.410 Ammo: Our Top 7 Picks for Hunting Loads

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Video best 410 turkey ammo

The tiny .410 bore may be the smallest caliber shotgun widely available to the public, but it is still an incredibly effective hunting tool. Countless generations of hunters have gotten their start with a .410 thanks to the round’s low recoil. In recent years, advancements to .410 ammo have increased the speed, power, and effectiveness of these tiny shotshells all without creating a larger blow to the wallet. It’s not uncommon to find factory .410s for less than 50 cents per round these days, which is something in this economy. You can’t even get a candy bar for that these days.

There are also plenty of hunters out there who are returning to the .410 simply because they’re looking for a new challenge after having done it all with a 12- or 20-gauge. The smaller spread can make sporting clays fun again if you’ve mastered the other calibers. The .410 has also really taken off for turkey hunting as new modern loads have upped the range and power significantly. We know a self-defense market has also taken off for .410, but today we’re going to focus solely on .410 shotgun ammunition for hunting or clays purposes. These are the options we look for first whenever we head afield with an old .410 bore, and they’ll suit you well in your outdoor adventures, too.

The Best Rifled Slug for .410

Winchester Super-X .410 Gauge

Pros:

  • Reliable, fast .410 slug.
  • 2½- and 3-inch options.
  • Packs a punch on smaller game

Cons:

  • More expensive than other .410 rounds
  • Doesn’t really have the kinetic energy for deer

While most hunters likely don’t think of using slugs with a .410, the proof is in the ballistics of the Super-Xs. Winchester manufactures both a 2½-inch, 1/5-ounce version and a 3-inch, ¼-ounce version of this hollow point, rifled slug. You’re looking at about 1,800 fps of muzzle velocity, which is nothing to sneeze at for a shotgun caliber this small. One area of caution we’ll note is the use of these slugs on deer. We’d advise against it, even if .410 is legal in your state. That’s because the muzzle energy is only 788 foot-pounds, and it slows to 403 foot-pounds at 50 yards, and 234 foot-pounds at 100 yards. And, yes, we do know that hunters have harvested deer with .410s before. However, we like to keep to a minimum kinetic energy of at least 1,000 foot-pounds. That said, we thought the Super-X deserved a spot on this list because it’s a dynamite round for coyotes and smaller feral hogs at close distances. I also like this round for pest control. It’ll do a real number on annoying woodchucks or other pests that are tearing up your backyard. In truth, I like these slugs for those mid-sized varmints better than a .22 or other rimfire. It just ends with a quicker, cleaner kill, which is something all hunters should strive for. At $7.99 for a box of five or $21.99 for 15, these rounds are a little more expensive than some other options, but they’ll get the job done for you effectively.

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The Best Dual-Purpose Round

Remington American Clay & Field

Pros:

  • Dual-purpose round perfect for field and clay
  • Quality primer
  • Low price point
  • Hulls are perfect for reloading

Cons:

  • Limited amount of shot sizes available

Shooters know Remington is one of the brands to go to for affordability and reliability, and the American Clay & Fields are a nice option that covers both of those bases. We’ve seen these rounds on sale for just over 50 cents a round if you catch them at the right time. These are lead shot loads that use Remington’s popular STS primers. The muzzle velocity is approximately 1,275 fps for these rounds that are meant for both hunting and clay shooting. It’s nice to seamlessly go from one passion to another without having to adjust for a different round in between. Remington makes these shells in No. 9 and 8 shot sizes with a shell length of 2½ inches respectively. In a hunting scenario, we like the No. 8 shells for doves and pigeons on private lands where lead shot is legal to use. For skeet and clay, we like the No. 9 option as a target load. It’s hard to go wrong with either of these game loads. Normally priced, these rounds go for about $17.99 a box, which isn’t bad for 24 shotgun shells. Pick up a few at a time, and they’ll last you a few seasons of fun target and wing shooting.

The Best-Long Range Turkey Load

HeviShot Hevi-18 410 bore

Pros:

  • Turkey-dropping power
  • Long-range ability
  • High pellet count for a .410

Cons:

  • Extremely high price tag

Ammo manufacturers have really started to push the .410 to its limits to create some of the best turkey loads on the planet right now. If you start comparing specs, you’ll find some comparable ballistics to larger rounds coming from the tiny .410 with none of the nasty kick. Hevi-Shot makes these rounds in No. 7 and 9 shot sizes. The Hevi-18s use dense tungsten super shot (TSS) in place of lead. The cool thing about tungsten is that it’s heavier than lead, which allows hunters the opportunity to drop down shot sizes without losing effective range or stopping power. If you’re introducing a youngster to turkey hunting but are worried about bringing down a bird with a .410 bore, these are probably the best shells to consider. The muzzle velocity of these loads is about 1,090 fps. Another nice plus to these is that tungsten is often considered non-toxic in many places. That makes it an option for public lands. The huge downside to TSS rounds is the price. These rounds go for about $45 for a box of five, or roughly $9 a shell. These are probably the most expensive .410 shells on the market right now as a result. We realize these rounds aren’t for everyone; but for hunters who want to be able to reach out and bag those Toms that like to hang up at 30-40 yards from your setup, these shells will get the job done.

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The Best Option for Waterfowl

Hevi-Shot Bismuth

Pros:

  • Non-toxic shot for public land
  • Denser than steel shot

Cons:

  • Extremely tight pattern
  • Price tag

You don’t hear about hunting waterfowl with a .410 bore too often. It’s not something that many hunters attempt. It’s understandable when you consider that many .410 guns meant for waterfowl come with a full choke installed. You often end up with an extremely tight pattern that makes the birds much harder to hit. For that reason, this is one instance where we don’t recommend a .410 for a beginner. Waterfowl hunting with a caliber this small is for the more advanced duck hunters who have already done it all with a 12- or 20-gauge and are looking for a better challenge. If you are going to hunt ducks with a .410, Hevi-Shot’s Heavy Bismuth shotgun ammo is the one to consider. It’s non-toxic, so you can use it on public land, and Bismuth is slightly denser than steel, which means it’s going to have better range and lethality in those scenarios. The only downside is that Bismuth is more expensive than steel. You’re looking at about $55 for a box of 25, or about $2.25 a round. Not cheap, but also not too bad in the grand scheme of things. Especially when you factor in the hot velocity of 1,300 fps from the muzzle. Hevi-Shot offers these rounds in No. 4 and 6 shot sizes that will help you limit out and push your shooting skills to the limit.

The Best Budget Upland and Small Game Shells

Winchester Super-X Upland and Small Game

Pros:

  • Wide variety of shot sizes
  • Affordable
  • Availability

Cons:

  • Toxic shot
  • Challenging for upland hunters

Again, you’ll hear about fewer hunters using .410 for upland game simply because the range and spread are greatly reduced when using one of these tiny shotguns. It can be done, but just like with waterfowl, it’s probably only best attempted by seasoned hunters who are ready for a new challenge. For small game such as squirrels and rabbits, however, it’s a little more doable. Winchester manufactures several high brass variants in .410 in shot sizes ranging from No. 4 to 7.5. I’ve also used the 11/16-ounce loads with No. 6 shot for a little pest control around the house in the past. I can personally attest to the knockdown power of the Super-X line, which is why I use it in nearly all of my firearms. The muzzle velocity is anywhere from 1,100 to 1,135 fps, depending on the shot size and load. There’s something here for almost every hunting scenario. Along with being ultra reliable, Super-X is surprisingly affordable. You’ll usually find it going for about $21 for a box of 25—around 88 cents a round. The other nice thing is the accessibility of these shells. They’re sold practically everywhere, and they’re often still on the shelf even during shortages. It all adds up toward making these some of our favorite general-purpose .410 bore shells to use each season.

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The Best Dedicated Skeet and Sporting Clays Round

Federal Top Gun

Pros:

  • Affordable dedicated skeet and clays round
  • Reliable Federal primers
  • Fast muzzle velocity

Cons:

  • Something of a niche round

If you’re truly looking for a real challenge on the skeet or sporting clays range, switching over to a .410 is a sure way to do it. If you can get consistent with a .410 on clay targets, everything else will seem easy by comparison. Federal Premium makes what we think is the best quality dedicated target round in the Top Gun. They make a few variants, a No. 9, ½ shot charge, and a No. 6, 11/16 shot charge. The difference is the No. 6 shot rounds are about 200 fps faster. They are doing about 1,330 fps at the muzzle. There is also a No. 7.5, ½-ounce shot charge option that’s also doing the same speed. These are strictly for target shooting on private lands because they are lead. The other thing we love about these rounds is the affordability. They go for about $17.99 a box, or around 72 cents a round. It’s a nice option to get into competing without breaking the bank.

The Most Affordable Target Round

Aguila Competition

Pros:

  • Wide array of shot sizes available
  • Extremely affordable

Cons:

  • Has a reputation for being dirty

Affordability is a big thing when you’re shooting a lot of shells for competition. Which is why we really like Aguila’s competition rounds. A 25-round box goes for around $16.99, or less than 70 cents a round. These would be a solid choice if you’re helping outfit one of the many clay shooting teams that are popping up as an extracurricular activity in schools across the country. Aguila makes its .410 options in 00B, 7 ½, 8, and 9 shot. The No. 9 shot options has a choice of a ½-ounce or ¾-ounce load. All the shot types are doing about 1,275 fps at the muzzle, which is not bad at all for the price point. Aguila also has a solid reputation for being reliable and accurate, both important aspects of competition. The downside to Aguila is that the ammo has a reputation for shooting extremely dirty almost universally across the whole line. But if you don’t mind a little extra cleaning, this is a solid option that won’t break the bank.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram For original videos, check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels.

READ MORE: THE 8 BEST .410 SHOTGUNS

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>