Hornady .410 buckshot oddball

I have known of this 2.50" Hornady 410 Bore buckshot load for several months now, and I am not sure how long it has been around except that it can’t be older than 2008. It is Hornady index #86239 and is an exclusive order for somebody which does not appear on the Hornady website, but being one digit greater than the index number for their new Critical Defense 410, I am left to assume it is new for 2013. The box says “000-buckshot” and also has the ubiquitous industry-standard misnomer of “410 GA” on the label. I opened one up and found that 2 of the buckshot were 94gr 000-buck, but 2 of them were smaller 64gr 00-buck.

I called Hornady to ask about it and the tech-support operator said this was normal and that they were a custom duplex load - the label just doesn’t indicate this. This is the first time in a modern Judge/Governor oriented .410 load that I have seen 2 different buckshot sizes loaded. Headstamp is “410 410”

These seem to be very rare according to all the Google searching I have done for them and I find little evidence of their past or present existence. The only images which come up are from Palmetto State Armory and Ammo.net. Palmetto is where I first noticed them several months ago, and they have always been out of stock. I noticed Ammo.net just last week when I did a new search and at that time they showed over 50 boxes in stock, but now just a week later they are out of stock. I ordered only one box which I received today. It is interesting to note that the listed fps of 675 is by far the slowest velocity .410 buck out there as all others from Remington, Winchester, and Federal are all listed at 750 to 1300 fps. My guess is that these are not likely to be produced by Hornady again since they are now marketing their Critical Defense .410 triplex load which has yet to hit store shelves.

Lots of reviews of .410 Buck loads as used in the Taurus Judge, etc., are fairly devastating about their poor performance, and at 675 ft/sec, any discerning user of the Judge probably wouldn’t be too interested in the Hornady loads, and I don’t imagine sales were overwhelming. I have no use for, or interest in, the Judge, but if I did, it would be loaded with .45 Colt, not .410 shells, at least not for personal defense use.

I have heard that accuracy is the chief complaint on .410 revolver loads; with inconsistent and wild patterns of buck being spread around targets. I suppose at less than 10’ it doesn’t really matter, but buckshot also leaves something to be desired in terms of stopping power and wound potential.

I am wondering if Hornady is finally on to something with their Critical Defense triplex load in this caliber though, having the FTX slug as the top projectile to engage rifling like a bullet and then have consistent expansion upon impact, and the 2 buckshot pellets loaded beneath it for added hitting power. Still, it is listed at only 750fps. We wont know until Box-o-truth or some such outfit gets a hold of it I guess.

Matt, this loading was mentioned as a new product by late 2009 but for some reason it was not included in any catalog.

Thanks Fede, I suppose the Hornady index numbers do not necessarily go in chronological order then, since the brand new Critical Defense triplex load is one digit lower than this product? Or maybe the announcement was made in 2009, but then the release for these was put off until just now for whatever reason.

I was at a Cabelas recently and saw that they are carrying this Hornady .410 buck load in stock. I was previously convinced that Hornady would not bother offering this in 2014 since their Critical Defense .410 load of greater accuracy, technology, and marketing was available, but I am apparently wrong, and this product is in full swing with Cabelas at least. The label has changed however, and many things are shown in slightly different place or size. Their is no text omitted on the new label which was on the older one, but there is the addition of the tiny text which reads “L8409” in the lower left corner.

My new box from Cabelas is at right, and the original box from April, 2013 is shown at left: