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Old August 22, 2013, 07:25 PM   #1
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Suggestions on a snake gun?

I am looking for something in snake control. I live in an area with many venomous snakes and need something to carry in the woods to handle them. Probably within ten yards would be my maximum shooting distance.

I read reviews about snake shot and the more I looked into it I am leaning towards the 410 shot shell. I don't know if I am writing of the snake shot to quickly, if you have had any experience with it please let me know

I went on to look at the Bond Arms models, Taurus Judge and the Smith and Wesson Governor, from what I read about the Bond Arms is that the trigger pull is extremely heavy, also only having two shots is a down side. As far as the Judge I heard that the rifling throws the shot into too big of a spread and was wondering if the smith is the same way? I want something small and light, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. (Please be detailed)
Thank you all for you help. Now I am thinking about using a .38 with CCI shotshell. I already have a snub nose and am wondering if that barrel would be long enough to build up enough energy or should I look into getting a 4 inch or greater length barrel? Also this may be a dumb question but would the BBs from the shotshell mess with my rifling in ANY way?

Last edited by RED_beard92; August 23, 2013 at 04:10 PM.
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Old August 22, 2013, 07:34 PM   #2
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.38 Special and CCI Shotshells

A .38 Special revolver and CCI Shotshells seem to work for me. I have even used a .22 Long Rifle revolver with CCI Shotshells with great success.
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Old August 22, 2013, 07:35 PM   #3
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Do a search for "snake shot" on the forum. The topic has been covered many times.

My own preference is regular old .22lr. Not that I have to worry about snakes here. I figure if it works for squirrel it'll work for snake.
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Old August 22, 2013, 07:40 PM   #4
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I've shot several snakes, and 1 shot isn't always a total imobilizer even with a decent head shot. Snakes aren't that big of a target / pellet catcher unless the weapon is closer than many want to be. And I REALLY don't want to just pi$$ the animal off. (First hand experience says they get really cranky when they only catch a few pellets. )
I personally like a 12 Ga (W/ large #of pellets) but realize you are looking along the list provided.

As such, and more in line with your desire, I feel much better with a decent carry weapon (P229 my pref) filled with something like CCI Snake shot, where I have 17 rounds to mix and match if desired.
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Last edited by TXAZ; August 22, 2013 at 08:00 PM.
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Old August 22, 2013, 07:55 PM   #5
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Snake Medicine

The 22 WMR (Magnum) shotshell is powerful snake medicine. If you're looking something small, consider the polymer frame Ruger mini-revolver or a small frame Charter Arms revolver, otherwise a Ruger Single-Six. The 22 WMR shotshells are readily available and around $.40 per pop, cheaper than. 410. They work "like a charm", like a snakecharmer...
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Old August 22, 2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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If you want real cheap, look at my flare gun. It is shown under the current thread "New Heizer Defense .410 pistol". I would recommend it with the 3 inch .410 bird shot round.

Total cost well below two hundred dollars.
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Old August 22, 2013, 09:14 PM   #7
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Smith and Wesson Gov revolver....

For general field carry or use against snakes & small pests, I'd get a new S&W Gov revolver.
You can use 410 for snakes & .45acp or .45LC defense rounds for any felons/house breakers.
Online videos and reviews show that the snub type Judge and Gov throw shot way to far apart for practical use as a carry load IMO but if you are in a rural or remote area, not a apt bldg or mall or other location with bystanders then it could be worth it.

You could also snag a Serbu Super Shorty 12ga: .
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Old August 22, 2013, 09:23 PM   #8
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At a pawn shop I saw an old H&R 12 gauge single shot that had the barrel and stock both cut down drastically. Still with a 18 inch BBL and 26 inch OAL but not by much.

I'm sure with field loads it was a devil of a gun to use on snakes.

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Old August 23, 2013, 12:02 AM   #9
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I am in full agreement with you Deaf Smith. I have a H&R model 98 Deluxe I purchased for forty bucks. It was a solid gun but ugly. A little elbow grease and black stain on the wood has it looking rather nice.

I recently killed a large water moccasin climbing the pole to my purple martin gourds with it. The pole is actually out in the lake about five feet from my seawall. A couple of days later turtles were feasting on the remains.
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Old August 23, 2013, 12:26 AM   #10
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Suggestions on a snake gun?

I never recommend the Judge/Governor... But for this it would work.

However, I would go with a cheaper .38 spl or .22 LR revolver and load it with rat/snake shot. It works just as well, doesn't cost as much, and can also serve other practical purposes better.
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Old August 23, 2013, 05:26 AM   #11
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My experience is the Bond derringer's barrel is too short to build enough pressure for good penetration with a .410 and the shot spread too quickly. The .45colt is fine for up close, but not too sure I could hit a snake with one at any distance. Heck I'm not sure I could hit a man with one past 5 or 10 feet! And if your finger is on the trigger wrong nothing will happen, you have to hold it down near the tip. Plus you have to hand cock it. They make cool guns though, everyone needs one!

The Judge which has a longer barrel creates a lot more pressure and resulting penetration, especially with the PDX1 disc rounds. A long barrel Judge should be better than the 2.5 we tested. The discs stay together within about 4 inches, and the bb shot spreads about a foot per 5 feet. Like someone else said, it spreads fast and the small shot loses power fast. At 20 feet about a 3-4 foot spread. Great gun for a convenience store clerk though. It will ruin a snakes day if it's not too far away, and a few rounds of full power (not cowboy) .45 colt will down a hog and maybe even a small bear. It's not a grizzly gun.

A Blackhawk in .44mag with snake shot is just as good, and presented well, it has taken down it's share of grizzly.

I've found .22 snake shot to be minimally effective, not enough that I would buy a .22 just to shoot snakes with and a regular .22 bullet would do better. .38 slightly better from a longer barrel, .45colt snake shot is about as good as the .410, but doesn't have the devastating effect of those PDX discs. .410 buck doesn't have enough bb's - 4, and depending on the gun they may spread too wide. Frankly I think a regular round - anything from .22 -.45+ is just as good, and a 12 guage is the hands down winner!

My preference is a shovel, or snake tongs and an ice chest - save 'em for dinner later.

Last edited by NRAInstructor; August 23, 2013 at 05:39 AM.
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Old August 23, 2013, 06:36 AM   #12
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I used to load tons of 38 spl #9 shot loads for a friend to shoot through his 6" Ruger .357 for Texas snakes. That was before you could buy "the Judge" with a 6" barrel in .410 which is a much cheaper to shoot, and throws twice as much shot. Get the smalled shot you can easily find. Rifled barrels on any gun makes for a poor shot pattern. Rifling also makes "shotgun pistols" legal. At 10' or less you'll find most pistols are very effective at holding shot to a devastating pattern for snakes. Uness you're going to carry a long gun, whatever throws the most shot will be most effective, and that would be a .410 from a barrel 6" or longer.
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Old August 23, 2013, 07:18 AM   #13
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I've found that 44 cal CCI shotcaps filled with #9 are adequate for most any snake that is close enough to be dangerous. They will also kill small varmints within 6-8 feet w/o the danger of a bullet bouncing off hard surfaces.
They can make you look like a real pistolero hitting thrown aluminum cans-just don't let the audience see the cans after you shoot.
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Old August 23, 2013, 07:56 AM   #14
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You might just consider a .410 shotgun. A Mossberg 500 would be nice, or you might find a good used, inexpensive .410 shotgun for sale.

A snake can strike at a distance of up to 1/2 the length of its body, at 200 m.p.h. or better. Don't get too close.
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Old August 23, 2013, 08:00 AM   #15
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Snake Killer

Just dispatched a medium sized water moccasin last weekend with my Govenor pistol. It was loaded with #6 shot. This #6 shot holds together for tighter groupings I have found than lighter shot like 7 1/2 or 8 shot. Good luck.
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Old August 23, 2013, 08:29 AM   #16
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If you reload, and if you have a 45 colt revolver.....(aka 45 long colt)....

I have made some "buck & ball" loads for my 45 colt. I use a 44 round ball (from my 44 black powder revolver stuff). It weighs out at about 121 grains. I then use approximately 120 grains of #8 lead bird shot. As you see this combined equals 241 grains of lead. One of my normal 45 colt reload formulas uses a 250 grain lead bullet and Unique powder per the charts. I use this same powder load, thus I am not at maximum loading because I am about 9 grains of lead lighter.

1. Primed and sized 45 colt brass.
2. Unique powder per published recipe for a 250 grain lead bullet.
3. A thin cardboard wad cut to case diameter over the powder. Push this down to contact powder with a wooden dowel or pencil.
4. 120 grains of #8 lead bird shot on top of paper wad.
5. One 44 caliber lead round ball seated in the top of case to where the largest diameter of the ball (the equator of the ball) is at top rim of the brass case.
6. Crimp the ball tightly to the case. I use my Lee crimp die from my 4 die set for the 45 colt caliber. With the powder, shot and half the ball inside the case it is a full case but not compressed.

The round will pattern the ball at point of aim with the #8 shot patterning uniformly on cardboard in a 12" radius around where the ball strikes at about five yards.

Thus you have a 45 colt revolver load that will kill small varmits (skunks, possums, porcupines, coons) with the 121 grain ball and will pattern shot nicely to hit a snake if the ball misses the mark of that small snake target. The above results are using a revolver with a 5 1/2" barrel.

PS I suppose you could build a cartridge that only contains bird shot and somehow crimp a thicker cover wad at the end of the case instead of crimping a lead ball there. That way you could throw almost 250 grains of bird shot at a snake.
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Last edited by twobit; August 23, 2013 at 08:36 AM.
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Old August 23, 2013, 08:36 AM   #17
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A handgun dedicated to snake shooting?

Wow. I wish I could afford such luxury.

I am driven by poverty to just pull my hogleg and shoot snakes with whatever is in the chamber. I had some 44 shot loads once. Blew them all shooting bats in the attic.
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Old August 23, 2013, 08:40 AM   #18
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Until you find the right firearm:

These work really well with a minimum of practice!

Show me the data
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Old August 23, 2013, 12:41 PM   #19
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Well while I prefer a simple single shot shotgun in just about any gauge, I do note the little NAA mini-revolvers in .22 magnum will work with bird shot.

I'm not bubbly about using them for self defense (I have the Pug in .22 magnum with Ashly night sights) but if you do have one it will take care of snakes of the slithering kind if not the two legged kind.

“To you who call yourselves ‘men of peace,’ I say, you are not safe without men of action by your side” Thucydides
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Old August 23, 2013, 01:56 PM   #20
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I have a 20 ga coach gun that I think would serve admirably for the purpose. Of course I prefer to be in the out of doors during cooler weather.

My mother spends about half her time out in East Texas, and runs into snakes as a fairly common occurrence. She sends 'em to their reward with a 9MM. Apparently my grandfather did a good job teaching her to shoot.
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Old August 23, 2013, 04:02 PM   #21
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Old August 23, 2013, 04:15 PM   #22
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I'd go with the mini revolver in .22 Mag + CCI snake shot.
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Old August 24, 2013, 10:45 AM   #23
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FWIW I've lived in Florida for the past year, definitely snake country. So far I've only had to put an end to a medium sized cottonmouth that chose the wrong direction when I startled him with the lawnmower. One CCI shot shell from my .45colt Blackhawk did the job nicely at about eight feet.
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Old August 24, 2013, 11:10 AM   #24
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A 44 Mag works exceedingly well.
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Old August 25, 2013, 07:45 AM   #25
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If I was to carry a gun specifically
for snakes,I'd buy one of those
revolvers that shoot .410 and 45colt.
I'd bring it to a gun smith to have the barrel
"free'd" of rifling.I'm sure the birdshot would work well
and close range protection with the 45.
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