Stoeger M3000 Defense (image courtesy JWT for
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After reviewing Stoeger guns for a while, I’m not surprised by the M3000 Tactical at all. Stoeger’s owned by Benelli and the company offers good Turkish-made guns at an affordable price. With the semi-automatic M3000 Freedom Series Defense shotgun, Stoeger has delivered again, giving the budget-minded shooter a lot shotgun for not a lot of money.

The overall appearance of the gun is all black tactical. Nothing new here, it’s the standard for tactical duty shotguns for the last 40 years.

If you pay close attention, you’ll see that the lines of the gun flow together very well. Note the rear of the receiver and how well it blends into the stock, and how the checkering line on the stock flows from the edge line of the receiver as well. Nothing on the gun is shiny, but none of the finish is sloppy or uneven.

On the inside, most areas are un-polished and there are definitely some tool marks to be found. But overall, it’s done pretty well.

There are no real burrs or catch points inside the gun, and nothing that needs to be polished in order for the gun to function smoothly and reliably. It’s every bit as polished internally as a new Remington 1100, and better than a new 870.

The sights are a nice set-up. The enclosed rear peep sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. The front sight is fiber optic and also protected by metal wings. It’s bright even in low light which makes for quick target acquisition. The stock irons sit pretty high on the gun. Those of you with small/short faces may not get a great cheek/stock weld, but I found it to be well positioned. It’s also well positioned for a red-dot optic, and the receiver has a rail mounted for just that.

This model runs in 12 gauge only, and with accommodate 2 3/4 and 3-inch magnum shells. 3 1/2″ shells aren’t safe in this gun, and I wasn’t able to get the Aguila mini-shells to load either. I didn’t expect them to, and I can’t find anyone online that’s modifying the M3000 shotgun to accept them.

The bottom loading gate is large enough that a quick load of two shells at a time wasn’t a problem. (If anyone struggles with dual loading or quad loading, watch Lena Miculek’s video, she makes it a breeze.) The forks of the loading gate are rounded, and I had no issues with the gate stabbing into my thumb as others have experienced with other shotguns, like my Remington Versamax Tactical. You’ll also find that the follower is bright, obvious, and moves without jarring or turning in the tube.

The trigger on the M3000 is not particularly heavy, but it does have quite a bit of mush and creep. I wouldn’t expect a defense-focused shotgun to have a crisp light trigger. The Stoeger’s is no better or worse than most of the others out there, although the trigger shoe itself is fairly small.

You’ll find the crossbolt safety in a familiar spot near the back of the trigger. On this type of gun, I would definitely expect the safety to be larger. As it is, it’s exactly the kind of thing you’ll have trouble hitting with gloves on, or quickly snapping it on and off.

The same thing goes for the bolt release. It’s the same small release we find on hunting models. I don’t like a small bolt release on an auto-loading shotgun for any use. They make no sense to me. For a tactical gun, getting to that release fast, without looking, and under any conditions is paramount.

For hunting, getting to the release when your hands are cold, wet, or gloved up is always a concern. Either way, a big flat bit of real estate from the factory is helpful. You can find those controls on Stoeger’s 3-Gun model, but that also has a longer barrel.

The bolt handle itself is quite large and easy to find. You won’t have any difficulty getting it back, and in case of a jam, you’ll have plenty of room to crank back on it. It comes straight out from the bolt, not curved or hooked in any way.

There is no place on the stock of the gun to add a light, but there are aftermarket options that are available. There is a sturdy tube mounted sling attachment included from the factory.

And now, for the truly amazing thing about this gun. Using the factory butt pad, and the factory pistol grip, it has an appropriate length of pull. This is a first for me. I’m 6’2″, and it’s pretty rare that a shotgun fits me out of the box. This one did.

Of course, that means that if you are a little shorter, 5’8″ or so, you may have some issues with the length of pull. If you are of such diminutive height, try it out in the store, as a length of pull that is too long on a lightweight gun built for buckshot is a recipe for pain.

The 18.5-inch barrel is a fixed cylinder bore and won’t accept choke tubes. At 25 yards, shooting off a bench, 7 buckshot pellets out of 8 consistently struck a 19″ plate. That’s about how it should be, with a cylinder bore gun and 00 buck.

As with all shotguns, some brands of ammunition will shoot tighter than others. I’d recommend everyone pattern their scatterguns with several different loads to see what your particular firearm likes.

All of the M3000 models are inertia driven guns. A great explanation of the mechanism can be found on Stoeger’s website.

The big advantage of the inertia operating system is that the action stays clean and the gun remains fairly light. I’m not sure if others have had the same experience, but I find I can also cycle intertia-driven guns a little faster. That’s certainly the case for this shotgun. Double and triple taps, especially with 00 buckshot are incredibly fast. Those triple-taps at 15 yards are always fun at The Range at Austin, because there’s just nothing left of your paper target, and it all happens in about one single second.

Of course, one of the potential drawbacks to inertia driven guns is that they tend to be lighter in weight. What’s great for 2 or 3 shots at a time in the dove field isn’t so great running long strings during a shotgun course.

This shotgun weighs in right at 7 lbs. As a comparison, the fairly heavy-recoiling M37 Trench gun is only 3oz more, and the Stoeger shoots more shells a lot faster. The result of pushing 00 buck out of the gun as fast as I could was ballistically spectacular, but also pretty tiring. I guess there’s no such thing a free lunch.

Even though I got tired, the shotgun didn’t. I put 100 rounds of buckshot through the gun, most of it Armscor’s 00. I also shot some turkey loads, two boxes of slugs, some #4 high-speed duck loads, and some 7.5 shot dove loads.

If I held the gun loosely, the dove loads would occasionally fail to cycle. Maybe one out of every 6 or 7 rounds would have a failure to fully return to battery. That’s the only time I had an issue with any round failing to cycle in any way. There was no buckshot, 00 or #4 buckshot (my preferred home defense load) that failed to fire from any hold or any position, and that’s what this gun is really made for.

When it came to shooting slugs, I was a little disappointed by the gun. With the great sight set up, I expected it to do better. It is very possible that I just didn’t find the slugs this gun liked, and I only tried two different brands. As it is, I couldn’t keep all rounds inside a 12″ circle at 100 yards while shooting off a Caldwell Stinger shooting rest. I was, however, able to keep all rounds inside a 19″ silhouette at that range.

There are a few companies out there really tricking these guns out for competition, and I’m not surprised. At this price point, and with all of the features already on the gun, you won’t put much more money into the gun to get an extremely capable shotgun. For home defense, a good gun for the truck or farm, or a home-defense shotgun, you’d be hard pressed to find a better autoloader for the money.

Armscor ammunition

Specifications: Stoeger M3000 Freedom Series Defensive Shotgun

Caliber: 12-Gauge 2-3/4″ and 3″
Stock: Black Synthetic
Barrel length: 18.5″
Overall length: 40.75”
Magazine capacity: 7+1
Weight: 7 lbs
MSRP $619 (about $550 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance * * *
Standard tactical black.

Customization * *
For a defensive semi-automatic shotgun, there’s not as much available for these guns as there are several other brands.

Reliability * * * * 1/2
It cycles everything but the lightest loads just fine.

Accuracy * * *
There were no oddball patterns with any particular shell, and shells within the same brand and weight/type. With Breneke slugs, every round fit inside a 19″ silhouette at 100 yards.

Overall * * *
The finish is ho-hum. The stock is not adjustable, and the controls that should be enlarged aren’t. But it’s a solid gun that runs great. The semi-auto Stoeger Industries M3000 Tactical gets all the basics of a tactical autoloader right, and at the right price point, too.

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  1. my only gripe is that the models for sale dont appear to have the ghost ring sights, just a normal front bead

    so unless I’m mistaken here, where didja find the one you got?

    • Links in the article on the first line and in the specs. It includes a “find a dealer” link there as well.

        • “There is an ‘edit’ button, Jon. You have to click the box under your comment.

          “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

          Every damn time…

        • I did complain to the powers that be, several times. After several false starts, they did get the edit function back, for some of us.
          For me, there’s an edit line under my post for several minutes, but I do this from a desktop computer, using Firefox. If you’re using a phone or tablet, I can’t say if the edit feature works or not.
          The “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment” button works for the same article, but not for any other TTAG article.
          The “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” does not work for me at all.
          Geoff, your comment doesn’t compute. Saving your info doesn’t help with editing.
          If I double-click the Name and Email boxes, Firefox fills the boxes in for me.
          As I’ve said a lot of times, other blogs manage to get their comment sections to work right.

  2. Waiting for something better than my Mossberg 590A1, with the bayonet, to come along. Nothing quite says you broke into the wrong house like a nine shot twelve gauge with a pointy pig sticker on the end of it.

  3. If you pull the trigger & it goes BANG,,, & don’t blow up in your face,,, it’s worth the price… not everyone can afford thousand dollar weapons…

    • That would look really cool – maybe a ribbed hand guard to give it that pumpgun look. And maybe a heat-shield above it.

  4. Just what I need: a “Freedom Series” shotgun made in an islamofacist dictatorship that’s actively working against the US in the ME.

        • So go buy some more CCP Chinese crap. You people worried about Turkey being anti US are a joke, yet you seem to have no problem buying cheap Chinese goods that are flooding into the US. China is the enemy of the entire free world. At least Turkey is a NATO ally.

    • The US government is working against American’s interests in many ways. $300,000,000,000,000 in unfunded liabilities anyone 😆😆😆 That doesn’t stop me from buying firearms from Ruger, Marlin, or S&W.

      • That is about a million dollars for each of us to pay, and half the folks in the country don’t even pay federal income tax.

      • $22,000,000,000. Funny part is that 2,400,000,000 is the government owing to itself. We do need to cut back spending, but at least we are not as screwed as China. When they go under it is going to be bad everywhere. They really need to stop pushing for growth and start looking at a soft landing.

  5. No Turkish guns for me. I’ll keep my lowly Maverick88( which I never shoot). At least my local Citgo gas is locally owned…

    • You are welcome to keep your 88 especially if you are satisfied with a gun that has the cheapest furniture available, sub par finish, a sloppy rough as a cob action and is full of Mexican parts. I’ll take a hard pass.

  6. It’s locally owned. Duh…who shall I buy gas from who’s not an enemy? Saudi Arabia was pretty much behind 911. And they support terrorism and wahabi moose-lim BS. Shall I buy American when NO ONE identifies as such?!?

  7. That is one UGLY sum-bitch. No way I’m paying even 500 dollars for that. Much better shotguns out there for not much more. Besides I have plenty of pre Freedom Group 870’s from pawn shop excursions over the years. Keep Your Powder Dry.

  8. Made in Turkey,, by Turkieaneese craftsmen,. Turkieaneese look similar to a Rio Grande only they sport longer beards, are skinnier, and much browner.. Gobble Gobble kerchirk kerchirk alah alah alah

    • Wow! That is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. I’m sorry that our public school system and media failed you so terribly. Foreigners do not look at white extremists and gangs as a way to judge our entire nation. It’s comments and mindsets like that which give a bad name to good law abiding first generation citizens who actually are more likely to go to college and get an education to benefit this great nation.

  9. With my Turkish shotgun loaded with Phillipine ammo in my Chinese shoes wearing my made in Vietnam tactical pants and my hecho in Mexico camoflage T shirt I will proudly go to the gun range and extol the virtues of freedom!

    • Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines. Why shame on you. I only buy Chinese, the last great Communist super power. MCGA. I’d buy Roosian products, but for some reason I can’t? Maybe they imported pbc contaminated baby pacifiers , or crayons containing lead, it’s not like kids eat the blue crayon yah kno. Or maybe they imported toys painted with lead paint, shoes with acidic tanning solution. ? Don’t know, but I only buy Chinese products to be on the safe side.

    • Preach on Amadeus, I want to give Possum the benefit of the doubt and consider he may have eaten a few too many rabid possums. Unaware everything from his clothing, tires, even pots pans and dinnerware come from everywhere but here. It’s very sad that people still judge a bunch based on one bad apple. I can only sympathize for people with that warped understanding of humanity and other cultures.

  10. I believe benelli contracted the inertia system manufacturing to a Turkish company that made copies and stoeger took over the Turkish copy. Samsung’s android phone are made in Malaysia and Vietnam I bought 2 S9 Notes m&v. Most things are made in China. I pointed out a friends all American Harly Davidson after he bragged all American. I told him to go to his bike and look at the bottom of the speedometer. He came back cursing.

  11. America is good at creating enemies. Ask yourself; who created/supported Al-Qaida, ISIS, Saddam Hussein, Tayyip Erdogan…
    I got this gun and I am quite satisfied with it. Hundreds of buckshots and slugs fired so far; zero problem.
    In this globalised world it is not easy to distinguish who is who!

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