with the buffer tube disk screwed into the grip. This is actually the next step in the installation process for the buttstock.
In these next several photos, I removed the buffer tube disk and installed it on the buffer tube (since there is no buffer in the 870, this is really more accurately called a receiver extension but I'm choosing to use the more commonly called term). There are four key features in this assembly. The first is the attachment of this assembly to the pistol grip which is done by inserting the attachment bolt through the hinge portion of this assembly and screwing it into the disk inside the pistol grip. The next is the hinge which allows this to be a folding stock. The third feature is the felt-recoil reducing features, and finally the multi-position tube that interfaces with the actual buttstock.
The photo below shows the hinge folded and you can see the end of the attachment screw. Also notice the large thumb button which you must press to rotate the stock to it's folded position.
When you look at the bottom of the buffer tube, you will see 5 holes that represent the different potential positions of the stock on the buffer tube. The stock will only lock into the rear four positions. Because of the taper on the hinge, the buttstock interferes and cannot move far enough forward to lock in the first hole. From my point of view, this is not a big deal, but these are the facts.
The felt-recoil reducing feature can travel a maximum of 0.60". I will discuss the feature in more detail further in this review. The actual size of the buffer tube would be classified as a Commercial Buffer Tube.Overall the hinge is very streamlined except for the bulge on the left side of the gun in a normal installation. Mako advertises that this can be converted to fold to the right or left. Clearly it is possible to do this by pressing out the role pin that holds the tube and hinge together and rotating the hinge. Since a right folded stock would cover the ejection port on the Remington 870, I'm not sure you would want to do this if breaching were required. If not, it could be reconfigured to a left handed shooter's preference for carrying as a second weapon.
In the photo below you can see the "claw" that engages inside the pocked in the other half of the hinge to lock the stock in the open position. My impression is this is a very simple, yet sturdy folding/locking feature.
The hinge is attached to the grip by a screw that goes through the interface side of the hinge and into the disk screwed inside the grip. The grip and hinge have mating profiles that prevent the stock from rotating.
The actual buttstock is Mako's M4/AR-15 Stock with Battery Storage and Rubber Butt Pad (Product Code GLR-16). One of the key features is the multiple sling attachment points. This offers the ability to install a standard toe sling (not included), use one of the two quick detachable mount sling locations, or apply a web sling to any of the three slots located on the stock. Another feature is the ability to attach an Adjustable Cheek Riser in the event you find yourself using an optic system with your shotgun.
In the photo below you can see that the rear rubber butt pad is hinged to be able to open and allow access to the storage compartment. By pressing the tabs on each side of the stock, the butt pad can swing open. Also notice the area that says "Here". These are tabs on each side that actually press against the buffer tube to prevent rattle of the stock.
By pressing the tabs on each side of the stock, you can swing the butt pad open to reveal the storage compartment. The compartment is designed to hold batteries and can hold either two 123A batteries or two AA batteries or one of each.
The butt pad has two rubber nipples that contact the ends of the batteries to prevent any rattle with the batteries inside the stock. You can also see the rubber lip that is used to seal the battery compartment.
I placed the stock under the water for a couple of minutes and then checked the battery compartment. It was completely dry.
When you install the stock on your shotgun, I think you will agree that the Mako Remington 870 Recoil-Reducing Folding Collapsible Buttstock makes an attractive and useful addition to this home defense platform.
The next several photos show the buttstock in the folded position. The folding portion of the stock is spring loaded to stay in the folded position and easily opens to the locked position without having to push any buttons. With a little practice, you can actually hold the shotgun with the stock folded and give the gun a quick flick and the stock will deploy to an open position and lock without you having to touch the stock.
If you are going to use the sling adapter with this stock, they will touch as shown below when in the closed position. You must also keep the stock in the 3rd position so that the synthetic buttstock is forward of the adapter. This allows the stock to fold and be secure in the folded position state. This 3rd position also happens to be the best length of pull for me and measures 13.75".
You can see that the buttstock profile comes to a good position on the side of the shotgun when folded. If I were left handed and thought I may be shooting the shotgun in this folded configuration often, I would consider cutting off the forward most sling mount that crowds your trigger finger. If you slide the stock to positions 4 or 5, this issue goes away, but you increase your length of pull. If you are shooting right handed, none of this is an issue.
The next feature I evaluated was the recoil reducing feature. Just to be clear, when I talk about this recoil reducing feature, it is in terms of "felt recoil". Felt recoil is your perception of the recoil. The addition of springs helps spread the recoil over a longer period of time which gives the shotgun a softer feel and thus less felt recoil. For more information on recoil, you can read this article from Wikipedia. Since I'm not able to measure the true reduction in felt recoil, I'm going to show that the recoil spring does compress (which is proof that the system works) and give my general opinion of the change in felt recoil.
Based on the geometry of the stock, I decided to place a thin aluminum foil strip behind the recoil pin in the slot on the buffer tube as shown below. The idea is that as the recoil pin moves back due to compression of the spring, the foil will deform and remain in that deformed state and this will give me an idea of how much spring compression occurs when shooting.
This photo below shows how much spring compression is actually possible and I measured this to be 0.60". Also notice that not only does the pin bottom out in the slot, the tube also presses against the mounting flange near the molded hinge.
During my test, I had the buttstock in the middle position. For the actual recoil test, I decided to use some Hornady Critical Defense 12 Gauge 2¾" 00 Buckshot shown below. I believe the recoil energy from these shell to be typical for this shotgun application and there is no doubt about Hornady's reputation for producing quality ammunition.
The photo below shows how much the foil deformed after shooting which clearly shows the the spring does compress and this felt recoil reducing feature works. Actually, when I shot, I didn't really feel the recoil in my shoulder because of this feature. Instead I felt the recoil in my hand on the pistol grip. I wouldn't call it uncomfortable, but it did surprise me.
At this point I need to clarify which position that the recoil reducing feature will actually work. As I discuss the different positions, I will refer to them by the numbers identified in the photo below. I also will show the length of pull (LOP) for each position. Also keep in mind that for my length of pull measurement, I also have the sling adapter installed that will add about ¼".
Position 1 - LOP = 12.5" - Actually the buttstock will not lock in this position and the true position is between 1 and 2. If you look close in the photo above, you can see some wear where the buttstock actually stops before it reaches position 1. The felt recoil reducing feature will not work in this position because the buttstock is pressing against the hinge.
Position 2 - LOP = 12.85" - The felt recoil reducing feature works, but can only compress about 0.35" (58%) before the buttstock presses against the hinge. I would not recommend shooting the shotgun with the stock in this position because the stock may start to be driven up the taper of the hinge.
Position 3 - LOP = 13.75" - Felt recoil reducing feature works with no issues. This is actually my favorite position for shooting this shotgun.
Position 4 - LOP = 14.62" - Felt recoil reducing feature works with no issues.
Position 5 - LOP = 15.50" - Felt recoil reducing feature works with no issues.
With over 50 photos and a lot of commentary, I think you should have a good idea of the features and quality of this product by now. As a recap, as far as features go, I have not found a multi-position folding recoil reducing 870 stock with multiple storage compartments anywhere else. For quality, I'm pleased with the workmanship, finish and potential durability of this product. When you couple these with an upgraded battle proven buttstock (the GLR-16) and an extremely comfortable pistol grip, I think we may have a winner for the "ultimate" 870 buttstock assembly. In the review I did find that new 870s may require you to mod the grip area (see review above) or add a sling adapter due to a change in Remington's trigger plate shape. Mako is working on updating their mold to give the clearance needed and this may not be an issue depending on your shotgun and when you get this Mako product. The only thing I struggle with is that "ultimate" does come at a price. The MSRP may drive away some budget minded consumers. For those of you who are more interested in quality and features than price, the Mako Remington 870 Recoil-Reducing Folding Collapsible Buttstock has got them. Keep in mind that Mako makes several 870 stocks with varying features. By dropping some of the features, you may be able to find one that's fits your price range. Also, the Mako stock products are made up from a modular systems and shares components across multiple stock platforms (i.e. AK, AR, vz.58). Depending on what you purchase, you may be able to mix and match components between firearms. Whatever your situation may be, I recommend taking a close look at this product and always shopping around to find the best price.