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Request For 3" .410 Bore Reloading Advice

11659 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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JWSmith1959, I will be shooting sporting clays, but if I find it to be fun and have some success I may try some trap or skeet.

Yesterday I purchased the "Lyman Shotshell Handbook, 5th Edition". It has some good reloads beyond what I found at manufacturers' web sites. However, I am a bit disappointed that it doesn't show some powders, like Alliant 20-28, which I use for 28 gauge, and some popular wads. Perhaps that's because the book was published in 2007 and isn't completely up to date.

I've decided to try both 2-1/2" and 3" shells, and see what works best in my gun and within my personal shooting limitations. I've ordered some Winchester shells with AA HS and Super-X hulls for reloading purposes. A comparison of purchasing once-fired hulls or purchasing new shells and reloading them shows that the cost is almost the same. Over a range of 200 boxes of 25 rounds, it is about $0.10 per box less expensive to use once-fired hulls for 28 gauge, and about $0.50 per box for .410 bore. If you can even find the hulls you want.

I had read elsewhere about difficulties like you mentioned with dropping larger shot, like #6, into .410 hulls. I plan to try 8 and 9 shot, so hopefully I won't run into much of that.

You mentioned Win 296 powder, which appears to be one of the most popular powders for .410 reloading. I read somewhere that Hodgdon H110 is the same powder. Do you think that is correct?

You also mention that some of the 3" .410 reload recipes have 12000 - 13500 PSI, and that is beyond your comfort range. Wouldn't the powder manufacturers take into account the capabilities of 3" .410 bore guns before publishing reload recipes? I have sent a request to Tristar to find out the safe PSI range for the gun I purchased. It will be interesting to see if liability issues prevent them from providing that information.
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Davers's, A Lee Loader! Holy cow, that takes me back to about 1985 when I was looking to begin reloading a pistol cartridge. Lee no longer manufactures a Loader in .410 bore, and a used one is $100, which is ridiculous. The Lee Load-All is about $60, although they don't make it for 28 gauge or .410 bore.

I don't know if modern hulls can hold 3/4 oz shot. All of the recipes for 5/8 and 11/16 oz I see are for hulls that are designed for 1/2 oz of shot. I guess the extra shot sits on the top of the shot cup.
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.
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My Trap scores are much better when I use three inch shells. I buy primed three inch hulls from BPI and use winchester wads. I have a MEC 600. I load 11/16ths of #9 shot over 14 grains of Alliant 2400. (I have used Alliant 410, H110, IMR 4198, AA#9). I like 2400 best.
When you load 11/16ths of shot, does that go over the top of the shot cup? All of the wads are rated for 1/2 oz, so I've assumed that it is OK for the shot to go above the cup, but now I have someone I can ask!

Do you get cleaner breaks of the clays with 3" as compared to 2-1/2"?

Thank you.
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