DIY: Shotgun Side-Saddle Velcro conversion.
A little overview...
Most of the shotgun shell side saddles I've seen for the Remington 870/ 1100/ 11-87 shotguns have bolts going through the receiver and trigger assembly. Replacing the factory receiver push pins. The bolts usually go through from the right side, through the shotgun receiver and threading into the side saddle that is on the left hand side of the shotgun.
This can causing cycling/ reliability issues with the shotgun. If the bolts are tightened too tight, causing the bolt & carrier to bind in the receiver.
On days when I shoot a lot of shells, the bolts holding the side saddle to the side of the shotgun often come loose under all the recoil. Over the years, I've had the threads in the side saddle get partially stripped. I've chased the threads with a tap, just to give the bolts a little more to bite into, but eventually the threads got stripped out.
I was looking at some of the newer generation side saddles that use industrial strength Velcro to attach the side saddle to the shotgun. Most are a little bit more pricey compared to the ones using the bolts. So, I decided to adapt my existing side saddle to use industrial strength Velcro to attach to the left side of the receiver.
Finding the proper type of Velcro was the next challenge.
I was reading a thread on a shotgun forum and one of the posters that did a similar mod, said he had found some industrial strength Velcro that worked for this application at WalMart. So, off to WalMart I went and I was successful in finding the Velcro he spoke of.
This mod is super easy and cheap.
Items needed for mod:
This is what I was able to find at WalMart. Velcro brand industrial strength Velcro with a sticky back. I was only able to find it in a 15 foot roll. I found it in the fabrics section of Walmart.
That is a lot of Velcro! All you need is about 8 to 10 inches of Velcro to do the mod. You'll have enough to mod all your friends shotgun side saddles. It was about ~$19, so it didn't hurt the wallet all that much.
You just need a scissor, marker, some cardboard (for a template), and maybe a ruler or straight edge. I often use the cardboard from a cereal box or from a soda can cardboard box.
Make sure the shotgun is unloaded and safe. Make sure you have the shotgun pointed in a safe direction when you are making sure it is safely unloaded. Keep all the shotgun shells in a different part of the house or locked up. The shells I have in the pictures, are dummy rounds.
First step is to remove the side saddle if it's still attached to the shotgun. Replace the side saddle bolts with the factory receiver push pins.
My side saddle was just slight larger than the width of the Velcro. So I cut a strip of Velcro a little longer than the side saddle. Then I trimmed the Velcro to where it was just slightly smaller than the side saddle base with a scissor.
I trimmed the Velcro until it was just the right size and shape. When I was done I cleaned the side saddle free of dirt and oil with some alcohol. I then carefully applied the Velcro to the side saddle.
Next I cut out a piece of cardboard that was larger than the side of my shotgun receiver. I used the side (plastic body) of permanent marker to rub the cardboard against the different contours of the receiver. This created little marks on the cardboard in the shape of the receiver. I then cut the cardboard following these faint lines.
I continued trimming the cardboard template until it was just slightly smaller than the receiver. I was giving myself about an 1/8 of an inch gap from the different contours of the receiver and the forearm & stock.
I cut out a clearance spot for the receiver push pins and cleared an area for where my serial number is for my shotgun.
Here you'll notice that I flipped the template over. You have to take into account that you are marking the back side (adhesive side) of the Velcro. So, you need to reverse the template.
Template marked. I decided to make the clearance area slightly smaller. Next is to cut the Velcro with a scissor.
As you can see here, after I had cut and trimmed the Velcro, that it's now in it's proper orientation. It's ready to be attached to the receiver.
Next step is to clean the side of the receiver free of dirt and oil. I used some alcohol to clean the receiver, before carefully applying the Velcro to the receiver.
I used the permanent marker again, to rub out any air bubbles and to make sure the adhesive backing was making good contact with the receiver. I rubbed the pen along the edges of the Velcro, to make sure the edges were securely pressed against the receiver. The adhesive is super strong.
All finished! You now have a side saddle that can be quickly attached and removed with out any tools. It's secure enough, that it will not come undone when you are removing shotgun shells from the side saddle. The Velcro is very strong. You now have the freedom of mounting the side saddle in any position on the side of the receiver. You are no longer limited to positioning it where the mounting bolts screwed into the side saddle.
You no longer need to use the side saddle bolts that go through the receiver. This will eliminate the binding that could result when you tighten the bolts too tight. Side saddle will not interfere with the cycling of the shotgun, compared with the standard install.
The side saddle can be installed or removed with out the use of tools. You can have multiple side saddles set up with extra ammo or different type of ammo. So, you can switch between birdshot, double OO Buck, or slugs during a match. Or you can quickly reload/ top off your shotgun in a match, by removing an empty side saddle with one that has already been pre-loaded.
The Velcro protect the finish of the gun. There is really no way for dust or dirt to get underneath the Velcro to scratch the receiver. Unlike the normal installation of the side saddle with the bolts. With the side saddle bolted to the shotgun, there is a little gap between the side saddle and receiver. Dirt can be trapped between the side saddle and receiver. Under recoil, the side saddle will rub against the receiver causing some wear in the finish.
This mod is easily reversible, just pull and remove the Velcro from the receiver. When you no longer need or want a side saddle. It will not damage the finish of the receiver.
One thing that I would change, if I were to do this all over again. I have plenty of Velcro left to redo the mod. lol I would probably reverse the Velcro. I would put the loop part (fuzzy) part of the Velcro onto the receiver and put the hook section on the side saddle. The reason is... some tactical vests have the the loop part of the Velcro sewn on the tactical vest. This way you can put the side saddle (or extra spare side saddles) on your tactical vest, for placing fresh rounds on the shotgun really fast.
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This site was last updated 04/20/09