Saturday, April 28, 2012


CCI Shotshells have been in my guns when I go afield for I don't know how many decades. Several decades. They come in many calibers, and common sense will tell you that a .45 Auto shotshell will do a better job on a snake with a tough constitution than will the .22 LR version. I've killed more than one big cottonmouth, copperhead and rattlesnake with the .22 LR versions over the years, so it's not ineffective. It's just that the bigger calibers have larger pellets, more of them and with more omph! 

I once even, literall shooting from the hip no less with a Walther PPK/S .22 LR pistol shooting the .22 LR version of the shotshell, knocked down a quail at about 7 feet. It was one of those once in a lifetime lucky shots that could never be repeated with 40 years of practice. We were walking on 120 acres that we owned in far northwestern Harris County that was full of quail. My father and I spent many a early morning stalking those grounds quail hunting over my youth.

I had just shot a snake that was running around in relatively cold weather. It was a copperhead and was of a pretty good size. Something must have awoken it from it's normal hibernation because it was not happy. I had CCI snakeshot loaded in the PPK/S, which by the way always handled the plastic tipped loads with ease, and took the snake out with about 4 shots. As I was circling the snake to get around it, with pistol still in hand, several quail rose from the cover I was walking through. I knocked the safety off the tilted the gun towards the moving bird and BLAMMO, the bird was down.

We collected the bird and stared at each other in amazement. My dad said something like that I was either a really, really great shot or that I got extremely lucky. I told him it was the latter, but of course secretly hoped it was the former.

CCI shotshells come in all kinds of calibers for semi-automatics and revolvers. I think they are invaluable when fishing or otherwise trapsing in the woods for handling snakes. With the larger caliber shotshells, you're almost getting .410 shotgun type power, albeit with many less pellets.

I've used shotshells in .22 LR, the .22 Magnum, the .38 Special, the 9mm, the .45 ACP, the .44 Special and the .45 Colt calibers.

In most guns, I load up three or four shotshells backed by some solid nose bullets for the rest of the cylinder or magazine. There was one time in deep East Texas in a swamp that three shotshell rounds from a .45 ACP Glock wouldn't stop an angry cottonmouth, and they were direct hits at and near the head. But it was a big snake, and that fourth round of military ball ammo to the head of the snake stopped the problem.

But mostly I have found the .38 Special shotshell to be able to take care of most snake problems, and if the shotshell won't take care of the snake then a decently placed shot from a .38 wadcutter will do the trick.

I wish that CCI or another ammo maker would make some shotshells in .380 or maybe even .32 ACP. Sometimes when it's REALLY hot here in Texas and you are fishing, the light weight gear gets the nod. The fishing vest gets exchanged for a lightweight lanyard. And what ever handgun I've got with me generally goes to one of the lighter weight ones.

It'd be nice to use my Kel-Tec P3AT .380 with some snake shot. I know El Fisho Jr. would like some .32 ACP snakeshot for his Ortgies. And Billy Ray would like some .32 ACP snakeshot for his 1903 Colt that belonged to his great-granddaddy and was passed down from father to son to him.

If someone makes snakeshot in either .380 or .32 ACP and I just haven't been able to find them, let me know about who they are. I suppose it would be possible to reload some shells or perhaps cut down some spent 9mm shotshells and reload those at a lower power for the .380 (also know as the 9mm Kurtz). But I don't reload, so that's the problem with that picture.

In any event, maybe I'll forward this post to CCI and see if they'd consider making some .380 shotshells. I've posted about wanting to use the P3AT as a fishing gun before, and I've had responses to that post from others so inclined.

A friend of mine was in our local gun store a few months ago. The unseasonably warm winter we've had here this past year in Texas fooled a lot of plants and animals. Trees were blooming in parts of the state as early as January, and that's just not right. Likewise, snakes seemed to stay out this year instead of hibernate. At my friend's family's longtime deer lease in the Texas Hill Country near Johnson City, the copperheads and rattlers were out in force.

My friend had come into the local gun store looking at buying a Taurus Public Defender for snake work when he was deer hunting. I asked him if he had tried the CCI shotshells in his .45 Glock, and he'd actually never seen shotshells. He'd heard of "rat shot" and thought that it just came in .22 LR, but he never really knew about shotshells in different calibers. And this is a 50-something year old man who has been hunting and fishing since he was a wee lad. He should have known about shotshells, and I was surprised that he had not ever heard of them.

Meanwhile, his face lit up when he realized he wouldn't have to spend $400 and something dollars on a Public Defender and instead could buy a box of .45 ACP shotshells and be done with it. Much to the LGS's owner's chagrin, I am sure. 

My friend was concerned about what damage the shotshells might do to his Glock. Both the gun shop owner and I heartily laughed. We both told him, nothing is gonna hurt that Glock and you can shoot those shotshells in any .45 ACP gun that can shoot modern ammo.

So another great thing about the shotshell is that you can get big bore shotshell performance for $12 or $15 bucks or whatever the price and not have to buy a new gun. We've all got our favorite field, fishing, hunting and hiking guns, and the great part is, unless you're shooting .32 or .380 guns, they've got a shotshell for you. So no matter whether you like to pack a revolver or semi-auto, there's likely a shotshell for you.

With a .45 or .44 shotshell, you're getting almost but not quite .410 shotgun shell performance at a close range shoot. Many folks look down on the .410 but for snakes and close range targets, I've done real well with it. I've seen deer taken with .410 slugs on several occasions, although I've never done it myself.

But I have done my fair share of snake shooting with both .410 shotguns, a Thompson-Contender and a variety of big bore handguns shooting shotshells, and although a shotgun can do a number on a snake, splitting even a large snake apart, it's not always handy or possible to carry a shotgun when fishing.

But having a handgun in .44 or .45 partially loaded with shotshells and part with semi-wadcutter or ball ammo, is the best insurance short of a shotgun a Texas fisherman can have against poisonous snakes.


  1. Great info! We carry snakeshot with us all the time out here in the boonies too. Never can be too safe, and there's no way I am getting close enough to hit it in the head with a shovel and risk just makin' it madder!

  2. It's just great stuff to have in every kit bag and tackle box! Thanks, Angelia!