Shotgun ignoramus seeks ammo advice

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by wiscoaster, Jan 3, 2022.

  1. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Sorry, guys, I'm really pretty ignorant about shotguns. I've got a 20 ga Mossberg and a 12 ga Garaysar but haven't done hardly any shooting with either. I recently bought the Henry .410 lever I mentioned in another thread, and I really like the gun. It functions well and it's a fun shooter, but I see one problem I need to solve: at 25 yds it produces a pattern about two feet in diameter. A guy a couple tables over shooting a Browning pump 12 ga w/ a cylinder bore choke got a pattern about eight inches at the same range. My gun's barrel is NOT threaded to take a choke. So, I'm wondering if it's possible to tighten up my pattern by ammo selection. To test the gun I basically just bought the cheapest I could find online, and I'm pretty clueless. This is what I bought:

    IMG_2347.JPG

    ... and this is what it's loaded with:

    IMG_2346.JPG

    The "Shotgun 101" library link pinned above suggests "heavier shot moving slower" for a tighter pattern. Given that some .410 is going for over $2 per shell, I really don't care to do a "scattershot" approach. Pun intended. Which shot and what can I expect to achieve?

    Or do I need to take the gun directly to my gunsmith and see if he can thread it for a choke?

    Advice??
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2022
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  2. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 Member

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    One inch per yard is the standard, so 24” at 25 yards is about what you can expect. Before you start screwing abound with the barrel, you have to ask yourself what you plan to use this gun for. It’d be perfect for informal Skeet. And OK for 16 yard Trap. And any hunting where you shoot at moving targets you’re probably better served with that open choke.
     
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  3. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    Different ammo is always worth trying as different ammo will usually pattern differently, but in my experience it’s more about where the pattern is (point of aim vs point of impact) and other things like holes in the pattern or fliers. While you may see a bit of a difference in overall pattern diameter, I doubt you’ll see a whole lot of difference as long as you’re comparing similar ammo types.

    By similar types of ammo, I mean that there are different things you can do with the combination of wad and shot that will significantly tighten up a pattern (like the flight control wads used in some buckshot rounds) but if you’re comparing #8 target loads they’ll likely all be fairly similar.

    The unfortunate answer is if your gun is shooting a 24” pattern at a given range and you want it to shoot an 8” pattern at that same range, you’re probably going to need to get your barrel threaded for chokes.
     
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  4. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    I was thinking of trying my hand at trap shooting next summer. 16 yds is the normal range for that? I was thinking that with this gun and with this load at 25 yds the shot is so spread out that not many of them are going to hit the clay and also not have enough energy to break it. Heck, it looked to me like they barely had enough oomph to punch through plastic-coated splattering target paper. But you guys think I'll be OK, eh? Then I won't get too worked up about it. Maybe I'll try some loads with a little heavier shot, if I can find them.
     
  5. Milkmaster

    Milkmaster Member

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    dang! Did you cut your finger opening up that shotshell?
     
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  6. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    No, why do you ask??

    Oh, I get it ... the dish it's in. No, that was used to mix up some dye stain. :)
     
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  7. dh1633pm
    • Contributing Member

    dh1633pm Contributing Member

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    You had me worried as well. Die stains are much better than something else.
     
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  8. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    Shotgun chokes are measured by the yardage where the pattern is 30".

    If that 12ga was shooting 8" @ 25 yards, that was any X-Full or Super -Full choke.

    Clay birds are not hard to break. 1 pellet having a visible break is classified as a hit.

    Your Henry is shooting the correct pattern for a .410. Those Federals are premium skeet loads and patterned perfectly.
    And, yes, they are a blast to shoot. Get some 6s and try it on a squirrel or rabbit hunt and have some real fun.
     
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  9. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    That is about what I've found too. But there is no hard rule carved in stone. Lots of exceptions to the rules when it comes to these things.

    The other side of that is with larger shot sizes you have fewer pellets in an already thin pattern with a 410. You need to find a balance of pattern size vs pellet size.
     
  10. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    I'm not sure that he knew. The guy he was with said it was cylinder bore, but I don't see how he could get such a tight pattern with that. But being a know-nothing I had no cause to disagree.

    Thanks, that's good to know. I think I'll just go out and get some more practice with what I've got. When it warms up a little more. If it does. This looks to be a pretty cold January. Still waiting for the traditional thaw .... ;)
     
  11. Boattale

    Boattale Member

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    It's hard for me to imagine any shotgun producing an 8" diameter pattern at 25 yards, much less one with a cylinder bore. Your 24" pattern at 25 yards is much more in line with my expectations.
     
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  12. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 Member

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    Something that should be pointed out to you is that a .410 is an expert’s gun. You will have a much easier and fun time learning with a 12 or a 20 gauge than with the little .410. And cheaper, too.

    And yes, Trap is shot anywhere from the 16 yard line to the 27 yard line. But, Trap is a game for grumpy old men. Skeet is much more fun.
     
  13. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    That's ME!! :thumbup::D
     
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  14. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    24" encompasses what % of pellets? 24" with 75% of the pellets inside at 25 yards sounds pretty darn good to me.

    Ive been a .410 fan since I was old enough to carry one. A stevens 22/410 with the appropriate loadout of 410 shells will take any game in the lower 48. All in about a 5 pound package. Perfect for upland birds, squirrel, snake, turkey, and capable of deer to moose with 3" slugs.

    Ive shot some backyard bluerock with it and an 870 in 410. Its definitely tougher than a 12 or 20 gauge!
     
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  15. Sappyg2.0

    Sappyg2.0 Member

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    Love me some 410. It's the perfect skeet gun IMO. never tried it at trap because trap bores me.

    I've never done it but most of what I've read on 410 patterning just leads you down a rabbit hole. I quickly decided not to bother with it and settled on light mod and mod chokes and called it a day.

    My range limits shot size to 7.5 or smaller so I can't speak to larger shot moving slower giving a tighter pattern. Frankly I prefer 9 shot moving faster. 1200 fps thank you very much and I want as much shot in the air that I can get with a 2.5" shell. I would be well pleased if I knew my gun was giving me a 'consistant' 24" pattern at 25 yards.

    Edit to answer OPs question: threading the barrel for chokes is a questionable proposition IMO. They can get very expensive for a 410 and lead you down another rabbit hole.

    My humble advise is to load, shoot, repeat...if you become frustrated and if your dead set on shooting trap get a 12 gage BT99.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
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  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Shooting a .410 for Trap is severely handicapping yourself for no good reason.

    8" pattern at 25 yards from a cylinder bore 12? I think not. My very full choked (.035) trap gun does about 8" at 13 yards. (I found that out testing the POI) Trap with a .410-only at 16 yards. The clay is usually hit at 35 yards when shooting from the 16. Step back 35 yards from the patterning board, and shoot that .410 at a target with 30, 20 and 10" concentric circles around your POA. That's why I agree with Rudpolh31 that it is an expert's gun. You'd never get to the 27 with one, nor stay there if you suddenly decide to shoot one at 27 yards. But then, I'm a grumpy old Trapshooter. If it weren't for the variable delay in launching Skeet, you'd literally be able to shoot it blindfolded, plus the outfits worn by some Skeet shooters rival some golfer's outfits. :neener: OK, I admit I like Sporting Clays also.

    Fun shotgun target game? Helice. (ZZ birds.) Now that's a hoot!
     
  17. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    7 1/2 and 8 are the only shot sizes available in .410 bore right now on AmmoSeek. The good thing is they've come down in price since I last ordered some several weeks ago. I can't find any .410 period locally.
     
  18. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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    I have had to go to #4 shot in 3" shells to pull the squirrels out of the tops of the tall trees around here.
    Mossberg 410
    1st-2016.jpg
     
  19. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 Member

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    Our outfits do get pretty bizarre…

    B60rtFs.jpg
     
  20. entropy

    entropy Member

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    :rofl: Yeah, we shoot Trap all winter. Jackpot 50's. I missed the New Year's shoot because I was in Green Bay.
     
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  21. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    A 410 is absolutely the worst choice for trap for many reasons unless there is a sub gauge shoot going on. Low pattern density and high ammo costs are two good reasons to not do it.
     
  22. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    For practical, competitive and economic reasons, maybe, but for just fun reasons, shooting a gun you like and have fun shooting, over one you don't like and don't have fun shooting, trumps any other reasons you want to come up with. Reasons are always subjective to how the individual weights them.
     
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  23. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Show up for at Waukesha with that .410, and guys will be very impressed-until you finish your first station. But, if you are enjoying yourself, have at it. I shoot my 18" cylinder bore Ithaca 37 one round of Trap a year- avg. score is about 15. But I do it mostly to make sure it gets shot and cleaned at least once a year. As with your .410, if you hit the clays fast you'll be more likely to break them.

    Be sure to load only one at a time in the Henry. I'm sure you know that, but I see one or two new Trapshooters every year bring a pump or auto, and try to load the tube full before the first station.....
     
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  24. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    No, actually I don't know that. Enlighten me, please? :)
     
  25. entropy

    entropy Member

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    For singles Trap, only one round is loaded in the gun at a time. For doubles, Sporting Clays doubles, or Skeet doubles, two rounds may be loaded in the gun. Virtually every Trap range has this rule posted somewhere. My club has the rules on the back of the scoring chair. Common ones are: The aforementioned one round at a time, two for doubles; No shot bigger than 7 1/2 (or 6 at some clubs.) Actions, on other than break-open guns, must remain open when not firing. This also means when the gun is in the gun rack. Do not load your round into the chamber until the guy before you has fired. Some have a power or velocity maximum, mostly to prevent Annie Oakley shooters and such from using heavy game loads.
    It would be fun to watch someone shoot doubles with a lever action. I have seen a lever action on the line before, but not for doubles. A Trapboy at a local club shot a Win. 1887, (original not repro) it had been his grandfather's.
     
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