Tightwad: .45 Colt Snake Loads


Woody says,” If Tank can do it, you can do it!”

Anyone with kids knows the lovable character Woody from “Toy Story.” It’s one of my favorites and watched it a zillion times when my daughter was a wee lass. One of his most popular lines when pulling his drawstring was, “there’s a snake in my boot!” This line got me thinking about snakes, rattlesnakes in particular, and ways of efficiently dispatching buzz tails.

This project really fell into place when testing a limited offering by Tyler Gun Works (TGW). It seems Bobby Tyler and the gang have obtained some laser engravers to spruce up, enhance and beautify guns at better offerings than hand-engraved guns. It’s a way to include more people in the wonderful world of engraved guns.

The gun in question is a Bond Arms Roughneck Derringer in .45 Colt. The ultimate pocket gun, derringers have a long history of being downright convenient. Shoved in a pocket holster, they ride perfectly in the back pocket of a pair of Wranglers and can be quickly drawn for any rattlesnake culling operation. Derringers also make a nice last-ditch back-up piece.

Punching wads with a cup of coffee. No one says you can’t make your own.

Tightwad Shot Loads

You know me, I like doing things on the cheap, which means using things I have on hand. My family’s farmer roots are showing here. I had plenty of fired .45 Colt brass on hand. All I needed was some wads and shots. I’ve been known to make shot loads with copper Gas Checks, but those copper beauties are about 10 cents apiece now.

Old donner shotgun shells are a wonderful way of getting free shot.

Waddy Fellow

Being the tail end of the holidays, I had plenty of cardboard boxes on hand. Might as well put them to use and recycle them for something useful. All I did was use my RCBS case chamfering tool and did a nice inside chamfer followed by a quick outside chamfer to remove any burrs, and I had the perfect punch. Make sure your piece of brass has the primer knocked out so you can poke the punched cardboard wads out.

I did it while enjoying a cup of coffee as the dogs did their business in the yard. No one says you can’t do handloading projects in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s why we do it in the first place, right?

Loading is easy! Size, de-prime and prime your case. Add powder.
Add a wad. Add your shot. Add another wad. Crimp and you’re done.

Cheap Shot?

Now I needed some shot loads. I sure didn’t feel like buying a 25-pound sack of #8 shot at today’s prices, plus the shipping alone would cause a heart attack.

Lucky for me, I’m a pack rat and save everything. I have a slew of old, turned-in shotgun shells from widows back in my cop shop days. They make perfect donner shot loads. Just take a sharp knife and cut around the outside of the shell by the wad and pull the shell apart. Pull out the wad, and there’s your paydirt — a nice ounce or so of lead shot.

Tank’s basically free shotshell performed admirably at 10-12 feet.

Let The Loading Begin

Making your cartridge shotshells is easy to do and fun, especially the shooting part. First, you’re going to size and de-prime your brass. Put a fresh primer in your case and flare the case mouth like any other pistol cartridge. For .45 Colt, a charge of 5.5 grains of Bullseye powder will work, or Winchester 231. If Unique is the only powder on hand, try 6 grains of that.

After the case is charged, put one of your cardboard wads on top of the charge. Now, fill the cartridge to within 1/8th of an inch to the top of the brass. Place another wad on top of the shot and crimp your case like you normally would. Congratulations! You just loaded your first shotshell!

Woody says give snakes the boot with a Bond Arms Roughneck Derringer
and shotshell loads. Tyler Gun Works has a limited supply of these lasered
Derringers. They make great backup guns and are fun to shoot, but still have a purpose.


I test-fired my .45 Colt shotshell in the Bond Arms Derringer at 10-12 feet. The pattern was tight and would have easily taken care of any snake.

Experiment if you like, slowly adding powder to your charge or maybe even reducing the load. Faster loads tend to spread the pattern more. Have fun with it. Making them this way is cheap and allows you to experiment without breaking the bank.

And the next time someone yells, “there’s a snake in my boot,” you’ll have a means of dispatching it!

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