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Request For 3" .410 Bore Reloading Advice

11565 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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First let me preface by saying I do not reload 3"...for a reason. For skeet it is unnecessary and per NSSA rules 1/2 oz shot is the maximum. That being said, I don't know when you say "Clays" you mean skeet, Sporting Clays, 5 Stand, or some other game I am unaware of. Pretty sure not trap as that would be a waste of time. Even 5 Stand and Sporting Clays might get you discouraged if you are not a pretty good shooter. I'll answer your questions as you asked them.

1. There are a couple of schools of thought on this. Is the extra shot worth it. When I shot competitively, every extra BB was important. That being said, the 3" 410 shot column is very long and easier to distort. The only true test would be to pattern several different 3" loads vs 2 1/2 inch. I carried a little better than 94 average in .410 when I shot a lot. I'm down to about 88 now.

2. Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbook is a MUST HAVE for your library. Data can come from various pamphlets supplied by the powder companies, or the Hodgdon site.

3. I would use the data from the Hodgdon site and only 296 or H110 powder...its what I know. Another consideration is most of the 3" loads bump pressures up at the 12,000-13,500 PSI range. That is above my comfort zone. I shoot some .410 in a tubed 12 gauge and that is higher than suggested. I wouldn't have a problem in my 870, but still...why test fate.

4. The 410 3" Super X is the same construction as the 2 1/2" HS hull as far as I know. The Hodgdon site lists the Super X as HS. When shooting 5 stand with .410, I just use 2 1/2" 8 shot at 1300+ fps.

5. Again...referring to Hodgdon site, many pressures with that hull in 3" are out of my comfort zone.

7. Love the Sizemaster. I have it in 12, 20, and 28. I still load .410 in my Original 600. Since the .410 is much smaller than the other gauges, there is a tiny learning curve. You will go through wad fingers quicker, and sometimes the shot is harder to drop because of the small bar and the larger you go, the worse it is. 8 1/2 and 9's not so much, but when you get to 7 1/2 and 6's, it can get sticky. I've even had those get stuck in the drop tube to unexpectedly let go when you pull the shell away from that station.

My standard Skeet load is 15 gr. Win 296, Win 209 primer, Win AA-410 HS Wad and 1/2 oz of shot. That is right around 1200 fps. With a pressure of less than 9000 PSI. I have used that same load for almost 40 years. That load also compensates for a change in primer to CCI (regular or magnum), Cheddite and even Federal Magnum if need be. You can also substitute the Claybuster Wad. I will eventually switch to that for price once my AA wads run out.

Good Luck.

Edited: Sus Scrofa should be along. I know he loads 3" 410 using cards and felt wads and may have a bunch of additional information.
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Win 296 and H110 are identical. I used not to think so, but the newest Hodgon load data shows exact loads and pressures. I also stay away from Little Gun in 410 for pressure reasons too.

SAAMI max pressure for the 3" 410 is 13,500.

I just don't like bumping up near the top all the time. Some people love living on the edge. :D
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