Need a quick bookmark for this idea, which I think is significant. Via Tom Gaylord's excellent blog, which I have been following for a few years now, I now learn that there is a production air shotgun, and at least initially it looks pretty promising.
This new .50-caliber shotgun seems to be about half the payload of a .410, delivered at nearly the same velocity, for at least 3 shots in Foster-fill PCP format.
I'll want to learn more about the ability to home-roll the shot "shells", of course, but the idea of a 10-25 yard scattergun, quiet enough not to need hearing protection when shooting outside, that is not dependent on gunpowder or primers, is pretty appealing.
Gaylord saw, with #8 shot, nice, even patterning of 9-10" at 10 yards, 12" at 15 yards, and 16" at 20. Check out his 15-yard paper:
Promising, indeed! I'll be following this report with interest.
I got to thinking, too, about this "half a .410" idea. For most of my life I'd have simply said "ho hum" to this entirely unsexy idea. What's the point, right? But I am really starting to think I've been shortsighted all this time. Airguns are not firearms, and even now I'm not interested in trying to make them into something they are not, but what they are is, I do believe, something that can actually get a surprising amount of work done.
I've already concluded that in smallbore airguns, my .25 caliber TalonP is fully "half a .22 Long Rifle", and you know, that can cover pretty much all my pest-control needs and any small game I care to go after around here, with little fuss and noise. (Going to the EscapeSS model, which is a bit longer than the TalonP but with sound suppression built in, is on my list.)
The newly exploding big-bore airgun market has PCP rifles delivering 2-6 shots of .357-.45 caliber cast bullets at a performance level that will take unexpectedly big critters at close range. The AirForce Texan, a 2-shot .45 that is like a big brother to the TalonP, can launch a 405-grain .45/70 bullet at 750 f/s! Or smaller bullets in the power range of the .45 ACP. And the Benjamin Bulldog seems to be able to spit out 10 .357-caliber bullets at about 170fpe each before a refill. Again, there is much that can be done with these ballistics. Nobody is expecting these things to be stoppers, but they may be very effective hunters.
And so now there is the possibility of the air shotgun. Half a .410, at close range, may wind up being an excellent off-grid tool. I intend to keep my eyes out for how the new gun does in the field, and I admit I like the idea enough that I'm pulling for it to work famously.