Exactly my point. Some of the sites or people that linked to it did so years ago. So to give potential real traffic the information that they were looking for we redirect it to the new page. .. but say one of our sales guys rebuilds a link in our categories that is that old category name then the page would be valid again. It's not likely, but has happened before. If we did a 410 to be rid of it now and the page or category came back again what would google make of that.
But we're really doing it for the end user and not for Google, but I don't like seeing a page being considered a "soft 404" When it's really just redirecting the viewer to a page where they can find what they're looking for... hopefully.
We didn't intentionally make it a 302.... in asp it's a simply response.redirect ... there's no status code given, it's transferring them. Maybe I'll just set it to buffer the response and give it another status.