Gun Review: Smith & Wesson Governor

Some people think of shotguns as “magic brooms.” You aim it in the general direction of a bad guy and “sweep” your house clear of two-legged varmints. Without getting too technical about it, no. At bad breath distances, generally speaking, a shotgun ejects a softball-sized lead spread. While it’s easier to hit a target that’s three to five yards away with a softball than a marble, you can miss. Especially if you’re in life-threatening danger. And your target is moving around, quickly, trying to kill you. Still, why not a handheld shotgun? Why not the Smith & Wesson Governor?

On an instinctive level, the Governor makes perfect sense. Like the Taurus Judge that inspired it, the Governor is a fearsome-looking beast. Sure, the jumbo proportions are a bit whacked out; the Governor’s stainless steel cylinder (2.5″) is almost as long as the barrel (2.75″). But it adds to the Governor’s appeal. To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, “That’s not a revolver, THIS is a revolver.”

Style-wise, Smith & Wesson adhered to Henry Ford’s dictum: you can have the Governor in any color as long as it’s black. Right answer; a stainless steel Governor would look more like a kitchen appliance than a firearm. The handgun’s stainless steel barrel sleeve is a well-judged (so to speak) crowning touch—in a knowing, evil kinda way. Darth Vader, your revolver is ready.

Only not yet. Smith & Wesson has been working flat-out to meet demand for its core products. The Governor has been stuck in primary season for quite some time. But now that it’s out, the .410 shotshell shooter has all the virtues you would—or should—expect from a Smith & Wesson revolver. Our test and evaluation Governor was built like a proverbial brick you-know-what-house; pistol-whipping someone with the Governor would be the human equivalent of seal clubbing.

As the rabbi points out above, the Governor parades down quality street. The cylinder slots into the heat-treated scandium alloy frame like a Tower of Power horn line into a Little Feat song. The Governor’s trigger pull—more accessible than the rival Judge—is pure disco-era fun: Bang Bang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Unlike its less expensive Taurian counterpart, the $679 (msrp) Smith & Wesson Governor gives you the sense that the revolver will be in power for generations to come.

Hefty price, hefty piece: 30 ounces. That’s roughly three ounces less gravity suck than the all-steel Taurus Judge 3″, or some 10 ounces less than a snub-nosed Smith & Wesson 686. All of these XXL revolvers are only marginally more carry-friendly than a cranky pit bull. So let’s call the Governor a light heavyweight whose solidity (and rubber grips) offers maximum handgun firepower with minimal recoil. Actually, make that “minimized.”

Light the fuse on some .410 shotshell (2.5″ only) and you’ll discover recoil stout enough to give a pint of Guinness a run for its money. Although the big Smith’s trigger is brand faithful—crisp and clean with no stacking or sticking—a Governor in double-action shotshell mode is no one’s first choice for double taps (a.k.a., closely paired groupings). But then you don’t need them, do you? Or do you?

In general, the more lead you put into a bad guy, the sooner you put it there, the more likely it is that he’ll stop threatening your life. If you can hit the bad guy with the bits and pieces hiding inside one of the Governor’s self-defense shotshells at three to five yards, one shot [per attacker] ought to do it. If you need another go, the Governor gives you five more.

A professional shooter slow-firing Winchester Super X 000 Buck single action at a stationary target reveals that the Governor is still a useful firearm seven yards out. After that, not so much. For an adrenal amateur trying to shoot an honest-to-God bad guy with a shotshell-equipped Governor double action, say, at night, well, it’s strictly hit or miss. My money’s on miss.

Smith & Wesson have done everything in their power to make the Governor as accurate as possible, including a genuinely useful snout-mounted Tritium Night Sight. But shotshell ammo is shotshell ammo. It’ll blow lots of holes in people close by. The farther out you go, the more of an “issue” accuracy and penetration become. As you might expect from non-bullet-shaped, non-spinning objects flying out of a short-barreled handgun.

Past a certain point, a shotshell revolver becomes a case of lose lose. Lose. Ah, but there’s a twist (so to speak). Load-up the Governor with six .45 COLT or .45ACP cartridges (with moon clips) and it’s just as accurate as any of S&Ws Venti-sized revolvers. Shooting a Governor loaded with .45 COLTs, our man Wayne could put holes in the center of a target up to ten yards away all day long. So could you. [Click here for all our test fire vids on TTAG's guntruth YouTube channel.]

But then, why would you buy a Governor to shoot .45s? If you’re looking for a large caliber self-defense handgun, a ballistic Swiss Army knife isn’t your best bet. Go bespoke. Or why not trade down in gun size and caliber and buy a [still-lethal] wheel gun that’s cheaper to run and likes to get out of the house from time to time? Lest we forget, lots of semi-automatic pistols hold ten or more .45s in a relatively tidy package and there’s no ten-pound trigger pull to throw off your aim.

Handguns are blessed with small size, light weight, your choice of caliber/recoil strengths, short and long-range accuracy, and plenty o’ penetration. Shotguns provide aiming ease, enormous firepower, shoulder-managed recoil and more and larger projectiles. Splitting the difference between a handgun and a shotgun with a Smith & Wesson Governor doesn’t make much sense. You get a little bit of this, a little bit of that. But not all of either.

What you do get: a large, well-made, multi-caliber revolver. I’m sure there are a few situations where only a Smith & Wesson Governor will do. Snakes on a plain? Otherwise, the Governor appeals to two types of buyers: homeowners who don’t know any better and enthusiasts who couldn’t care less. This being America, consumers are free to buy the wrong gun for their needs. As for gun nuts looking for something a little nutty, your watermelons await. Over to you Roy . . .

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber: .410 2 1/2″, .45 ACP, .45 Colt
Capacity: 6 Rounds
Action: Single/Double Action
Barrel Length: 2.75″ / 6.985 cm
Front Sight: Tritium Night Sight (Dovetailed)
Rear Sight: Fixed
Grip: Synthetic
Weight: 29.6 oz. / 839.145 g
Overall Length: 8.5″ / 21.59 cm
Height: 5.5″ / 13.97 cm
Width: 1.75″ / 4.445 cm
Frame Material: Scandium Alloy
Cylinder: Stainless PVD
Finish: Matte Black

RATINGS (Out of five stars)

Style  * * * *
The Governor’s like a nightclub bouncer with an over-sized neck: a bit goofy-looking but intimidating nonetheless.

Ergonomics (carry) * * *
Surprisingly light for a huge revolver, but it is a huge revolver.

Ergonomics (firing)  * * * *
If you’re shooting shotshell, the recoil is noticeably manageable. Or manageably noticeable. If you’re shooting .45s, the Governor’s as mild as a Montecristo.

Reliability  * * * * *
Our only problem: the Governor didn’t want to surrender the spent husks from Dupo 7′s crazy ass self-defense shells. At all. Otherwise, it fired perfectly.

Customize This  * *
You can buy it with a built-in laser sight. And . . . that’s it.

OVERALL RATING  * * * *
Kinda like the world’s most fire-retardant paper hat.

[Targets courtesy Birchwood Casey. Click here to see their full range of targets.]

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

53 Responses to Gun Review: Smith & Wesson Governor

  1. avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    I think it is hilarious that after all of these decades of Taurus ripping off Smith&Wesson (and Beretta) designs, that Smith does it to Taurus. Personally, the only use I could think besides a fun gun would be for close range battle with water moccasins from your fishing boat ( why do those venomous bastards want to get into your boat so badly anyway?). I do like the unusual, but I don’t like limited range so much, but some will have fun with this, so I say let them. After all, didn’t that preacher say the world is ending in October this time-for real?

  2. avatarAndy says:

    Actually, I’ve been wondering about the accuracy of .45 rounds with the Governor. My understanding of the Taurus Judges is that the accuracy sucks. This review has been helpful for me.

    • avatarChris Dumm says:

      I’d love to see a little more about the accuracy with .45 ammo also. If it’s reasonably accurate (even 5″ at 25 yards) and can handle heavy .45 Long Colt handloads, it could be a very viable wilderness gun for snakes, bears, and National Forest marijuana growers.

      Did Smith & Wesson give any warnings about heavy .45 Long Colt loads?

      • Chris, you’re right on target with your review. I bought this Gov., exactly for the
        occasion you described. This is not a competition revolver… this is a defense
        handgun. Bad news for tugs!

  3. avatar2Wheels says:

    The name only proves it’s a gimmick gun…

    Seriously, I WILL pistol whip the first person to say something retarded like “say ello to the govna!” when they draw it from their holster.

  4. avatarRoy Hill says:

    We cant waits to get our hands on the preciousssssssss…………

    We go shopping for things that go splat, squish or boom!

  5. Oh look, a Hillary Lock! The reason why I won’t waste any money on one of their crappy MIM revolvers.

    • avatarZealot says:

      Yup, I don’t care if its a cannon that fires mercenaries that have been pre-paid to protect my @$$, if it has a lock, I’m not interested. Plain and simple.

  6. avatarDave says:

    I have a Taurus Public Defender Polymer, and it is quite accurate with 45LC, easily holding 5 inches at 25 yards. The Winchester buckshot rounds are known for being poor performers from the revolvers. The Federal OOO buck designed for handgun use is much better. They will hold a good pattern out to 15 yards and penetrate well.

    here is some shooting results from my last time out http://youtu.be/-GNXqaKLuNg

    • avatarSTYGB says:

      Dave (of the June 9th, 2011) has it right on the money. My Judge does the same accurate shooting …. with the Federal 000 buckshot ammo. I use *Winchester Super-X Ammunition 45 Colt (Long Colt) 225 Grain Silvertip Hollow Point Muzzle Velocity: 920 fps … Muzzle Energy: 423 ft. lbs. for 25 yards and in. I love my Judge and have put over 500 various brand rounds through it.

    • avatarDickG says:

      In terms of pattern, my experience using an American Derringer Model 4 and Federal 4x000Buckshot is nearly identical to the results from your Taurus.
      .
      My results with Winchester 3×000 and 5″ 5×000 was equally poor, and near worthless.
      .\
      If you have a pistol that will fire .410′s, you will be delighted with Federal’s 000 Buckshot personal defense rounds.

  7. avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    This may actually qualify to handle Buffalo Bore rounds in .45 Long Colt, as no Smith’s are rated by Buffalo Bore to handle their .45 LC nor their .44 Mag +P. This is a distinction Ruger does hold. The nagging question in my mind is, besides portability, what happens if the moment comes I need a shot past 15 yards or so? If this is all I have, and a bear is closing in on me, do I want to wait until he’s that close? I rather think I’d be wishing I had something like a Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt with hot rounds, with the better accuracy than the Governor promises.

    • avataral sowins says:

      Try loading two of each of the ,45acp; the ,45 long colt; and the 2.5″-410 shells.
      Then you will be ready for anything this side of a dinocrocopotamus.

  8. avatarRecoveringAtheist says:

    S&W copying Taurus/Rossi. For shame, for shame. The last new Smith I purchased was a 952-1 and I fear that will be the last one.

  9. avatarKarl says:

    I prefer something that throws more flame. We’ll all be much more content pulling out one of these little beauties for CQC. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6pB1Sz5rcQ

  10. avatarAlan says:

    Unless you primarily do a lot of walking in snake country, or the aforementioned water moccasin scenario, the .410 revolvers are pretty much useless as field guns. For home defense I would much, MUCH rather have a good 1911 or my A-5 Browning light 12. They have exactly ONE niche – they are probably the best combo ever devised for a car gun. Some bozo tries to crawl in your car window, stick it in his face and slap the trigger.

    And here the Taurus wins hands down – yes, they have a lock too, but it has not been known to self actuate in heavy-recoiling guns. I have exactly 1 Hillary-lock Smith. It is a .500 that is strictly a fun gun – I have other, more practical guns for defensive use.

  11. avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    Let’s make it 20 gauge and then you have my interest…

  12. avatarJerry says:

    The wife and I both have a Judge Public Defender, hers polymer and all black, and mine polymer and stainless. They are both a much better looking pistol than the copycat. That said, she carries hers in her purse and mine is on a gun magnet in my truck. They aren’t for long distance shooting or home defense (that’s what my 12ga is for). But let someone try and carjack me, up close and personal. :o) But I also have a Glock .45 in the truck and I carry a Bodyguard .380. Kimber.45 in the living room, XD9 in the office, etc. It’s all about specific purposes so the gun fits scenario for me.

  13. avatarCadillacWerewolf says:

    Stuck case problems? Try my method: Get a bigger hammer. XD

  14. avatarJim Smith says:

    you know who these types of guns are REALLY perfect for? That person in your life who you’ve finally begrudgingly convinced to buy a gun for their own good – they tend to buy guns that seem to do a lot for their money but are never “too flashy” at the same time, ya know?

    “Come on dad, it’s a handgun and shotgun in one, plus check the intimidation factor on this baby!”

  15. avatarlee says:

    Jerry,

    Please fill me in on a gun magnet that works on a Polymer and Stainless revolver. WTH?

  16. avatarDoug says:

    Well let me assure anyone out there considering this Governor the snooty educated gun nut reviews are all leaned the wrong way. My wife, all of 5 feet 110 pounds can spray some serious lead and destruction with this gun at all the greatest distances in my home and yard. On the range we both can slam anything within 25 yards with extreme prejudice and no particular marksmanship skills. It’s compact and easy to conceal at our bedside and a welcome and agile replacement for our shotgun. This gun can convert to carry with the 45 acp or long colt and make a fantastic, reliable simple amateur friendly powerhouse. And anyone that says these buckshot and PDX style 410 shells are not adequate are dead wrong. They are devastating!!! And my wife can lift and fire instantly and hit anyone coming through our doorways or kill zones. And the round wont kill the neighbors sleeping. Well made, dont mind the double action and even my tiny wife learned to hit bullseye within minutes. Too bad all the written reviews toss doubt on this weapon and make people like me, 95% of the public sound like a bunch of idiots. I love the versatility of this weapon, the quality and the price. Did I mention it’s one of the most FUN to shoot gun I’ve ever owned. If you are a home owner, trucker, hunter, security guard this is something to consider. And it’s surprisingly light and very ergo Country boy that grew up with guns and we LOVE it.

    • avatarmike says:

      i agree with you doug, i am not a sniper shooter by any means, and ppl whom have ripped on this gun have probably never fired it.
      it is very accurate and a dangerous weapon.
      anyone who says that the 410 shell isnt bada@@ needs to walk into my house at midnight and see for themselves if they would still make that stupid comment. i’d be glad to prove them wrong. besides, after they “walk” thru the 410 shells, they need to remember the next 4 will be 45 hollow points…
      it’s a great gun smith / wesson! i would buy one again in a second.

    • avatarJack says:

      I agree with Doug. I have the Gov. for use when traveling in my 5th wheel trailer. It will not go through the next 2 or 3 travel units. It will reek havoc on someone who thinks a senior citizen is fair game. Oh I do not buy a gun to look pretty I want one that “works” when needed.

      • avatarSal says:

        Yes, but I’ll stick with my Ruger GP 100. The 357 is effective enough. It also looks nicer than this beast.

        • avatarDavid Trainmore says:

          Sal, I was hot to buy one of these, but when I found out that these new two and full moon clips are completely different from the myriads of half moon clips out there, it cooled my jets. You can’t use half moon clips, nor can you use 45 AR ammo. Unless you have a S&W 45 Long Colt, this revolver is an orphan.

          What I did buy, is the first Remmie R-51 to hit town, here. It also has some shortcomings, but I’m getting on top of them. I’ve switched out the 14 coil mag springs for Walther P-38, 11 coil springs, and will definitely order the laser from C-T, by next month. The little R-51 is so fast and with zero muzzle whip, that I can slam something with three 9mm’s before my wife could cock that revolver, or even pull the trigger Double Action. 115 gr. and 147 gr. go into the same place on paper targets at 10 yards.

          For myself, I’m sticking with my AMT 45DAO Backup. No laser, and all kinds of slop, but also very quick, with six P+’s. We have bird shot sfor both of these, to deal with snakes.

          If I do pick up a Governor, for myself, later this year, I am still looking at machining a different barrel, with a slow round ball twist, about 9 inches long, and using brass 410 cases, from Cabelas. I would then be doing one, out of three jobs, as good as possible. A 139 gr. RB fired at 1300 fps, with the correct twist to be accurate, won’t over penetrate, and will equal the 45 Black Powder Magnum, in a truly modern six shooter.

          B.T.W., S&W, in their owners brochure, IIRC, does say not to pack it with a round under the hammer. So in reality the six shots are advertising bull. Its not a real transfer bar safety like the Taurus’s have.

  17. avatarMatt says:

    Thankyou, this was a very helpful review for someone looking for a good home defense weapon.

  18. avatarLuc says:

    I agree with Doug. I am also one of the 95% “bunch of idiots” and I don’t like killing people. Living in Germany and not in the US, probably I will never come in the situation where I will have to point and shot my revolver to a human being. A S&W Governor is a good choice for only stopping a thief instead of stopping and killing. But probably, you guys have no other options?

  19. avatarDoug says:

    Luc,

    Try the RUBBER BALL buckshot ammunition found online. I like the idea of having it for animal control but it is a less lethal option, however, there is nothing LESS lethal about the governor. You should not fire this gun in a direction of a human that you do not intend on becoming graveyard dead. Let me assure you my compassion vanishes when my family is in danger. If someone is willing to rob you with deadly force they are the kind of human that is beyond rehabilitation. On the other hand the defender can always seek counseling if they are still alive,

    On an added note I shot the PDX1 ammo on range again and I dont like it. The rifling makes the discs very accurate with a nice spread but the BBs just go too wild beyond 10-15 feet for me to feel comfortable. Likewise the Remington HD ultimate home defense 410 ( four 00 buckshot) is also surprisingly scattered, in great contrast the 2-1/2″ inch federal home defense (4 000 buckshot) 410 shell is devastating and tight groups out to much better distances. I also find Speer gold dot self defense hollowpoint rounds for 45 Long are awesome with a lot of expansion. The remington 45 acp hollowpoint home defense rounds my choice for the 45 auto round. Bought 4 packs of moonclips for 20$ and I load them all up with 45 acps before heading to the range for practice. No hint of misfires with a variety of practice ammo. Still loving my Gov.

  20. avatarRobin Depaul says:

    Why not this and why not that? I have a S&W 686 by my bedside and a 870 shotgun as well to protect me inside my home. But nothing to protect me in my driveway going out to my car! I was stabbed and my car stolen, purse, cell phone, etc, right in my driveway getting ready to go to work. Now I panic every morning since. And F***** Calif doesn’t allow the Taurus Public Defender or the S&W Governor. Small enough to be an equalizer…..I have lived here all my life but this Liberal crap is getting intolerable!!!!

  21. avatarDave Trainmore says:

    S&W has started the 2nd. Generation of these niche sidearms, with their Governor. However, it seems impossible to find a review with the info on ignition. Does this beast use a transfer bar like the Taurus/Rossi’s? If it doesn’t have a real transfer bar, then it’s really only a five shooter. I did handle a six shot Raging Judge two days ago, and it’s a good war club, like the Walker Colt. Smith is hanging onto their .460′s, so the Rossi is only chambered out to 454 Casull. But my G.S. could always deepen it for the 460, for my private use. But the 2nd gen. S&W has a neat possibility. It could be transformed into a smokeless version of the BPM conversion of the Uberti Walkers. I talked this over with my G.S. yesterday, and he thinks it’s a go. Put a 8 or 9 inch fluted barrel with a shoulder to catch the barrel shroud of the Governor, and add a slow twist barrel for a RB. Then load a smokeless version of the BPM, and have the proper forcing cone and riflings that both work with a ball and work much better with bird shot. This would look like those Dan Wesson Alaskans. At really close range, a tumbling 45 LC lead slug isn’t a bad outcome either. The BPM in the open top Walker conversions are getting up to 1300fps, with 777 replica powder. That ball will flatten out and is pretty well spent, going through the face of a two by six stud. But the real question is; should this revolver really be a 45, in the first place? The old 44XL was the daddy of all of this, and it used a 44WCF case. They were sometimes re-bored to 410. But mixing up 410′s with jacketed 45ACP ammo may not be the best combination. The full length brass 410 cases, used with a round ball, might let you get away with a slightly smaller diameter slow twist barrel, and have something that works better on the smaller, or two legged targets. But if you are thinking bear medicine, I would suggest leaving that barrel alone, and using the 165gr +P Cor-Bons. I get transonic velocities with them out of my 3 inch barreled AMT 45DAO Backup. Cor-Bon says they will destroy a bear’s skull. They penetrate full sized auto windshields and then blow up watermelons propped up in the driver’s seats. They are one nasty hollow pointed 45 cartridge.

  22. avatarMark says:

    This is the FIRST review of the revolving hand shotgun which made any sense to me! I could never understand what it was supposed to be good for. The comment that it’s for those who don’t know and/or don’t care fits my initial impression that it took two excellent firearm styles and ruined all the useful aspect of both.

  23. avatarScot says:

    Robert, if this gun shoots like Tower of Power’s horn section it should be reclassified as a WMD. Never EVER thought I’d see TOP’s name used to describe a revolver…maybe a Swiss watch…but not a revolver. Obviously you know good music. Right on bro!

  24. avatarDaniel says:

    I enjoy reading about you clowns who say “it’s only good for snakes.” WTF do you want it for, sniping? Ridiculous argument; doesn’t hold water. It’s a PERSONAL DEFENSE gun; used for the home, car, and close range gunfights……..which most gunfights are. I’m a LEO……Too many of you out there are under some ridiculous impression that most gun-battles occur at 50 yards or more. WRONG!! Stop watching so many movies and try training instead. I don’t own the Gov., I own the Judge PDP, and have put 300 rounds through mine. And I’m here to tell you now that one shot of PDX1 OR Federal .410 at 12 yards or less from the Gov. or Judge: You’re gonna drop dead or be so badly wounded from copper poisoning that you’ll flee or surrender. Period. Then you’ll be singing “snake gun” in Hell, full of many small holes…..

  25. avatarLewis Titus says:

    I just purchased my new Governor and for my application I don’t think there is a better weapon ever built. It is exceptionally well made small enough to conceal and light enough to pack all day hunting. It is a close range pistol that can be used to kill a rattler, put a stupid chicken in the pot for dinner when I am bow hunting, or if necessary put down a horse with a broken leg on one of my pack trips into Hell’s Canyon on the Snake river. It is the perfect weapon for stopping a car jacker at 12″, or a charging drug attic in a back ally. My wife can easily handle and shoot this gun, and since I am on the road allot this is important. While I would rather have a .500 S&W to face down a charging bear, the Governor with 300 gr. + P loads and .410 shells in 000 buck in alternate holes will do a pretty good job, and I don’t have to pack 10 lbs. of iron all day. I can plink with 45 ACP rounds that are very inexpensive, and have little recoil to stay proficient so when the time comes that I need to use it, I am ready. No this is not a hunting revolver and I did not buy it for that purpose.
    So I will compromise on the closest thing to a perfect pistol that I have seen yet!
    Those of you who scoff at this truly remarkable gun really should reconsider as I can assure you I could rip your choice of weapons apart as well. There are no BAD guns and there is no PERFECT gun but if I have to choose one side arm that can take care of most any situation the Governor is MY CHOICE!!

  26. avatarDave Trainmore says:

    Mr. Titus, You have it exactly backwards. I know, I ‘ve been there. I have an AMT 45DAO backup. After I failed in the heavy bullet dept., I got smart and phoned Cor Bon, in Sturgis, S.D.. They told me to use their lightest feasible bullets, in my 3 inch barrel. So I ordered a couple of boxes of their 45ACP +P 165 gr. ammo. They said they had tested it for the police, on full size sedans. It zips through a standard windshield, and then blows a watermelon all to pieces. They expect the same from a black bear’s skull. But not a grizzly’s.

    I haven’t talked to them about the new Governor, so maybe you should. They know their stuff. BTW, my AMT Backup is spitting these 165 gr. hollow points out at trans sonic velocities. 1125-1135, ect.. 1140 is the speed of sound at sea level, but up in the mountains, or in Hell’s Canyon, the thinner air slows down the speed of sound. I hope you can get this straightened out, before you really need to put something down, quick. And yes, I do know this is counter intuitive.

    • avataral sowins says:

      It is counter-experiential for many of us.War stories can only be told when wearing a steel pot, but anybody hit anywhere with a .45acp is going down to stay down I don’t know if that is also true for the smaller caliber slugs.

  27. avatarLewis Titus says:

    Dave you make a very good point, and I really have no intention of using a 300 grain plus P in my Governor as it is not made for that heavy of load. When hunting in Grizzly country I believe you are better off with bear spray as it is very difficult to put down a charging bear with ANY hand gun, and I really don’t want to kill a grizzly doing what comes naturally especially a sow protecting her cubs.
    When I was young and really dumb I did some experimenting with a .300 win mag shooting a piece of railroad track. I found that a light fast bullet would easily punch a hole right through it, while big heavy bullets simply bounced off. Luckily I didn’t kill myself and I don’t recommend anyone try this. I have also found after many years of hunting that big heavy well constructed bullets are much better at breaking both shoulders on a bull elk! At any rate I think I will try some of these Cor Bon 185 grain plus P 45 ACP’s in my Governor as I believe it will safely handle that kind of pressure. Looks like they do not make the 185 in the 45 colt for some reason, and the Plus P 225 grain 45 Colt from what I understand is NOT recommended for the Governor. I may have to reload some 185 grains in the 45 colt and see how it works!

  28. avatarJoe says:

    I own a S&W Governor for home use. I live in an apartment complex and do not want to perforate my neighbors (some of whom I actually like) when I shoot at
    a bad guy kicking in my door for a home invasion. All of these experts leave me wondering what the definition of ‘Expert” is. A friend of mine, a LEO in Houston, Texas agrees with the comment on this blog from another LEO. It is a great self
    defense weapon. I do not try to confuse myself with so-called expert claims of
    inadequacy of the Taurus of Governor, I see what it does at 15′ or less and do not
    worry about stopping a bad guy. Further than 15′, I have a 1911 in Super .38.
    Which will probably open a whole new can of debate worms!

    • avatarDave Trainmore says:

      Joe, when you get a chance, will you chrono a 45ACP round or two? Plus P if the paper work says it’s O.K. I’ve posted above, that my AMT 45 DAO, will spit +P 165 gr. CorBons out at transonic velocities, ie, 1125+ fps.. My little back up only has a 3 inch barrel, but without the cylinder gap. Thanx in advance, Dave T.

      • avatarJoe says:

        Not sure what you are looking for here, Dave. Were you referring to my Super .38? I have several .45s in my collection but I prefer the Super .38. Not worried about what it does on a chrono, just what it does on a bad guy’s head!

        • avatarDave Trainmore says:

          Dear Joe,
          I’m thinking of the Governor. My 3 inch bbl’d. AMT 45DAO will spit 45ACP Cor Bons out at transonic velocities. (165gr.+P). I’d like to know what the Governor can do, with approx. the same ammo. I’m only losing about 130fps. over what’s printed on their boxes. Cor Bon told me on the phone, that I should be going light with bullets, for the shorter barrel.

          But I don’t know if the S&W Governor is even rated for +P ammo. My game plan is to put a longer, fluted barrel, into one of these threaded shrouds, and make a modern, smokeless, 45BPM., that I can carry in a hip holster.

          In the meantime, I’ve got a stash of lead 155 gr. ogee tipped semi wadcutters, to play with. I can load 45 Colt or the ACP, and see how they work in the stock twists.

  29. avatarL. Hawersaat says:

    I did have a Taurus Judge, but I traded it for the S&W Governor. The reason being I have a S&W 625 in .45 acp. The 625 accepts full moon clips as the Governor does. For a quick reload IF needed it is faster than loadion the cylinder one at a time.
    As for S&W coping the Judge. What about Taurus coping S&W. You can call Tarus the S&W of South America. I Have no problem with a Taurus, they make a wounderful product. Oh by the way, the ribber grips on the Judge has the Governors grips beat hands down!

    • avatarDave Trainmore says:

      Mr. Haversaat,

      Do the same full moon clips from the Governor, fit the S&W 625? You left that detail out. And what about the old standby, half moon clips? Also, if you have the paper work, is the Governor rated for 45ACP +P ammo?

      I know I should call Cor-Bon, in Sturgis, S.D., but I dislike asking them questions, over the phone, about a firearm which I don’t already own. I do use their 165 gr. +P ammo in my AMT 45ACP, DAO Backup, and I get trans sonic velocities with it. (1125, or so). But I don’t have a cylinder gap, robbing velocities from my 3 inch long barrel.

  30. avatarMichael G. says:

    Almost all of the comments (thus far) about the Governor have merit in their own right. Some folks don’t like the idea, some do, and some are still thinking. The LAST thing I would want for my fellow armed citizen is to have a weapon that they don’t believe in. If you feel that way, don’t buy it. I will add my two cents worth, that I own many handguns in many calibers and have a CCL to legally tote. I also ride a HD (Harley Davidson motorcycle) and finding what I am comfortable with while out riding has been several years of experimentation. The requirements are clearly not the same as home defense, walking around, or driving a car. I am on a moving object requiring a bit of skill, have the use of only one hand, and my expectation is simply survival. Unlike shooting from a reasonably stable platform, I don’t necessarily have the time to sight aim. It is likely that any scenario requiring the use of deadly defense will unfold rapidly. Far faster that I can afford the time to stop before firing, and will also have adrenalin pumping madly. Hitting the attacker (and no one else) is the dilemma. The Governor with PDX ammo, and ⅓ moon clips of .45 ACP has come the closest to solving the problem for me. I load the PDX’s first with the knowledge that I can point at target and they will be hit. It may be by only a couple of the BB’s but I can be assured that the drama playing out now has got the attackers attention. The pair of .45 ACP’s at the end are just for that; putting an end to the attack. At that time I will have stopped and have a stable shooting situation. If necessary, they are 6-shot .45 ACP full moon clips at the ready to re-load. I happen to like these, vs the .45 Long, as they are quick loaders. Please, if you don’t ride, do not belittle my choice as you do not possess the knowledge to accurately make a point. If you do ride, I welcome input as I really do not know everything and some of you may have found a better solution for yourself that could aid all of us riders. Speaking for myself, the Governor fits the bill! By the way, I carry a S&W 638-3 in a pocket holster packed into the side bag so when stopping to eat or walk around I can drop that puppy in my pocket and be good to go. Although I really like the 638, I’ve been thinking about the Ruger LCP or LC9 for that role…

  31. avatarMichael Warchild says:

    I’ll stick to the model 25 in .45 LC which it’s the caliber it was made for. I get a little leery when using Moon Clips and alternate “It will fit” ammo type. The .45ACP is best in a semi auto which it was designed for. Sorry boys and girls if I need a shot gun I’ll rely on my Vietnam favorite Mod 870 riot. Great idea for some I will admit however not for this old vet.

  32. avatarglstexas says:

    Friends don’t let friends by Taurus handguns.

  33. avatarWilliam R. says:

    Every one wants to shoot someone else. If I buy a Governor do I have to shoot a human being? Can I shoot it for fun? Maybe I could shoot paper, beer cans, or maybe a opossum that is tearing my bird feeder apart. I have shot over a half a million clay birds on the trap field with my shotgun. I’ve had 40 years of fun doing that and no-one has been hurt. It’s no wonder the goverment wants to take our guns.

    • avatarDavid Trainmore says:

      If the balloon really goes up, I hope you live in a real secure neighborhood, like in gated, and guarded. You’ll never bring a stupid pump trap gun into action quick enough to stop the current drugged up home invaders. Now if you had a 20 inch cylinder bored barrel on it for home defense, things might work out in your favor. The Cowboy Action coach guns are also way ahead of your trap masterpiece. But even those require quick reloads.

      Have you even learned how to take out the two round limiting rod, that comes in almost every sporting shotgun’s magazine. If you leave the chamber empty, you still only have two shots with a sporting pump or auto. With a real scatter gun I’d draw the limit at #4 Buckshot. Lots of holes, which will perforate the sheet metal on a hot water tank, but won’t go through multiple walls, and kill some innocent bystander, or neighbor. The Governor needs the most powerful defense loads because it only has a short 410 gauge barrel.

      I’ve pulled back on buying one because all of the WWI and later half moon clips won’t work, nor will the 45 Auto Rim ammo. I want something for the mountains and the 45AR’s always seemed the best cartridges for leather belt loops.

  34. avatarWilliamevans says:

    What is the number

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