This is a discussion on .410 caliber within the Ruger Shotguns forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; I have come to understand the benefits and drawbacks of the standard shotgun gauges (12/20/etc.) but I am still somewhat confused over the .410 "gauge" ...
.410 is great for groundhogs. The recoil is light for the ability to take a small animal down at a decent range. It's a great tractor gun. We used to take a PVC pipe, bolt it to the inner fender and when we saw a groundhog riding on the tractor we were prepared to eliminate the little hole maker. (Holes and horses / cows don't mix!) Cheers.
My very first gun was a bolt action Mossberg .410 shotgun. I killed a lot of squirrels, rabbits, and pheasants with that gun. Later in life I got into skeet shooting where I competed with 410, 28, 20 and 12 gauge shotguns. With the 410, you don't have as much room for error because there are less pellets but they still do a good job of breaking clay birds. Don't under estimate a 410 .... the pellets from a 3" shell have the same velocity as a 12 gauge ... just fewer of them.
I had a Savage 410 pump when I was young. I shot pheasants,doves and cottontail with this gun for years. It was a great gun and once you were good with it,shooting birds with a 12 or 20 Ga. was almost like cheating.
while I still had my English Pointer, I loved to shoot birds with a double barrel .410 with set full chokes. I shot numerous Pheasants, Chukar Partridge and Black Francolins. Off of the dog a .410 is the perfect gun too me, but thats only my opinion. Happy Hunting!
The nominal bore of a .410 shotgun is.410 inch. Which is why it is properly called the .410 bore instead of the .410 gauge. In Europe it is sometimes called the 12mm, which is an inaccurate designation as a .410 bore has an actual diameter of approximately 10.4mm by metric measure. If the .410 had been named in the traditional fashion, by the number of lead balls .41 inch in diameter needed to make one pound, it would be about a 67-68 gauge. Many years ago it was also called the 36 gauge, and I have seen a picture of an old box of Remington shells marked "(36 GA.) .410-2 1/2 IN. (12 MM)." However, the "36 Gauge" designation was very inaccurate, as a true 36 gauge gun would actually have a .506 inch bore diameter.The .410 shotgun, although reasonably popular, remains something of an enigma. It is either a beginner's gun or an expert's gun, but is seldom seen in the hands of average shooters and hunters.
I run snowshoe hares with hounds in the winter months and I prefer my Win. model 37 .410 over any shotgun I own. Those hares are carrying the mail when they come by and that single shot stoked with 3 inch no. 4 shot will roll them hares like nobodies business. I also use no. 5 shot and no. 6 shot depending on terrain. That's not allot of shot in each shell, but I hate spitting shot at the table. Those little shot fly as fast and as hard as any 12ga just not as many. The .410 is great sport for any skill level and will make a dead eye out of ya. When I get some hare in the freezer my wife makes up several pies in the big baking pans. Better than any store bought pot pie and will feed a mess of hunters.
The 410 is a great little "go to" gun for varmints/birds within its range, however I've never understood why the ammunition is disproportionate (spelling-?) in cost compared to the 20 or 12 guage ammunition.
Just this past Thanksgiving my Father-in-law and I went hunting squirrels. I took my son's .410 (he's 5 and can't quite support the gun himself yet). I usually use a .22 but was very pleased with the .410. I got 4 tree rats that day and only had to expend 4 3" shells.