SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  Ammunition    History of 410 Shotgun Shells

Moderators: LDD, parabellum
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
History of 410 Shotgun Shells Login/Join 
Member
posted
First developed and used in England in the 1870s, the .410 bore remained a specialty cartridge and was not widely adopted for a long time. Some shooters felt it was novelty-only, but others found it to be great for hunting and competition shooting.

The .410 emerged in the U.S. around 1915, when the Harrington & Richardson company became the first to produce this shot shell for single-shot long guns. In 1933, Winchester introduced a three-inch shell for the .410, spurring other manufacturers of firearms and ammunition to get on board with this cartridge, ultimately growing its popularity.

The Versatility of 410 Shotgun Shells

410 shells are the smallest commercially available shotgun shells on the market, but don’t let that put you off. They have a devoted following for good reason. They’re a preferred round for training, but also for hunting smaller game and varmints. Because they have roughly the same base dimensions as the .45 Colt, they can fit neatly into many single-shot firearms. What’s more, many derringers on the market are fitted for 45 Colt rounds and can fire 410 bore without any kind of modifications.

The History of .410 Shells

The roots of the 410 shell lie back in England in 1857. The Eley brothers were advertising centerfire and pinfire versions of the round for the first time that year. In 1874, the modern centerfire 410s first appeared in their catalog. However, it wasn’t until the turn of the century that the round got much traction on the market. The 410 was specifically recommended to naturalists and hikers who wanted the perfect round for their walking stick guns, which, yes, were a thing back then.

This is how the round gained a foothold in the market for smaller game and varmints. Naturalists and hikers loved the round, because it was perfect for quickly disposing of snakes, rats and any other disliked creatures a hiker might encounter. While not well known for this purpose, the 410 shotgun shell, when properly loaded with quarter-inch slugs, is also perfectly capable of disposing of coyote and even deer.

When it comes to defense, 410 bullets are by no means the equal of other shotgun rounds such as the 12-gauge, the traditional gauge used for home defense. However, companies such as Mossberg and Taurus have marketed shotguns chambered for the 410 as well as the aforementioned .45 Colt on the basis of the versatility of these weapons. What’s more, buckshot, slug and combined loads are readily available on the open market, making these combination weapons a great teaching tool that doesn’t skimp on home defense.

The Snake Charmer: The Iconic 410 Shotgun Shell Weapon

Of course, one can’t talk about the 410 shotgun shell without also discussing the Snake Charmer. This is a lightweight weapon designed by Homer Koon and produced by several companies between 1978 and 2009. The weapon was designed around the shell, trying to give the advantage of portability. Indeed, the weapon originally marketed as something that the owner could tote around on a hike or keep in their truck without it taking up too much space or weighing them down.

Koon sold his creation to Sporting Arms Mfg, of Littlefield, Texas, which added a safety and rebranded it as the Snake Charmer II. In 1988, they introduced the Night Charmer, which was effectively the same weapon, but mounted with a flashlight for use during the darker hours. The break-action gun was popular with outdoorsmen and sportsmen who didn’t necessarily hunt in keeping with the pedigree of this round.

The .410 Shell and Hybrid Weapons

Likewise, one can’t talk about the 410, nominally a shotgun shell, without also discussing the wide array of handguns manufactured for the purpose of using .410 bore – either on its own or in combination with other rounds. This also presents a curious loophole in shotgun law. If one uses shotgun ammunition in a handgun, it doesn’t matter in terms of the law. The handgun does not magically become a shotgun because a shotgun shell has been inserted into it. Thus, shotgun rounds can be fired from much shorter barrels than would be legally allowed with an actual shotgun.

The most common application is a weapon chambered for the .45 Colt round because the two rounds have such similar base diameters. Such weapons are generally not legal in California for either owners or dealers, but are 100-percent legal in the other 49 states. American Derringer and Bond Arms each sell derringer-style weapons chambered for such combination use. The Taurus Judge is perhaps the most famous of these hybrid firearms.

Many shooters consider the .410 a good choice for introducing new and young shooters to shotgun sports. .410 shotguns are lighter than guns for other common gauges, and the recoil is more gentle – two factors that are believed to help new shooters acclimate to exertion and impacts of shooting. There are counter arguments, however, when it comes to 410 vs. 12 gauge and 20 gauge ammo, making the case that a shooter cannot learn to deal with the increased recoil of the latter two larger cartridges. The .410 also puts less shot in the air, which makes it harder to hit a moving target than with a larger shotgun. Some experienced competition shooters like to use the .410 since it makes breaking clays a greater challenge due to the reduced shot payload, making 20 and 12 gauge vs. 410 an interesting comparison.

The .410 Shotgun Shell and Personal Defense

Today, .410 rounds are finding new applications for personal defense. While it was not initially considered a cartridge suitable for self defense – especially as a concealed carry weapon – the introduction of the Taurus Judge and the S&W Governor revolvers legitimized the .410 as a real player in the category of personal protection.

These new revolvers have inspired ammunition manufacturers to develop some new choices for the .410. It was unheard of to find #000 Buck in .410 bore before these revolvers arrived on the scene, but now at least five major manufacturers sell cartridges with this large shot in their special-purpose ammo. .410 slug cartridges are also easier to find these days, as are specialty cartridges that fire discs instead of buckshot.

While these weapons are better than nothing for home defense, they are certainly not the most ideal. When you get right down to it, the shell is birdshot. The single shot and derringer options are curious and, of course, the round has a proud heritage as snake shot. But you wouldn’t want to make this round your primary go-to for home defense or any other kind of self defense. A tertiary weapon, maybe, but certainly not the primary or secondary line of defense.

The .410 bore has proven to be a useful tool for hunters and competitors, as well as for people seeking an alternative ammunition for personal defense. Due to the recent growth in popularity, manufacturers will meet the increased demand for .410 ammunition and offer ongoing improvements and refinement to keep the smallest of the shotguns alive and well.

While many well-equipped homes have a 410-equipped firearm somewhere in the home, it’s not going to be the first weapon you purchase. Still, if you’re looking for something fun, especially for teaching children, women, smaller men or the disabled, this can be a fun way to introduce someone to the joy of shooting.

History of 410 Shotgun Shells originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.


We believe arming our fellow Americans – both physically and philosophically – helps them fulfill our Founding Fathers' intent with the Second Amendment: To serve as a check on state power.
 
Posts: 217 | Registered: January 10, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Delta-3
posted Hide Post
Excellent write up! I've been a fan of the 410 my entire life. It is an EXCELLENT round to start new shooters on & works quite well on small game & birds.


Rom 13:4 If you do evil, be afraid. For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
 
Posts: 493 | Location: NW Ohio but Montana is always home. | Registered: September 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Delta-3:
Excellent write up! I've been a fan of the 410 my entire life. It is an EXCELLENT round to start new shooters on & works quite well on small game & birds.


Yes indeed! The old timer at one of my local gun stores showed me the pics of all the pheasant he took with his Judge a few springs ago. I intend to follow his example soon.


We believe arming our fellow Americans – both physically and philosophically – helps them fulfill our Founding Fathers' intent with the Second Amendment: To serve as a check on state power.
 
Posts: 217 | Registered: January 10, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
Picture of Flash-LB
posted Hide Post
I've shot a .410 most of my life, since I was 8 or 9, and still shoot skeet with it every week and I'm going to disagree with it being a good round to start new shooters off with. It's too hard to hit with for people who are new to shooting and even for a lot of people who have been shooting for years.

I recommend a semiauto 20 gauge and if you can swing it, reloaded shells that are downloaded so it doesn't recoil much but still functions properly.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Flash-LB,
 
Posts: 7254 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Rumors of my death
are greatly exaggerated
Picture of coloradohunter44
posted Hide Post
The top one is a Beretta Jubilee in 410. It is a beautiful example of a very fine shotgun. The nicest one I own.




"Someday I hope to be half the man my bird-dog thinks I am."

FBLM
 
Posts: 10350 | Location: Commirado | Registered: July 23, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I'm Fine
Picture of SBrooks
posted Hide Post
My grandad and dad took me on my first dove hunt. Everyone there was slinging their 12 gauge and I was stuck with a single shot 410. Needless to say I didn't get many shots and even fewer doves, since they had more lead and longer range than I did.

Looking back, they should have done it different if they really wanted me to enjoy the day...
Anyway - I never went dove hunting again; although I did later on get into deer and turkey hunting (excuse to get 3.5" mag 12 ga.).

I did enjoy shooting at things with the 410, due to the extremely light recoil. Just never found it very effective compared to other options like 16, 20, or 12 ga.


------------------
SBrooks
 
Posts: 3687 | Location: East Tennessee | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Rinehart
posted Hide Post
Our family did similar- (although they liked to use 20 and 28 gauge). My first shotgun was a single shot Topper Deluxe 410. I felt your pain-

A few years later my father upgraded me to a 20 gauge SXS which was a vast improvement on the reaching out... But I got a lot of rabbits with the 410.
 
Posts: 1427 | Location: PA | Registered: March 15, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
Picture of Flash-LB
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Rinehart:
My first shotgun was a single shot Topper Deluxe 410. I felt your pain-


My first shotgun was a Crescent Arms single shot .410 with a color case hardened receiver.

Firing pin broke on it around 20 years ago and Numrich arms sold me a new one.

Still got it and it still works.
 
Posts: 7254 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
of sunshine
Picture of jhe888
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Flash-LB:
I've shot a .410 most of my life, since I was 8 or 9, and still shoot skeet with it every week and I'm going to disagree with it being a good round to start new shooters off with. It's too hard to hit with for people who are new to shooting and even for a lot of people who have been shooting for years.

I recommend a semiauto 20 gauge and if you can swing it, reloaded shells that are downloaded so it doesn't recoil much but still functions properly.


Agreed.

No matter how you slice it, the .410 is a specialty gun. There just aren't enough pellets to make it a generally useful cartridge. Range is limited, as the patterns get thin (or tiny) at longer range.




The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
 
Posts: 50426 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Caribou gorn
Picture of YellowJacket
posted Hide Post
Since we all like pretty shotguns, here is my Remington 1100 Sporting .410. Always wanted one of these and saw this one on a local classified. I traded one of my Belgian Light Twelves, and not a particularly impressive one, for it, with $100 boot. I almost felt bad about it. I had $425 in that gun.

It is definitely a specialty gauge... best for squirrel and rabbit probably, and works fine on pen raised quail. And it's a blast to shoot skeet with although sometimes it seems you are just blowing on the clay to try to break it. 19/25 is as good as I've been able to do in a round.





I'm gonna vote for the funniest frog with the loudest croak on the highest log.
 
Posts: 9705 | Location: Marietta, GA | Registered: February 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
of sunshine
Picture of jhe888
posted Hide Post
Yellow Jacket, is that wood from the factory? Nice.

I have an 1100 in 20 choked skeet, and it sure is a fun gun to shoot. It is a good dove gun, too, if they are coming in close. But it isn't that pretty.




The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
 
Posts: 50426 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
Picture of Flash-LB
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by jhe888:
Yellow Jacket, is that wood from the factory? Nice.

I have an 1100 in 20 choked skeet, and it sure is a fun gun to shoot. It is a good dove gun, too, if they are coming in close. But it isn't that pretty.


I shoot skeet every week with a guy who has a bunch of different guns he rotates through and every one of them has wood that's about as nice as the one in the pic.

I'd be afraid to ding it if it were mine.
 
Posts: 7254 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Caribou gorn
Picture of YellowJacket
posted Hide Post
Yeah thats factory wood. It's one of the 1100 Sporting series, which had fancy grade walnut and gloss finish. It's definitely a stunner. Also came with 5 stainless, extended RemChokes.

I also have my Dad's 16 GA 1100 that also has a nice piece of wood in it but it's almost 60 y.o. and has been well used and well loved.




I'm gonna vote for the funniest frog with the loudest croak on the highest log.
 
Posts: 9705 | Location: Marietta, GA | Registered: February 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  Ammunition    History of 410 Shotgun Shells

© SIGforum 2021