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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Recently, my mom decided that most/all 12 and 20 gauge pump shotguns were too heavy for her to effectively hold to her shoulder for any length of time. She has always, until recently, been pretty physically strong and isn't a novice when it comes to firearms but now has fibromyalgia as well as some arthritis in her back. Due to these things, she has also become more recoil sensitive and says that a 12 gauge or even a 20 'kick' too hard for her to handle even just loaded with field loads. This would, of course, be especially true in any 12 or 20 that would be light enough for her to handle well.

With that in mind, she decided that she wanted a .410 shotgun for general and defensive use. She ended up with a Mossberg 500 .410 pump. As part of her Mother's Day gift, I bought her one box each of the Winchester PDX1 .410 defensive ammo (the kind with plated 'defensive discs' as well as plated BBs) and Federal Personal Defense 'Handgun' .410 buckshot. Both are 2 1/2 inch. I know the Federal stuff was developed with The Judge in mind but I wanted to see what it would do in a full-size shotgun.

Also, mom's acquisition of her .410 pump started me to thinking about the old Stevens break action, single shot .410 that was my first ever firearm (I still have it.) I ended up getting it out, dressing it up a little (more on that in another thread) and deciding that I want to return it to the position of 'woods walking shotgun' - a duty it did a lot when I was much younger, back when I first got it. Also, while it certainly isn't a main defensive firearm, for me, I like to be prepared to best use any of my firearms for defensive purposes if I am pressed to do so. To that end, I decided to test one round each of the PDX1 and Federal Personal Defense ammo out of my single.

One thing I took note of when purchasing the ammo (I found both at a local Walmart) was that the prices per box were within a few cents of each other even thought the Winchester comes in 10 round boxes while the Federal comes 20 per box. Effectively, this means the Winchester costs roughly twice as much as the Federal. I was going to have to see some pretty significant, superior performance out of the Winchester before I would think it was worth the extra cost. So, here is how the patterning turned out.

All shots were fired from a distance of ten yards, measured with a tape measure. First the Mossberg pump:



The Federal is at the top while the Winchester is at the bottom. A closer look:





And secondly, the results from my Stevens 9478 Single Shot:



Again, Federal on top, Winchester on bottom. You can see that the shot cup from the Federal stuck in the cardboard pretty close to the shot pattern. Closer looks:





I know that the .410 is much maligned and that it isn't exactly a 'powerhouse' when compared to other shotguns. That said, I believe that within reasonable distances, either of these rounds fired from a .410 shotgun is going to be capable of totally ruining an assailant's day. For my 'woods walking' purposes around the house, while I would be most likely to use #6 shot with snakes in mind, I could also carry one or two rounds of 'heavier' ammo. For that purpose, I think either the PDX1 or the Federal would deal with any four legged nuisance/threat I might come up against (the largest of which would most likely be a coyote.) I did notice that there was a little more recoil from the Winchester in both mom's pump and my single shot. I wonder if that is because the Federal is more 'optimized' for a handgun than the Winchester. I don't know how much, if any, extra 'oomph' on the receiving end the extra recoil would translate into but doubt if it would be enough to be a significant difference.

Personally, based simply on the pattern achieved and relative 'damage' done, I don't see that the Winchester is worth paying almost double the price of the Federal. Eventually I might get around to blowing up some water jugs with these rounds to see if either gives superior penetration over the other. For now, though, I will be buying a box of the Federal for my single. When I showed her the results, mom also decided to keep her pump loaded with the Federal and said she probably wouldn't buy any more of the Winchester. Her .410 certainly doesn't have the power of a 12 gauge but loaded up with good ammo I don't think I'd want to be an intruder on the receiving end of it.
 

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Here is my Saiga 410 For HD....


Loaded with the 4+1 clip of Golden Bear....


My 10 round clips don't like the full brass shells so load it up with these...



I haven't had one person say after shooting it " only 410 " :)
 

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Thanks for all the pics. I had no idea there were steel cased shotshells out there. I learned something this morning.
JAB, I agree those Federal loads will work just fine. Defensive loads have improved a lot for the .410 shotshell.
 

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From just about every test I've seen the Federal handgun buck is the way to go in 410. I remember one test that got 12"+ penetration in gel out of the Judge. That makes it a pretty viable round for self defense IMO. The price is pretty good too.

Edit: Here is a link toa pretty good test. Looks like the PDX1 had pretty shallow penetration.

http://www.410handguns.com/410_gel_results.html#Fed_01
 

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Discussion Starter #6
From just about every test I've seen the Federal handgun buck is the way to go in 410. I remember one test that got 12"+ penetration in gel out of the Judge. That makes it a pretty viable round for self defense IMO. The price is pretty good too.

Edit: Here is a link toa pretty good test. Looks like the PDX1 had pretty shallow penetration.

http://www.410handguns.com/410_gel_results.html#Fed_01
Interesting - thanks for the link. I have to say that I wish someone would do gel tests using these rounds out of a full-length shotgun. I wonder if the penetration would be significantly different (either greater or lesser) than out of a Judge. Based on the results at that link, I certainly think that if I were going with a Winchester product for SD/HD in a .410 - especially a full length shotgun - I'd pass on the PDX1 in favor of regular ol' Super X 2 1/2 inch buckshot as it seemed to outperform the PDX1 and is less expensive.

I also found it interesting that, using penetration as the main criteria, with both the Federal and Winchester ammo, the 2 1/2 inch loads seemed to outperform their three inch counterparts. The results further affirm my opinion that the Federal 2 1/2 inch Personal Defense buckshot is the way to go in a .410 defensive weapon, for now.
 

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Interesting - thanks for the link. I have to say that I wish someone would do gel tests using these rounds out of a full-length shotgun. I wonder if the penetration would be significantly different (either greater or lesser) than out of a Judge. Based on the results at that link, I certainly think that if I were going with a Winchester product for SD/HD in a .410 - especially a full length shotgun - I'd pass on the PDX1 in favor of regular ol' Super X 2 1/2 inch buckshot as it seemed to outperform the PDX1 and is less expensive.

I also found it interesting that, using penetration as the main criteria, with both the Federal and Winchester ammo, the 2 1/2 inch loads seemed to outperform their three inch counterparts. The results further affirm my opinion that the Federal 2 1/2 inch Personal Defense buckshot is the way to go in a .410 defensive weapon, for now.
It really is hard to beat the simplicity of the buckshot loads. I would think the fixed modified choke of most .410 shotgun would work against the PDX1 load.
 

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Even if you don't consider the penetration, I don't like all the BB's in the PDX load. Just more risk of a stray striking an unintended target. If they just had the disks I think it would be a better choice. I do wonder how it would shoot with a choke but I really don't think its worth testing. My only 410 is an older Stevens SxS and I'm pretty sure it has no choke anyway.
 

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My stephens single shot .410 has a fixed modified choke. I have no idea what they did with their SxS shotguns.

I looked at a Mossberg 500 the other day that has a "spreader" choke. That's just a fancy easy of saying the choke is more open than the bore of the gun is. I would think in one of these 500s, the spread would be too much for the DPX1 loads.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I read several places where people talked about .410 slugs being woefully underpowered for self defense. Funny thing is, I noticed that some of those people were stating that a .410 slug 'only' has about 500 to 600 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle. Geez, people, that might be 'weak' compared to a 12 gauge slug but it is still in the .357 Magnum revolver class for energy and I don't think most folks would consider a .357 to be woefully underpowered for self defense.. I understand that the lightweight slug loses energy more quickly than a .357 bullet but out to about 25 yards or so I would think it should have plenty of energy to not be considered 'underpowered'.

This guy did some interesting .410 slug testing with wet phone books:

http://mcb-homis.com/slug_410/slugtest/index.htm
 

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Yeah, it seems to me the same people who badmouth the .380 also badmouth the .410. Even out of a Taurus Judge, I don't want shot with a one. We're talking about a .41 caliber junk of lead. Some people will never understand ballistics.
 

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My problem with the judge is for the size and weight you could have 357 or any number of hi cap pistol calibers.

I believe its development was initially as a snake gun. I can guarantee you'd rather be shot with 410 than a 357. The big argument for 9mm vs 45 is capacity vs power. You aren't giving up anything changing from 410 to a high cap semi in the same size as the judges.

Ok so you have 45 long colt options but I'd still rather have 5-357/38 or 8-45 or 15-9mm...than 5 -45LC.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
My problem with the judge is for the size and weight you could have 357 or any number of hi cap pistol calibers.

I believe its development was initially as a snake gun. I can guarantee you'd rather be shot with 410 than a 357. The big argument for 9mm vs 45 is capacity vs power. You aren't giving up anything changing from 410 to a high cap semi in the same size as the judges.

Ok so you have 45 long colt options but I'd still rather have 5-357/38 or 8-45 or 15-9mm...than 5 -45LC.
I see your point about the Judge. Honestly, the only Judge I have any desire to own is the Circuit Judge. To me (and obviously it is just my opinion since so many have been sold) The Judge, The Governor, etc. are answers to questions that didn't really need asking. The Judge, to me, is too big and gawky to carry around except in the woods - and if I am in the woods and want a .410 then I'll carry a shotgun. As to a sidearm for snakes, I can buy shot shells for my .38s/.357s, .44, .22LR, .22WMR and so on. I've done an informal test of WMR shot shells out of my NAA mini (using a twisted up newspaper to represent a snake) and am confident that even that would do in any copperhead I might come across. Therefore, even as a snake gun, I honestly see very little use in a Judge (except for the aforementioned Circuit Judge, being that it is a long gun and not a handgun.)

I am talking about .410 out of the platform it was intended to be fired from - an actual shotgun. I have a 12 gauge for my HD shotgun because I can handle it and because I like a 12 gauge. Still, for those who can't handle a 12 gauge for whatever reason, .357 Magnum energy levels out of a fairly lightweight, easy to shoulder gun with little recoil is certainly what I would consider a valid option.

Of course, I would never recommend anyone try birdshot out of a .410 for home defense. In fact, I wouldn't recommend birdshot out of any shotgun for that application. However, there is one, particular incident the account of which made me realize that .410 birdshot really is pretty underpowered:

One of my Bachelors degrees from the University of TN is in Anthropology. Forensic Anthropology interested me and I considered going into the field until I realized how few jobs are available doing what I wanted to do and how many applicants there are for each job. Anyhow, in one of my classes with Dr. Bill Bass (the guy who founded/created the so-called 'Body Farm'), he would show us slides from actual cases he had worked and recount the events of the cases.

In one case, a young girl was murdered by two men. They bashed her in the head with a rock and slit her throat then wrapped her in a shower curtain and a blanket, threw her in the trunk of their car and drove to a remote location to bury the body. At some point, however, they realized she was still alive so before burying her one of them got a .410 shotgun they had brought with them, placed it basically point blank to the blanket in which she was wrapped and fired. Then they buried her.

This information came from the men, themselves, once they were caught. The strange thing was that, in examining the remains, Dr. Bass had found no evidence the young lady had been shot. Figuring there was no reason for the men to lie about that, he had the remains x-rayed and noticed a single pellet near the girl's spine - not enough to do any significant damage. On a hunch, he then had the blanket x-rayed - and found pretty much the full charge of birdshot lodged in it. This meant that, with the exception of one pellet, a simple blanket was sufficient to completely stop a charge of .410 birdshot. It also meant that the young lady had been buried alive.
 
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