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Broke out the .410 yesterday...

1713 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Dogshooter
I've been trying to show some attention to a few of my guns which don't see as much use as they probably should. I broke out a single shot stevens .410 yesterday that I got from my Grandfather. We had a warm front come through over the week end and with temps getting up in the high 60's I thought it'd be a good time to go for a walk and see what I could kick up. Still hunted through a pine stand and flushed some quail, The birds were a little too quick and I was a little too slow to get the hammer back. Checked out a hardwood stand adjacent to a field were I killed a doe during bow season, found part of my arrow that the deer broke off when she ran through before collapsing. Too bad it wasn't the part of the arrow with the broadhead on it. (those things are about five bucks apiece). Sat down and drank a bottle of water and ate a pack of peanut butter and crackers. Noticed a squirrel sunning himself on a limb. Dropped him and sat back down. Pretty soon another one came scratching through the leaves looking for something to eat. I added him to the first one. As I was walking down the ridge I blew the chance at a large orange fox squirrel with a larger than normal white mask on his face but was able to add another grey to the first two. The day was winding down and I wanted to check another field for deer that might be using it in the evenings. I was slipping though some think stuff along the edge and kicked up a rabbit that ran down hill about twenty yards and stopped (bad move on the bunnie's part) and with another 2 1/2" #6 I had the main course to another meal. With three bushytails and a bonus bunny I headed to the house. A day like that sure beat the heck out of cleaning out the gutters and taking down the Christmas lights. :)

Frog :D
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.410 Can Be Practical If Used Sensibly

I used a .410 alot when I was a kid and still keep one around our country place. If you limit 2-1/2" shells to 25 yards with shot no larger than 7-1/2s and 3" shells to 30 yards with no shot larger than 6s you will do OK.

To get an idea of how well your gun shoots, get some wooden tent stakes, some 5" paper dessert plates and a steel tape. At measured distances place these paper plates which are about the same area as a game bird or rabbit at 25, 50, 75 and 100 feet. If you can staple the paper plate onto a larger backer cardboard at least 20" across, this helps to determine where the rest of the pattern goes relative to point of aim, but what you really want to do is see how many pellet hits you can get on a small game target.

To be effective you need to have a number of pellet hits on the 5" paper plate which are equal to the shot size, such as seven 7-1/2s, six 6s, etc. If you try larger shot such as 4s it will become very clear how ineffective larger shot become beyond very short ranges when there are less than 200 pellets in the shell.

A full choke .410 doesn't necessarily give you more range than a more open choke. It does tear up more eating game at short range and is more difficult for most people to hit with. While a cylinder bore is of only limited utility, an improved cylinder or modified choke will kill game reliably to 30 yards if you shoot 7-1/2s in 3" shells and 8s in 2-1/2" shells and use fine shot for everything. Beyond this range you should use a gun which enables at least an ounce of shot if you want to shoot 6s or larger.
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