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Thread: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

  1. #1
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    20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    Iím sure this question has been asked many times, but here it goes.

    Iím thinking about getting my 11 year old a shotgun with the intentions of going after grouse. From the reading Iíve done it seems like most people lean towards a 20 gauge as a starter gun, because it takes less skill to be proficient with it.

    I was thinking of a 410 crack barrel, but I donít have a lot of experience with shotguns.

    Iíd also like to hear if thereís a particular model out there that is better than the others for whatever reason.
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  3. #2
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    I'm no expert and I don't even shoot grouse any more, but I have missed plenty (close up) with the 410 due to the small shot pattern. The 410 always worked better for me at a little distance. The 20 gauge also has light recoil and puts out more shot. My Ithaca Model 37 20 gauge does kick quite bit though due to its light weight, so consider the model of shotgun you get for your 11 year old. A good discussion in the gun shop would be good.

  4. #3
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    Nothing wrong technically with either choice for grouse. Some things to consider are that the choice of a 20 will offer less expensive shells over the .410 so will make practice less costly and may increase trigger time if that is a concern. Also, the twenty will allow a larger choice of game in future with it being more effective for other upland game, ducks and even geese being possible. If you decide, the twenty is pretty effective for deer with rifled slugs when in range.

    The .410 is deadly on grouse though and is a pleasure to shoot for even the most recoil-averse shooters and if you have the space always nice to have in the arsenal.
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  5. #4
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    The 20 ga would be my first choice of the two mentioned. If you are ground sluicing birds or shooting on the wing, the 410 will require some one who knows how to shoot. The effective range of a 410 is less than a 20. A Remington 1100 would be a good choice for a starter gun and something that could be grown into. The 20 is more versatile than the 410 also, as in you can shoot ducks with the 20, not so much the 410. If this was something I was considering for a young shooter, I would be taking a serious look at a 28 Ga. Shoots like a 20 but feels like a 410

  6. #5
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    My choice would be the 20 as it can be used for more than the 410. VLD43 has a good point about the 28 too.
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  7. #6
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    For an 11 year old, 410.
    410 will always be a great shotgun for grouse and rabbits.
    20 gauge is good too, but it's heavier to shoot but you can use it for bigger game.
    It's kind of a middle of the road. If you have it, you'll want a 12 gauge for waterfowl and something smaller for grouse.
    410 is nimble and just the right number of pellets not to pepper the small game with too many pellets.
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  8. #7
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    20 gauge and start with light target loads. The lighter the gun the heavier the recoil. Ammo is 1/2 the price as 410

  9. #8
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    As others have said, either would work but there are advantages and disadvantages to both ( that's the excuse I use on the Good Wife when she asks why I need so many guns ) but I'd suggest a lot depends on your 11 years old's size and recoil tolerance. A larger, stronger kid would be fine with a 20, a smaller, less strong the .410.
    Have been going thru this with our 10 year old Grand Girl lately, she's a pretty slim Gal, not the tallest either ( Gramma and Grampa genes ) and so far the .410 seems to work for her. I do have a youth 20 pump but that's way to big and heavy for her, she'll be using, COVID willing, a small Yildiz .410 folder and her Gramma's Savage Cub .22.
    Can you borrow a couple of shot guns to try your kid out on them ??

  10. #9
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    Make the safe choice and get one of each I started on a 20ga sxs when I was 12 or 13. Years later when I purchased my first new gun I went with a 12ga for the versatility. Now that I spend most of my time hunting grouse over my setter I stick with the 20ga as it's much lighter to carry and easier on the shoulder. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a 20ga as a starter gun. If you're feeling adventurous, perhaps a combo gun, 20ga/28ga or .410/22lr would give you and your kid lots of options and versatility. Happy hunting!

  11. #10
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    Re: 20gauge or .410 for first shotgun?

    A 2.5" 1/2oz 410 has about 8ft lbs recoil energy in a 5lb firearm

    A 20ga 2.75" 7/8oz has 20 ft lbs energy in a 5lb gun, 15 ft lbs energy in a 7lb gun

    Something to keep in mind for an 11yr old
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