.410 or 28ga?


The Rabbi
June 25, 2005, 10:48 PM
Got back from a nice family vacation in VA this week. While there we had the chance to shoot sporting clays, etc. They loaned my son (age 10) an old Stevens SxS .410 and he really liked it even though he didnt hit much (neither did I with a Rem 870 12ga but thats another story). So now he wants to shoot a little skeet and I am looking at another gun purchase.
The .410 is a nice gun with minimal recoil but sort of lacking in power to break clays. I thought about a 28ga. I realize ammo availability on that ranges from nil to very hard.
Any thoughts on this and suggestions for a good kid gun?

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June 25, 2005, 10:52 PM
Go .410. I've got an old one that works fine, though I haven't gotten to shoot skeet with it yet :( . Ammo for that is hard to find outside of Winchester/Remington stuff, and it's expensive at that. If you got a 28ga., I would really pity your search for ammo. Maybe a 20ga would work better, since you said a .410 doesn't do well for skeet? My brother had an old 870 in 20, and loved it (he's since sold it, which he regrets)--easier on the shoulder than a 12, easier to find ammo than .410. Just an idea.

June 25, 2005, 11:09 PM
The young'un started to get up and assist on the field. The older fella caught his arm, had him sit back down. " Son, you done passed forward as passed forward to you - sit back, sip your RC, have another smoke and see what gets passed..."

June 25, 2005, 11:53 PM

No. wait.

No, I take that back.

I hate these tough questions!

One of each? :confused:

honestly, if you shop for ammo at the local mega-mart then 410 is the way to go. If it were me and I rolled my own I'd go with the 28.

June 25, 2005, 11:56 PM
If your son is 10 he should weigh around 70-100 lbs correct? I think thats about the size I was when my father bought me a 20 guage NEF Pardner, its a single shot break-action. Mine didn't have a recoil pad, just a plastic butt-plate. It was kind of rough on my shoulder but I think with a recoil pad it would be fine, especially with skeet and trap loads. Also 20 guage ammo is cheap and plentiful.

June 26, 2005, 12:11 AM
I agree with the jump to 20 ga. Much cheaper to shoot, not that much more recoil, and much better performance. If recoil is too much with cheap ammo (will probably be 7/8 oz shot) check around for some lighter loads. With a good recoil pad he should be able to handle it.

I have no experience with 28 ga, but 20 ga ammo can be had regularly for 4$ per box, and I have not seen any for a .410 under 6$ in many years.

June 26, 2005, 12:40 AM
Neither the .410 nor the 28 gauge. Another vote for the 20 gauge. Ammo for .410 is very expensive and the caliber (it is a caliber and not a gauge) is not very effective except in the hands of experts. Ammo for 28 gauge is very hard to find. Recoil of the 20 is not bad and the boy will never outgrow it. The 20 has always been my preference for skeet, doves, and quail.

Good shooting and be safe.

Leaky Waders
June 26, 2005, 01:55 AM
Ammo can be found online....try shotgunworld.com for vendors etc...

Most people cite high $$ game loads as the reason not to get a 28. But, if you check cabelas, a case of fiocchi golden pheasant loads are the same price for a 28 as a 12.

For over the counter wally world ammo purchases, cheap 20 gauge loads wins the cost battle hands down.

A .410 can be had in a slug, a 28 cannot.

With reloading, costs - I've been told - aren't really a factor.

A .410 in skeet is like an expert's gauge, same in the field for wing shooters. I'm not sure where the 28 falls in.

Only gun enthusiasts seem to know of the 28 gauge...others always say - you mean you have a 20 gauge right?

My son really really really likes his gun...he's 9 years old. His 13 year old brother likes it too, much better than his youth stocked 20 gauge montefeltro. He says it kicks less.

Have fun and tell us what you get.


June 26, 2005, 06:02 AM
Of the two, get the 28ga. It's a remarkable little gun that thinks its a big gun. As been stated before the .410 is something of an experts gun, gives very little room for error, but is super fun when you are able to use it to it's advantage.

Ammo can be had for the 28ga, but if you want it to be affordable you need to get into reloading eventually. Save all your hulls whether you plan to reload or not. At clubs they bring 6-8cents a piece for target hulls once fired.

A 20 isn't a bad choice either, but a 28 is one of those little wonder guns. ;)

June 26, 2005, 08:35 AM
I started w/ a shotgun at 14...20 gauge Mossberg pump, with decent recoil pad...Shooting low brass, I could shoot 100 rounds at trap, and just start to feel it at the end. For now, you could also add a strap on shoulder pad. Make sure gun fits well, and recoil won't be such as big a deal.

I think 20 is best because:

1)Easier to hit with, gives satisfaction and positive re-enforcement

2)Can be used for many years (I never hunted with anything but a 20)

3)variety of cheap ammo available, pretty much anywhere.

One more suggestion though.... Start out with some hand thrown, or slower machine thrown birds, pretty much just going away...Will have higher success rate...I got so I was shooting 98-99% at trap...First time I tried skeet, i just plain stunk...Wasn't used to birds flying all over the place, crossing shoots etc. While its good practice for the real world, can be frustrating for a beginner....

My .02

The Rabbi
June 26, 2005, 09:05 AM
I knew someone would suggest a 20ga. We also had a Browning O/U in 20ga. Even my wife, who is not a small woman nor unacquainted with guns, didnt like it. I cant say it did much for me either.
I went through the machinations already of "maybe I should get something he can grow into." In the end it is a bad idea. The idea is for him to want to shoot now, not in 6 months or more. A gun with a painful recoil will discourage that and he wont want to shoot anything in 6 months. And if he outgrows the gun (how many of you still have your first rifle/shotgun?) I can always trade it for something bigger.

June 26, 2005, 09:23 AM
I vote for the 28 if you can afford the $6 to $7 a box ammo. I'll admit that I'm a very recent convert to the 28, but I haven't had a bit of trouble finding ammo locally at gun shops and even chain stores like Dick's.

I grew up shooting .410 guns, mostly bolts, a Savage 24 and a Win M37 single shot, and they work just fine considering their limited range. During this same period I also used my dad's Win M12 20 ga. and I guess it didn't fit me because it beat me up pretty good - of course the first time I shot it I was 5 or 6. I suppose a recoil pad would have helped. So, later on and being a big 10-year-old, I decided I needed a man's gun :) and talked my dad into buying me a Fox Model B 12 ga choked Mod and Full. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. I don't think they made many guns with recoil pads back then. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Got my gun-trading uncle to sell it to a man at work and the first time he shot it he broke his nose on his thumb. It made me feel better - that gun was cursed.

I wish I'd had a 28. :)


June 26, 2005, 10:13 AM
While I've never shot a 28g, I'd go for it over the .410 unless you just can't find 28g ammo locally and won't order it online. I've read quite a bit about the 28 and have decided it will be the next shotgun I purchase, if I ever get another shotgun (hard to argue with the utility of a 12g 870). The 28 seems ideal for small game, upland bird, and clay games, which is all I use shotguns for. The one thing that sticks in my mind is the common perception that the 28 hits harder than it's payload should hit targets/game.

To me, the .410 is marginal for small game and only an expert's gun for upland bird and clay games.


June 26, 2005, 10:31 AM
The first skeet I ever shot was with a friends O/U 28 g. It's a dandy little shotshell and not bad for upland or small game but for most of us the 20 would probably be a better choice because of ammo availability. Also agree the .410 is marginal except for a veteran or expert gunner.

Larry Ashcraft
June 26, 2005, 12:13 PM
I guess you know what I'm gonna say. ;)

28 ga ammo is available if you look for it. Wally World carries Win AA for 6.99 a box (actually cheaper than .410). If you are going to reload, buy Remington STS's, those in the know here say they are better than the (current) AA's.

Dick's Sporting Goods has Rems for $7.99 (8's) or $6.99 (9's). Sportsmans Warehouse has Winchester, Remington or Estates. The Rems are $7.50 a box, minus 5% if you buy ten boxes. If you are dead-set against reloading, the Estates are pretty cheap. Sportsmans Warehouse also carries 28 ga wads (4 different kinds).

A MEC single stage will set you back $100. Trying to figure the cost of reloads this morning, I think about $2-2.50 a box not counting hulls.

As far as "growing into" the gun, I've shot 12 ga for over forty years. Just discovered the 28 (Rem 870) and I'm having a ball with it. Plus my wife is shooting shotgun and enjoying it for the first time ever.

June 26, 2005, 02:31 PM
And if he outgrows the gun (how many of you still have your first rifle/shotgun?) I can always trade it for something bigger.

And farther down the road that "something bigger" will get traded for something smaller if he gets to be a serious shotgunner. I've gotta say go with the 28. Even if you don't want to re-load the hulls will bring 10 cents a piece. You can also get 1 oz loads for the 28 if it becomes a hunting gun.

June 26, 2005, 09:37 PM
Maybe im crazy, but Winchester low-brass 12g loads have about the same recoil as .410 field loads. I think. First I had a .410, and then moved up to a 12 gauge. Im 15 5'9", 147 lbs, so recoil is really not a problem with any gun for me. My dad's friend's .416 rigby has about the same recoil as 3" magnum buckshot. I shot about 50 handloads of .416 that day. great fun.

The 28g may be bigger, but .410 loads are easier to find and cheaper (not by much).

Larry Ashcraft
June 26, 2005, 10:23 PM
410 loads are easier to find and cheaper
That hasn't been my experience. .410 shells are about $1 higher than 28 ga per box and harder to find.

June 26, 2005, 11:23 PM
Go on son, step on out to field now. Student done passed forward what you passed onto him- now as others did you, stand beside and give some confirmation and support...

We have a new shooter at the age of 10.
The responsible mentor instills the 4 Rules, Gun fit to shooter, The Correct Basic Fundamentals of mounting gun to face, stance, hold points, swing,and follow through.

New shooters are turned off by ill fitting guns causing recoil problems, faitgue , and not felling birds.

If a new shooter is not felling birds, he will get disillusioned, bummed out, lose interest and we have lost the ablility to pass forward. We may have also lost a person to help preserve Freedoms , hunting and such for future shooters.

The 28 gauge is better than it is supposed to be. It has to do with payload to bore - it is that short shot string that hits HARD and with authority. Often putting a more dense number of pellets than the 20 and 12.

Look at the Tote board at any Skeet Touirney - THE best scores will be in the 28 ga event. Many folks like myself used the 28 ga for the 12, 20 and 28 ga event [ one may use a guage smaller than the event] - then we used the .410 for the .410.

So for a 10 year Correctly learning to shoot, break birds, and have fun - the 28 gauge I have always urged to be the first gun for a kid.

The .410 is not as effective , that shot string is long and with less pellets. The kid is using a " kids gun because I'm a kid and all" and his drive to continue is diminished because he cannot fell birds.

Back in the day before the Gumbmint meddled - we felled LOTS of Ducks with the 28 ga. When Bismuth was made avail for reloaders, I reloaded and felled them again - screw the Gubmint.

Now a kid that learns CORRECT BASICS, with a 28 ga, will be able to use a .410 with slugs and understand he is not being slighted - just the 20 ga is too long a stock for instance,or that is all avail. He will even get by with 20 ga with slugs - by having used and been hitting with the 28 ga - that taking a deer with slugs is a special circumstance. He would actually be better with a .243.

How much is a 10 year old worth? A helluva lot in my book. Invest in STS shells, a MEC, and pass forward that quality time as well - reloading.

Invest in that 10 year old, and we have a shooter, a Freedom Fighter , Reloader. One does not have to worry as much that 10 yr old getting into trouble later on...

Same for one's wife, GF, shooter with some years and ill health. The 28 ga teaches, promotes and allows continuity of shooting.

28 ga fills a very valuable niche.

A person grows bigger , and will transition with ease to the 12 and 20. Only problem is the 28 ga will always hold a special place...it should, it earned it.

Well son, what happened?
Got my butt chewed out cause the Guy has to buy a 28 ga.
<laugh> Yep you told that kid you mentored to not let his GF shoot one of them 28 gauges...

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