Snake Gun Buying Guide 2023 | Great Days Outdoors

Snake Gun Buying Guide 2023

If you’re a seasoned hunter who frequently ventures into snake-infested territories, you know the importance of having the right firearm by your side. A snake encounter in the wild can be dangerous, and having a reliable snake gun can mean the difference between a successful hunting trip and a potentially life-threatening situation. In this guide, we’ll delve into the factors that hunters should consider when choosing a snake gun, including the type of snakes in your area, the different types of firearms available, and the ideal calibers for snake hunting. We’ll also provide practical tips and recommendations to help you make an informed decision and select the best snake gun that fits your hunting needs. So, whether you’re a seasoned hunter looking to upgrade your gear or a newbie planning your first hunting expedition, read on to learn all you need to know about buying the perfect snake gun from a hunter’s perspective.

For those who’ve decided to purchase a snake gun, there are several options to consider, especially in the handgun department. For those wanting a handgun, the following options are excellent choices.

5 Great Snake Guns

Bond Snake Slayer IV Handgun

Bond Snake Slayer IV Handgun


  • Stainless steel double-barrel and frame
  • Compatible with all standard Bond Arms barrels
  • Automatic spent casing extractor
  • Patented rebounding hammer
  • Retracting firing pins
  • Cross-bolt safety
  • Spring-loaded, cammed locking lever

A popular option and appropriately named, the Bond Arms Snake Slayer is an excellent carry for snakes. It’s available in .357 Mag/.38 Spl or .45LC/.410. It features a 4.25-inch barrel length, 6.25-inch total length, rosewood extended grip, front blade and fixed rear sights, and weighs 23.5 ounces.

Taurus Judge Magnum Revolver

Taurus Judge Magnum Revolver


  • Matte stainless steel finish
  • Frame Size: Compact
  • Twitst rate: 1:12.14-in RH twist
  • Grooves: 6
  • Caliber: .45 Colt/.410 Bore 2.5 in.
  • Capacity: 5 Rounds
  • Fiber optic front sight
  • Fixed rear sight
  • Action type: DA/SA
  • TSS (Taurus Security System)
  • Extended Ejector Rod

Perhaps the most famous option on the list, the Taurus Judge is a popular selection. It comes in 14 different style selections, and certain, unique features within each one. Finish and construction vary from one option to the next. However, these are generally offered in .410 and .45 Colt. Barrel lengths range from 2-6.5 inches, model depending.

Colt King Cobra Revolver

Colt King Cobra Revolver snake gun


  • A bigger, more-powerful version of the Colt Cobra
  • Double-action, 6-shot, .357 Magnum model
  • Sports a heavy-duty frame
  • Brushed stainless steel construction
  • 3″ barrel with a brass bead front sight
  • Hogue overmolded grips deliver a secure grasp

Another gun named for its common job, the Colt King Cobra is a solid pick. It followed the Colt Cobra. The King Cobra arrived in 2019 and has done well since then. It has a heavy-duty frame, double-action revolver, brushed stainless steel construction, 3-inch barrel, and more. This is available in .357 Mag.


Smith & Wesson Governor

Smith & Wesson Governor snake gun


  • Lightweight, compact frame
  • Durable stainless steel barrel and cylinder
  • Classic S&W revolver design for reliable performance
  • Synthetic grip with finger grooves offers an ergonomic hold
  • Chambers 45 ACP and 45 Colt rounds and .410 2-1/2″ shotshells
  • Includes two full moon clips* and three 2-shot moon clips for 45 ACP rounds

Smith & Wesson Governor: The Smith & Wesson Governor is a very compact, lightweight, and versatile carry gun. It has a 2.75-inch barrel, 8.5-inch total length, six-round capacity, single or double action, stainless steel barrel, synthetic grip, black finish, and night sights, and more. It does not have a safety.

Smith & Wesson Model 442 38 Special

Smith & Wesson Model 442 38 Special snake gun


  • No-snag, concealed carry design
  • Internal hammer, double-action only
  • Carbon steel barrel and cylinder
  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • Matte black finish
  • Ramp front sight and fixed rear sight
  • Black synthetic grips
  • 5-shot, +P rated

Smith & Wesson Model 442: The Smith & Wesson Model 442 J-Frame Series is a more affordable option. This gun is lightweight and durable. It features a 1.88-inch barrel, 6.31-inch overall length, double-action revolver, lightweight alloy frame, polymer grip, black finish, stainless steel barrel, carbon steel cylinder, snag-free enclosed hammer, five-round capacity, etc. It does not have a safety. It’s available in .38 S&W special.

5 Points To Consider In A Snake Gun

Snakes, more specifically venomous snakes, are common throughout the country. Some areas experience higher concentrations than others, though. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), there are approximately 15 different subspecies of snakes that are dangerous to humans and pets in that state alone. Zoom out, and most experts say 37 of these exist nationwide.

timber rattlesnake
Timber rattlesnakes are among three rattlesnake types found in Alabama. Public domain.

Just some of the snakes to watch out for include copperheads, coral snakes, cottonmouths (water moccasins), rattlesnakes, subspecies within these categories, and more. In the Deep South, Burmese pythons are also a major concern, as these non-native snakes have permeated ecosystems throughout Florida, and continue to expand. As such, no matter where you reside, a snake gun is a good idea. Here are five points to consider in a snake gun, and a few specific on-the-market options that check boxes.

1. Caliber and Gauge

The most important factor is the caliber or gauge in question. These guns are not long-range weapons. Rather, more times than not, users need something that patterns well at shorter ranges. Generally, that distance is 1-5 yards, perhaps slightly farther.


Historically, people routinely used a 20- or 12-gauge to dispatch snakes, if not a garden hoe or sharp shovel. Today, there are better options, though, especially with the advent of quality modern ammunition products. That said, perhaps the best option is the tried-and-true .410 shotshell. Otherwise, .38 Special, .40 S&W, .44 Special, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, and 9 mm snake shot, are likely the best caliber options.

Sometimes, depending on the scenario, either a rifle or shotgun might be better, though. For short-range accuracies sake, a shotgun is superior. When longer shots or precision shots are needed, a .22 LR might be the better selection.

2. Ammo
As ammunition continues to increase in price, and decrease in availability, it’s crucial to consider several factors. First, account for the price. Select a caliber that offers affordable ammunition. Secondly, the prevalence of it on the market. If it’s difficult to find on shelves, it might be best to choose something else. Thirdly, the effectiveness. Some calibers and brands within calibers offer better performance, reliability, and more.

3. Finish
The finish is less important for a good snake gun. That said, something flashy isn’t necessary, or advised. This is a gun that will be routinely carried afield, and even if it isn’t shot much, it’s still going to take wear and tear. Therefore, it’s best to select a dull and durable finish that’s resilient to damage but also one that won’t hurt your feelings if dinged or scratched.

4. Size
Most people prefer a snake gun that isn’t very large. Most choose a handgun option, or a shorter-barreled rifle or shotgun. Regardless of the specific category (handgun, rifle, or shotgun) how long and wide a gun is will impact ease of carry, storage volume, its success as a snake gun, and more. The more compact, the better.

5. Weight
Weight is also important. You don’t want a heavy carry option. This is true for rifles and shotguns. It’s also true in the handgun department, as most handguns that fit the bill are 16-30 ounces in weight, with the majority falling near the middle of that range.

Who Needs A Snake Gun

Those who are considering getting a snake gun, likely should purchase one. There are many scenarios that call for one, especially in areas that harbor larger venomous snake population densities. It’s an even better decision for those who spend a lot of time in the field, live in problem areas, or who have people, pets, or livestock to defend.


How common are snake bites?

The incidence of snake bites varies greatly depending on the region, but it is estimated that between 5.4 and 7.5 million people are bitten by snakes each year, resulting in approximately 2.7 million cases of envenomation and up to 125,000 deaths.

Is the .410 pistol the best snake gun?

The .410 pistol can be a great choice for a snake gun, particularly for those who prefer a compact and lightweight firearm. However, its effectiveness can depend on various factors, such as the type of snake you are dealing with, the distance you are shooting from, and your level of accuracy. Other firearms such as .22 LR pistols, 9mm handguns, and .38 Special revolvers are also popular choices for snake guns.

How effective is .22 snake shot?

The effectiveness of .22 snake shot can vary depending on the distance from the target and the size of the snake. It may be effective at close range, but it may not be enough to penetrate the skin of larger snakes or at longer distances. It’s recommended to use larger calibers for bigger and more dangerous snakes.

What are the rules on shooting snakes?

The rules on shooting snakes can vary depending on the state or country, as well as the circumstances of the encounter. In general, it’s important to only shoot a snake if it poses an immediate threat to your safety or the safety of others, and if there are no other options for removing or avoiding the snake. Some states may also have specific regulations or restrictions on shooting snakes, so it’s important to be familiar with local laws and regulations before taking any action.

What is the best overall gun type for snakes?

The preferred gun for snakes is a shotgun or a revolver chambered in .357 Magnum or larger for their effectiveness and versatility against different types of snakes.

Can a BB Gun Kill a Snake? 

A BB gun may be able to kill a snake if it is shot accurately and with enough force to penetrate the snake’s skin and inflict fatal damage to vital organs. However, it is important to note that using a BB gun to kill a snake can be dangerous and is not a recommended method of snake control.


All things considered, there’s much to consider in a good snake gun. But remember, if you must use one, don’t pick up that dead snake. Their nervous systems still allow them pinpoint strike precision, even hours after death. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), venomous snakes bite upward of 8,000 Americans each year. If you are bitten, and become a statistic, immediately seek professional medical help.

Furthermore, the best snake prevention is avoiding them. First, unless needing to dispatch one, leave snakes alone. In some states, it’s illegal to kill a snake unless someone or something is in danger. So, certainly don’t handle or harass them. Keep safe distances between you and them. Furthermore, refrain from walking in areas that you can’t see the ground, especially taller vegetation. Piles of rocks, debris, and forest duff are snake hotspots, too. And of course, always wear long pants, snake chaps, and snake boots when outdooring in snake terrain.

Full Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. There’s no extra charge to our readers for using these.

Stay Updated

Get outdoor trends, data, new products, and tips delivered to your inbox.