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I went out and bought a 686 S Pigeon I in .410 just because I always wanted one, and now can enjoy the kick of a smaller caliber.

What I am finding out now is, this is the worst possible caliber to try and shoot skeet, trap or sporting clays. Is there any comforting information out there? I am not a hunter. And obviously a newbie, but would like to shoot non competion.
 

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If you are not shooting in competition, why not just enjoy it, keeping in mind it's limitations compared to a larger gauge? If you're shooting level is not quite ready for the challenge of a 410, you can always get another, less expensive gun in a larger gauge and come back to your S when the mood dictates. Heavens, though, don't get rid of that beautiful Beretta. 410s like that don't grow on trees. ;)
 

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champs can go 100 straight with 410. it aint the gun.
the more you shoot it, the better youll get.
 

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I can understand your anxiety. I never fired on a moving target until May '12 when the NRA graciously supplied a grant to build a state of-the-art skeet/trap range in my area. The learning curve is steep both in learning the sport and how to setup your gun.
Best thing to do is to get some training or a class on the skill, this can be expensive or fairly inexpensive if you can find a non-profit organization sponsoring the event. Second best thing is to find someone skilled in the sport and willing to "show you the ropes", that's what I did and between my own skill-set and what I was taught I went from terrible to scarey in less than a year. It does take practice and a couple of thousand rounds though. Ideally I practice at least once a week. I shoot between 50-80 percent on the five stand with only my trusty Remington 870 pump 20 gauge. I can keep up with the big 12 gauge Auto-loaders and ain't afraid to embarrass these guys and gals. That's half the fun.
On the subject of calibers. I have never seen an adult using a .410 on the skeet/trap range. The dominant caliber is 12 gauge with the 20 gauge a distant second. In my case I only weigh 125 pounds so I started with a (used) 20 gauge pump to learn the sport. Its perfect for my needs, but as I moved into the five stand with its true-pairs I was placed at a disadvantage and learned to crank her fast.
There is also the issue of which choke to use for the calibers, and that subject is too long for this thread and can find all the information you need on the subject via the Internet. I especially recommend "Youtube" videos and many are quiet informative on other subjects also such as take down and cleaning your gun.
Bottom line is the .410 does not produce the density of pattern to consistently knock down clays for a beginner.
Go with the largest caliber your shoulder will stand. The new recoil pads work and can knock down perceived recoil by 50 percent.
This is a great sport. The rewards are worth the effort.
 

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410 is an expert's gun, not a beginners, yet many start kids with it. You have just discovered that aspect. Shoot it for fun and enjoy it
 

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I started on an Iver Johnson .410 when I was a boy and when my son couldn't hit anything with the .22 rifles at camp, I let him blow up some water filled plastic soda bottles with the old .410 and all of the sudden shooting was fun again.

What you'll probably want to do is reload. Factory .410 ammo (Winchester AAs from Walmart are the best I've found) is brutally expensive and to get good with the .410 you'll want to shoot it a lot.

.410s are fun!
Skeet is often shot with .410, which is probably what your Beretta was designed for---go for it!
 

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Shooting vermin with a .410 is great fun.
If I didn't live in town, that possum tormenting the neighbor's dogs would be History.
Just sayin'
 

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You will also discover that if you do not reload, 410 ammo, like 28, is expensive if you shoot on a regular basis. Reloading, however, can cut the cost to about $3/box.

Skeet is easily done with a 410. Sporting - at many registered shoots - has subgauge events that are for the 20, 28 and 410. Many 5-stands should be easily done for 80% or more of the targets with the right load and choke combination
 

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There are several guys at our club that shoot .410 caliber shotguns. Remember we shoot for fun and the .410 is quite challenging. Personally I think a .410 686 would be a pleasure to shoot. It amazes me when I break a 40 yard crosser with a .410 and think "How did that happen?"
 

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We have one guy at a local club who shoots the 5-stand and the FITASC parcour with his F choked Model 42. Amazing how far that will break targets
 

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Pattern spread is actually larger given the same choke due to greater numbers of deformed shot.
410's have miserable patterns as the distance increases due to the number of flyers resulting from pellet deformation.
 
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