Why .410 Shotguns Are Better for Experts than for Kids

A lot of us here probably started with .410s. The first gun I shot was a single-shot Beretta that my dad had cut down to fit me when I was quite young. I mostly remember shooting stationary paper plates and balloons blowing along the ground with it. For puncturing plates and popping ballons, a .410 is plenty of gun and they have practically no recoil. For anything else, it can be challenging. There's just not much shot in a .410 cartridge making the pattern core small and the fringes weak. I waited until both my kids were big enough to shoot 20 gauge youth model 1100s (age 11-12) to start them out because I wanted them to think shooting was fun, not frustrating.

.410s are better suited to experts with the skill to shoot the little guns and the maturity to know when not to shoot them. That brings us to the lovely O/U in this picture. It's a Browning Cynergy Feather with an alloy receiver, a listed weight of 5 pounds and an "expert" price tag of $2500. This particular gun actually weighs closer to 6 pounds, but I think that makes it easier to shoot well. For such a dainty gun it was surprisingly easy to hit with on the skeet field. Light, but not too flighty. Like all Cynergies, it has very crisp trigger pulls. Aesthetically, I think the slender .410 barrels are a nice fit for the Cynergy's streamlined Euro-styling. And, it's a small thing, but I really like the top lever which is very comfortable to use. The Inflex recoil pad, which is mercifully cropped out of this picture, works but is hideous. Unlike traditional pads, it's shaped like the harp on a Guiness bottle.

If I got to hunt where there were enough birds that it didn't bother me to pass up marginal shots, I might have a Cynergy Feather. If I was a Rich Guy who did my shooting on preserves, I'd own a .410 for sure, probably a Winchester Model 21. And, if I hunted squirrels seriously, I would find a Winchester lever-action 9410. Unfortunately, none of the above applies to me, which is why my gun cabinet is currently without a .410. You?