What Size Shot For Rattlers ?


February 28, 2011, 07:04 PM
What size shot have you used to dispatch Rattlers, Cottonmouths and Copperheads with and how much shot ?

How did it do ?

Would a half ounce .410 Skeet Load ( #9 shot ) be sufficient ?

I'm thinking just about anything from that load up would work because any snake would be shot very close up .

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February 28, 2011, 07:06 PM

February 28, 2011, 07:12 PM
.45 acp

February 28, 2011, 09:39 PM
I use Size 12 boots walking myself in the opposite direction.

February 28, 2011, 11:43 PM
for a real answer to your question:

yes, 1/2 oz of 9 shot should be fine for any native US snake.

if you run across a python, you might need something a bit bigger (flamethrower?)

35 Whelen
February 28, 2011, 11:49 PM
What size shot have you used to dispatch Rattlers, Cottonmouths and Copperheads with and how much shot ?

How did it do ?

Would a half ounce .410 Skeet Load ( #9 shot ) be sufficient ?

I killed dozens of rattlers out here where I live and it'll be easier to tell you what NOT to use. The only shotshell that has not been effective for me is the CCI 22LR w/#12 shot. Totally worthless in my experience. If you will be using a 22 LR, Remingtons loaded with #11's, if they're still available, worked great out of my H&R 929. Anything caliber shotshell larger than that will shred any snake that's within a reasonable range.
I've even used CCI 9mm shotshells and that kill them stone cold dead. Likewise with my home-rolled 38 Spec. loaded with #9's, as well as Remington 45 ACP shotshells.
Really, unless it's all you have, the .410, even in 2 1/2" is WAY more than you need.


February 28, 2011, 11:58 PM
Yes, 2 1/2" and #9 is a load I have used for rattlesnakes many, many times out of a special .410, which I have dubbed "The Snake-charmer." However, I have found #6's to work better out of its short barrel and open choke.

March 1, 2011, 12:18 AM
I use #8 shot loaded in 38spl shot caps. Couldn't be happier with it.

March 1, 2011, 12:51 AM
I use .22 rat shot in a revolver all summer long when I cut the grass on copperheads, here they're small I don't know if they get big other places. I do have .38 ratshot but I haven't used it on anything. I don't get rattlers here very often but I think i'd prefer the .38 over .22. Same for cottonmouths.

Nef I (iirc) made 2 different models of short .410's called the snakecharmer, your fine with the .410 on snakes just aim for the head.

People stomp snakes all the time, they're not hard to kill. I like to be a little farther away!

As for pythons i'd bring a 12 ga and probably still wouldn't feel comfortable. I hate snakes!!!!!!!!

March 1, 2011, 07:18 AM
We did quite a bit of moccasin hunting on the river and slews before so many regulations. April and May are prime months. 38 Speer shot is good for about 10 feet. At 10 feet you can hit them with ball, and farther.

Having tried most everything we settled on 148 grain swaged full wad cutters over 2.8 grains of Bullseye. They make quite a splat and exit wound. JHP's did not open much on the light resistance of snakes.

.22 LRHP was a disappointment in handguns, but from a rifle perform admirably. So we used the rifle on long shots.

I still carry the .38 wad cutters in snake country.

March 1, 2011, 07:25 AM
If you have to shoot a snake, and I mean a big IF, then you should be close enough that any shot size will do. I saw a rattlesnake shot at close range with a single shot .410 with eight shot. The snake was decapitated.

March 1, 2011, 07:28 AM
#4 lead shot from 12 ga magnum, administered often!! (4 shots in rapid succession minimum )

March 1, 2011, 07:36 AM
From your screen name I conclude that you are from Texas. I guess even your snakes are bigger there.

Why is this thread in the "hunting" section? I really think that many folks are irrationally paranoid of these reptiles. But I can understand shooting one for SD or to protect young children. But do some folks actually go hunting for snakes?

Dogs and deer kill way more people then snakes do in this country.

March 1, 2011, 08:05 AM
But do some folks actually go hunting for snakes?Yup... did often as a kid.. it just don't interest me any more. A .410 bolt action with 2 1/2" #6's was my weapon of choice, and still would be if I still cared to do it. As for the OP's original question, you bet, #9's in that loading will work fine.

March 1, 2011, 08:11 AM
If you have a 357 then the rat shot loads work fine. If your hikeing get a walking stick with a small V on the end and just punch them behind the neck.Breaking it. Please remember that a snake with know head can still strike with nothing but muscle memmory even with no head at all. learn whats your good snakes and leave them alone. Blacks snakes will help to keep venomous snakes away.

March 1, 2011, 08:23 AM
shotshells in 38/357 will kill any viper in the western hemisphere. Just be sure you can identify Kingsnakes and leave them be.

Though I am not a fan of rattlesnake roundups I would not mind going to one to have a tasty lunch.

March 1, 2011, 08:36 AM
I haven't felt the need to kill a snake in a long time. But they were fairly easy to dispatch with the shovel I usually had in my hand when I ran across them. I've never killed a snake with a firearm and probably wouldn't now.

I sweat a lot more at summer jobs back then...

Any more, if they leave me be then I leave them be.

March 1, 2011, 08:56 AM
But do some folks actually go hunting for snakes?

Yeah, it's fun stuff. They taste good, and I save the skins. Next time I get a big one I'm gonna have the skull whitened.

The cammo is for coyotes, we hunted coyotes until dark, then for snakes;)


Harley Quinn
March 1, 2011, 10:01 AM
45 revolver with clips had the chambers reamed to accept the 308/30-06 family of casings...cut them to where using a 308 sizing die would crimp a 44 gas check in place...Loaded them with 7 1/2 or 8's, using unique as powder...

Talk about a killer round, for snakes, small rodents, out to about 10 feet:D

The barrel was cut down (bulged one to 2 1/2") 1917 Colt...


Those pictures say it all :D

Justin Holder
March 1, 2011, 08:23 PM
Last rattler I killed was with my 10mm and a couple 200gr. CCI Blazers.

March 1, 2011, 10:08 PM
I have shot a lot of rattlers with CCI .45 ACP birdshot. At three feet they turn to stone.

CSA 357
March 6, 2011, 02:46 PM
a long green tree limb works great

March 6, 2011, 04:06 PM
I had a friend that would hunt them with a 44 mag; he would find a rattlesnake, shoot next to it and then wave the hot barrel in its face and since they "see" heat, they would follow it and pretty much shoot themselves. I watched him do it and I would not ever like to be that close to a coiled rattlesnake but he never missed. he said they had sruck at him before but they just hit the muzzle of the gun. Brass balls.

March 7, 2011, 11:10 AM
My father would love those pic's, he is absolutly terrified of any snake. His personal choice to kill a snake would be a bazooka!

March 7, 2011, 09:34 PM
Well.....I use a big rock, so within any reasonable distance, any size shot will do

March 7, 2011, 11:40 PM
.38 special /w CCI ratshot (aluminum shell w/ a blue clear plastic cap containing shot, the shot size was tiny.)

also a shovel

March 8, 2011, 12:06 AM
Any birdshot seems to work fine. I don't mess with 'em any longer now that for $30 the gun dogs get vaccinated for rattlers.

March 8, 2011, 08:56 AM
.22 LR = cheap snake medicine

March 8, 2011, 09:14 AM
To the original poster.
We kill hugh rattle snakes every year while hunting in the south Texas brush country and usually far more during dove season.
This is usually done with 12,20,or 28 gauge shotguns generally loaded with 2 3/4" #8 shot.
So yes your .410 in 2 1/2 #9 at ten feet will obliterate that snake as the load at that distance(or even less) has not even gotten out of it's wad by the time it makes contact with the poisonous viper.

March 8, 2011, 09:19 AM
As a kid we killed hundreds with 22lr. A head shot with almost anything works.

March 8, 2011, 06:05 PM
Thank You all for your replies .


country boy marksman
March 15, 2011, 11:51 PM
Last few snakes I killed were with my 10/22 and non plated hollow points. Works pretty well if you know where the bullet's going without using the sights! Though ANY shotshell (from 22 ratshot to a 357 shotshell to a 10 guage with 000 buckshot :D) will kill most snakes at close range!

on a less serious note,
Step one: back away about fifty feet
Step two: drop an HE shell from an M203 onto his head! :evil:

although this might do the trick! http://www.harborfreight.com/propane-torch-with-push-button-igniter-91037.html

March 16, 2011, 01:47 AM
#6 2 3/4 20 guage

Art Eatman
March 16, 2011, 11:24 AM
See Post #31...

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