Everyone assumes the best product always has the highest price tag, however, this is not always the truth. As you have come to know, a person always needs to consider their budget along with the feature set of the product they are looking for. In other words, we look for the best value; and the Stoeger M3K Freedom Series 3-Gun Shotgun falls into this category of competition-ready shotguns with a reasonable $699.00 MSRP. Now, let’s go over these features and the field testing that I was able to conduct with the M3K FS 3-Gun (for short).
Features of the Stoeger M3K Freedom Series 3-Gun Shotgun
The reason the M3K FS 3-Gun Shotgun is so awesome to me is because of the feature set when related to its price, not necessarily because this shotgun features some innovative new mechanics or the likes. In consequence, I want to point out some features that make the M3K FS 3-Gun Shotgun the best value for your dollar.
For starters, when you buy the M3K FS 3-Gun shotgun, you get an extended magazine tube that holds 10 rounds of 2 3/4″ or 9 rounds of 3″ 12 gauge. This is essential for many shotgun centered competitions, including 3-Gun. Another great feature that you get with the M3K is the oversized controls, including the oversized bolt knob, bolt release, and safety. For its intended purpose of running and gunning, these gigantic controls eliminate any fumbling you may do if you had to search for them on the clock.
The M3K comes with a red-bar front sight on its 24″ barrel and vented rib which makes target acquisition all the easier when the front sight glows in your field of view. Also, if you wish to mount an optic on the M3K, the receiver is drilled and tapped in order to make the installation of a Picatinny rail easy and quick. This Picatinny rail can be purchased for around $15, making this upgrade cheap and simple.
The M3K FS 3-Gun Shotgun comes with 3 different extended chokes, including C, IC, M, making this shotgun great for many different situations. If you choose to buy other chokes, the M3K takes Benelli/Beretta Mobile style choke tubes which are abundant in all price ranges on the market.
Yet another nice touch to the Stoeger M3K Freedom Series 3-Gun Shotgun was the thought that Stoeger put into making this shotgun fit most everybody much like a more expensive gun that is tailored for the individual. The M3K comes with 4 included shims that adjust the angle of the buttstock, creating many different combinations to adjust the fit of this shotgun to nearly any individual so that the shotgun pulls up and you are looking down the rib, making it more accurate in your hands.
Some other, smaller features of the M3K that still add to its value include the synthetic construction, making it resistant to the elements, checkering on the stock and sling attachment points. If you wish to attach a sling to the M3K, there is a swivel stud attachment point at the rear, accompanied by a flush cup attachment point on the forend. On another note, many 3-gunners choose to open up the loading port of their shotguns and this can be done easily on the M3K if you choose, due to the serial number being near the trigger guard it is out of the way of where this modification would be done.
Field Testing Results
Here, I have to admit that I am not a seasoned 3-gunner or other competition centered shooter. I do wish to get into the sport, thus my interest in this shotgun in particular, but we all have to start somewhere… For me, my starting point is wingshooting. I have carried the Stoeger M3K Freedom Series 3-Gun Shotgun in the field while chasing chukar up and down canyon rims and even frozen it in blinds, waiting for ducks and geese to decoy in. These settings are just as demanding, if not more than competition, and the Stoeger M3K performed flawlessly day in and day out.
With Competition use in mind, it is paramount that the M3K fires and feeds a wide variety of ammunition flawlessly, including slugs, light and heavy shot loads, buckshot and variances thereof. I tested this using an array of Wichester and Federal ammunition and found the M3K to cycle everything reliably, from the heaviest load to the lightest save one type: 1 3/4 shells. That said, I did not expect these to feed because most (if not all) shotguns need an adapter to do so, but I did wish them to. If someone were to manufacture an adapter, these shells have the capability to cycle reliably because they do eject properly. This would give the M3K a mag capacity of 15 without any modifications to the mag tube.
Shells that I tested in the M3K included Wichester Super-Target Heavy Target Load and Super-Target Light Target Load. I also tested many Federal shotshells including Shorty Shells in 4 Buck and 8 shot, 3″ BlackCloud FS Steel #2 shot, Game-Shok Game load 2 3/4″ #7.5s and Prairie Storm 2 3/4″ #5. Among these more typical load types, I also tested Fiocchi Low Recoil 7/8 oz Aero Rifled Slugs and Hornady Heavy Magnum Coyote Ammunition 3″ 00 Buckshot.
For competition use, we want to shoot as fast and accurately as we can, and I found the M3K to be extremely good at this. There is a lot of talk about the recoil impulse of the less expensive inertia system versus the more expensive gas-operated systems, but in the end, everything kicks and we can train for what we have. However, the Stoeger’s Inertia Driven system is extremely reliable and does not require the type of maintenance that a gas-operated system does and it stands out in this area. I do agree that there is a sharp kick to the M3K, but it stays flat and cycles fast for easy follow up shots. Another bonus I discovered with the M3K is how it can be ghost loaded on stages that need that extra round, but you don’t have room in the magazine for it.
Another aspect that I like to examine in all firearms is the trigger. The trigger on the M3K is neither bad nor great. It is a bit stout, measuring in at 8 pounds, as tested with my Wheeler Trigger Pull Gauge. There is a bit of creep, but there is no overtravel and reset is short and extremely crisp, snapping back into place. I was not disappointed by the trigger in the field during my use though, perhaps helped with the adrenaline in the moment and years of shotgun shooting under my belt.
Specifications and Features
- Semi-Auto Inertia Driven system
- 3″ chamber
- 10+1 Capacity (2 3/4″)
- 7.3 lbs
- 24″ barrel
- 48″ overall length
- Black, Synthetic Stock
- Red-bar sight
- C/IC/M chokes and wrench included
- Minimum recommended load: 3 dram 1 1/8 oz
- Drop at Heel: 2.5″
- Drop at comb: 1.5″
- drilled and tapped receiver for optics
- 5-year warranty
- $699 MSRP (~$650 street price)
- Find one GunsAmerica!
Another important thing to keep in mind when purchasing a firearm is the manufacturer’s warranty. Stoeger offers a 5-year warranty that covers any manufacturing defects in material or workmanship that begins after the date of purchase by the original retail customer. If a problem falling in this area arises, Stoeger will repair or replace your firearm at their discretion.
At the end of my testing period with the Stoeger M3K Freedom Series 3-Gun Shotgun, I’ve come to genuinely love this firearm and trust in its performance. I can recommend this shotgun to anyone who is looking to get into any sport that this particular firearm would benefit them because I plan on purchasing one for myself for this purpose. It would be extremely hard to find a shotgun or modify one in order to get a feature-packed competition-ready shotgun for the MSRP of the M3K FS which is set at $699. The controls of the shotgun really feel great while operating them, and are extremely easy to manipulate due to their large size. This shotgun pulls up well, fits me perfectly thanks to the included shims, and shoots flat and quick. My favorite thing about this shotgun is the fact that it is incredibly reliable and does not need the amount of maintenance that a gas-operated shotgun would require. Go pick one of these great guns from Stoeger to add to your collection today!