View Full Version : .410's for hd ?

December 23, 2000, 07:46 AM
what are your opinions for a 410 for home security? Just looking for info.


Dave McC
December 23, 2000, 09:43 AM
The big advantage to shotguns for HD is the huge amounts of energy they can dump into a target. This does not apply to the 410 with its miniscule load. Energy levels are kinda like 38 target loads,or maybe the old 32 S&W. It may serve to protect your family, but when it comes to important stuff like that, I want more than a maybe.

If a serious gauge shotgun is not a good choice, maybe a better longarm would be a pistol caliber carbine, like the Marlin Camp Carbine, or one of the various lever actions.

December 23, 2000, 11:05 PM
Handloader digest had an article about the 410 for defense 3 or 4 years ago. The author found the 410 had much more to offer than presumed. He reloaded 6 pieces of 00 buckshot into the 410 case and found velocity and penetration about like the "tactical" buckshot loads that are fashonable now. The 95 gr slug @ 1600+ velocity carries energy more like a hot 9mm but the soft lead slug expands easily.

Most "combat" advisors would not suggest this but it sure beats having some of the small handgun alternatives, and it is much easier to handle for people who don't shoot often.

December 24, 2000, 08:42 AM
Jeff Cooper once said the first rule of a gunfight was "have a gun."

And the advice from Robert Ruark was "use enough gun."

The .410 passes the first challenge but rarely qualifies on the second. Mossberg did (does?) make a .410 defense-type gun with a pistol grip foreend and it might be suitable for those who can't handle a larger round. But if that is the case why not, as Dave McC suggested, go with a carbine in a pistol round that would be much easier to handle and likely more effective.

The .410 is better than nothing (Cooper's rule) but why wouldn't you use the heaviest gauge/caliber you can manage when in an HD situation (Ruark's rule).

December 24, 2000, 01:21 PM
I was just giving this some thought. The whole over penetration idea, ease of use in a confined space, the need for a gun that would not have to be used at more than 10 yds max.
What about for the idea of staying put and watching the door (of the bed room) if an intruder is inside, still too weak? How about the noise from firing inside a house?

December 25, 2000, 07:09 AM
"....but why wouldn't you use the heaviest gauge/caliber you can manage when in an HD situation?" The little Mossberg is about as much as some can manage. It's very light, short, basically recoil free, simple to operate, and probably reliable. I believe the 410 can send out a 88gr slug at around 1800fps, which is nothing to sneeze at. However, it doesn't have much sectional density and you'd have to worry about under penetration. A Ruger PC carbine in 40 S&W would be a better alternative although semiautos are considered mechanically more complex than pumps.


Dave McC
December 25, 2000, 07:25 AM
A pistol caliber carbine doesn't have to be a semi auto. All those lever actions out there in calibers like 357, 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 44-40,etc, make GREAT HD tools with little recoil, simple operation, little noise(relatively, you'll still have some shreds of hearing left after action inside) and readily available ammo at reasonable prices for practice or crisis.

A 38+P,110 grain JHP leaves the muzzle of a 16" bbled carbine at around 1700 FPS,a +P+ 1800 and some. For those with 38/357 defense revolvers,it's a great choice,and IMO superior to a 410, which frankly I've always seen little use for.

December 25, 2000, 06:16 PM

merry christ mas

December 28, 2000, 04:43 AM
I've read, with some amazement, the `pooh poohing' of using a .410 for HD. Back in the days of my `misguided youth?' I worked as a reserved sheriff deputy and had the occasion, more than once actually, to respond to `self defense situations' involving the use of a .410 shotgun of one ilk or the other. In all of those it was what we called, back then, a `blot and wipe' scene. The BG was usually `suitably mangled' and *definitely* not moving. The one that sticks in my memory the clearest concerned a recently widowed rancher's wife who dealt with a pair of `drifters' using what she called her `snake guns'. (A .410 single shot break action shotgun *and* a .410 `pistol'. [And... Nope! *No one* even bothered to check and see if the `pistol' had `rifling' back then.]) When she was questioned she said she waited for the first one to get to about 8 - 10 ft away and let him have it `right between the eyes' and then pulled the `pistol' and let the other one have it in the same place at about 6 - 8ft. And... She wasn't the least bit `remorseful' saying that "Just because I'm old and widowed doesn't mean that I have to be `defenseless', too."

As with *all* firearms it is *shot placement' that counts and just going with the premise that `bigger is better' just ain't always true. Get the shotgun *you* feel comfortable with and *practice*, *practice*, *practice* until it becomes `second nature'. In her case she'd probably put more rounds through those two than probably half, myself included even though I *do* try and get out and shoot almost every `clear' and `warm' day I can, the people here have despite all the `claims' to the contrary just shooting `varmints' and `snakes' and she *knew* exactly what it would do and where. {GRIN!} (BTW, she *wasn't* some `little slip of a gal' by any means. I figure she weighed in around 175 - 185 and was as `tough as nails'. After all she and her late husband *homesteaded' their land. {CHORTLE!} She just happened to prefer the .410 over other firearms they had around their place.)

Dave McC
December 28, 2000, 07:47 AM
Halfpint, thanks for that, and if I ever run across that old lady, the first round's on me(G)....

A couple of points....

One, she was totally familiar with her guns, and knew the effectiveness of her loads, it seems.That's the way it should be. Both of the perps were shot at close to contact distances, but what if they had been armed also, and opened the range up to say, 10-20 yards? Would those 410s, probably loaded with shot no bigger than #6, have done the same job? I've doubts...

You're certainly correct about training and shot placement.

December 28, 2000, 03:18 PM
No argument that shot placement is the key but I don't want to have to wait until an adversary comes closer because my firearm isn't up to the job. At 6 to 8 feet, just about any round would do if placed between the eyes.

My most telling experience with the .410 was on a preserve hunt for Hungarian partridge. My hunting partner was an accomplished wingshot who wanted to give the .410 a try. Despite his proven ability, the .410 wasn't dropping the birds with the nearly the same authority. I spent the day backing him up with my 12 and he hasn't picked up a .410 since. If the .410 is that shaky on small winged creatures it wouldn't be my choice on large, hostile animals whether on four legs or two. Carry and use the biggest round you can manage.

Dave McC
December 28, 2000, 07:05 PM
A former hunting buddy(He moved) was a fan of the 28 ga. He bred and trained Welsh Springer Spaniels, close working dogs, and was deadly over them with that little 3/4 oz load. But,he thought the 410 was suitable for kids, squirrels and sparrows, and I tend to agree with that.

December 29, 2000, 02:17 AM
How about a lever action .410. I just saw in American Rifleman that Winchester is putting out one that looks like a 94. I have a Mossberg .410 pump with a 26" vent rib and a 18" bbl. Very little kick on that shotgun. MWT

December 29, 2000, 10:18 AM
The .410 has it's uses for hunting. For the past three years, I have used my Winchester mod 42 in .410 to hunt doves here in AZ. I have had no problems limiting every time I have gone out. This was done mostly with 2 1/2" shells with 1/2 oz. of shot.
Many people don't understand the capabilities of the .410 and think it is somehow less of a shotgun. I always say it is like shooting a 12 ga but with allot less shot. This means that you have to be allot more precise with your shots since you have a much thinnner and shorter shot string to work with.
I under stand that not all people can effectivly use a .410 for hunting but it can be done. I had been shooting .410 skeet long before I tried hunting with it. That game will help you get a better understanding of the capabilities of the .410.

December 29, 2000, 01:03 PM

There's no doubt there are better shooters out there than me and I respect those who can take game cleanly and effectively with a .410. But like you say, a .410 user needs to be more precise because there's less shot and a shorter shot string to work with.

I've tried the .410 at skeet and compared to the 28 or larger gauges, I've never felt confident using it or recommending it. However, I've never hunted doves in southern states. My birding hunting is eastern grouse in heavy cover, pheasant and partridge either wild or preserve and I like an ounce of shot or more.

The .410 discussion is like the debate over the effectiveness of the .223 Remington for deer hunting or the .25ACP for handguns. It's an expert's round that can do the job providing the shooter understands both the limits of the round and his own shooting ability.

[Edited by PJR on 12-29-2000 at 01:57 PM]

ballistic gelatin
December 29, 2000, 02:41 PM
It has always puzzled me how many people can be
so confident in the .223 ability to be a "manstopper"
but would not even think of using it on medium sized
game such as whitetail deer. In my opinion the medium
sized game and the medium sized gobblin are relatively
equal in size and bone mass. I thought the goal was not
to wound, but to neutralize the threat. To neutralize
means to render neutral or inoperable, doesn't it?
Can somebody help me understand?

December 31, 2000, 12:30 AM
Also, many of us dont CARE if an attacker suffers, whereas we try to kill game humanely. We wouldnt shoot deer with our .45 230 gr hydroshoks, either, because they would run for 1/4 mile or more, nearly every time. I WOULD shoot deer with a 223 by the way, using 64 gr softpts, but only if sub 100m, nice steady firing position, and nearly 90 degree angle at ribcage, carefully avoiding the shoulder. Lack of exit wound = lack of blood trail= occasional loss of game. I dont care of an attacker crawls away to bleed out, you see. I do care if my deer has coyote urine on it the next day., I probably can hit the man AGAIN if i need to, but the deer is GONE after one shot.

January 2, 2001, 03:21 AM
Dave McC,

In the one case I related both perps *were* armed, with knives. And... They were coming into her place through the front door of a `screen porch' headed for her front door. (Hence the close range of the shots.) She knew that *if* she'd tried to `take them on' outdoors she wouldn't have had as good a chance as she would have with them contricted down to those two doors and so, since it *was* obvious they only had knives, she elected to engage them there. (Gotta remember she *was* a `settler' rather than someone who'd `moved out' to the country. I am fairly certain that she had several other `plans of action' already worked out from `times past' as I remember quite well the `arsenal?' she, and her departed husband had in that house. [When I was younger I spent *many* hours out at their place with them and their *grandchildren' enjoying plinking and other forms of shooting. It was at their place I learned how fast a 10ga can put a 14yr old's backside in the dirt and give a really `pretty?' shoulder bruise. {GRIN!} I also got my first `taste' of cap and ball shooting there, too.])

As always... Practice, practice, practice! When `push comes to shove' it'll be what one has learned in all that practice that'll be what `comes through'. *Just* depending upon some `mythylogical?' `stopping power' of one weapon or round on doing the `job' is *not* `enough?'. *My* `in house' choice will most likely *not* be the next person's choice but, unless met with *extremely more* `firepower' will most likely do exactly what I *practiced* with it to do. (BTW, I use a 20ga and a 1911A1 and SWMBO prefers a .410 and a G-22. We *both* practice, practice, practice *and* hope that we never have to use them but still keep on practicing knowing that Murphy is an optimist. {WAN GRIN!} `Outside' the house things change and you might even find one or the other carrying something bigger or even a rifle. [We happen to live out in the country where `response time' makes a tad bit of `difference'.)

Dave McC
January 2, 2001, 06:54 AM
Halfpint,sounds like the lady has a decent grasp of tactics. I wonder why she didn't take them out with the 10 ga you mention.

However, Monday morning quarterbacks have the easiest job on Earth. She responded well to a threat,and she's alive and doing well while the perps aren't. Justice prevails, aided by expertise....