There are a few fundamental truths when it comes to waterfowl hunting. Early mornings are a must. Sunsets mark the end of shooting hours and we get attached to our shotguns. I have found all of those things to be true as I’ve gone through my life hunting. Introducing my wife to hunting brought some new challenges but once she started enjoying the hunt, we needed to buy her a shotgun. Bring in the Stoeger P3000.
When it comes to entry-level shotguns the choices seem endless. You can even include some second-hand shotguns under $400 dollars, and they can be an entry-level shotgun. Getting my wife a shotgun was not an overnight decision. She had been hunting with me and had shot a 20 GA. Remington 870 and she had also shot a 12 GA. Remington 870. Since I needed help making a decision, I went to the waterfowl community looking for advice. Just like shotgun choices, the advice was endless. Eventually, I decided to just go to a sporting goods store and have her try some on.
Walking into the shotgun isle I felt the excitement build up. That was my excitement, I’m not sure about my wife’s excitement level but I had to remind myself that this was a shotgun for my wife and not for me. I had a couple of criteria in mind. First, I wanted something easy to operate and I did not want her gun to have any bluing on it. The second was that I wanted the shotgun to fit her well. Soon my eyes were drawn to this nice pump-action shotgun that was all covered in marsh camo. I saw the blue sticker that said “Stoeger” and I just had to pick it up.
Picking it up felt effortless and the shotgun looked sleek. The camo looked great and it had no bluing. I pointed it up into a corner of the room and shouldering it felt even better. I handed it over to my wife and just had her shoulder the shotgun and point at that upper corner of the room. It looked great in her hands and she said she could see just over the rib of the gun. It seemed to fit her perfectly. My wife is almost 6 feet tall and has long arms so getting the right fit for her might not be as hard. The model we were holding was a 12 GA. and I was a little nervous about the recoil. The price tag was perfect, the gun retails from $279 to $349 dollars depending on the whistles you like to include. Even though the stars seemed to align, I needed to sleep on it and do more research.
Soon I discovered that the “Stoeger” Brand is a sister to Benelli. This made it clear to me why this shotgun looked so sleek and my confidence went up. Stoeger Industries have been around since 1924 and with being a part of the Benelli family, it had to be a good product. I also discovered that Stoeger offers a 5-year manufacturer warranty. The technology used on the P3000 is similar to a Benelli Pump Nova, but it is definitely more affordable. With this bit of information, I decided to pick it up for my wife.
It was a fun Christmas gift and soon we were hitting the range to shoot some clays. The Stoeger P3000 I bought is a 12 GA. and it can camber 2 ¾ and 3” shells. I worried a little that the kick might make it so my wife didn’t like the shotgun, but it was not the case at all. I showed her how to operate the gun and it was simple to load the shells and charge the handle and operating the safety. As it was a new gun, Charging the handle and loading a shell into the chamber was a little stiff but with some time that has gone away. She nailed her first clay pigeon and that reassured me that the fit was right. At this point, I hadn’t done anything to the shotgun other than unbox it and assemble it.
After she shot a round of trap, I decided to take a turn to see what it felt like. Envy filled me quickly when I shouldered her shotgun and pulled that trigger. The Stoeger P3000 is smooth. I’d even say that it’s whipped cream smooth. It moved easily and its weight made it effortless to get the shotgun on target. I again had to remind myself that this shotgun was for my wife. As we continued shooting that day, we put 50 shells through it so that we can see if there was anything that needed to be fixed. My wife loved her shotgun and it was close to perfect.
The next day we went on the shotguns maiden voyage. This was a hunt for my wife and I only put my waders on so I could help retrieve ducks if needed. She carried her shotgun around as we hiked from duck hole to duck hole hoping to jump some ducks. The shotgun’s camo blended easily with her waders and with the light tan reeds that we have here in Utah. We bought a shoulder strap to help my wife in carrying her shotgun and even when she just carried it at a low ready position, there were no complaints on the weight of the gun. We moved through some cattails and soon I could hear some ducks at this warm water spring ahead. At this time, I hadn’t discovered the Decibullz earplugs I wear now so I had no hearing protection and my wife, who was a few steps ahead of me, was wearing those big foam earplugs. Soon I hear the distinct, “let’s get out of here” quack and waited for the flush. My wife got a couple of shots off, but no ducks fell in the water. She was caught off guard by the flushing ducks. We have since remedied the earplug situation.
At the end of the day, we needed to clean her shotgun. The Stoeger P3000 is easy to disassemble and it has some cool features. The one I like best is the Bolt. It has a two-piece bolt which helps hold some of the gases released upon firing the shotgun. This is part of the reason why the P3000 fires so smoothly and doesn’t kick like a mule. Cleaning the Stoeger P3000 is easy and putting it all back together is effortless. If I hadn’t been going through my wife’s shotgun in detail and helping her clean it, she probably would have been done before me with my Remington 870.
The Stoeger P3000 solidified to me the one fundamental truth, our shotguns are a part of us. I still look at my wife’s shotgun and have a hint of envy that she gets to shoot it more than I do. It’s a great entry-level gun and it even won an award in 2016 by Outdoor Life. The only issue was having to put some muscle into pumping the shotgun and loading the first shell. That was worked out by the 50th shell at the gun range. We have since taken it out other times hunting and shooting and even if my wife doesn’t say it, I can see the way she looks at her shotgun, the Stoeger P3000 is here to stay.
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