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The Maverick 88 'Short Block' Project

1584 Views 7 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  ShotgunPro
While picking up my Charter Arms Undercover, I asked my dealer to keep his eye peeled for a used Mossberg 500. He ducked in the back and produced the back half of a Maverick 88, which came in without a barrel. He got into it right and shortly thereafter, so did I.

I originally intended to slap an 18 ½" barrel on it, but after pricing around I discovered I could buy a 20" bead sighted barrel and 7-shot mag tube direct from Mossberg, for very little more money. The deal was done and while waiting for delivery, I gave the OEM tube a few shots of PB Blaster. When the parts arrived three weeks later, changing out mags tubes was accomplished without grief. The OEM shell follower was simply re-used for the conversion. I was relieved to discover that follower was made of metal instead of plastic.

The finished product appears below; it is essentially an 8-shot Maverick with the 'field' style forend.

The first outing proved the gun reliable, feeding and ejecting field loads as fast as it could be cycled from the hip. Deliberate shooting produced some really good results with 2 ¾" Super-X slugs and 00 Buck; so good, in fact, I thought they were a fluke. Today, it proved otherwise, keeping all nine pellets of 00 in the chest of a B27 at a measured 25 yards- and all but two of those in the 7 ring. I can't tell you how many police shotguns I've fired over the years and most of them won't do this. My 870 Special Purpose, with the improved cylinder tube installed, still wouldn't pattern 00 buck this well. I was also elated to discover that the bead-sighted barrel was regulated perfectly for Super-X slugs.

And just to make sure THAT wasn't a fluke, I fired another Super-X slug from 50 yards. That shot is highlighted in red.

These are splendid results from a 'price point' shotgun.

Comparisons are inevitable and fortunately, I've had a number of Mossberg 500's and 590's through my hands. My first thought is that Mossberg's barrels have gotten better. I bought a half-dozen 590-A1's for a little Sheriff's Dept., 20 years ago, and spent an afternoon zeroing them at 50 yards with 2 3/4" Super X slugs. None of them shot a bit better than this shotgun- and none of them would pattern this well with buckshot.

I think the actions on Mossberg's pumps have gotten better. This 88 don't rattle much and I'm convinced it has a shorter stroke--cycles faster--than the 870's I've become so accustomed to.

At six pounds, the 88 is light for an 8-shot 12 Gauge shotgun. This is a two edged sword. It makes the Maverick handle much better than a $225.00 shotgun should. When fired with high-brass shells, you can tell when it goes off.

Finally- Mossberg is flat stocking them better these days. Those damn 590's all had a sharp mould line down the top of the stock and in 15 minutes I looked like I'd been boxing with Sugar Ray Leonard. The stock on this Maverick 88 is smooth and when mounted, the bead appears precisely centered on the sighting plane for an instant hit on anything unfortunate enough to be behind it. The forend falls under the leading hand and feels good to it. These are superbly thought-out, practical shotguns.

There are a couple of things about the 88 that run contrary to my tastes. While they've become common, I do not like plastic trigger housings. I had durability concerns about these, somewhat allayed by the fact that problems with them seem to be rare. The recoil pad could be better, but this is an easy fix. The safety on the Maverick is small, slick and just might be easy to miss under stress. I expect that sooner or later, an enterprising individual will offer a 'big button' replacement. There are lots of these guns in circulation and a market almost certainly exists.
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Nice write up. I bought a Maverick and keep a 18.5" barrel on it. It is definitely a good gun for the money.

I enjoyed your post, and am afraid it might cause me to start tinkerin.
The OEM pad on these is a tad better than hard plastic, but not much. I'm seriously considering a Compstock for this one, just so the Missus can shoot it as well.. Heck, top-drawer recoil pads are forty bucks these days and better options, like the Compstock, Knoxx or Houge Short Stick can be had for twice that, or a tad more.
bought a Maverick 88 last week and I get to pick it up in a week! It was $199 before taxes and DROS. So cheap that I was able to pick up a 10/22 too :)
That looks awesome! Sell me one of those 590's...
I've got the 18.5' version and love it. Great shotgun for the money. I'm considering picking up the 8 shot version just for the heck of it. I'd love 590 but the Mav is much more cost effective. :)
Picked up an 88 at the last gun show, with an 18.5" bbl. It was good to go for me, but was wondering if anyone has a Speed Feed 1 stock on theirs. I think it has about 1/2 inch or so less pull than stock, but how is the recoil pad? This shotty will be for H/D role. Because the wife's only 5'2", and not real big on pistol grips.
Well done and great shooting sir!
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