Mossberg Maverick 88 Review 2017: Big Shotun, Big Value

After having reviewed the Mossberg 590 and Mossberg 500, it’s about time we check out their less developed younger brother: the Maverick 88. Since its debut nearly 100 years ago, O.F, Mossberg & Sons has developed into one of the premier shotgun designers in the world. The company can easily hold its own when compared to greats such as Browning and Remington.

Naturally, I was skeptical about the quality of the Maverick 88 due to its low price tag, but after doing some digging, my fears were mitigated. One of the main reasons their price is lower than the 500’s is because of it contains several components made in Mexico, whereas the “higher quality” Mossberg’s are made exclusively in the U.S. At first glance, the 88 looks nearly identical to the shotguns in the 500 series, but our goal here is to differentiate these guns and see if the 500’s are worth the extra money.

Mossberg Maverick 88

Mossberg Maverick 88 Specs

  • Model: 31010, All Purpose Maverick 88.
  • Gauge: 12 GA.
  • Overall Length: 47 ¾”.
  • Barrel Length: 28”.
  • Action: Pump.
  • Capacity: 5+1.
  • Chamber Length: 3”.
  • Sight: Bead.
  • Stock: Synthetic.
  • Length of Pull: 14 ½”.
  • Overall Weight: 7 lbs.
  • Price: Around $225.

Mossberg Maverick 88 Build

Mossberg Maverick 88 Tang-Mounted Two-Position Safety

One of the first things I noticed about the Maverick 88 was its black synthetic stock. Granted this is your run of the mill shotgun stock, but after using the 590’s FLEX 6-position stock, I miss the ability to adjust. I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of the 88’s components are replaceable. For owners of a Mossberg 500 series shotgun, many of your 500 parts can be switched onto the Maverick 88, including barrels, mag tubes, and even stocks.

In terms of their durability, the Mossberg 500’s may have the advantage. The Mavericks feature steel bluing, whereas the nicer 500 models have sturdier finishes and more resistant coatings.

Nevertheless, both of these Mossberg’s are outfitted with a positive steel to steel lockup to boost their durability. To promote smooth operation, Mossberg added an anti-jam elevator to the 88, as well as twin action bars. Another great performance booster on both of these guns is the dual extractors, which keep their operation fast and efficient.

Mossberg Maverick 88 Shooting & Performance

Mossberg Maverick 88 Shooting

To ensure the 590’s reliability, Mossberg added an anti-jam elevator and twin action bars which basically guarantee a smooth and consistent action every time. The Maverick 88 is surprisingly powerful and accurate, yet fires with very little kick back. Some of the other qualities which contribute to its efficiency are its relatively lightweight build and easy to use sight system.  Altogether, Mossberg’s (near) century of weapons engineering has culminated in a user-friendly pump action that cycles well and is a blast to shoot.

Considering all of these factors, I recommend the Maverick 88 for novice shooters who are much younger or older. With that in mind, low price tag and versatility make this Mossberg a great option for a secondary home protection weapon, and even as an extra companion for hunting upland and waterfowl.

Mossberg Maverick 88 Magazines & Accessories

Mossberg Maverick 88 Shell Holder

You might read a lot of conflicting information about the capacity and magazines of the Maverick, which is mostly due to the fact that there are several different options. For starters, many of the 88’s have a 6 round mag tube (5 in the tube and 1 in the chamber). However, some of the models come with a 2+1 capacity out of the box.

In general, it’s not so easy to extend the mags without minor gunsmithing, but there are options. If you remove the wooden dowel in the magazine tube, which should only take a few minutes, you can increase your capacity to 5+1. Nevertheless, if you load 3” rounds, you’ll be limited to 4+1. The Mossberg Maverick 88’s are really easy to load, which in turn offers faster shooting.

Like the 500 series, the Maverick 88’s have a lot of aftermarket options, just not to the same extent. That being said, many of their components are interchangeable with the corresponding Mossberg 500 parts. There are a few necessary upgrades to the Maverick, but with their low price tag, it’s worth investing some extra cash into them. I’m a huge fan of CombatHunting.com’s collection of accessories; it’s basically a one stop shop for all of your Mossberg shotgun aftermarket needs.

First and foremost, I’d pick up the Maverick 88 Micro Green Dot with Picatinny Rail Mount Base. However, many of the 88’s don’t have pre-drilled holes on top of the receiver, but that’s an easy fix. The next accessory to mull over is a new stock; I loved the 6-position Tactical stock with AR-Style Recoil Pistol Grip. Besides for coming with dual-sided QD sling attachment points, this addition to your Maverick will boost your shooting game tremendously. If you want to abandon the stock and stick with a pistol grip, read on.

Why To Use A Pistol Grip With The Mossberg Maverick 88

Mossberg Maverick 88 Pistol Grip

Before I explain the advantages of using a pistol grip on your Mossberg Maverick 88, you should know that many people still prefer either the traditional or Magpul grips. To start with, a pistol grip generally means that there’s no stock on the buttend, which can lead to serious injury if you’re not careful. You can easily break your nose or jaw, so it’s not for newcomers to shotguns. One of the main area that a pistol grip limits you in is the use of high power loads. They’re not designed to handle them and can therefore hurt your wrists, tire you quickly, and wreck your handling.

One of the major benefits of pistol grips is that they make your shotgun more tactical by offering a more compact build. Due to this, the Maverick becomes a great addition to personal security in more confined areas places such as a car or truck. Since you lose out on the stability of the stock, it’s crucial to purchase a forend grip. If you’re interested in going down to pistol grip route, Mossberg offers a FLEX conversion kit.

Conclusion

The Maverick 88 is a surprisingly impressive shotgun. Mossberg has a longstanding reputation for producing some of the best firearms in the world, so I can assure you that this is no ordinary budget shotgun. While the 590 and perhaps the 590A1 are better weapons, the Maverick 88 is perfect for what it’s designed for. I highly recommend the 88 as a starter shotgun for young men and women as well as older shooters with less arm strength and energy.

While you’re reading about Mossberg shotguns, check out our Mossberg 930 Review here at Gunivore – home of all things guns.

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