fed­eral’s Tss .410 turkey load



I’ve never needed a .410. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s an un­re­li­able rab­bit killer beyond 25 yards. I know a few purists who’ve shot turkeys with them, but mostly for show and all at point-blank range.

But new pel­let ma­te­ri­als might change that. Tung­sten Su­per Shot (TSS) and Fed­eral’s new Heavy­weight TSS loads are the talk of the 2018 turkey woods. At 18 g/cc, TSS is the dens­est shot ma­te­rial avail­able. Lead is 11.3 g/cc.

Which brings me back to the .410. One of the new loads is a 3-inch

.410 with ¹³⁄₁₆ oz. of No. 9 shot. I took sev­eral boxes to the range, ex­pect­ing—maybe—a pass­able turkey pat­tern at 20 yards, and not much else.

I got quite a shock.

The Test

I used two .410s for this test: a 24inch 870 and a 26-inch Winch­ester Model 37 (nei­ther is shown here). Both guns are marked “Full,” but a caliper check re­vealed that the 870 is tighter (.406 vs. .416 for the M37).

I’ve seen .410 TSS com­pared to 20-gauge lead turkey loads, and so I also brought along my 20-gauge BPS with a .575-con­stric­tion turkey tube, and a box of 1¼-oz. cop­per­plated lead No. 5s—a combo I've used and trust to 40 yards.

The .410 loads av­er­aged 1,018 fps (the ve­loc­ity dif­fer­ence be­tween the 870 and M37 was a wash), while the 20-gauge lead av­er­aged 1,149 fps. The pat­terns through the M37 were spotty, and so af­ter ve­loc­ity test­ing, I put the sin­gle-shot aside. The pat­terns through the 870, how­ever, were a dif­fer­ent story—bet­ter than the lead 20-gauge load, as the chart below de­tails.

The .410 put sub­stan­tially more TSS pel­lets on the 12-inch tar­get— and in the 6-inch cen­ter—at 25 and 40 yards than did the 20-gauge with lead pel­lets. Yet at 10 yards—where most turkeys get missed—the .410 also threw a broader, more even pat­tern than the lead 5s, with nearly the same num­ber of pel­lets strik­ing the sweet cen­ter spot.

I didn’t have ac­cess to bal­lis­tic gelatin for this test, and so I used the next best thing for test­ing pen­e­tra­tion: cans of Show­boat Pork and Beans. The cans were no match for lead or TSS at 25 yards. At 40 yards, the lead 5s punched through the front, dented the back of the can, and set­tled in the beans. The 9s mostly did the same—ex­cept for one that passed all the way through the back of the can. I’d have liked a more thor­ough pen­e­tra­tion test, but I’m con­fi­dent the TSS No. 9s from a .410 don’t give up any­thing to the lead No. 5s from a 20.

There you have it. The Heavy­weight .410 TSS paired with the right shot­gun can out­per­form a 20-gauge with lead turkey loads with a frac­tion of the re­coil. It’ll cost you about $6 a shot. Of course, Heavy­weight TSS is avail­able in 20and 12-gauge too. Might be overkill, but it’s what I’m us­ing this spring.

Pat­tern and pen­e­tra­tion tests showed the .410 TSS’S lethal po­ten­tial on turkeys at 40 yards.

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