View Full Version : .410 vs. 20 gauge

April 8, 2005, 10:29 PM
How does the 20 gauge stack up to the .410 in terms of recoil, ammo availability/cost, and fun.

What are good shotguns in both guages.

Thank you for repling.

April 9, 2005, 01:35 AM
I too am interested in a response. I've only shot a 20 gauge once, never a .410.

April 9, 2005, 02:05 AM
for the most part a twenty is much more fun that a 410 uless you are really really good. for me hitting is more fun than missing and i hit for **** with a 410.

cost 20 are usually less than 410 both for equivilent guns and ammo.

recoil, really not much different 20 can be managed by anyone, a 410 is slightly less.

guns, depends on what you want, both are available in russian and east block guns for not much over a hundred, both are available in 870 expresses, and both are made in the finest kind guns of many many thousand, you get what you pay for.

as far as good shotguns tell me what you wish to pay and what you wish to do with them and i can tell you more.

April 9, 2005, 02:46 AM
I have both 20 ga. & .410 Rem. 870 pumps. The .410 pump is my favorite squirrel gun and can deliver squirrel medicine to 45 yards with 3 inch shells. Ammo - about $8.50/25 3 inchers. Recoil not an issue. Muzzle blast-mild on the ears.
20 ga.- all around fun pump and deer slug gun. Recoil-moderate. Muzzle blast-medium/noticiable on the ears. Ammo - under $3/20 or under $4/25 shells.
Both are available as Youth models. I like the 20 ga. for deer because it won't ruin my hearing and it works. One sabot slug I recovered from a deer started at .40 cal. and mushroomed to .64 cal., rifled slugs leave an even bigger hole. No need to flinch when shooting it either.
I'd love to recommend the H&R 20 ga. single shot, rifled barrel slug gun since it's the MOST accurate, but it does have a pretty heavy barrel to carry around. :D

April 9, 2005, 03:45 AM
The 20 gauge is a great gun and the 410 is a fun gun. If you can you should enjoy them both.

April 9, 2005, 07:27 AM
OH split the difference and get a 28 :D

April 9, 2005, 09:42 AM
OH split the difference and get a 28 :D

+1 :cool:

Larry Ashcraft
April 9, 2005, 09:53 AM
OH split the difference and get a 28

+1 again. ;)

'Scuse me, I got some 28s to pattern right now.

April 9, 2005, 09:59 AM

The inside joke is, Larry had never spent any time with a 28 ga. I tend to talk these 28 ga's up. While at the Tulsa Gun show, I assisted Larry with his first 28 ga.

I understand I created a monster. There is now a shortage of 28 ga shells in his area. Gun shops pull down the "closed" sign when they see him pull up out front. Doing night "patterning" , paying the neigbbors kids to pull targets for him...

Now I gotta find another vict....err...person to educate. :D

April 9, 2005, 10:56 AM
Thank you all for the much needed information about shotguns
(guntotin fool, my price range is around $250-$300)
Oh and thank's for helping a new guy out. :D

April 9, 2005, 09:10 PM
Another for the 28ga. :D

I'm spending a lot more time lately shooting the .410 for skeet, and having more fun too, but for the price of ammo and availability go for 20ga.

April 10, 2005, 06:30 AM
I have a Browning BPS in 28 gauge thank you very much,

April 11, 2005, 10:31 AM
It would also depend on what you want to use it for. A 410 is generally a much lighter gun, nice when you will be carrying it all day. I have not used a 410 in a long time but as a kid used it for ruffed grouse, doves and small ducks at reasonable ranges (less than 25 yards). It would probably do OK on quail also. The 20 will have the advantage on larger birds at longer ranges. You do have to be a pretty good shot to be efective with the 410. If I did much dove/ruffed grouse/quail hunting any more I would likely go with Larry's idea of the 28.

April 11, 2005, 09:27 PM
28ga is nice but the ammo can get expensive like 16ga :eek:

April 12, 2005, 06:20 AM
If more folks would start shooting 28 Ga guns there would be more demand for 28 ga shells and the price will come down.

Besides the fact that 28 ga uses less shot and powder and reloading them is economical. Reloading is fun :p

April 12, 2005, 09:24 AM
The .410 is my "fun" gun. I have used it in the dove fields and use it regularly on skeet and sporting targets. Ammunition is MUCH more expensive for the .410 than for a 20 gauge. You give up at least 15 yards to a 20 gauge in practical range when hunting. Reloading for a .410 is a pain in the rear. The little shells don't last as long, and they are finicky about putting together good loads.

The 20 is a viable hunting gun. Shells cost the same as a 12 gauge, which is to say that they are among the least expensive. Recoil is about the same as a 12 gauge because the gun is proportionately lighter. In fact, a light 20 is a worse kicker than a standard 12. A lot of people who have not shot much 20 gauge think that, because the shell is smaller, the gun will kick less, but that just is not reality. Recoil with the .410 is a good deal less noticeable than with a 20. The shot load is about 1/2 to 2/3 that of the 20, and gun weight is typically only 10-20% lower. .410 shells are not nearly as widely available as 20's, nor are they available in nearly as many loads.

If you can only have one gun, get a 20. If you can have multiple guns, a .410 is great fun to own, carry, and use. Just use it within its limitations. I have, at last count, only one .410. It is a Wingmaster. I have five 20 gauge guns in pumps and autos. I don't yet have a 28, but when the right side by side comes along, it will be mine. The 28 gauge shells cost about the same as the .410's, by the way, and their availability is somewhat limited, so there is a downside to the 28.


April 21, 2005, 09:52 PM
410 guage is primo for upland birds - 3 inch #5 lead shot - pheasants & rabbits - 7 1/2 for quail and grouse.

12 guage for migratory birds.

I've owned several 20 guage shotguns, a Browning B-80 & an Ithaca O/U that come to mind that were my favorites. B-80 only took 2 3/4 inch shells, but was a very nice shooter. For a youth or female shooter it would be a great gun for upland birds.


April 22, 2005, 12:56 AM
I'm gonna second alot of what's already been said here. The .410 has alot of good qualities: light recoil, low noise, and it comes in light guns. It's alot of fun to shoot and a challenge to break clays with. However, shells are ridiculously expensive compared to a 12ga. (Or a 20ga) and it's not nearly as versatile. Any moderately skilled shotgunner with a 20 can put everything from squirrel to deer into the pot (I'd draw the line at high flying ducks, or at trying to nail turkeys from more than 35 yds, but that's me). While a .410 is nothing to sneeze at, it takes ALOT more skill to drop upland birds with (I think we can all agree that crippled or wounded game is a bad thing), and even though a .410 slug packs the muzzle energy of a .44Mag, I'd be hesitant to try to take a deer with one.
So, what do I use mine for? The wife's Mossberg HS410, stuffed with 2 rounds of buck and 3 slugs is what she reaches for when things go bump in the night. Across the bedroom or down the hallway, I wouldn't wanna get hit with it!! While the first rabbit I ever potted was taken with a Savage combo gun in .410, most of my upland game hunting is accomplished with one of my 12ga 's. I'm comfortable that the 12ga is going to put whatever I'm shooting at on the dinner table, and I can shoot clays with it all day long and not have to go to the ATM to buy more shells.
Yes, a .410 has it's place, but, to consistently put a wider variety of food on the table for less cost in shells and less practice at the range, I'd vote for a 20ga.

April 22, 2005, 01:58 PM
20 ga all the way. The only advantage a .410 has is in lower recoil, and if you can find some 20 ga shells with 3/4 oz of shot(seem pretty rare these days), & compare 'em with 3" .410 shells, even that advantage disappears. And $$? :eek: Price shells for each: the .410s are usually ~double what 20 or 12 ga cost- & that's at regular prices. Plus: They often put 20 ga shells on sale- I've *never* seen .410 shells on sale.

Andrew LB
April 26, 2005, 01:07 AM
My first shotgun was a .410 and it is what taught me how to shoot properly. If you can shoot great with a .410, you can shoot great with any shotgun.

My father was on the cover of western outdoor news years ago after winning a trap and skeet competition with a .410... the guy be beat out had a 12ga.

Now thats good shooting!

April 26, 2005, 06:48 AM
My first, and fort many years, only shotgun was a Mossberg 500 in 20 gauge...And I used it for birds, deer, rabbits, whatever. And it was easier on the shoulder, so I could go out and practice more (Often 100 rounds in a day) without getting sore. Ins short, a 20 gauge with do 95% of what a 12 gauge will do, in "real life" situations...but a .410 will only do about 65% what a 12 gauge can do. My .02

April 26, 2005, 07:59 AM
"I understand I created a monster."

Maybe two or three, because if certain people hadn't been talking them up I wouldn't have 'encouraged' my dad to buy one. I can't remember either one of us ever shooting a 28ga until last Friday.

And I do believe that a 6#4oz 28ga O/U kicks a lot less than a 3" .410 out of a Winchester 37 single shot with a full choke. We haven't done a side-by-side comparison, but it appears that way to us.


April 26, 2005, 05:19 PM
A 20 gauge can be a serious hunting shotgun for all around, especially with a 3" chamber. I have taken a 20 gauge down in the canyons for turkey and come up with a 21 pounder, using 3" Super XX #4 shot. My brother was on a kick with pheasants and a 20 gauge for a few years. We both chose the 20 gauge at that time because we wanted something lighter than a 12 gauge.

The .410 cannot be considered an all around hunting gun, but it is definitely fun, and can work for rabbits and squirrels, plus pest control.

I think you can actually buy 20 gauge shells cheaper than .410 shells in most places.

Saying all that, the next Ruger 28 gauge I saw would not spend another night on the dealer's rack if money were no object. I would find a use for it.

big daddy 9mm
May 21, 2005, 07:33 AM
20 gauge is just as good as the 12 gauge but many would say other wise. imo
I have shot all three and I thought they all have their place. 12 gauge is too big for more than 20 round a day. I shot a very light single shot 20 gauge that was old and beat up and I wanted top steal it from my friend who owned it. it was light and i was still able to tell a noticible diff in the kick. the 410 shotgun is well... the most fun thing you wil ever shoot in your life. if they made 410 in a revolver that had a 3 inch barrel and it was cheap to buy the ammo for it, it wold be my only caliber. it has vey little kick. I am sure a 5 year old could handle it. I would get one of each and shot mostly the 20 gauge. taurus does now make a revolver in 410 gauge. does anyone know how much is 410 ammo if you reload your own. :cool: :)

May 25, 2005, 07:30 PM
I'm loading for $2.29 / box right now.