NAA .22LR/.22WMR combo revolver for snake control (with shotshells)


June 1, 2010, 10:04 PM
Lately I've been combating some briars, honeysuckle and other plants in my back yard (about an acre). In a few places I ran across a couple snakes. I'm hoping they were garder snake or some other kind of harmless beneficial species. However, my neighbor whose property runs parallel to mine swears there are copperhead towards the back of our property (near a creek).

Last week I placed an order for 100 .38/.357 Speer shot capsules with plans on loading some #8 shot in my Armscor Md200. I don't mind sweating on this revolver (that has thus far proven absolutely reliable) or walking through the brush with it since it was rather inexpensive and purchased on a lark

However, I would like something much smaller for pocket carry and have been wanting an NAA revolver for a while. Up until now, I've been using a single shot derringer in .22LR loaded with a (single, of course) Winchester shotshell (#12 shot, crimped shell) that's in fairly rough shape. I think rapid access to an additional 4 cartridges might be a good idea.

If ranges are kept at a modest 5' or so, does a NAA .22LR/.22 WMR with a 1 5/8" barrel sound fairly decent for use against a sudden encounter with a snake for pocket carry while doing garden/yard work? Does anyone carry one with such loads for this reason?
They appear well made, of stainless steel and agreeably priced. I figure they'll fit into my back pocket of my jeans just fine (where the derringer resides now while out in the yard).

BTW, this will not be used in defense against people or dogs, so I'm not concerned about the effects on such things, just snakes at 2 - 5 feet range.
If I start running into snakes regularly, then I'll start wearing the Armscor revolver in a holster with homespun shotshells (#8 shot over 4.5gr Bullseye). I just want to avoid the holster carry if possible.

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June 1, 2010, 10:23 PM
#12 shot out of a .22 shotshell is sometimes referred to as "dust shot", and out of a mni revolver it probably wont penetrate a plastic coke bottle. If I wanted to knock down wasp hives without damaging the eves of my house, that's what I would use. If you feel like carrying a gun for venomous snakes, I would say stick with the .38.

June 1, 2010, 10:25 PM
I keep in my pocket a Beretta 21 .22, the one with the flip up barrel. Barrel can be loaded for each shot quickly, for example if the mag. is loaded with standard .22s. Or the action can be hand cycled if it's loaded with shot - shotshells don't provide enough power to work the slide fully.

Excellent pistol, very small and light, it works well on venomous snakes of up to 5', which is quite large, out to 10' or so (I only shoot if they are venomous and close to the house). On the larger snakes it takes more than one shot to kill and I don't allow them to suffer. I'm not sure but this may have a tad more barrel than you're talking about but I think you'll be fine. Another advantage is that this tiny shot causes very little collateral damage - I shot a moccasin that was on a copper water pipe without damage to the pipe.

7.62 Nato
June 1, 2010, 10:28 PM
I think if I encountered a Copperhead or other dangerous snake at a distance of 2-5 feet, I would first increase that distance as rapidly as possible. I would not wait to draw, then fire a sub-compact, single action .22 with snake shot. I would want a minimum of .38 snub with shotshells in that instance.

June 1, 2010, 10:28 PM
I've killed a few rattlesankes with the .22 mag NAA. It works but is really loud. I think a
J Frame with .38 Special CCI shotshells would be a better choice. Now the .22 mag in my single shot rifle is the perfect combo for killing rattlesnakes. The .22 mag shot shells shine in a rifle.

June 1, 2010, 10:44 PM
They work great on mice, but snakes are tougher critters. I'd go with the .38.

I have killed alot of birds, including big pigeons, with my handloaded .38 shotshells with #8 shot out of my 4" M65 and 6" 686. Effective to about 30 feet. Mostly one shot kills, too. It'll get 'er done.

June 1, 2010, 10:52 PM
A garden hoe works a lot better. I've actually fired shot loads from my 1 5/8" .22LR mini. Effective range on mice is, oh, a couple of feet, maybe. My 4" Rossi kit gun will take a rat at 6 feet, anyway. I used to have rat wars on the back porch until I got cats. The cats took care of 'em. :D When I got rid of my old dryer, it had rat shot holes all in the wire to the plug what the rats used to climb to get in a hole in the wall. above the plug. That wire took a lot of rounds. I learned early on the mini wasn't enough gun, need more range. The Rossi worked a LOT better.

I've killed a rattler with my mini once. I just shot it in the head with a hollow point from about 6 feet. That pretty much ruined its day. :D Don't need no stinkin' shot loads.

June 1, 2010, 11:15 PM
The reason I'm looking at NAA revolvers is because is because it's small and still 5 shots. I really want something I can place into my back pocket and forget about (until I need it). I do have a Taurus 85 2" snubnose that I wouldn't mind using for yard work, but it's a bit larger than I'd like and though it will carry in a pocket, it's certainly not something I'd forget is there.
I also have a P32 but a solid projectile on snakes just doesn't seem like a hot idea.

Though I carry Winchester shot in my single shot derringer, I admit not having done any testing with it. I know these shotshells from a 18" barrel is plenty for mice and rats out to at least 10' as I've dispatched quite a few with a rifle back during the "rodent invasion of 2001" (described in threads at TFL in '01 & '02). However, I'm sure a lot is lost with such a short barrel in terms of shot pattern and velocity. I'm sure it's plenty louder too.

Obviously I'm not sold on the idea of .22LR shot (or .22 WMR shot) on snake from such a small revolver, that's why I asked. However, being that it's stainless (thus lower maintenance I think), seemingly well made and small enough to be pocketable for long periods of time, it's just so tempting.

For those that have used .22LR shot on snake from a short barrel handgun, killing power aside, would you say the first shot would have prevented the snake from striking if coiling and ready to?

June 2, 2010, 12:47 AM

David E
June 2, 2010, 01:58 AM
snakeshot fired from a NAA gun isn't that impressive.

The .22 LR has trouble fully penetrating an empty cardboard .22 box near your feet.

If you get one, get the .22 magnum, but that's only a small improvement.

June 2, 2010, 12:22 PM
The first step would be to learn what the different snakes in your area look like. As you say there's not much point in dispatching a benificial garter snake if you don't need to.

The range operator gave me some .22Mag shot shells to try from my 4.2 inch NAA "The Earl". At 3 yards the pattern was distinctly ring like with the main shot density in a pattern about 24 inches around. The area in the center was noticably lighter density to the point that at such a range I'd want to aim to one side or the other by about a foot so the "ring" would cover more of the snake's head and body.

But either way if you load up or get some of these you WILL want to shoot a couple of shots onto big pieces of clean paper (one sheet per shot or you won't see the pattern or at least aim all shots at the exact same center point) to get a better idea of the shot pattern so that if it makes more of a ring like mine does that you'll know where and how to offset your point of aim to put the best part of the pattern onto the target.

June 2, 2010, 01:24 PM
Great information, BCRider. I was wondering what kind of effect the rifling would have on the shot pattern, now I guess I know (from the ring pattern you described). I was actually considering a NAA Earl (this particular one with a 3" barrel) as I've always loved the looks of the 1858 Remington but reconsidered when I reminded myself of the back-pocket carry priority. They do look nice though!

June 2, 2010, 02:04 PM
I'm not a fan of the recent .45 Colt/.410 Bore handguns intended fpr personal defense. However, for snakes and such, they seem a much more reasonable choice. This:

Weighs more than a NAA, but its stainless, will fit in your pocket, and offer a lot more oomph than any .22 shotshell. From the right vendor its also less than $100 more than a lot of the NAA minis.

I have several of the minis, and I'm a huge fan of them, but it wouldn't be my first choice against a snake (at least with a shotshell). If you really want the NAA, I'd suggest the Black Widow, which has much better grips and sights (making it a lot more shooter friendly) and load it with a .22 Magnum JHP like the CCI TNT +V. That would put a hurting on any snake you are likely to come across in NC. The Black Widow isn't much larger than the 1 5/8" NAA and doesn't weigh much more either, but its a real step up in the accuracy department.

June 2, 2010, 05:37 PM
You will get much better results with CCI shotshells.

They use a plastic shot capsule and pattern better then the star crimped .22 shot shells.
They also contain more shot then the star-crimped shells.
It also appears to me to be real #12 shot, as opposed to smaller dust shot I find in the star-crimped Win shells I have tore apart to measure.


June 2, 2010, 06:36 PM
It worries me that you might be dispatching snakes without the need to do so. But I don't want to hijack the thread.

June 2, 2010, 10:03 PM
I also have a P32 but a solid projectile on snakes just doesn't seem like a hot idea.

Except for those I've shot with a shotgun, all the snakes I've ever shot were a bullet to the head and it worked quite well. A good majority of those, too, were shot with a .22 pistol. It's not hard to hit a snake's head from 10 feet.

June 3, 2010, 02:35 AM
Well I've weighed it over and have decided just to go ahead and load the Speer shot capsules I have coming with #8 shot for use in either my 2" Taurus 85 (pocket) or the 4" Armscor (holster) if I find I start encountering snakes. I've come to the conclusion that I ultimately just wanted justification to buy an NAA revolver but in reality already have other items that will work perfectly fine.

My decision is also influenced by the knowledge that my wife and I just spent nearly $2000 on wood laminate for the kitchen and hallway today, so I guess I'll be laying flooring this weekend and not working in the yard. When I do get back to the backyard, I'm sure I'll be fine with what I've got.

Thanks in advance for all who've replied!

June 3, 2010, 07:16 AM
What about a small 22 like a Ruger Bearcat? I would use a holster, but it's small and light. If you insist on pocket carry I'd stay with the derringer.

June 3, 2010, 09:31 AM
You made the wise decision - I shoot a lot of rattle snakes and you will do well.

June 3, 2010, 09:47 AM
Good decision. I have a NAA .22 Mag that I actually carried with rat shot for snakes when we were creek/swamp walking. One day there was a small (3-4 ft) snake in between my brother and myself. I shot it twice, and it lost interest, but it wasn't killed on the spot like I had envisioned. Next gun show I bought a Charter Arms .44 Spl ( Using the shot capsules or home made rat shot in it kills snakes dead on the spot. The other upside was the CA shot lead bullets great. Nothing but gravy. :)

June 3, 2010, 01:10 PM
You literally put yourself in harm's way if you shoot to kill a snake with a naa short barrel in .22mrf. I have killed a lot of rattlers and cottonmouths with my .38 using wadcutters. The shot in .22mag. is just too small, the pattern just too big for anything except 2 feet. I tried some .38 snake shot which was better, but went back to my wadcutters. When you move up to the .44 shot loads - well, they are very effective, even on the biggest of rattlers at safe distances.

June 3, 2010, 01:41 PM
It worries me that you might be dispatching snakes without the need to do so. But I don't want to hijack the thread.
I agree. Why are so many people in such a hurry to kill snakes?

I used to catch them as a kid and my experience is that they do whatever they can to avoid people.

If you let them go, they will!

June 3, 2010, 05:01 PM

I don't hunt for the sake of killing and I'm all for beneficial snakes. I put them in the same category as ladybugs, orb spiders and praying mantises.
However if I find one that looks similar to the photo above on my property while I'm tending to the yard, I'm killing it and that's that.

The area I'm talking about (where my neighbor warns is a haven for copperhead) abuts an area where my wife and daughter sometimes play with the dogs.

June 3, 2010, 06:45 PM
Rattlers are prolific around here and fried rattler is pretty danged yummy.

June 3, 2010, 10:47 PM
Again, even though I don't recommend it, I have killed about 5 good sized rattlesankes with a CCI shotshell in a .22 mag NAA with the shortest barrel. It is a fact beyond dispute that it will work but it is a really loud combo. You can shoot from a safe distance but it is best used in a rifle where it will blow the snake's head apart.

June 4, 2010, 12:15 PM
I carry a .38 snubbie in a pocket holster. #9 shot and a lot more of it than .22, without any inconvenience.

I had the revolver trained on a rattlesnake last Sunday, but I didn't have to shoot it, so I didn't. Since I was out of state and didn't have a valid hunting license there, I'm glad I didn't feel that I had to shoot the thing. It's not always easy to prove self-defense, and it's a good deal of free revenue for the state if they can claim you were hunting without a license.

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