Yesterday, I had a chance to play with Mossberg 500HD, a .410 pump designed for defense. We test-fired a whole bunch of ammo types at the IDTS 3D target and more at an old cooking pan, some rotten logs and cardboard boxes.
My observations on this .410 so far:
- Low recoil does much to build confidence in the new shooters
- Loading and extraction can be difficult due to the relatively great surface area of the casing: I’ve the best results with Russian steel case Barnaul shotshells, 2.5″ Brennekes slugs and 2.5″ Winchester PDX. Rio birdshot and S&B 3-pellet 00 buck loaded with difficulty and wouldn’t extract at all
- 2.5″ shells give one more round in the tube without losing much effectiveness
- Spreader choke and wad-less shotshells lead to excessive spread with birdshot loads at ranges beyond 5-6ft
- Slugs were quite accurate: I was able to hit a 12″ hanging frying pan with 6 out of 6 Brenneke slugs from 40 yards, each projectile tearing an inch-wide hole in the metal
- 3-pellet S&B load spread almost entirely vertically
- PDX has pretty good patterning of the cylindrical bullets, but the pellets went off to one side
- Barnaul #3 shot gave a surprisingly dense and consistent pattern
- Terminal effect of Brenneke 2.5″ slugs was very impressive, including splitting some of the logs I used as targets
So the end result of my very informal test suggests using 2.5″ shells and solid projectiles. The slug weighs the same 109 grains as the 3″ variety but muzzle velocity is only 1500fps vs. 1750fps. For short ranges, the difference shouldn’t be all that significant. Hollow base .410 slugs which are used by most US ammo makers aren’t very solidly built, so their penetration is very limited.
To ensure reliable extraction with questionable ammunition, it’s best to pull on the forend during the recoil. It’s better yet to test the ammo beforehand and not load anything that doesn’t run smoothly.