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Maruzen Shotguns - Customisation And Accessories

 

 

I had always intended to modify the Maruzen M1100, even before it had arrived, and had been relying on claims that many real-steel accessories could be added to customise the appearance and functionality of the replica. The definitive source is a series of reviews of the extremely similar M870 at Arnie's Airsoft, and considerable study had left me with the impression that components could be mixed and matched at will. It isn't nearly as easy as that, though, and having just received a parcel of the most commonly discussed ATI add-ons, obtained with some difficulty from US online supplier ASPI Tactical, I'm in a position to contribute some hard facts... Some are useable with a little work, some with a lot of work, and some simply won't fit in any practical sense.

The plastic shell holders from ATI (Advanced Technologies) are a good example of an accessory that can be bodged to fit - Maruzen shotshells are slightly smaller than a real 12ga cartridge, and are far too loose in the clip to stay in place... However, a small pad of furry-side sticky Velcro inserted into each "bay" is unobtrusive and holds the shell just right. The perforated metal stock has adequate space for four of the six mounting holes, and when they are drilled a shade larger than the 7/64" recommended for wooden or plastic stocks the supplied screws self-tap quite nicely. This is a fairly trivial modification to the gun, but the visual effect is certainly worth it and it is convenient in use.

My Maruzen, a fairly rare variety, came with a metal stock fitted, but ATI also supply their own version with mounting holes for the shell-holder already drilled - however, apparently the stock itself needs some modification to the pivot assembly in order to lock properly in the folded position, so it's swings and roundabouts...

While I was working on the stock, I added a couple of strips of rubber U-tube (spare blowhole edging from the PC case project last year) onto the long edges of the frame, where my cheek rests in firing position and previously rather sharp. It also snugs the stock better onto the receiver when folded and locked, too, and without the rattles the gun has a far more solid feel in the hand.

Not so adaptable, however, is ATI's metal heat-shield - one of the accessories I really had my eye on. Without a rib or foresight, the barrel of the M1100 is rather plain and the perforated metal of the shield adds considerable badass appeal. The M870 review at Arnie's mentions that the heat shield rubs against the pump-action foregrip, but I'd hoped that the static grip of the M1100 would prove more amenable. However, it turns out that it simply won't fit at all - I'll need to shave away between three and five millimetres from each side of the plastic foregrip, and then a few more mils here and there to allow clearance for the rear mounting tabs. Once I start with the Dremel there will be no going back, and in spite of how good it looks even just resting on the barrel, I'm in no hurry to dive in...

The heat shield will take some thought, and some work, but I think that it's a realistic project. However, the magazine extension tube, also from ATI, is a complete no-go - the different shell calibre is a bad start, although that could probably be worked around, but the shape, size, look and feel of the ATI part are completely different to anything that would fit the Maruzen. Given the obvious design differences in this area of the replicas, I can't see real-steel mag extension tubes from any other manufacturer fitting either.

Having decided that it was useless, though, I was free to experiment, and a careful look suggested that if I cut the wider joint section off completely, along with the over-large embedded metal screw thread, the smaller section tube itself might be about right to slip over the threaded end of the Maruzen's magazine tube. It does seem to work Ok, and although I enlarged the bore a little too much to hold a screw thread it still makes a tight push-fit and is held firmly in place by the barrel clamp. However, the ABS plastic of the extension and the clamp are rather cheap and roughly cast, and not a good match cosmetically for the replica's shiny faux-metal... The taper of the outer barrel is also subtly different from the real thing, and this means that the clamp between the barrel and the extension tube can't be pushed back as far as I'd like without tilting the extension tube downwards.

The overall look is near what I was aiming for, and the extra round is welcome, but I'm really not too keen on it close-up. I'm still not sure about it, but at this stage the modifications are all still reversible... Unfortunately Maruzen's own extension tubes are rare, and as they're sized for the longer solid stock version replica they would need modification for the shorter pistol grip versions anyway, so it seems that if I want to improve on the current solution I'll have to make one from scratch using a more appropriate material.

 

Resources

 

ATI Gunstocks - Remington shotgun accessories

ASPI Tactical - US online shooting equipment supplier

Remington's page on the real M1100

Stripping Maruzen gas shotguns - Section IV (And mirrored at Arnie's)

Maruzen shotguns review - DumboRAT at Airsoft Core