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Old May 20, 2021, 10:28 AM   #1
Pistoler0
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Snakeshot?

I knew nothing about this, there is always something new to learn in the firearms world.

I was looking at guns at the gun counter when this fellow and I started a conversation, and he told me about his preference for 45 ACP because the bigger caliber round performs great with snakeshot loads.

He told me about how he often goes fishing in WY, and the river banks are teaming with rattlesnakes that (he said) can swim! (That I also didn't know). So he often used the snakeshot to clear the banks.

But I guess that as I think about it, I don't really grasp the concept of "self-defense" against snakes, unless it is a really sturdy pair of boots and gaiters.

At least here in the US, there are no snakes that would charge, are there? And the problem with snakes is stepping on them. If one spots a snake the thing to do is to step away. If you don't spot the snake, there is nothing to do against it!

And I don't think that snakeshot is going be of help if you are in the coils of an reticulated python in the Florida Everglades, no?

Is snakeshot really useful or is it just a marketing gimmick?
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Old May 20, 2021, 10:36 AM   #2
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Copperheads and Water Moccasins (we don't have either in CO) are aggressive and will chase.

Rattlers, yes, you have to almost step on them to get bit.

For snake shot, my preference is a revolver in .357 Mag, .41 Mag, .44 Mag or .45 Colt. Sans the .41 Mag, all have commercially available snake shot loads. I load my own with the Speer Capsules in .357 Mag, and use .410 Shotgun components to load my own .41 Mag snake shot, which is my preference. I typically carry my .41 with 3 rounds of snake shot (first three up) with 3 210g JHPs.
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Old May 20, 2021, 10:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MarkCO View Post
Copperheads and Water Moccasins (we don't have either in CO) are aggressive and will chase.
That's freaking scary, I had no idea.
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Old May 20, 2021, 11:31 AM   #4
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Years ago the gun boards were awash with concerns about snakes and bears and I thought the concerns were about even/steven. Then a couple of years ago the scales shifted almost entirely to bears and the snakes were left out in the cold.

Maybe as one person opined that if you see the snake you can avoid it and if you don't see the snake then you can't do anything about it anyway.

(We also used to get regular threads about guns in outer space but that topic has seemingly fallen by the wayside too.)

Snake shot in a semi-auto at times is problematic as far as feeding goes. It seems much more suited for use in a revolver.

I've personally seen .22 birdshot fail to knock over an aluminum pop can at 20 feet although it did dimple it up a bit. I certainly wouldn't want to get hit by it and I don't suppose a snake would either.

Good luck.
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Old May 20, 2021, 11:37 AM   #5
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Not a Gimmick

Quote:
Is snakeshot really useful or is it just a marketing gimmick?
Not a gimmick and as they say, there's a time and place for everything. I mostly took these with me when I hunted in Colorado and Wyoming as well as camping and canoeing. I also took In some backwaters, in Iowa, we have Blue-Racers and they will chase you. I give all snakes plenty of room and time to move on. If it was up to my wife, she'd have me shoot all of them. Snake-Shot is not cheap so I just keep them around, just in case. ......

Be Safe!!!
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Old May 20, 2021, 08:09 PM   #6
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Copperheads aren't particularly aggressive. And their venom isn't particularly potent. It would be rare for a healthy adult bitten by a copperhead to die. Small kids or someone in poor health might. Most healthy adults will see some swelling and discomfort around the bite.

Cottonmouths, or Water Moccasins are more aggressive about defending themselves, but won't chase you unless provoked. But once they go into attack mode will continue the attack instead of just standing their ground.

I have less 1st hand experience with rattlers, but they have the most potent venom and are the one most likely to kill or cause serious injury.

I don't waste my money on snakeshot. If I can see a snake, and have time to aim and shoot I have time to simply avoid it. It is the ones you don't see that get you. Or actually the most common bites are from the ones you provoke by trying to kill them.
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Old May 20, 2021, 11:28 PM   #7
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Snake shot has one real advantage, it doesn't ricochet like regular bullets. No snake will stop a bullet and since they are often found in rocks and stony ground, shot is much safer for the shooter.

Snakes are the one place where I think a .410 pistol actually has an advantage over regular pistols.

Do some testing. Range needs to be short, and the rifling in a pistol barrel will cause the shot charge to "spin" some, and a pattern with a "donut hole" in it can happen. SO do some testing, and find out where that hole in the pattern is, at different ranges. Its not going to be the same at different ranges, so you might need to aim "off" to get shot on target. Only testing will show you if you need to do that, and if so, how much.
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Old May 21, 2021, 02:04 AM   #8
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I have been hunting all my life in the swamps and ran across water moccasins galore. Never seen one attack or had any problems with them. They are shy just like most snakes. The small babies are the most venomous. I have thrown them out of boats, stepped on them etc. They scurry off when you get near them. If confronted they will open that "White Mouth of theirs as a warning to back off. But seldom will strike, you have to almost entice them to do so. The bites are very rare, and the few times they occur is when someone is handling them. Copper heads the same. I have had Beagles walk right over them in the woods simply because they did not see it. Did see a dog bite by one that was attacking the snake and his face swelled up, but he lived. I think the biggest danger of snakes is when a person puts his hand under a log etc. In all these years, I have never once had to shoot a snake in the wild. So easy to just avoid them. The idea of taking snake shot into the woods or swamps is ridiculous. I have seen some jerks shoot them just for the sake of it and it enrages me. They are part of the ecosystem, just move on.

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Old May 21, 2021, 07:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Copperheads and Water Moccasins (we don't have either in CO) are aggressive and will chase.
Old wives tale. They will try and get away but sometimes that getting away means they move in your direction.

Venomous snakes are something that every hunter has to learn to deal with and work around here in the south.
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Old May 21, 2021, 08:16 AM   #10
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"Is snakeshot really useful or is it just a marketing gimmick?"

We have lots of Copperheads and a few Coral snakes around our farm. My wife carries her Ruger SP-101 .357mag with 5 snakeshot rounds in the cylinder and I belive the count that she has dispatched is around 20 over the last 4 years.
I usually carry my .41mag with snakeshot rounds I make, since there is no commercial shotshells available. I use gaschecks between the powder and #9 shot, bullseye powder and a slightly crimped gascheck at the end of the shell to hold it all together. It will turn a large lemon into lemonaide out to 6' from my 4" Redhawk. Ive killed 2 diamondback rattlers with that load in South Texas while hunting.
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Old May 21, 2021, 08:33 AM   #11
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My fenced in property is where people and dogs go, so that's where venomous snakes are not tolerated. Outside the fence they are free to go about their business.

Don't laugh, I bought a polymer judge for snakes. It is ideal for this purpose with 410 birdshot, being small and light. I have also made up 38 shot shells using gas checks and #9 shot, and they test fine but I prefer the 410 as a dedicated tool when mowing.
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Old May 21, 2021, 08:55 AM   #12
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My friend bought a long abandoned property in Socal. The place was loaded with big rattlesnakes, he proceeded to kill them.

Apparently he did a good job, he was then overrun with vermin. They ate part of the wiring harness of his range rover.

The snakes kept the balance.
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Old May 22, 2021, 09:50 AM   #13
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Dispatch mice . . .

I knew of a guy who kept a 22 revolver filled with birdshot in his work shed to dispatch the mice.

Life is good
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Old May 22, 2021, 10:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tex45acp View Post
"Is snakeshot really useful or is it just a marketing gimmick?"

We have lots of Copperheads and a few Coral snakes around our farm. My wife carries her Ruger SP-101 .357mag with 5 snakeshot rounds in the cylinder and I belive the count that she has dispatched is around 20 over the last 4 years.
I usually carry my .41mag with snakeshot rounds I make, since there is no commercial shotshells available. I use gaschecks between the powder and #9 shot, bullseye powder and a slightly crimped gascheck at the end of the shell to hold it all together. It will turn a large lemon into lemonaide out to 6' from my 4" Redhawk. Ive killed 2 diamondback rattlers with that load in South Texas while hunting.
Take a look at the stump wads from Ballistic products.

Powder, wad, shot, overshot card. I am on my 2nd bag of them. Works great for the .41 Mag loads and a little better patterns and ease of loading.

https://www.ballisticproducts.com/St...tinfo/0724105/
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Old May 22, 2021, 12:24 PM   #15
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I have had an aggressive cottonmouth come at me on the bank from the water. He came up the bank after me- so it's not an old wive's tale. When it started toward me while in the water, I threw a few rocks at it to dissuade it, but it kept coming.
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Old May 22, 2021, 02:15 PM   #16
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Some of the things old wives tell about actually are true. The trick is to understand that they aren't all true all the time.

While there is generally less observed individuality with cold blooded beasts, there is some. There is an old "African" saying, "today you meet a lion on the trail, and he runs away. Tomorrow you meet his brother, and your family wonders why you don't come home for dinner..."

Snake A may run (ok, slither) away, snake B may decide "Fang you!" Never know which is which until you meet them.

Yes, snakes do keep down the vermin, but non-poisonous ones will do that too, and be much less risk to man.
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Old May 22, 2021, 03:02 PM   #17
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Back about 1985, I bought a pack of ten? 38 Special snake shot rounds.

I still have all of them, however many it was. They're on top of my gun safe in an MTM ammo wallet, another souvenir of the 80's.

I kept a Red Ryder BB gun in the rod locker of my boat, for the kids to shoot at junk along the bank when they got bored. One day out of boredom myself, I picked up the Red Ryder to run a snake away from the boat. Killed him graveyard dead, right there. I had no idea. BB guns aren't like the BB guns I had when I was a kid. Never shot at another snake after that. They're just being a snake. It's a full time job.
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Old May 22, 2021, 04:21 PM   #18
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When living in SE Utah, most rattlesnakes were not a problem, they would let you know you were getting too close. I guess if a person is running it might be a problem, but running in a desert was not a problem for me...it would never happen.

However, near the green river basin the Midget Faded Rattlesnake which was noted to be one of the most toxic of all rattlesnakes due to having a neurotoxin, concolor toxin, as well as a potent mytotoxin venom, while others in that area had hemotoxic elements not as dangerous.

Also that little faded rattler seemed to rattle just before you stepped on them. Only good thing was they are only found on the Green river basins in WY, CO and UT (illegal to shoot in CO and WY, but not in UT).

So when down by the green river hiking, snakeshot was a good idea.

And a great gun for that was the old Judge using .410 snake shot. Light gun, fits in the pocket.
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Old May 22, 2021, 09:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Copperheads aren't particularly aggressive. And their venom isn't particularly potent. It would be rare for a healthy adult bitten by a copperhead to die. Small kids or someone in poor health might. Most healthy adults will see some swelling and discomfort around the bite.
I live in heavy copperhead territory. I don't worry about them, boots when I work in the yard is my defense. The mature snakes are likely to deliver a dry bite, they don't want to waste their venom. The young ones are more likely to release it.

I do worry about my dog because he's an idiot and will go face first into any rustling in the leaves.
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Old May 23, 2021, 02:58 AM   #20
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Old May 23, 2021, 03:28 AM   #21
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What, where and why folks use snake/rat shot is/are dependent on needs and of course compliance with local rules but I suggest folks need to remember/learn where the point of impact is at very close range. Next time you are out in the field grab a piece of cardboard or paper. Draw your snake/rat on it. From a safe distance shoot the drawn target. The first time you do this you might be surprised. Remember the sight and barrel were not designed for 3 feet shots. It will also demonstrate why shot shells are sold....hard to find, expensive but useful when needed. I swap guns at the gate. Mammal gun outside the gate, reptile gun inside the gate. Easier than swapping ammo, it’s a routine along with boots and insect spray.
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Old May 23, 2021, 12:55 PM   #22
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"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 that 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 richochet
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 May 23, 2021, 09:19 PM   #23
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Here in KY, I've killed a pair of Copperheads on our farm...and yeah I get how they're a part of the ecosystem...but so are my grand-daughters and the old bird dog that follows me when I'm bush hogging. There are plenty of harmless snakes to take care of the mice, voles, etc. but the poisonous ones have no place in my neck of the woods.

Down at our cabin in the Smokies, I killed a couple of rattlers...known as "black wrigglers" down there, they seldom rattle before striking. The two that I shot were on well travelled paths and posed a threat me and mine.

Lastly, I was chased out of a productive smallmouth stream over near Hodgenville, KY by an aggressive Cottonmouth that just kept coming....I made it to the bank finally, after holding him off with the tip of my flyrod, and sorely wished I'd had a .22 revolver with me. Felt like I was auditioning for the lead role in, "The Three Musketeers" and it was the last time I fished there...Regards, Rod
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Old May 23, 2021, 10:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Copperheads aren't particularly aggressive.
That's been my experience with them. They try to get away. If you corner them, they will try to look scary, but mostly it seems they want to get away.

I've heard that water moccasins/cottonmouths will give chase, but I don't have personal experience with them.
Quote:
The mature snakes are likely to deliver a dry bite, they don't want to waste their venom.
About a quarter of pit-viper bites are "dry bites". They contain little or no venom.
Quote:
And their venom isn't particularly potent. It would be rare for a healthy adult bitten by a copperhead to die. Small kids or someone in poor health might.
My uncle's dog has been bitten a few times--slow learner. It's a little dog so you would think that it wouldn't have a chance. The first time they took it to the vet who said to give it Benadryl and sent them home. From then on they treated the bites themselves.

I do know of a person who died from a copperhead bite--he and his wife both. They freaked out when he was bitten and got in a fatal accident as they drove furiously to the hospital.

There are copperhead fatalities, I don't want people to think they're harmless, but of the people who are bitten, maybe only one in 10,000 will die. If you are bitten, don't panic. Get medical attention promptly, but don't do anything stupid like driving unsafely or performing any "ditch medicine".

It's also worth keeping in mind that a leading cause of bites is an attempt to harass or kill a venomous snake.
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Old May 23, 2021, 10:29 PM   #25
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I like the idea of snake shot in my Judge. It's just another option.

As for killing snakes, I typically don't do it. But last year I had to. I'm a school administrator, and about 3 minutes before the last bell, a kid came into my office yelling about a rattlesnake outside. While I had my doubts (as we don't see a lot of rattlers), I had to check it out. Sure enough, there was a rattler crawling around the steps of the school. I had to do something, because the final bell was about to ring and the kids would be stepping over it. So I followed it (occasionally "encouraging" it to move) until it was away from the steps. I found an old steel "No Parking" sign that was left at the side of the building, and when it was clear of the steps, I made my move. I jammed the sign down on its head, whipped out my trusty Spyderco Native 5 and cut off the head. The maintenance staff wanted to take the snake away, but I wouldn't let em. I needed a hatband. It's now in my freezer...much to my wife's chagrin.

But I would've loved to be able to dispatch that rattler with some snakeshot instead of my knife.
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