You can add a little more versatility to your .38 Special / .357 Magnum handguns by shooting #9 shotshells. This is a good option for close shots at snakes, varmints and other pests where the possibility of a shoot through could be a danger to others in the area.
CCI / Speer makes more handgun shotshell ammunition than any other manufacturer. This is a good choice for close range pest control. The cases are aluminum and not intended to be re-loadable (the cases are head stamped NR). They come in a hard pack of 10 rounds of # 9 shot (1/4 inch) with a pellet count of approximately135.
I use this load in my Smith & Wesson Model 65 Revolver. It’s a great little round for my revolver and will take out the occasional copperhead or cottonmouth and other small pests around my property. I’ve got a lot of field rats around my property in the country and they are really destructive little critters, so I try to be prepared with a few rounds to keep those nasty rats out of the shed. This ammo works great from my revolver out to distances of about 10 yards, which is about the maximum range for # 9 shotshells. Most of the time the actual distance is only about 10 to 15 feet.
This round is excellent and very useful for killing snakes which can always be a threat when out in the sticks. You need to be pretty close to achieve maximum effectiveness for this round, but it sure beats having to go at that copperhead with a shovel or a hoe, which have awfully short handles when dealing with a large snake! This makes my S&W .38 Special / .357 Magnum revolver a good tool for use around the property or while on a fishing trip in the country.
Be sure and pattern test the rounds for your particular pistol, as the rate of twist makes a huge difference. In S&W revolvers with 18"rifling, these shotshells at distances of about 10 to 12 feet will cleanly kill a snake shot in the head, but in faster twists they will only wound it and a second kill shot may be required. You might want to keep a couple of speed loaders handy with regular .38 Special or .357 Magnum rounds handy in case you run across something a little bigger.
Around my part of the woods this round is usually called “rat shot” because that is its main use. Eliminating rat problems will keep the snake population down, as you eliminate a primary food source of the snakes.
Staying above the water line!