First Time Shooting Her Stoeger P3000

One thing you should know about us is that we are horrible at keeping secrets from each other and especially if the secret involves a gift. Lately I have been working a lot of overtime since we have a wedding and holidays to pay for. This worked out well when Black Friday came around. I have been wanting to get Kaela a shotgun for some time now. She had shot my Remington 870 a few times and shot it ok. It wasn’t quite a natural fit for her. I played around with other entry shotgun options and eventually, settled on the Stoeger P3000. This was supposed to be her Christmas present but instead it was a super early Christmas present. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve for Christmas, don’t worry.

Since she now had a new shotgun, I wanted to take her to the Trap range to get her familiar with how it works and see how she liked it. I had read only a few reviews on it and it didn’t seem like there were any good thorough reviews, so I was a little nervous. We will be writing a complete review on her shotgun next week for those that are curious. We chose to go to a place right close to our house. We went to Lee Kay Public Shooting Range. It’s run by the state and it’s a well-kept facility. It’s where Kaela did her hunter safety, so she was familiar with it. To find more information on the gun range click here. There were a few perks to the gun range that I wasn’t aware of.

First, if you have purchased a new gun, whether it be a shotgun, rifle or pistol, they let you shoot for half price. Meaning, if you’re an adult, you only pay $2.50 for a day pass. I thought this was way cool and wish I had known. We would have brought our receipt and you have 30 days to take advantage of that perk. I liked that the state supported people having a safe place to get familiar with their new firearm. Second, if you did your hunter safety there, you can shoot pistols and rifles for free for one year after the course. This makes me more prone to take Kaela out there to sharpen up when duck season ends, and we start getting ready for coyote season.

When we arrived, we were told to go to the shotgun area. There you can shoot Trap, Skeet and 5 stand. Trap was 6 dollars for a round of 25 clay pigeons. Since I just wanted her to get comfortable and familiar with her shotgun, we chose to do Trap shooting. The rules were standard: eye protection, ear protection and only one shell loaded at a time. I had Kaela practice loading shells straight into the chamber and loading them into the magazine and then loading her shotgun. After showing her a quick overview of her shotgun and how it worked, it was time to have some fun.

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I had her go first. The trap house we set up on had a voice activated launcher. It was slick just saying “Pull” and off goes the pigeon. We needed a little help getting things started since we were unfamiliar with how it all worked but the staff was helpful and got us on our way. Kaela is 5’10” and I was wondering how the Stoeger P3000 was going to fit her. The model I bought her comes with a 28” barrel but she has long arms and I thought the length of pull would fit her better. Right off the bat she hit her first shot. I was super excited, but I wanted to see if it was just a fluke. The next couple of shots she missed. The nice thing of going to the range is that I was able to watch her shoot her shotgun and help her clean up her shooting. She kept forgetting to get her cheek down on the stock and that was leading to her inconsistency. Once I reminded her of that, it was just a matter of her getting the flow of it all. She was shooting a consistent 50% that first round.

We took turns shooting so I could get some practice too and my shooting was horrible. I couldn’t figure out what the heck I was doing wrong. I was also practicing mounting my shotgun on my shoulder and then lining up and shooting it. I decided to start taking a bit more time and my bb’s made their way to a target. This was short lived as my shooting consisted of me hitting 2 out of 10 targets. I’ll admit, it was cool to see that Kaela was shooting better then me with a shotgun that had just come right out of the box.

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The next round Kaela’s shooting got better. We put a Hivis sight on her shotgun and she says it really helped her line up on her targets and follow through after her shot. The best part of going shooting was seeing that the gun fit her nice, she wasn’t saying that it kicked too hard and she had a huge smile every time she shot a target. The first time we went shooting a shotgun, she struggled a little bit and her confidence level wasn’t very high. This time, she was a whole different person. My shooting, however, did not get much better. I started shooting with my gun mounted on my shoulder and I was still shooting inconsistently. Even with all the tips I was giving her, I wasn’t lining up on my targets very well. Her average had improved with the second round.

The last round was the best. In typical Kaela fashion, she decided to put a bet on the line. The bet was Olive Garden, which is funny since at this point our money is pretty much combined, so I guess it’s the thought that counts. She again started the shooting. She shot 4 out of 6 targets. My turn came around and this time my confidence was in the dumps. I shot a good 2 out of 6 targets. Kaela then got up and shot a perfect 6 out of 6 targets. I was so excited to see her smiling and so happy that she had done that. In my head I knew she had got it figured out and that her new shotgun was way easier to shoot for her and a close to perfect fit. My next turn was a fluke and somehow, I shot 5 out of 6 targets.

My shooting day wasn’t the best. I was perplexed with how just last year I wouldn’t miss a target but this time I was shooting horrible. Kaela had a great day at the range and really, our goal was accomplished. She got familiar with her shotgun and we got some target practice before taking her new Stoeger hunting. She is yet to name her shotgun but once she does, I’ll know she’s really embraced it. Shotgun shooting is a lot of fun, whether you do it out in the desert with a hand thrower or at a Trap range. Lee Kay Public Shooting Range is a great facility to go to and the staff was very helpful. Kaela says she liked that she could do all the thinking with her shotgun, getting her head down and having it tight on her shoulder, before saying “Pull”. We had a great time and made some more great memories.

Lessons Learned

  • Getting a good fitting shotgun takes most of the work out of shooting
  • Proper mount makes it so your eyes and the gun are working together
  • Sometimes we just have an off day
  • Follow through with your shots
  • Don’t get stressed over missed shots

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