Anyone who reads this bog likely knows that I've been hunting squirrels with a .22 since I was a kid. So why would I even consider using a 410?
During the September squirrel season in Connecticut, squirrels tend to hang out in the tree tops instead of on the ground. The trees are filled with nuts, so squirrels like to sit comfortably hidden away while they fill their faces with food. Why would they even consider exposing themselves to predators, putting themselves in danger while running around the ground? Stand under the trees and you can hear them munching as shells rain down on your head. But even with so much activity, it's rare to actually get a glimpse of a squirrel through the dense foliage, and that can be frustrating. In such cases the last thing we should want to do is to start pumping .22 bullets into the air that can travel for miles into surrounding neighborhoods.
Like any shotgun, the 410 gives a spread which makes it more likely that you will make contact with a squirrel. If you do hit one, you won't destroy the meat as you would with a larger gauge shell. With a .22 those shots should be passed up by anyone other than a dangerous careless hunter. The limitation of a 2.5" 410 cartridge is that the range is limited to about 25 yards with #4 shot. But that's fine if you're shooting into the trees and not exactly sure where the shots are landing. Later in the season when the trees are bare and you can see your target and a backstop, I recommend switching to .22 rimfire for those longer shots. If you have an easier time seeing them, they have an easier time seeing you, and you'll need to take advantage of those longer range shots to get the jump on the squirrel before you are busted.