Stoeger M3500 Review | All You Need to Know

by Ben Jackson

Thank you for coming to read my Stoeger M3500 Review. The market for semi-automatic shotguns is huge, both in sport and tactical use, the only downside is most of these shotguns are specifically chambered for 3 ½ inch shells, and they’re expensive, very expensive. To give you an idea, most semi auto shotguns start around at least $1,500!

In the past 10 years, the 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun has become a priority for many major weapons manufacturers.

Most semi-auto shotguns are generally high-tech wonder guns, drummed up in research and development at companies like Beretta or Benelli. Remington also wanted to establish a foothold in the market so they introduced the Versa Max in the early 2010’s.

View Stoeger M3500 Price on Cabelas

The Stoeger M3500 is considered a great shotgun for several reasons:

  1. Price: It’s known for being an affordable semi-automatic shotgun, making it accessible to a wide range of hunters and shooting enthusiasts.
  2. Reliability: The M3500 is built with durable materials and has a reputation for being a reliable and durable shotgun that can withstand heavy use.
  3. Performance: It’s capable of firing 2-3/4” to 3” shells and has a smooth, fast-cycling action that makes it a great choice for hunting and sporting clays.
  4. Versatility: It’s designed to handle a wide range of hunting applications, from upland birds to waterfowl.
  5. Comfort: The M3500 has a comfortable grip and stock design that makes it easy to handle and shoot, even during extended shooting sessions.

Overall, the Stoeger M3500 is considered a great shotgun due to its combination of affordability, reliability, performance, versatility, and comfort.


The average hunter won’t have $1,500 to $3,000 to shell out on a Benelli, or a Beretta. Many people would settle for a pump action shotgun in this case, but now there are extremely reliable, cost-effective semi-automatic shotguns available on the market.

The first consideration when choosing a semi-automatic shotgun is which role it will be used in. For home defense, opt for a shorter barreled shotgun to manipulate the weapon easier in narrow corridors and doorways.

For the hunter, consider the 26 inches or 28-inch barrels, you’ll want the longer barrel for the wider spread pattern at longer ranges. Semi-automatic shotguns make great duck and other fowl guns.

The only issue I can think of a hunter running into is most semi-automatic shotguns require the 3 ½ shell to properly cycle the action of the weapon. This issue has been addressed in the past few years with inertia style bolts that are lighter yet can still cycle the weapon properly with various sized shells.

Another factor you don’t want to overlook is the selection of chokes that are available for the shotgun. The choke is simply a barrel extension that widens or shortens the spread of the shot. The wider the choke, the wider the shot pattern. The narrower the choke, the tighter the shot pattern. When hunting fowl, you’ll want a wide spread, in close quarters combat, you’ll want a tighter shot pattern in narrower quarters.

The Stoeger M3500 Review

Thankfully, there is such a thing as an affordable 12-gauge semi-auto shotgun that shoots small 2 ¾ shells, medium 3-inch shells, or large 3 ½ shells, that a shooter can hunt, hit the range, or use in a defensive role, let me introduce the Stoeger 3500.

The Stoeger 3500 is a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun with a light inertia style action, based on the earlier Stoeger Model 2000 design.

The Stoeger Model 2000 made an impression on the semi-automatic shotgun culture because it was the first semi-automatic shotgun that didn’t cost a small fortune but performed like a high-tech semi-auto shotgun.  

In a market that’s currently dominated with the more powerful and robust 3 ½ 12-gauge shell, Stoeger wanted to introduce a versatile shotgun that performed on par with Benelli or Beretta shotguns, which cost at least double. To bridge this gap, the Model 3500 was introduced.


  • Versatile, lightweight, multi-purpose 12-gauge shotgun.
  • An inertia style action that shoots cleaner than other shotguns in this class because it bleeds gas, causing less debris in the weapon.
  • Wide loading port for quick reloading of the weapon.
  • Less recoil due to a large recoil spring seated around the magazine tube beneath the barrel.
  • Balanced with a 10-ounce counter weight in the stock.


  • Short charging bolt on the action of the weapon, which is fine for hunting, but would need to be swapped with a longer bolt for competition shooting.
  • Some issues with the trigger due to the weight of the trigger pull, it’s about nine pounds.
  • Four plus one magazine capacity.

Stoeger Model 3500 Features and Benefits

Stoeger Model 3500 Inertia Action

As I mentioned earlier, semi auto shotguns which are designed to shoot 3 ½ shells are generally very expensive. Designing a semi auto shotgun that’s capable of firing less powerful target loads like 2 ¾ shells while not destroying your shoulder when shooting heavier, more powerful loads like the 3 ½ inch shell is no easy task.

When the first semi-automatic 12 gauge shotguns started to become popular, you’d have swap barrels out of the weapon to accommodate the various loads.

The Model 3500 incorporates the Inertia Action system made popular from its parent company’s popular semi-auto shotgun, the Benelli M2, for its reliability, simplicity, ease of maintenance, and cleaner operating gas system.

The only flaw with this system doesn’t absorb as much gas as a few of its gas-driven counterparts, so the recoil can be a bit punishing. To remedy this, Stoeger has made life a little easier and included a 13-ounce recoil reducer to make the recoil less punishing for the shooter.

Lightweight Construction

Saving weight is crucial when using a shotgun because you want to have a quicker swing for target acquisition. A weapon that’s built with durable, lightweight material is important. All the non-stressed components of the Model 3500 are cast of extremely strong, yet lightweight aluminum alloy. The components of the action and bolt are steel and lock directly into the barrel extension.

The buttstock and fore-end are constructed of a synthetic, molded polymer that’s checked so the shooter can maintain a tight grip on the weapon if their hands are wet or they have gloves on. The weapon also features a 10-ounce counterweight in the butt stock.

I’ve noticed how fluid and balanced the weapon felt, I even felt like I could shoulder the weapon faster. The stock’s length of pull is 14 inches, the drop at heel is two and a half inches, and the drop at comb is the standard one and a half inch.

Available Accessories and Modifications  

The Model 3500 comes with five choke tubes, a Weaver scope base which is already tapped to mount to the receiver, the integral 10-ounce counter weight in the stock, and a set of shims for modifying the drop at the heel and cast.

There’s an abundance of aftermarket accessories that can be added to the weapon to make it even more beastly. In some regions, shooters are limited to a five-shell capacity of 3 ½ inch shells.

If you use 2 ¾ shells, add a magazine tube extension, attach a ghost shell loader on the side near the ejection port, and load one in the chamber, that’s eight or nine shells depending on the size of the mag extension.

The best part is it’s completely compliant with mag capacity laws. If you’re going to be using the 3500 in this manner, be sure to get an oversized bolt to manipulate the bolt release quicker.


Alternative Semi Auto 12-Gauges

Benelli M4

This is my personal semi-automatic shotgun that I carry in the trunk of my police cruiser. The M4’s extended mag tube holds five shells plus one in the chamber. Features an aggressive textured pistol grip stock, adjustable rear ghost ring, and a blade front sight.

The M4 uses a unique gas system, autoregulated gas operation. Let me tell you what, it cycles rapidly. Both smooth and precise. The starting cost is about $1,800 to $2,000.

  • Picatinny rails.
  • Rapid fire Auto Regulating Gas Operating system.
  • Aggressive rubber grips.
  • Wide Mag well and oversized steel charging handle.

Remington Versa Max 3-Gun Tactical Semi Automatic Shotgun

The Remington Versa Max feels like you’re handling a classic 870 but as quickly you can pull the trigger, you’re driving nails with Magnum 12 gauge shells.

The VersaPort self-regulating gas system self-adjusts to any load of 12-gauge shell you load without any adjustments. The interior components of the weapon are all nickel plates so you can keep loading shells and fire all day without any malfunctions. The price is set below the average for shotguns of this class at $1,399.

  • VersaPort Gas operating system.
  • SuperCell Recoil Reduction system.
  • Nickel-plated internal components and barrel.
  • 10 plus one shell capacity

Benelli M2 Field Semi-Automatic Shotgun

The Benelli M2 Field Shotgun is an excellent multi-use shotgun much like the Model 3500. Believe it or not, both weapons use the same Inertia Drive system so it can cycle whatever shell you need to feed it. Recoil reduction in reduced by 48% with Benelli’s unique ComfortTech recoil reduction system and gel padded synthetic stock.

  • Extremely lightweight, weighing in at seven pounds.
  • Three plus one shell capacity
  • Can feed various sized shells with Benelli’s Inertia Drive system

Final Thoughts

In my personal experiences with semi-automatic shotguns, I’ve concluded weapons often chosen from a subjective standpoint, meaning any weapon you research and select is based on shooter preference.

Technology has been developed, designs have been streamlined, and the building materials are of superior quality.

I feel like a marksman could pick up any shotgun on this list and put rounds on target with ease. Thank you for reading and I hope you have gained some insight today from my review of the Stoeger Model 3500. Approach you selection with an open mind and enjoy!


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