Hunting with the 410
The 410 shotgun is often thought of as a beginner's gun and most people did start out with one. When I was a kid, I asked my dad for a shotgun for Christmas. I expected to get a 410 or a 20 gauge, but i got a Remington 870 12 gauge. I grew into the 12 gauge pretty quick, it was either that or not hunt. The reason most children are started out with this gun is the fact that the recoil is much more manageable than the other shotguns. Another reason is that there are lots of guns available in youth models in 410. I want to discuss my experience hunting small game with the 410 shotgun.
The Game Loads that Have Worked Best for me.
I really enjoy rabbit and squirrel hunting and use a 410 shotgun in the field a lot of times. I have had the most success on squirrels using three inch magnum loads with #4 shot. When using the heavier loads it takes fewer pellets to harvest the game. I always suggest using the heavier shot when using the 410 to hunt. When rabbit hunting I use either #4 shot or #6 shot in three inch magnum. The 410 has the same size shot has the larger shotguns it just has less of them per shell. A #4 shot in a 12 gauge and a #4 shot in a 410 is the same size pellet. The 410 ammo that is available today comes in two sizes 2 1/2 inch and 3 inch. This refers to the length of the shell case. I prefer to use the 3 inch because it has more power than the smaller 2 1/2 inch.
Different Style 410 Available Today
The 410 shotgun, like most other guns come in variety of different styles and price ranges. The most common and generally the most affordable is the single shot. I have used single shots to harvest a lot of game and I prefer the lighter weight. The second most common 410 I see are pump action. Followed by semi auto and double barrels both side by side and over and under. My advice is not matter what style of 410 you choose make sure it has a full choke. The choke of the gun controls the pattern of the shot. A full choke generally has a tighter pattern which means longer shots are capable.
The 410 is not a beginner's hunting gun. It takes a better shot to consistently harvest game with the 410 than say a 12 gauge. I like the light weight of the 410 and the added challenge of using it. My suggestion to any hunter is practice, practice, and more practice. A particular gun may shoot one load better than another and may shoot a little different than what you are used to. A person should also know the limitations of the gun and loads you are using. Something I have always taught my son is that we don't shoot at something we can't kill. Meaning we only take shots that will be clean kills and not wound animals. I have became a big fan of the 410 shotgun and enjoy using it.