If you’re into your guns in a big way, then you may well be familiar with Stoeger Industries. Not a lot of people are, but serious shotgun fans might know more than the average pistol-slinger.
By the end of this article, you’ll probably want to know a little more about the company that has taken the mechanical core of high-end guns like Benelli and served it up at the price of a water pistol.
Okay, it’s not that much of a bargain. But the Stoeger M3000 is definitely a deal worth knowing about.
This gun has steadily been gaining popularity in recent years, with serious hunters and recreational shooters alike acknowledging its quality.
So, just who are Stoeger?
Stoeger Has Some Badass Backing
The company is a subsidiary of the famous Beretta Holding Group, located in Accokeek, Maryland.
Despite such a prestigious and renowned parent company, Stoeger Industries doesn’t always get the recognition that it deserves.
The reality is that this company is a master of Italian craft work, backed by some of the best in the industry. Stoeger is best known for manufacturing impressive weapons, especially over/under shotguns.
The most popular model to come out of their factory is the 3500, which is an effective hunting gun in its own right. But now, another one is outshining it.
The Stoeger M3000 is a cost-effective semi-automatic shotgun, promising to offer great bang for your buck.
If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly, scattershot weapon that makes you feel powerful and equipped, then you’ll struggle to find a better quality one in this price bracket.
There are plenty of choices for people with deeper pockets, but the Stoeger M3000 is in a league of its own for affordability.
Before you start thinking that this is just about saving money — it’s not. We’re about to give you the cold, hard truth.
Specs Overview of the Stoeger M3000
- Model: Stoeger M3000
- Caliber: 12-Gauge
- Capacity: 5 shots + 1 in the chamber
- Barrel Length: 26 inches
- Pull Length: 14-3/8 inches
- Overall Length: 47.75 inches
- Finish: Black Synthetic
- Total Weight: 7.4 lbs.
- Sight: Red-Bar Front
A Big Shot Compared to the M2000
The previous shooter in this line is the M2000. While that gun is pretty ordinary, it is still a reliable weapon. However, the Stoeger M3000 boasts quite a few upgrades that its predecessor doesn’t possess.
Most notable among the changes is the receiver. On the M3000, this is drilled and tapped, so that it is compatible with a Weaver scope base. Also, you can customize the fit of the gun thanks to the modified shim kit.
Compared to the M2000, you’ll find that the bolt and barrel extension feel a lot beefier, which makes them stronger and more reliable than the older gun.
The bolt now has a pair of big locking lugs and a rotating cam system, not unlike the M3500.
Another difference is that the M3000 has a fore-end cap that is much more streamlined, and also provides a better grip surface.
Spring washers are captured by a redesigned forearm, which was a potential malfunction problem on the M2000.
Two shotguns cut from the same cloth
Both the M2000 and M3000 are 12-gauge shotguns with 3-inch chambers. That is the typical chamber length for economy-price shotguns, as magnum ammo doesn’t come cheap.
Chances are if you can’t afford a top-end gun, you probably aren’t prepared to drop a lot of money on expensive ammunition.
Because it weighs slightly below 7.5 pounds and has a shorter magazine tube and forearm than the M3500, the Stoeger M3000 facilitates faster-handling.
Overall, it is a solid choice for someone who needs a versatile, smoothbore gun for hunting waterfowl.
Inspecting the Build of the Stoeger M3000
Some shotgun snobs might question the wider collection from Stoeger, but when it comes to the M3000, it’s tough to find flaws. It is a truly dependable gun.
An integral part of this fantastic manufacturing is the Benelli Inertia Driven System, plus the wealthy resources of the Beretta Holding Group.
With the Beretta Holding Group in the background, Stoeger has access to some of the best technology, manufacturing techniques, and specialized components in the world.
That is what allows such a modest company to compete against high-priced shotguns from some of the most respected names in the business.
Interestingly, the M3000 comprises some very basic components, with manufacturers opting to use a standard grip, butt-pad, stock, safety, and trigger.
However, the level of manufacturing and inclusion of just enough premium features makes a somewhat ordinary weapon perform greater than the sum of its parts.
With a polished finish, reliable firing system, and durable body, the Stoeger M3000 is a shotgun you can really become fond of.
You certainly won’t be embarrassed to go on a hunt with people who have the cash to spend on premium-line weapons. They may even ask for the chance to test out your shotgun.
And why shouldn’t they? This gun can deliver when called upon.
How does the Stoeger M3000 perform?
When you buy a shotgun, you ideally want something that makes it easy to hit your target, even from a distance. If the sight or firing line on a gun is poor quality, you may as well save your money and borrow your son’s bow and arrow.
Luckily for you, practically every shotgun made by Stoeger is very accurate.
Naturally enough, the Stoeger M3000 follows the example of the many creations before it by delivering a flawless performance for a range of shooting needs.
When you’re using a scattergun with a three-inch chamber, you have the luxury of choice with your loading options.
It does take about 100 rounds to break this gun in, but the M3000 can handle whatever ammunition you want to use and has no issues firing or cycling cartridges.
In fact, whether you choose to use 2.75-inch rounds or 3-inch rounds, this fantastic 12-gauge shotgun will handle it with ease. It can also cycle ammo very quickly, which is just what you want from a semi-automatic weapon.
What to watch out for and how the M3000 fairs
One possible annoyance is that the M3000 doesn’t have the smoothest swing action. That said, it offers great handling and control, allowing for quick acquisition of your target.
Zeroing in is aided by the vent-ribs on the barrels, and by the colored fiber-optics on the front sights. Being able to lock on to a target quickly is crucial in sports shooting competitions such as trap and skeet is non-negotiable.
If you’re taking this gun on a hunting expedition, it may be a good move to switch the sights from red-bar to green, as it’ll be easier to remain undercover when hunting for waterfowl. After all, you want to see them before they see you.
But, even if you don’t change out the sights, whether it’s 3 p.m. or 3 a.m., you shouldn’t have much problem hitting your mark.
As you might expect with any hunting gun, this weapon is sure to take a bit of abuse over time. Not every gun is built to withstand the rough and tumble of hunting life, but the Stoeger M3000 is designed to stand up to all sorts of stress.
Whether it’s muck or gravel, water or snow, this gun can take it on and come through the other side.
Some additional accessories for the Stoeger M3000
It’s not often that you can buy a reasonably priced, quality-built shotgun. When you do save a few bucks on the initial outlay, you have your choice of accessories to add. And there are many that you can add to your new Stoeger.
The only thing for you to decide is where you’re going to start — scopes, optics, or grips.
As far as scopes go, you should check out Bushnell, though there are also some more cost-effective options on Amazon.
If you are going to be hunting through swampy jungles, it’s worth getting some grip tape for the front end of your Stoeger M3000. It will give you some added control, so you don’t lose your gun in a murky bog at an inopportune moment.
Before you obliterate the entire savings account on extras that are unnecessary, such as hi-powered night vision goggles and stun grenades, make sure you get a few essentials, like ear protection and a good supply of shells.
After all, what good is it having a shotgun if you have nothing to fire?
Alternative Versions of the Stoeger M3000
The Stoeger M3000 has quite a few variants to choose from. The standard six-stock model comes with a wide range of barrel lengths, including 18.5-inch, 24-inch, 26-inch, 28-inch, and 30-inch.
In addition, there are four different versions available:
These facts close the gap between the M3500 and the M3000, making the decision about which one to buy, harder to make.
There’s little argument that the M3500 is the superior choice for field-hunting, as it has more options and a larger chamber size, which is great if you want to fire magnums. It is a duck hunter’s delight.
The M3000 is more well-rounded, though, as an all-purpose weapon. Many loyal fans of Stoeger firearms believe that these two shotguns are just as good as ones which cost twice as much.
While not everyone will agree to that, there is little doubt that the M3000 can punch above its weight.
A Top Pop at a Low Price
Taking everything into consideration, the Stoeger M3000 is one of the best semi-automatic shotguns in its price bracket.
Better yet, it has the performance, build, and durability of a higher-end weapon, making it a great choice for anyone who wants a reliable shotgun, but can’t quite afford the very best.
As with any product, there are goods and bads, and we want you to have all the information to make the best choice.
- Shoots clean on practically any ammo
- Fast handling
- Slim fore-end
- Reliable and durable
- Great trigger
- Economic pricing allows more spending on aftermarket options
- Have to change the fore-end to use the slug barrel
- Swing action could be smoother
The Final Word on the Stoeger M3000
Depending on what variant or version you choose, the Stoeger M3000 can range between $600 and $700. When you consider all the upgrades from the previous model in the line, the M2000, that is a very reasonable price.
It’s even more of a bargain when you start using it and seeing just how it performs compared to other guns in that price range.
While avid hunters may dream of someday owning a Benelli, this shotgun is a great stopgap.
It’s a versatile, reliable weapon that is perfect for beginners to learn on, and also an enjoyable, accurate shooter for experienced pros.
It’s likely that someday you will want to upgrade to a better gun, but for a little while, Stoeger may be your favorite brand.
It might even find a place in your gun cabinet for years to come, occasionally being pulled out for a spin in favor of your expensive Beretta.