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Handgun shot loads for varmints?

1971 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Guest
Never again!

The last few days I've had problems with a possum coming up on the porch to eat cat and dog food. I've also had issues with a certain ****, but I can't catch him in a trap.

I caught the possum and let him go, hoping that he would stay gone. No such luck, as when I walked out a bit ago I saw possum hindquarters sticking out from under my lawnmower up on the porch.

I came inside and loaded a Commander with four CCI shot loads. Went back outside and started trying to dislodge a really teed off possum. Finally got him to jump off the porch, at which time I let fly with a shot charge.

Now he was REALLY pissed off, and I screamed at him not to go under my front steps. He did. I got a good look at him under there and figured he was dead and that I'd be out there in the cold after work in the morning getting his carcass out.

Well, within a couple of minutes he limped out the other side, and while he was taking a break, I finished him off with a .22 rifle. The moral of the story is, use Hydra Shoks the first time.
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Mm-hmm. My experience with pistol shot loads is that nothing bigger than a middling size rat is worthy quarry. Possums and ***** deserve better than that.
I don't use shot loads as a rule, but there are times when they come in handy, so I keep a few around.

If I hadn't been concerned about bullet holes in my porch, I'd have carried the .22 out there in the first place. But this possum was stubbornly refusing to leave my porch, just as he'd been stubborn about not wanting to get out of the live trap when I gave him the chance the other morning. I figured that if he wouldn't leave on his own, the shot cartridge fired at less than five feet would kill him without risking quite as much damage to my property. Fired at about seven feet, the shot caused what would have been a fatal wound, but in a very short time I was back with a more substantial weapon to make sure. He suffered a lot less than a deer hit through the lungs with an arrow.

That's only the second time in my life I've shot any animal with handgun shot, and the first was less successful; that one was a huge rat I shot at the dump with .22 Magnum CCI ratshot. I got a solid hit, but it didn't stop him in his tracks.

I've never shot a ****. Trapped quite a few of them and let them go, but never killed one except by accident on the highway.
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Hello. About the only handgun shot loads I've seen used since I was kid shooting rats in the barn with a .22 & ratshot have been the CCI/Speer .45 auto shot ammo. It did do a number on a rather large rattlesnake at a few feet's distance and since then a couple more. I bet the "effectiveness" decays rather rapidly beyond a certain (close) point.

My experience with handgun shot loads also leaves something to be desired.

OTOH, I have failed to drop 'possums with 6" .357s and failed to kill them with .45 ball! You gotta hit the right part and that is pretty small. The things aren't smart enough to know when to stop :-/

I've got an article xerox'd out of an old Gun Digest describing methods for making better shotshells for handguns than you can buy. The idea was to build brass cases that went the full length of the handgun's chamber, thereby increasing the shot charge.

I made some .45 Colt loads out of 444 Marlin brass according to the recipe, and they were damn good shot loads. I used #9 shot and they patterned well out to 10 yards, good enough for rats, snakes, etc. If I wanted to use 'em on bigger varmints, I suppose I could load them up with #6 shot, but you're really starting to reduce pattern density at this point.

In .44's, you've got to get a bit more technical with the brass--I can't remember off hand what brass you have to use, but it requires shaving the rim down as well as shortening the rifle cases...40 Krag? .... I can't remember. I wouldn't bother building shotshells for anything smaller than a .44, though. The cases are just too small.

I've heard that the CCI shotshell in .45 ACP is decent for snakes in close. Haven't tried it, myself.
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Doc I just happen to have a test target picture on file. This is the CCI shot load in .45 ACP fired from a 4" Model 625 at about four yards, which is about as close as I like to get to snakes. I've never shot a snake with pistol shot, but I've gotten them with several common shotgun gauges, and of course, with solid shot from handguns.

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Leland: Thank you. That oughta do!
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