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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to shotguns, so my knowledge level is "beginner stage". I inherited a Stevens Savage Model 59A .410 shotgun. I know it works. From what I've read, I know it is not the best "home defense" shotgun, but it is all I have at the moment. I have multiple questions.

1. How can I best make it viable for "home defense"?
2. Would 3" Brenneke Magnum shotgun slugs be a wise choice?
3. Or how about 2.5" Hornady Critical Defense/Triple Defense be better (41 caliber FTX slug + two 35 caliber round balls)?
4. Can the shotgun be loaded with both shells, one behind the other or is that not a good idea?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks folks.
 

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A shotgun can be a very good defensive weapon. However I'd rate a 410 dead last on the list. A 12 or 20 ga is much better. And I reload and shoot several 410's all the time.
 

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The barrel should be stamped indicating the cartridge length allowed.
It might be stamped “For 2-1/2” shells” . Do not exceed that length when buying shells.

I recommend the .410 shells marketed for home defense. PDX or three ball.
Hunting loads with #6 or larger shot will work too and be less expensive.
I prefer multiple projectiles over slugs.
Alternating different type loads is referred to as a Dutch load.
I hope you have some fun shooting it.
 

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Nice little shotgun, I have a slightly older Stevens model 59 but it's basically the same firearm.
With the development of .410 handguns there are a number of home defense loads available these days but as has already been mentioned make sure they'll fit the chamber of your particular shotgun.
For close distance .410 home defense/varmint loads I use either three .375 soft lead round balls or two soft lead 38 caliber full wadcutter cast bullets as slugs over 10 grains of Hodgdon Li' Gun powder in Rocky Mountain Cartridge 2 1/2 all brass shells.
They have a very mild recoil and will go completely through a 2X6 board and leave a real messy hole so I'm thinking of cutting back to 8 grains of powder to reduce the chances of over penetration.
I cast the balls and slugs with soft lead because the goal is to have them penetrate a good distance into a target but have them dump all their force into it rather than go all the way through.
At 10 yards the spread of the round balls is slightly more than 1 inch and the slugs leave only one hole. At 20 yards the spread of the round balls is 3 inches and the slugs are about 1 inch apart with no evidence of tumbling. At 25 yards the slugs begin to tumble and are about 3 inches apart and the spread on the round balls is about 6 inches.
I build similar loads, also with 2 1/2" RMC all brass shells, for my 12 and 20 gauge shotguns.
Ride Safe. Dr.Tramp.............
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nice little shotgun, I have a slightly older Stevens model 59.
With the development of .410 handguns there are a number of home defense loads available these days but as has already been mentioned make sure they'll fit the chamber of your particular shotgun.
For close distance .410 home defense/varmint loads I use either three .375 soft lead round balls or two 38 caliber full wadcutter bullets as slugs over 10 grains of Hodgdon Li' Gun powder in Rocky Mountain Cartridge 2 1/2 all brass shells.
They have a very mild recoil and will penetrate a 2X6 board completely and leave a real messy hole so I'm thinking of cutting back to 8 grains of powder to reduce the chances of over penetration.
The goal is to have them dissipate all their force into a target rather than penetration all the way through.
At 10 yards the spread of the round balls is slightly more than 1 inch and the slugs leave only one hole. At 20 yards the spread of the round balls is 3 inches and the slugs are about 1 inch apart with no evidence of tumbling. At 25 yards the slugs begin to tumble and are about 3 inches apart and the spread on the round balls is about 6 inches.
I build similar loads, also with 2 1/2" RMC all brass shells, for my 12 and 20 gauge shotguns.
Ride Safe. Dr.Tramp.............
The barrel should be stamped indicating the cartridge length allowed.
It might be stamped “For 2-1/2” shells” . Do not exceed that length when buying shells.

I recommend the .410 shells marketed for home defense. PDX or three ball.
Hunting loads with #6 or larger shot will work too and be less expensive.
I prefer multiple projectiles over slugs.
Alternating different type loads is referred to as a Dutch load.
I hope you have some fun shooting it.
Appreciate your help. And the folks above who have provided input as well. With the wife undergoing cancer treatments I simply don't have the funds to purchase a shotgun at this point, so just trying to utilize what I have for home defense purposes. Yes, the 59A clearly says on the side that it'll accept 2.5 and 3" shells. I have shot 3" shells from it, but not 2.5" shells as I've read they have a tendency to jam. I just didn't know if the shells I have and suggested above if 1.) they would be good for home defense or 2). if it was legit to load different size shells behind each other. Once she heals, I want her to be able to defend herself too, in the event of an intruder and I'm not here -- without her injuring herself from recoil, etc. Bird shot, buckshot, #00, #000, #4 shot, #6 shot, slugs, critical defense, etc -- it's all new to me and the more I read the more confusing it becomes. My concern currently would be defending ourselves if someone broke in during the middle of the night -- and all I have is the .410 shotgun. Our nearest neighbors are 500-600 feet away. Thanks.
 

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Since you don't sound like someone that reloads I think you're best solution for ammo would be buying off the shelf home defense or heavy shot (turkey) loads.
Inside a house they would work fine for what you want and if you get a chance you might consider moving up to a 20 gauge pump or auto loading shotgun.You'll have a greater variety of loads to choose from and a 20 gauge doesn't have much more recoil than a .410 unless you're shooting magnum rounds.
Of course the hard part at the moment is finding a reasonably priced 20 gauge and suitable ammo for it or the .410.
Here are a couple interesting articles on the .410 for home defense.
Here's a link to heavy shot and slug ammo for the .410 and shot size chart compared to a penny.
Ride Safe. Dr.Tramp..............
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Since you don't sound like someone that reloads I think you're best solution for ammo would be buying off the shelf home defense or heavy shot (turkey) loads.
Inside a house they would work fine for what you want and if you get a chance you might consider moving up to a 20 gauge pump or auto loading shotgun.You'll have a greater variety of loads to choose from and a 20 gauge doesn't have much more recoil than a .410 unless you're shooting magnum rounds.
Of course the hard part at the moment is finding a reasonably priced 20 gauge and suitable ammo for it or the .410.
Here are a couple interesting articles on the .410 for home defense.
Here's a link to heavy shot and slug ammo for the .410 and shot size chart compared to a penny.
Ride Safe. Dr.Tramp..............
View attachment 14727
Since you don't sound like someone that reloads I think you're best solution for ammo would be buying off the shelf home defense or heavy shot (turkey) loads.
Inside a house they would work fine for what you want and if you get a chance you might consider moving up to a 20 gauge pump or auto loading shotgun.You'll have a greater variety of loads to choose from and a 20 gauge doesn't have much more recoil than a .410 unless you're shooting magnum rounds.
Of course the hard part at the moment is finding a reasonably priced 20 gauge and suitable ammo for it or the .410.
Here are a couple interesting articles on the .410 for home defense.
Here's a link to heavy shot and slug ammo for the .410 and shot size chart compared to a penny.
Ride Safe. Dr.Tramp..............
View attachment 14727
Dr Tramp, thanks for your reply and additional input. Very much appreciated and I also appreciate the links you've provided. I've found them to be extremely helpful.
 
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