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You gotta love the AR-15 as a platform. Even if it can be a bit of a bore in terms of everyone making one, it’s such an adaptable, flexible, and ever-evolving platform.

It’s one of the few designs I can actually call a platform without feeling a little cringey. That’s mainly because it can be a rifle, a pistol, and even a shotgun. Yep, a shotgun. And today as the title implies, we are reviewing the Charles Daly AR .410 upper receiver.

The stupid NFA forces me to use a 19-inch barrel. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

My local gun store knows that I love weird stuff, especially weird shotguns. When he received a batch of these uppers, I just about ran to the shop to grab one.

I’ve seen .410 uppers before, but I never saw them at a price I was willing to take a risk on. The Charles Daly uppers are made in Turkey and Turkish shotguns can be hit or miss. Then there’s the possible performance risk of a semi-auto .410 upper receiver. Yet my gun store got a good deal and passed it on to their customers, so . . .

It comes with one 5 round mag, but you can get 10, and 15 rounders as well (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I happily took one home and set up an old Poverty Pony lower to rock and roll with an AR .410 upper receiver.

Why An AR In .410?

Why not? For me, the fun factor alone is reason enough. I like the little .410 as a cartridge and use it for small game hunting. Why hump a 12 gauge with birdshot to gather rabbit stew fixings? My first gun was an 870 in .410, which will be passed down to my son on Christmas day this year.

A .410 AR? Why not? (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I thought the Charles Daly could be a fun range toy, but I could also see the appeal for hunters, especially at the price point I purchased mine. I paid $229 plus tax and all that fun stuff. I doubt you could find a semi-auto .410 shotgun for that price point. Heck, it might be tough to even find a pump-action .410 at that price.

Details and Specs

The barrel is 19 inches long and the choke is a cylinder bore. Obviously, even an .410 shotgun doesn’t get to have a nice carbine-length barrel due to the abomination that is the National Firearms Act. However, on an AR platform, it feels shorter than it is. A half-length quad rail surrounds the thing, and this big beefy barrel shroud (!) makes it look a lot less dinky.

The barrel looks downright dinky without the shroud. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

If you remove the shroud, the uber-thin and barrel looks easy to bend and just plain silly.

The Charles Daly .410 upper is a gas-operated design that comes with a set of flip-up AR-style sights that do their best impression of Magpul’s MBUS sights. With the gun, you get a special buffer that, according to the manual, must be used, or you risk damaging the upper.

The quad rail is nice, but adds some bulk (Travis Pike for TTAG)

A beefy charging handle matches a beefy bolt that provides plenty of grip for you to charge the weapon. Included with the AR .410 upper is a single five-round magazine. Extended mags can be tricky, but Centerfire Systems has some 15-rounders for ten bucks. I ordered two and can’t wait to triple my capacity.

Shooting This Thing

Reliability is the big thing, right? How does a Turkish-made, gas-operated, AR .410 upper run? Well, believe it or not, pretty dang good.

It’s not perfect, though. I noticed the first round fired would fail to eject every so often. If I loaded the magazine to four rounds, this wasn’t an issue. That’s gotta be a magazine issue, right?

Ensuring the mag wasn’t over-inserted solved this issue. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I fiddled with the gun and realized I had over-inserted the magazine. Well, most of the time.

Like most people, when I pop an AR mag in, I give it that little tap of encouragement. Sadly, the magazine would then over-insert slightly. What I started doing is after the tap, I’d pull it downwards a little bit. This seemed to solve that occasional first-round ejection issue.

With the mag properly placed, it cycles well. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I used everything from Aguila to Federal, and the gun doesn’t seem to be ammo picky. I shot Fiocchi Exacta Target Loads the most and they ran without issue. Plus, they tended to be the cheapest, most available ammo I had.

One thing you realize is that a mag-fed .410 is inherently ammo picky. That’s mainly because .410 shells come in a variety of sizes. Shotgun shells are measured prior to being crimped and some crimps are shorter than others.

The bolt and charging handle are quite beefy. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

If the shell exceeds 2.29 inches, it won’t fit in the magazine. Lots of shells marked 2.5 inches are too long for the magazine, although they can safely be loaded directly into the chamber.

Buckshot patterns pretty predictably. It’s not super tight, but functional enough to take a coyote or similar predator.

The pattern at 12 yards is average, and acceptable.

Recoil is, as you’d expect, very mild. While it’s more than a 5.56 round, it’s less than a 7.62×39. That happy medium makes it plenty easy for anyone to shoot.

I honestly had a ton of fun with the Charles Daly AR .410 upper, and I was surprised it worked so well. After Christmas, I’m taking the kiddo hunting for small game. We’ll take the old 870 .410 I cut my teeth on. I might just bring the Charles Daly upper along as well.

Specifications: Charles Daly AR 410 Upper Receiver

Barrel Length: 19 inches
Overall Length: 26.75 inches
Weight: 4.9 pounds
Caliber: .410
MSRP: $432 (I paid $229 plus tax at my LGS, seen online for about $320)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability: * * * ½
The magazine over-insertion issue cleared up, but shouldn’t be there in the first place. Thus I dropped a point and a half. I found the Charles Daly AR 410 upper to run quite well with a variety of ammunition.

Accuracy: * * * * 
It’s a shotgun. At shotgun ranges, it’s perfectly accurate. It patterns well enough to kill medium-sized predators.

Ergonomics: * * * *
Do I wish the barrel was shorter? Of course, but the NFA prevents that. My main complaint is with weight. Do I really need a quad rail on this? I feel like I could drop almost a pound with a standard handguard.

Overall * * * *
The Charles Daly AR 410 upper might not be the most practical upper, but it’s a ton of fun. It works surprisingly well and looks like it will become my main small game getter since the kiddo is getting my legacy .410. I didn’t expect much, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Think I’ll pass on this thing… I do have a slick little Charles Daly .410 over/under skeet gun from the late 60s (I think) that’s great to carry around for preserve pheasants over a pointer, but that’s both a completely different gun, and a different “Daly”.

    The AR platform seems to be the Mt Everest of firearms- people making up stuff in various calibers just because “it’s there” and they can. As for Turkish shotguns being hit or miss, though?

    Which ones are a miss? Those Weatherby/Tristar/Mossberg autos are being used a lot by the kid’s trap teams up at my summer range with no apparent troubles. Several adults use them in leagues as well, and the little Tristar 28ga Viper I have has never failed in any manner in the field. The “Dickinson” SXS seem pretty nice for the bucks, too. Not on par with my Win 21s or Foxes, but good for the money…

  2. Okay, so I can consider looking into this. Finally, a .410 semi-auto AR. Loaded with defensive buckshot loads, this would be perfect for Mrs. Haz, as she has trouble with a larger 12-ga. The 5-shell mag is nice, but once our CA mag restrictions are stricken by SCOTUS (crosses fingers, looks upward to Heaven pleadingly), then a 15-rounder is the ticket.

  3. I don’t suppose my SBR could let me get away with an SBS upper, huh? I know, nobody will be selling this with a 12″ or 14″ barrel anyway. It sure looks a lot smaller when the author is holding it.

    • As he explained in the article, “Shotgun shells are measured prior to being crimped and some crimps are shorter than others.”

      My Black Aces Tactical 2 3/4″ 12G shells are 2.487″ long, and fit only 4 in each TS12 tube (which offer 5rd capacity with most 2 3/4″ shells).

      • It’s a matter of shot size and casing material. A paper case with birdshot will crimp tight. A plastic case with buckshot needs significantly more tolerance to crimp without cracking.

  4. A .410 AR? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha oh! wait while I wipe my eyes. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Guys that’s just too funny. Or too useless. I’m not sure which.

      • Uncommon, I guess, but the last thing I owned just for fun I called a toy. That was a long time ago. When I see a firearm the first thing that I wonder is, “What can I do with that?”

        • As F&B mentions below, some “silly” guns owe their existence to designing around arbitrary firearm restrictions or hunting regs. Another example of a “but why?” firearm is the bolt-action shotgun. Some states only permit the taking of game with shotguns, so it was a means for hunters in those states to get more accuracy out of slug rounds over a traditional smoothbore.

        • Gadsden Flag,

          And that is why many people use the popular term, “range toy,” when referring to some firearms.

  5. Two things that stuck out to me were the case length restriction and the lack of a choke. Without a choke you’re better off with slugs than with shot. However, even with magnum .410 slugs your ballistics the closest to .40 S&W or 10mm- so it’s pretty pathetic compared to a *real* slug from a 20 or 12.
    As I understand it, the Roachland government doesn’t permit its subjects to have centerfire rifles, which is why they make so many shotguns including these AR-shaped things. However, if they can get a rimmed .410 shell to work through an AR lower, perhaps we could get a .460 S&W or .454 Casull to work in a similar fashion.
    That would be a lot more powerful than .410 and would be great for states that only allow straight-walled rifles for durr hunting, while not needing a proprietary rimless case like the .45 Raptor.

    • Fire and Brimstone,

      I would love to see an AR-15 chambered in .357 Magnum.

      Hot loads and 125 grain bullets (a popular .357 Magnum round) generate basically the same muzzle velocity as 7.62x39mm out of a 16-inch barrel. That would be a SPECTACULAR home-defense platform. Heck, it would even be an excellent close-quarters combat platform.

      At that point some people might be thinking, “Why not just use 7.62x39mm or .300 AAC Blackout in an AR-15 since those generate the same ballistics?” And my answer is a larger diameter bullet and ammunition commonality with .357 Magnum revolvers. All other things being equal, a larger diameter bullet is always superior in a self-defense situation. Plus, being able to use the same ammunition for your primary platform (AR-15) and your backup platform (.357 Magnum revolver) means fewer calibers that you have to purchase and keep on hand. Finally, .357 Magnum self-defense (hollowpoint or softpoint) ammunition is normally available everywhere whereas 7.62x39mm and .300 AAC Blackout self-defense (e.g. hollowpoint or softpoint) ammunition is almost never available at local retail establishments.

      • Our current home-defense gun is about the closest equivalent available, an AR-15 chambered in .350 Legend. The Winchester Defender loads use 160 grain PHPs and advertise 2170 at the muzzle.

        Overall cost to build was roughly $800 sans optic. The only non-stock parts needed were the barrel and magazines, which helped keep the cost down. A 45 cal PCC (my next project) will cost about double that, due to the number of specialized parts required.

        Some minor Dremel’ing on the feed ramp and mag housings help the straight-walled cartridges feed reliably.

  6. Two things that stuck out to me were the case length restriction and the lack of a choke. Without a choke you’re better off with slugs than with shot. However, even with magnum .410 slugs your ballistics the closest to .40 S&W or 10mm- so it’s pretty pathetic compared to a *real* slug from a 20 or 12.
    As I understand it, the Turkish government doesn’t permit its subjects to have centerfire rifles, which is why they make so many shotguns including these AR-shaped things. However, if they can get a rimmed .410 shell to work through an AR lower, perhaps we could get a .460 S&W or .454 Casull to work in a similar fashion.
    That would be a lot more powerful than .410 and would be great for states that only allow straight-walled rifles for durr hunting, while not needing a proprietary rimless case like the .45 Raptor.

  7. AR shotguns aside, the only valid use-case I can think of for .410 is elderly & strength compromised people who can’t handle anything larger.

    Even then, it’s a pretty useless chambering.

  8. Turkey is off my accepted supplier list. The country is under the thumb of an authoritarian despot who is cozying up to both Putin and others unfriendly to America.

    No thanks!

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