What is a good gun for snakes?


November 26, 2004, 10:22 PM
My mom just moved to a property with lots of rattle snakes and i've got a little 3 year
old sister there too. What is the best for snakes? I'm assuming shotgun, but what caliber, barrel length, etc. Thanks

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November 26, 2004, 10:36 PM

November 26, 2004, 10:41 PM
When I lived in Arizona two of the guys I respected most as 'mountain men' carried .22mag revolvers, one was SA and the other was DA, loaded with CCI snakeshot. Something with a 4" barrel, maybe a little longer. Get a cowboy style rig for carry. I betcha you carry that more often than a shotgun, for sure.

November 26, 2004, 10:49 PM
well...mine is a Blackhawk .45LC loaded with shotshells

November 26, 2004, 10:54 PM
Any shotgun, with any load of birdshot will do the job quite nicely. That said, I agree with atc1man, that the gun you're willing to actually carry around with you is better than the gun leaning in the corner in the house, and you can buy snakeshot in any popular revolver caliber.

A shovel or a hoe is completely adequate too, if the person wielding it knows what they're doing.

I think the best thing for venomous snakes is any implement that will effectively extend your striking range beyond theirs, coupled with good situational awareness.

On top of all that, keep in mind that any snake, even venomous, in it's proper habitat (IE not in your house or in the immediate vicinity therof) is a good snake, good for keeping down the population of disease carrying vermin. Don't kill them just because they're ugly and potentially dangerous unless they actually are in close enough proximity to your loved ones to pose a threat.

Matt G
November 26, 2004, 10:55 PM
Thing about snakes is that they're better to have around than rats and the like. The only snakes I bother killing are ones that are right next to the house or are where kids play, with the obvious exception of the ones that are actively threatening me or loved ones. That last group requires immediate action, and a long gun won't cut it-- it needs to the in your "always gun." The shot will be one delivered extremely quickly and from extremely close. I've found the .45 acp shotshells loaded by Speer/CCI, Winchester, and Remington to all function well. I've found CCI .38 shotshells to work well out of a light revolver. I've found the .22 shotshells of both pinched nose and capsule to work well in revolvers from extremely close (say, straight down) range. I've also handloaded .38 shotshells in empty CCI shot capsules, and must advise anyone to NOT do as I did, which was keep the full-charge powder loading (5 gr of Unique was a hot load for a .38 Spl, and I left the charge the same), and to use 7.5 shot. PLEASE use #9 shot at the largest, and preferably find yourself some #12 shot.Trust me-- that 7.5 shot destroys a lot of stuff! :eek:

If you're just wanting to know what the general best snake-killing tool is, look no further than an ordinary garden hoe. They're not exciting, but they never run out of ammo and they ALWAY kill. ;)

November 26, 2004, 11:05 PM
A shovel or a hoe is completely adequate too, if the person wielding it knows what they're doing.

A very sharp hoe does a wonderful job, country folk in texas usually have one
available. Heck of a lot less noise when a sleeping rattler decides he wants your outdoor boots for a pillow. :)

November 26, 2004, 11:07 PM
It sounds to me like Matt and I are on exactly the same page. I guess I just typed faster :D

Remember that if you're killing a snake in one of your chickens nests that almost anything will go through the wall of your coop and then your chickens will get wet when it rains :D


November 26, 2004, 11:14 PM
For Mom? A single shot .410 shotgun. Cheap, easy to use and come by. I'd be inclined to shorten the barrel to 19". Makes it a bit faster to point, but is still legal everywhere.
Handgun shotshells give an unreliable pattern. The shot gets spun same as a bullet and leaves holes in the pattern. A .410 will do the job, but not hurt you or your ma.
Oh, and the .410 is the only shotgun designated by calibre. All others are by guage. IE. 12 lead balls to a pound of lead equals 12 ga. Don't worry about it though.

November 27, 2004, 12:27 AM
The wife used a 410 single shot. I perfer a hook and pillow case, but don't recommend it to just everyone.

November 27, 2004, 12:32 AM
Your list shows you have a 12 ga, that's all you need! :)

November 27, 2004, 12:37 AM
A .357 or .44 loaded with snakeshot might not be a bad idea.

November 27, 2004, 12:45 AM
Yes, a nice light .38 with a three or four inch barrel, loaded with CCI shot shells. In a nice pretty tooled leather holster.

Maybe holsters in different colors, so she can accessorize...

Dave R
November 27, 2004, 12:55 AM
Slightly off topic, but an intereting bit of lore from the old west. My grandfather was a rancher in Wyoming. Occasionally, they would have an outbreak of rattlesnakes. When they did, they'd run a few hogs on the pasture in question for a few weeks. Hogs would clear out the snakes in short order.

November 27, 2004, 07:06 AM
For Mom? A single shot .410 shotgun. Cheap, easy to use and come by. I'd be inclined to shorten the barrel to 19". Makes it a bit faster to point, but is still legal everywhere

I saw a .410 pistol that also fires .45 LC (with an insert) at the gun shop the other day. It's a single shot, break action in the Thompson contender style with about an 8 or 10 inch barrel. A snake outbreak would be a good excuse to buy it ;)

November 27, 2004, 07:14 AM
One with a VERY Long barrel...10 feet would be nice. :)

November 27, 2004, 07:34 AM
It is more readily carried and can inflict damage/pain and delay a strike while the snake coils in pain to give you a chance for a good follow up shot.

darn, I looked for my pictures of just such a case...
We had a moccasin come straight into camp (presumably to our fire) and I popped him with shot. Then after fighting that confounded P22 to extract it, chambered a 22LR. He was (interestingly enough) hiding his head after the shotshell hit him. He coiled and tucked it. I put one in his body as close to the head as I could and then hit the head when he exposed it. We then used the HOE method "to be sure". ;)

November 27, 2004, 07:55 AM
I always just used a shovel or a garden hoe. Tried a baseball bat once and it... well, it's too precise (especially if you miss). :uhoh:

A .410 sounds good, though shovels are easier on the ears ;)

November 27, 2004, 09:53 AM
That colt frontier 22 you have with shot shells would work well and be easy to keep handy.
As for me, I had a old Ruger bearcat 22 for snakes,scorpions,and tarantulas.
When i was in the Army in cali.

November 27, 2004, 10:01 AM
It isn't necessary to kill snakes. No snake views humans as food and will only bite in self-defense if they can't get away, which is what they try to do. The best way to avoid a snake is stomp around a little bit and make some noise. The snakes will leave the area. I would rather have snakes on my property than rats which are destructive and filthy. A snake or two will keep the rats under control. The children must be taught to leave any snake alone and pets must also be under control, though.

November 27, 2004, 10:30 AM
I applaud those that choose to leave snakes alive. I however, kill all I find that are anywhere near my place. I've had one dog bit in the face and almost die, and I have almost stepped on several myself. Had one in the house too. Sorry, but I kill all I find anywhere near home. I've killed about 30 or so and feel absolutely no remorse, perhaps even enjoying it as a recreational past time after the dog incident, and the one in the house..

I've found the 22 lr bird shot to be a poor snake killer unless within about 4 feet, and not 100% reliable at that range. 38 spl birdshot in a 2" pistol kills like the Hammer of Thor if within about 5 to 10 feet, same for 44 birdshot (this is what I used in the house). I've heard good reports about the 22 mag shot loads, tho I've not used the 22 mags.. All of these spread the pattern pretty fast due to the rifled barrel tending to spread the shot pattern, giving a hole in the center of the shot pattern beyond 15 feet or so in my experience. Whatever you choose, spend some money and shoot a few rounds at cardboard at differnt ranges to get a feelfor how the pattern works in your particular gun. Regular shotguns can have a rather small pattern at very close range.

Please be aware that snakes can still bite AFTER they are "dead" or even AFTER they have their head cut off. They can be dangerous for up to a couple hours after "dead". I step on the head and cut it off with a knife, or use a shovel, and bury it immediately.

I've used a number of different guns to kill snakes, including a 45-70 with round ball light loads, but a small pistol in the back pocket, like a 2" 38, or a medium size gun in a holster on the belt allows you to be ready at any time to deal with a snake.

November 27, 2004, 10:49 AM
How about a Snake Charmer ?

November 27, 2004, 11:04 AM
What is a good gun for snakes? They have no hands, they can't use a gun. Poor snakes.


November 27, 2004, 05:52 PM
I wouldn't want rattlers or other venomous snakes around where I or other people might get bitten, rats or no rats. You could step on one in the dark or when you just don't expect it, maybe while carrying something bulky. Then, you can look forward to a $50,000 hospital bill. The antivenom is expensive and in short supply. Bull snakes, on the other hand are excellent to have around. They even eat rattlers.

I have a Firestar 9mm which is handy to carry (it's very small) while out fishing in rattlesnake country, and have found it to be effective in dispatching rattlers when loaded with snake shot. I have no doubt .38 or .44 snake shot would be at least as effective.

November 27, 2004, 07:35 PM
LMAO @ carpettbaggerr!

November 27, 2004, 07:54 PM
Never found pistols loaded with snakeshot to be too accurate. Any shotgun with birdshot loaded, or a shovel.

November 27, 2004, 08:02 PM
375H&H it should kill every snake you come across if not run.

November 27, 2004, 08:51 PM
Having seen a man bitten by a "dead" rattler, I would advise you to back off with the shotgun to where you have a 4-6" pattern and shred the head.
Blowing a rattler in 2 parts leaves a very viable threat.
A smear cannot bite.


November 27, 2004, 09:50 PM
I prefer most any shotgun. IMO, taking the snake's head off is the only way to be sure that it can't bite you. I have seen snakes strike after they are already dead.
I prefer the 12 gauge or the .410 because they are what I have. I have also used the 22LR shotshells to pretty good effect on them in my youth. Again, they were available.
So really, what ever gun is available. We were raised with a .22LR in the corner of the kitchen and a 12 gauge sitting propped up next to the door. Ammo for both was on top of the freezer. By the time I could reach it I was old enough to use it responsibly.

Teaching the kids to avoid snakes is a good idea but kids are kids. They will screw around with things they shouldn't and they will often ignore your instructions and advice. They just have to find out for themselves. They are kids.

I let snakes be in the woods but I kill them (along with any other dangerous animal) when I am around a populated area.

November 27, 2004, 09:53 PM
Worst scare I ever had was when I picked up a dead moccasin head by it's 2" stub & it twisted in my fingers to try to bite me.

August 26, 2009, 05:41 AM
Since when did hillbilly's discover the internet :neener:

August 26, 2009, 05:55 AM
Taurus Judge...revolver chambered in .45 long colt and .410 shotshell. If your long gun is in your truck...it's not much help, and it's hardly practical to carry a shotgun around with you while you're working.

I have family in NH and they always carry the Judge loaded with some kind of shot (it escapes my memory) to handle snakes when they're out taking care of their land (250+ acres, 15 minutes from the nearest town). They have young children and even a non-poisonous snake, when stepped on, can/will still bite and injure a child. I love animals as much as the next guy, but if you're ever going to have children on your property...I won't lose sleep over dead snakes. If a poisonous snake bites a child or smaller adult in a rural area, might be too late by the time they get to the hospital.

The last time I was there, they had a Timber Rattlesnake skin curing...seeing that made me want to go home and get my shotgun to have with me!

August 26, 2009, 06:04 AM
A shovel or a hoe is completely adequate too, if the person wielding it knows what they're doing.

Shovel, hoe or 6 foot pole are the no nonsense weapons of choice. Snakes are usually curled up somewhere when they are found and are easy targets. A WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! on the head is usually all it takes. If you feel that you absolutely HAVE to shoot one I think a shotgun with bird shot is the best.

August 26, 2009, 06:46 AM
Since when is a snake "poisonous" :cool:

August 26, 2009, 09:47 AM
Since when is a snake "poisonous"

As soon as they enter California.

Venomous snakes are OK because venoms can be beneficial, but snakes scare Californians so all venomous snakes in that state are classed as poisonous. Poisons are banned in California and so poisonous snakes can also be banned even while venomous snakes are not.

Life is very simple in California ...:rolleyes:

Larry Ashcraft
August 26, 2009, 09:54 AM
Say NO to thread necromancy!

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