View Full Version : Is .410 bore right for me?

March 23, 2008, 05:45 PM
I've been wanting to get into trap and/or skeet shooting since the first time I shot clays last summer.

I have a physical condition called "costochronditis (http://www.diagnose-me.com/cond/C598186.html)". To put it simply, when I'm stressed, lift/pull something too heavy or shoot a lot, I get sharp pains in my chest that feel like a heart attack.

I don't shoot a lot right now, but I know shooting about 15 factory loads of 8mm Mauser out of my K98 can make my sore and tired for two days.

I have a 12 Gauge shotgun which is ok to shoot, but not a lot.
I've been thinking about getting a 20 Gauge semi-auto shotgun (Remington 1100) but I'm not sure if shooting a lot would be too much for me.
I'd like to eventually get good enough for competition, but this is mainly just for a hobby and recreation.

So, I've been thinking about getting one of those .410 single barrel guns from H&R/NEF.
I've heard that patterns with .410 can be "bad" and that they're hard to hit clays with.
The few times I've shot trap and sporting clays I did pretty good (60% - 80) with a 20 gauge and I would consider that pretty good for being my first couple times shooting clays, not to mention my first time with shotguns.

Any help and suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

March 23, 2008, 08:53 PM
Buy low (reduced) recoil shells, they actually are low recoil. It's easier to find them for 12ga. In fact, not sure if I have seen them for 20ga. Coupled with a gas operated auto it should really be light shooting.

Normally Wally World type stores do not have reduced recoil stuff. Try Bass Pro, Cabela's, or similar.

chris in va
March 23, 2008, 11:15 PM
I think you're on the right track with the 20ga semiauto. I have a 410 Pardner which I love to death, but it's only good to about 30 yards before the shot pattern opens up beyond usefulness.

From what I've read, the Mossberg 930 is a very nice semiauto that is reported to be very reliable and long lasting. It can be had in a 'combo' with 28" and 18" HD barrel. This is the 12ga, they may have it in 20ga, not sure.


March 24, 2008, 12:06 AM
Find a Remington 1100 LT-20. It's a scaled down 1100, and lighter than the standard one as well. 20 gauge is more economical than .410 as well.

March 24, 2008, 12:36 AM
Can anyone add any insight on the 28ga? I do remember reading that mathematically, it's the perfect SG loading as far as length, powder, shot, energy, delivered payload, etc. I just don't remember anything more that might be helpful to our OP'r.

March 24, 2008, 10:06 AM
Got to second the recommendation of the Rem. LT-20. Gas operated, very light kicking and delivers enough lead to get the job done. Put a KICK-EEZ pad on it and you'll hardly feel anything.

20 ga. is almost as easy to find as 12 ga. and is usually the same price. There is also almost as much variety in shot size, velocity, etc. 28ga is much less common, much less variety and likely to be expensive.

March 24, 2008, 10:23 AM
The .410 is a real fun gun to shoot but it is not going to work too well at trap. Not that it CAN'T be used, it is just that it will perform poorly considering the distance and how little shot you are putting in the air.
I personally shoot the 28 guage more than any other guage in skeet. It is hard to tell the difference in bird breaks from a 12.
In the .410 the recoil is almost non existant and the 28 isn't a lot more. The downside to the two of them is the cost for shells, approx. twice the cost of 12 and 20 shells. I reload anyways so my 410 and 28 shells cost me less than either 12 or 20 guage shells.
Great luck in your search and it sounds like your "condition" is no fun at all. My sympathies.

March 24, 2008, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the suggestions.

I'm still working on not overdoing things with my condition. Sadly, I'm a firearms addict and that one thing I don't want to give up.

March 24, 2008, 12:08 PM
I had a Russian built O/U in .410 that held a great pattern out to 40yds, plenty enough power and pattern for trap shooting but there is absolutely no error factor, you're either on and smoke 'em or miss 'em clean.

If you go with an O/U or SxS, you're not going to notice a difference in the recoil between it and 20ga SxS or O/U unless you get a cheap 20ga built on a scaled 12ga frame - 20's on a 12 frame are heavy and you give up handling in exchange for the heavier weight which is what reduces the felt recoil. A good quality 28 double, either configuration, is going to be light and fast handling which is why the felt recoil from it will not be any different than that of a cheap 20 built on the heavier frame.

My advice is to go with a good quality light 20ga gas auto. You don't have to sling a massive volume of shot if the gun/load combination work together. Proper loads matched to a quality bore don't require a heavy payload to get the job done. 3/4oz to 7/8oz shot loads in the 20ga will do everything you need to do. Forget the "pellet count" hype and go with #6 or #5 shot loads that pattern well in your gun and it'll work very well for busting clays on the range or pheasants in the field.

My body is totally trashed, I have arthritis & nerve damage in both shoulders. When I shoot, it doesn't matter how much or how little recoil the gun has, if it hits that shoulder wrong or if I move the wrong way, I get pain in my chest. I don't have what you do but what I feel is very much the same as the symptoms listed for costochondritis - chest pain, difficulty breathing, pain extending into the shoulders & arms. Mine doesn't usually last more than 8-12 hours but I've had a few times where it went on for the better part of a week.

I have an SKB 20ga gas auto that shoots excellent with a 13/16oz load of #5's over Alliant Green Dot powder, recoil is almost non-existent.

March 24, 2008, 12:29 PM
My brother hunts with a 28 Gauge and loves it.

He uses a O/U with a scaled receiver (they scale down the receiver to an appropriate size for a 28G so that the gun is lighter).


March 24, 2008, 12:47 PM
The Remington 1100 comes in 28 guage. 410 also

March 24, 2008, 05:44 PM
28ga is a very good gun - for new shooters, younger kids that don't have a lot of upper body strength, etc. It also gives much better patterns than a .410 so you'll probalby be a lot more sucessfun with it.

Recoil is a function of the weight of the gun, weight of the shot and velocity of the shell. So there are a lot of ways to reduce recoil - semi-autos are fine but you can shoot a 7/8oz load at 1150 fps out of a 12ga and proably get less recoil than a semi-auto shooting a 1250 fps 1 1/8oz shell.

I have a semi-auto that will cycle a 7/8 oz 12ga shell as long as it's at least 1200 fps / and that's a soft shooting shell. Not to be a pain in the butt ( but I hope you're talking to your doctor about all this ....).

March 24, 2008, 08:56 PM
I would say to go with a good Remington 1100 or 1187 in 20 gauge.
You can take it in and have the stock cut down to mount a really
thick Pachmayr pad on it.


March 26, 2008, 09:29 PM
If you do go with a .410 you may want to start reloading shells for it, expensive little suckers for sure. I shoot .410's all the time for rabbit hunting and I also shoot some sporting clays with it in the offseason. I like it but it does give you a slight handicap to a 12 ga but then again when you outshoot friends shooting 12 ga's with the lowly .410 you gain extra braggin' rights:D

March 26, 2008, 11:48 PM
I'm thinking I'm going to be buying a Remington 1100 in 20 gauge and I may buy a single barrel .410 from H&R for days when I don't feel like getting jolted as much. The single barrels from H&R are around $130, so I could justify buying it.

Someone mentioned O/U shotguns.
Are those in the same category with single barrels where they have more felt recoil compared to say a pump or semi?

I've been eying a Franchi Renaissance Classic for a while.

March 27, 2008, 12:42 AM
O/U's do have more felt recoil than a semi because with the semi much of your gas pressure is used to cycle the bolt causing the recoil to be tamed. The pump action shotguns I have don't seem to give any reduction in recoil. As a general rule the heavier the shotgun the less felt recoil you will have as well, something to consider in your selection, if recoil is a big problem you may want to skip buying the lightest shotgun you handle.

March 27, 2008, 05:06 AM
my gun store has a 1955 belgian "light 12" browning A-5 that would be perfect for your application...coupled with a 400 dollar price tag sounds like a match made in heaven.....

Jeff Mulliken
March 27, 2008, 07:46 AM
I love and collect A5's but feel that it would be a poor choice given your condition. Minimizing gun wieght and recoil are both important...

The best advice so far has been the 20 ga Rem 1100. they are inexpensive and will cycle light low recoil loads. The shells are versitile enough to shoot any of the clay target games. Most decent gun clubs will have members with this gun in their closet and would be willing to let you shoot a couple of rounds of skeet or trap with it. Get theh word out and try one before buying anything....


March 28, 2008, 01:05 AM
I got to handle some Benelli Super Sport semi-autos today (the synthetic/carbon fiber ones).

I LOVED the way they handled and they felt really comfortable, but were really light. :rolleyes:

I've been reading about this shotgun and the features they designed into it.
It sounds like this may be something to look into, even if it costs a little more.

March 28, 2008, 08:03 AM
If $$ is not an issue I would recommend a Benelli Super Black Eagle in 20ga. The design if these guns are such that felt recoil is very minimal. They even sell recoil compensators that reduce recoil even more. I have one in 12ga and a Rem 11-87. The Benelli has a lot less recoil. Keep in mind that auto loaders use the recoil to cycle the action. This reduces the overall recoil considerably. A single shot or O/U should be heavy to absorb the recoil. If it’s too light, the recoil will be too much. I have no doubt that a 20ga autoloader will suite you well, but my preference would be the Benelli.

March 28, 2008, 09:48 AM
I am now hunting with a Remington Model 11-87 Youth 20 gauge.(CAMO 28")
Very light weight, shorter stock, will handle 3" shells. Used with the correct combination of choke tubes and shot sizes can be utilized for hunting everything I used to shoot with a 12 ga. 3 1/2" mag down to .410 for quail and doves.
Placing a limb saver stretch recoil pad over the stock pad equates to very little recoil and still fits the shooter. I have killed several turkeys using hevi-shot # 5's. Never lost one. Have broken 50 straight at skeet. (not my regular skeet gun).
I have had 4 heart attacks, open heart surgery and both shoulders are BAD.
Had to go for lighter weight and lower recoil. This works...
Using a .410 for the average shooter is questionable. I have shot competition for 50 years, skeet, trap and sporting clays. Have broken a few targets with .410's. They are not for a new shooter. Start with lite loads in the 20 ga. See if it works. Unless you are a reloader the .410 and 28 ga. are very costly for playing. Enjoy the shooting you can and most importantly have fun. Dennis

March 28, 2008, 12:07 PM
I've been looking at stuff on the SBE 2 and it looks like it's pretty much the same thing as the Super Sport but with a regular synthetic stock.

I haven't been able to find anything on the SBE 2 in 20 gauge and there isn't anything about them on their site.

March 28, 2008, 12:31 PM
Check out the new Super Sport, it's design is similar to the SBE.


March 28, 2008, 01:28 PM
I mentioned liking those a couple hours before you posted yesterday.

I think I'm in love with the super sport, btw.

March 28, 2008, 02:30 PM
The Super Sport is a very good gun / and I would highly recommend it. I have a 12ga 30" barrel - I bought a few years ago after I was having some shoulder problems - but still wanted to shoot sporting clays that summer and I wasn't up to shooting my overunder's.

I think it is a very soft shooting gun / shoots very cleanly too by the way - and its a great all around / do everything gun. Contrary to what the manual says - mine will cycle even a 7/8oz load as long as its at least 1200 fps. It will not cycle even a 1 1/8oz load at 1150 fps. But you don't have to shoot heavy loads to get the gun to cycle - is my point. Because the gun is so light - the 30" barrel gives you a little longer sight plane - and I don't have a tendancy to stop my swing so much with the longer barrel. The crio barrel is as good as advertised - and I routinely go one choke lighter - because the pattern is a lot tighter than most of my over unders. So I shoot skeet with a Cyl choke / most sporting clays with an IC or Mod / trap with an IC at 16 yards .... when I use it.

In fact, I like my 12ga so much / I couldn't help it - and bought the 20ga version last winter as well - for the grandkids to work their way into over the next few years. The 20ga is only available in 28" barrel - but its a nice gun as well - and it will cycle 1/2oz loads as long as they are 1200 fps - so its really a soft shooting gun when you get a light load thru it as well. I use the 12ga Benelli as my travel gun - airlines can't abuse it - and it will do everything - good in the field for quail, doves, etc if I go down south for a few days - take it trap shooting - stop into a club when I'm on the road and shoot some sporting clays - take it to Mexico - whatever....... Its not fussy about ammo / easy to clean in 10 min and put back into battery ....nothing not to like about it.

I have also gone to a recoil system on one of my trap guns - a 32" Browning XT over under 12ga - and I put the GraCoil adjustable system on it. It takes a little more of the abuse out of the equation - and lightens things up for my bad shoulders as well. So there are things you can do with over unders as well - but buying a Benelli super sport is a lot cheaper than going to an over under with a GraCoil on it.

April 4, 2008, 01:41 AM
410 and 28 guage are an experts gun. Would not start a kid on either. Skeet they might work but trap your kidding yourself. As was said earlier I would invest in some reloading equipment and make your own light loads for twelve guage. A twenty will kick you just about as hard as a twelve. Recoil reduction products are made to reduce felt recoil. I have what appears to be a pogo stick on the back of my Trap gun that takes probably a third of the recoil out of it. An ounce of eights at about 1100 fps in a twelve will work for skeet and the sixteen yard line at trap with little recoil. It also helps your target count.