My snares/claps always trigger the limiter when mastering. Why?
They aren't even the loudest element in the mix by both ear and software yet they always cause gain reduction...
p.s I bus them so, I know layering isn't the issue.
If they cause infrequent peaking, which mine had sometimes, just chuck on a flattish compressor on the percussion bus and bring it down till the peaks stop being an issue. If that loses the punch of your drums, some transient shaper or parallel compression should do more than enough to fix that.
Cumulative effect of some kind, snare + something else hitting at the same time, or too much transient (snare and hat? etc). Side chaining is the easy option for sure. Mute all your other bits and bring them in one by one and see where the limiter starts triggering? Might help identify the cause.
I rarely limit anything else than master so cannot say yes or no to that, but I usually first compress the the plain signal, then EQ it, and then compress the EQd signal a bit to keep it steady. If you boost something after you've limited your track, it can cause clipping due to the + values in the EQ
//edit: to the OP, as you described, I doubt it can be anything else than the snares coming too loud (+ multiplying with something else, as said earlier). If anything else is in place and sounds good though I'd go with sidechaining aswell - fast, effective and usually works wonders. Might also sidechain only above 150hz and see if that works so the low end keeps steady.