Stoeger 3000 Shotgun Review

The Stoeger 3000 shotgun has the look and feel of a more expensive automatic, with the same functionality.

The Stoeger 3000 is a lot of shotgun for the money, but let's start at the beginning. In 1903 Danish gunsmith Crister SjÖrgren developed a semi-automatic inertia shotgun called "The Normal." When the shot was fired, the bolt remained stationary under spring pressure while the gun itself moved rearward in recoil.

See Ryan Muller from Stoeger as he explains the new M3K shotgun at the 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas:



When the gun stopped, the bolt then unlatched, extracted the fired hull, ejected it and then returned to battery after picking up a live round from the magazine.

While unique, not many were ever sold. In the 1960s, Benelli adopted this operating system and down through the ensuing decades has refined it and made it the mainstay of their shotgun line. It is not a secret that along the way, Beretta bought Benelli, Franchi and Stoeger, and from that alliance has come a line of less expensive inertia-operated semi-autos under the Franchi and Stoeger names.

Earlier Stoeger brought out the 2000, and the 3000 and 3500 are refinements of the earlier version. The 3500 is chambered for 3½-inch shells, the 3000 for 2 ¾- and 3-inch shells. I chose the 3000, as I see little added downrange lethality for the added recoil from the 3½-inch ammo.

The Turkish-made 3000 is an attractive shotgun clad in Realtree Max 5 camo, and in the field it was a real winner. It arrived just before the opening of the 2014 Maryland migratory goose season, and I gave it a good trial on my Eastern Shore lease.

With the 18.5-inch constriction choke tube marked modified, I shot several loads — Winchester Blind Side, Federal Black Cloud Snow Goose, Hevi-Steel, and Kent's Fasteel, and every one worked like a champ with no malfunctions, failure to feeds, etc.

On the business end, it handled very well and I made kills on Canadas in the decoys and at longer ranges.

Pleasant Shots

For a 7-pound, 6-ounce gun, recoil was manageable with no whiplash to my neck. Although inertia shotguns do not spread out the recoil sensation as well as a gas-operated semi-auto, the 3000 was pleasant to shoot. One improvement from the 2000 is the softness and resilience of the recoil pad.

To add to the 3000's appeal is the inclusion of a shim kit that allows you to adjust the stock for drop and cast. This helps in the management of recoil and most importantly enables the shooter to adjust his stock so that the gun shoots where he is looking. It's a simple procedure requiring only a 13mm deep socket, which is available at about any home improvement or hardware store.

Out of the box, the stock's length of pull measured 147/16 inches with the drop at the comb 1½ inches and at the heel 29/16 with just â…›-inch of cast off. It's a relatively straight stock that can be adapted to a lefty with the shims.

The three included choke tubes come pretty close to industry standard when their constriction is compared against the cylinder bore of the gun. In the 3000's case, the cylinder bore, measured with my digital micrometer, was .720, on the tight side of the nominal 12-gauge bore of .725.

The improved cylinder tube's constriction measured .007, the modified .185 and the tight turkey tube .605. The 28-inch barrel is set off with a vent rib, at one time an expensive extra, but now commonplace even on a bargain shotgun like the 3000.

Soft Trigger

Typically, the trigger pulls on repeaters are stiff, and although the 3000's averaged 7.12 ounces, that's not really heavy in comparison to some that are set for a gorilla's paw.

On the range, I shot a series of patterns with the modified, tube. Many hunters normally dismiss factory chokes in favor of one of the many after-market tubes. Perhaps we shouldn't be so hasty, as the short factory tube shot excellent 40-yard patterns. Using Kent Fasteel's 1â…›-ounce load of steel BBs at 1,560 fps, the highest 30-inch recorded pattern was 76 percent and the lowest 66 with an overall average of 71 percent; full choke performance.

The patterns were fairly well distributed across the 30-inch circle with 30 percent of the counted 80 BBs in the outer ring and 69 percent in the inner 20-inch circle — the two circles, 20-inch inner and 30-inch outer each contain equal areas, hence an accurate way to compare results.

Although the 3000 showed considerable central thickening of the patterns, it didn't seem to matter in the field; if I did my part, the 3000 did its part very well.

The one fault with the Stoeger 2000 was that if it was set down hard on its butt, the rotating bolt would become slightly disengaged from battery, and the gun would then fail to fire. I banged the 3000 down fairly hard several times and this is apparently old business.

From a performance standpoint it works with the best of them, and is a good step up to a semi-auto for anyone.

Stoeger 3000 Specifications:

Stoeger

Manufacturer: Stoeger Industries

Action type: Inertia-operated semi-automatic

Gauge: 12, 2 ¾- and 3-inch shells

Trigger: 7.12 pounds

Safety: Trigger blocking cross bolt

Magazine4 2 ¾- or 3-inch shells with installed two-shot plug,

Barrel: 26- or 28-inch vent rib

Sights: Orange luminescent-style front bar

Stock: Synthetic pistol-grip; LOP: 14 7/16"

Overall Length: 49 5/8"

Weight: 7 lbs., 6 oz.

Chokes: IC, MOD, extra-full turkey, choke-tube wrench

MSRP: $649

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