by Charlie Jacoby
A post on the Lamping Foxes Facebook group got me thinking. It read: ‘My son turned 11 today, and as a dad I made a promise that when he reaches 11 we will get a o/u .410. So if anyone has any tips on what to get or where let me know.’
A few years ago, three of my friends made me godfather to their sons and, faced with the problem of what to give the children as christening presents, I went to a secondhand gunshop and asked them to keep an eye out for secondhand folding .410s, maximum price £40. Over time, I accumulated all three and by the time they were 11, the children had their guns. The idea is that they are cheap shotguns they can look after or wreck so, when they get their hands on better guns, they will have learned not to wreck them.
I realise I am a skinflint, and the answers to the question on Lamping Foxes proves it. Members of the group are in favour of either the Yildiz Junior or the Kofs Sceptre, both of them good quality over-and-under .410s, and both of them in the £400-£600 price-range. Here are their stats:
|Kofs Sceptre SXE||Yildiz Junior|
|Price (new)||£599 (with autosafe, £499 with manual safety)||£525 (ejector, £425 non-ejector)|
|Ejector||Yes||Yes (or non-ejector)|
|Barrel length||28in or 30in||26in, 28in or 30in|
|Safety catch||Auto or manual||Auto|
|Chokes||Yes (comes with five)||Yes (comes with five)|
|Stock length||14¾in||14½in (short 13in stock available at no extra cost)|
|Weight||6lb 4oz with 30in barrel||5lb with 28in barrel|
|UK importer||Sportsman Gun Centre||Yildiz|
Both of these companies are Turkish. The Yildiz Junior .410 was the Turkish company’s UK launch model in the early 2000s. It has since made its name of itself as a gunmaker in the UK.
What’s wrong with the guns? Sporting Gun magazine’s review of the Kofs 28-bore notes ‘a few rough edges and burrs’ on the chokes. One of the Lamping Foxes group members complains about Kofs’ after-sales service. And a review in Gunmart says the guns will shoot most .410 cartridges but not Fiocchi .410 Magnums, which produce no bang, ‘just a small dent to the primers’.
A Gunmart reader agrees about Fiocchis in the comments below: ‘I had the same trouble shooting Fiocchi mags. It was not the cartridges – it was the main springs. They did not tell me what the fault was, but the spring in my view are far to tight on the spring guide rods.’
There was plenty of other advice from the Lamping Foxes group, too. Many of them suggest a 28-bore is better than a .410 for a first gun. Both the Kofs Sceptre SXE and the Yildiz Junior are available in 28-gauge. One of them writes: ‘I have coached lots of total novice children on claylines at game fairs with the CPSA and, in my opinion, a .410 isn’t a gun for a novice.’
Another one writes: ’28 bore is a much more forgiving gun for a youngster starting out. Stick to the 19g or 21g loads and the recoil is no more than a 410 but the pattern is much better.’
Here’s Jonathan Carter from the Gun Shop Botley explaining the differences:
When I started shooting, I inherited my grandmother’s .410, an Army & Navy side-by-side hammergun. Here’s my son with it (and a friend of his with a 28-bore) shooting crackers from a Ritz cracker thrower:
This Ritz cracker thrower was made by Orvis. The only one we can find on the web now is available from the US-based CrackerThrower.com at US$24.95. That’s about my current limit for a christening present.
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