View Full Version : What is a .410 good for

Lethal Farce
October 3, 2002, 08:25 AM
Been around shotguns both on the clay and bird fields for awhile. I shot one of my budies O/U w/ a .410 tube set. It was cool. No Kick or blast. Other than making skeet a little more challenging, what are some of the other uses for the .410?

October 3, 2002, 09:23 AM
This is one of the more controversial topics in the shotgunning world. One on side are those who believe the .410 is a crippler and not suitable for anything bigger than a starling at 20 paces.

On other side are those who say the .410 is a perfectly adequate upland round for grouse and dove-sized birds in the hands of people who are capable shots. This group claims that THEY can use a .410 well and anyone who can't is somehow a lesser mortal.

I'm in the former group and don't buy the argument by the proponents of the .410. I reached this conclusion several years ago when hunting preserve chukar with the best wingshot I know. This man rarely misses and is a very responsible shoter. He'd always wanted to try a .410 and I followed along with my 12. His hit percentage dropped notably and I spent the rest of the morning following up his cripples and misses. He never hunted with a .410 again and I lost all interest in the gauge.


October 3, 2002, 09:49 AM
They make great pistols, if you saw down a double...!! :D


October 3, 2002, 11:02 AM
Then can be used for perfecting target shooting.

If you can hit a clay bird with a .410 there is a lot more possiblity of hitting it with a 12 gauge.


Fred Hansen
October 3, 2002, 11:38 AM
My first hunting gun was a Stevens .410/.22. I killed rabbits, ruffed grouse and squirrels with it. All of the shots I took were at close range. I lost a few, but misses were relatively rare. We didn't have a lot of money, so missing a lot would have meant not getting more ammo. So I had to pick and choose which shots I would take.

As much as I love that old gun, I wouldn't want to start a beginner out on it. .410s belong mostly on the target field, unless you are hunting tightsitting quail, woodcock or grouse, and I can't imagine trying to hunt chukar with one.:eek:

Many companies make really sweet little youth/ladies size .20s, these are perfect for the beginner.

Lethal Farce
October 3, 2002, 12:08 PM
Jmbg hit it on the head even though I hadn't mentioned my reason to look. I have a seven year old, and can't quite handle his bros 20 ga yet. I was afraid that the .410 would be useless, I think y'all are right. Thanks.

Fred Hansen
October 3, 2002, 12:45 PM

If you choose to get a pump, compare the positions of the forend to one another. I'm generally a Browning/Winchester kind of guy, but in researching the best pumps for our students (I'm a Hunter Ed./N.R.A. instructor) we found that the Winchester forend is too far forward with the action closed. The Remington and the Mossberg Bantam are closer to the receiver. That makes the gun more comfortable for little kids, otherwise, with their arm stretched way out, they tire really easily. Hope this helps.

October 3, 2002, 01:15 PM
I once knew a fellow who carried a switchblade. I asked to see it one day, because I was going to cut a rope. He saw what I was about to do, and he got pretty mad. He said, "Hey man! That's for meat only." He wasn't talking about cutting his pork chops...

.410s are for "meat only," if you catch my drift.

October 3, 2002, 11:38 PM
My dad hardly ever used any shotgun other than a stevens .410 bolt action. I'm not sure if he ever used anything other than 3 inch 4 shot. He used it for everything from squirrel to duck and never took a shot that he didn't know he could make. To this day he can still bust 20 of 25 clays and he only shoots maybe 4 times a year. But for most people I know, myself included, the .410 is mainly good for reality checks to the ego. :D Currently looking for a good pump tho' for The Wife. She wants it for the rather disturbing number of rattlers and copperheads we have out here. Now it's a damn fine gun for that use.

Dave McC
October 4, 2002, 04:38 AM
The 410 is acceptable for squirrels taken sitting, perhaps rabbits at close range, and for skeet. Oh,yes,adequate for HD.

For wingshooting,too many things can crawl off bleeding to suit me.In all these years of hunting, I've not met a good shotgunner who used a 410 on flying game.

I've hunted with folks who claim 410s're good for game at reasonable ranges. I just haven't seen it.

As for training newbies and kids, no. They need victories to build confidence, and it's hard to hit with the 410. Better choices would be 28 gauge and/or a lite loaded 20.

For an expert skeet or SC shooter looking for more challenge on clay targets, the 410 is a good choice.

Note to 410 lovers. There's been a revolution in recent years in the quality of ammo and guns. Long forcing cones, overbores, better wads and harder shot give patterns the gunners of old would die for.

Nobody to my knowledge has bothered to upgrade the 410s performance with a long cone,overbore, harder shot,beter wads,etc. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why the shotgun round that needs upgrades the most has been left in the dust?

My SWEG, because not enough is not enough.

October 4, 2002, 12:00 PM
The 410 is an abomination. Probably though up by the British.

Get a 28!

October 4, 2002, 07:45 PM
Hey now. My first shotgun ever was a .410. It was an ancient break action. Then, followed by a pump-action Coast to Coast brand, which is Mossberg, right? I moved on up in the shotgun world, and my dad "stole" my C2C shotgun. Up until it became illegal to use lead shot on SD Public land, my dad would hammer pheasants out of the sky with that little .410. He's on the market for a reloader now. Misses his baby. Light as hell, quick to aquire.

October 4, 2002, 07:56 PM
A cheap .410 is great for snakes. I was once in Arkansas on a farm when I was a teen-ager visiting family friends who moved back there from Minnesota. A Snake Charmer is popular there. It is basically a .410 with a .22 barrel on top. These are looked at as tools for a job of blasting poisonous snakes.


October 4, 2002, 10:24 PM
I've taken more grouse with my full choke .410 single shot Champion (iver johnson) than I have with my Mossberg 500 12 ga. or my Rem. 870 20 ga. It's light weight and easy to carry all day or fit in the front seat while driving bush roads. You have to be somewhat proficient for wing shots. You need to get your shot off quicker (closer range) for a better pattern. You only get 11/16 oz of 7.5 shot in a Rem. Express.

October 6, 2002, 10:25 AM
I have a springfield/cz M-6 which is the civilian version of the airforce survival rifle,which has a 410 lower and a 22 lr upper.
They are both very underpowered but in a survival role (lost,stranded away from camp) they will garner enough small game to keep you alive without a lot of weight to hump. I think they are nice to have as a pack gun,for that just in case mode. I should also note that i have a 22 hornet insert that goes in the 410 barrel to help with larger game if needed, and the whole package is under 12 pounds and not much bigger than a pool stick bag. They have there place and mine is behind the seat of my truck.

October 20, 2002, 01:17 PM

Wabbits, quail, pheasant, dove, ocasionally duck and geese depending how low they're flying.

Tree Rats get the Ruger 10/22.

I've had numerous .12, .20, and .16 ga shotguns, got rid of all of them and have 9 of the .410's now and just one .12 ga and it's a keepsake gun. A Browning lightweight with the gold trgger made in Belgium.


October 20, 2002, 01:22 PM
The biggest mistake I made recently was not purchasing an old bolt action youth single shot .410 I saw at one of my local guns shops. It required a manual cocking, had about a 16" barel, and no sights. I thought this would be a perfect companion on hikes and in the truck. Could be left loaded and uncocked....simple cocking mechanisim. It was for $60, and I'm kicking myself for not buying it!

October 24, 2002, 08:49 PM
I've owned several 410 guage scatterguns, Stevens 311a, Stevens bolt action [tube mag] Remington 870 wingmaster.

I have killed more game, Pheasants, rabbits, quail, witha 410 than all other of my shotguns combined. 28 - 20 - 12 guages.

Ducks and geese call for a 12 guage.

With 3 inch shells loaded with lead #5 shot- pheasants and rabbits are history out to 40 yards. Quail = 71/2 shot.

The 410 870 Wingmaster is one of the guns i really regret selling. It was an early model, toting it around in the field was No problem. Now i only have a Berreta model 390 "silver mallard". It is also a great scattergun in all respects.

My next shotgun purchase will be a model 42 Winchester 410. Ever held one? they are sweet. At one time i lived in the same town [Bloomfield, Ia] where the man who wrote the history of the model 42 for Winchester. In his basemant he had every model 42 that Winchester ever produced.... [28 or 29 models?]

Pheasant season opens this weekend in Iowa...... = 410!!

12-34hom. - good hunting.

October 24, 2002, 09:58 PM
.410 is for shooting cottontails up close when you want some rabbit left to eat!

I am a fast draw shotgunner, I have an ability to blast them a bit too soon.

.410 leaves some rabbit to eat, 12 Guage leaves red mist and fuzz.

I am also the guy that can nail ANY Quail or Pheasant that flushes, but get the hang of shooting Doves.

You take the good with the bad. ;)

Rabbit, Quail, and Pheasant taste better!


October 25, 2002, 01:07 AM
Its good for things that don't fly. Snakes or small furry things. Also good as a kids first gun. One downside: Ammo cost. 410s come in smaller boxes (20 rounds instead of 25) and that smaller box costs more! $7.00 for 20 rounds of 410 vs $3.50 for 25 rounds of 12. The bigger shells are cheaper for some reason, I'm not really sure why...

October 25, 2002, 06:47 AM
The bigger shells are cheaper for some reason, I'm not really sure why...

Sales numbers would be my bet. I almost bought a .25 auto for teaching the wife how to shoot....until I saw the price of ammo! 12 bucks a box.:eek:

Oleg Volk
October 25, 2002, 02:47 PM
IMO, .410 is the shotgun equivalent of the 22mag in rifle calibers...good enough for small game, light and doesn't kick. Ammo cost is relatively high.

Most .410s I've shot were fully choked and yet quite accurate with slugs. Even a 1/2oz load would be much more effective than .22 (or just about any rifle) on running varmints up close. I don't have a 410 but have a soft spot in my heart for them.

That said: cylinder bore 20ga turned out to be almost useless for hunting mammals past close range. At 20m, the pattern with #3 buck (20 pellets) was very sparse...and smaller shot wouldn't put down something like a muskrat (esp. if it was in the water, requiring steel shot and hits on just the head). 410 would be worse.

October 25, 2002, 05:42 PM
My brother and I, and I don't know how many older cousins, started hunting small game with a bolt action .410. It did the job, and was not too much to shoot and/or carry all day. I also killed several woodchucks with it. My cousin got his first deer with the same shotgun, loaded with pumpkin balls.

It might not be ideal, and maybe there are better 28 or 20 gauge shotguns available, but if it's already in the family, why not use it.

October 25, 2002, 07:25 PM

The 410 is an abomination of nature.

Better off with a 28.

Only thing a 410 is good for is poaching rabbits at night.

October 26, 2002, 12:23 AM
Only thing a 410 is good for is poaching rabbits at night.

I poach my Rabbits at night in a big enameled pot!

Come out tender and yummy! ;)

October 26, 2002, 11:52 AM
the 410 does have its uses, even though I have not been very succesfull with it.

It is usefull for:
small birds at close range
Economy of shot
has lower recoil that some ill people will appreciate
does not scare away the rest of the birds.
does not scare the neighbours
also note that in some countries at certain times of the year only .410 is allowed to protect larger game

I have only found it usefull for sitting small game, where higher amounts of shot would have been unnecessary.