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Request For 3" .410 Bore Reloading Advice

11657 Views 18 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Kevinbear

I am looking for some suggestions related to reloading 3" shotshells in .410 bore. I have read a number of posts on the internet related to this topic, but none of them provide all of the information I am looking for, and some are rather old, and I'd like to have more current information. Below I will lay out what my experience has been in trying to learn about reloading 3" .410 shells, followed by my questions.

I have purchased a Tristar Viper G2 semi-auto .410 that shoots both 2-1/2" and 3" shotshells. I am looking to use it to shoot clays. It's been a very long time since I shot .410, and then only at squirrels, and I know it will be a challenge to do anything but whiff when shooting a .410 at clays. After watching some internet videos that showed .410 shotshell patterns, it seems like the small amount of extra shot you get with a 3" shell would be helpful, so I decided I want to try it, but I have had difficulty finding much information on reloading 3" .410 shells.

All of the advice I have gotten from people for both 28 gauge and .410 bore shell reloading is to use Winchester AA HS hulls because they are stronger, reload more times, have fewer issues, and crimp better. As part of a process of evaluating the cost of buying .410 shells vs reloading them I asked Winchester which of their .410 shells use AA HS hulls. They told me that all of their 2-1/2" shells but none of their 3" shells use AA HS hulls. I also could not find a shell on the Remington web site for 3" .410 shells. But I see reloading recipes on the Alliant and Hodgdon reloading data web sites for 3" .410 bore reloads using Winchester AA HS and Remington STS hulls. Huh.

All of my shotshell recipes have come from the Alliant and Hodgdon reloading data web sites. Alliant 410 and Hodgdon H110 look like the best bets to me. I know there are books that contain shotshell reloading information, but I don't know whether or not they are more complete or better than the manufacturer web sites.

I have purchased a MEC Sizemaster reloader in .410 bore because it supports both 2-1/2" and 3" shells. The only reloaders I could find that support 3" .410 shells are the Sizemaster and MEC 600 Jr Mark V. I would rather use a MEC 9000GN, but it only support 2-1/2" .410 shells.

First question: In your experience, is the extra shot in a 3" .410 shell vs a 2-1/2" shell of much help in shooting clays? Is it worth the extra expense and effort?

Second question: What source do you use for reloading data?

Third question: What brand and model of 3" .410 hull do you use for reloading? What is your favorite reload recipe for that hull?

Fourth question: Do you know of a web site where I could buy 3" .410 bore Winchester AA HS or Remington STS hulls? I can't find ANY.

Fifth question: Have you ever reloaded Winchester Super-X 3" .410 hulls? What is your favorite reload recipe for that hull?

Sixth question: Have you ever reloaded NSI .410M 3" .410 hulls? What is your favorite reload recipe for that hull?

Seventh question: Do you have any tips and tricks that you would care to share about using the MEC Sizemaster for reloading .410 hulls?

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Yep, reading with interest.

I load 410s for birds, pheasant, partridge and occasional ducks(mallard mainly).

I have gone through various loads using plastic wads but found a supplier of felt wads who had done his homework and come up with a seriously good load. I use 19.7gs Vectan SP3 powder, Fiocchi primers, and 2mm over powder cards/ 12mm felt wads. In order to get a really nice even/tight crimp I have found that 18.7g fo #6 or #7 shot UK size!! is the optimum load. I have pattern tested quite a number of various loads and at 35yrds from a full choke barrel in my Yilditz o/u gives me a very good even 30 inch pattern with very few fliers. On average I shoot between 20 to 25 driven bird days a season and my average over the last two seasons using this load has been 2.8 shots to 1 bird. Anything under 3 to 1 is considered pretty good shooting.

Having now used a 410 exclusively for shooting game birds I have come to the conclusion that time spent patterning loads is well spent as I have a friend who also shoots 410 who shoots much more open chokes than me at similar birds ...20 to 40yrds... and his kill to shot ration is as good if not better than mine.
I have come to the onclusion that the 410 is a weird little gauge and slight differences in chokes, barrel length and internal dimenions of the barrel however slight can mean a different performance gun to gun.
You need to work up loads specifically for your gun and spend time checking those patterns with all of the chokings available.

I only reload 3 inch cases Fiocchi mainly.

I also weigh all my powder and shot individually and only use the loader for resizing, putting in the wads and crimp finishing. I put a final finish on the crimp with a GAEP spinner in the bench drill.
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Sus Scrofa, Sadly, my hunting days are long behind me. I find I don't desire to hunt any longer since my brother and father passed away, I guess hunting was something I came to think of as a family activity. My favorite hunting was for pheasants, rabbits, and squirrels, especially in the years when we had a couple of great dogs. With the dogs it almost didn't matter to me if I shot something, I just enjoyed how happy it made the dogs, like excited children.

To reload using felt wads do you use a reloading machine? If so, do you have to insert the wads manually? I would think that felt wads would want to turn sideways when inserted into a hull by the plunger-like system I've seen on reloading machines.

I guess I'm going to need to spend a bit of time determining how my gun patterns with different loads and chokes. I suppose that's part of the fun of it all, as is reloading in general.
I seem to be in a reverse situation because I did all of my clay competition shooting back in the 60s and 70s and now all of my shotgun shooting is at birds with feathers.

As I said I weigh all of my shot and powder because the SP3 powder is a very fine ball powder and gets through every nook and cranny and was escaping from the mec 600. I also had difficulty with UK 6s and 7s dropping the shot as it would hang up. Now regards the over powder card and felt wad, I place both in the fingers as level as I can and starting slowly push them home. Once they level off in the fingers they go in no problem, honestly say I have never had one turn on me. Many of our shooting areas now are sking for felt wads only but I found this superb combination which does the job and now stick with it. I have plenty of time being retired so on rainy days I load shells or rifle ammo and can take my time. I don't shoot huge numbers, probably a thousand to fifteen hundred rounds of 410 a year but at round 2.8 to 1 that equates to around 550, pheaant, partridge and woodpigeon with the occasional unlucky woodcock.
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A few more projectiles is always welcome in a 3 inch case. Getting the pattern right is the most important thing with 410's a bit of experimentation with loads on the pttern plate is worth every penny spent on powder and shot.
My experience and that of colleagues who shoot 410s regularly on live game is that every gun is more individual with a 410 gauge than any others even 28 gauge. My shotgun throws best patterns at 35yrds with full chokes in both barrels my friends shotgun performs best with around 1/4 choke at the same distance. Different makes of gun and choking.
Even factory shells will perform differently I have found.
Don't know if my supplier would ship. Check out Folkestone Engineering on the web and speak with John the owner, he is a very helpful, nice guy. If not maybe we could work something out. There is no doubt the 410 spinner just puts that nice rounded finish on very easily.
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