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Best .410 Turkey Guns of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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Published Mar 24, 2023 3:45 PM

The 12 gauge is the king of the turkey woods, and probably always will be. But the little .410 bore seems to be gaining more traction season after season. This is largely thanks to the popularity of TSS turkey loads, which make the .410 deadlier than ever. But I think it’s also due to the fact that there are now some great guns being offered in .410 with 3-inch chambers. These days, the best .410 turkey guns come with rails for mounting optics, extended turkey chokes, and they shoot impressive patterns. Plus, more states are legalizing .410s for turkey hunting (just make sure your state is one of them before making the sub-gauge leap).

For turkey hunters looking to get in on the .410 action, I gathered seven of the best .410 turkey guns—including pumps, semi-autos, and break actions—and shot them head to head.

Pumps

Semi-Autos

Break Actions

How I Tested the Best .410 Turkey Guns

The author used Boss Tom and Apex Ninja to pattern the guns. Alex Robinson

For this review I selected .410s that are marketed specifically as turkey hunting guns, but also a few do-it-all field models. I inspected each gun for quality of fit and finish, plus general functionality. Then I took them to the range. The patterning standard for turkey guns is to shoot at 40 yards and measure the number of pellet strikes within a circle that has a 10-inch diameter. So, that’s exactly what I did. I patterned each gun with Apex Ninja 3-inch, ⅞ ounce, No. 9.5s and Boss Tom 13/16 ounce No. 9s. For each gun, I shot two patterns per load and then averaged all four patterns. For the guns that came with a rail I attached a red dot sight before patterning. 

I shot from the sitting position over shooting sticks, on a chilly March day (temps in the high 20s) with light wind. When the shooting was complete, I measured the area with the densest number of pellet strikes nearest the aim point, drawing a 10-inch circle around that area. Patterns with 100 or more pellets inside the 10-inch circle are excellent. Patterns with 80 to 90 hits are solid. Patterns with fewer than 80 hits in the circle leave gaps between the pellets, and make wounding a turkey more likely. So, you’d want to shoot at a closer distance during a hunt in order to tighten up that pattern. I also took notes on guns that consistently patterned off target.

What I Look for in a .410 Turkey Gun

410 turkey guns
From top: The Henry, Mossberg, Stevens, and Tristar hit the patterning board. Alex Robinson

I’ve hunted turkeys on private and public lands all over the continent and usually tag four to six gobblers a season. Through the years, I’ve refined my tastes in turkey guns. Besides throwing a tight, consistent pattern, it’s most important for a turkey gun to handle and point well. It should be easy to carry through the woods and it should aim naturally when you’re sitting with your back to a tree. You should be able to steady the gun and aim precisely for longer shots but also be able to throw the gun up quickly and fire offhand at a longbeard that’s scurrying for cover. Functionality needs to be simple and reliable. You should be able to load it in the dark, quietly, without issue. You should be able to click off the safety or cock the hammer with imperceptible movement. A camo finish is nice but not necessary, so long as the gun doesn’t shimmer in the sun.  

Best .410 Turkey Guns of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Patterning data from the .410 turkey gun test.

Best .410 Turkey Shotguns: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Mossberg 500 Turkey

Key Features

  • Action: Pump
  • Average pattern: 127.5
  • Best pattern: 156 (Apex)
  • Chamber length: 3 inches
  • Barrel length: 24 inches
  • Weight: 6.25 pounds (measured)
  • Trigger: 3 pounds, 6 ounces (measured)
  • Length of pull: 13.9 inches
  • Choke: X-Full extended
  • Sights: Fiber optic, optics ready with Shield RMSc pattern
  • Price: $644

Pros

  • Shot the best patterns of the test
  • Optics ready
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Creepy trigger
  • Description

There are a few good reasons why Mossberg shotguns are a favorite among turkey hunters: they are reliable, affordable, and they throw killer patterns. The .410 Turkey version of the M500 is no exception. It produced the best patterns of the test, putting an incredible 156 Apex pellets on target from 40 yards. For reference, that’s a denser pattern than 12 gauge shotguns produced with some loads during our evaluation of the best turkey loads. With its extended extra-full choke, the Mossberg also shot Boss loads nicely as well as a bunch of the other best .410 turkey loads. It liked everything I fed it. 

Apex turkey load pattern
The Mossberg 500 Turkey put 156 pellets inside a 10-inch circle at 40 yards with Apex loads. This was the best pattern of the test. Alex Robinson

This is a simple pump shotgun with a few nice features: Mossy Oak Bottomland finish, swivel studs for a sling, and traditional Mossberg tang-mounted safety. The coolest feature on the new version of this gun is a small cutout in the receiver that allows you to mount a red dot sight with a Shield RMSc footprint directly to the gun (no rail needed). This allows you to keep the sight low on the gun, which promotes a solid cheek weld and creates a sleek profile for the rig. The Mossberg 940 Pro Turkey offers the same feature and I’ve hunted with it extensively. It’s a simple, ingenious design.

mossberg 410
The Mossberg 500 has a tried and true action. Alex Robinson

The only thing I would ding this gun for is its creepy trigger. Even in the world of turkey guns, where precision is more of a luxury than a requirement, there’s a noticeable amount of slop in this trigger. With that said, it’s a light trigger for a shotgun at 3 pounds, 6 ounces, so as long as you press instead of yank, you’ll have no problem killing toms near and far. Despite the trigger, this is hands down the best .410 turkey gun I’ve shot. 

Read Next: Best .410 Turkey Loads

Best Value: Stevens 301 Turkey

Key Features

  • Action: break-action, external hammer, single shot
  • Average pattern: 118.75
  • Best pattern: 130 (Apex)
  • Chamber length: 3 inches
  • Barrel length: 26 inches
  • Weight: 5.1 pounds (measured)
  • Trigger: 3 pounds, 4 ounces (measured)
  • Length of pull: 13.75 inches
  • Choke: X-full, extended (Winchester pattern)
  • Sights: Front bead (includes rail for optic, combo option with red dot sight included)
  • Price: $227

Pros

  • Incredibly affordable
  • Shoots great patterns
  • Comes with a rail or red dot combo

Cons

  • Lesser build quality
  • Description

The Stevens 301 Turkey just might be the single greatest deal in all of turkey hunting. For about 200 bucks you get a handy little shotgun that shoots excellent patterns from a variety of loads. Cabela’s offers the gun and red dot combo for $240. So you could realistically have a gun, optic, and several season’s worth of TSS ammo for $350. That’s an incredible bargain. 

Stevens 301 turkey
The Stevens best pattern was 130 pellets on target with Apex loads. Alex Robinson

I definitely suggest mounting a red dot on the 301. In fact I would upgrade the cheap sight it comes with to a superior red dot sight for turkey hunting (like the Bushnell RXS). A gun that’s capable of top-end performance deserves a quality optic. The lightness of the gun along with its slender profile make aiming at distance a bit more challenging. Somewhat surprisingly, the shotgun has a very nice trigger, which broke at just over 3 pounds with minimal creep.

This is not a fancy gun and it does not have pristine fit and finish. For example, the lever that opens the action rattles when you bring the shotgun to your shoulder. All babies are supposed to be cute, but the only fair description of this gun is homely. That said, it functions reliably and shoots outstanding patterns, and that is all that we can reasonably ask of a $200 gun. 

With its light weight, shorter length of pull, and manual safety, this is an ideal shotgun for a kid to start turkey hunting with. But because it consistently shoots such phenomenal patterns, it’s also a legitimate .410 option for diehard turkey hunters, regardless of their age.    

CZ Drake

Key Features

  • Action: Break action, over/under
  • Average pattern: 91 (with modified choke)
  • Best pattern: 119
  • Chamber length: 3 inches
  • Barrel length: 28 inches
  • Weight: 6.7 pounds (measured)
  • Trigger: 5 pounds, 13 ounces (measured)
  • Length of pull: 14.5 inches
  • Choke: IC, M (fixed)
  • Sights: Ivory bead (not drilled, tapped)
  • Price: $849

Pros

  • Option to shoot a wide or tight pattern with barrel selector

Cons

  • Not compatible with an optic 

This is the best .410 turkey gun that’s not actually a turkey gun. This Turkish-made (Huglu) over/under has fixed, improved (bottom barrel) and modified (top barrel) chokes. So I was a little curious about how the gun would pattern against designated turkey shotguns with full chokes. Turns out the Drake passed with flying colors. 

With its modified choked barrel, the shotgun averaged 91 hits inside the 10-inch circle at 40 yards. With its improved choked barrel, it averaged 73 hits on target. An over/under is useful for turkey hunting because it allows you to select what type of pattern you want to shoot for a given scenario. If a gobbler comes charging in at close range, you can shoot him with your more open choke and wider pattern, which in this case would be the bottom barrel with IC choke. The more open pattern will help you avoid missing a close-range bird with a super-tight spread. But if a tom hangs up at 40 yards, you can use the barrel selector to swap over to the modified choke, and shoot him with a tighter pattern. The barrel selector on the tang safety is easy to manipulate. However, you’ll want to memorize which position correlates with which barrel, so you’re not trying to decipher the dot pattern on the selector during the heat of the moment. (Think: push to the right, pattern is tight). 

cz drake 410
The CZ drake shot killer 40-yard patterns with it’s barrel fixed with a modified choke. Alex Robinson

If you wanted to save money on ammo, you could load your close range barrel with cheaper lead loads and save the TSS for your longer range barrel. I’m confident this is a 40-yard turkey slayer with Apex loads. (It put 119 Apex pellets on target with the modified top barrel.)

The Drake is a nice and simple field gun. The features are basic, including: tang safety, extractors (no ejectors), Turkish walnut stock with laser checkering, and gloss black chrome finish on the barrels and receiver. The gun comes to the shoulder nicely and points well, too. It’d be a fun gun to carry through the woods for rabbits, squirrels, and woodcock. 

stevens 301
The Stevens 301 has a manual safety. If you press the trigger with the safety on, the hammer still swings forward, but doesn’t contact the firing pin. Alex Robinson

Because it’s not truly a turkey gun, it doesn’t have swivel studs for a sling or a drilled and tapped receiver for an optic. But if you want an affordable, do-it-all .410 to carry with you in the fall and spring, the CZ Drake is a great option. 

Henry Single Shot Shotgun

Key Features

  • Action: Break-action, external hammer, single shot
  • Average pattern: 97.75
  • Best pattern: 115 (Apex)
  • Chamber length: 3 inches
  • Barrel length: 26 inches
  • Weight: 6.5 pounds (measured)
  • Trigger: 2 pounds, 11 ounces (measured)
  • Length of pull: 14 inches
  • Choke: Full (Invector flush style)
  • Sights: Brass bead (drilled and tapped receiver)
  • Price: $580

Pros

  • Well-made 
  • Excellent trigger

Cons

This is the best made gun in the test. The metal-to-wood fit is tight, the American walnut stock is handsome, the trigger is crisp and light, the hammer clicks back positively, and the overall look of the gun is, well, classic. It’s built here at home, in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. 

The Henry performs just about as nicely as it looks. It shot solid patterns with both loads, the best being 115 hits of Apex No. 9.5s. I’m confident this is a 40-yard gun. The shotgun has no safety besides the hammer, which isn’t a criticism, but it is something to consider if you’re shopping for a kid’s first turkey gun. It comes drilled and tapped for a rail so you can easily mount a red dot sight for a finer aiming point.

henry single shot
The Henry Single Shot Shotgun is lovely little gun that shoots great patterns. Alex Robinson

To optimize this shotgun’s pattern density, Carlson’s makes an extended .410 TSS Turkey choke specifically for this Henry. The choke costs $43, and given the relatively affordable price of the gun, it’s probably worth the investment. The only thing I can ding the Henry on is that I wish it had swivel studs for a sling—turkey hunters often need two free hands to run calls, carry decoys, or glass with binos. 

Browning BPS Field

Key Features

  • Action: Pump, bottom eject
  • Average pattern: 117.5
  • Best pattern: 132 (Apex)
  • Chamber length: 3 inches
  • Barrel length: 26 inches
  • Weight: 7.4 pounds (measured)
  • Trigger: 5 pounds (measured)
  • Length of pull: 14.25 inches
  • Choke: F, M, IC (Invector flush)
  • Sights: Silver bead (not drilled/tapped)
  • Price: $880

Pros

  • Slick running pump gun
  • Shoots dense patterns

Cons

  • Patterned high
  • Description

Even in .410 bore, the Browning BPS is a hefty gun. At 7 pounds, 7 ounces, this .410 weighs more than my 12 gauge Benelli SBE3 with a 28-inch barrel. But if you don’t mind the weight, the BPS is still a fine choice. Its bottom-eject action runs slicker than any other pump on the market today (at least in my humble opinion). 

With a flush full choke, the BPS shot tight patterns with both loads and recorded the second tightest patterns in the test with Apex (behind only the Mossberg 500). On the downside, the gun patterned quite high with almost 100 percent of pellets striking above the point of aim. As you can see in the photo below, the core of the pattern was about a foot higher than my aimpoint.

browning bps
The Browning BPS shot tight patterns, but hit high. Alex Robinson

This is relatively common among bird hunting guns (Benellis, for example, typically pattern high). But for a turkey hunting gun this is problematic, because there’s a good chance you’ll shoot right over the gobbler’s head. This version of the BPS does not come drilled and tapped for a rail. So if I was going to use this version of the BPS for my turkey gun, I’d invest in a mount that attaches to the rib and run a red dot sight to ensure the core of my pattern lands on target.  

Tristar Viper G2

Key Features

  • Action: Semi-auto, gas
  • Average pattern: 87.75
  • Best pattern: 115 (Apex)
  • Chamber length: 3 inches
  • Barrel length: 2 inches
  • Weight: 6 pounds (measured)
  • Trigger: 4 pounds, 14 ounces (measured)
  • Length of pull: 14.25 inches
  • Choke: X-full (Beretta/Benelli Mobil system)
  • Sight: Fiber optic (rail included)
  • Price: $870

Pros

  • Has all the cool features of a tricked-out turkey gun

Cons

  • Shot below-average patterns

This is a killer looking Turkish-made gun (Armsan) that comes with all the features I’d want in a semi-auto turkey gun: rail for an optic, extended turkey choke, pistol grip, and synthetic camo stock. I only wish the gun patterned better. It did well with Apex loads but didn’t like the Boss loads. I also shot this gun in my review of the best .410 turkey ammo and it lagged behind the Stevens and Mossberg in terms of pattern density there as well. 

tristar 410
The Tristar Viper G2 shot nice patterns with Apex (right) and Hevi Shot (left), but struggled with other loads. Alex Robinson

That said, if you’re able to get your hands on Apex or Hevi Shot TSS loads (it liked both) you could certainly kill gobblers at 40 yards with this shotgun. The Tristar’s Viper series is seeing a new G3 line this year, but so far the turkey iterations are still only available in the G2 line. 

Mossberg SA-410

Key Features

  • Action: Semi-auto, gas operated
  • Average pattern: 75.5
  • Best pattern: 115 (Apex)
  • Chamber length: 3 inches
  • Barrel length: 26 inches
  • Weight: 6 pounds (measured)
  • Trigger: 5 pounds, 10 ounces (measured)
  • Length of pull: 13.75 inches
  • Choke: XX-Full Turkey
  • Sights: Fiber optic, ghost ring, drilled/tapped, rail included
  • Price: $902

Pros

  • Extremely light recoiling shotgun

Cons

  • Below average patterns
  • Imported from Turkey

Like the Tristar Viper, Mossberg’s SA-410 is imported from Turkey and made by Armsan. And like the Mossberg 500, the SA-410 has a sweet Bottomland camo finish. Unfortunately, the SA didn’t pattern nearly as well as the 500. The SA did put one great pattern on paper with 115 hits from the Apex load. But overall, its average of 75.5 was the lowest of the test. Perhaps the choke this shotgun uses, which is different from the one on the Mossberg 500 Turkey that patterned so well, accounts for its degraded performance.

410 mossberg
The ghost ring sight on the Mossberg SA-410. Alex Robinson

On the upside, this is an extremely light recoiling shotgun. Mossberg’s gas system seemed to absorb the blast of turkey loads better than any of the other guns in the test. Relatively speaking, .410 turkey guns are light recoiling, because of the smaller payloads they shoot, especially when compared to the teeth rattling blast of a 12-gauge 2-ounce load. But for a brand-new shooter or hunter who is sensitive to recoil, it’s safe to say that less kick is better. You’ll be hard pressed to find a softer shooting turkey gun than this one. The ghost ring rear sight attached to the rib is a nice touch, but the receiver is also drilled and tapped for mounting a red dot sight. 

If you’re determined to shoot a semi-auto sub-gauge for turkeys, it’s worth checking out Mossberg’s new SA-28 Tactical Turkey (in 28-gauge, of course). It’s also a gas-operated gun, and it has a few more features than the .410 version. 

FAQs

What’s the best youth .410 turkey gun? 

If you’re picking out a turkey gun for a kid, I’d go with the Stevens 301 Turkey. It weighs five pounds, has a LOP of 13.75 inches, and is compatible with a red dot. If your kid is on the small side, you could also go with Mossberg’s 510 Mini Super Bantam. This is a M500 with a 1-inch stock spacer so you can adjust LOP from 10.5 inches to 11.5 inches.   

What’s the best red dot for a .410 turkey gun?

First you should decide if you want to go with an open emitter or closed emitter. Open emitter sights use a single lens which is protected beneath a hood. Open emitter sights have a smaller profile and weigh less, but they tend to be a little less durable. Good options for turkey hunting include Swamp Fox Sentinel, Trijicon SRO, and Bushnell RXS 250.

Closed emitter sights use two lenses and are typically designed with a tube-style body. Closed emitter sights are built to be durable and they’re more effective in inclement weather, but they tend to be a little bulkier and sit higher above the gun. Good options for turkey hunting include: Leupold Freedom RDS, Trijicon MRO, and Holosun EPS Carry. Check out our review of the best red dots for turkey hunting here.

How far can you shoot turkeys with a .410?

Your maximum range is the distance at which you can consistently put 80 to 100 pellets inside a 10-inch circle (and centered on target). The best .410 turkey guns in this review will accomplish this mission at 40 yards when paired with the right load. With that said, I don’t recommend shooting turkeys beyond 40 yards with a .410, even if you are able to get your gun to pattern well beyond that range. Is it possible to kill a turkey beyond 40 yards with a .410? Absolutely. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. With a much smaller payload in a .410 turkey shell, you have a slimmer margin for error than with a 12-gauge turkey load, especially at longer ranges. 

If you choose to hunt with a .410, you are intentionally limiting your range. Turkey hunting at its very best is a close-range game and dedicated .410 shooters know this. If you want to kill turkeys at farther distances, go with a bigger gun and heavier payload.

Final Thoughts on the Best .410 Turkey Guns

There’s a little something for everyone in this field of .410 turkey guns. For optimal patterns at 40 yards from a variety of loads, go with the Mossberg 500 Turkey. If you want that first turkey gun for your kid—or are a sucker for a screaming deal—the Stevens 301 can’t be beat. Traditionalists will love the Henry, CZ, and Browning shotguns. Semi-auto fans will enjoy the soft shooting of the Mossberg SA-410 and Tristar Viper G2. But no matter which gun you go with, make sure to find the optimal TSS load for it and pattern your setup before the season. The fact that you have to shoot expensive TSS loads (ranging from $6 to $10 per shell) is one downside of choosing the .410 as your turkey gun. But that’s the price you have to pay in order to get optimal performance out of this sub-gauge. The little .410-bore can be surprisingly deadly in the turkey woods, but it requires a great pattern and good shooting.  





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