Most of us at Gunsite carry snake shot for just that purpose. Using snake shot vs ball or hollow point has its obvious benefits. First we have much less chance of ricochet which of course could result in hitting something we were not willing to destroy. Violation rule number two. The other reason of course is the ability to actually destroy the snake with one shot. With a single projectile we may forget that offset and end hitting the snake with less than desired results or even miss completely. With proper snake shot load to the head we have experienced very good results leaving a headless snake and no ricochet.
So what is proper snake shot? I would suggest nothing less than .38 special, 9mm or 45 ACP. 22LR does not have enough pellets to reliably dispatch Mr. No Shoulders. Since most of the Gunsite staff carry a semi-automatic pistol in either 9mm or 45 ACP on a regular basis, the norm is to carry a spare magazine loaded with at least the top few rounds being snake shot. It is important to remember to keep that magazine separate from your traditional spare ‘fighting magazine’. The proper sequence here is to do what has been dubbed as the “Select Snake Drill”. Simply do a tacload with the snake shot loaded magazine into the pistol, rack the slide and carry on. A couple of words of caution. Remember to not shoot more rounds than are snake shot (possibly the magazine should be only snake shot), and do not forget to return the pistol to traditional fighting status after the snake is dispatched. It would be quite unfortunate to find yourself in a fight with an undesirable, and shoot the undesirable in the chest with snake shot to no avail. No names mentioned but I do know of at least one occasion where that happened.
Another method to carry your snake shot (my preferred) is to carry a separate small size revolver loaded with nothing but snake shot. This eliminates the tacload, the possibility of mixing ammo and you do not have to manually cycle the gun to feed the follow up round as is often necessary with a semi auto pistol. Carry that revolver in an offside holster and be ready for the situation.
Tips about this ammo. Check often to make sure the seal of capsule has not broken. Be sure to have more than one round. Make sure it is a large enough round to dispatch the snake. Try to shoot from behind because unfortunately you do have to get somewhat close. Stay out of striking distance. DO NOT mix up your ammo.!!!
Happy hiking, boating, scouting, camping.