A place for those who enjoy the .410 bore family of Shotguns


How to make .410 Pumpkin Ball Rounds

.40 caliber mini ball rounds for a pistol or a muzzle loader make ideal “Pumpkin Ball” rounds for the .410 shotgun. This is a favorite round with all our .410 shotguns because it can work in anything but a “Full Choke” bore. (To make a pumpkin ball round for a full-choke bore just substitute the .40 caliber ball for a .395 ooo buck pellet.)

Not a bad pattern for a 30 yard shot!

To make this round all you need is:

3″ BPI Primed Skived Hulls

Federal 209 Primers

12 Grains of Alliant 2400

.410 Bore stump wad

2- 1/2″ Fiber Wads

Roll crimping tool

After you have prepped your hull and installed a new primer. Fill with 8 grains of Alliant 2400 powder.

Next, place two 1/2″ Fiber wads for spacers, then a .40 caliber ball, bore stump wad, and another .40 caliber ball.

BPI .410 “Bore stump” hull and two cork wads

Finish with a roll crimp. Do not compress this round. For a 2.5″ hull simply use 1 fiber wad or a nitro card in front of the powder charge.

As with all of our rounds you are the responsible party. These recipes are for educational purposes and the end responsibility is yours when creating and firing these rounds. Starting charge is 8 grains of Alliant 2400 and work up from there. My max charge is 12 grains from a Mossberg 500 410 shotgun with a cylinder bore barrel. Do not fire from a choked shotgun barrel.

These rounds are great for Coyote, Fox, Kangaroos (So say our Aussie friends) and home invasiopn defense. Not recommended for any 410/45 type weapons, ie., Taurus Judge, Leinad, etc.
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Reloading Questions


Smallbores 210 grain 410 shotgun slugs are as accurate as they come. 5 shots to right and low are from 25 yards. Two shots in center are same distance after sight adjustment.


We are receiving alot of traffic from our fellow small bore shooters in Australia, Greece, Africa and the UK. These are countries where .410 shotguns are used quite a bit. The biggest question of late is regarding the .41 210 grain slug load and its ability to fit through a .410 shotgun barrel.

A .41 SWC will slide through a “Cylinder Bore” .410 shotgun with no resistance to speak of and come out the other end. Remember it must be a “cylinder bore” with NO choke! Any choke will likely be destroyed if you attempt to shoot a .41 semi wad cutter size slug and or a .41 pumpkin ball round.

The Theory behind our 410 Shotgun Slugs

This video answers some questions regarding our 410 shotgun slugs.

210 Grain Slug Recipe is posted!

Click here for the recipe!

Now you can make your own 210 Grain .410 Shotgun Slugs!

***WARNING*** Do not shoot from a choked barrel! Only shoot from a Cylinder Bore shotgun!

New Batch of 410 Shotgun Slugs

click here for the Recipe to make these slugs!

Just made a new batch of 410 slugs. 196 grain magnums! Using a slightly different recipe so I will not post it until I know it is safe. I was going out today to shoot but good old New England weather arrived – 6 inches of wet snow! First official day of spring too. O’ well, as the saying goes “Don’t like the weather in New England – just wait an hour it will change.”

Check back tomorrow for some pics as I will shoot in the morning.

30 yard 3" group with my 210 grain 410 slugs.

.40 Caliber Pumpkin Ball Round

The bottom round will be your end result! This was from 25-30 yards =/-

3″ BPI Hull and a box of the .40 Caliber round-balls
BPI .410 “Bore stump” hull and two cork wads
A clean work station is a “Must” when reloading!
Cut-away view of the .395, 40 cal., .410 pumpkin ball round.


 To make the .40 cal pumpkin Ball round you will need the following materials:

CCI 209 primers

3″ BPI Hull

Bore Stump Hull

1/8″ Cork

Powder ( I use 15 grains of 2400)


And the following tools:

3/8″ Punch

Hull conditioner

Roll crimper



Organize your materials taking care to have a clean workbench.

Prep your hulls

Cut five 1/8″  X  3/8″ round wads from the cork. These will go over your 15 grains of 2400. Next place one .395 ball, then a borestump wad then another ball – DO NOT COMPRESS BEYOND ENOUGH PRESSURE TO ROLL CRIMP!

The 148gr. 410 Slug


This is an awesome load. A 148gr. Hollow base double wadcutter .410 shotgun slug –  here is the recipe:

1 – 3″  .410 BPI Hull w/209 primer

11 -grains of Red-Dot

3- 1/2″ Fiber wadstoday-045

1- WSA .410 HS Red Wad cut to sabot size (see the picture above)

1- .358 Hollow Based Double wad-cutter

Finish with a roll-crimp

148gr. is a large and effective round for close in hunting and personal defense. One out of five rounds will tumble at distances over 40 yards, but the rest are consistently in a 3″-4″ group. I have found this round not as accurate as a pumpkin ball slug, but more damaging. 410 shotgun slugs have always been “Under Weighed” in my estimation. What I mean by that is the 410 slug rounds from UK and American shell makers rarely exceed 100 grains – 148 grains is a slug!

What are .410 Shotguns used for?

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’.


Shotgun slugs, what are they and how do they work?


roundball_shell_smallMany shotgun slugs are designed to be stable when fired from a smoothbore barrel, which lacksthe rifling normally used tostabilizethe projectile. The simplest shotgun slug is a round ball, often called a pumpkin ball or pumpkinshot. Since it is symmetricon all axis, the round ball will not significantly deviate from its path if ittumbles. A shotgun firing a round ball is similar inperformance toa smoothbore musket, and the restriction of the spherical shape limits thesectional density possiblefor a leadprojectileof a given bore diameter.

To obtain higher sectional density and better penetration, an elongated slug is needed, and a method must be provided to prevent the slug from tumbling. Foster slugs are designed with a deep cup in the back, so that the centre of mass is moved forward.  The forward mass of the slug helps keep it stable, and will tend to keep the slug moving point first.

Many Foster slugs are also rifled. Rifled slugs have what looks like rifling cast into the surface, Contrary to popular belief the rifling does not provide any spin.  These cast ridges allow the slug to be safely swaged down when fired through a choke.

A variation on the Foster design is the Brenneke slug, which uses a solid lead rifled projectile with an attached plastic, felt, or cellulose fibre wad that provides drag stabilization. Brenneke slugs are more suited for dangerous game, as the solid slug is less prone to deformation than the hollow Foster type.

Sabot slugs are generally designed to be fired from a special rifled shotgun barrel. Sabot slugs are smaller than the bore diameter, and offer significant advantages in external ballistics with the reduced drag. Some shotgun slugs also use fins or a lightweight plastic portion in the rear to provide stability from smooth bores, and may be designed to work with or without sabots.

Shotgun slugs intended for use in smoothbore barrels need to be made out of very soft lead alloys or have a compressible sabot, as they must be able to fit through the restrictive choke present in most shotgun barrels. Even so, it is not recommended to fire slugs through very constrictive chokes, as the effort of compressing the slug will at the least damage the end of the barrel effectively reducing the degree of choke, and at worst significantly raise the pressure within the barrel to cause a burst or explosion.

Foster Slugs

defender_slug_smallThe Foster slug, invented by Karl Foster in 1931, is a type of shotgun slug designed to be fired through a smoothbore shotgun barrel.  The defining characteristic of the Foster slug is the deep hollow in the rear, which places the centre of mass very near the tip of the slug, much like a shuttlecock. If the slug begins to tumble in flight, drag will tend to push the slug back into straight flight. This gives the Foster slug stability and allows for accurate shooting out to ranges of about 50 – 70 yards.

Foster slugs may also have rifling, which consists of eleven or twelve fins either cast or swaged on the outside of the slug. Contrary to popular belief these fins actually impart no spin on the slug as it travels through the air.

The actual purpose of the fins is to allow the slug to be safely swaged down when fired through a choked shotgun barrel, although accuracy will suffer when such a slug is fired through chokes tighter than improved cylinder, with a cylinder choke being recommended for best use.

As with all shotgun slugs it is possible to fire Foster slugs through rifled slug barrels, but if doing so leading of the rifling and barrel becomes a great problem necessitating regular cleaning to maintain any degree of accuracy.

Brenneke Slugs

brenn_clas_12The Brenneke slug is similar in appearance to a rifled Foster slug. The Brenneke slug was developed by the famous German gun and ammunition designer Wilhelm Brenneke (1865 – 1951) in 1898. The original Brenneke slug is a solid lead projectile with fins cast onto the outside, much like a modern rifled Foster slug. There is a plastic, felt or cellulose fibre wad attached to the base that remains attached after firing. This wad serves both as a gas seal and as a form of drag stabilization, much like the mass-forward design of the Foster slug. The fins or rifling are easily deformed to pass through choked shotgun barrels.  Extensive tests have shown these fins do not impart any stabilizing spin on the projectile.

Since the Brenneke slug is solid, rather than hollow like the Foster slug, the Brenneke will generally deform less on impact and provide deeper penetration. The sharp shoulder and flat front of the Brenneke mean that its external ballistics restrict it to short range use, as it does not hold velocity well. The Brenneke slug in 12 gauge is well suited for large and dangerous game at close ranges, and deer sized game out to about 50 – 70 yards.

Brenneke slugs in the .410 calibre are useful with smaller game and deer, but usually at a much more reduced range of about 30 – 50 yards.  Brenneke slugs are somewhat gualandi_sabot_12_smallmore accurate than the Foster slugs, but are usually more expensive.

Sabot Slugs

The main characteristic of sabot slugs is the plastic carrier or sabot, which is of bore size or sometimes a little larger to enable the sabot to engage the rifling found in modern slug barrels.  The slugs contained in sabots are usually of pistol calibre with hollow points.  Although the sabot slug is used primarily in rifled barrels, some designs of sabot slugs can be of use in smoothbore shotguns most notably the Brenneke Rubin Sabot, a sub-calibre slug utilizing the familiar Brenneke attached wad system, and the “Palla Gualbo” again a slug using an attached wad system.sabot_slug1


The smaller projectile held within sabots will have a much flatter trajectory, and will travel at much higher velocities than the more traditional foster or rifled slug, which coupled with a rifled slug barrel will increase accuracy and range to near rifle proportion.  Another advantage of the sabot type of shotgun slug is no lead comes into contact with the barrel at all, so preventing lead fouling.  Which is of course excellent for the slug shooter wishing to use his shotgun for target shooting as well as hunting.

Reprinted by permission courtesy http://www.buckandslug.co.uk/

Thanks Richard…

Pumpkin Ball Slug Loads, single lead round ball loads


Hornady Muzzleloading Bullets 36 Caliber (375 Diameter) Round Ball Box of 100

Ball diameter should be no more then a thousandth of an inch bigger then the smallest diameter in the guns barrel. This is usually right at the muzzle on a choked gun. The minimum diameter for best accuracy can be calculated by the following formula: (Min. Ball Size) = (Min. Internal Barrel diameter) – (2 x (Wad Petal Thickness)) in other words when the wad is inside the barrel the ball does not rattle around inside the wad because it is too small. Normally standard wads have a petal thickness between 0.020″ & 0.035″ and non-toxic shot wads have a petal thickness between 0.035″ & 0.050″. The balls should be cast of an alloy harder then pure lead. Pure lead balls will turn into misshapen hunks of lead under the acceleration forces when the gun is fired. For best accuracy the ball must remain round. Minimum hardness for the balls to remain ball shaped is about 20:1 alloy and WW alloy, which is harder still, works great. Regardless of what size or alloy you make your balls you should always manually check them for safety by dropping one through the guns barrel from breach to muzzle. With a ball that is a thousandth bigger then the smallest point in the barrel, slight hand pressure with a wooden dowel may be needed to get the ball to pass fully through the guns barrel. If anymore then hand pressure is required to make the ball pass through the barrel it should not be used for that gun. This may seem to be a no-brainer test but it should always be done with smooth bore guns, it’s one of those “just to be absolutely sure” kind of things. With rifled guns considerably greater resistance is acceptable because the ball has to engrave the rifling.

Wads must be modified for pumpkin ball slug loads. This is accomplished by cutting down the petals of the wad to form a shallow cup which encloses only the bottom half of the ball. I call this a “ball cup wad” for the bigger balls within the acceptable size range the cup should enclose slightly less then the bottom half of the ball. For the smaller balls within the acceptable size range the cup should enclose slightly more then the bottom half of the ball. If you want exact measurements call it 7/16 and 9/16 of the balls diameter. This arrangement of holding half the ball will give the best accuracy. It will hold the ball dead centre in the barrel without allowing it to roll or bounce along the internal walls of the barrel and give a clean release from the wad once it leaves the muzzle. Additional gas seals or various card, felt, or cork wads are used under the ball cup wad in order to achieve the correct wad column height for a good crimp.

Shot Buffer both under, around, and on top of the ball improves accuracy. A fully buffered ball will ride more centred in the barrel, pass through the choke without bouncing of one side of the choke, and have a smoother separation from the ball cup wad once it leaves the barrel. For best results I recommend the use of BPI#47 buffer. This buffer unlike others is Teflon based and will not pack like other buffers. Packing raises pressures in a load. The #47 buffer may still raise pressures by a very slight amount but nothing like other buffers will do. It will take a little bit of experimentation to figure out exactly how much buffer to put in both under the ball and on top of it. The best way to measure buffer is with a set of Lee dippers. What you want to do is put just enough buffer inside the ball cup wad so that when you put the ball in next it fills up all the empty space under the ball around the edges formed by the curvature of the ball. This “nests” the ball providing an even soft thrust platform and prevents the ball cup wad from sticking to the ball and not separating cleanly. Figure out which of the dippers dumps in the right amount of buffer to accomplish this. If the correct amount falls in-between two dipper sizes use the larger one. Next you need just enough buffer on top of the ball to fill in around the edges and just cover the ball. Again, use the larger dipper if this amount is between two dipper sizes.

Powder Charge is calculated according to the combined weight of the balls, buffer, extra wad spacers, etc using equivalent shot load weights. A good deal of research has been done in this area by enterprising individuals and the general consensus is that when you use a single slug of identical weight to a shot charge with otherwise identical components and powder charge the resulting pressure will be if anything less then the equivalent shot weight. This is due to the fact that a mass of small balls acts like a fluid under acceleration and applies pressure sideways against the internal walls of the barrel thus increasing friction and thus the pressure of the load. The single mass slug does not do this — thus the lower pressure. With rifled barrel guns and full bore size slugs pressure reduction is minimal do to the additional friction from the rifling. It would be best to stick to linear burning curve powders such as those produced by Alliant but with single ball loads this is not a necessity like it is with multi-ball loads.

Hulls used can be whatever you prefer and what you can find equivalent shot weight data for.

Crimps can be either fold crimps or roll crimps provided you have properly buffered around the top of the ball. If you choose not to buffer around the top of the ball do not use a roll crimp. The reason for this is that without the buffer around the ball the over-shot card could get “over-run” by the ball thus resulting in a barrel constriction and potentially “explosive situation” I recommend sealing crimp joints with finger-nail polish to prevent leakage of the buffer during long term storage, transport, and handling, especially when rattling around in your bag on a hunting trip.

This Article is courtesy of  http://www.buckandslug.co.uk/ and printed here by permission. Please visit Richards website for some great .410 info. from our friends in the UK.