I've seen quite a few people on quite a few gun forums asking about the differences between the factory Remington 870 stock (14" LoP) and the "Youth" model stock (13" LoP). I've also wondered about cutting down a standard stock to duplicate the factory "youth" model, and if it could be done without too much extra work.
Since I couldn't find the info I was looking for, I decided to bite the bullet and order a factory "youth" stock (the stock/forend kit is Remington Part #18611) to compare to my standard synthetic stocks. What I found might help someone else make a more educated choice. I decided this was as good a place as any to post it.
Here are the two factory synthetic stock offerings from Remington. On top we have the shorter "Youth" model stock, and on the bottom is the standard length stock.
Notice that the two stocks are identical in every single dimension except for their lengths. To be honest, it looks like Remington just hacks 1" off of a normal stock to make the "youth" model. Further investigation will help prove that theory.
Looking at the ends of the stocks seems to validate my assumption that the two stocks start out exactly the same, and the "youth" model just gets 1" chopped off the end. The interior molding is the same and the two internal ribs that the recoil pad screws into are also identical. The only difference is how and where the recoil pad fits and attaches to the stock.
On the standard stock the support/attachment ribs are slightly recessed from the end of the stock. Obviously, the same ribs are flush to the end of the stock on the cut-down "youth" model.
The recoil pads:
Below is a picture of the Remington SuperCell recoil pad for a standard stock and the Remington R3 (Limbsaver) recoil pad that shipped with the "youth" stock.
I hadn't cleaned the tape residue off of the R3 pad before taking pictures, so it might look kind of strange.
You can clearly see how the SuperCell pad for the standard stock is stepped-down to fit into the end of the stock (the standard R3/Limbsaver pad is exactly the same), whereas the pad that comes on the shorter stock has a flat synthetic plate that sits flush on the end of the "youth" model stock.
After doing a bit more digging, I found that Limbsaver will sell you the OEM recoil pad for the "youth" model Remington stock (Limbsaver Part #10116) for $20. That particular model isn't listed on their website and it isn't typically stocked by Limbsaver dealers but I was assured that it could be ordered directly from Sims.
So, if you already own a standard synthetic stock and you're so inclined, you could just cut the end off of your own stock and slap on the new Limbsaver pad. No muss, no fuss. And for $20 instead of the $70+ it would cost to buy the factory "youth" stock kit from Remington.
One other important thing to note is that the Remington factory synthetic stocks are designed to fit the 870, 1100 and 11-87 shotguns. So if you're looking to shorten the stock of your Remington auto-loader, all of this information applies to you as well. As a matter of fact, I am running the "youth" stock pictured above on my Remington 1100 TAC-4 without issue.