.410 Shotgun Buyer’s Guide [2021]

If you want to buy your first shotgun, finding the right gauge and maker may be difficult. You may not know what to expect. But most of the time, the answer is easier than you think. Going with a smaller caliber can give you an appreciation for this type of gun. All without limiting your development and performance. So why not select the best 410 shotgun and experience the amount of utility it provides? Here are some of our top picks.

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Why Pick a 410 Shotgun?

The 410 shotgun is as popular as it is versatile. It’s one of the best firearms for self-defense as well as hunting. Growing up, I saw it being used against upland birds and bigger game under the right conditions.

Yet it’s also clear that the 410 shotgun is only as good as its handler. While I wouldn’t recommend you go turkey hunting with one, with enough skill you can pull that off too.

This firearm is quite affordable even though it packs a punch. The performance and comfort when shooting with a .410 shotgun are hard to match. I also recommend it for experienced and new shooters alike. It’s not difficult to learn or handle from an early age.

How to Choose the Best 410 Shotgun for Home Defense

It’s interesting that the 410 shotgun is one of the few shotguns not measured in gauge but rather inches. Just because you know what gauge you want, though, it doesn’t mean that any shotgun will work for you. Here are some tips on how to find the ideal fit.

Barrel Length

The length of the barrel offers some recoil compensation. A longer barrel makes the shotgun more comfortable to use. I find that the swing is particularly smoother with a longer barrel.

It can also arguably improve accuracy, but perhaps not as much for novice users. All things considered, the barrel length helps with the recoil and velocity, in that longer is better. At the same time, this can also add some weight, so don’t get caught up in length too much.

Stock Design and Feel

Remember how I said not all 410 shotguns are the same? Even if you just focus on the stock, it’ll be clear.

When analyzing the stock, four things come to mind:

  • Pitch
  • Drop
  • Comb
  • Length of pull

So, you have to figure out which type of stock best suits your hands, shoulder, and chest. For example, you may benefit from a shorter length of pull. This is essentially the distance from the trigger to the center of the recoil pad.

The size of the comb may affect your stability and level of comfort. The drop matters too as this indicates the eye elevation from the barrel. Finding the right balance here is the difference between shooting too low or too high. 

If you want to avoid discomfort or painful recoil, the pitch matters too. This is the angle of the butt relative to your shoulder. A larger angle may cause it to dig too deep. On the other hand, not enough pitch can cause slipping.

Action

You should also know a bit about the action of the shotgun before buying one. There are two popular types of break action shotguns. They reload differently and are far more popular and cheaper than semi-automatic shotguns. I also recommend them for their added safety.

A pump action shotgun is also a good choice for self-defense, but perhaps not great for hunting. It’s characterized by faster reloading and reliability. While I may not find them very efficient in hunting applications, the design is very trustworthy. And you can take a pump shotgun out in any weather conditions.

The semi-automatic sort basically shoots with every pull. You don’t have to manually reload one as often because it has a magazine. The recoil is considerably lower than in break action or pump action shotguns.

Yet, this type of shotgun is more maintenance-intensive. You need to be familiar with the weapon, first and foremost. Disassembling one and cleaning it isn’t exactly a breeze.

Of course, there is still much debate over single barrel and double barrel shotguns too. I myself don’t find this debate worth having in the 410 caliber range. With this being a much lighter overall firearm and easy to handle, I advise you to pick whatever you find most comfortable for defense or hunting application.

Top 410 Shotgun Manufacturers

When picking a 410 shotgun, manufacturer reputation comes to mind too. Apart from looking at certain specifications and design characteristics, it’s important to understand that some firearm makers are better than others.

Browning and Mossberg are two of the top contenders here. But you also have Beretta, Remington, and Henry that also provide interesting choices for self-defense and for hunting. Even Rossi has an interesting offering if you want a single shot shotgun in your collection.

Best 410 Shotguns

Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon

This is an over and under 410 caliber shotgun. Its accuracy is impressive, and it doesn’t weigh too much. At 5.8 lbs., it’s suitable for learning how to shoot, self-defense, and hunting small game. I also recommend this for youth and women.

 

Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I Over and Under Shotgun

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The gun has a 26” barrel length. This provides good muzzle velocity and helps maintain accuracy. It has an oiled walnut stock that’s sturdy. The angle or pitch of the stock should be good for a variety of users.

From what I can tell, this model is a staple among hunters. It also does the manufacturer justice on the competitive shooting scene. You may also benefit from having a closer eye positioning in relation to the barrel, which gives you better coordination and a smoother swing.

The quality of workmanship doesn’t disappoint either. Between scroll engraving, a low profile receiver, and top of the line Schnabel fore-end, the Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon does its job well. As long as you use the right shells too.

Pros

  • Superior hand-to-eye coordination
  • Selected Walnut stock
  • 26” barrel length
  • Optimum stock pitch

Cons

  • Not the cheapest 410 shotgun

Mossberg 500 Turkey

The Mossberg 500 Turkey is a pump action shotgun. It’s arguably the best 410 shotgun for hunting due to its accuracy and smooth recoil. Despite its size, it’s a bit heavier than others in the same caliber range.

Mossberg 500 Combo Turkey Deer Pump Shotgun

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However, I recommend it for its 5+1 capacity, among other things. The synthetic stock finish feels nice and the pitch seems ideal. At least when you have to aim longer or fire shots in rapid succession. There’s minimal chance of slippage.

The vent rib barrel is a respectable choice. You may also find this a very accurate shotgun up to 40 yards away. The pump action makes it quite convenient to use too since you can fire faster. All the while, this also reduces the recoil due to the unique loading mechanism.

Furthermore, I recommend it for its tight spread. This provides stopping power and prevents unnecessary damage when hunting for game.

Note that the Turkey is available in different barrel lengths. You can usually get it with anywhere from a 20” barrel length and up to 26”. The differences in pricing won’t be significant. But you may notice the weight difference.

Pros

  • Good barrel length variety
  • 5+1 round capacity
  • Forest camouflage finish
  • Optimal angled stock

Cons

  • Not everyone appreciates a single barrel shotgun
  • May have a longer length of pull

Browning Citori 725

One of the coolest shotguns on this list, the Browning Citori 725 is a sleek improvement over its predecessor. It’s a thinner and lighter gun that provides better hand-to-eye coordination.

Browning Citori 725 Field Over and Under Shotgun

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The trimmed receiver and new stock do a lot to improve its aesthetics. I also like the large vertical grips as they provide more utility. The pistol-style grip on the Citori 725 favors competitive shooters due to its ability to ease hand fatigue.

This gun also features mechanical triggers. One of the best features on this shotgun, if you ask me, since it makes it much easier to get off a second shot. Something you may also appreciate when attempting to hit a fleeing bird.

The trigger pull is consistent and doesn’t require a lot of pressure. This added sensitivity allows for faster shooting. Another great thing about the Citori 725 is the 28” barrel length. It provides better swinging characteristics.

Overall, the over and under double barrel shotgun is a great performer in a variety of outdoor applications. That said, for a mid-level shotgun, it’s not among the cheapest.

Pros

  • High-quality robust build
  • Superior swinging capabilities
  • Crisp and consistent trigger action
  • Available with 26” and 28” barrels

Cons

  • Pricier than other competitor shotguns in its class

Henry Lever Action 410 Shotgun

If you need something for small pest management, home defense, or clay shooting, this could be the shotgun for you. The Henry Lever Action 410 caliber shotgun is useful in a variety of applications.

Henry 410 Lever Action Shotgun

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Despite its lightweight, the gun still packs around 7lbs of weight. Yet its sleek design makes it maneuverable and easy to track with. The walnut gives it a nice touch and the lever action is as consistent as they come.

Note that the manufacturer rates the trigger pull at 7 lbs. It’s slightly harder to shoot for beginners. But, the little-to-no recoil and minimal noise make the Henry Lever a joy to fire.

If you want a shotgun with a larger capacity, know that this model holds up to seven rounds, including the one in the chamber. The sights are not too impressive. However, they deliver when shooting clays or at close range.

Pros

  • Available with 19.75” and 20” barrels
  • Designed for hunting and target practice
  • Easy to handle
  • Brass bead front sight

Cons

  • On the heavier side of 410 caliber shotguns

Remington 1100 Classic Trap

The Remington 1100 comes from one of the top 410 shotgun manufacturers. Many still consider the Classic Trap to be the best 410 shotgun hands down. But is it really worth all the hype behind it?

Remington 1100 Classic Trap Semi-Auto Shotgun\

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In many respects it does. For one, the shotgun is as durable as they come. And, it’s one of the easiest semi-automatics to care for. Don’t get me wrong, as this is a heavier shotgun. But it still feels comfortable to handle.

Another thing that separates this model from the rest is its reloader. It’s considered among the best there are, even in the ranks of competitive shooters. If you are familiar with the Remington 1100 line, then you probably know that the only drawback is the limited availability in the 410 caliber and 28 gauge.

However, given the superior performance when shooting repeatedly for years, even a 1970s Classic Trap may outperform many of today’s more readily available shotguns. Whether you need one for hunting or clay shooting, you can never go wrong with a solid Remington 1100.

Pros

  • Off-the-scale durability
  • Superior workmanship
  • Consistent trigger pull and performance
  • Super easy maintenance

Cons

  • It’s harder to find in the 410 caliber

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

There are many good 410 caliber shotguns you can use for defense, hunting, or in shooting competitions. However, a few clearly rise above the rest in performance and feel. In my opinion, the Browning Citori 725 is a solid all-around shotgun due to its balanced design.

That said, perhaps the best 410 shotgun for the money is still the Remington 1100 Classic Trap. It’s not just because it’s a fast shooter thanks to its semi automatic action. But also because of its superior workmanship and robust build that allows for consistent shooting of thousands of rounds in between cleaning.

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