Hybrid revolvers capable of firing .45 Colt, .45 Schofield, .45 ACP, and .410 bore shotshells have become increasingly popular since the Judge series was introduced by Taurus in 2006-2007. The Judge’s main competitor is the Smith & Wesson Governor, which can also accept .45 ACP. Other options include .410/.45 LC two-round guns, such as the Bond Arms Snake Slayer Derringer, Cobra Titan Derringer, or Heizer PF1 Pocket Shotgun.
The .45 (Long) Colt
The .45 Colt is a centerfire handgun round. It has been around since 1873, for use in the Colt Peacemaker revolver designed for the US Army. It is available in bullet weights ranging from 185 to 250 grains. It has a MV (Muzzle Velocity) ranging from 725-1950 fps, with an average of 1337 fps, and a ME (Muzzle Energy) ranging from 780 to1267 foot lbs., with an average ME of 783-foot lbs. Please note these ranges and averages are when fired from a five to 5.5 inch barrel (Ballistics 101., 2013a).
The .410 Bore Shotshell.
The .410 bore is a shotgun shell, often erroneously called the .410 gauge. As with all shotshells, it can carry birdshot, buckshot, slugs, or in the case of the .410 designed specifically for the Judge and Governor, unique combinations of projectiles, such as discs and BB shot.
The Taurus Judge Public Defender:
The Taurus Judge Public Defender is a steel construction, double action/single action revolver chambered for both the .45 colt and the 2.5-inch .410 bore shot shell. It has a five round cylinder (Taurus International MFG.,2016). It retails for about $ 600.(2016 price). It has a black finish, striated rubber handgrip, three-inch barrel, adjustable rear sights, and a red fiber optic front site. Its overall length is seven and a half inches, and it weighs 1.8 lbs. (29 oz.) (Taurus International MFG., 2016). The hammer is wide, and the cylinder swings open easily when the thumb release is pressed. There is a keyhole safety feature under the hammer, which is an option that will enable/disable the gun from firing, when the included key is inserted and turned. This is a standard safety feature on Rossi/Taurus revolvers (Taurus International MFG. ,2016a).
The fiber optic front site facilitates easy target acquisition; the trigger pull is crisp when fired in double action, and feather light in single action. With .45 colt round nose, or jacketed, it shot tight patterns right out of the box without any adjustment of the sights. Recoil was very manageable with .45 Colt, and the report is loud enough where hearing protection is needed. With .410 bore #6 shot, only four or five pellets made it to the target at 25 meters. At seven meters, I got about a 10-inch diameter spread. I fired Remington slugs with good accuracy comparable to .45 Colt at seven, 15, and 25 meters. I tried Winchester PDX self-defense rounds consisting of three discs backed by 12 pieces of BB shot, and found that at seven meters, the discs deviated down and to the right, hitting about a half inch apart in the five o’clock position. The BB shot would tend to land in a 10-12 inch pattern in the center. The recoil with .410 shot shells is substantial; harder than a .357 magnum of about the same weight. The report is loud enough where hearing protection is a must.
- A Boeing 747 is a piece of junk because it can’t fly to the ISS (International Space Station) .
- A Bentley is a piece of junk because you can’t drive it across the ocean to Europe.
- A Barrett .50 is a piece of junk because it is unsuitable for eliminating the squirrels that munch on the basil you are growing in your urban garden.
- A Taurus judge is a piece of junk because it can’t hit a target with #6 birdshot at 25 meters.
The preceding statements are all nonsensical for one reason: It is not a legitimate criticism to fault something for being unable to perform above and beyond its intended function. The Taurus Judge gets a lot of criticism because of its limited range. It was not designed for range over 10 or 15 meters using .410 shot shells. The Taurus Judge series are primarily designed for close range self –defense. If you need to reach out further, that is why it also fires .45 colt. This is a nice gun when used within its limitations. At 25 meters, a few pieces of # 6 shot might feel like a stinging slap at the most. At seven meters or less, it is going to put a real hurt-down on a bad guy. According to Ballistic gelatin tests at six to ten feet (two to 3.5 meters) with #4 shot, average pellet penetration into a Heavy Cloth cover and 10% ballistic gel was 4.5 inches, and 2.7 inches with #7 ½ shot (.410 Handguns, n.d.). With the self-defense rounds I test fired, the BB shot would have hit center mass, and the discs would have probably gone into the bad guy’s thigh .410 slugs would also be effective. The .45 Colt is available as round nose, jacketed, hollow point, or with a polymer tip. My major criticism with this gun is the price of ammo- in 2015-2016 in my area (New England) .45 Colt costs about $1.00 a round, and a box of 20 .410 #6 shot is about $12.00 .410 A box of Winchester PDX1 Defender 410/45 half-and-half .45 Colt hollow point and .410 gauge BB’s/discs retails for about $32.00. As with my other Rossi, the 98610 .22, the handgrip on the Taurus Judge Public Defender is a little too small for my hands, but not problematic. It will be fine for men with smaller hands, youths, and women.
I would rate the Taurus Judge as a 7 on a one to ten scale. It is reasonably priced, fun to shoot, has the reliability and simplicity inherent in a revolver, and if used at close range with shot, delivers an incapacitating punch, yet over penetration is minimized. At longer range, birdshot fired from a three-inch barrel is so lacking in power, that most of the shot can’t even reach the target. Loaded with .45 colt, there is increased stopping power, but the question must be asked, why not just get a .357 revolver instead? The ammo is cheaper and more readily available, and the ballistics are comparable (Ballistics 101. , 2013). For applications other than self-defense, this would be interesting to hunt rabbits or squirrels with, or varmint control, and it makes an impressive mess of a tin can at close range.
Stay Safe. – DAP
.410 Handguns. (n.d.). Gun and Ammunition tests. Retrieved April 6, 2016 from http://410handguns.com/410_gel_results.html
Ballistics 101. (2013). . 357 Magnum Ballistics Chart. Ballistics 101.com. Retrieved April 6, 2016 from http://www.ballistics101.com/357_magnum.php
Ballistics 101. (2013a). .45 Colt Ballistics Chart. Ballistics 101.com. Retrieved April 6, 2016 from http://www.ballistics101.com/45_colt.php
Taurus International MFG. (2016). Taurus Judge 4510TKR-3B Revolver | .410 GA.45 Long Colt 5 Rounds Blue Finish. Retrieved April 5, 2016 from http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=198&category=Revolver&toggle=tr&breadcrumbseries=41
Taurus International MFG. (2016a). TAURUS SECURITY SYSTEM. Retrieved April 2, 2016 from http://www.taurususa.com/security-system.cfm