When I first heard about the Raging Judge, I thought it mighty peculiar that Taurus announced their 28-gauge pistol on the same day that Smith & Wesson demoed the Governor, the Springfield gunmaker’s answer to the Taurus Judge. Click here to see the video where Taurus product rep Christian Perez tells TTAG that the simultaneous launch was just a coincidence. Perez also said (2:15) that the Raging Judge was not yet cleared for production. Which raised another red flag. So I immediately collared the company’s media maven. Was this gun for real or not? I got the nudge, nudge, wink, wink routine: a clear signal that Taurus intended on producing the RJ ASAP. Yes, well, our hirsute friend at Gunblast has uncovered another piece of the puzzle . . .

Check out the video above. At 7:30, Gunblast’s main man reveals that the ATF has “put the skids on” the Raging Judge. Head slap. Why didn’t I think of that?

As commentator Jim W at sayuncle.com points out, the feds’ National Firearms Act (NFA) puts the kibosh on public sales of any weapon if it’s “a smoothbore pistol
or a pistol with caliber over .50.” The other Judges made the grade because they’re rifled and under .50 caliber. The 28-gauge Raging Judge is over the 50-cal mark. So . . .

. . . if they couldn’t come up with a workaround, like making the land-to-land measurement under half an inch, then they should never have tried to bring it to market. That’s wasting the owner’s money, if the owners care about that. If their lawyers signed off on it, they’re incompetent.

Commentator Diomed is right, but missing the point. The Raging Judge could well be nothing more than a publicity stunt designed to draw attention away from Smith’s six-shot (as opposed to Taurus’ five-shot) Judge-a-like. If so, it worked.

9 Responses to SHOT Show: Was Taurus Raging Judge A Head Fake?

  1. You’d think a firearms company’s legal department would have caught that. If my googlefu is right, then its a .550 handgun. How could you call yourself a lawyer and not have researched that point?

  2. Commntator “Southerner” raised these issues on Jan. 19th when he posted: “How did Taurus do an endrun around the “rifled bore over .50 cal. is a destructive device” and “smoothbore handgun requires a $200 tax stamp?” Or did they?”

  3. I was under the impression that the real issue affecting both this and the .410 lever-action Trail Judge ‘pistol’ was that they cannot chamber a metallic cartridge, only shot shells.
    There is no “.50 Taurus” round for the 28ga Judge to justify its rifling, and the lever-action feed system prevents the use of 45 LC in the Trail Judge. To me it sound like the BATFE has decided that the rifling is merely present to circumvent their classification as smoothbore pistols.

  4. Worst-case scenario: Taurus rolls out a new. 50 shotshell (maybe a 30-guage?) to try and suck all oxygen from the air while S&W tries to sell their Governator.

  5. Let me get this straight: First S&W is forced to resort to stealing Taurus’ (f-ing TAURUS!) innovative design years after the fact (the Governor ne Judge) THEN they get outmanuvered in the Marketing game by a red herring that Taurus put out there and we all bit on? This in the same time frame that S&W’s sales are eclipsed by Ruger?

    I’m not quite sure what I’m saying here, I’m just saying is all…

  6. [shrug] So they remove the rifling and sell it as an AOW with a mere $5 tax and a little extra paperwork. No biggie for most buyers in most states, and attracts more people to the NFA realm.

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