DoubleTap SnakeShot: Multi-Projectile Pistol Round

If you’ve walked into a gun store in the past few decades and asked for “snake shot,” odds are you were handed a box of pistol cartridges with a telltale plastic dome loaded with shotgun pellets. Common brands include CCI and Federal and can be found in the most popular cartridges. Now, DoubleTap Ammunition throws its hat in the proverbial ring with its SnakeShot line.

DoubleTap Ammunition SnakeShot

For decades, we’ve used these shells to defend against venomous critters or the occasional rodent that found its way into the cellar. However, have any of us truly read the box? It turns out that all this time, they were never really called snake shot, as nobody’s ever patented the term.

Always ready to capitalize on a market need, DoubleTap Ammunition took the opportunity to snatch that phrase up. The company did so while also solving one of the biggest problems associated with carrying this multi-projectile load.

In the past, when you loaded your pistol up with shotshell rounds, you were making a choice. While exceptionally effective on snakes and vermin, they are essentially impotent against anything larger. Many of us carry them while hiking or camping. But that leaves you open to predatorial animals and the web of criminals that try to disappear into remote trail networks.

DoubleTap’s SnakeShot is different in that it throws the kitchen sink at your opponent. It not only showers your target with a healthy dose of #9 shot but a larger central projectile as well. Even the cap is designed to inflict harm, making these the most efficient shells of this type on the market.

SnakeShot Loading

I first came face to face with these shells at the 2024 NSSF SHOT Show and had a moment to talk with DoubleTap’s owner, Michael McNett. Mike explained the complicated loading process—which the company actually holds a patent on—and how it’s intended to work.

Beginning at the flash hole, each case is filled with a moderate charge of fast-burning powder. This leaves room for the elongated payload while maximizing velocity. Next in the stack is a hard-cast solid projectile, which varies in weight and style depending on the cartridge. This serves as the wad that is present in conventional shotshells and carries the most kinetic energy of all the components.

From here, the case is topped off with as much #9 shot as it can hold before being packed and crimped with a copper disk that resembles a gas check.

Before the completion of the show, I had already deemed these the most interesting ammunition products on the floor and knew that I needed to try some out on my own. Before departing the booth, I put in a request for some samples and put them in line for evaluation.

Testing DoubleTap SnakeShot

At the time of this writing, DoubleTap SnakeShot is available in seven cartridges. However, I limited my testing to the four that I felt made the best cross-sample. Among the ones that got cut were 500 S&W, .32 H&R, and .41 Special. My reasons were a mix of popularity and firearms availability. But if you wield one of these oddballs, your ship has come in!

With the remaining four in hand, I rolled up some targets, packed the car, and hit the range to see how these did.

I decided on seven yards as my test distance, as that would be the likely use case. Then, I disassembled one of each cartridge to examine the individual components and better understand what to expect before pulling the trigger.

Based on the results, I’d then select one to fire into ballistic gel and draw my final conclusions.

Running the .38 Special

I began my day with the .38 Special, which housed a central solid-lead projectile that weighed 50 grains, pushing approximately 160 individual pellets. Attempting to chronograph them didn’t quite work out, as putting a multitude of lead across its screens confused it. I had readings as low as 324 feet per second and ones as high as 8,541.

.38 Special.

So, it looks like I can only report what the manufacturer claims for velocity, which was collected by Doppler radar. DoubleTap tells us that we can expect 1,000 FPS from a 4-inch barrel with this load. This is presently what my Taurus 608 is built with.

Right now, you’re likely thinking, “Is that safe with a ported barrel?” The answer is, completely. Other manufacturers warn against this, but DoubleTap’s loading process has eliminated this danger.

Firing my first shots, these felt exceptionally light, especially for a DoubleTap product. With a total payload weight of 130 grains, all of the pellets landed within a 17.75-inch circle. Additionally, a sample of five shots put all of the central slugs well within my 6-inch Birchwood Shoot NC paster. We were off to a great start.

The .45 Colt Load

When we think “snake gun,” most of our minds walk directly to one of those little Bond Arms numbers. Being that they only carry two shots, I feel this is where this ammunition is most valuable. With that, I selected a Ranger II with a 4.25-inch barrel to test the .45 Colt load.

DoubleTap SnakeShot:. 45 Colt.

This shell nearly doubles the pellet count of the .38 Special and is built with a 70-grain main slug, all traveling at that same 1,000 FPS from a 4-inch barrel. Since .45 Colt is typically pretty light on the wrists, these were a touch more punchy than cowboy loads. However, they are a fair bit gentler than your typical hollow-point self-defense .45 Colt cartridge.

Patterning was exceptional, with the average spread printing a vertical rectangle that was roughly 16×8 inches. The larger projectile seemed to land a little bit higher each time but never more than six inches from the center of the target.

Bringing the Heat in .44 Magnum

Moving onto the .44 Magnum, I set the stage for a little fun with my Taurus Raging Hunter. Its 8.37-inch barrel is more than double what DoubleTap tested this load at. So, you can expect a substantial increase in velocity when you toss one of these loads through.

DoubleTap SnakeShot: .44 Magnum.

The results did not disappoint, as I was greeted with consistent 16-inch rounded patterns, with the main pill hitting the Birchwood paster in the top half each and every time. With its consistency, I wouldn’t hesitate to take this on a hog hunt where there’s the possibility of harvesting one right below my feet.

As for the recoil, you’ll know you fired something heavy. However, most won’t believe it was a .44 Magnum, especially out of a large-frame revolver.

Adding Contrast with .327 Federal

Lastly, I chose the smallest bore to offer some contrast. That, and I just don’t feel like I’ve shot enough .327 Federal in my career. This thinner caliber doesn’t offer the real estate of the larger cartridges. Nonetheless, DoubleTap was able to cram 95 grains of lead into it and push it out at the 1,000 FPS mark from a 4-inch barrel. This is distributed across 110 pellets and a 40-grain solid projectile.

DoubleTap SnakeShot: .327 Federal.

Interestingly, in the previous cartridges, the projectile was a disc. However, the .327 is rounded, taking the profile of a traditional pistol bullet. This explains why a group of five produced one ragged hole in my target. This is extraordinary when you consider the barrel of the Taurus 327, which they were fired from, which measures only two inches in length.

The rounded nose is also likely responsible for the greater dispersion in the pattern, as these also ranged in the 16-inch mark but with greater gaps in between pellets.

DoubleTap SnakeShot vs. Ballistic Gel

Adding it all up, I decided that the .38 Special would be the best one to gel test. Not only did my gun match DoubleTap’s lab protocol, but it’s hands down the most popular of these four. Setting a single block of 10% FBI gel from Clear Ballistics at the 7-yard line, I got eye level with it and centered a round into it for observation.

DoubleTap SnakeShot vs. ballistic gel.

I liked what I saw, especially regarding the lead disc. Its flat nature caused it to tip and yaw as it made its way through the semi-liquid medium. This dumps more of its energy into the target, increasing its effectiveness and reducing the chance of overpenetration.

Out of the lowly .38, we still managed eight inches of penetration, which is enough to stop a man or pretty much any other thin-skinned threat. As for the pellets, more than 30 landed within the 6×6-inch area, stopping between one and three inches of penetration. As an added bonus, one even made its way a full five inches in.

SnakeShot Solves a Realistic Problem

Overall, I was impressed with DoubleTap’s SnakeShot, as it solved a realistic problem and expanded the firearms landscape for effective woodland self-defense. While I enjoy the older designs as a novelty or a “load when needed” pest control solution, I wouldn’t hesitate to shove these into my everyday carry and forget about them.

Mild recoil balanced with adequate penetration makes them excellent for even those with limited dexterity, regardless of what they might face. Dare I say it? This is one of the do-all products in the shooting industry that truly does all.

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