Installing a Boyds At-One Gunstock for the Remington 870 may be the most polarizing upgrade I have done in a while. Some friends saw it as awesome, others just shook their head. This particular shotgun doesn’t fit into the tactical, sporting, or hunting category very neatly. It’s got a 20″ barrel thread for chokes, and an adjustable rear sight. “Too long for home defense”, “Too short for clays”, and “Bro, do you even hunt?” were some of the comments it’s gotten. The truth is, it’s just a fun beater shotgun that gets put to use a few times each year. During the summer, it’s used for some casually thrown clay pigeons. And after Halloween, we use it for “pumpkin disposal”. So dressing it up with some new furniture made perfect sense. To me.
This isn’t my first Boyd’s stock (or my last). My very first one was purchased over ten years ago, for my Savage MKII rifle. A little more recently, I added one to my favorite 10/22. While the rigidity of their laminates might benefit a rifle, it’s the adjustability that I was after for my shotgun. Good fit leads to more hits. And less bruising too, for my friends that are new to the recoil of a 12 gauge. This is a good time to point out that no one who actually shot it with the new stock has had any critical comments.
Each At-One stock starts as a blank made from top-grade laminated hardwoods. Carefully cured (dried to very precise specifications) sheets of wood are pressed together in a process utilizing glue, heat, and tremendous pressure. Don’t think of it as just slapping some glue on two pieces of wood and throwing it all in a clamp. Here, the pressure is so great that the glue actually permeates into the wood fibers. And by stacking sheets together, the net result is a stock 50% stiffer than sawn lumber. So it’s still wood, but much more rigid. Great for rifles, and still a benefit for shotguns.
Installing the stock was easy enough, although a bit more involved than with a rifle. There is an included adapter that fits between the stock and receiver. Pretty sure that allows Boyd’s to make one stock pattern which can fit “the big three”. Remington, Mossberg, and Winchester all have slight variations in stock fitment, and I am used to receiving stocks with adapters specific to each one. After the factory stock is removed, the adapter is threaded on. And then the stock is attached to that. Doesn’t quite look OEM, but it’s close. Before anyone says anything about the adapter to receiver alignment, remember, this is a Remington. They may have had some quality issues, or so I heard. The fit to the stock is perfect.
The matching forend is equally easy to install. After removing the barrel, I just removed the forend nut with the correct forend wrench. Swap the Boyd’s on, and tighten the nut. There was a very minor clearance issue, which could have been resolved with either some sandpaper, or shucking several dozen rounds through it. I chose the latter, since it was so very close. Overall, swapping furniture on a pump 12 gauge is easy enough that I didn’t think it needed a full how-to. If any of this seems difficult, watch a YouTube video before committing to your new stock purchase.
A simple press on the stock allows for an adjustment of length of pull and cheek rest height. That really makes a difference when my shotgun is being used by friends and family that are smaller than me, or have shorter arms. Most didn’t bother too much with the cheek rest, but I appreciate being able to dial in the exact height I need for the sights. And that LOP adjustment comes in handy when switching from summertime t-shirts to winter weather and a jacket.
One of my favorite features of laminated stocks is the coloring, which is done near the beginning of the process, rather than at the end. Because they are machined from laminated sheets, there is some color variance between layers. Once all that cutting and some finish work is done, each stock is given a chemical-resistant clear satin finish to protect it. I really prefer this look over a solid color applied to a finished stock. It’s what makes each stock unique, and really lets the natural beauty of the wood shine through. Since each stock is CNC machined from a blank made up of different sheets, it isn’t even really possible to make two identical stocks. So if you’re looking to make a “one of a kind”, this is certainly a good start. And, there’s a dozen color choices from mild to wild.
Okay, there’s no “Range time” with the shotgun. We just took it along on a couple of outings where we shoot outside city limits. A friend hooked me up with a five gallon bucket of mixed 12 gauge ammo. Timing was exceptional on that deal. From slugs and 00 buckshot to light bird loads, we ran a lot through this setup. Being able to fit different shooters meant everyone had a better chance of hitting more clays (truth is, we’re not experts, and every little bit helps). For static targets with buck and slugs, the correct length of pull helps mitigate a bit of that recoil.
It’s not all perfect though
Installing the At-One meant giving up the shell holder I had attached to the original stock. And then the forend hit my sidesaddle, so I had to remove that too. For sporting purposes, the loss of an extra 12 rounds on board wasn’t a big deal. From a defensive view, it’s a compromise most wouldn’t make. Also, the forend did need that little bit of fitting to keep from dragging. In hindsight, I’d probably go with just the At-One buttstock, and keep my Hogue forend. There’s nothing wrong with the Boyds, it’s just personal preference.
At $198 for the Boyds At-One buttstock, and another $44 for the matching forend, I’ve nearly doubled my investment in this shotgun. But as reliable as it’s been, it’s makes sense to dress it up a bit, and improve the fit as well. Quite a few of my firearms get used by a variety of shooters, and the ability to adjust the fit to the shooter is worth it. And let’s be honest here, it really does look good.
I’d like to thank Boyds Gunstocks for supplying their At-One buttstock and forend for this review. If you’d like more info on their products, or to get your own, head over to boydsgunstocks.com. Their handy configurator makes it easy to find the right stock features and colors for your favorite firearm.
Comments? Questions? Have any of our readers tried out any Boyds stocks? Feel free to share below.