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2 1/2 " 410 shells

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Coyote Hunter, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. Coyote Hunter

    Coyote Hunter Well-Known Member

    My father passed away a couple of years agao right after he had bought a mossberg .410 pump. Since then, I've enheirted (sp) his guns. I have agreed, along with my mom, to give it to my nephew when he get's older and show him how to squirrel hunt (he's 7 now). We've decided to teach him how to shoot at some stationary clay pigeons before moving on to moving targets.

    Now my question. I bought some .410 shells with #6 shot in them at Walmart. When I got them home and out of the bag, they looked very short. They are 2 1/2 in length, not 3". Now it seems when I was a kid, my 410 shells were longer than these also. The Mossberg barrel says 3" shells. Can these be used for target practice or are they just too short for a modern 410? I have never really seen these short ones before. The box my dad had were 3" also.
  2. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    My dad is a veteran 410 shooter and all he uses are 2 1/2" shells. 3 inch shells tend to pattern kinda sparcely in that 410 bore. I believe you'll find that they work just fine for squirrel.
  3. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Well-Known Member

    The 2-1/2" shells will work fine in most 3" chambered .410s, but NOT vice-versa. For hunting, I'd prefer the 3" because they have more shot in them. For flying birds, I'd use smaller shot - #8-ish.

  4. machinisttx

    machinisttx Well-Known Member

    IMO, the .410 is decent for squirrels, but quite lacking when it comes to birds. The effective range is short due to the small pattern and small shot charge.

    If I were going to use one for squirrels, I'd find some 3" shells loaded with #4 or #6 shot. For clays, a 2.5" shell with #9 shot seems to be the load of choice.

    Personally, I despise the .410 for anything other than close range pest control.
  5. gp911

    gp911 Well-Known Member

    2-1/2" should be just fine. They usually, in most guns anyway, pattern better than 3". I prefer the 2-1/2" unless I'm shooting the 000 buck rounds, then I'll take 3" (5 pellet versus 3 for 2-1/2"). I shot a lot of 3" when I was younger too, but I've since seen the light. :D

  6. mtngunr

    mtngunr Well-Known Member

    I've patterned and hunt with a .410 extensively....it's good for most any small game....the patterns are smaller, but just as dense as a 12ga Cyl bore....at 20-25yds, a .410 will throw a 20" pattern with dense 15" core and a very few fliers opening it up to 20"....a 12ga Cyl bore does about the same at 30yds/30" pattern....you just have to center your target more precisely....25-30yds is max for the .410, the patterns falling apart dramatically past that.....but great for 15-25/30yd small game. The 2.5" shells generally seem to pattern more evenly than 3" in my guns, and the 3" is too dense at closest ranges....target/trap loads will pattern best....I use AA HighSpeed Clays loads for most my hunting....folk that say a .410 is no good for birds don't point very well....
  7. sm

    sm member

    2 1/2" for reasons stated above.

    Oh, reloading.
    If one does not reload, finding a skeet shooter that does, means the reloader is set up for 2 1/2" hulls and just a matter of cranking out some loads with less fuss.

    Not that one cannot change out a MEC and set up for 3", just most .410 I know are left set up for 2 1/2"
  8. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Well-Known Member

    I pretty much found the same thing with the .410. There for a while I was really shooting skeet hard and heavy with a .410. I'm no great skeet shooter, but it got to the point where I could easily break more targets with my .410 than my 20 ga.
    I bought a SxS made under the name of Richland Arms. It had a high, solid rib that made it super easy to point. I had it fitted with screw-in chokes and use mostly IC & MOD chokes, though sometimes I'll use SK & IC for skeet shooting. Took it dove hunting a few years ago and got 13 birds!
    I've discovered two critical things about the .410:
    First and foremost, full chokes are a big mistake. For me, the best all around combo has been IC/MOD
    Second, commercial 3" shells SUCK! I began loading my own 3" shells and by using carefully selected loads, that'd be LOW PRESSURE loads out of the Lyman manual, and using extra hard shot, I found that if it was under 30 yards, it was mine!

  9. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    I find that the .410 kills just as well as any other guage out to 25 meters and is a whole lot more comfortable to tote around all day.

    I like #5 and #6 shot, 3" Winchesters with a full choke.
  10. Bud Tugly

    Bud Tugly Well-Known Member

    Game animals don't know or care what size gun the pellets that hit them came from. The only consistent difference between gauges is the number of pellets they put in the air.

    Folks who think a .410 is ineffective are probably using too much choke or are taking shots that are out of range. Modified choke works great within the 20-25 yard range. A .410 is a delight to carry in the field and works great for hunting close cover, but is out of its element in open spaces where longer shots are the norm.
  11. sm

    sm member

    Bud Tugly speaks true.

    While the .410 is a "beginner's nightmare and experts' " gauge, there are reasons.
    Once one investigates, verifies and educates themselves, plus trigger time, the .410 is a very useful too, not to mention downright fun!

    -.410 is not the best gauge to learn on.
    If you have read Brister's book, you know the answers to this, and most questions asked on THR, other fora and in real life in regard to shotguns.

    Payload to bore ratio: Those pellets have been hit with a force akin to a grenade going off, and hit that forcing cone with such force, then rocket down the bore to hit a restrictive muzzle. (choke).

    Pellets deform- period. Chilled shot deforms easier, hard shot resists, and the wad assists.

    Cram too many pellets and something has to give, the pellets are going to give.
    Folks have this "more is better" , "bigger is better" , and "faster is always best" mindset.

    Not always. Shoot a pattern board of the same shot size, same hardness from a 2 1/2" and 3" offering and one "might" see more pellet deformation and "blown patterns".

    So a kid, gets handed a .410, and all the big people have bigger guns. Big people do not parent or mentor and that kid slaps trigger on that squirrel and the squirrel scurries off.
    Big People are having squirrels fall, this "stupid kids gun, is just a stupid kid's gun!"
    "They just stuck this gun in my hands because I am a kid, and I feel in the way and this is no fun and I don't shotguns, or hunting!"

    No, not on my watch!
    I and mine have a sit down with the kids. They know they are not as big, and we shoot a pattern board.
    .410 will toss the same pattern as a 12 gauge, and we take a clay, tennis ball, even a golf ball and look for "holes".

    "Okay, I am going to have to be closer and this 2 1/2" green .410 in #6 shot does better in my gun!"
    "My gun shoots the 2 1/2" red ones better in #6 shot..." another kid sees.
    Golf ball is a squirrel's head, and since we mentor looking at the leading edge of a target - that is a dove's head too.

    Now, everyone uses a .410, most of the time we "big people" use a single shot too!

    Now the parenting, mentoring, lessons are being passed forward. That .410 is not a "kids gun", and this hunting stuff is fun!

    Dove hunting- we set out yard markers. It does not matter what gauge, as many folks mis judge range.
    We especially do this with new folks and kids.
    Kids and new folks shoot, the rest of us are there for them.

    There is just something about a kid only so tall with a .410 single shot, with a fixed full cholke with skeet load of #8 hard, in a 2 1/2" shell:

    "MoOM! I busted that Bad Boy at 41 steps!"
    "You did! My goodness! 41 steps is a long way"
    "Yeah moOM it sure is, but I safe-ed my gun, handed it to Uncle 'teve and I beat the puppy finding that bad boy!.

    So it was 17 steps, I am 6' , and I have long legs, and a kid only so tall has to take two steps or so for one of mine.

    'Side's, at the liars table chowing down on BBQ, 41 steps sounds a lot better.


    Folks would be wise to investigate, and verify.
    Many may find backing on down, and not going the bigger, baddest, fastest, longest distance route in shooting , results in more hits.
  12. Coyote Hunter

    Coyote Hunter Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies guys. He is kinda small for his age, and the .410 is downsized enough for him to shoulder it, that's why we're starting him on it. Like I said, I killed some squrrels with it last year and it was a hoot to carry in the field, like when I was a kid again.

  13. gp911

    gp911 Well-Known Member

    I learned on a .410 and I'm still shooting, so it's not always bad. Gotta keep the shots close is all. Highly recommend adding a bb/pellet gun to the mix as well, such as the venerable 760 Pumpmaster from Crosman.

  14. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    Correct me if my memory is defective, wasn't the .410 bore one of the first if not the first shot gun commercially chambered for 3" shells?

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