Top .410 Shotguns
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- Last updated: 19/12/2016
The only shotgun gauge to be referred to as a calibre, the 410 (or 68-gauge if you’d prefer) is in shotgunning terms reasonably new, only making an appearance around 1900. Since then it’s enjoyed a mixed reputation, the term ‘idiot stick’ denoting what many UK shooters think of this diminutive smoothbore. A part of most makers’ portfolios, it’s the Turkish revolution and cheaper Italian guns that has seen the UK resurgence of the 410 with over-unders, side-bysides, pump-actions and heavily silenced versions all available.
And always remember; whilst we Brits are at time less than polite about the 410, Americans love them, there are some serious clay competitions dedicated to the 410.
So in no particular order here’s four you may like to consider. None of them are expensive, they all work well, feature 3-inch chambers and with the right ammo and some practice will lift targets out of the sky with impressive levels of ability. It might be basic but the oiled semi-pistol grip woodwork has some of the straightest grain you’ll ever see. Complete with a rear sling swivel, the fit of the stock head to the rear of the action is tight and even. Move forward and there you have a distinctly American-style Beaver forend, this wide hand-filling section of wood held tight by an Anson latch. All you might need to do is apply some stock oil to lift the grain and add some extra protection since there seems to be a shortage of it back in Mother Russia.
The gloss black monobloc barrels are 26-inches in length with 3-inch chambers with fixed full and ¾ chokes and a 7-12mm concaved high rib that gives this 410 a distinctly American look. Unusual for a Baikal, the basic black boxlock action has had two small scrolls engraved either side, along with a pair of minute stippled panels on the fences with scallops around the stock head. A huge black trigger guard surrounds the silvered blade, whilst a short top-lever juts out over the top-tang just ahead of the small, automatic safety.
At exactly 42-inches in length, the gun weighs in at 7lbs 8oz, with a balance point about a one inch in front of the hinges. Drops at comb and heel are 1½-inches and 2¼-inches with a length of pull measuring 1311/16-inches to the average breaking weight trigger of 8lbs 6oz. Yes, it’s heavy, but when you’re shooting with the Baikal it tends not to be a problem, your attention directed elsewhere.
The smoothness of the swing is excellent, whilst the tight chokes throw a well-defined pattern, allowing for the precise placement of the pattern and a resultant clean kill time and time again. Better still, this no nonsense Baikal is all yours for £399-99.
An Italian over-under with a German name that in English means Eagle. Like most 410 shotguns, the Adler is a no-frills package all in for just £649. Maybe a fraction more than some others, once you’ve actually shot the gun you’ll understand as to why. Although there aren’t any accessories, the buyer can choose between Full and ½ or ¾ and ¼ chokes when ordering their Adler, the tighter options being the favourite.
Semi-oiled woodwork, a sporter stock with a London-style forend and neat checkering, the Adler qualifies as one of the most elegant 410s available. Quick and usable, the 26-inch, 3-inch chambered monobloc barrels are finished in a deep gloss black, a deep solid mid-rib joining the two tubes together, with a high vented top-rib crowning matters off, barrels and chambers feeding into a mechanical, satin finish alloy boxlock action complete with stippled fences and scroll engraving is based on the now almost universally familiar Italian design.
Well-sized, with an overall length of 431/8-inches with a weight of 5lbs 10oz, the 15/16- inch and 23/16-inch drops at comb and heel combined with a 141/16-inch length and 6lbs 9oz trigger pull, the Adler is a full sized shotgun and ideal for a grown shooter.
You will have to remove your spent cases by hand though, since the Adler comes with extractors not ejectors, the upside being that the empty cases go straight back into your pocket. What you will find is that Sabatti’s Adler is a pleasure to shoot, to a degree that if you’re not a fan of the 410 you soon will be, this Italian over-under is a pleasure to use.
The fact it’s made by Khan over in Turkey has no bearing whatsoever on the Webley & Scott 941 410, this little overunder an impressive small shotgun, one reason being it’s a multi-choke. Oiled and straight grained walnut complete with a slender grip and a neat plastic buttplate are complimented by a tapering Schnabel-style forend.
Blacked 3-inch chambered monobloc barrel length of 28-inches with a vented 7mm top-rib and matching mid-rib feed into a basic black alloy over-under boxlock action. Impressively strong, a deep bite extends from the base of the action face locating into the lug cut outs situated below the bottom chamber, whilst a lozenge shaped steel insert on the action face allows a gunsmith quick ingress into the lockwork should the need arise. Interestingly, whilst restriction variation is a welcome addition, barrel discharge is fixed, so you can’t physically swap between firing order.
Overall length of the 941 is 45¼-inches, with drops at comb and heel of 13/8-inches and 21/8-inches, a comfortable 14¾-inch length of pull and an average trigger weight of 5lbs 4oz, all of which results in a gun that weighs just 5lbs 9oz with a neutral balance point an inch in front of the hinges. The sort of shotgun that’ll become a regular, year long companion as you stroll around the hedges and boundaries, with the tighter chokes fitted and loaded with some decent 3-inch ammo, this petite Webley & Scott personifies as to why the 410 still has its part to play in shotgun shooting.
These little Turkish 410s are so popular the UK importer can’t get his hands on enough of them, each and every consignment out through the door within hours of their arrival. And it’s quite understandable, the Yildiz SPZME 410 embodying everything that makes a 410 what it is; value for money, adaptability, excellent quality and decent looks. The other Yildiz bonus is that this 410 was designed and built as nothing else, so it isn’t a scaled down 20g.
A perfect mirror image of itself, both sides of the satin finish alloy boxlock action feature a brace of partridge in flight, foliate and light scroll work and a spaniel and partridge on the base, the ornamentation alone setting the Yildiz apart. Similarly, the trunions and top-lever pivot feature a symmetrical pattern with further foliate to both the lever and trigger guard. And for ease of maintenance the face of the action features a steel insert held in place with a single screw.
The 28-inch matte black monobloc barrels swage into 3-inch chambers, a 7mm rib keeps the gun on line, whilst the set of five flush-fit chokes are easily identifiable by the number of notches machined into the end. A full-sized shotgun, with an adult sized stock drops at comb and heel of 17/16th and 2 7/16th plus a 14-inch length of pull and 6lb breaking trigger and an overall weight of 5lbs 4oz. trigger mechanism.
The other bonus is that if you pay the £695 asking price you also get ejectors, whilst for those on a budget and who prefer to extract their own empty cases; the non-ejector is £495 and is more or less exactly the same. You could go the other way and opt for the Special Lux that boasts profusely engraved sideplates and significantly upgraded walnut, whilst all models can be had with 26-inch or 28-inch barrels.