Here’s a story from an angler (Jon Stokes) on his experience shooting water moccasins with the .410 load.
My brother-in-law and I were fishing in the pond on my property, and the snakes were swimming right up to within a few feet of us to check us out, heads above the water the entire time and not even remotely afraid. Given that I live about 100 yards from the pond, and I’m not a fan of water moccasins (which I’m pretty sure is what these were, because most harmless water snakes swim with their heads down and shy away from disturbances), I ran back to the house to grab my Bond Arms Snake Slayer.
The Snake Slayer was loaded with .410, #9 I believe, and I fired right into water about 8 feet away. I could see the snake’s entire body, and his head was poking above the water looking at me. The shot churned up the water right where he was, and he just calmly floated there looking at us like, “Is that the best you got?” I fired again, and still no luck. It was a direct hit and he moved but then came right back. The .410 just wasn’t penetrating the pond water enough to do more than tickle him. I tried a two more shots both at him and the other snake that had been hanging out with him, and they both shrugged it off.
Obviously, there are some problems that only a 12 gauge will solve, so I ran back to the house and grabbed my Pioneer Arms coach gun off the wall. I loaded it with some bulk Federal Field and Target #8 shot I had picked up from Wal-Mart, and ran back out to the pond with the gun and the shells.
One of the snakes was still there, still chillin’ and staring at my brother-in-law, but when I let him have it with one barrel of that 12 gauge shot he went belly up. Immediately, I looked over and saw his com padre cruising across the water about 10 yards out, so I swung over and let him have the other barrel. It was a direct hit, and we never saw him surface again.
So the moral of this story is, don’t bother firing your .410 snake shot into a pond, because unless you get really lucky, they’ll just laugh at you. When shooting through water, bring enough gun.
(But do not, however, bring a rifle or pistol, because it can ricochet off the water and fly for miles. A shotgun is much safer to shoot at a pond, especially if there are houses and/or cars nearby.)
story by Jon Stokes