Photographs by Chris Siefken
In the November/December 2021 issue, Phil Bourjaily wrote about the joys of “going light for the flight”—taking advantage of improved ammunition and opting for 20-gauge duck guns. Whether it’s because they’re getting older (and more recoil sensitive) or opting for close-in shots over long-range pokes, many waterfowlers are going with softer-shooting 20s and finding them plenty effective. One popular choice in downsized duck guns is Stoeger’s M3020. Made in Turkey and featuring the same Inertia Driven system that powers its 12-gauge big brother, the M3000, the M3020 is available in several models with a variety of stock, barrel and receiver finishes. We checked out the wood-stocked version with bronze-finished metal, which would be as at home in the uplands or at the clays range as it would in the duck blind.
The stock is A-grade satin walnut, and the wood on our gun was very plain. Stock dimensions are: 145/8" length of pull (to the back of a 7/8" black rubber recoil pad), 1¼” drop at comb, 2" drop at heel and neutral cast. Included is a shim kit with three plates to adjust drop and cast. There is checkering on the pistol grip and the forend, which has a finger channel along the top. There are also sling swivels for easy carry.
The aluminum receiver and the barrel have a non-reflective Cerakote Burnt Bronze finish, which is great for the duck marsh or turkey woods. There is no engraving—simply “Stoeger-Turkey” stamped on the bottom left of the receiver and “Stoeger M3020” etched on the right. The bolt-release button is located below the ejection port, and the crossbolt safety with red indicator ring is in the rear of the trigger guard. A lever at the front of the trigger guard can be used to substitute a round in the chamber with a round from the magazine. Trigger pulls averaged 5 pounds 13 ounces with a bit of creep.
The M3020 has a 28" barrel with 3” chamber for anything from 2¾” (2½-dram, 7/8-oz) to 3" Magnum lead or steel loads. Shell capacity is 4 + 1, and the gun comes with a limiter plug installed. The stepped vent rib is ¼" wide and has a red-bar fiber-optic front sight. The gun comes with three chokes: flush-mounted Improved Cylinder and Modified tubes that are safe for steel shot and an extended “Turkey Choke” for lead only. All of the chokes are marked on the walls, and the IC and M are notched on the ends, so you can see which is installed.
Waterfowl season was months away when we tested the M3020 at the range. The gun was nicely balanced and pointed well, and the inertia system functioned flawlessly, cycling everything from 2¾" 7⁄8-oz No. 9 lead loads to 3" 7⁄8-oz No. 4 steel. The gun was heavier than advertised—6 pounds 7 ounces on our digital scale versus the 5 pounds 11 ounces stated on the website—but that wasn’t enough to completely tame the recoil of the 3" loads. Of course, had we been firing at critters with feathers instead of clays, the punch would have been less noticeable. What is easy on the shooter is the price, as the M3020 lists for $649 complete with choke tubes, a choke-tube key, a shim kit and an owner’s manual. This would be a great gun to take to the blind for decoying ducks or to the uplands for a variety of species. And it would crush clays all day long. For more information, contact Stoeger.