When smaller is better, the .410 bore shotshell is just about perfect.
There's an engaging cult following behind the .410 bore shotshell, and it seems to capture the interest of a lot of shooters, both young and old.
As far as we're concerned, here are the top explanations for why the .410 bore shotgun shell will continue showing little signs of going obsolete.
The .410 bore throws a light payload. The general game load for a standard 2-1/2" length shell is 1/2 ounce of lead shot. For the 3" magnum length shell, it's 11/16 ounce of shot.
There are also buckshot loads available that can really increase the impact. They are marketed to the sector of .410 bore fans who favor their revolver for personal defense (Think Taurus Judge). These handgun ammunition loads fire great groups from standard barrel length shotguns.
Federal Premium .410 Handgun loads offer four pellets of size 000 buckshot out of a 2 1/2" shell. The 3" shell length version adds an extra pellet in each shell. It's near perfect for self-defense.
Other loads (like the Winchester PDX1) bring multiple sized projectiles to the fight, all meticulously contained in one shell. How is that for personal protection from a little .410?
Looking for a bigger punch? A .410 rifled lead slug with a good shot will certainly drop a deer. I have found that the Brenneke style 3" magnum slugs shoot the best and have the best power in most shotguns I have fired them through.
For the novice shooter, a .410 bore shotgun doesn't kick as hard as others, and is usually substantially lighter than a heavier gauge shotgun. It also encourages the need to get closer to game instead of blasting away well out of range. That means real woodsman skills, vital for spot and stalk-style hunting, go hand-in-hand with a .410.
The expert shotgunner will find the little .410 bore will bring back the need of skill that larger gauges might not need.
There has also been much love for the .410 bore shotshell around the farm. The smaller load is quieter around neighbors and livestock, but still deadly up close for pests.
Also, the survival gun market has been keen to offer some sort of takedown .410 bore shotgun for outdoor enthusiasts and preppers. Combination guns with a rifle barrel and a .410 bore barrel offer the best of both worlds in one weapon.
The .410 bore offers the shotgunner many opportunities to enjoy this tiny but grand little shotshell. Everyone should take their chance to make the little lion roar, and they'll see why it's such a long-lasting load.
Do you like articles about the outdoors? Click here to view more articles by Eric Nestor. You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram. You can view more Nestor Photography photos at Nestor Photography.