Does anyone here use a .410 for ptarmigan? Positives/negatives to using one??
Does anyone here use a .410 for ptarmigan? Positives/negatives to using one??
The .410 is quite possibly the most perfect Ptarmigan gun out there. The only drawback is the price of the shells. My son has a Mossberg youth model pump action 410, and every time he pulls the trigger a ptarmigan falls. He's nailed a couple with one shot at ~30 yards.
Go ahead and use that 410 - you won't be disappointed.
I have a remington 870 in 410. Its light, and handy in brush and makes a great bunny & bird gun. I havne't taken it out after ptarmigan but it does very well with grouse and they are of similar size. I've had the best luck with 6s for grouse and 4s for bunnies.
The only downside to the 410 is they are a lot more difficult to wingshoot with compared to a 28ga or 20ga. Both of the larger guages pattern much better than the 410.
I love my .410 for ptarmigan. I have a mossberg pump in .410. Very deadly if you are a decent shot with it! #4 is the only thing I use out of it and it is absolutly an ass kicker for birds 35yds and in.
... you might just want to go a tad bigger and go the .28 gauge. Shells are equally pricey, but as someone mentioned above, they pattern better. The .28 is a sweet shooter, and a great compromise between the .410 and .20. There are some nice side-by-sides and over-unders that would be fun to use, but I like my little single shot just fine.
I hunt them with 410, 28 and 20, depending on where I'm going and when.
My favorite bar none is the 410. I've got a little Savage 310 SxS double with the stock slimmed, and it's very light and fast as greased lightning. Every 410 I've owned patterns better and kills further with the 2 1/2" shells than the 3" shells, in spite of the smaller shot charge. But even with those, effective range for wing shooting is about 30 yards and you don't have a lot of margin for error.
My favorite 28 is a Ruger Red Label. Very light and responsive, and it adds maybe 5 yards to your effective range. In my hands anyway. I feel like I'm really stretching things if I try shooting at 40.
My favorite 20 is also a Red Label, but it's a good pound heavier than the 28. If you have to go far on foot for ptarmigan, especially climbing for rock ptarmigan, the extra weight of gun and ammo is significant. On the up side, the 20 is a true 40 yard gun with standard loads, and with the 3" capability you can stretch further. Especially on windy days I prefer the 20 because I never know whether they'll be flushing close or far. I just carry a few extra 3" shells in case they're flushing far.
I can't recommend the 410 as an "all around" ptarmigan gun because of the varying ranges from place to place. But it's so much fun I tend to pick my hunting spots and conditions because they're best for using that sweet little Savage. You'll be in much the same boat, having to search out the places and times it works best.
Overall most versatile would be a light 3" 20 gauge because ammo and gun are lighter than a 12, and lots easier to carry. Best compromise is a good light 28. Most fun is definitely a light, quick 410.
Well, I'm the lone dissenter here in terms of the .410 for ptarmigan. Now, if your shooting them resting on the snow than it certainly is a good gun for ptarmigan. But for wingshooting I totally disagree...unless you confine your wingshooting to within 25 yds and you are a good shot, and most hunters don't practice enough, and a ton of ptarmigan will get up at 20 yds and will be out to 30 or more before you cheek the gun. One half ounce shot stuffed into that tiny little hull creates significant shot stringing and poor patterns. Watch a good clay bird shooter using the .410 miss targets he or she would normally smoke. Lots of holes in the .410 pattern. Too many birds flying off with a pellet in them only to die elsewhere.
On the other wing...I'm no fan of heavy loads from 3" mag shotguns either when hunting upland birds.
Just my humble opinions based on decades of field experience. Your "mileage" may vary.
The .410, like all guns has it's limitations. It really depends on what your expectations of it are, or how you want to use it. I wouldn't consider it the best choice by no means. If you plan on shooting them on the ground, then a .22 is a better choice. If you plan on wing shooting, the 20 or 12 gauge is a better choice. But if your asking because that is all you have and want to go hunting and want to know if it will kill a bird, then yes it will. You will be limited to close shots, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, or that much harder to do either.
"If you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy it." ......Fred Bear
Use a 410 if they are sitting and i am sure but when they get fat i go to the 12 gauge.
If i remember right you now have to use non-toxic shot for everything per state and feds.
Will look in the reg book when i find one.
Three decades of wingshooting ptarmigan with a 410 have taught me a couple of rules:
You have to be really fast with one, in order to get onto the bird and hit it while it's still within its short range. The patterns are smaller too, so there's a double dose of challenge in getting on target quickly.
The other rule is to learn the restraint to pass up marginal shots. You have to be able to watch a ptarmigan fly out of range and be able to smile about it.
You aren't going to get as many shots, and you're going to have to shoot quicker. But man, is it fun.
The 410 is the furthest thing from a beginners gun (20 gauge is better for that), but it's not an expert's gun either. Experts know better than to use it. For the rest of us who just like to have fun, it's a stone cold hoot to shoot. If I'm anxious to kill a ptarmie I sure don't pack it. But if I don't care if I shoot or not, and a sack full of birds isn't the point of being there, you'll sure have fun packing a light 410 and learning to shoot it.
Measured in pure "efficiency" terms and surety of kill, everyone should be carrying a 10 gauge or 12 gauge, and the heck with the little calibers. Nah.
Good advice here! I especially like what Brownbear says about being "able to watch a ptarmigan fly out of range and smile about it." We go through stages in life, some things we did as young men and women we no longer do as older people. No, I'm not talking about sex. We're talking about hunting, and in this case we are talking about bird hunting. As a young hunter it was all about the getting, and piling up bodies was important. As an older hunter it's more about the journey and not so much a heavy game bag, it's all those other things that make a hunt rewarding and memorable. Now don't get me wrong- I shoot lots of birds! But I don't have to shoot a lot of birds each time I'm afield. I hunt birds a lot. More than any sane person, I suppose. And taking a couple or three wild birds fairly and over good dogs while carrying a good gun is all I need these days. I don't mind letting some flushing birds get away without a single shot fired. I don't take "Hail Mary" shots at living targets...if I can control the urge to do so, and I get better at this as each year goes by.
Like the others who have learned to control themselves and hold off shooting, I, too, have been having fun with a "little gun." Last year I purchased a little 28 gauge side-by-side that I had a blast using this past fall season. But I know the gun's limitations. The gun fits me, and I shot it at clay birds a lot last year, as well as doing some pattern testing, and I know I can hit birds with it. It has fixed chokes tighter than I use in most of my other game guns, but I realize I'm only sending 3/4 ounce of (premium hard) shot downrange and I keep my shots within 30 yards...or so.
As ethical hunters it's important that we learn restraint when shooting at game. If you stay within your gun, and your personal limitations, any scattergun will work. Bowhunters know exactly what I'm saying.
I most often shoot 16 gauge sxs shotguns, but sometimes I pick up a 20, and occasionally my "little gun," the 28. Generally speaking, one ounce of shot is all a hunter needs to get the job done on ptarmigan, or any other grouse. Of course, 7/8th ounce 20 gauge loads are also great, but an ounce of shot from a 20, 16, or 12 is ideal.
As usual, I'm in a hurry. Hope this made some sense. I'll be back later to talk. This is a good thread with some great and meaningful input. Nice stuff!
.410 6 shot, perfect ptarmy gun. If you don't have one, then arrows, rocks, .22's, etc work too. If you get some, post some pix!
I'm assuming you are using your .410 loaded with #6 shot to shoot sitting ptarmigan? If not, for the sake of beginning wingshooters reading these posts, one should realize that a 3" .410 shell loaded with #6 shot holds...what, about 155 pellets at best? This can make for very thin patterns, especially if one stretches the effective range even a little bit. And then there is the matter of shot stringing.
Just sayin'. Please don't take offense to what I've written.
Yep, my .410 only holds 2.5 inch shells and yep, I use 6 shot. ...never counted the number of shot. I both ground pound them and take them on the wing. They're tough birds and I hate knocking feathers out of them, causing a major de-stabilization in flight, then loosing them 200 yards away as they crash-land across the valley. Of course, 6 shot is no guarantee, just works for me....learned by trial and error. I use the same set up for bunnies and sprucies as well. Good Luck!
Got me thinking about patterning my gun now at different distances. Time has always been a valued commodity, but if I find it in abundance, I think I'll do just that. Thanks.
Let my son take their .410 out all the time. Best challenge is to use a .22 and take head shots. 20g when you want to shot a bunch in a hurry.
The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!
Interesting what individual guns prefer. My little Savage SxS is choked full and full, and seems to hate #6 shot in either shell length. But it patterns #5 and #7 1/2 like a house afire. I reserve the #5's for snowshoe hare due to the thinner pattern, and have had exceptional performance from the 2.5" #7 1/2's. Patterns are smaller than I get with my 28 or 20's, but fully dense and even enough for wingshots on ptarmigan out to 30 yards.
Probably the biggest message is to shoot different loads in your particular gun, and determine just how far they deliver a dense enough pattern for your needs. And note the size of the pattern while you're at it! I measure pattern density using a 20" circle in the 410, rather than the 30" circle traditional with the other gauges.
If I wanted to stack up birds my 17hmr would make the trip. It is dead nuts accurate to 100 yards which is far enough the birds will just sit there and let you pick em off one at a time. For real fun though I have a rossi 20 guage single shot that kicks like a mule and is more fun in a masochistic way than should be legal. The Rossi breaks down so it packs easily into a backpack to drag along on the sled. I would love to carry my 12 gauge but it is a pain to haul so it tends to get left at home except for bunny and grouse hunting in the fall.
For what it's worth, I used my single shot Rossi .410 today while skiing for ptarmigan, and there are two breasts soaking in the fridge right now that are satisfied with the results. It was a spectacularly beautiful day, the snow was just right for hunting and skiing - a firm enough base for skiing uphill with a soft enough top layer for making turns on the way down. Between my partner and I we got five, and gave a great time to a dog that was likely on its last hunt due to cancer. All in all, a great day.