best rifle for pythons


December 8, 2012, 07:22 AM
What's the best rifle for hunting a 12-foot long boa constrictor?

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December 8, 2012, 07:53 AM
I thought I was dreaming when I saw this.

If you have a .22, try using the Colibri rounds, fired to the base of the animals skull.

December 8, 2012, 08:11 AM
I'd be tempted to use either a shotgun, semi-auto .22LR rifle, or an AR 15, depending on whether you're doing it for sport or for pest control.

December 8, 2012, 08:12 AM
I'd go with a shotgun. Actually I wouldn't go looking for a snake that could eat me, but that's just me :D

December 8, 2012, 08:19 AM
Anything in 12, 16, 20 or. 410 gauge.

December 8, 2012, 08:20 AM
Semi .22 if you must use a rifle, shotgun otherwise. Of course, I am only guessing because I have never hunted pythons. :p

December 8, 2012, 08:47 AM
I work as a fishing guide in the Everglades (out of either Flamingo or Everglades City) when I'm doing daytime charters. In the last 16+ years of towing a small skiff down into the Park I've only seen three of the Burmese pythons (and I'm down at Flamingo almost 100 days a year...). Make no mistake, they're a bad and growing problem. In the last seven years I haven't seen one swamp rabbit along the only road in the Park. In recent years the number of racoons, an possums in that area has diminished dramatically as well. Road kill used to be a terrible problem - it's now confined to birds and reptiles almost exclusively... those darned snakes appear to be getting the rest of them.

As you can guess it's a hot topic down here in paradise.... If the Park established a bounty program for them (and made it worth doing....) I could generate quite a bit of extra cash hunting them - but so far, no joy. My gear of choice would be a small shotgun in 20ga along with a good sized machete and a large burlap bag. If you hunted them on cold days only they'd be pretty easy to find and dispatch with only that machete...

The biggest one I've personally see was at least 20 feet long (that animal stretched all the way across my lane -with six or seven feet still laying in the grass....).

December 8, 2012, 08:59 AM
Why a Snake Charmer shotgun of course silly!

December 8, 2012, 09:15 AM
I agree with BSA1, this one with BB`s...............

December 8, 2012, 09:57 AM
A .22 LR would be perfectly suitable. It is powerful enough to penetrate a horse's skull if you have to euthanize the horse in the field. A believe those gator hunter guys on the Discovery channel use .22 rifles, too.

December 8, 2012, 10:21 AM
Shotgun and No. 5 or 4 shot, Mod or tighter choke. Snake Tamer is a good idea, light, short, cheap. But, I think I would want a repeater....

December 8, 2012, 10:39 AM
anything you can hit it in the head with

T Bran
December 8, 2012, 10:52 AM
Shotgun material. They dont seem to fear vehicles much but as soon as I get out they haul butt. If they are cold it will be different but when warmed up they can really move.
Having to figure on a moving target makes me lean toward a scattergun of just about any gague available.

December 8, 2012, 11:00 AM

December 8, 2012, 11:03 AM
Being a city boy, i have no experience personally. However, I had someone tell me just recently to feel free to take a shot at the body and when the head turns around and comes back to see what has happened, take a head shot.

Can any of those familiar with snake hunting comment on this approach please? :confused:

December 8, 2012, 11:11 AM
What kind of python are we talking about here? Burmese? Lower Chi River python? I have to say, going after a python with a firearm is, well, less than sporting. When I'm out on my annual python/cobra hunts, I use a combination Kabar-blow gun approach.

December 8, 2012, 11:13 AM
Nuke it from orbit; it's the only way to be sure!:rolleyes:

December 8, 2012, 12:16 PM
You're not from Florida are you?cuz they have a bounty for pythons

December 8, 2012, 12:26 PM
10/22 + extra mags = Python Burgers

Sav .250
December 8, 2012, 01:17 PM
You have to admit,sometime the questions are really funny. :)

Colt Smith
December 8, 2012, 01:21 PM
"What's the best rifle for hunting a 12-foot long boa constrictor?"

Use a mongoose. Seriously though I would think a machete is plenty. If you don't want to get that close a shotgun will do the job. Do it clean and neat if you can. Lop off the head and give the rest to someone who will use the skins and eat the meat.

December 8, 2012, 01:43 PM
20ga with #6

December 8, 2012, 02:11 PM
i would like to echo shotgun or 22. depending on situation. 410 sounds like a nice idea

December 8, 2012, 02:14 PM
Like the guy from Homestead said... they can move pretty fast...

They also have one other trait that makes actively hunting them in warm weather not much fun at all... Biologists that study them (the Park is probably going to study them until we're all up to our butts in pythons... but that's just my personal opinion...) tell me that the darned critters will coil up loosely on wet/dry plains right out in the open. The problem is that even a big one blends in so completely with its surroundings that you almost have to step on one to find them -when they're not moving...

For the fellow that says there's a bounty on them... Please name the agency and how much they're paying per snake (and do they want them alive or dead -dead would be my preference). While you're at it, if there is a bounty... I'll be astonished if Everglades National Park participates or would even allow that sort of activity (and there's lots of gladesrunners that are very capable of bringing in bags full of the things when it's cold).

Unlike all the popular speculation about snakes eating your pets... the real problem is how badly the things affect any local predator population. They're taking the food bobcats, foxes, hawks, and eagles need to prosper. Not enough food and their babies don't survive... I think things in the Flamingo area are in really bad shape (that's where many python are sighted most days...).

December 8, 2012, 02:21 PM
Maybe an M203 mounted on a M16A2, just to be sure :D

December 8, 2012, 02:22 PM
Ok first things first. Boa's don't get 12 feet long. You're talking about a burmese or reticulated python. Boa's and pythons are completely different animals.Also, don't worry about being eaten. It would take a 30 foot snake to do that and you probably don't taste that good anyway. Next item on the list. 20 gauge. If you go after the one's that are turned loose in florida every year, you would be doing a great public service. So good on ya for that. However, learn your snake species before shooting them.

Ky Larry
December 8, 2012, 02:55 PM
12ga with a Colt Anaconda for backup.

Texan Scott
December 8, 2012, 02:59 PM
I have some experience with snakes. My first experience with a South American boa constrictor was when I was 7. It was deeply unpleasant, and probably the source of my abiding fear and hatred of snakes in general. TAIHTSAT.

Large snakes are incredibly fast and extremely strong. They are agile, more clever than you give them credit for, and very good at hiding, even big ones. Their incredible muscular density and tough hides mean they are heavier and tougher than anything 6" thick has any right to be. Large snakes are not birds. Leave the birdshot and 22s at home.

I recommend a 12 or 20 with #4 or #3 buck, a good light, and caution.

December 8, 2012, 03:08 PM
Have you found huntable numbers of 12ft boa constricters somewhere I don't know about? I'd say a 3" punt gun would be my choice. Don't forget the eye patch and bandana on the head. Yar...

1911 guy
December 8, 2012, 03:12 PM
I'm no snake biologist. But from what I do remember of biology classes, most reptilies have fairly primitive nervous systems and primitive means durable when it comes to shutting things down. And since we're talking about somthing that is A) potentially dangerous to me and B) the surrounding area is better off when said critter is dead, I'm inclined to go with something larger than a .22 LR. Whether it is a small centerfire like the .22 Hornet, .410 shotgun with larger shot sizes, halfway decent caliber handgun, whatever. I just think I'd want more than a .22 rimfire had to offer.

December 8, 2012, 03:24 PM
I have to chime in here: First, a boa constrictor is not a python. Two totally different families of snake. Second, I have a red tail boa (Boa Constrictor) for a pet so if it truly is boas I vote No hunting. Even with that said if a wild snake (or to clarify a snake in the wild that was not mine) were putting me or my family in danger I would not hesitate to dispatch it. I'd have to vote 12 or 20ga with medium to small shot size.

December 8, 2012, 03:49 PM
I just posted a siaga 20. I'm sur you could get it with 13 rounds of slugs in you pocket (buy it, but it!!!). Lol

December 8, 2012, 04:07 PM
I would want something bigger than a 22lr. Maybe a 22 mag or a centerfire like a 223 or a 204 ruger

Lone Star
December 8, 2012, 04:10 PM
Just out of curiosity, are you talking about a boa constictor or a python? The latter get quite a bit bigger.

December 8, 2012, 04:20 PM
Lemaymiami,the FWC is offering a month long, limited python hunt in 3 Everglades WMA's and SWFWMD land.$1000 for the longest and $1500 for the most pythons.They are to be checked in "humanely dispatched",and preferred in no more than two pieces.The permits are good for pythons and tagus,although I believe the prizes are only for pythons.It's about time the state did something about this problem.As a former Floridian I am well aware of the situation with invasive species in the state.You can pick up a permit and be a part of the solution.Good hunting!

Jim Watson
December 8, 2012, 04:23 PM
I would take a full choke shotgun and medium-large shot.
I think a turkey gun and loads would work well.

Dr T
December 8, 2012, 06:10 PM
After dispatching quite a few 6+ ft long rattlesnakes in West Texas, I have decided that a .410 is definitely marginal--often needing several shots. (and 22 lr or 22 mag with snake shot are almost useless--I prefer solids).

I would vote for a 12 ga or 20 ga with at least a 1 oz shot load of #4 shot or larger.

December 8, 2012, 06:12 PM
Osprey, that's good news.... but I'm not likely to invest one minute of my time in search of any prize... A straight up bounty for each one killed year 'round would be welcome. I'm not a herpetologist ( or anyone with formal training/education about reptiles). I would only take up hunting again (Vietnam pretty much cured me of doing any hunting for fun....) for a specific dollar amount for each one brought in. No, you won't find me hunting them when they're active. I'd confine my efforts to nice warm sunny afternoons during the coldest weather possible. Like all reptiles they'll be found sunning themselves along canal banks.

I'm sure the FWC is well intentioned but they have absolutely no control over ENP where I do most of my guiding. The Park until very recently wouldn't even allow a permitted individual to bring a firearm into their jursidiction (and you don't want to hear what FWC officers have to say about Park Rangers).

By the way for folks who aren't familiar with what we face here in south Florida... lots and lots of exotic pet owners down here have been releasing their reptiles when they get too big to handle comfortably - and it's been going on for years and years. In the urban areas you can find great numbers of iguanas along every canal bank. Fortunately those critters are vegetarians and don't have much impact on native animals at all. The Burmese python, on the other hand, is a real and growing problem. I've seen one video that shows just how cold resistant the darned animals are. There's a real possibility that they'll be able to move out of this state and at least as far as the Carolinas eventually (the video showed a winter study up there where a half dozen of them spent a full winter outdoors in Carolina where the snakes survived just fine, thank you....). They've been found now down in the Keys (as their numbers increase and they eat through the available food supply they move to where the food is....). Nothing in our environment is equipped to control their numbers. 'Gators will eat anything but these snakes are more land animals than water borne. I'm just glad no idiot has thought it a good idea to release a breeding pair of tigers into the 'Glades... With such a vast area and our limited ability to access more than just a small portion of it... exotic animals that come from places like the 'Glades are right at home there... most think of the 'Glades as miles upon miles of freshwater, sawgrass, and 'gators.... fully one third of it is brackish creeks, rivers, bays, and great areas of mangrove jungle and that's where you'll find me most days.

December 8, 2012, 06:23 PM
Here is a link to a story about that contest:

Dr T
December 8, 2012, 06:54 PM
I wonder if the Florida cougar population will develop a taste for snake meat?

Art Eatman
December 8, 2012, 07:11 PM
Heh. This snake grew legs! Off to the Hunting forum.

December 8, 2012, 07:14 PM
I use a .410 for killing cottonmouth snakes.
Since those big constrictors are normally found in dense patches of underbrush and shots are close, I think the .410 would work just as well for them.

Problem with snakes and heavy calibers is that the blaster rifles tend to throw the snakes around when the load hits them, smaller guages and calibers will anchor the beasts without tossing them around.
ALWAYS try for a head shot! Body shot snakes don't always die right away and can move off quicker than you think.

A wounded and angry snake isn't something you want to go following after.

I would think a .22 Magnum, .22 Hornet, .25/20 or downloaded .223 would do just fine on pythons if you want to use a rifle. HTH

December 8, 2012, 07:17 PM

December 8, 2012, 08:37 PM
Here's the link to the website:

Could be fun.

December 8, 2012, 11:41 PM
What's the best rifle for hunting a 12-foot long boa constrictor?
Note he says a 12 foot long Boa, as if he has a specific one in mind. Perhaps it is his white whale.

December 8, 2012, 11:50 PM
I do believe I'll just take a 20 ga cylinder bore Remington 870 Marine Magnum.
So the bluing doesn't get rusty when the snake splatters get on it.

But they don't make one.

Only a 12 ga., but i guess that would work pretty good too!

If I came across a snake that big, I wouldn't plan to just mess around with killing it.

It's gonna be snake-burger in at least a few places before I stop shooting it.


Steel Talon
December 9, 2012, 12:01 AM
The 458 lot.....


December 9, 2012, 12:46 AM

December 9, 2012, 02:26 AM
It's gonna be snake-burger in at least a few places before I stop shooting it.

my thoughts exactly

Pete D.
December 9, 2012, 06:26 AM
I am thinking that neither a rifle nor a pistol is the best choice unless you can walk right up to the animal and be sure of a CN shot. Reptile brains are small....and one needs to know exactly where they are.
A shotgun is a better idea. From about six yards or so, the pattern should be wide enough to saturate the animal's head.
If you are going to get close on a cool day, the machete is a quick solution.
Yes, you can shoot the animal in the body or a non central nervous system shot and it will eventually die but if you want it to die now, you have to be precise.

December 9, 2012, 07:13 AM
Semi-auto .22 Magnum with a red dot. Head shots should be no problem.

December 9, 2012, 07:16 AM
Very grateful that this thread wasn't locked.... The only additionl to add is that the pythons were in place and breeding before anyone noticed. I'm very worried that like a few islands in the Pacific where snakes were introduced... the pythons have the ability over time to dramatically change the nature of the Park's biology... (the islands I'm talking about lost their entire bird populations after snakes were accidentally introduced). The only road into the Park is exactly 38 miles long (compared to the roughly 90 by 90 miles the Park covers) so we have a very, very limited access to it unless you're in a boat. So far I haven't seen or heard that they're spreading rapidly towards the west - all the new sightings have been back towards the east and down into the upper Keys. Eastern Diamondback rattlers, cottonmouths.... yes, we have plenty but they don't concern me at all. The pythons with their appetites and ability to breed in great numbers... they worry me a lot.

Pete D.
December 9, 2012, 10:40 AM
Semi-auto .22 Magnum with a red dot. Head shots should be no problem.

Head shots are not the issue. Brain shots are the issue.
But....if you are a good shot....

December 9, 2012, 10:59 AM
I'd think this would be about the only thing one of those funky .410 revolvers would be pretty good for. Probably BB's or so and make sure the range is optimized for proper spread/pattern to the headbone.

December 9, 2012, 04:13 PM
I agree with J.S., a semiauto in .22wmr. w/a red-dot site &light. I would also go with a 12ga. A handgun like the judge or governor would make a good backup for whatever rifle you use! The state SHOULD PUT A BOUNTY ON THEM! They will destroy the park & the cattle industry around it. And it could spread to south GA. In '89' they caught a gator on the GA./ Tennessee border in lake Nickajack.

December 10, 2012, 08:01 AM
certaindeaf has a good point this might be where the judge type revolvers could really shine they are sorta the ultimate snake handgun. for the up close encounters they would be quick and destructive. hickok45 did a good review on one on youtube.

December 10, 2012, 08:04 AM
I have heard many times rattlers and other snake actually sense the bullet coming and attack it helping to put your bullet where it needs to be. I wonder if python and the bigger breeds possess the same speed, and innate reaction?

December 10, 2012, 08:44 AM
Maybe an M203 mounted on a M16A2, just to be sure

This would be my first choice:D .... However in my reality not owning an M203 my next choice would be a .12 Ga. Shotgun.

December 10, 2012, 09:29 AM
.50 BMG, or some sort of flamethrower. We can't take any chances here.

Snakes :barf:

December 10, 2012, 09:49 AM
I hate snakes kill them all lol.

Art Eatman
December 10, 2012, 10:27 AM
lobo9er, you'll hear lots of nonsense in your lifetime. Carry a salt shaker or wear hip boots--particularly around a gun shop or at hunt camp. :D

December 10, 2012, 01:52 PM
lobo9er, you'll hear lots of nonsense in your lifetime. Carry a salt shaker or wear hip boots--particularly around a gun shop or at hunt camp.

ha yeah I know not saying its fact but I think theres something to that one. I'm gonna do little click'ty clack'n on the key board see if I can find anything credible, or worth bringing to the conversation.

December 10, 2012, 04:39 PM
Everyone knows only Superman is faster than a speeding bullet.
If you think a snake or any other animal can sense an on coming bullet and move out of its way you need a new Kryptonite shield.

December 10, 2012, 08:11 PM
ok its ridiculous

Art Eatman
December 10, 2012, 08:57 PM
Aw, guys get the shakes, jerk the trigger, and guess what? :)

Gotta blame the speedy snake, right? Couldn't have been a bad shot. :D

December 10, 2012, 09:12 PM
Everyone knows only Superman is faster than a speeding bullet.
If you think a snake or any other animal can sense an on coming bullet and move out of its way you need a new Kryptonite shield.


Faster than a speeding bullet...but not faster than a thrown handgun.


December 10, 2012, 09:23 PM
The problem with these snakes is that they are too long !If you shorten them by about a foot from the big end , they become docile ! Kevin :rolleyes:

December 10, 2012, 11:36 PM
12 Guage with 7 1/2 shot....

Done and done-er.

I say 12 guage because it's all I have in shotguns, first shotgun was a 12 guage and I just grew up learning how to handle recoil, now I can shoot it comfortably all day..

December 11, 2012, 03:19 PM
Anything in 12, 16, 20 or. 410 gauge.

You left out the 28 gauge!

December 11, 2012, 05:32 PM
Has anyone here eaten a python? They look tasty to me. We are not allowed to kill them by law if found on your property, but I think I would fire up my smoker anyway.

December 11, 2012, 07:07 PM
I can't BELIEVE nobody has nailed this one yet.

The very best weapon for this application is obviously a Colt PYTHON!!;)

Wes B
December 11, 2012, 09:06 PM
I think Hiram Gummer used a punt gun. That was a bigger snake though.

December 11, 2012, 09:13 PM
A mini-gun...... I am petrified by snakes. Seriously thou, any semi .22 should do without tearing up the skin too much...

December 12, 2012, 02:55 AM
Whatever keeps me far far away from a snake! Ick!

December 12, 2012, 10:05 AM
roden... actually the python is fair game wherever you fnd them (even Park Rangers down here in the Everglades will come running, shotgun in hand, if you have a live specimen...).

I've enjoyed all the back and forth on this topic (and still wonder why it was started at all...). For those from other parts of the country it's helpful to remember that ground zero for this particular problem is in a national park where no hunting is allowed period. Here's a link to a marine chart of that neighborhood to give you some idea of why eradicating them is going to be almost impossible. Flamingo, itself, is roughly 70 miles from Miami... the Park is where I am most days when guiding....

Remember, as well that there's only one 38 mile road into the area (the chart shown is fully interactive - you can zoom into any area for closeups, etc). There are actually both crocs and 'gators at the boat ramp each day, here's a pic of one of the crocs sunning himself.. they get quite a bit bigger than this nine footer.

December 12, 2012, 12:29 PM
I hunted water moccasins - 12 guage to the head. You hit a 20 foot rock python with 22, he will chase your butt

December 12, 2012, 12:48 PM
Bichon Frisée rigged with claymores.

...or rusty 12gauge single-barrel

December 12, 2012, 01:19 PM
I'm with the others. I'm thinking street sweeper style shotgun.

December 12, 2012, 02:22 PM
The very best weapon for this application is obviously a Colt PYTHON!!

My favorite, but for this particular question I would use that only with exploding .357 Mag. bullets! Along with an 8" barrel with a scope, I am not getting anywhere near a real Python! :D

December 12, 2012, 04:11 PM
870 in 12 Gauge loaded with 2.75 inch #4 Buckshot with a full or extra full choke. With headshots it will put the smackdown on the big serpents.

Just my .02,

December 14, 2012, 12:32 PM
Lemay,great picture of the croc.Thats gotta make launching the kayak real interesting.

December 14, 2012, 11:33 PM
Gamo pellet gun to the Head, Or a .50 BMG.. both will kill it:D

Art Eatman
December 14, 2012, 11:39 PM
Looks to me that the most practical firearm would be a semi-auto shotgun with an extended mag. 12-gauge, with at least #4 Buck.

Extended mag mostly to help deal with an unwanted degree of adrenalin rush if El Gigantico shows up. :D

Cocked & Locked
December 15, 2012, 12:22 AM
12 gauge shotgun for me. But I would carry my back up snake just in case. :scrutiny:

December 15, 2012, 12:26 AM
12 guage, snakes are not thick bodied animals so super deep penetration is not needed, neither is alot of range, you are not likely to see a snake outside of shotgun range. A shotgun will maximize trauma by virtue of alot of wound tracts. That said a high speed 223-243 cal with rapid expansion bullets is likely to blow them in half.

December 15, 2012, 04:11 PM
We have loads of snakes here in South GA. I have killed a lot of the poisonous ones when possible. Snakes are easy to kill with about any gun. The trouble is when when you try to shoot one they are most often moving. A 20 gauge shotgun or larger work great. As far as shot size it depends on the range. Turkey loads should work about as good as anything. You would loose to many shot opportunities with a rifle or handgun.

Art Eatman
December 15, 2012, 08:58 PM
I've read many a post where somebody says that they don't like to take a shot at a deer's neck. Movement, small target, etc. Looks to me like a snake is likely to be much like a deer's neck.

So, closer range, shotgun. And the snakes under consideration in this Everglades deal can be well over ten feet long. I want high odds on a hit at fifteen or twenty yards, and lotsa damage from a hit.

December 16, 2012, 09:28 AM
The consensus is "The best rifle is a SHOTGUN....."

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