Sunday, February 17, 2013

A snake! A snake!

So, over at a forum on which I post, someone asked if anybody had fired a 12 gauge pistol-grip shotgun one-handed. My initial thought was "Uh, doesn't everyone who owns one do it at least once, just to see?" but then I was reminded of the most memorable time I did it, back when I was young enough to actually own a pistol-gripped shotgun and appear in public with the thing:

No $#!+, there I was...

I was working at my very first gun store, back in the early '90s, and had just bought a 20" Mossie 500 eight-shooter and, like every twenty-something Mossenberger owner does, I ditched the buttstock for the pistol grip that is handily provided in the box so you can make your gun look cool and yourself like an ignorant dork.

I was renting a room from my boss in his lakefront house at the time, which was awesome because lakefront house, but had its downsides, such as carpooling to work with the boss made it hard to call in sick and go jet-skiing.

So the day I bought the gun, I ride home in the boss's truck, cheerfully coonfingering my shiny new gat in the box in my lap. We arrive home, get out of the truck, boss goes to let the doberman out of the back, when I see it! Right there coiled in the driveway is ten inches of fanged death! And the curious dog was headed right for it...

"Hold Obie!" I yell, "Even the babies are venomous!"

The boss grabbed the dog and pulled it back. I grabbed the Persuader, slid a round of the store's cheapest low-brass #7.5 birdshot into the magazine tube, and then worked the shotgun's action with the sound of doom, the dreaded "ka-CHAK!" which would have sent the snake scurrying for safety, if the snake had the brains of a 200-lb armed robber on crack.

Checking my backstop, I moved around so as to fire in a safe direction and, I guess for heightened dramatic effect plus a reluctance to get too close to the vicious critter which might wake up and attack at any moment, extended the shotgun in one hand until the muzzle, wavering from the firm grip of my pipestem forearm, was maybe two feet from the snake...

BLAAMMO!

The shot column struck the driveway, which was angled downhill away from me and towards the lake, and skipped off in a perpendicular direction as ricochets are wont to do, scooping the snake up more-or-less intact and depositing it in the honeysuckle about eight feet up a tree.

Elation surged through me. I had saved the dog! I'd defended the fort! I'd saved us all from certain scaled death!

I had not even returned the shotgun to its box when a friend of ours, a postman who was both a gun nut and amateur herpetology buff, came strolling down the drive. "Gary!" I hollered, ears still slightly ringing, "Look up in that tree over there! Check out that rattlesnake that Obie found!"

"How did it get up in the tree?" he asked, reasonably.

"I shot it and that's where it landed."

He went to do a postmortem on our antagonist.

It was a corn snake, of course.

I console myself by realizing that Obie probably would have killed the thing anyway.


(Names have been changed to prevent anyone from being associated with my foolishness. Except the dog. She was a willing co-conspirator.)

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best be careful, Tam, lest ye draw the ire of ye olde PETA!

Bob said...

Unfortunately corn snakes are often confused with copperheads (down south, anyway). I can see them being confused with prarie rattlesnakes, also. In Florida the Pine Snake is often confused with the Diamondback Rattlesnake, and many harmless water snakes species are confused with the Cottonmouth.

I remember that the late columnist Lewis Grizzard, a confirmed snake-phobe, lumped all snakes together as "copperheaded water rattlers." To him, they were ALL venomous.

I only ever saw two rattlesnakes in my 17 years growing up in Florida; my dad killed one as it swam in our lagoon (we lived on a lake) and I killed one myself in the woods. Nowadays even venomous snakes I'll leave alone, unless they are in my yard (or unless I need a new hatband)

NAVIGATOR said...

TO PARAPHRASE JOHN WAYNE "SHOOTING SOMEONE (THE SNAKE) IS NOT IMPORTANT IT IS THE THOUGHT BEHIND IT THAT COUNTS !"

Fred said...

Thanks, I needed a good laugh at someone else's expense. :D

I feel a little cheated though, I didn't get a free pistol grip with my Mossberg pump...

Ken O said...

I was cured of pistol gripped Mossberg foolishness at 15. The offending creature required a follow-up shot, and the idiot friend who owned the gun in question had loaded it with a handful of shells grabbed from the shell bag. 3" 000 WILL chamber in a 2 3/4" chamber; the resultant recoil knocked a hole through my upper lip and loosened four teeth, leaving me with a scar and small bald spot in the middle of my moustache. I never trust ANYONE to load a gun for me now.

BGMiller said...

There must be something wrong with my gunnie chip...

I have never felt any desire for a pistol grip shotgun.


BGM

Ted N said...

Fred, if it'll make you feel better, I'll mail you the grip from mine. :D

Robert Langham said...

Are there no pictures of you jet-skiing with the shotgun slung? I just want to know if there a god or not.

Anonymous said...

You have more confirmed kills with the Mossy than the entire population of owners of Snakecharmers and Judges.

Gerry

fast richard said...

People kill snakes. It seems to be instinctive. I wonder if we've killed more dangerous snakes or more harmless snakes that had the misfortune to be mistaken for the others.

Fred said...

Ted, I'd have no use for it... I just would have sold the silly thing for fun and profit!

There's a certain NCO in my unit that carries his issue M500 with just the pistol grip on it here in A-stan. It's really nothing more of an indication of just how retarded the guy is. Keep in mind he doesn't carry it as a secondary for breaching or anything, it's his primary individual weapon. This is also after qualifying with it (the Army shotgun qual is a joke) and complaining about it damn near breaking his thumb between the gun and his SAPI plate.

og said...

That right there is funny i dont care who you are.

Scott J said...

I have one gun and snake story to share.

We were out setting up a range in a friend's corn field out in Macon County, AL.

Our way back home involved crossing a small bridge over a small stream.

Halfway across our little two truck convoy is called to a halt and I hear "Scott, go kill that snake". I look where he's pointing and about 5 feet from the bridge a water moccasin is sticking up out of the water watching us.

It was on the opposite side of the bridge from me so I bail out the passenger side and draw down with the SP-101. As I did so mr snake fully opens his big 'ol cotton mouth at me. My friend later said he wished he'd had his camera as it would have been a really cool picture.

I should have used that big, white mouth as a target but instead I aimed to cut him in half at the water line.

Still being very new to snubby ownership I missed by about 2 inches at 10 feet.

I then expend 3 more rounds at the furiously swimming snake as the two truckloads of guys egg me on.

He finally stops about 40 feet away on a log. I thumb cocked the gun and took careful aim.

I'm not sure if I hit him directly or skipped the round off the log but I saw two distinct pieces of snake fly off the log into the water. I had managed to cut him in half about 4 inches below the head.

I felt a bit bad as I'll normally let them live in their natural habitat like that but the land owner wanted it dead because they had cattle and horses that drank from the stream.

Those 5 rounds of full-house Remington 125gr .357 out of that two and one-eighth barrel are one of many reasons I hear a slight ring in my ears all the time now.

sepulvedasrevenge said...

Dear moderator, can you make this post a sticky?

The Freeholder said...

My 12 ga Mossy came with the thing attached to it, and I was dumb enough to try it multiple times, because Tubbs in "Miami Vice" looked cool doing it or something. I don't know, I plead 30-something stupid. (I always have been a bit slow on the uptake on some subjects....)

After that, I got a good synthetic stock with an evil pistol grip on it and swapped them out. Still got the original for some unknown reason. I really ought to take it to the range and use it as a pistol target.

Anonymous said...

Never had the urge to put a pistol grip on a shotgun. Probably because the one time I fired such a gun - a Mossberg Persuader, as it happens - I sprained the heck out of my wrist. And I wasn't even trying to one-hand "Road Warrior" the thing, either.

No thanks. My own Mossberg wears a full-length stock.

--Wes S.

BobG said...

The only things I have shot with a scattergun are birds, which are good for eating.
I've killed several rattlers, but with a stick; you waste less meat that way.

steve l said...

Back in the pre-ccw days a pistol gripped shotgun legally fit behind the seat of my small pickup.
Did shoot it one hand once, since no snake was available my aimpoint was a rather impressive pile of not completely dried cow dung....gave a good rendering of the shot pattern

Sport Pilot said...

Good post Taam, very good post, your one of the "most real" writers in the blog world.

Gewehr98 said...

Overheard at a RSB (Reincarnation Selection Board) shortly after Tam's episode: "Yeah, I know you have more snake positions to fill. I DON'T CARE! Last time around, you guys told me the same thing - "Sorry about the rattlesnake gig, how about a nice non-venomous corn snake? People will leave you alone, and you'll be doing us a favor with the critically short quotas." Well, you know what? Getting shot multiple times hurts. Garden hoes hurt. Pitchforks hurt. Screw that! Ever try to cross a frickin' road? People SWERVE! One minute, you've just sucked down a nice field mouse, cruising back home to digest and watch some Animal Planet, and the next thing you know, some A-hole is screaming "Snake!" while calling in a drone strike on your ass. I'm tired of this shit. You bastards want more snakes down there? Volunteer youselves for the job. Now, give me something with legs, damnit! I don't care if it's 2, 4, 6, 8, or 100, as long as it ain't a friggin' snake...

JustSomeGuy said...

Gewehr98,

Nice. Made for a good snort-chuckle.

Thanks,
JSG

PD said...

Obie the dobie?

Tam said...

It was actually "O.B." as in "O.B. Noxious".

She was pretty frisky when she wasn't sleeping.

Crotalus said...

Tam!! You killed a Corn Snake??? Those are the best pet snakes EVAH!! Don't be hatin' Corns!

Steve Skubinna said...

One of the bennies to living in Western WA is no venomous snakes west of the Cascades.

On the other hand, visiting HMAS Stirling (south or Perth) once, opened the door to the phone booth on the pier. Coiled in the bottom was a small brown snake, no bright warning colors and very inoffensive looking. This being Oz, where even some of the sheep are venomous, I decided to find a subject matter expert.

There was an RAN sailor just down the pier and I called him over and showed him the snake.

"That's a bad 'un, mate!" he said (inexplicably omitting "Crikey!"). "'E'd do you in fifteen seconds, 'e would. I'll call the animal control bloke."

Critter said...

many moons ago, i succumbed to the lure of the pistol gripped mossy. a couple of rounds of birdshot and i thought i had this thing down pat. a single round of 00 buck, high brass, and all the recoil energy went straight through my wrist bones. i traded it that afternoon.

Swamp Lizard said...

Ah, yessss, the intelligence of (some) of us...

Long, long ago, in another life in a land far, far away I was relatively newly married, and the darling now -ex and I would occasionally go shooting at a small range in Orange County, east of L.A.

We had purchased a Remington 870 from someone in need of dead presidents, and were out there to try it out.

We had both fired several rounds through it, and while I was tending to other matters over where our weapons were sunbathing, she reloaded and stepped up to the firing line. I saw her start to "John Wayne" the 12 ga from the hip, and just as I shouted "Don't!! STOP!!" she yanked--not squeezed--the trigger.

Took the full recoil impact on her right "social finger".

ER x-ray found a green stick break, splinted it.

ER doc had a hard time keeping a straight face when we told him how it happened.

Ed said...

The local Scout camp used to be surrounded by Florida orange groves and woods but is now surrounded by residential development. Two notable things about the place - as an oasis amid development it is home to plenty of pygmy rattlesnakes that can jump their footlong length to strike when motivated and is the only place that I have ever seen a much more poisonous coral snake in the wild.

It can be difficult to convince a eight year old Cub Scout that he really does not want to squat and point at either one of those snakes without completely spooking the parents who are with him.

Jennifer said...

I've yet to try that. I know better, but that is no indication that I will avoid such peril in the future.
Thanks for the giggle.

TJIC said...

> "I shot it and that's where it landed."

LOL!

Pakkinpoppa said...

I put a pistol grip aboard the 870 Akron PD decided to trade in back in '00. Took it right back off after taking it to the range...if I'd brought the Allen head screwdriver and the stock along I would have kept firing it...they sure do look cool but sure do hurt the hand if you fire more than a magazine through it.

Now...Speedfeed makes a short grip that approximates a full stock cut off behind the grip part, if I feel the urge to have something short yet comfy to shoot.

My first scattergun (first yellow form for that matter) was a Stevens 311 that I bobbed to just over the legal length...including chopping the plastic stock off to about right behind the grip with a little extra so the barrels could end up at 18.5". That was fun...should have kept it but it ended up being sold for very little.

Will said...

anonymous @3:46,

don't bet on the life expectancy of your parking lot occupants unless your front wall is constructed of concrete. Consider walls of drywall+studs to be barely more solid than the glass in your windows.

The occupants INSIDE structures across the street are at some risk from your misses. Might want to think about going to standard power, or even down a bit to "tactical" 00 buck, and don't plan on missing.

perlhaqr said...

Yep. I pistol gripped my Mossberg 500, too. Very first gun I ever bought myself. I was too cheap to actually buy a pistol grip for it, so I took the rifle stock, and cut it down into a pistol grip shaped sorta thing... Kinda like the grips on those old piratical cap and ball pistols.

I'm actually big enough that I could hold onto it, even if I couldn't hit a damned thing with it, really.

I have since replaced the standard rifle stock on the shotgun, with one that an acquaintance of mine didn't need any more because he was pistol gripping his Mossberg 500...

Of course, he was a paraplegic, and felt like the pistol grip would be useful for his full-time wheelchair-bound self. It might have actually made sense, for him.

Justthisguy said...

We don' need no steenking shotguns. I mind a time when I was about 7 years old, when Dad came up to the house with a magnificent large Eastern Diamondback which he had just killed with the shovel he'd happened to have in his hand.

That was in Southern FL, where I live yet again. To this day, I am leery of stomping around in the bushes in these parts.

J.R.Shirley said...

Poor little corn snake. There's such sweet little guys.

montieth said...

Tam, I'm still curious where our paths or trails crossed in and around Atlanta.

I'm also curious which old phates you know from around atlanta. Harley from David's, the guys at Tucker Guns, the old owner at Master Gunman, Steve from Chamblee PD, Chris from the Gunroom.

Oh hey, Cafe Intermezzo on Peachtree St is closing in a few weeks I've heard.
Cafe Diem doesn't exist any more but has spawned multiple offspring.

Justthisguy said...

Not to mention Buzz's Psycle.