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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up an old single shot .410 shotgun for my 10 year old daughter for squirrel and rabbit hunting. She can't hold the .22 steady enough yet, so the 410 seems a good choice for now. I see there are 2 1/2" loads with with less pellets but faster (1250 fps) and 3" loads with more pellets but slower (1135 fps). Useing #6 shot, it's around 40 pellets difference between the 2 1/2" 1/2 ounce shot and the 3" 11/16 ounce shot. I know squirrels are tough and I'll assume #6 is the best shot size, but what equals more killing power; more pellets or more speed ? Also what's a good max. range with the .410 on fox squirrels ? -Thanks
 

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I normally hunt Squirrels with a .22 Rifle, but also use my Stoeger Uplander s/s .410 shotgun. I found that the 3" shells loaded with #5 shot to work the best on Fox Squirrels, also #4 if you can't find #5's. I never had any luck using #6 in any gauge. As far as rabbits go (if you can find any) #5's or even #7 1/2 shot sizes works fine. The larger shot seems to drag fur into the meat on rabbits.

DAVID
 

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From experiance, limit the .410 to shots around 30 yards. I would use the 3 inch with 5's if you could find them. Shooting the 410 is fun, but the range and killing power just isn't there for the longer shots.
Aaron
 

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3" shells, #7 1/2 shot. IMO, it's the best all around .410 load for squirrels & rabbits. For quail go to #8 or maybe even #9 shot.

Shotgunning is a game of mathematical probability, simpy reduced to, "will enough of these pellets hit my target?" Size 7 1/2 shot should provide adequate penetration at reasonable .410 patterning distances, say 25 yards, maybe 30 max for most guns. #6 shot, ~225 pellets/ounce; #7 1/2 shot, ~350 pellets/ounce, so you get 55% more pellets in a given charge of 7 1/2 shot than with 6's. That's a *big* difference. #8's run out of steam even sooner, & they have ~410 pellets/ounce. That's only 17% more pellets than 7 1/2's- not a very big difference.

IIRC, #4's only have about 135 pellets/ounce. Individual pellets have a lot more energy, but the pattern can get mighty thin even at modest range(say 20 yards). Remember, it's a game of probability, & more hits are better. Since we can only get ~93 pellets of #4 shot in a .410 shell with 11/16 oz of shot, for most uses we'll be better off with smaller shot & more pellets. The same math gives us ~241 pellets of #7 1/2 shot in 11/16 oz. By the way: When I was a boy, 3" .410 loads claimed to have 3/4 oz of shot. I dunno if they actually changed the shot charge, or just got more honest. Probably changed it when they went to the plastic collars in shotgun shells.

Try a box of 3" shells, #7 1/2 shot. And before too long, consider getting her a nice 20 ga. 20 ga shells usually shoot much better patterns & are about half the price of .410's! :D
 

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When I was just starting out squirrel hunting, I used a single shot bolt action Mossberg with 3" #6 shot. Killed many with it. Personally I think a 410 is perfect for starting a young person out. Nothing wrong limiting shots to 25-30 yards. After they have gained a little experience, and got comfortable with the 410, you can move them up to a 20ga when they feel ready.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I use a .22 Mag myself , but have used my 20 ga. Rem. 870 on occasion. The 870 is to long and heavy for her to handle and carry right now( remember she is 10 years old, 4 1/2' 75 lbs.) I also have a light-wieght(plastic stock) single shot 20ga, but it may kick too much for her right now. I'll have to try it with her. She can't hold the .22 steady enough in a field position yet either. I plan on takeing her in Aug.+ Sept. when the leaves are thick and shots are closer , well within 25 yds..
I think I'll try some 3" #4, #5, and #6 and see which patterns the best at 25yds.

-Thanks
 

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i agree with unclestu.

in my opinion, the .410's use on squirrels will somewhat depend on the timber one hunts. where i grew up, a lot of the timber was over 30 yards high which made the .410 a very iffy gun to carry. that's why almost nobody used one.

in that tall timber the distances of most shots called for a minimum of a 1 oz. load of #6 and the 1 1/4 oz. loads were mostly used.

you will notice that i never mentioned a guage. most folks also used full choke guns. this was to deliver enough pellets in a lethal area at the longer ranges. at closer ranges a good shotgunner learns how much to "draw off" in order to keep from putting too many shot in the meat.

i guess back then that most folks only owned 1 gun and they knew what it could do and what they could do with it. they also probably got to use it more than most people today.

in a flat brushy woods where the shots are close, the .410 will be all the gun one needs. in a mature forest with little underbrush one will hone for his 12 ga! lol!

luck!
 

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kyron4 said:
I use a .22 Mag myself , but have used my 20 ga. Rem. 870 on occasion. The 870 is to long and heavy for her to handle and carry right now( remember she is 10 years old, 4 1/2' 75 lbs.) I also have a light-wieght(plastic stock) single shot 20ga, but it may kick too much for her right now. I'll have to try it with her. She can't hold the .22 steady enough in a field position yet either. I plan on takeing her in Aug.+ Sept. when the leaves are thick and shots are closer , well within 25 yds..
I think I'll try some 3" #4, #5, and #6 and see which patterns the best at 25yds.

-Thanks
On your 20 gauge; you might want to try the lighter 7/8 oz. loads, as they would have less recoil than a regular 20 gauge load. However if you already have the .410 single shot I'd go ahead and let her try that. You might want to have her pratice shooting at a tin can @ 20 yards, with the .410 and if she does okay then you could let her shoot the 20 gauge to see if she can handle the recoil. :)
 

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410 vs. 20ga.:

Two fathers brought thier 12 to 13 year old sons to shoot trap, the first night both were shooting .410's and not hitting much. The second or third week both were switched to 20's and were not bothered by the added recoil and did well. INHO start her on the .410 and as she get used to it switch to the 20 with 7/8 loads. The noise will scare her more than the recoil so good ear protection is a must.

Len
 

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From what i've heard (which isnt worth much), the .410 is a marginal gun in killing power. Fox squirrels are on the tough side, but in denser early season forest closer is better(and much easier to do). I would go with 4 or 5 shot in 3" shells because they are much tougher than a regular grey squirrel.

Going off topic:
I would think of maybe looking at getting her a youth model 20 guage (mossberg and remington each make them), also there are advantages like ammo cost which makes praticing more affordable, also the variety of ammo(sabots for deer) and low brass shells. Recoil may be of small concern, but wearing a vest and maybe a sweatshirt would help distribute it.
Chances are she won't get big enough to even use an adult size one so she will be able to use it her whole life or change stocks.
 

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Pattern the gun with 3" and 2 1/2" shells.In my experience the shorter shells deliver much more uniform patterns. #5 shot if you can find it,or #6 shot is good for squirrels.I think the 410 is an excellent choice for a youngster to hunt squirrels with.A H&R Topper sure worked for me.
 

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410 is a good little squirrel gun out to about 30 yards with #5 or 6 shot. I do hope you didn't get a youth model for her though. I have a little Rossi 410 I keep in the boat when floating rivers and that thing has a thump as hard as a 20 gauge with 3 inch mag shells in it. BTW, the Rossi came with a 22LR barrel also and the thing only weighs about 3.5 pounds. You can pick them up for about $125 if you shop around. The 22 is drilled and tapped for a scope also. Might be something to think about if you want to get her into both worlds.
 
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