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Thread: Realist range of Pistol shotshells ?

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMII View Post
    What is the effective range on say small rodents or clay (trap) targets for 38/357 (6") ?
    I've played quite a bit with .357 and .44 mag shot shells. Best results - by far - have been .44 and cases formed from modified .303 Brit. shells cut to near cylinder length and blown out for the extra shot volume.

    With my best .44 loads and #9 shot I wouldn't attempt rats or snakes further away than about 10 feet. Anything further away than that the pattern gets too thin. Even with my enlarged .44 "shotshell" cases, there just aren't enough pellets to shoot any further with any confidence.

    Even with Speer's shot caps I'd cut that 10 feet in half with the much smaller shot volume .357.

  2. #42
    Boolit Buddy
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    I don't recall shooting any small rodents with shotshells but I've killed many dozens of Prairie Rattlers with shotshells in 22 LR, 22 Mag, 38 Special and 44 Special. I would say 6-8' is about it if you want to be sure of killing the snake. Of course, 38s and 44s stretch things out a bit --- but not that much. 10' is "way out there" on a Rattler.

    In the centerfires, I use Speer capsules and #8 shot. I remember going from crimped WW 22 LR shotshells to CCI shotshells in 22 Mag. Although the Mag held almost twice the shot, it didn't matter that much.

    A 2 1/2" .410 out of a shotgun is capable of 5 times the distance even though it doesn't hold much more shot than my .44 loads

  3. #43
    Boolit Buddy
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    I dont use shotshells but I could see an opportunity here for 3D printing them. You could print a shotshell to lets say 90% , pause, fill with shot, finish printing to close it up. Quick and easy way to get commercial style shotshells at home.

  4. #44
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mold maker View Post
    Handguns just don't have room for excess shot and powder. The FPS is low and distance is short.
    My experience is like jmorris, anything beyond 15' is iffy.
    Have to agree on .38/.357 because of the limited shot capacity. Here are some patterns fired with typical loads. Barrel length seems to matter also. Two-inch snub with handloaded No.8 shot gives even and effective pattern at 5 ft. Same 3.5 Bullseye, No.8 shot and card wads round in 4-5/8 Vaquero gives is VERY dense pattern. In the longer barrels dispersion seems to be about one inch per foot. CCI "Big 4" in .38/.357 has impressive penetration, but thin patterns due to low pellet count. Better for furry varmints in the henhouse than for snakes.

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    Last edited by Outpost75; 11-26-2019 at 05:04 PM.
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  5. #45
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    The good news is that at 10 feet most rattlesnakes would have a very hard time striking you. (Not saying they won't get your complete attention or that you will be adrenaline-free at 10 feet!)

  6. #46
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    I have a comment elsewhere here like 1HOLE i use modified .303 Brit in my 44 mag revolver I have not shot for maximum range My guess would be a bit over 20 feet.
    My 303 brass were Berdan primed so I drilled them to take a 209 primer used a blank load to form fit them to chamber at very near full cylinder length. I found it best to hold shot on a wax paper sleeve I put powder in case (green Dot 7 grains) then heavy card wad I put two turns of wax paper on dowel that fits in case mouth Excess paper rolled over dowel end wax pushed in dowel withdrawn. I then fill wax paper tube with shot to near top of case push it down refill a bit then fold in excess wax paper . A thin card wad is pushed in top then waxed in place with hot wax or even hot melt glue. These cases hold .4 oz shot which is 180 grains and at 15 feet a steel coffee can will have some pellets go though both sides .
    I did a test with 45-70 shells loaded the same way and got almost 7/8 oz. in them Trouble was the pattern spread faster then from pistol so even with the double amount of shot effective range was probably the same.
    When I think back on all the **** I learned in high school it's a wonder I can think at all ! And then my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    Try stepping up to 5 or 6 shot. Years ago I played around with the cci shot capsules using a 6" bbl'd 357. Took clay pigeons and set the on the berm of the pistol range. 9 shot wasn't impressive at all, like others have already stated 8'/10' tops. Tested some 5 shot & was only getting 11/12 pellets in the cci capsule but they easily broke the clay pigeons & 50ft.

    A clay pigeon isn't a snake & it only takes 1 bb the size of 5 shot to break it. But the bigger/heavier shot carried further.

  8. #48
    Boolit Master



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    Last winter I bought some new CCI shells for 38's they were loaded with #4 shot. Great power but at 10 feet would not hit a Squirrel on the deck rail by the feeder. Gave up after a cylinder full as it was a wasted effort.

  9. #49
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    I hear the 38/357 shotshell loads are quite effective on carpenter bees but then again so is my magnum fly swatter... which is also deadly on fly's and doesn't leave all those pesky holes in the walls .
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check