Guns > Handguns

Bond Arms Snake Slayer

It's not uncommon for hunters to carry a handgun for backup. Could a modern day derringer fill that role? Richard Mann put that question to the test with the Snake Slayer from Bond Arms.

4/2/2013

What this derringer lacks in capacity it makes up for in versatility. Bond Arms is based out of Granbury, Texas, and its derringers are manufactured exclusively in the United States. It has eight models to choose from with 16 barrel and 22 cartridge combinations. In fact, one Bond Arms derringer—with additional barrels—can be used to fire everything from a .22 LR to a .410 shotshell.

Back when men like Bat Masterson were killing buffalo and fighting crime, the derringer was a popular sidearm. It was the smallest firearm available for protection and survival. Today, revolvers and semi-automatic handguns can weigh less than a pound and fit in a pocket. The capacity and compactness of modern handguns makes a two-shot derringer less appealing.

A lot of hunters like the idea of carrying a small handgun. It can be used to put the final shot on a downed animal, for survival, as a signal device or even as protection from a snake or bad guy. But not all hunters are pistoleros who want to carry a Glock or a hog’s leg revolver.

Bond Arms’ derringers are a break-open design, but instead of the barrels breaking down, they fold up. The pivot pin above the barrel is threaded and can be removed with a hex head wrench. This allows a barrel change in about a minute. The frame and barrels are CAD-designed and CNC-machined out of stainless steel. These double-barrel derringers have a cross-bolt safety, a rebounding hammer, retracting firing pins and a spring-loaded extractor.

Curious how these modern derringers might work as a back-up/protection handgun for hunters, I asked Bond Arms to loan me one of its Snake Slayer models. The Snake Slayer has a 3.5-inch barrel and will fire .45 Colt or .410 shotshells. There’s only one hammer and one trigger; a neat little striker plate built into the hammer alternates between the top and bottom barrel each time the hammer is cocked. This plate can be seen when the hammer is cocked. If it’s up, the top barrel fires first. If it’s down the bottom barrel is first. So, practically speaking, you could load a .45 Colt round in one barrel and a .410 shotshell in the other, positioning the one you want to fire first based on the position of the striker plate. If the need dictated, you could lower the hammer to switch to the other barrel.

By modern compact handgun standards, the 22-ounce Snake Slayer is not all that light, and at 6 inches long it’s not all that compact. However, if you have ever fired a .410 shotshell or a full-power .45 Colt load from a handgun you’ll know why. That heft and hand-filling grip give you something by which to hold onto all that power. Fortunately, Bond Arms offers a variety of quality leather belt holsters for its derringers. The horizontal, Velcro-attachable model was particularly convenient when riding in a vehicle or when sitting.

At 7 yards it was no problem to hit a 10-inch circle every time with Remington 225-grain semi-wad cutter or Federal 225-grain hollow-point .45 Colt loads, which had a muzzle velocity of about 900 fps. However, there was about a 6-inch separation between the points of impact of the top and bottom barrel. This same separation was also found with the .38 Spl./.357 Mag. barrels.

For defensive purposes the .410-bore Winchester PDX 1 load was the clear winner. It put the three "Defensive Disks" into a 4-inch cluster while the 12 plated BBs peppered the target, covering about 24 inches. Of course, if you wanted to use the Snake Slayer to finish off a wounded critter, the .45 Colt loads would be the best choice. For snakes, common .410 shotshells work wonderfully.

With a suggested retail price of $475 and extra barrels from 2.5 to 4.5 inches long selling between $109 and $189, the Bond Arms Snake Slayer is a durable, two-shot option as a back-up/survival/protection pistol for the hunter. With its barrel interchangeability, it’s about the most versatile option you’ll find.

Technical Specifications:

Type: two-barrel, single-action pistol
Caliber: .45 Colt/.410-bore
Barrel: 3.5"
Overall Length: 6"
Weight: 22 ozs.
Grips: rosewood
Sights: fixed front and rear
Finish: brushed stainless
MSRP: $475, extra barrels $109-$189 (.22 LR, .22 Mag., .327 Fed. Mag., 9mm, .38 Spl./.357 Mag., .40 S&W, 10mm, .44 Spl., .44/40 Win., .45 GAP & .45 ACP)

Share |

Comments

ADD YOUR COMMENT

Enter your comments below, they will appear within 24 hours


Your Name


Your Email


Your Comment

3 Responses to Bond Arms Snake Slayer

TDA wrote:
May 01, 2013

Yes, the extended rubber grip feels great in the hand and makes shooting these hand cannons much more pleasant! BTW Bond Arms has an updated version releasing this year...can't wait to get my hands on one!!!

BillW wrote:
April 04, 2013

I have both the 45/410 and 9mm. I have read that some 'experts' do not suggest this as a personal protection carry weapon. I do not agree. Depends on where I am going. But this is a full weapon to shoot

Chris beall wrote:
April 04, 2013

I love this! Id rather have a 5 inch barrel for one and a houge custom grip / rubber one. I saw a guy with one like it years ago and have always wanted one.