An Encounter With A Cottonmouth

Posted by Lawrence Bolton on May 16th 2011

It was springtime in the Arizona desert just North of Phoenix when I met the deadliest Cottonmouth a man had ever laid eyes upon. I came upon the masterfully camouflaged serpent basking in the stifling sun. This snake was forty-two inches in length with a striking distance of well beyond 1200 yards. The serpent I speak of is not the creature you worry of in the swamp; it is one bad piece of steel from Venom Tactical.

I had the pleasure of teaching Lawrence Bolton, owner of Venom Tactical, and creator of a full line of custom sniper rifles referenced by serpent names. Lawrence attended a week long sniper course with Mark Flinn, an old shooting buddy and long time friend. Mark & Lawrence had identical Cottonmouth sniper rifles as Lawrence had built these snakes exactly the same for the two buddies to test during the sniper course. The only difference between the two shooter’s equipment was their bullet weight. Lawrence was shooting HSM 175gr .308 and Mark utilizing Federal Gold Match 168gr .308 in their sniper rifles. These shooters were using completely different brands and grains of ammunition, but both held the exact same DOPE out to 1375yds. The DOPE developed over the weeklong course of shooting, resulted without the use of a holdover, was 60 MOA dialed with a 20 inch barrel at 1200yds. Typically, a Remington 700 with a 24inch barrel develops DOPE averaging 75 MOA at this distance, and only if you have that extra elevation on the top end to dial without hitting mechanical limits of the scope.

The ability to shoot that distance without a use of a holdover and keep the center crosshair on target is an additional asset the Cottonmouth brings to the table. A technical facet and original design built into the Cottonmouth is a proprietary procedure in which the barrel and action are threaded and coupled with a huge amount of torque that would destroy a standard barreled action. This also eliminates the cold bore shots, making they a thing of the past. Most shooters would laugh at the prospect of identical rifles shooting the same DOPE with different ammunition, but this is indeed the case with these Venom Tactical custom sniper rifles. This can only be explained by the amazing quality and precision machining built into the hand-made rifles from Venom Tactical, thanks to the skills of Lawrence Bolton.

Having personally witnessed and preformed these actions with the Cottonmouth makes me a true believer that there are still some rifle builders out there who continue to focus on attention to detail, and quality craftsmanship.

Rob Pettorson

Scout Sniper USMC

Chief Instructor – Sniper Innovations