by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Stoeger S4000E MGS
Stoeger S4000E breakbarrel rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Mount the scope
  • Sight-in
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Rested on the bag
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53mm heads
  • Oh, oh!
  • First group
  • Sharper sight — second group
  • Superdomes again
  • Explanation
  • Summary

Today will be a different sort of report. I tested the Stoeger S4000E for accuracy at 25 yards.

Mount the scope

The scope that came with the rifle came with the rings already attached. Even the scope stop stud had been lowered on the rear ring by exactly the right amount. It took about one minute to mount the scope because so much had already been done.

Sight-in

I began to sight-in at 12 feet. It took three shots and I was on close enough (meaning the pellet struck as far below the aim point as the center of the bore is apart from the center of the scope’s optical path) to back up to 10 meters. There, I was almost perfectly on (meaning one inch low and centered left and right), so after two confirmation shots I backed up to 25 yards.

RWS Superdomes

I refined my sight-in and started shooting at 25 yards with the RWS Superdome pellet. I used the artillery hold I described in the last report (off hand touching the triggerguard) I would get three pellets that were close or even touching and two others that were far away. So I switched to holding the rifle like a deer hunter (grasping the forearm with the off hand and holding the rifle firm but not tight). Oddly, that seemed to work until it didn’t. I will come back to that in a bit.

Rested on the bag

Then I rested the rifle directly on the sandbag and was rewarded with three shots in 5 inches at 25 yards. Okay — that’s out! I even tried shooting with my off hand open under the cocking slot — in other words, far forward. But I still got wild shots.

So, after about 30 shots I switched pellets.

H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53mm heads

We all saw how accurate H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53mm heads were in Part 3. So I switched to them now. The groups were smaller, but they were still larger than they should be — especially after the Part 3 test results. And there were still wild shots.

Why it was almost like…

Oh, oh!

And that’s when it hit me — shots spraying wildly around like that. What would I tell you if you complained about that? I would tell you that your scope’s elevation adjustment was set too high and the erector tube was floating. Only I knew that this one wasn’t! I had the elevation dialed almost as low as it will go — and, yes, also far to the left. There was plenty of tension on the erector tube spring.

Only two other things could be wrong. The scope could either have moved in the mounts during shooting or it could have broken internally from the forward recoil of the rifle. I was paying so much attention to shooting groups that I hadn’t watched the orientation of the scope. So I looked through the scope and discovered that the elevation reticle was no longer straight up and down and centered on the spring tube. It had shifted 5 degrees to the right at the top and 5 degrees left at the bottom. Either the scope had twisted inside the rings or the erector tube has broken. Also, the scope adjustments now didn’t seem to move the impact of the pellet.

Stoeger S4000E shots
I fired 50+ shots trying to get the rifle to group. One target is missing from this picture. The rifle would put three pellets close together then spread out the other two. I used both pellets (Superdome and Baracuda Match) and all the holds that are described in the text.

I had been shooting for 90 minutes by this time and didn’t want to mount and sight in another scope, which would lake another half hour. So I removed the scope and shot the rifle with its open sights. I had been shooting with Baracudas at the time, so I continued with them.

First group

The first group was shot with a deer-hunter hold I mentioned earlier. For some reason that seemed to be the best for this rifle on this particular day. I was still wearing my normal glasses and the front sight was slightly blurred for this group.

The S4000E put 5 Baracudas into 1.74-inches at 25 yards. Now, I know that isn’t the best group, but look at it. Four of the five pellets are in 0.777-inches. That ain’t too bad! So I wondered what I could do if I could see the front sight better. As you know, seeing a crisp front sight is the key to real accuracy — not a clear target!

Stoeger S4000E open sight group 1
Shooting open sights and a deer-hunter hold tightened the group considerably. This one measures 1.74-inches between centers with the 4 on the right in 0.777-inches.

Sharper sight — second group

With my 1.25 diopter reading glasses the front sight sharpened crisply. The second group of Baracudas went into 1.378-inches, with 4 in 0.936-inches.

Stoeger S4000E open sight group 2
This group was shot with my reading glasses on. I could see the front sight more clearly. It’s five shots in 1.378-inches with 4 in 0.936-inches.

Superdomes again

Now it was time to try it with the Superdomes. Shot 1 was high and to the right, so I adjusted the rear sight down and to the left. Shot two was a 9 that’s close to the center of the bull. But the group? Oy!

Five Superdomes went into 2.417-inches at 25 yards. But those three that are together on the edge of the bull are in 0.481-inches. This is what the rifle had been doing all day and it’s indicative of a variation in the hold. Because it has a gas spring it is super-sensitive to the hold. However, once the right hold is found, rifles that show this kind of promise can become tack-drivers.

Stoeger S4000E open sight Superdomes
The upper right hole was made before the scope was adjusted for Superdomes. Five Superdomes went into 2.417-inches at 25 yards with three in just 0.481-inches.

Explanation

The S4000E is telling me that it’s an accurate rifle and I just haven’t found the right hold yet. I think it’s some variation of a deer-hunter hold that I haven’t tried yet.

The rifle is also telling me that my eyes aren’t helping. Well, I have a solution for that! And it isn’t another scope. See if you can guess what I’m going to do next.

Summary

This rifle is telling me that it can shoot. I know today’s results don’t seem to support that, but I ask you to trust me. For the low retail price plus the accuracy we saw at 10 meters, I see a lot of potential. The S4000E is an incredible value and I want very much to see what it is capable of.