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Old 09-06-2020, 08:58 PM
NB4EST NB4EST is offline
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Default Snake shot carried in cylinder

Copperheads and the occasional timber rattler share my neck of the woods. As a result, I usually carry a factory round loaded with snake shot under the hammer. My reason for charging my chambers in this manner is that I feel that I'm more likely to encounter a coyote or have need of a self-defense round for two-legged snakes in more of a hurry than I am to have need of a snake load in a rush.....Friday, after shooting 38 Special and .22 revolvers, I decided to fire a round of stout .44 Special from my snubby 629 just to make sure I'm familiar with her zero.

I noticed no issues until I unloaded my 44 at home before wiping her down, I noticed the shot capsule had jumped crimp and indeed spilled onto the floor as I took the rounds and one empty from the chambers.

Not sure I'd ever fired a warm 44 load topped by a 240 grain bullet from a cylinder that also contained a factory shot shell. I can foresee a possible hazard here if the capsule fouls the cylinder like a bullet can when it jumps crimp.

Tried it with 5 middle-of-the-road-for-power .357 hand-loads with a shotshell occuppying the 6th chamber of my M-65-5 today. I could detect no apparent movement of the plastic shot capsule.

Anyone else ever experience a shot-capsule jumping crimp under recoil?
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:08 PM
Marshal tom Marshal tom is offline
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I think you answered your own question already. I would suggest loading several along with whatever the normal carry load that will be used in your firearm and make sure that this will not occur. You may have just experienced an anomaly
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:15 AM
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Here in Montana, I too carry a revolver (M66 2") that is loaded with my own shot shells for snakes. I carry it with 6 of them in the the cylinder.....no problems with crimp.......

If I need a solid projectile then I re-charge the cylinder with an HKS speedloader and .357 magnum loads. Simple and efficient for ME.

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Old 09-07-2020, 08:48 AM
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I've had CCI shotshell loads "jump crimp" when taking them out of the little package they come in. Not a lot of pressure can be applied to the plastic shell case without cracking it, and the aluminum case won't apply much pressure. The shock from even a standard .38 or .44 load can loosen them up if they are chambered along with other loads. My suggestion is to carry a speed loader of the snake loads. If you get surprised by a snake, you'll be too busy jumping and side-stepping to draw anyway, and can dump your solid loads and load the shotshells once you get clear of Mr. Wiggles.

BTW, when I said 'dump your solid loads', I meant the JHP's or whatever else is in your cylinder, not to **** yourself.

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Old 09-07-2020, 08:54 AM
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I carry the first round up ( or two) in .45 Colt with shot shells here in warmer weather. If the first or second round are shot shells, capsule creep is not a problem.
If I fired several solid bullet rounds first, then yes, the capsule would start creeping out.

As much as I like carrying one of my single action revolvers in .45 Colt, I find myself packing the .45 Shield a lot lately.
It is thinner, lighter, and more comfortable to pack, but still has 8 rounds of .45 Auto on tap. Also, for camping trips, it has night sights and a small 100 lumen light and green laser, while my revolvers do not.

The Shield shoots the CCI .45 ACP shot shells as reliably as FMJ, and will sever the head of a rattlesnake no problem.

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Old 09-07-2020, 10:17 AM
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When out walking in the desert I carry one gun with nothing but snake shot on my left side and one with JHP on the right side.
Carrying one gun and then trying to remember which load is in it when things start happening just doesn't work out for me.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:33 AM
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Doesn't anybody make shotshells for handguns that are actually loaded like ordinary shotgun shells, with the brass itself crimped shut? That would solve the whole crimp-jumping issue.

Shot loads...-taurus_judge_magnum-jpg
Granted that this is a Taurus Judge with .410 Shotshells, but the point is that shells like this lack a plastic shotcup at the tip, so there's nothing to jump the crimp, so you want a shell like this.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:54 AM
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"As a result, I usually carry a factory round loaded with snake shot under the hammer."

Hopefully, you meant to say that you have your snake shot cartridges chambered so that when you fire, SA or DA, the cylinder revolves and the shot round fires.

Forte Smitten Wesson, a straight round like a shot shell would require a long, straight chamber. Most revolvers have a cylinder with chambers with a ledge.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:15 AM
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Lightbulb SHOTSHELLS

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Originally Posted by Forte Smitten Wesson View Post
Doesn't anybody make shotshells for handguns that are actually loaded like ordinary shotgun shells, with the brass itself crimped shut? That would solve the whole crimp-jumping issue.

Shot loads...-taurus_judge_magnum-jpg
Granted that this is a Taurus Judge with .410 Shotshells, but the point is that shells like this lack a plastic shotcup at the tip, so there's nothing to jump the crimp, so you want a shell like this.

I load several versions of shot shells-- here are a couple-





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Old 09-07-2020, 11:34 AM
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That's what I'm talking about, he needs shells like those.
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:19 PM
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I load several versions of shot shells-- here are a couple-





These are the shells that I am using....thanks JRWeems!!!

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Old 09-07-2020, 01:08 PM
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I have found the 99.9% of snakes shot, chopped or clubbed are secondary reaction. You would have to be mighty fast to outdraw a striking snake. I think highest value of shot loads is to kill snakes and other vermin in places you can’t use a bullet. I’ve personally not had the rimfire type work loose.
357 yes but only once. The hand loaded 357 and 44 are prone to walk. I was putting light coat fingernail polish in case mouth and that helped some.
I quit carrying them in gun and just carried cast bullet for snake load.
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:28 PM
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Muley Gil, I meant just the opposite. I've found that I usually have time to index the cylinder, dialing up some snake shot, when I see a snake, so set a cast bullet load to fire first. As someone else pointed out, a bullet that beheads ol no-shoulders but then glances into a distant neighbors picture window makes for poor neighborly relations....,Guess I'll just load 6 standard rounds and carry a snake load in my watch pocket from here on.
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Old 09-07-2020, 03:40 PM
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Snake shot is just snake oil. Leaves a big hole in the center of the pattern and only good for a few feet anyway. If a snake is going to strike NOBODY is fast enough to draw and fire before he does. Stepping away is quicker. A 6 ft rattle snake probably can't strike even 3' and its actual speed crawling is lees than a slow walk. They got a very primitive brain. You have a big one. Use it.

Most people get bit trying to handle snakes, sticking their hands where they don't belong, are not wearing boots and pants where they should and flat being careless.

Easiest thing in the world to shot a snake with is a 22w rifle. Fire a round and then stick the muzzle close to the snake and he will focus on the heat from the muzzle, Pull the trigger.

Anymore I just use my brain and just walk away and let the mouse and rat killer go on about his business. If I found one on my place I would just use a shovel.

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Old 09-07-2020, 04:22 PM
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I seriously doubt anyone reading this thread carries a shot cartridge thinking they are going to be able to shoot a snake before they strike.
I use them to eliminate a rattlesnake that lounges around on a hiking trail.
The snake sure isn't striking when I shoot, but might be small and moving around.

If I am off trail bushwacking, I don't bother snakes, but if one is on a trail where people might be going by with dogs and small kids, I don't walk by and leave it.
The one pictured above in my reply above was by a parking lot going to a creek where lots of people walk down to swim, or let their dogs and kids swim.
Anywhere else, and I'd likely have left him alone.

Small rattlers are more trouble that big ones, big ones will rattle, aren't afraid of everything walking by stepping on them, and save their venom for gathering food (rodents).
Small ones like the ones pictured, often don't rattle, and when they bite they inject all their venom. Bad news for a costly bird dog to get bit in the face.
They might be moving their head around and it is much easier to connect with a shot shell. Most of the shot pattern will go into the head even if you are off a bit.

I am surprised someone would think that we are all just waiting to get to draw and shoot as a snake is striking. That is just humorous.
Big hole in the pattern ? Not the ones I use. If you are smart you should pattern them, like any other shot charge firing gun.
These do just fine at 3 to 6 feet, the big hole was from the over wad:


Do you see the snake's head in my reply above ? That's because he doesn't have one. The .45 ACP shot shell removed his head, and he didn't even twitch or squirm. Good luck hitting a 1 inch wide head that's moving around with your .22. Pretty easy with a shot shell of any caliber.

I spent 38 years in central Montana before moving down to Arizona 2 years ago, and saw way more rattlers in Montana, but the Ranch I grew up on is at the western end of the Gallatin Valley in the foothills.
Cactus, Sagebrush, Antelope, Rattlesnakes and hot summers.
I guess the Rattlesnake Hills above the ranch were aptly named.

I always have a handgun going into the wilderness canyons around here, not too convenient to carry a shovel or hoe with you for miles.
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Old 09-07-2020, 04:27 PM
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When we were kids uncles always telling us to watch for snakes. I was only 5 or 6 when uncle died and aunt moved to town. Cousins only kept a garden there and family would go down from time to time to shoot or swim in creek. Well when I was hunting snakes in the 1980s I didn’t realize just how many Copper Heads there were. It a good thing they weren’t aggressive snakes our we would all have be bitten.

When in the Army some 50yrs ago we use to drink in little joint on main drag near White Sands. They always had a little Sidewinder in a pickle jar like you see in cowboy movies. I forget what the deal was, you had to lay out price of a shot, if you didn’t flinch got shot free. I never saw one guy that won. I tried it like 4 times in a row and still flinched and I’m not afraid of snakes. Did it cold sober too. Name of place was the Sand Piper, I think.
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:16 PM
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.455 converted to .45 Auto Rim back in the day. .45 ACP shot shells in full moon clips. Deadly on snakes, possums, raccoons, etc. at up to 20 feet. Great around the place here in the country. No worries about over penetration. Have to try very hard to miss.
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:36 PM
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For more years than I can for sure remember, I've carried CCI shotshells in either .38/.357 or .44/.44Mag. I've also from time to time had some .45 ACP shotshells. Those I never had occasion to fire. The rest were fired with perfect results on snakes at distances of 3 - 7 feet. Shredded the heads and bodies of everything I used them on. Never jumped crimp. Sincerely. bruce.
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Old 09-07-2020, 07:00 PM
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I had ok results with the CCI plastic shot cups but not leaving well enough alone, decided to load my own. I found that if I used an upside down gas check on top of the shot load I could use a heavy roll crimp to hold it in place. I never had one of those loads loosen up or spill its load. We don't have many dangerous snakes here in the North East, but many a deer camp mouse lost it's life to a handgun shot load.
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Old 09-07-2020, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. R. WEEMS View Post
I load several versions of shot shells-- here are a couple-


OK J R, we need a thread on how you did those crimps!
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:37 PM
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I've always tested my hand rolled shotshells like sandog shows, on a cardboard snake, and they've performed real well. I load them in 44 special, 45 colt and 38 special, all with Speer capsules. A box of 25 capsules lasts a long time around here.

My PMR30 (22 mag) is loaded with a CCI factory shotshell, and it does okay,.......but it's nothing like a 44 or a 45 loaded with #12 shot. I bought a 50lb bag of it years ago, and eventually sold most of it off on another forum, in 1 lb lots (at cost plus the shipping), and I may have a pound of it left. #9 shot works well too, and I made a lot of 45 colt loads using it and a gas check over the powder and one over the shot, like cmj8591 mentioned. They have the bonus of a couple of 1/2" copper discs flying out with the shot.

Talking about shooting a snake in the head with a solid, I watched a buddy do it, and act like he meant to. LOL! We had been out hanging tree stands, and on the trail back I stopped my ATV for a snake in the road. Gary gets off his behind me when I said "Snake", walks up drawing his 45 colt Vaquero, and proceeds to shoot the darn snakes head off, at every bit of 10'-12'. I mean no head at all! He just looked at me and smirked, "What? Are you afraid of a snake with no head?" And turns around to go back to his 4-wheeler!

I stopped him and said "Wait just a darn minute. You haven't owned that gun long enough to be that good on purpose." I laid out 4 rocks for him to duplicate the shot. He knew better, but I goaded him into trying it again to prove a point. He missed every rock, and we were only 8' away.

I looked at him and said, "Hey, I'm still impressed with that first shot."
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:36 PM
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Okay, go ahead and laugh; when I was around 12 years old I heard of people ruining guns due to the lead shot melting into the rifling. As of today many, many years later I haven't ever bought or fired snake shot rounds.
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:42 PM
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I’ve shot a lot of possum, coon and such. They are pretty stout creatures for their size. So are copper heads and rattle snakes. Biggest part of these shot with 22 rifle and pistol. If you don’t hit them in the head they can soak up some lead. It would be a fearsome shot load or luck to kill one of these critters at 20’ with a shot load out of any handgun.
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Old 09-10-2020, 08:37 AM
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The shot shells are meant to be used at a lot shorter distances than 20 feet, and the shot size used is way too small for coons, possums, etc.
I don't think anybody here was advocating shots at tough, 10-15 lb. animals at .22 ranges.

I have shot quite a few grouse at 20 feet with .44 magnum and .45 Colt shot shells while on big game hunts in Montana, Idaho and Alaska.
The shot has spread enough at that range that you are going to get a few shot in the head of the bird, all you need to kill it.
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:12 AM
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I would only use snake shot on my property to prevent ricochets. In the wilds, a venomous snake will receive a bullet to the head.
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:08 AM
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My respect for shotshells, rose a lot, after my last attempt, at killing a copperhead.

This was decades ago, the 125 gr. HP, hit a bit under the snake, and blasted it into the air (alive). It missed hitting me in the head, by a few inches

After that, I always carried Speer handloaded shot cartridges in the first two cylinders.

#11, or #12 shot improved the effect a lot.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:00 AM
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We have lots of rattlers around home here. We live on a few acres in a rural mountainous area of the southwest. We have lots of dogs, two pigs, 30 +/- chickens, etc so rattlers are a menace to the animals in addition to the wife and I. They all get shot on sight.

During snake season if i'm out working around the property here my 686 has regular HP rounds in it and the first shot is a CCI 38/357 shot cartridge. In this mode I'm ready if I see a rattler. If not out actively working in the weeds/brush or where I think there's a higher chance of running into a rattler then I keep all chambers loaded with regular ammo. I keep a speed strip of shotshells on my left hip in a velcro pouch.

I've never had to hurry up and shoot a rattler who was trying to strike me (I can't imagine who could be that quick to actually be able to do that and stop a strike - the OODA loop makes this impossible), they always buzz at me and curl up into striking mode. I step back, load the shot cartridge if necessary and take my shot from about 48". It pulverizes the head very efficiently. Sometimes they start to take off so then I'm dealing with a moving target.

The crimp jumping issue is a major one to me, so I don't keep it as a "last round in the cylinder" due to it possibly tying up the gun if the capsule creeps out too far from the previous 5 or 6 rounds being fired.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:25 AM
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Thanks, jcs266. You pretty well expressed the message I hoped to convey in my OP.
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Old 09-12-2020, 11:46 AM
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BITD, I made my own shot loads for .44 Mag.

Put powder into primed case. Don't remember how much. Probably around 8gr Unique.

Pressed a copper gas check down over the powder.

Poured shot in. Don't remember how much.

Pressed another gas check (inverted) over the shot.

Crimped it.

Patterned fine to 10'. Gas checks made holes in targets.

Never, ever had a problem with gas check jumping crimp. 100% reliable.
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Old 09-12-2020, 12:45 PM
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A friend of mine who was 50 years my senior, used to load his own version of snake loads for the .45 ACP.

Using rifle brass, he would trim the cartridge case so it was near flush with the end of the cylinder. He would add the powder, shot and wad. The front of the case was then covered with a wad and beeswax mixture, then lightly crimped. He claimed these loads were poison on crawling critters.

He even machined a choke, cut from an old Cutts Compensator that fit over the muzzle of his pristine 1917 S&W to further enhance these loads.





Original loads shown here with a beater 1917 Colt.

Last edited by 153; 09-12-2020 at 12:46 PM.
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  #31  
Old 09-14-2020, 07:02 AM
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Gamecock Gamecock is offline
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He claimed these loads were poison on crawling critters.
I did some penetration testing on various calibers/cartridges in prep for hunting squirrels in my attic. I didn't want to shoot a hole in my roof!

I used a board about a half inch thick, as I recall. I was absolutely stunned when I shot it with a Winchester .22 snake shot load. The holes were tiny (#12 shot), but they completely penetrated the board!
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Old 09-14-2020, 11:15 AM
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For several years I carried snake shot when working on construction sites where we drained reservoirs to rebuild the dam or spillway. The trick isn't to wait til they strike. You see them you shoot them was the approach. You could get a dozen a day. If we didn't reduce their numbers, we were going to have a problem. If you want to mix them with regular ammo, and I would not, then those come after one or two snake shot.
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