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Old February 23, 2023, 10:50 AM   #1
rms65
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Snake shot pistol caliber??

Hey everyone,
I want to get my wife and I a pistol for poisonous snakes on my Northern Arkansas property. I thought a simple cheap 22lr pistol with cci snake shot would do. After watching a few videos the 22lr and to a degree 22mag snake shot looks pretty anemic. Even at close range.

First question is for anyone who has actually shot snakes with 22 snake shot from a small pistol. Does this stuff actually work??

Second question. I'm thinking of upping the caliber and getting a 2" Ruger LCRX in 357/38 because they make snake shot for that and it would be better against larger predators. Anyone have any experience shooting snakes with this gun and caliber?

I have a compact 9mm auto for general carry but I think a little light revolver would be more convenient to grab and go when working around the property. I could split load it with shot and slugs. I'd appreciate any experienced input.

Thanks
Ron
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Old February 23, 2023, 11:14 AM   #2
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Best caliber for snakes....

Isn't the .22 snake shot or rat shot.



"Snakes......I hate snakes", Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr

And I'm not a fan of them either.

But there needs to be a reason to dispatch a snake. If he's in my yard, he runs the risk of death. If I'm in the woods or on a trail I let him be.

Snakes are there for a reason. They eat vermin (rats & mice). If your yard/house/barn/whatever is overrun with snakes its likely you have a plentiful supply of food snakes like to eat. Eliminate or reduce what attracts the vermin and the snakes will look elsewhere.

That said, poisonous snakes that are an immediate danger are not welcome in my yard.

Real men kill snakes with sticks. If not a real man, then screaming usually attracts enough attention and someone will volunteer to beat the snake into a pulp for you. (pretty much any male over age twelve will be willing to do this)

Using a stick is superior to a gun because:
Quieter (except for your screaming)
No reload needed (unless you break your stick)
Sticks don't ricochet
Sticks require little practice
Sticks come in various lengths to suit the users ability
Sticks require no permit (as of today)
Sticks can be used inside of the city limits (California may require you to paint the tip orange and limits the length of the stick to 12")

Edit to add:
Shovels or hoes are acceptable, but less satisfying, than the multiple strikes required by a good stick.
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Old February 23, 2023, 11:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
rms65 .... After watching a few videos the 22lr and to a degree 22mag snake shot looks pretty anemic. Even at close range.
It is anemic, and the .38 special snakeshot is'nt that great either.
If you just have to have a snake gun, it needs to be at least a .410 gauge.
And if you are in North Arkansas, you got rocks. Snakes like rocks and rocks ain't safe to shoot at.

Quote:
First question is for anyone who has actually shot snakes with 22 snake shot from a small pistol. Does this stuff actually work??
Only if you are fairly close, are accurate, don't mind follow up shots and the snake cooperates by not moving.

Quote:
Second question. I'm thinking of upping the caliber and getting a 2" Ruger LCRX in 357/38 because they make snake shot for that and it would be better against larger predators. Anyone have any experience shooting snakes with this gun and caliber?
The above applies.


Quote:
I have a compact 9mm auto for general carry but I think a little light revolver would be more convenient to grab and go when working around the property. I could split load it with shot and slugs. I'd appreciate any experienced input.
Almost universally the worst way to load any firearm.
If you just have to have a snake gun, load it for nothing by snakes. alternating shot/slug/shot/slug......is a recipe for not knowing what comes out the barrel.
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Old February 23, 2023, 11:30 AM   #4
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I've shot a lot of snakes, mostly rattlesnakes that were around pets, or people.

.22 Snake shot is not worth even loading. I've used 9mm, .38, .41 Mag, .45ACP and .44 Mag. I mostly stick with .38 and .41 Mag. While I have shot some of the CCI ammo, I have also loaded my own .38 Speer capsules and eventually just went to loading my own completely. .41 Mag is my personal favorite. I killed a 6', 11 button Green Mountain rattlesnake at about 20 feet with one shot from the .41. I use .410 Stumpbuster wads over Clays powder, 120 grains of #9 shot and an overshot card. Patterns well and has enough energy to penetrate.

A cheap 5 shot Revolver in .32, .38, .41 or .44 will do the trick. Here is a link to Sage's. They sell the components to make your own revolver snake shot loads. A LOT cheaper. Don't even need a press to load these.

https://www.sagesoutdoors.com/shotwa...-shotwad-kits/
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Old February 23, 2023, 03:57 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the responses. Sticks, shovels and hoes are ok but not easily kept in your pocket while you're using both hands for other activities.

I'm not afraid of snakes and and my wife grew up in Southern California and is used to snakes so they'll be no yelling. The area is very remote so no one will be there to help you with anything. There's also a good sized creek on the property that has cottonmouths which can be aggressive. Bottom line, snakes don't bother me and I'm not looking to kill snakes for no reason. BUT I'd rather be prepared than not when I'm alone and help is far away.

As for split loading, I agree every other shot wouldn't be smart. I was thinking first two snake and last three slug. Maybe not much better but easy to keep track of.

Yes northern Arkansas is loaded with rocks and shooting shot at snakes near rocks could be more dangerous than the snake itself. Definitely something to keep in mind. Thank you
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Old February 23, 2023, 04:39 PM   #6
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We have some 38 snake shot, but it isn’t worth much. Get some cardboard and shoot it with the snake shot. You’ll see the wide dispersion of the shot, and it’ll be clear that you’ll need to be quite close to the snake. Of course, the cardboard shooting test was done with the wife’s snub nose 38 that she takes with her when on long walks. Might be different dispersion with a 4” or 6” barrel.

A nice sturdy walking stick might be useful for snake thumping.
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Old February 23, 2023, 05:42 PM   #7
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I have an old Rohm ,22lr snubnose 1" barrel I carry in my hip pocket loaded with #12 Shot here on my semi-swamp property in Mississippi. I kill numerous snakes every summer (some pretty big) at ranges 5-8ft. usually one shot does it near the head. Big ones I empty the thing. For long range snake I have a Yildez 410 loaded with my own Mild load for such. I'm always surprised at how small and few #12's it takes to finish one at the ranges stated.
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Old February 23, 2023, 06:14 PM   #8
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Thank you.

Last edited by rms65; February 23, 2023 at 06:54 PM.
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Old February 23, 2023, 09:56 PM   #9
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I've successfully used shot in a .38 on snakes (CCI capsules). IME it's effective to 8-10 feet. In your original post you expressed hope that shot loads from a .38 would be effective on larger predators that you didn't specify. IMO I wouldn't count on that.
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Old February 23, 2023, 10:24 PM   #10
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.38 SPL works, I can attest to it. I’ve started carrying 22 mag NAA mini revolver loaded with snake shot instead, but since haven’t run across any copper heads that needed shooting, so the jury is still out. I know 22 LR snake shot will work, but you have to get CLOSE.
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Old February 24, 2023, 12:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlm225 View Post
I've successfully used shot in a .38 on snakes (CCI capsules). IME it's effective to 8-10 feet. In your original post you expressed hope that shot loads from a .38 would be effective on larger predators that you didn't specify. IMO I wouldn't count on that.
I meant the 38 would be useful for larger predators when loaded with slugs. I know the shot wouldn't be effective on them. I was thinking of split loading the revolver first two snake shot and the rest slugs.
Thanks for responding
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Old February 24, 2023, 10:03 AM   #12
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I load my own 38 cal with # 4 or 6 shot , much more effective. The best is a 44 capsule with 4 or 6 loaded into a neck down 45 Colt case . Fired in the 45 it comes out without the drastic spin that opens up the shot spread , a good tight pattern . It has always been a one shot stop on the rattlers near my cabin . My wife uses an airweight 38 snub and I use an airweight 45 snub , easy to carry . Also either can have a real bullet load or two for a larger danger .
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Old February 24, 2023, 08:10 PM   #13
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I personally catch snakes bare handed.
I'd post a pic of me pulling a good 6+' female Diamondback Rattlesnake out of a goffer hole she tried to retreat down, but I don't know how to do a URL from my computer pictures? Wish there was an easier way.
Anyway, .22 rat-shot isn't that good for rats, much less a snake. I've shot rats from 3 to 4' with a 12" barrel and many still ran off with heads-shots. Lots with 3 hits, seemingly without to light injury.
I guess you'd need to put the muzzle a few inches from his head, but you chance getting bitten.
If you don't want to move up in calibers, Use .22 short or low velocity .22LR ammo.
.38 cal. rat-shot is much better as is the .410 ga. In that picture, you can
see a pistol-grip 18" .410 pump in my right hand, left hand has the rattler. That's just in case I get bite, I can dispatch the snake and take it with me to medical facility (they like to id it opposed to you telling them what you "think" it was).
A Judge pistol is an option, but the short barrel will cause the pellets to start spreading as soon as it comes out the muzzle.
I have the Raging Judge Magnum (heavy tho, 73oz.) and even with its 6.5" barrel isn't the best with birdshot.
I'd personally stay with the .22 pistol using LR ammo, or Shorts if your .22 will fire them.
The high majority of snakes are non-poisonous anyway, and many die from mistaken identity.
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Old February 24, 2023, 08:16 PM   #14
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45 Colt SA w/ shot cup.... since 1973
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Old February 25, 2023, 02:36 AM   #15
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I don't have much hands on experience, but I do think about things like this a lot and research. Yes, a .22 shot capsule doesn't hold much shot and what it does hold is literally he smallest shot that is manufactured at #12, so anything in a larger caliber is better given there is more shot and of larger size.

I've yet to read a story that 12 shot did anything and every video review of the .22 shot capsules has left me with the impression that is might stop a snake, but it's not a guarantee and definitely not something humane, even for pest control.

9mm is the next step up, but even that isn't saying much because it doesn't hold much shot either.

Obviously bigger is better, so if you can spring for a .44 or .45 revolver, do it. I'm generally not a big fan of Charter Arms because of quality issues, but their .44 Bulldogs are cheap and they would give you a heck of a lot more shot than .38 would in a still light and small package.

This is also where a Taurus Public Defender is a viable option as .410 is going to hold much more shot than any other revolver will and they will only cost about $100 more than what the Charter will. That said, they will be bigger and heavier than any ultralight .38 will, so it's your decision.

IMO, for snakes, you cannot do better than a .410 revolver.
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Old February 25, 2023, 08:34 AM   #16
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one of the only valid uses of a taurus judge in my opinion is loading 410 shotshells for snakes
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Old February 25, 2023, 10:38 AM   #17
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22 shot shells use #12 shot, which is called "dust shot" for a reason. Try some on a cardboard box and see how limited the penetration is for yourself.

In my experience a decent snake pistol caliber starts with a 4. I use a Charter Arms Target Bulldog in 44 Special. The 44 Special load uses #9 shot, and I see that CCI has come out with a load with #4 shot, but I haven't tried it yet.

https://www.cci-ammunition.com/handgun/cci/
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Old February 25, 2023, 01:09 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Willie Lowman View Post
one of the only valid uses of a taurus judge in my opinion is loading 410 shotshells for snakes
.41 Mag, .44 Mag, .45 Colt shotshells (handloaded) can equal the .410 revolvers. Why I never bothered to even look at them.
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Old February 25, 2023, 01:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
MarkCO
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie Lowman View Post
one of the only valid uses of a taurus judge in my opinion is loading 410 shotshells for snakes
.41 Mag, .44 Mag, .45 Colt shotshells (handloaded) can equal the .410 revolvers. Why I never bothered to even look at them.
Equal what?
Even a 2.5" .410 carries 1/2 ounce of shot and a 3" .410 has 3/4oz.
Ive never seen a .45 Colt that comes close to that.
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Old February 25, 2023, 03:43 PM   #20
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Equal what?
Even a 2.5" .410 carries 1/2 ounce of shot and a 3" .410 has 3/4oz.
Ive never seen a .45 Colt that comes close to that.
Equal a .410 load. Piece of cake.

I have a .41 Mag load that is 5/8 ounce and a .45 Colt load that is 3/4 ounce.
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Old February 25, 2023, 09:27 PM   #21
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rats

I can't recall shooting a snake with .22 shot. But I've shot quite a few rats. The load was the crimped W-W .22lr with likely #12 shot.

We got an infestation of the vermin in my shed/kennel and bamaboy and myself decided we'd do a bit of night hunting. Light, ear-pro and safety glasses. Set up in the shed with a .22 rifle and a light, one shooter and a light man. We'd take turns shooting. The results were less than positive. We killed a couple outright, but most just squirmed and ran off. I doubt we shot further than 12 ft at any of them. So, we switched to a S&W .44 Mtn Gun with reloads using the CCI shot caps and #7-1/2 shot and a load of Unique. Too much Unique it proved.

First instance, my turn to shoot, we heard a rat scampering along a board against the exterior wall. We were in the shed door. 'Boy hit the light and I got on the critter and touched one off. Dead rat, but the shot penetrated the galvanized tin wall and sailed out over the kennel. High enough it did not hit any of my beagles in their runs outside, but clearly the load was far more powerful than I thought it would be. We went back to the single shot rifle and .22 and after about a week of shooting after supper, that with trapping, our rat problem was solved.

We continue to have rodent problems now and again, and I keep a pair of box traps set to deal with the varmints. When I catch one, I dispatch it with a Ruger Bearcat and the old W-W .22lr crimped shell, point blank. It doesn't tear up my traps, doesn't ricochet off the gravel drive....result is a dead rat, but the load is far from devastating, even at distances measured in in a couple of feet.

We have snakes as well. I've lost count of the Timber Rattlers we've killed around the house, somewhere near a dozen I'd guess, and about half that many Copperheads. Sorry, but I am not going to handle a venomous snake. The tool for that task has been either a .410 single barrel, or a shovel, depending on which is closer. Last one I killed was IN THE PEN with my old Golden Retriever. The big male Lab in the adjacent run was going nuts, he'd gotten ahold of the critter and shook it so hard the rattles had come off, I found them the next morning. How either one of them did not get bit, I'll never know.

I'm not the kind of guy that will roll the truck over trying to run down a snake. I've let lots of them alone when out and about in the boonies, but if a venomous one turns up around the place or someplace else we frequent, it gets wacked.
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Old February 25, 2023, 10:54 PM   #22
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Like Will Rogers, all I know is what I used to read in the gunzines.
Mike Venturino favored a .45 LC and no 12. He thought lots of little bitty holes more effective than a thin pattern of larger shot.

On the other hand, a coworker who lives on a slough with water moccasin population did not fool around, first check before outdoor activity was with a pump shotgun.
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Old February 26, 2023, 09:18 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by rms65 View Post
I meant the 38 would be useful for larger predators when loaded with slugs. I know the shot wouldn't be effective on them. I was thinking of split loading the revolver first two snake shot and the rest slugs.
Thanks for responding
That is how I carry mine in the woods, two shot loads followed by LSWC or LSWCHP.
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Old February 26, 2023, 04:05 PM   #24
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22 shot shells use #12 shot, which is called "dust shot" for a reason.
People call it "dust" but its actually not, its #12 shot. There is (or was) a smaller size that was actually named "Dust" and an even smaller shot size named "Fine Dust".

A point about .22 shotshells, the kind with the folded brass crimp almost never function in a semi auto and require hand cycling. They do fine in revolvers though.

The point to .22LR shot is for the snake (or other vermin) which is virtually at your feet. Larger shot is needed for effectiveness at greater range, and bigger bores do better.

My test is a cardboard box, a corrugated cardboard box and a soda can. If the shot goes through a soda can, it can kill your dog. If it only punches through one side of the can, it still can injure and possibly kill your dog.

If it goes through a cardboard box (like a cereal box) but not through a corrugated (double layer wall) cardboard box, it likely won't kill your dog, but might break the skin or put an eye out.

Another point about shotgun shells, and light walls, at close range, the WAD might punch through (or at least into) the wall, even if the fine shot doesn't.

I have no personal love for snakes, but if its well outside striking distance, you don't have to shoot it. Though you may want to, they do move, after all..
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Old February 27, 2023, 04:21 AM   #25
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I live in South West Tennessee and I know what you mean about Cottonmouths. They get a notion that you are on their territory and they will chase after you. When I am out and about working around my property, I carry a 4" S&W 586 loaded with snake shot. I have had to use it a couple of times and it did the job just fine.

If I am just out hiking in more remote areas I usually load the first two chambers with shot and the next four with 158 grain hollow points. I used to carry my 4" Model 29 loaded the same way when I lived in Northern Nevada. I finally had to quit carrying the M29 when full power .44 mag recoil got to be too much for the arthritis in my hands and wrists (I'm 71). In reality, if a poisonous reptile is close enough to be a danger to you, it is close enough for .357 snake shot to be effective.

Rattlesnakes are usually not as aggressive as Cottonmouths or Water Moccasins and have the advantage of letting you know if you are too close to them. Mostly they will allow you to move away unless they are molting and then they tend to be a bit short tempered.

I am not snake phobic and have zero issues with non verminous snakes. Any poisonous snake that gets near my house dies.
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