Well, that was a weird turn

armoredman

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Back from vacation, spent WAY less, (didn't see that coming, didja? :) ), than I expected, so I decided it was time to pick up that Rossi RP 63 for a fun gun...then my loving wife stepped in. No, not like some might say, "She stomped her little foot and swore I would sleep in the doghouse if I bought one more gun", or anything like that, it was more of, "what about the snakes?"
Somewhere on the back of the property is a snake den, we have been told, and spring is here. We also have an elderly dog who is a house dog, but needs to be walked...see where this is going?
Yep - I ordered a Taurus Judge. Simple extreme short range snake blaster everyone can use, will be set up in some sort of universal holster system everyone can throw on when walking the dog. Apparently, it is VERY popular locally as the local shops can't keep them on the shelves, so much so I actually had to order it. Interestingly enough, lots of Smith Governor's, at twice the price and Hillary Hole.
Here come the questions.
Has anyone used a standard Judge on snakes?
What .410 shell is recommended most in this little round gun for snake defense?
Since I have this thing about reloading and casting for guns I use, I'll start with the 45 Colt - the Judge uses a .452 diameter lead bullet? I think I am right on that one, but I've seen some guns in the past that would have variations. Never loaded 45 Colt, but shouldn't be a problem, been loading for almost 20 years now.
Apparently a good buddy has a shotgun press he used for loading .410 back in the day that he doesn't need any more, so he's donating that to me. I have never loaded a single shotgun shell in my life - suggestions on a primer for that?
When shooting 45 Colt, does the round lose much "oomph" jumping that long empty cylinder space?
And last, isn't it nice to have a wife that encourages my bad habits to a degree? :D
 
Oh Mr. A - a Taurus??? Tsk tsk tsk....
Seriously though, that's a wise choice for that purpose. I always had a #8 birdshot round lined up as the first round in my .357 that I carried while hunting in Eastern Oregon. Several rattlers were dispatched with that. I would say any .410 load of 7 1/2 to #9 shot would be more than adequate. 209 primers have been the to go to for shotgun primers and should work well. Just be careful of older hulls. I think it was Remington that made them for a while with shorter pockets, for a smaller primer on the .410s.
 
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Has anyone used a standard Judge on snakes?
Yes -- a friend and roommate while I was working in Eastern Washington loved his Judge. He had several Taurus handguns, and didn't take it personal when I joked about that (he was a frugal guy).

We actually went out plinking in the desert (yes, there is desert in Washington) and I witnessed him shooting a rattlesnake. No, it was not a big rattler, and no, he didn't really need to shoot it (it was not a threat). But is the Judge effective against snakes? Based on a sample size of exactly one, I offer a resounding "YES!" There was literally no head left. I believe my buddy was using either #6 or #7 1/2 shot, can't remember (this was back around 2012).
 
I have one. It works fine. It shoots 45colt like a big heavy snubby. I haven't shot a snake with birdshot, but it's very effective on old squash and stuff.
 
Thing about reloading shotshells is to match the components to the load you're going for. If using plastic wads be sure to check the length against the hull with the volume of powder used, if too tall the crimp gets messed up, same with being too short. Either way it can get embarrassing when the gun is pointed downhill. Others should weigh in on this that are more experienced.
 
I purchased a beat up M1911 45 twenty some years ago. My friend had replaced the barrel and made it a shooter.
It came with the original barrel, a smooth bore snake gun barrel.
I have often wondered if those shot rounds I see at the LGS would me reliable in a M1911.
I misplaced that smooth barrel in a move and hope it shows up some day.
 
Had a Judge, had to sell it when things were tight. One day I'll get another one. Never had to kill a snake with it but did shoot a porcupine that was going for our dog at a camp site. One shot at about 10 feet. No more porcupine problem. Think it was 7.5 shot. Never used 45 lc in it, but many shot shells. Never an issue with it.
 
I purchased a beat up M1911 45 twenty some years ago. My friend had replaced the barrel and made it a shooter.
It came with the original barrel, a smooth bore snake gun barrel.
I have often wondered if those shot rounds I see at the LGS would me reliable in a M1911.
I misplaced that smooth barrel in a move and hope it shows up some day.
The ATF will frown on a smooth bore 1911 sans tax stamp. Take care.
 
I have often wondered if those shot rounds I see at the LGS would me reliable in a M1911.
They work in my 1911. "Reliable" though? I wouldn't know for sure because I've only ran about a dozen of them through my 1911. AFAIC, they're too darned expensive for me to run enough of them (like about a hundred) for me to claim they're "reliable" in my 1911. :)
 
I have .38 shot shells, but my .38 is mine and used for much more than snake duty - that will practically be this revolver's only chore. When talking to the gun counter guy, (letting him know a delivery was coming in", he suggested using the 00 Buck rounds as the last two. That would be one BIG snake...or possibly a human or other foe.
I very much appreciate the replies, thank you very much!
 
Armoredman - because of the rifling in the Judge, I would be inclined to use shot of at least 7 1/2 or larger. And limit your distances to 25' or less. At 25', you won't get many hits with #6 shot but they will still be effective. With 7 1/2 shot, I wouldn't risk it past 20'as penetration might not be sufficient but you will get better coverage than with #6.
 
Planned engagement range will be about 5 feet. Any snake identified at 25 feet or farther is most likely not going to be a threat, but I would agree against other targets that might try to engage.
 
Can’t speak to a judge, but I had a ducktown disaster double barrel derringer .410 for a long time. It was a copperhead blaster like no other. I liked #8s in it when walking but #6 when on the mower or ATV. The #6 shot carried a whole lot better. The spread was impressive at 4 ft which was just about 2 steps from a really bad day. At 10ft the #8s were almost too light. The #6s had a more open pattern but what hit the target was quite effective.

That gun was given to me by a guy who worked at the factory where they were built and he aquired a dozen or so of them when they had some buyout or bankruptcy. I was duck hunting with his sons and those little derringers were literally life savers in the duck marshes. Cottonmouths liked to live on beavers dams and we would hop out of the boat to pull it over a dozen dams during early wood duck season. Literally every dam had cottonmouths on it. The turtles ate well…
 
Since I load both .410 and .45colt, I am likely going to get a judge just as a fun gun.
I've been loading shotgun shells for 50 years. I think I would choose 7½ shot as a compromise between pattern density and penetration.
I really like #4 shot as a small critter killer.....but they do get pretty scarce in a pattern.

A 255gr swc over 8gr unique is a pretty good place to start a .45colt.
 
Biggest problem with the Judge is the horribly oversize chamber throats. I measured every one that came through the shop and they were all in the .460" range. All leaded with 45 Colt cowboy loads. Even plated bullets leaded.
I talked with the service dept several times but got no agreement. I hope they have changed in recent years. I sold mine in 2018 and went back to my 44 624 with Speer shot capsules.
If you have to Judge, I'd say use shot. 3" 7 1/2 was best in mine. As always, YMMV.
 
Mike Venturino wrote that he uses #12 shot in dedicated snake loads for .44 and .45 revolvers. A zillion itty bitty holes apparently kills well.

I did not find the CCI .45 ACP shot shell to function well in an automatic. Which seems strange, except for being aluminum, it looks like the military shot shell. A friend set up to handload that type with good results; except for the cost of the special purpose dies for reforming .308 brass.

Remington used to make a .45 ACP shot shell. It is an odd little thing with a charge of small shot under a rose crimp, a larger version of the old .22 Rat Shot. It is stubby looking but does work in my Commander. I only have a couple left for use in case a Queen Snake shows up on my city lot.
 
In my admittedly biased opinion, .410 handguns are abominations. Carry a nice .410 pump-kill snakes and have fun bird and rabbit hunting in the fall.
 
In my admittedly biased opinion, .410 handguns are abominations. Carry a nice .410 pump-kill snakes and have fun bird and rabbit hunting in the fall.
Unfortunately, the idea is one hand is controlling a dog, so a two handed firearm is not likely a good idea.
 
Unfortunately, the idea is one hand is controlling a dog, so a two handed firearm is not likely a good idea.

I'm glad you're concerned about the dog's control and safety.

A lead can be looped around your arm, allowing you to use a two handed gun. My .410 pumps are very light and can be shot one- handed in a pinch, and will provide a more focused shot pattern than a Judge.

Please shoot a Judge before making your decision.
 
I will - it arrives on Tuesday. Also, controlling the dog in a snake encounter might be more difficult for my wife and son, being both smaller and slighter than I, and the dog, while older, is still not a small breed. However, we will be experimenting.
 
My dog fights (and usually eats) anything that comes into the backyard.

The other morning I saw a bobcat in the ally. There is also the occasional copperhead when I'm mowing.

I have a Judge, and various shotguns, but for snakes a hoe is better because I don't want to shoot my dog by mistake (or shoot a firearm in town if it's not an emergency).

I'm finishing my spear today. It will work just fine on snakes, but can also be used if he has a larger nastier creature cornered or pinned or otherwise needing to be euthanized. The blade is shaped well for slashing or poking.
 
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I have never felt a need for a gun to kill a snake although I shot a few with a 22 in my teen years. A hoe, shovel, or rock gets the job done if you just have to kill one. I no longer kill snakes. There is always a feral cat or two hanging around so I very seldom see a snake. Last rattlesnake was a tiny one years ago and I relocated him into a mesquite bush across the county road. He was scared and didn't try to crawl out of the shovel I used to carry him. A hoe makes a fairly decent snake hook. Snakes make a cat looks silly when it comes to mouse and rat control. They can go into places and get them where a cat has to sit, look, and wait.
 
There is always a feral cat or two hanging around so I very seldom see a snake.
Do cats kill snakes? I didn't know that, but it might explain why we see very few snakes around here.
There's almost always a feral cat or two (my wife even feeds them sometimes) hanging out on our property, but we seldom see snakes. And in the 43 years we've lived here, we've never seen a single rattlesnake on our place - although we've seen a few out on the desert not 2 miles from here.
 
There used to be the occasional copperhead in my backyard, and lots of feral cats. After I put up a good fence, the presence of my large dog has discouraged these visitors. I will occasionally see a very small snake when mowing the yard. If it gets too close for comfort, the mower itself is a very effective weapon.

In my previous house, the neighbors had a big brush pile that had a nest of copperheads. They would get in our yard a lot. After talking with my ex and kids, we left a single-shot 410 by the back door. My ex and I felt it was a better choice than the Judge, because due to the long barrel, it would be much harder for her or one of the kids to get overly excited (they were maybe in MS and HS?) and accidentally point the muzzle in an unsafe direction. (By "unsafe direction", I mean towards some part of their own body.)
 
If it gets too close for comfort, the mower itself is a very effective weapon.
:rofl::rofl::rofl:
LOL! An "effective weapon" against a small snake yes. However, when my wife ran over a small snake with our mower last year, it wasn't even an "effective" mower for her anymore. Because she turned loose of the mower, came in the house, and wouldn't go back outside. o_O
I don't know about that woman. She's usually not that squeamish.
I guess I ought to be glad that we see very few snakes around here. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to get my wife to mow the lawn. ;)
 
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