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Steve Comus – GUN TALK

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Thursday, November 01, 2018
The 10mm comes into it’s own

Ammo problem... what about the .410?
A recent article in WON that discussed the impending required switch to non-toxic ammo for all hunting was very well done and quite sad at the same time. Hunting is very much about traditions and this development all but eliminates some of the darlings among hunting shotguns.

It does not, however, take the .410 bore out of the field. There is .410 non-toxic ammo on the market, but it isn’t always easy to find. Winchester offers one steel load for the .410. It is in the Super-X Xpert Steel line (symbol WE413GT) that is a 3-inch shell that sends a 3/8-ounce load of No. 6 steel shot at 1,400 fps.

THE .410 MAY not be dead as a hunting round if the total lead ban goes into effect, but it could be on life support, due to a paucity of such ammo for it. Here, Steve Comus (not the author) holds a dove he took with the break-open, single-shot Stevens .410 he is holding. That gun was made in 1913 and has introduced youngsters to hunting for more than a century. Hunting is very much about tradition and culture.

That may be good news for the .410, but the same cannot be said for the .24 and .32 gauges. To my knowledge, no one offers a non-toxic loading for those two gauges. The sad part is that they are basically only hunting gauges – not used for any serious target work.

It is likely that there will be few tears shed around Gundom as those two gauges disappear from the field, because precious few people hunt with them anymore. But that’s not the point. They have been chambered in extremely light, lively and fast shotguns – guns that are true joys to take on upland or dove hunts.

Yes, they still can be used for informal target shooting. But it just isn’t the same. Looks like the .24 and .32 may join the .14, .18, .8 and .4 gauges in the dust pile of history.

Some folks may argue that there are too many gauges anyway – that there is no “need” for that many bore diameters. Perhaps a valid view to a point, but only to a point. Ultimately, the discussion is not about “need.” It is about “want.” It is about freedom. When the state institutes a lead ban on all ammo, shooters and hunters will lose a little more freedom. What happened to the “freedom of choice” argument some folks like to make? I guess it doesn’t apply here.

Back to the .410. Although it continues to be a target round, it likely will begin to disappear on many hunts. Whenever ammo is hard to find and/or inordinately expensive, it tends to be left in the dust. It is not likely that retailers will stock large quantities of non-toxic .410 ammo, although it would be nice if they did.

It is not all doom and gloom, however. On the bright side, ammo companies continue to develop better and better ammo each year, and competition keeps prices within reason.

However things shake out, one thing is certain: Rights and privileges need to be exercised to be retained. This means that now, more than ever, it is crucial that hunters continue to hunt and, when possible, hunt more.

Sheer numbers count. Cultures and traditions count a whole lot more. In the end, it is how we hunters view and conduct ourselves that is really important. That is a state of mind, and no government can take it away. It can be surrendered, but not commandeered.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at

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