Shot in a Revolver


May 17, 2012, 07:34 PM
Weird possibility -

I was thinking today while I was at work, and came up with an idea. Since there are "shotshell" cartridges in .38, 9mm, .44, and .45, why not load some shot in the chambers of a BP revolver, for use on birds or just for something strange to do?

Shot could be held in place by an over-powder card or piece of felt, and a felt wad and grease over the opening. I know this wouldn't be very accurate due to the rifling and small amount of shot, but it could be fun.

What say you? Am I nuts, or has someone done this already?

If you enjoyed reading about "Shot in a Revolver" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 17, 2012, 07:43 PM
I suspect it`s been tried before. Of course, you have to realize the commercial sold pistol cartridge has a plactic shot cup. Not sure you can do it with a cap & ball pistol. I think a piece of birdshot that contacts the rifling is probably going to fly off in a way that`s hard to predict.
I think if you are careful, it will not be dangerous to you. But I doubt it would have an practical value at more than about 5 yards.

May 17, 2012, 07:46 PM
i would be worried abut all the shot making it into the forcing cone.

May 17, 2012, 08:30 PM
Am I nuts, or has someone done this already?

Yes, they're often called snake loads because they work as good short range snake medicine.

May 17, 2012, 08:50 PM
It can be done. I have experimented with buckshot out of my Remington with good results! The shot aren't effective past 10 feet but it's still a fun load! The load was 15 grains of powder, three milk carton wads, as many buckshot pellets you can fit in the chamber, a card wad over the shot, and some beeswax over the top to seal the shot in. It is kind of like 6 .22 caliber bullets hitting all at once.


May 17, 2012, 09:14 PM

Added note: The power is... less than I would have imagined. Certainly capable of penetrating paper, but not necessarily the wooden clothespins used to hang it.

May 17, 2012, 09:35 PM
I tried some a couple of months ago with my .44. I used 10 grains of 3F, and cut wads from pizza box thickness corrugated. Put a wad over the powder, then just filled her up with shot and another card wad. It actually gave me better patterns than I expected. It would definitely ruin a snake's day inside of 10 yards.
I think the key is light powder charges. Heavier charges will produce a donut shaped pattern.

May 18, 2012, 12:25 AM
I used to carry the first 1 or 2 chambers of my '61 Navy with about 10grs powder, a card wad, #9 shot and another card wad when in rattlesnake country. I managed to shoot a grey digger (ground squirrel) off an oak tree trunk about 6 ft away. I'd say that any shot pattern would be OK from a .44 out to 10 feet rather than 10 yeards. If you pattern them you'll not be impressed with the patterns. The closert the better.

May 19, 2012, 12:51 AM
This almost makes me want to buy a spare barrel for the Pietta Colt Navy and ream it smooth, just to use as a snake gun.

I think I need to make some .45 cal cards and use them and felt wads to load my .45 precharged pneumatic with birdshot.
I'm leaning toward #12 shot. It gives better patterns from a rifled barrel than #9 shot.

May 19, 2012, 12:54 AM
Someone wrote an article in The Backwoodsman magazine about loading shot loads in a cap and ball revolver.
The author was using pistol bullet gas checks instead of over powder cards/felt wads.
He loaded the shot on top of the gas check and then put an overshot card on top of the shot.

I think I see a great use for that 1851 Navy/pepperbox someone posted about.

Skinny 1950
May 19, 2012, 03:13 AM
Just get a of both worlds.

Ghost Dog
May 19, 2012, 05:28 PM
Or... a Howdah on one hip and a six shooter on the other!

May 20, 2012, 01:24 AM
The Howdah is sweet. I love mine. It's like having Mad Max's gun, without the paperwork and wait, and expense.

Ghost Dog
May 20, 2012, 02:27 PM
What about rolling a heavier paper (as apposed to a rolling paper, like we use for paper cartridges) and filling it with shot.
Load powder, wad, paper cylinder with shot, then over shot card?
I'ld try it but the only local place that sells shot sells it in 25 lbs. bags.


May 20, 2012, 03:18 PM
When I shoot shot in the Howdah, I don't use wads/cards.
I roll my own paper cartridges consisting of paper and shot.
I pour the powder into the barrel, load and ram the shot cartridge, repeat for the other barrel, cap, and fire.
I used the white paper that cabelas used for packing material in one of my orders.
Nitrating the paper would probably help it burn up before it hits the ground.
That way, you don't have to run around, stomping out little fires.

Soaking the paper in a boric acid/water solution would fireproof the paper.
Either way SHOULD work.

May 20, 2012, 04:11 PM
Soaking the paper in a boric acid/water solution would fireproof the paper.
Either way SHOULD work.

Alum would also do that! :)

You could also use aluminum foil, although that might create stuff to pick up. But if it's your private range it wouldn't matter as much.

May 22, 2012, 03:07 PM
This is how I do may not agree, but I dont expect everybody to agree. This is not taken at the range and there is nobody for miles.

May 22, 2012, 03:43 PM
I use a 36 too and tend to use less powder (10-15grs) to make room for more shot (#9s). I figure I need more shot than high power since a snake isn't that thick or gonna be that far away. I use oiled cardboard wads. Like you said in the video, there's a lot of ways to do it.

May 26, 2012, 01:18 PM
Well Hellgates comment got me to thinking, I hadnt really tried any other powder loads for this application, so I went out, using the same method as before, powder, wads, then fill the cylinder the rest of the way full (after compaction), then another wad then lube pill with 10, 15 and 20 grains of powder. What I found was the least amount of powder really puts more shot in a same area as the stouter loads and used way less powder, so in this, less is better. I was worried about compaction and even with just 10 grains of powder I got plenty, so I learned something. Thanks Hellgate for the heads up!

May 26, 2012, 01:36 PM
ive used those plastic shot cups normally used for 45 colt in my 58 with good
results at least as rat/snake shot.

i cant remember the grains of powder i used but it was probably 10 or less
any more and i did not have enough room to fit the shot cups fully into the chamber.

May 28, 2012, 01:52 AM
Brush Hippie,
Thanks for making the video. I couldn't see the smaller shot holes in the video but I'll take your word for it that my "less is more" load advice worked out.

May 28, 2012, 09:14 AM
Yea I noticed that when I was uploading it...:D Ill try to do better next time!

June 18, 2012, 11:14 PM
So I was thinking about putting shot in a revolver and wondered if you could cap the shot with a lead ball. So pour in your powder followed by the shot then topped of with a round ball. Kinda like the Winchester PDX1 410 shells for the Judge.

Or do you think there might be to much pressure in the cylinder?

June 18, 2012, 11:58 PM
I figured I'd post this here, I did a video a while ago on how to load shot in a revolver for anyone interested in giving it a try!

You'd be surprised at how much shot you can fit in there!


June 19, 2012, 12:52 AM
good video Levi

June 19, 2012, 01:03 AM
Thanks! Glad you liked it!

If you enjoyed reading about "Shot in a Revolver" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!