Ammunition

Don’t Use Too Much Gun!

Yesterday, I stayed at a friend’s cabin in the backwoods of Tennessee. In the evening, her cat discovered a mouse that infiltrated from the outside. Three hours later, the cat was still chasing the mouse all over furniture, running through the upstairs bedroom, then along the hallways. Something had to be done to remove the rodent since the cat was clearly not up to the task. Leaving it be wasn’t an option as mouse feces are a health hazard. A shotgun with polyethylene riot control birdshot would have done the job, but that would have been noisy and required vacuuming up the shot off the floor.

Out came the Smith&Wesson 617 revolver and Colibri ammunition. Similar to CB caps in concept — a 20 grain bullet driven only by a pinch of primer — Colibri is sized similarly to 22 Long and so fits most 22LR firearms. It will not cycle autoloaders but functions with reasonable accuracy in revolvers. I had it along for the trip because I sometimes teach new shooters using this almost-silent and recoilless cartridges for the initial familiarization.

While a Walther P22 with a Gemtech Alpine sound suppressor was on hand as well, 40 grain bullets at 800fps would have taken quite a bit more out of the cabin walls than the Colibri 20-grainers ambling along at nominal 375fps. Since the light in the hallway was quite dim, I had to hold a flashlight in one hand and the revolver with the other, firing from five yards. Hearing protection was not needed as the report resembled an open palm brought down lightly against a table. After each shot, I could hear the sound of bullets rolling back towards me on the wooden floor. I wasn’t sure if I hit the rodent, so I fired again and then moved in to examine the results.

As you can see from the photographs, the shots penetrated completely. The bullet that passed through the body is visible near the mouse, the other projectile that met the lesser resistance of the leg bounced a couple of feet back towards the shooter. You can see a very slight dent in the door frame made by one of the bullets, not a big deal at the rough backwoods cabin. A low-powered air gun would have probably one as well, but I worked with what I had on hand. At least now I can claim that even my mousegun has a six inch barrel!

About the Author:

Oleg Volk

Oleg Volk is a creative director working mainly in firearms advertising. A great fan of America and the right to bear arms, he uses his photography to support the right of every individual to self-determination and independence. To that end, he is also a big fan of firearms.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (9)

  1. Man,I almost laughed out loud when I saw the photo of the rat,the projectile,and the apparent crime scene,but then I blew my drink out my nose and mouth across the room when Joe asked if you were gonna mount it. When I was a boy,my Dad brought home some sheets of parafin wax about3/16, maybe quarter inch thick. I don’t know where he got it, or where you might find some today,but would be inerested to do it again if anyone finds a source for it,and will share it. Please advise. Anyway, with a conetic bullet puller,pull apart a few of your favorite revolver rounds,discarding bullets and powder to one side. Now,lay the wax on the table,or a board on the table,if your wife is near by. The wax is the rolled out dough,and you take the empty shells and press each one firmly and cleanly thru the wax,like little cookie cutters. Keep punching each one right next to the last (not to waste wax. You’re making a form of squib load. The primer is sufficient to accurately fcire these melting hot round disc shaped projectiles at least thru a couple of rooms in the house,leaving a perfectly round indention about as deep as the wax is thick…….in the front door screen. I know,because I grew up without central air,and flys on the screen became targets of oppritunity. Ahh,the good ole days. I fired my custom loads via an old Colt ( I believe it was a Single Action Army,but not sure) with about a six or six and a half inch bbl. The trigger was broken off up near the top of the trigger guard,so you had to fan it. Shooting .45 long Colts in the house at around 10 years old,even with wax loads was a hoot. Should work with any center fire revolver caliber. I may have a piece of that wax,if I can remember where I put it years ago. Hmmmmmm……….

  2. If only there were such a thing like fishing’s catch and release–shoot and release. That little SOB never had a chance being hunted by its natural feline predator and the one preeminant predator on Earth. Shoot and release (quite some distance from the house) most certainly would have been appropriate in this case.

    Sorry rat!! It chose the wrong house to visit, and the mouse made a bad choice too.

    (Tongue frimly in cheek here, OK?)

  3. Years ago my girlfriend & I lived at a buddy’s house and we had mice in the house. When the lights were turned off, within minutes they began scurrying across the kitchen counters (Gross). So I ziptied a penlight to the top of my pistol pellet gun and sat in the dark to wait for them. I would cover the beam with my left hand to conceal the light as even the slightest click of the light coming on and they were gone. Uncover the beam, take quick aim and KABLAM, dead mouse. We finally did find out how they were getting inside (resourceful bastards) and blocked their way with steel wool. They either ate or pulled out anything less resistant to mice.

  4. We made an inertia bullet puller in Viet Nam (Seabees can make anything) to pull M-16 bullets. The powder was dumped out and a .22 lead ball from the close anti-personal round (like a 40mm shotshell) of an M-79 grenade launcher pushed in the neck of the cartridge. Single loaded in the M-16, the primer was enough kill rats at close range with minimal damage to buildings. We had many other ways to kill rats and there was a report of the nightly tally at morning muster.

  5. Effective – though I’ve always preferred an airgun for such tasks.

    They have legal advantages, if nothing else… but that’s not likely an issue in backwoods Tennessee, in a cabin.

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