Ugly But Cool: Rossi .410

By Mr. Black

I wanted a .410 turkey gun since I saw a buddy bowl a turkey with one a couple of seasons ago at 40 yards. It was a pivotal moment. 

When I started turkey hunting, Mossy Oak Bottomlands was new and big shotguns were all the rage…12 gauge for sure, 3-inch magnums of course, only because 3 ½’ hadn’t been invented yet. A few truly obsessed in our group had the fabled Ithaca Mag 10 autoloader (plus the monster truck and micropenis to go with it). You would have thought turkeys were hopped up on meth and wearing body armor. Even with top-of-the-line copper-plated lead and extended chokes, the best guns could be counted on to 40 yards, a real keeper could consistently kill at 45, but not much further.

Flash forward 30 years and after much evolution, TSS shells hit the scene. Yes, a single round is more expensive than a box of lead, but it is so, so effective. All the sudden hearing of kills at 60 and even 70 yards became commonplace, and 40 yards became a chip shot. The natural progression began. Why not a 20 gauge? And if a 20, why not a .410? What started out as a bit of stunting took hold and became more and more mainstream. If a .410 stoked with TSS could reliably kill a bird at 40 yards and the hunter could carry a shotgun that weighed as much as Larry B. Scott’s javelin, why not?

I thought it was stunting as well, until I saw it in action. After that day, I immediately went on the hunt for an ultralight .410. That’s how I found Rossi.  Let’s be honest, the Rossi SS Poly Tuffy isn’t a thing of beauty. It is like a bar fly at 1:30 AM—it isn’t going to win any beauty pageants, but it will get the job done—and in many cases far better than the beauty pageant debutant because it tries harder.

The mechanics are solid, hammer-forged barrel (Yes, you read that correctly. Who else hammer-forges shotgun barrels?), a solid steel action, a factory extended choke tube, sling swivels, factory installed scope base and a well thought out stock design that carries 8 shells and is incredibly adjustable for length. Now I’ll be the first to admit the aesthetics are lacking—Rossi covered the action in a dipped polymer concoction. Why? I don’t know, as it improves the looks about as much as yoga pants on Lizzo. The stock, while well-designed and super adjustable for length of pull, isn’t the best-looking thing out there either.

But looks aside, it was what I wanted. Tipping the scales at a little over 3 pounds the Aimpoint Micro P-2 only added a couple extra ounces. After bore sighting with standard trap loads, I mortgaged my house and bought a box of Fiocchi Golden Turkey and paced off 35 yards. Over a dozen #9 pellets hit the head and neck of a Birchwood Casey turkey target. I stepped off another 10 yards and while fewer, there were still enough to give me zero concerns about pulling the trigger to the mid-40-yard mark.

I would love to say I covered myself in glory this spring with it, but alas I did not. I walked miles with it, enjoying every minute of shedding literally pounds off my shoulder. But turkeys being turkeys they zigged, and I zagged, I clucked, and they ran. But a trophy photo of a dead bird is no proof of concept. I know the little .410 will get it done and carrying it makes it all worthwhile. There is always next season and if it somehow fails to kill a bird I point it at, I will update and amend this story…but it’s not something I plan on having to do.

Price $276

Pros – Lightweight, affordable, adjustable, minimalist but modern

Cons—Like my ex-wife, it’s uglier than nine miles of rough road

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