The Best Guns for Killing Snakes: A Comprehensive Guide

What are the best guns for killing snakes? The best guns for killing snakes are guns that will be effective, easy to use even for a beginner who might come across a snake, and will not cause excessive suffering or harm to the snake. These can be multipurpose handguns such as the Taurus Judge, several different calibers of shotguns, and even small revolvers such as snake slayers or .38 specials. These are just a few that are effective, accurate, and easy to use for killing snakes.

  1. Taurus Judge .410/.45
  2. .410 Shotgun
  3. 12 gauge shotgun
  4. Smith & Wesson .442

If you’ve ever encountered a venomous snake, you know that it can be a terrifying experience. While most snakes are harmless, some can pose a real threat to both humans and pets.

This makes it crucial to be prepared in case you come across these dangerous reptiles. That’s where the best guns for killing snakes come into play.

In this blog post, we’ll explore four top options that are perfect for snake defense, ensuring you’re well-equipped to handle any serpentine situation.

1. Taurus Judge .410/.45 Caliber

The Taurus Judge is a versatile revolver that can fire both .410 shotgun shells and .45 Colt cartridges. This dual capability makes it an excellent choice for dealing with snakes. Here’s why:

  • Powerful and effective: The .410 shotgun shells are perfect for close-range encounters with snakes, while the .45 Colt cartridges provide additional stopping power if needed.
  • Compact and easy to handle: Its relatively small size makes the Taurus Judge easy to carry and maneuver in tight spaces.
  • Reliable: Taurus revolvers are known for their reliability, and the Judge is no exception.

The Taurus Judge has been a popular choice among firearm enthusiasts and those seeking an effective snake defense weapon since its introduction in 2006. As a versatile and powerful revolver, it offers a unique combination of features that make it particularly well-suited for dealing with dangerous serpents.

One of the most notable aspects of the Taurus Judge is its ability to chamber two different types of ammunition: .410 shotgun shells and .45 Colt cartridges. This dual-capability not only provides the flexibility to switch between rounds based on the situation at hand but also ensures that you have an effective means of self-defense against both snakes and other potential threats.

When it comes to snake encounters, the .410 shotgun shells are particularly useful. These shells fire a spread of pellets that are capable of delivering a lethal shot to a snake at close range, minimizing the risk of missing the target. Moreover, the spread pattern increases the chances of hitting vital areas, ensuring a quick and humane kill.

In addition to its firepower, the Taurus Judge offers a compact design that makes it easy to handle and maneuver in tight spaces. This is crucial when dealing with snakes, as they can often be found hiding in confined areas like brush or under rocks. The revolver’s relatively small size also makes it a more comfortable option for those who may not be accustomed to handling larger firearms.

Furthermore, Taurus is known for producing reliable and durable firearms, and the Judge is no exception. This revolver is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor use, ensuring that it remains a dependable companion when you need it most.

In summary, the Taurus Judge is an exceptional choice for anyone seeking an effective and versatile snake defense weapon. Its ability to chamber both .410 shotgun shells and .45 Colt cartridges, coupled with its compact design and proven reliability, make it a powerful and practical option for keeping you and your loved ones safe from venomous threats.

best guns for killing snakes

2. .410 Shotgun

A .410 shotgun is another excellent option for snake defense. With its smaller caliber and lightweight design, it’s perfect for those who may be less experienced with firearms. Here’s what sets it apart:

  • Ease of use: The .410 shotgun is simple to operate, even for beginners.
  • Lightweight: Its lightweight design makes it easy to carry and handle in various situations.
  • Effective: The .410 shotgun is more than capable of taking down snakes with a well-placed shot.

.410 shotguns have long been favored by many firearm enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers as an ideal choice for dealing with snakes and other small game. These lightweight and easy-to-handle firearms provide an effective means of defense against venomous serpents while remaining accessible to a wide range of users, from seasoned hunters to first-time shooters.

One of the key advantages of the .410 shotgun is its user-friendly design. Compared to larger shotguns, such as the 12 gauge, the .410 has significantly less recoil, making it easier and more comfortable to shoot, particularly for those with smaller frames or limited experience handling firearms. This reduced recoil also allows for quicker follow-up shots if necessary, increasing the chances of a successful outcome in a tense situation.

The .410 shotgun’s small size and lightweight construction make it an ideal firearm for carrying over long distances and navigating through dense vegetation, where encounters with snakes are more likely to occur. With many different models available on the market, users can choose from various styles and configurations to find the perfect fit for their needs and preferences.

When it comes to ammunition, .410 shotgun shells offer an effective solution for snake defense. These shells typically contain a spread of small pellets that, when fired, create a pattern that increases the likelihood of hitting the target. This is particularly useful when dealing with fast-moving or camouflaged snakes, as it can be challenging to deliver a precise shot in such situations.

Another advantage of .410 shotguns is their versatility. While primarily used for snake defense and small game hunting, these firearms can also be employed for recreational shooting, such as clay pigeon shooting or target practice, making them a valuable addition to any firearm collection.

In conclusion, .410 shotguns offer a unique combination of user-friendly design, effective ammunition, and versatility that make them a popular choice for snake defense. With their reduced recoil, lightweight construction, and wide range of available models, these shotguns cater to a diverse audience and provide a reliable solution for staying safe in snake-infested environments.

best guns for killing snakes

3. 12 Gauge Shotgun

For those who prefer a more powerful firearm, the 12 gauge shotgun is an excellent choice. It packs a significant punch and can quickly dispatch a snake with a single shot. Key features include:

  • Power: The 12 gauge shotgun has more than enough stopping power to kill even the largest and most venomous snakes.
  • Versatility: With a wide range of ammunition types available, you can customize your loadout to suit your specific needs.
  • Proven performance: Shotguns have been used for centuries as a reliable means of self-defense and pest control.

12 gauge shotguns are well-known for their power, versatility, and effectiveness, making them a popular choice among firearm enthusiasts and a reliable option for snake defense. These robust firearms pack a serious punch, ensuring that even the largest and most venomous snakes can be dispatched quickly and efficiently.

One of the key advantages of the 12 gauge shotgun is its sheer stopping power. With larger shells than their .410 counterparts, 12 gauge shotguns fire a more substantial payload of pellets, resulting in a higher likelihood of delivering a lethal shot to a snake. This powerful performance is especially crucial when dealing with larger snake species, which can be more resilient and harder to kill with smaller calibers.

Another significant benefit of the 12 gauge shotgun is the vast array of ammunition types available. Users can choose from different loads, such as birdshot, buckshot, and slugs, each with their own unique characteristics and advantages.

Birdshot, for example, is ideal for snake defense, as it consists of numerous small pellets that create a wide spread pattern, increasing the chances of hitting and incapacitating the target. On the other hand, buckshot and slugs provide greater penetration and stopping power, making them suitable for larger game and self-defense against larger threats.

12 gauge shotguns are also highly versatile, as they can be used for a wide range of applications beyond snake defense. These firearms are commonly employed for hunting larger game, such as deer and waterfowl, as well as for home defense and recreational shooting.

With numerous models and configurations on the market, including pump-action, semi-automatic, and break-action designs, there is a 12 gauge shotgun to suit every preference and need.

In summary, 12 gauge shotguns offer a powerful and adaptable solution for snake defense, a personal defense weapon, as well as a variety of other applications. With their exceptional stopping power, extensive ammunition options, and diverse range of available models, these firearms are a valuable addition to any arsenal, providing protection and peace of mind in the face of serpentine threats.

best guns for killing snakes

4. Smith & Wesson Model 442

The Smith & Wesson Model 442 is a compact and lightweight revolver chambered in .38 Special. It’s a reliable choice for dealing with snakes thanks to its:

  • Concealable size: The small frame of the Model 442 makes it easy to carry and quick to draw when faced with a snake.
  • Simplicity: This revolver is straightforward to use, with a double-action-only trigger and no external hammer to snag on clothing or gear.
  • Accuracy: The .38 Special cartridge is accurate and effective at close range, making it ideal for snake defense.

The Smith & Wesson Model 442 is a compact and reliable revolver that has earned a reputation for its concealable size, ease of use, and effectiveness in close-range situations. As a snake defense weapon, the Model 442 presents several advantages that make it a valuable addition to any collection of firearms, particularly for those who prioritize mobility and discretion.

One of the standout features of the Model 442 is its small frame and lightweight design. Weighing in at just under 15 ounces, this revolver is perfect for those who require a snake defense weapon that is easy to carry and quick to draw when faced with a sudden threat. The compact size also makes it an ideal choice for concealed carry, ensuring that you can have the revolver on hand without drawing unwanted attention.

Chambered in .38 Special, the Model 442 offers a powerful and accurate cartridge that is well-suited for close-range snake encounters. The .38 Special round has a long history of effectiveness in both self-defense and law enforcement applications, making it a reliable option for dealing with venomous serpents. The revolver’s short barrel and simple sight system allow for quick target acquisition, which is crucial when dealing with fast-moving or well-camouflaged snakes.

Another key advantage of the Smith & Wesson Model 442 is its simplicity. This double-action-only (DAO) revolver lacks an external hammer, reducing the chances of it snagging on clothing or gear during a high-stress encounter. The absence of an external hammer also streamlines the operation of the firearm, allowing for a smooth and consistent trigger pull that minimizes the risk of misfires or malfunctions.

In conclusion, the Smith & Wesson Model 442 provides a compact, reliable, and easy-to-use solution for snake defense. Its lightweight design, powerful .38 Special chambering, and straightforward operation make it an excellent choice for those who need a dependable firearm that can be carried discreetly and drawn quickly in the event of a snake encounter.


Here are some common questions about the best guns for killing snakes:

Can You Kill Snakes without Using a Gun?

Yes, you can kill snakes without using a gun but the main difference between using something like a shovel or machete and using a shotgun is the distance you will have to get from the snake to kill it. Using tools or other blunt objects to kill snakes makes you get closer to the snake than using a firearm.

If you are not afraid of snakes then it won’t be an issue but if you are afraid then you want to stay as far away from snakes as you can. Ultimately, you want to use the tool (whether its a gun or a shovel) that keeps you the safest in the situation.

How Hard Is It to Shoot a Snake?

Shooting a snake can be challenging due to their fast, elusive movements and camouflaged appearance. Success often depends on quick target acquisition, a steady hand, and a well-placed shot, making practice and familiarity with your firearm essential.

What Size Shot Is Best for Snakes?

Birdshot, typically ranging from #6 to #9, is ideal for snakes, as the smaller pellets create a wider spread pattern, increasing the chances of hitting and incapacitating the serpent at close range.

Will 9mm Rat Shot Kill a Snake?

Yes, 9mm rat shot, also known as snake shot, can effectively kill a snake. However, its effectiveness depends on shot placement and the size of the snake, so accuracy and proper ammunition choice are crucial.

Will a Bb Gun Kill a Rattlesnake?

While a BB gun may injure a rattlesnake, it is unlikely to deliver a lethal shot, making it an unreliable choice for snake defense. Higher-caliber firearms or snake-specific ammunition are recommended.

What Gun Is Considered a Snake Charmer?

The term “snake charmer” typically refers to the Harrington & Richardson (H&R) .410 gauge single-shot shotgun, known for its lightweight design and ease of use, making it an effective choice for snake defense.

What Gun Has Snake Shots?

Many firearms, including revolvers, pistols, and shotguns, can be loaded with snake shot. The Taurus Judge and Smith & Wesson Governor are popular examples of revolvers designed to accommodate snake shot.

What Is the Most Effective Snake Shot?

The most effective snake shot varies depending on the firearm and user preference. However, birdshot in the #6 to #9 range are generally considered effective for snake defense due to their wide spread pattern and ability to incapacitate the target.

Does Snake Shot Damage a Pistol?

Snake shot, when used in appropriate firearms and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, should not damage a pistol. However, using snake shot in firearms not designed for it can lead to malfunctions and potential damage. Always consult your firearm’s manual and follow safety precautions.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the best guns for killing snakes include the Taurus Judge .410/.45 caliber, .410 shotgun, 12 gauge shotgun, and Smith & Wesson Model 442. Each of these firearms offers unique advantages, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

By arming yourself with the right tool for the job, you can stay safe and protect your family and pets from potentially deadly snake encounters.

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