View Full Version : Re-examining the HD 410...

Dave McC
November 1, 2001, 07:32 AM
I caught some flack recently (not on this BB) about a comment I had made concerning 410s. It was friendly, and someone rubbed my nose in it gently.

Sporting uses of the 410 are quite limited,IMO. The miniscule shot load limits effect and range, and the biggest critter the 410 is effective on is an Alpha-Male Grey Squirrel,IMO.

So, being a Manly Man, full of testosterone and good intentions, I've been telling folks to get a REAL shotgun and leave the puny 410 alone. Silly me...

Not everyone is 1/8 ton, tough and LIKES that little push when a full power 12 ga load kisses your shoulder good bye. I keep forgetting that.

My Sicilian Granny(T'other one was mostly Cherokee) was frugal to a fault. When she decided that a house gun was a good idea in her changing 'hood, she brought out HER father's Iver Johnson Owl Head 32, nickle plated of course, and not fired since the 30s. She tried a 38 of mine, but it was too much kick for her. Did I mention she was well into her 70s at the time? Anyway, some fresh ammo, a complete TD clean/lube and a few lessons had her able to hit a softball sized target across the room every time, briskly.

There's lots of folks out there due to size, age, temperament, health, etc, that could benefit from having an effective firearm, but cannot handle well a regular shotgun, and they may be barred from owning any handguns. NYC and DC come to mind.

Area news has mentioned some home invasions of the elderly recently, and one woman was killed.

So, how effective can the tiny 410 be for HD?

As the person who rubbed my nose mentioned....

One very effective defense loading is the 41 Mag Police load, a 210 gr lead SWC at about 900 FPS. This was an excellent LE load, but the N frame was too large for easy carry by many folks, and the kick slowed down repeat shots.I had a Model 58 S&W for a while long ago, it was a fine HD tool.

A 1/2 oz load weighs about 216 grains. My well thumbed Lyman reloading Manual shows 2 1/2" 410 loads as running 1100-1300 FPS, well above that 41 Mag load with its 95% or better one shot stop record. IOW,one of those Mossie 500 410s, the 870 equivalent, or that 94 Winchester job equates to a 41 Mag carbine at close to very close ranges.

Downside? Shotguns are very effective for defense because they dump a tremendous amount of energy int the target. 410s do not share that advantage, but it's obvious they have more energy to transfer than most handgun cartridges.

And, this is close range only. If the action takes place or moves outside, that energy dissipates fast with the spread of the pattern.

By and large, the person who needs a HD tool but is not allowed to or cares to have a handgun, doesn't shoot much and does not want the recoil and weight of a large bore shotgun may be well prepared with one of these.

Questions, comment, donations?

BTW, I'm now going into the kitchen and making some Bearnaise sauce. If I have to eat my words, I want them to be palatable...

Al Thompson
November 1, 2001, 07:42 AM
Dave, somewhere in the past couple of weeks I read that one of the European slug loads hits 1900 FPS. The buckshot load (IIRC) has three 000 pellets. Have no desire to stand in front of a .410, even loaded with breath mints.... :D

Mark Morowitz once penned that the first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun....... All other rules are way down the chart, but IMHO rule #2 is have a reliable one.


November 1, 2001, 10:09 AM
For some folks, a sword might be the best option for CQB. A .410 may be optimal for others. Seems like every old man (older than me) that I know, has a .22 in the nightstand. Wouldn't be my first choice...but then it isn't my choice at all.

November 1, 2001, 11:39 AM
When I was a young Marine with a new wife and frequently deployed her house gun was a Mossberg 500 in 410. The 1/5 ounce Remington slug traveling at 1830 fps was impressive against the practice targets we used. While the 410 isn't anyone's ideal tool I never worried about the stopping power of shotshells or slugs. Later as she was around guns more she learned to shoot a GP100 in 357 Mag better than me!

The shotgun also came with a pistol grip as an accessory. I only used it when the 410 came along as a boat gun in my canoe or brother's jon boat. (Where Legal) Its a lot of fun easing along the backwaters in a southern swamp taking a few squirrels and fishing at the same time. Some interesting meals are made when you bring home small game and catfish or bluegills after a morning on the river. I had a friend in South Carolina bring home squirrels, catfish, and a feral hog all in the same afternoon.

Dave McC
November 1, 2001, 12:05 PM
Natchez carries various 410 buck loads, 00 or 000.

A standard target load would approximate a Glaser at across the room ranges. Effects may be more than the buck or slugs, and have less chance of overpenetrating.

Maybe one of the folks who posted stuff on drywall penetration with varied loads can give us some input here.

Cape Fear, in my long lost youth we often took a canoe doing a couple of local creeks. The guy in back would paddle, the one in front would shoot. Squirrels, woodies, the occasional mallard, etc, would get brought home.

November 1, 2001, 09:19 PM
As you note, Dave, the .410 is a limited range tool.

But, in most folks' homes, we are talking about limited ranges.

Within its limited range, a .410 ought to be a more potent and more easily aimed defensive tool than a handgun, and if the recoil is more tolerable and encourages more practice, it's probably a net gain.

Since there's an exception to every rule, though, I guess I'll also observe that although I far prefer a shoulder weapon for defensive use in most situations, if you are having to move around a house with a gun (a situation we will hope never happens), in many houses a handgun just might be superior even though it is harder to aim and delivers a less potent defensive force -- because the shoulderarm is harder to maneuver and (especially for those not well trained) the take-away potential of a long arm is probably greater.

Gotta estimate your own circumstances and do the best you can to anticiapte how problems may arise and develop!

Dave McC
November 2, 2001, 05:03 AM
Good points, J.

So many variables enter this that maybe the best advice we can give is for someone to carefully evaluate all the options and pick the ones that seem to match the situation...

November 2, 2001, 08:30 PM
Yup -- and get trained, and keep that training current!

Jody Hudson
November 2, 2001, 08:47 PM
I've not had a .410 in years, but had one shortened on both ends for my youngest son and he did VERY well on ducks, geese all sorts of targets, clay targets, and a deer with his tiny little single shot .410 with the 18.5 inch tube and short stock.

We have a few folks here who hunt with the .410 for ducks and geese still. Many folks used to hunt quail with a .410. There are a few who shoot trap here with a .410 and swear it's the favorite. They admit that the shot column is smaller in diameter but they say they get just as many targets as with the 12 gauge.

For years you could not legally own .410 slugs here in Delaware because they were the choice of deer poachers. The .410 slug does tend to be very accurate for some reason out of a smooth tube.

I will not have a chance to do sheet rock tests with the .410 but since it is the same speed and the shot is the same, just less of it in a smaller diameter; I'll bet a steak sandwich that the wall board tests will be identical with that of the 12 gauge but with a smaller diameter hole.

I'd love to hear someone build some "walls" and test some of the .410 shot shells on them.

So, my unfounded evaluation... is that the .410 is just a smaller shot column of the same size pellets going the same speed and thus I strongly suppose that the difference is one of diameter of wound channel and number of pellets in the would channel only. The up side is less recoil and thus the person is more likely to practice with it. And, perhaps if a pump is used, several shots would be more likely and thus stopping power may even be enhanced as a result of multiple hits!

Denny Hansen
November 2, 2001, 08:53 PM
You have probably already thought of this, but I believe that one of the best things that Mossberg's HD 410 has going for it is that its stock fits women and others of small stature better. It's my humble opinion that women get pounder harder with a shotgun more from an incorrectly fitted stock rather than the actual recoil.

Just my .02


November 3, 2001, 08:25 AM
ya mean i have a reason to buy that new lever action winchester 410?


Jody Hudson
November 3, 2001, 09:19 AM
I didn't even know that Winchester MADE a lever action .410. If that is correct, that would be an awesome rifle/shotgun. Is is rifled or not and is it true?

Dave McC
November 3, 2001, 10:00 AM
Thanks folks, some good points.

Jody, my gut reaction's that a half oz of small shot will duplicate the penetration of larger amounts of small shot at the same velocity, minus a bit, but it's just a semi educated guess. I sure do not see it as penetrating more.

BTW, standard poacher's equipment here in Md runs to scoped 22 Mag rifles and crossbows.

And, that Winchester 94 is....

A, not rifled.

B, chambered for 2 1/2" shells only, no drawback for this mission.

C, holds about 10 rounds, IIRC.

Denny, the older I get, the more importantly I regard fit. The Youth models are a step in the right direction, but more folks need to get good fitting stocks. One advantage to the 410 here is less kick means more comfort and,as Jody says, more likelihood of regular practice.

dZ, maybe. It is pricey.

November 3, 2001, 02:12 PM
here is a link to a few posts on the winchester:

November 3, 2001, 05:22 PM
There is nothing wrong with a .410. It is an experts gun, to be sure, one has to be right on target with it, but it is not lacking in any respect.

A .410 slug packs a mean whallop, and on deer size animals, it is just as effective as a .30-30 (under 50 yards)

I occasionaly shoot trap with a Mossberg .410 pump, and do quite well with it. It requires more skill than a larger gun, but to me, shooting trap with a 12 gauge is boring nowadays.

All in all, the .410 is a vastly underrated load. If the person is a good shot, it would do fine as a home defense tool. Certainly not my first choice for thus, but I would not feel undergunned with one.

Jody Hudson
November 3, 2001, 05:33 PM
What a great idea for a home defense gun. Those who are recoil sensitive will have something formidable here. How much can you get one for?

I also like the fact the juries seem to be a lot easier on the lever action and anti guners seem to not mind the cowboy carbine as much as other guns. I am very interested. I was unable to find a price so far however.


November 3, 2001, 10:37 PM
winchester 9410 $450 (http://www.gunsamerica.com/search.cgi?complex=1&custom=&lowprice=0&highprice=99999999&age=0&uid=&words=9410&category=2671&state=)


its "shotgun of the year" (http://www.winchester-guns.com/prodinfo/catalog/awards/2001_awards.htm)

Jody Hudson
November 4, 2001, 12:52 AM
It IS beautiful. Is that $450 suggested retail, which would bring it down to about #50 or so dealer cost?

I love the idea of this little shotgun/rifle.

November 4, 2001, 01:28 AM
click on the $450 link above

thats the retail price on Gunsamerica.com

Jody Hudson
November 4, 2001, 01:35 AM