Well, they are not just for Kid’s! The .410 is good for hunting wild game, target practice and home defense. Let’s take a look at these three areas .410 shotguns excel in.
1. Hunting: The .410 is perfect for hunting small game and in the hands of a capable and experienced hunter, larger game such as deer. I use a .410 deer hunting and they are deadly under 50 yards. This year I used a “Silver Bear” 2.75″, 98gr. slug to down a buck on opening day of Rifle season – at 40 yards he dropped like a stone on the first shot. The slug having mushroomed to the size of a nickel.
2. Home Defense: Because of the .410’s lack of recoil, weight, and its ease of operation, it makes a wonderful home defense weapon; with buckshot or #4 birdshot as its best defense load. Whether #4, OO, or OOO buck, each round has ample short-range stopping power but will not typically carry through walls, floors, ceiling, etc., to harm those you are trying to protect. I have a Leinad 45/410 made by the folks at “Ducktown” in the bedroom. It is a double barrel pistol with 8″ barrels. This handles both 45 colt, 2.5″ and 3″ shotshells. I do not personally recommend the use of a wad in these loads – just a shotcup and shot or ball. The reason is that with the rifled barrels a shotshell packs a hell of alot of recoil, double that of the .45 Colt, and makes that follow up shot tricky. My favorite home defense load is:
Birdshot: 3″ BPI Skived hull packed with 12 gr. of 2400 touched off with a CCI 209 primer. With a 1/2″ fiber gas check topped with a load of #4 and finished with a typical star crimp you will have a solid 1/2 ounce of lead out to five feet with rapid spread beyond that.
Pumpkin Ball Round: Same Hull load, powder, primer, with three .395/40cal. balls and finished with a roll crimp. Remember not to over load the hull but leave the proper room for your roll crimp without scarring the ball itself. I use a small drill press set at a prescribed height to insure good roll crimps.
3. Plinking – Trap, Skeet, and target shooting are all fun. Though the .410 is considered a “Professionals” shotgun when it comes to clays – its multiple uses for recreational shooting far outstrip other small gauge shotguns. I have gone from birdshot, to buckshot, to slugs with the same gun and using various targets all in the same days shooting. My practice and research has led to a buffered buckshot round that boasts pellet on pellet accuracy at 30 yards (5 pellets 3 holes) and a double .40 pumpkin ball round that can hold quarter size groups to 50 yards (not the one described above). I have also found great fun using the BPI small-bore slug kits that utilize a .375 round-ball and a combination gas-check/buffer system similar to what Guilandi and Brenneke have. I can shoot three inch groups out to fifty yards and have kept up well with the guys shooting .22 rifles while plinking. Of course a scope/aimpoint increases the accuracy immensely as you otherwise have to depend on shotgun beads for an aiming point. MY Saiga being the exception as I used the iron sights when I shot that opening day buck.
So there it is for better or worse. My general position on the .410 as a useful firearm. If you have any comments, suggestions, stories, videos – whatever, please feel free to let me know. I would be pleased to print whatever you have. So until next time good huntin’ and shootin’.