Somewhere in the late 70s, I bought a Bicentennial edition Ruger New Model Blackhawk in .357 Magnum. My brother pestered me for a few years about it and I finally gave it to him. He passed away in November of 2014 and left it to me. I sent it off to a gunsmith and had the barrel shortened from 6 1/2 inches to 4 3/4 inches. I got it back today.

I’ll be using this as a “work” gun, out in the woods, fishin’, etc..


I decided to see if I could make some homemade snake shot loads for it, so I started tooling up this morning about 10 AM and I got the prototype done about 1 PM.

STEP 1- I fabricated a coring device to make wads. The hole in the side of the case is for pushing the wad out.


STEP 2- I cored wads from a 5 gallon bucket lid.


STEP 3- I made a special ram to seat the plastic wad over 5 grains of (yup, you guessed it!) Bullseye.


STEP 4- I charged the case with 80 grains of number 6 shot.


STEP 5- I cored a cover wad out of a shipping box, seated it and heavily crimped the case.


STEP 6- From 5 feet, I fired it at an unfolded small flat rate box. The pattern is about 5 inches in diameter. You can clearly see a donut pattern.


I used number 6 shot because it was handy. Somewhere around here, I’ve got a few number 8 shot shells. I’ll cut open a few of those and try that.

Same powder charge, remaining void filled with a mix of 7 1/2s and 8s. Three inch pattern at three feet. The big hole is from the plastic wad. I think this will work.





About Jim

Retired from industrial construction and livin' the dream in the mountains of Virginia.
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