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tuna
10-27-2009, 10:46 AM
I've got an O/U 12ga that I just don't like. I'm thinking of trading it in. At my local gun store, two guns really caught my eye - both SxS's, one in 12ga and one in .410.

I'm really leaning toward the .410 to use mainly as a teaching tool for new shooters. No, this wouldn't be aerial targets, anyone that calls a .410 a beginners hunting or skeet gun is nuts, but for stationary targets (cans, etc) it is a step up from a .22 (wow - I get to shoot a SHOTGUN today?!) and gives a good chance of hitting and is more fun.

My question to you is - do you know anyone who hunts pheasant with a .410? Before you yell about ethics:
I don't hunt with a dog, so most of my flushes are under 10 feet (I've actually beheaded birds in flight with a load of #6 in 16ga)
Not meaning to brag, but I'm a very good shot
If I don't think I can hit an animal, I don't shoot - period

So, for close range work, what do you think of the .410? Like I said, under 20 feet or so, no pattern is going to open up much, so #6 is still #6.

Thanks

wisturkeyhunter
10-27-2009, 12:37 PM
Not hunting without a dog is the worst excuse for using a lesser gun I think I've ever heard. You must be able to run extremely fast and have dog like senses.

tuna
10-27-2009, 01:52 PM
Say again? I don't hunt with a dog because I don't have a dog. Not that my running speed and senses have anything to do with the original question, but no - I don't have fast speed or super powers - I have success in hunting by walking slow and getting within range of the birds, and by walking into areas that people ignore. Because I'm walking slow and getting close, the birds hold tight and flush close.

Thanks for the pointless comments - there's one on every board.

Ranger Rick
10-27-2009, 01:54 PM
I think a .410 will kill a pheasant. We've shot rabbits with them since I was 6. The pattern will tell the tale. A full choke .410 will probably have a pattern the size of a basketball at 15 yards. The limitation is your shot pattern density and speed.

And a lot of people don't have dogs. But personally, if I didn't have a dog, I'd be bow hunting instead.

Uncle Buck
10-27-2009, 02:01 PM
Well----I started out as a 10 year old with a Model 37 Win. .410. It is actually an experts guage, but my Dad view it as safe. Start your kids with a 20 and you will give them more confidence.
I was not child prodigy, but killed a good number of birds with that gun(pheasants) the limit was 5 and there were plenty of opportunities. I recall I shot it for three seasons and moved up to a 20 ga Wingmaster. On the opener in '61, I shot 8 straight birds and thought I had the world by the ass. I do credit the .410 with making me a decent shot, but not for everyone and could just haev well been a twenty.
BL--if you can shoot it and not cripple birds, more power to you. Most .410 are a little too quick pointing for my tastes for an adults body.
________
Ford Probe Specifications (http://www.ford-wiki.com/wiki/Ford_Probe)

Dakotazeb
10-27-2009, 02:35 PM
tuna,

If you are going to use the gun for young/new shooters on stationary targets the .410 might be okay before graduating them to a 20 ga. But to use as a bird gun I would discourage you. As has been said in the previous posts the .410 is truly an experts gun. Will it kill a pheasant? Yes, but it really has its limitations. You will kill and cripple fewer birds with a larger gauge like the 20.

Uncle Buck and I seem to have a lot in common besides our age. I also started with a .410 when I was 10 years old. A Savage 220A hammerless single shot. Still have it in the gun case. But I now know I would have been much better off with the same gun in a 20 ga.

Just my thoughts.

Zeb

Ranger Rick
10-27-2009, 02:39 PM
Our .410 was an old bolt action. It's still in Dad's gun case and it kills rabbits every winter.

wisturkeyhunter
10-27-2009, 02:40 PM
Point is without a dog there is no plan b if a bird hits the ground running. Cause you can't catch a wounded bird like a dog. You have to break them down so they don't do much more than flop. A 410 isn't going to do that with the consistentcy of a 20 gauge and up. If you think you get closer shots without a dog you probably haven't hunted with good dogs before. I know I get much closer shots with dogs than when we hunted dogless. Also if you think your perfect and can keep your shots to less than 10 yards your in a vantasy land. Anybody that says they can hold all shots to 20 feet is laughable. Anyone who uses a 410 on pheasants if they have other options is not a reasonable person. Its ok though every board has one.

kiotehntr
10-27-2009, 02:41 PM
My dad used to carry a .410 single shot and he could knock the birds dead with that one shot and we didn't have any dogs. That being said I started with a 20 gauge, for good reasons, LOL but my buddies daughter shot her first rooster dead last year with a single shot .410, granted she shot it over a point, but she had a perfect placed shot that folded the rooster quickly. My wife uses a bolt action .410 to shoot, not hunt with. Personally I'd like to have a SxS .410 or an O/U .410 as well. Tuna, you sound like you have confidence in your shot, which is awesome. If you think that you can honestly hunt or shoot better with the .410 then by all means, get it and use it. I love to rabbit hunt with my wife's bolt action .410 but couldn't imagine hunting upland game with it. Not that it couldn't be done, I just like shooting my SX3 or my Select O/U a bunch more, plus I have more confidence in my 12 gauge over the .410. Personal opinion, if you like it then use it....

tuna
10-27-2009, 02:57 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'm still on the fence about it, but I'm really leaning toward getting it, unless the store has a used Model 12 in 16 that is...

The .410 would be bought because I don't have a true .410 (all I've got is a .22/.410 combo) and, well - that says it, doesn't it.

For new shooters, definitely not a hunting gun.

No, I haven't hunted with good dogs before. In fact, I honestly have never SEEN more than a handfull of good dogs. Most dogs I see run out of the truck and stay at least 100 yards from their owners - who spend the whole day blowing whistles and calling for the dog to come back (most are named "Bailey" it seems). I don't have the time to spend to train a dog properly, so I choose to forgo that nightmare. I'm not much of a fan of deer hunting to limit my bird season, so I hunt birds without a dog. And it seems that my shots are super close - so that's my story, and I'll tell it how I like.
I like this site, because most of you get more shots in a day than I get all year. I like to be able to use you as "experts" on what works and what doesn't. It seems like I thought, a .410 will work on pheasant, but isn't recommended if your not on with your shooting that day.

We'll see...

moellermd
10-27-2009, 03:08 PM
So, for close range work, what do you think of the .410? Like I said, under 20 feet or so, no pattern is going to open up much, so #6 is still #6.

Thanks

A .410 in #6 has about 175 pellets. At 20 feet you pattern size is going to be well less than foot. Even with a 12in pattern that is about a pellet every 3/4 of an inch. Whats left to eat?

JMc
10-27-2009, 03:09 PM
Here's my 2 cents...
1) We are all good shots...kind of like prisoners (everybody's innocent)
2) Hunted with and without dogs (prefer with; it may be the only true friend I have) and (yes, I have chased down a few in my prime and skillet shot the others) :D
3) Back to the original question: yes you can hunt with a .410 but like others here, I would not advise it. Anyway, a .410 sxs may recoil harder than a gas operated 20. Something to think about for rookie shooters.
4) Hunt with what you want and good luck.

Ranger Rick
10-27-2009, 03:11 PM
Tuna, I say go get the .410 if that's what your heart desires. Thing is, a guy can NEVER own too many guns! Try telling that to my wife, but it's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

As for hunting without dogs, I've had dogs my entire life and couldn't think of life and hunting without one. I've seen plenty of untrained dogs I would rather not hunt with again, but those make me appreciate the work I've put in with mine and the results thereof that much more. But just because a guy doesn't have a dog doesn't give license to criticize him for it.

I can see a guy working slowly, like you describe, having plenty of close shooting opportunities on pheasants. In any patch of cover, there's birds that will flush out 1/4 mile away, those that will run a ton before holding tight and those that will hold and let a guy walk right by. I killed a hen once while my setter held point for a good set of minutes, while I stomped around thrashing the grass, only to step on the damned thing and break it's back. I've had birds flush so close from under point that I could feel the wind from the wings and I sure as hell could have killed those with a .410!

moellermd
10-27-2009, 03:12 PM
Here's my 2 cents...
1) We are all good shots...kind of like prisoners (everybody's innocent)
2) Hunted with and without dogs (prefer with; it may be the only true friend I have) and (yes, I have chased down a few in my prime and skillet shot the others) :D
3) Back to the original question: yes you can hunt with a .410 but like others here, I would not advise it. Anyway, a .410 sxs may recoil harder than a gas operated 20. Something to think about for rookie shooters.
4) Hunt with what you want and good luck.

Spoken like a true educator always trying to make everyone feel good. :) Aren't you suppose to be in school now?

kansasbrittany
10-27-2009, 03:31 PM
When I started my cousin out on pheasants, I had no other gun for him to use but a .410. Yes, you can kill a pheasant w/ a .410 as others have mentioned, but the poor kid hit several birds that didn't go down. Again, that's a confidence thing. I don't think you could pick a better gun for introducing youth to shooting a shotgun.

I couldn't kill anything w/ my .410 as a kid. Getting behind a 20ga. really improved my confidence.

Keep hunting pheasants w/o a dog if that is how you choose to do it.....just KEEP hunting pheasants! Introduce new folks to it when you can;)

landman
10-27-2009, 04:23 PM
We all look for a greater challange with any sport. Most hunters prefer the 12 guage because, for most folks, it works the best. However we often look for a new challenge by using a smaller gauge or lighter shells and the .410 is probably the ultimate challenge. For many of us, the more experienced hunters and shooters, the crippling rate from using a .410 could very well be less than that of an inexperienced shooter shooting a 12 guage or one using the wrong choke, shells or shooting at birds too far out.

wisturkeyhunter
10-27-2009, 04:35 PM
Lets pretend that an experienced hunter would wound less birds with a 410 than a rookie with a 12 gauge. The experienced shot isn't perfect and is going to shoot to far or his aim will be off maybe not often but it will happen and he'll lose a bird he would have killed dead with a 12 gauge (or 20 or 16). Is it right that he went into the field with a gun knowing he had a great chance of wounding a bird because a rookie is losing birds? Thats strange logic. People wounding game in the name of a challenge or to stroke an ego should just shoot clays.

jnormanh
10-27-2009, 04:36 PM
Many moons ago three of us often shot quail on a 7000 acre preserve. The man who owned the operation had just three rules which were posted -

Don't shoot the dogs.
Don't shoot the guide.
No DAM 410s

Over the years we shot quail there many times, and became friends with Clarence, the owner. We also got to thinking we were pretty hot quail shooters, so one day we all took along a .410 each, and asked Clarence to relent on his .410 ban.

He grudgingly said okay, but we'd better damned well kill the birds. Just to make it challenging, we were shooting the little 2.5", 1/2 oz loads.

The first quail I saw was an easy passing bird, maybe 15 yards away. Bang bang. Not a feather.

After a bit we flushed a covey of 10 birds. Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang. Two birds down.

"!*^%#@!*. I told you no #^**^$# .410s! Put them @$^!&*$@! things back in the truck and get some real guns!"

"Uhhh, Yessir", we all said.

Ranger Rick
10-27-2009, 04:51 PM
I agree that hunting pheasants with a .410 would mean more cripples. My old grouse gun was the 870 20 ga., with improved cylinder. I killed a lot of birds with that gun. But on my first SD pheasant hunt I carried it in the field, hit everything I shot at, but many hit the ground running. That took one field to learn I didn't have enough gun. Maybe in full choke, but not in IC. So I switched to the old heavy 12 ga. and killed everything stone dead. I bought a new 12 ga. U/O that I carry now. Maybe think I would be good with a 20 ga. with variable chokes, but I chose to carry a gun that would knock them harder.

But I also think someone like Tuna, could carry a .410, be very selective on the shots he took and have success. Not my way to do it, but more power to him if he can pull it off. Now if Tuna was hunting with me and making cripples on shot after shot with his .410, I would be like that farmer and make him change guns.

A few years ago in SD my cousin used his dad's old 20 ga. auto because it was his dad's gun and had sentimental value. He couldn't hit a darned thing with that gun and wounded some birds with the shots that did connect. He didn't have much confidence, either. We convinced him to use an 1100 12 ga. one of the guys had along as a spare and he killed a lot of birds over the next couple days. His enjoyment of the hunt also went sky high with his increased success.

wisturkeyhunter
10-27-2009, 05:00 PM
20 gauge with an improve cylinder would make a fine pheasant gun in my opinion.

tuna
10-27-2009, 07:35 PM
Lets pretend that an experienced hunter would wound less birds with a 410 than a rookie with a 12 gauge. The experienced shot isn't perfect and is going to shoot to far or his aim will be off maybe not often but it will happen and he'll lose a bird he would have killed dead with a 12 gauge (or 20 or 16). Is it right that he went into the field with a gun knowing he had a great chance of wounding a bird because a rookie is losing birds? Thats strange logic. People wounding game in the name of a challenge or to stroke an ego should just shoot clays.


All right - I'll grant this point. You kinda torqued me off with your first couple posts that kinda made is sound like I should have a dog or not hunt, and that I was living in fantasyland at such close shots, but on this you are correct. Yeah, I can hold myself to take shots only at close range, and what could still potentially wound a bird that would have been either a clean kill or an easier find. I'm not limited to one gun (ask my wife), so I guess a .410 is a poor choice when I've got a safe crammed with 12's, 20's and of course, 16's.

Thanks everyone.

Looks like I need to take a look at that .410's big brother, or wait till something with some character shows up at the store...

wisturkeyhunter
10-27-2009, 09:25 PM
Just to be clear I've nothing against pheasant hunting without dogs. I've gone dogless more than with dogs and probably killed similiar numbers of birds both ways. Using a 410 because you don't have a dog makes no sense. Be like buying a 2 wheel drive truck because you drive unplowed roads. Totally opposite of whats reality. If you want a light weight gun that still is a great choice on pheasants look into a light weight 20 gauge. The benelli ultralight is slightly over 5 pounds. There are other sub 6 pound guns out there too.

bobeyerite
10-27-2009, 09:38 PM
Tuna, I hunt a lot with my 28 gauge O/U. Now, there is a gun most hunters will accept before they will a .410. I know shooters that are deadly as all get out with a 410. But they still cross-eyed looks when they uncase it. The 28 has a very light recoil, shoot 3/4 ounce of shot. As the gun expert said, they will do the same thing as a 12 but in smaller fashion. You cannot change the Laws of Physics. A hunter has to have some good shooting skills to use that small shot load and get the job done. If I was starting a new shooter in the field or on clays I'd start them with a 28. Let them start early to develop their shooting skills. I will say this any bird that hits the ground my Brittany Tony, is right there to do the retrieve work. He has not lost a bird in 3 years. Heck I even cripple a few with my 20 gauge so what is the big deal, no shooter kills them all.......Bob

BritChaser
10-28-2009, 04:21 PM
I've got an O/U 12ga that I just don't like. I'm thinking of trading it in. At my local gun store, two guns really caught my eye - both SxS's, one in 12ga and one in .410.

I'm really leaning toward the .410 to use mainly as a teaching tool for new shooters. No, this wouldn't be aerial targets, anyone that calls a .410 a beginners hunting or skeet gun is nuts, but for stationary targets (cans, etc) it is a step up from a .22 (wow - I get to shoot a SHOTGUN today?!) and gives a good chance of hitting and is more fun.

My question to you is - do you know anyone who hunts pheasant with a .410? Before you yell about ethics:
I don't hunt with a dog, so most of my flushes are under 10 feet (I've actually beheaded birds in flight with a load of #6 in 16ga)
Not meaning to brag, but I'm a very good shot
If I don't think I can hit an animal, I don't shoot - period

So, for close range work, what do you think of the .410? Like I said, under 20 feet or so, no pattern is going to open up much, so #6 is still #6.

Thanks

A .410 is an excellent choice for introducing the shotgun to the inexperienced. Moreover, I don't think it is unethical to hunt pheasant with a .410. It is surprising how little shot is in pheasants shot with 12 ga. guns. I shot my first pheasant at 12 with a .410 and it was just as dead as any I ever shot with a 12.

jnormanh
10-29-2009, 05:39 PM
Really great shooters can kill birds with the .410. Crappy shooters cripple with 2 oz. 12 ga loads.

I'm not good enough to use a .410, but give me Wayne Mayes with his .410 and he'll leave fewer cripples than a poor shot with a 10 ga.

Years ago Winchester had a team of shooters who used their Model 42 (same as a model 12 pump, but .410 bore) who shot wild pheasants for exhibition. They almost never lost a bird.

moellermd
10-29-2009, 06:49 PM
Yep and Walter Bell shot over 1000 elephants with a 7mm Mauser (roughly the same as a 7mm-08). I would not try that either.