Handgun Review: Stoeger Condor Competition
Adjustable comb and palm swells provide variances for the comfort of different sized shooters. Availability of two different calibers also offers an opportunity for use by those who are recoil sensitive. The only complaint is that at just under 9 pounds and with 30” barrels (overall length 47”) it may not be easily managed by shooters of small stature, younger shooters or those under 5.5 feet tall may well find it unmanageable.
With three different chokes included for different applications, the shotgun will hit anything as well as the shooter can: its tight fit and strong action resists wear and tear and will shoot just as straight on its hundredth case of shotshells as it did on the first. Though many have commented that it does seem to benefit from an allowance of 100 shells for a break in period. This is not unusual, however.
Absolutely spot on. Stoeger benefits from the same design team that puts together Benelli and Beretta shotguns. That affiliation means that their reputation is on the line as well, and while the finer lines found on those guns is spared, the technological investment is the same one would find on shotguns easily double or more the price.
This is a competition gun, so there will be little accessorizing or custom work done unless it is to the stock sights, or perhaps on the trigger and break assemblies. Such work, while doubtless possible by a skilled gunsmith will also undoubtedly void any warranties (implied or otherwise).
The American walnut that is often found on most models has a beautiful figure to it and is well polished. As are the metal pieces and bluing creating a good looking, if admittedly somewhat bland to anyone expecting scrollwork engraving, final product.
With an MSRP under $700 and usually found at the $600 mark, the Stoeger Condor Competition’s primary selling point is the price. A nice, adaptable O/U gun that is well suited for trap, skeet, sporting clays or upland birding. One can easily spend half again as much for a comparable quality gun that may or may not look a little better, have fewer adjustable options and function absolutely no better. As a trainer, backup, loaner or even primary birding gun for someone who is price conscious it is a short list of guns that deliver cost to benefits ratio on par with the Condor Competition.
Stoeger Industries has almost a century long history but its recent partner partnership with Benelli and Beretta is where it has stepped up as having Italian made quality at Turkish made prices. This is guaranteed by the company’s use of Benelli’s Inertia driven manufacturing processes. The result is a well-made yet affordable firearm.
What most shooters really like about Stoeger is that unless one is close enough to see the label, it looks (and for the most part operates) like a shotgun twice or more of its price tag. This makes the Condor Competition ideal for someone attracted to the Italian styling but not yet ready to commit to the sporting scattergun lifestyle yet.
Additionally, it also makes a wonderful entry level gun for training and for lending to friends and other members of the family who are more casual in their sport clays etc.
What it Has?
The Stoeger Condor has been around for years as an entry level birding or sporting gun and has been marketed both as a side by side and an over under. With O/Us taking the sporting world by storm it is only natural the company would focus upon that configuration for their competition model. That, and it benefits from the same machining as the more expensive models from the company’s partners.
What this model has are light, contour 30” barrels are topped with a 10mm target rib and are both ported and ready for any combination of six extended chokes: (mod x 2, IC x2 and full x2). The AA-grade gloss walnut furniture not only suggests a firearm of superior quality but also offers an adjustable comb and palm swell for customizable fitting for any number of shooters, making it ideal for either primary or tag along shooting. A soft recoil pad soaks up the energy for extended periods of comfortable shooting. Brass front bead, silver mid bead comes standard and the single selective trigger and tang safety round out the fire controls. Rounding it out, the model also comes with ejectors, not just extractors, for a true competitive edge speed shooting.
A nice point to make is that this model is also available in both 12 gauge and 20 gauge models as well as a combo model that comes with both sets of barrels including the full compliment of choke tubes for both gauges.
Stoeger Condor Competition review: How Does it Compare?
While the corporate pedigree is impressive, there is still a reason why such a nice looking gun is priced the way it is. This does not mean it is a bad gun, quite the opposite, it is a (comparatively) low cost option for new shooters and lending to those without, as well as keeping on hand for primary use without a major investment. Trigger pull and fit and finish will probably be the immediate areas of sacrifice to keeping the price down as well as brand name but to be honest, this will only be noticed by those who have been raised on the scroll rolled, inlaid receivers: if one wants higher quality one is not going to get it at these prices, but if one wants dependability with a surprising finesse for the price, Stoeger has it.
To that end, those considering the Stoeger are looking for a nice looking gun that can be readily fitted to several members of the family or friends who do not have (or conveniently forgot) their own guns. It has adjustable features and a reputation for pointing easy, reliably going bang and shattering clays or bringing down feathers with the consistency of any expensive shotgun as long as the shooter is halfway competent. In other words, if you wanted to spend more money there are plenty of options. If you want an attractive gun that will serve, you can certainly do much worse while spending more.
Is it still Dependable?
Stoeger shotguns have developed a reputation for being tight, and in some cases, too tight, but this seems to vary not only model to model but between each actual firearm and is easily remedied by shooting it. The plus side is that the tolerances are land on the spectrum that will deliver long term service and performance, the down-side is they have been reported as a bit stiff out of the box until fully broken in (oh no! More shooting time at the range!). That reputation, however, is lost on the Condor Competition: this shot gun is made to reload and point as quickly as can be managed by the shooter from the first round. This is a gun that successfully bridges the gap between rugged materials and precision machining, in fact its biggest detractor is not that it is a Stoeger but that it is not a Beretta, if that makes sense.
An important point is that Stoeger knows that a multi thousand dollar gun will be babied and pampered while a less expensive model may experience a little bit more “casual” usage. This gun will handle abuse and
a) still be perfectly serviceable and
b) not take hundreds of dollars off of its value for each scratch or ding.
Can it be accessorized?
The 10mm vent rib can accept both clip on and threaded sights for those who eschew the traditional sight system. Additional pads can be swapped out should it be found to be necessary for either fitting or comfort. The versatility of 12 and 20 gauge options on the same receiver and the adjustable stock for left or right handed shooters means that for most conceivable purposes this shotgun was created it will serve out of the box. That means clay shooting and upland birding, and while it is suitable also for waterfowl, it is predominantly a competition gun, not a hunting gun: take one that you will not mind dinging up out on the water (Stoeger has a delightful selection): this is a more “civilized” weapon for more “civilized” sport after “elevenies.”
There is a good reason why so many brands have relocated their production facilities to Turkey: the quality and finish of the wood is surprisingly good for guns typically found within this price bracket. While much value can be found in name branding such as Benelli and Beretta, or Browning etc., the fit and finish of the guns from the Anatolian peninsula really do offer a lot of value for the cost.
Manufacturer’s Suggested retail price is about $699 it can very often be found for prices ranging as low as $550 if one does not mind buying it online without seeing it first. The good news is that the initial investment for the sort of activities it is designed to serve in means a relatively low risk compared to blind ordering a firearm costing two to three times as much: though quite a few (too many) participants in the clay shooting world value looks almost as much (if not more) than actual ability. This actually plays to the Condor Competition’s strengths.
Stoeger Condor Competition: Conclusion
Nice looking tool for a sport that generally has a higher buy in for equipment. Casual shooters to interested novices can do far worse for much more. While not possessing a brand name of the more affluent sporting clay enthusiasts, it will competently serve and potentially outshoot high brows with little to mediocre skills. Which just makes it sound that much more fun, to be honest.
Watch Stoeger Condor Competition review from BZ Trader