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410/45LC Performance

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Jackarunda, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Jackarunda

    Jackarunda Member

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    Howdy. First post, though I've lurked on this site and its archives since I was a teenager (2008) and became obsessed with firearms and ballistics.

    I've been doing a lot of research about the Judge and the Bond Arms 45LC/410 derringers lately, and I've come up with a question that I've not found an answer to anywhere.

    Everywhere I go, folks ask about 45 Long Colt vs 410 slugs, and the conclusion every single time is that a 45 Long Colt is vastly superior to any 410 slug. I can easily see why, as every commercially available 410 slug has a 9mm Luger-esque bullet weight of around 120 grains and pathetic velocity out of a handgun, while the 45LC pushes 250 grains to 900 fps and above.

    My question though is WHY???
    Why is nearly every available commercial 410 slug pathetic? The cartridge is much larger than a .45LC, and SAAMI specs the chamber pressures about the same, so howcome almost no one makes high-powered 410 ammo?

    The way I see it, if I put 250 grains of buckshot (000 or 00 or whatever fits) into a 410 2-1/2 inch shell and propel it to 900 fps with handgun powder, that would generate chamber pressure very similar to a 45 Long Colt, and would therefore be plenty safe to shoot in a handgun designed to fire both cartridges. So what's the hang-up? Is this somehow unsafe? Is it not possible?

    Note: I am not asking this for personal defense reasons. I am well aware that there are far better options out there. My question is mostly academic. Also I want to be able to handload 410 and not feel like I'm wasting my time.
     
  2. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Is the powder space available in a .410 shell and a .45LC case the same?
     
  3. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Personally I don't think most 410 slugs (fired from a shotgun not a handgun) are not all that pathetic. Almost every commercial slug on the market will produce a bit over 700 ft-lbs from the muzzle of a typical shotgun barrel. That is on par with full power 357 Mag from a revolver. Brenneke 410 slugs are my favorite being a slightly heavier and harder slug than the big three load.

    From a pistol the 410 shotshell simply does not have the barrel length to effectively use all its propellant. Yes you could could use faster burning powders but staying withing SAAMI MAP 12,500/13,500 psi for the 2.5/3.0 inch 410 your not going to get much better performance than traditional 45 Colt that has a similar SAAMI MAP of 14,000 psi.
     
  4. kozak6

    kozak6 Member

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    I figure it's because it's a shotgun shell. That means four things:

    1) Shotguns are generally unrifled. How are you going to stabilize that slug?
    2) There's probably a choke, and on a .410, a full choke. What kind of concessions are you going to have to make to get a slug through there safely?
    3) There just isn't much use for or interest in .410 slugs. I suspect that a large part of that is due to the above factors often resulting in poor accuracy.
    4) Except for a few recent defense loads, almost all shotgun shells are intended to be used in barrels 18"+. Firing a round in a barrel 1/6 that length may rob velocity.

    The other factor is that since the Judge and such are compatible with .45 LC, it's just so much easier to use that instead for single projectile loads.
     
  5. mcb

    mcb Member

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    1) Drag stabilized is you best option. This is also the reason most 410 slugs are only 1/5 oz or 1/4 oz For a monolithic foster style slug that is weight-forward drag-stabilized that mothod only works when the slug is approximately 1.4 to 1.7 times longer than its diameter. If its longer than that the drag stability does not work well enough to stabilize the slug. This limits 410 foster slug weight. If you go to a trailing gas seal similar to a Brenneke style slug you can go heavier and remain stable but those cost more to make.

    2) Choke tubes solve the slug/choke problem. Or cut the choke off if your making a dedicated slug gun. But having screw in choke tubed solves the problem while retaining its usefulness with shotshells. That said foster slugs go right through a full choke with no problem. Accuracy is usually better with a more open choke but foster slugs are safe for all but the tightest of chokes. (extra full and similar)

    3) This is a chicken and the egg thing. There is no interest because current slugs are seen as poor performers and there is no development in 410 slugs because no one is interested...

    4) The long barrel does help offset the relatively low pressure limit of a shotgun. Using slower powder to keep the pressure under spec while utilizing the longer barrel to accelerate the payload to good velocity. Shot-shells in short barrels always suffer a fairly significant velocity lost compared to a full length shotgun barrels. Even an 18-inch vs a 26 inch barrel show a fair amount of velocity difference for most shotshells, especially heavy payload.
     
  6. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    You need to understand that pressure doesn't happen as single number, but it is a force over time. If you graphed the pressure, showing force on y-axis and time on x-axis, you could represent pressure as a curve across the graph.

    The gun and cartridge's SAAMI pressure rating is going to be a specification that factory ammo will be loaded to not exceed in a (usually long) test barrel. Given a specified peak pressure, to achieve higher velocities, the cartridge and gun must produce a high level of pressure behind the projectile for a longer period of time. On the graph, greater area under the pressure curve will result in higher velocities. The obvious way to do this is with a longer barrel, and that's one of the reasons longer barrels will often produce higher velocities than short ones with a given cartridge. However, given a longer barrel, a slower burning powder can also be used. The slower burning powder will not reach full combustion before the projectile is farther down the barrel. As the bullet moves, more space is available for gas expansion, lowering the pressure and allowing more powder to burn while staying under the peak pressure limit. With a slower burning powder, more powder can be loaded without exceeding the peak pressure. A slower burning powder in a longer barrel allows the pressure to remain near the peak for a longer time and results in producing a higher velocity. But in a short-barrel, the projectile leaves the barrel before combustion of the slower burning powder is complete and pressure and velocity is lost.

    So you can see that it stands to reason that factory .410 shotshells will be loaded with slow burning powders that will produce high velocities in long barrels, but will produce lower velocities in short barrels. This happens not only because the barrel is short, but because the powder is too slow for optimum results.

    There are also other significant factors in handloading. The type of bullet or slug used (jacket vs lead vs copper), and the seating depth that determines how much initial pressure you get will have significant impacts on results.

    If you want advice, I think .410 is a complete waste of time. There is really nothing good about it, and I wouldn't ever expect to make anything of it. .45 LC is better from revolvers on all accounts. From long guns, there's no good reason not to start at 20 gauge for bird and buckshot, and for rifled slugs, .44 magnum or better. If you want to study academically, .44 magnum is probably the best place to start. You can easily find good revolvers and carbines, you have a wide pressure range available to work with, and tons of suitable powder, bullets, and data. If it also has to be practical for personal defense, then .38 special/.357 magnum.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  7. mcb

    mcb Member

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    On one hand I agree the 410 is a complete waste of time. There are many many many better choices for just about anything you would shoot with a 410 from a ballistics point of view.

    ...and yet I spent years hunting just about everything I hunted using my Winchester 9410 with only a 2.5 inch 410 chamber. I killed tons of squirrel and rabbits and even two nice Ohio whitetail bucks with it. The Winchester 9410 is the absolute most fun shotgun I have ever owned.

    The 410 bore is, IMHO, a horrible beginner's cartridge but it is a wonderful cartridge for those looking for an added challenge to their shotgun applications.
     
    ATLDave likes this.
  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Watching someone clean a round of skeet using a 410 is beautiful. Humiliating when you're standing there with a 12 gauge and are struggling to get to 18-20. But still beautiful.
     
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  9. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Doubles on a skeet field with the 9410 is a lot of fun, after you convince everyone else your not using a 30-30. My best round of skeet with it was a 23.
     
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  10. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I'm pretty sure if I tried skeet with a .410, I would also get a 23. A 2 the first time, improving to a 3 in the second round.
     
    .308 Norma likes this.
  11. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I have a single-shot 410. It came in handy a couple of years back when we had copperhead problems in the backyard. My wife has messed up wrists and can't shoot a 20 or a 12.
     
  12. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    Personally I would load both with 45 Long Colt ammo and leave the 410's for rats and snakes!
     
  13. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    When I was a kid my brother had a single shot 410 and I shot all manor of critters with it with both bird shot and slugs. It was accurate enough with foster slugs at 40 to 50 yards to shoot crows out of trees, skunks, racoons, ect... It was a 22" full choke with a brass bead front sight and no rib. With practice one became pretty darn good at aiming with a front sight only. Anybody who says a foster slug is not accurate enough to use for anything from a smooth bore shotgun has evidently never tried it. My father in law killed his first 3 deer as a kid with a single shot 410 shotgun.
     
  14. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    You can buy .410 3" with 5 OOO buckshot pellets. That's about 350 grains of lead but I'm not sure how fast a short barrel is going to be able to drive them. Recoil considerations might be the determining factor rather than how much power you can make.
     
  15. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    You might want to add the "S&W Governor" to your list of fire arms to read up on.

    To me the .410 portion of the 45lc/.410 revolvers would be meant for snake shot and such more than self defense which a 45lc would be better at. I see these hand guns as more of a field gun than a EDC gun. 45acp (Governor) + 45lc + .410 snake shot + even a .410 flare for when you get lost.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  16. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Since I grew up hunting with my trusty Stoeger .410 side by side and have killed uncountable number of grouse, rabbits and squirrels I don't exactly agree.

    Then again, with a .410 and a 12 gauge I find the 20 gauge a pointless caliber in itself.

    Everyone has got different views I guess.

    As for the .410/.45 revolvers, IMO unless you need a snake gun I fail to see the point. Even the short barrel ones are pretty bulky for carry and for a more static or belt gun I'd take a .357 mag/ 44 mag or longer barrel 45 LC every time.
     
  17. stolivar

    stolivar Member

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    I have the S&W Governor and it is very accurate and devastating with the Federal 000 buck.






    steve
     
    JFrame likes this.
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