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Somehow the 4+1 Stoeger M3000 12-gauge shotgun chambered for 2 3/4” and 3” shells combines minimalist simplicity with extreme elegance. Stoeger has taken the gun’s fundamental architecture and components, and then proliferated an impressive array of models with varying barrel lengths, finishes, materials, sights and options.

Cleverly, these guns have an inertia system that uses the kinetic energy to fully recycle the gun for subsequent shots. This system has fewer parts, no gas cylinder and requires less maintenance than gas-operated systems.

The rib atop the barrel is vented. The arched bridges over the barrel are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional in providing a sight line that draw the eye above the barrel. The front sight is a red fiber optic bar sight that’s called a bead sight.

The bolt handle is oversized, making it easy to work. The forend has deep upper fluting and milder lower fluting, all optimized for ideal grip, and of course the magazine is beautifully concealed within.

Moving back and down, the trigger guard is rounded. Its inner curves echo the curved trigger. The cartridge drop lever is in front of the trigger guard while the safety is at its back top.

The butt stock has a thick rubber recoil pad with circular edging that makes for nice detailing. The gun has swivel studs at front and back: one fronts the magazine cap while the other is under the butt stock.

Also of note, the guns typically come with three chokes: IC, M and XFT. There’s no scope, but the receiver is drilled and tapped to mount a scope if desired.

Barrel lengths run from the 18.5” “Defense” series to the Standard series’ 24”, 26”, 28” and 30” lengths and up to the Sporting’s 30” length. In each case length of pull is 14 3/8” and overall length is about 21.75” longer than the barrel.

For instance, the 18.5” guns are 40.25” to 40.75” long depending on configuration while the 24”, 26”, 28” and 30” barrel guns are 45.75”, 47.75”, 49.75” and 51.75” long respectively. The drop at comb is 1.5” and at the heel it’s 2.25” while the guns typically weigh 6.6 for the 18.5” synthetic stock models to 7.5 pounds for both the 28” A-Grade Satin Walnut model and the 30” synthetic stock model.

The Compact lineup is really just one 26” barrel and 47”model. But the butt stock is smaller. Length of Pull is a shorter 13 1/8?, drop at comb is 1.25” and drop at heel is 1.75”.

There are several Freedom Series models. They have the 18.5? barrel, synthetic stock, pistol grip, measure 40.75" and weigh in at 7.0 pounds. Instead of the aforementioned three chokes, they have just the cylinder fixed barrel and atop that a blade front sight instead of the red fiber optic bar sight and the vented rib atop the barrel. But most importantly, they have a 7+1 capacity thanks to the extended magazine tube that seems almost extruded from the magazine cap.

Some models come with aggressively styled pistol grips. The grip is nicely contoured front and back with three finger recesses, a full palm swell and an integrated beavertail.

The finishes include a straight black synthetic. No surprise here: everything is matte black. However, arguably the best looking of the lot is the A-Grade Satin Walnut trim. It has a satin walnut forend and stock mated to a black receiver, rib and barrel.

There are also several options that include forested camouflage schemes. To start, there is the Mossy Oak Bottomland and Realtree Max-5. Both swathe the stock, forend, receiver, barrel and rib leaving essentially only the bolt assembly, trigger assembly and rubber recoil pad black. And then there are the Realtree Max-5 forend and stock with a Cerakote burnt bronze receiver, rib and barrel and the satin walnut forend and stock mated to a Cerakote burnt bronze receiver, rib and barrel options.

Stoeger is a subsidiary of Benelli USA; both are headquartered at Accokeek, Maryland, about 10 miles due south of Washington, DC, but on the eastern bank of the Potomac River.

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