Birds With A .410

The Technoid,

The great and know it all shotgun guru. The .410 for quail are you better off using the 2.5 inch shell #8 or #9 shot? What choke is preferred I keep leaning towards a full per what I’ve read. Would like your thoughts Thanks for your time.



Tough question due to so many variables. On truly wild quail, I probably wouldn’t use a .410. On preserve birds, I find that my Model 42 .410s do just fine. 2-1/2″ shells with #8 shot is my preference. 3″ shells seem like cheating. If I use #9 shot, I end up eating pellets that get stuck in the bird.

The choke all depends on how far away you are shooting. My usual first shot on a covey of preserve quail is within 20 yards and that is skeet choke territory. My second shot will be a little further out, perhaps close to 30 yards if the birds are fast. That’s around ImpMod for the .410.

One of my 42s is full choke and it works great on quail unless I jump on the first bird and mulch it. I seem to have the best luck shooting my skeet choked Model 42 and shooting quickly. The best thing is probably for you to experiment with different chokes and see what works best for your shooting tempo and the way the birds are flying that day.

I once paired up with a fellow who used a full choke 12 gauge on quail. The covey would get up and I’d take my two whacks. He’d wait until the birds straightened out and pick one off a 35~40 yards.

Bottom line: I’d start with a pretty open choke in your .410 and tighten up if that isn’t doing the job. If you are using a two barrel gun, then perhaps skeet and Mod/ImpMod.

Let me know how it works out.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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1 Response to Birds With A .410

  1. Dale W. Arenz says:

    Good article Bruce, I saved all that dilemma, I shoot a 28 gauge – perfect quail gun.


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