Barrel Length a Key Component for Youth .410 Turkey Shotguns

turkey shotguns

With Federal Premium Ammunition's new Heavyweight TSS turkey hunting load in #9 shot, some .410 turkey shotguns — particularly when barrel length is factored in — can be youth-hunting matches made in heaven!

At first glance, the news that Minnesota-based Federal Premium Ammunition ( ) is introducing a new Heavyweight TSS (Tungsten Super Shot) #9 spring turkey load for .410 bore shotguns would seem to be a youth-hunting match made in heaven.

And in many ways, it is, since the small-bore shotgun created in the late 1800s is a fine choice to introduce young and timid shooters to scattergunning without the shoulder-pounding thump of a 12-gauge or a 20-gauge.

From a ballistics standpoint, the new Federal Premium .410 load is certainly up to the task, giving adequate pellet counts, suffocating target coverage out to 40-yards, and plenty of lethal energy downrange to accomplish the task of putting a loud-mouthed gobbler on the dinner table.

But keep in mind that some of those advantages can be negated just a bit if a prospective .410 bore turkey hunter isn't careful about the barrel length of the shotgun being utilized.

With that in mind, Federal Premium engineers note that common barrel lengths for youth model .410 shotguns can range from measurements of 18.5, 20, and 22 inches.

For full-size adult shotguns, they point out that 24- and 26-inch barrels are common. 

What does that mean in the springtime woods? According to Federal Premium, initial testing of various turkey guns showed that the length of barrel was typically not an issue with the .410 bore.  

That being said, they did note that longer barrels will typically shoot tighter patterns at longer ranges.

As an example, test shoots found that a Stevens 301 Single Shot .410 with a 26-inch barrel and a full choke performed similarly when shot next to a Stevens 301 Single Shot Compact with a 22-inch barrel and a full choke.

In fact, the longer-barreled adult gun shot a similar pattern at 30 yards as did the shorter-barreled youth model.

But when that distance was stretched out to 40 yards, the pattern from the shorter-barreled .410 bore youth shotgun did open up more than the pattern from the longer-barreled adult shotgun. 

Because of that, Federal Premium notes that for shorter youth .410 shotguns featuring 18.5- or 20-inch barrels, it is recommended that hunters keep their shots a little closer in. In fact, engineers note that the 25-yard range would be ideal for such shorter-barreled youth shotguns.

With that in mind, Federal Premium engineers also note that for .410 bore shotguns of any barrel length, spring turkey hunters are likely to shoot better patterns if a screw-in extra-full turkey choke can be installed.

Finally, as with any shotgun, choke, and shotshell combination, be sure to head out to the target range before spring turkey hunting seasons begin, spending an afternoon patterning the gun and getting it dialed in.

Because when that happens, even a .410 bore shotgun can get the job done as a love-sick springtime gobbler waltzes into scattergun range!

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