#12 Shot Explained

Good old #12 shot is pretty rare nowadays and a lot of people are a bit unsure of what it’s for. If you live in Arizona or the Deep South, you already know exactly what #12 shot is: Snake shot. This seems like a very specialized use for a line of ammo but when rattlers, copperheads and other legitimately scary snakes are infesting your property, you don’t want to get close to them, and #12 shot will take care of snakes and other potentially dangerous small animals. 

#12 shot typically comes in lead and the amount of pellets per shot is staggering. It can be found in shotgun shells as well as pistol ammo.  There are a few companies making rimfire and centerfire cartridges but the most prolific by far is the line of pest control ammo from CCI.  The interesting thing about this ammo is that for years, if you wanted to shoot a snakeshot load in a handgun, it had to be in a revolver.  Today, CCI makes #12 shot ammo for 9mm as well as .22LR and .22 Magnum.

Snakes and Varmints#12 Shot

This is what this ammunition was made for. This is very good for snakes and rats but you will have to be a lot closer than if you were shooting something just a tad larger like #9 shot. A range of about six to ten feet seems to be the rule for this ammo and guarantees you’re going to kill even a large snake. Past ten feet you’re just going to hurt something, make it very mad or both!

Target Shooting

#12 is actually not allowed for clays and certain other types of shooting. This is because the spread of so many pellets takes the “game” out of it. They rarely cause a lot of damage to a target but they almost always hit it more than a few times. This is a good shot for messing around in your back yard or on your property but remember to use something like hay behind what you’re shooting at. These pellets can sting badly on a ricochet, go through the skin or put out an eye pretty easily.

This ammo can be difficult to find as local stores normally carry a limited stock of this specialty shot size.  Many people use online resources to get their #12 shot as well.  While not well suited for hunting, #12 shot is very useful for pest control and is a great choice for the outdoorsman, or oudoorswoman, in need of an effective means of protection against snakes.