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3Dflyer

3 gun shotgun, buy now or wait?

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Hello,

 

New to the forums, new to shooting sports, and highly interested in 3 gun this upcoming season.  I will not be taking competition seriously, other than improving myself and having fun.

 

I have an AR-15 and a CZ shadow 2.  I need a shotgun.

 

Research is showing that Benelli M2 (expensive no matter how you approach it), Beretta 1301 comp  (not as common), Stoeger M3k (MOA Precision is tempting but 3-4 month turn around time), and Browning A5 (nice auto load, but no much support for aftermarket and mid price before upgrades) seem to be the most popular.  A local shop has Remington Versamax tactical competition on the shelf (seemed to be popular 5-7 years ago, don't hear or see much about them of recent, also reputation for not shooting slugs well at 50-100 yards).

 

Several Gun shops are now showing the magazine fed shotguns along with the normal tube fed guns listed above.  At my first local 3 gun event a shooter was using a magazine fed shotgun, including a round rotary magazine.  He swapped magazines once due to starting round requirements, but didn't slow down after that.

 

Am I foolish to invest in a high end tube fed shotgun at this point?  Is it projected/expected that magazine fed shotguns will soon be the norm?  I suspect the rules will quickly change for bottom classes of shooters where I would belong.  I am in no way ready for the middle or upper categories such as open or unlimited.  I plan to stick in the bottom classes with a CZ Shadow 2.

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There's no such thing at upper or lower categories. If you want to start in open, go for it. Mag fed shotguns will be open only for quite a while I suspect, so if you want to start in tac irons or tac scope, get a tube fed.

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Should be a number of good ones for sale now,  ask around where you shoot and watch the classifieds.  You should be able to pick up a good one for a reasonable price.  Also, if you can find one near you, shoot it before making a decision.

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there's lots of threads on the merits of the Stoeger M3k, but it's what i started with, paid $625 after shipping and transfer, put MOA tube kit, follower, double sided safety, and trigger spring kit and have about $750 all in for a gun that's a fantastic starting point for any division but open or proper heavy metal, and when you decide to either pay up for a real open gun or a nicer/custom tube gun it'll still make a great backup without wasting a ton of money. 

 

plus one you're shooting matches just ask guys to try out their gear for some first hand experience, my guns are all sluts!

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+1 for the Stoeger M3K.  I got mine delivered for $550 - got it off gunbroker.com.  All you need to do is add a magazine extension tube, magazine spring, and get a aftermarket (MOA or whoever's) follower, and start shooting.  The M3K Freedom Series is just ready to go, and the same price, you can look into that too (comes with the 10+1 extended tube).  There's one on gunbroker.com right now for $550.

 

Where I shoot, local match, I'd guess nearly half of all the shotguns there are the M3K.  

 

Only complaint was the first 100 rounds breaking in the extractor, after that it was perfect.  Although, I did replace my extractor with a Benelli one for $20.

 

It's an excellent shotgun, and if you want to spend a little more, MOA has the new lifter that autoloads like the A5.

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Here is my M3000 with a few goodies from MOA.  MOA did all the work at their shop.

 

 

M3000.JPG

M3000 (2).JPG

M3000  (3).JPG

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I wouldn't worry about the 'lower' classes having the rules changed to allow box fed tube shotguns.  That's a feature that does and for the foreseeable future is going to put you in open class.  As far as buy now or later...if that was your reason for waiting, I'd say go ahead and decide what you want and buy it - then spend the time to get familiar with it, make any wanted changes, and make sure everything is working before the season starts.  If you wait and buy it right before the season, then you're still testing ammo, making modifications, etc when you need it in matches...well, you know how that can end up.

 

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Unless you go through a custom shop the mag fed guns ar less than reliable

The mags are expensive. Again custom shop . You will be in open with a mag gun.

The only advantage is unloaded starts.

Shoot as many different guns as you can .find the one that fits you. In my area 3 gun is 

falling off so only the dedicated or serious shooters are showing up at matches.

#1 gun is the M2    #2 is the JM PRO (most have two one to shoot one being repaired)

#3 the 1301 comp(my choice) #4 the M2 clones stoeger/Brata/etc(usually one out of 80 shooters)

#5 thear is usually one or two mag fed guns out of 80 shooters.   

 

 

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Went gun shopping. 

 

Reminton Versamax seems nice, , fairly heavy, but ready to shoot. Mid priced. 

 

Benelli m2 most expensive, light, but would need fitting, it didnt mount properly. Still needs work to be done. 

 

No 1301 to fondle. 

 

Franchi Affinti was ok, but needs much to be made ready and already mid priced before upgrades and work. Starts at $1,100 here. 

 

Browning A5 felt fantastic in every way, great trigger, light, great mount and fit, aims naturally for me, by far my favorite to handle. Concerned about opening the port and creating a finger pincher, no aftermarket support. I would add a  mag  tube and run it. Hate the idea of beating such a nice gun up. Price could be swallowed. Love the autofeed. Worried about port size. 

 

Stoeger M3K Freedom was most affordable and race ready out of the box. Found online for $566, half of most every other gun even before hundreds more are spent to upgrade them. A real bargain. It felt  mid weight and clunky, not nearly as smooth and refined. It shouldered ok, average or better, and sight picture was at least good. Autoload can be added by MOA  precision and still be cheaper than all others at their starting point. I would not feel convicted about tossing it around and abusing it. 

 

Any  I buy will likely get an affordable set of adjustable fiber optic turkey sights, except the versamax comp as it comes with sights installed. 

 

I am down to the  A5 Browning or  M3K Freedom Stoeger

 

Edited by 3Dflyer

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A new Stoeger M3k freedom edition has landed.  It has been disassembled, cleaned intensely, lubricated, and reassembled a few times.  It really smoothed out after cleaning the factory goo out.

 

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You won't be sorry.  Again, mine took about 100 shells to break in that extractor, but that is my only complaint.  

 

Just installed my MOA autoloader lightning lifter yesterday...  I cannot wait for April

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I want the autoloader option but they told I cannot install it on my own. This is from MOA   Precision

 

how do you like the autoload feature?

 

also, can you explain a break in procedure?  I have trap  loads of 1 1/8 at 1140fps and also some hotter 1300fps. 

 

I want to eventually use 1 ounce 1145 shot and Fiocchi low recoil slugs. 

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You can absolutely install it on your own, but you need their trigger group housing, and they're all out.  Just watch the youtube videos they posted, and it takes about 30 minutes.  Getting that damn riveted pin out was about 10 of those 30 minutes.

 

The autoload is pretty sweet, you just need to load the autoloading loading fast, otherwise the shells will get stuck if you do it too slow.  Beyond that initial loading, it's exactly the same as before.  Break in was just useage (and was only the extractor not extracting every time).  About 100ish+ and it extracted every time like it should.  I eventually spent the $20 on the benilli extractor and you can actually see the difference.  Absolutely worth it.

 

It being an inertia shotgun, you need heavier shot loads, so I've only used 1&1/8 7.5 birdshot, and 1oz slugs (the federal low recoil 1200fps ones work fine).

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I'd recommend using the hotter loads for the break-in process. In fact, I'd probably recommend a slightly hotter load just in general - an 1140 fps load is going to be awfully light to get the gun to cycle reliably even after it's broken in, much less ensuring that it functions well before any break-in.

 

Stoeger recommends 3 dram equivalent or better, which translates into about 1250 fps with the loading that I typically use (1 1/8 oz of #7.5 shot). Lighter loads will cycle, but not with 100% reliability. Like Snausages said, it's an intertia gun; unlike a gas gun, double-barrel, or pump gun, it needs a certain amount of recoil energy to function, so it's going to need slightly stouter loads than other types of shotguns. But, since that recoil energy is going into cycling the action, the actual felt recoil isn't too bad, so don't let that scare you or encourage any buyer's remorse.

 

Your desired birdshot load probably won't run with a stock gun - you might be able to get it to work with the lighter recoil spring or heavier bolt carrier that MOA sells, but I've never messed with those, so I can't say that with certainty. I don't know about the Fiocchi low-recoil slugs, since there are a couple of different varieties and I've heard mixed things about them. The low-recoil 1 ounce Federals run fine for me also, though.

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5 hours ago, 3Dflyer said:

I want the autoloader option but they told I cannot install it on my own. This is from MOA   Precision

 

how do you like the autoload feature?

 

also, can you explain a break in procedure?  I have trap  loads of 1 1/8 at 1140fps and also some hotter 1300fps. 

 

I want to eventually use 1 ounce 1145 shot and Fiocchi low recoil slugs. 

If you would like PM me your phone number and I'll call you to walk you through deburring the extractor slot and a couple other things so you won't have any trouble. I just don't feel like typing it all. 

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After a wonderful and informative conversation with Louu on the phone I got to work on my new Stoeger M3k.

 

I checked for burs on the extractor and port, bolt carrier, recoil spring, I modified the shell stop and smoothed it out, then I faced fear in the face and broke out my hand files.

 

After I was finished with the loading port modifications I installed a match saver to the forearm.  I also added a groove in the trigger guard to keep shells centered, and smoothed out some painful corners on the trigger guard that were chewing up my thumb during reloads.

 

Hope I can figure out how to upload photos here.

 

Edited by 3Dflyer

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Thanks for the compliment.

 

I was excited to give it a test drive today.  I grabbed some  1 1/8 Winchester 7.5 shot and Fiocchi 1 oz low recoil slugs.  25 rounds of shot cycled flawlessly, although the recoil was much harder than I expected.  I set up a target at 50 yards to test the slugs when I realized I better check the choke that was installed from the factory.

 

A modified choke was found so I didn't shoot any slugs. 

 

What are other shooters using for chokes?  Also, in a 3 gun match how are chokes managed if you must shoot both bird shot and slugs in the same set?  For sporting clays double barrel guns allow multiple chokes.  Not so much here in 3gun..

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