I borrowed this gun on a long term loan to see how it performed, I try to get the most out of my equipment and have been using one 12g shotgun for the occasional clay shoot, a spot of squirrel hunting, some pigeon decoying and general rough shooting around my permissions for a while now. One 12g to do it all sounds a tall order, but cabinet space is an issue for me and equally important is economy, I just can’t justify having separate guns for clays and rough shooting so need one good allrounder. The Stoeger M3000 comes in at under £500 and for your money you get a synthetic stock, fiber-optic sight, three chokes and a set of adjustment shims for the stock. This is a great setup with the capacity to fit the gun to your body and adjust the patterning to your intended use. My current gun is a similar spec Turkish 12g semi auto, which uses a reliable gas impingement system to cycle the bolt. It works flawlessly and cycles everything I put through it (24g-32g), but the gas system means cleaning can take a while as once the barrel is done I need to strip it down and remove all the carbon from the gas system. For me this is where the Stoeger has its appeal, the inertia system, a licensed copy of parent company Benelli’s proven system requires far less maintenance and after most shoots a good barrel clean is all that’s needed. Some will argue that you don’t need to clean a gas system every time you shoot, and that an inertia system still needs some cleaning, but on balance a gas gun will require a lot more time spent cleaning if you want it maintain it’s reliability. Work, family and other commitments all limit the time I have to get out shooting, If the M3000 is going to use less of that time to keep maintained then it’s got a significant advantage over its competition.
I really wanted to put it through it’s paces in a variety of shooting situations, I had high expectations and wasn’t about to go easy on the gun. We got off to a good start with some pigeon shooting, the Stoeger happily cycling the 28g and 30g loads while the ¼ choke let me get used to the swing of the gun. The shoot wasn’t a long one, the gun performed beautifully, the weather didn’t. Recoil on the Stoeger is a little more than my gas gun, I noticed it on this shoot but haven’t since as I became accustomed to the M3000.
The next outing was looking for squirrels that prey on a farmers orchard, a tighter choke for longer range snap shooting in the treetops. After an almost fruitless search we caught a pair chasing each other, two quick shots and they were in the bag. It’s opportunities like this when I appreciate shooting a semi auto, the 3rd round in the magazine and the ability to top it back up easily can really make a difference when chasing a fleeing squirrel jumping high and out of sight.
I am not trying to suggest that one gun can be the best at doing everything, the M3000 is definitely more at home rough shooting or in a pigeon hide than on a clay ground, but for a fraction of the cost I was able to take part in a whole range of disciplines. The Stoeger met my expectations for a lower maintenance, fully featured, reliable gun in a very competitive price bracket. As I write this I’ve done no more than clean the barrel and lightly oil the bolt and carrier rails after each use. Add this to the comfort of knowing it’s based on industry leading technology, feels rugged, well built and comes with a 5 year warranty the M3000 is a lot of shotgun for the money.