Hornady Triple Defense Acquits Judge

TTAG doesn’t have a monopoly on firearms-related truthiness. From time to time, gunsamerica.com is not averse to telling it like it is. “If you remember back to our original story on the Taurus Judge Polymer, one of the biggest problems with the gun was an almost complete lack of ballistic integrity.” OK, they almost didn’t sugar coat it. The hedge: Taurus’ shotshell revolver is effective at point blank range. Further out, not so much. Depending on the ammo involved, well, let’s just say they’re perfect for shooters who can’t hit the broadside of a barn. Or don’t mind collateral damage. (Non-LEOs need not apply.) And so “Hornady has engineered a new addition to their Critical Defense handgun ammo specifically for short barreled .410 pistols, called Triple Defense, and through powder blending and some interesting projectile choices, the .410 revolver can now at least be used as an effective self defense weapon.” As opposed to a target pistol. Here come da judge, here come da Judge . . .

That hollow base front bullet is bumped by the ball behind it, expanding it to bore diameter. This catches the actual rifling of The Judge and allows the bullet to hold point of aim out to 10 yards and beyond. The two balls are sub-caliber, so they seem to somewhat “float” forward with the main bullet. This allowed us to reliably hit a 6” circle at 10 yards. In maybe 4 out of 10 shots, one of the balls would be off the target, like we have seen with standard buckshot, but overall it wasn’t a bad average considering that most shots seemed to do exactly what you would expect them to do at this distance.

Bad guys hurtin' thanks to Hornady Triple Defense ammo (courtesy gunsamerica.com)

The big surprise was in our 10 feet tests. This is far from “point blank” distance, and we were able to reliably, every shot, pick out the bad guy in the Birchwood Casey hostage targets. The way this new Triple Defense .410 round is constructed, it seems like it will be consistent, regardless of where it shoots in your gun. The round itself is ballistically viable for self defense, and when you couple that with repeatability, it means that you can train reliably with your firearm for an actual gunfight situation. Knowing that the round is going to behave the same way shot after shot after shot makes all the difference.

Ya think? On the other hand, snake gun. And gunsamerica.com forgot to mention that the new round runs $18.20 for a box of 20. So that training’s gonna cost ya. Big time.

comments

  1. avatar tfunk says:

    Is this offered in a 12ga version? That might help with accuracy, especially for follow up shots.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      12ga Slug over buck? That may be the coolest load I have heard of in a while… May need to try it out with a 3″ shell.

      1. avatar Ruun says:

        Winchester’s PDX1 12 ga ammo is a slug with three buckshot pellets.

        1. avatar Logan P says:

          I couldn’t get any sort of decent pattern out of the PDX1 in my 930 SPX. The slug always hit POA at anything within 10 yards, but the shot would spread 2 to 10 inches at 7 yards. Not even close to accurate enough for my needs.

        2. avatar Matt in FL says:

          Here’s a video review of the Winchester PDX1 12 Defender:

          Logan, if you’re getting spreads of 2 to 10 inches at 7 yards, something is really wrong. Winchester claims a pattern of 4″ at 15 feet, and my experience out of my Mossberg 500 has borne that out. I’ve actually been really surprised at how consistent the patterning is. I’d expect a flyer every now and then, but every test round I’ve fired has been a perfect triangle of pellets around the slug impact. I tested out to 20 feet and the pattern opened up to only 6-7″ at that point, and it was consistent.

  2. avatar Layne says:

    Good for them, they’ve made this stupid idea that won’t go away somewhat relevant. ANY other caliber of revolver would be smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more accurate. Why do people buy this thing!?!?

  3. avatar Mike S says:

    Ok so it has some ability to hit what it is aimed at now. At what velocity is the projectile moving? I ask this because accuracy is only half the problem with the Judge. Lack of penetration is the other.

  4. avatar Jeff in MS says:

    Or just fix the gun so it will shoot.

    1. avatar tfunk says:

      Or just buy a different gun

      1. avatar CHIP says:

        Its funny reading all the responses. This gun is ridiculous. Anybody who shoot knows this, yet we try to make it make sense for self protection. I own the raging judge- not for shooting anybody. It is a fun gun- that is all. Everybody wants a shot with it. i always laugh when somebody asks about the personal protection of that or my 460 xvr, I explain to them its for the guys to shoot and say “holy s**t” big bang- fire- big hole- and that my friends is the true fun of that gun.

  5. avatar JM says:

    So it’s almost a modern version of a minne (sp?) ball? Well, I guess it’s not a bad idea, just can’t imagine it really being called new tech. Also… what’s with the big _almost hidden_ hole in the target at the top of the hostage’s head?

  6. avatar stormchaser says:

    So the message remains; buy a pistol. Or shotgun. Not a pistol/shotgun.

  7. avatar Ari9mm says:

    Or try Winchester PDX1 defender

  8. avatar Crazed Java says:

    What is the thought process behind purchasing a Judge?

    “Damn! That gun is huge! It shoots shotgun shells? Here’s $500!”

    Get home.

    “Now what do I do with it?”

    The fact that it shoots .45 Colt is nice and all, but I’d rather just buy a revolver that is chambered for .45 Colt and drop the novelty factor.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Exactly.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      This is actually the one California gun control law that works in my favor. My wife has real love for the shotgun pistol concept and wants it. I can honestly tell her it’s illegal here and save myself a wasted 500 bucks.

  9. Hymmmn, having “Both”, a Taurus,”Judge”, and, a “Bond Arms”, “Snake Slayer, IV”; [ Over & Under, “American Made”, Derringer; that both Chamber, either; .45 Long Colts, or the .410 shotgun shells]. Personally feeling “Safe, with either!… I chamber, .410 “000”, Buck-Shot, in Both, Only!… With the “000” Buck Shot, You have 5 pellots, leaving the barrel, with the Same Velocity, of 5, .357 Magnum Bullets, wih a 12 inch “Spread”,@ 10 feet! Being a “Bad Shot”, or Frightened! An Assailant, would have but 2 options?
    “Slim & and; None”!…

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Captain George,

      The short barrel of the Taurus Judge will be hard pressed to launch any projectile/s beyond 900 fps. Heck, a .410 shotgun with a full length barrel can only launch a 90 grain slug at 1800 fps or so. There is no way that a .410 revolver is going to launch 350 grains of .36 caliber shot (that’s 5 #000 buckshot balls) at .357 Magnum velocities of 1300+ fps. The beast that we know and love as a .44 Magnum handgun cannot even launch a 350 grain payload at 1300+ fps.

      If I were going to depend on a Taurus Judge to save my life, I would load .45 LC rounds in the cylinder.

      Please note: I am not saying this to be critical of you. I want to make sure you have accurate information so you can decide your best course of action. From what you posted, you had inaccurate information.

    2. avatar TSgt B says:

      I have a Bond Arms Ranger with a 4 1/4″ barrel set, chambered for .45 Colt/.410 3″. While it will group well out to about 15 yards with .45 Colt, I keep it loaded with 3″ .410 #4 buckshot. 9 pellets of .24 caliber ball at about 950-1,000 fps. Patterns at 5 yards are approximately 12-15″. That’ll do.

  10. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

    The main issue has always been the rifling of the bore. I believe if it was smoothbore this ammo wouldn’t be required, but then you would not be able to shoot 45 colt effectively.

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      does anyone actually shoot .45 colt out of these? the .410 that can go inside your waist holster is the real attraction. i think they should make a smooth bore judge and forget about the .45 colt.

      1. avatar JM says:

        Ok, get your ATF Form 4 ready then… that’d be an AOW if I remember right about the regs… That’s why it’s rifled.

  11. avatar Brian says:

    I’ve got a 6″ barrel Judge. I wonder how this ammo would perform in my gun?

  12. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    Sorry but I’ve never “got” the Judge concept. It goes into my dopey gun bucket.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Neither did I. When they first came out, I thought “Why not just buy a shotgun?”

      You don’t want to be turning loose multiple pieces of buck on a street in a DGU. In a home situation, maybe, but out in public? Huge liability sending projectiles hither and yon downrange.

      I wish Smith & Wesson would bring back onto the market some 5-shot revolvers in something else other than .44 Mag. .44 Special and .45 Colt would be fine self-defense rounds in a smaller, five-round revolver in stainless. .45 Colt can be loaded to .44 Mag levels if one wishes (and has a tight chambered revolver), but even at cowboy action levels of loading, a 250gr pill at 850 to 900 fps is no slouch.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        “… but even at cowboy action levels of loading, a 250gr pill at 850 to 900 fps is no slouch.”

        ^ This. Although I might argue that a 250 grain bullet at those velocities are slightly above cowboy action. And remember that 250 grain bullet at 850+ fps is .45 caliber! That means a huge entry wound and most likely (due to the 250 grain weight) a huge exit wound.

        A .45 Colt revolver is the ballistic equivalent of a 1911 in .45 ACP without the concerns of a semi-auto pistol. No one doubts the ballistic effectiveness of the venerable 1911 in .45 ACP. We should apply the same respect to the ballistic effectiveness of a revolver in .45 Colt.

        1. avatar A-Rod says:

          It is for this logic that I think ‘+P’ ammo is a waste. This topic was discussed a few weeks back here on TTAG. I think 230 grain bullet at 850 FPS is sufficient and a good starting place for lethality. The guv’ment figured this one out nicely with the 1911 .45ACP.

      2. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

        @DG…I agree 100%.

        I forget the guys name, but remember a famous Western Sheriff who lived into the 1920’s and was still doing LE work. He carried a Colt SAA in .45 Colt. He had many a shootout and thought it a dependable/effective handgun to carry.

        You can also refer to the Fillipino dust up just after the Army abandoned the SAA. Big mistake. .45 Colt was quickly grabbed out of the armories. It did the job.

        I also would like to point out what I’ve read many a time about hunting in Africa. The old PHs talk of the “magic” of a big slug moving at 2100 FPS. Something about that speed/size combination that works just right on the African big five. Call it physics or juju or whatever. More doesn’t get you much and less can be outright dangerous to the hunter. Same with the .45 230/250 gr slugs on men. After 150 years you would think that the discussion would be over. LOL

        1. avatar RealitiCzech says:

          The .45 Colt didn’t do any better in the Insurrection than the .38 had.

      3. avatar Ardent says:

        Getting closer Dsyp; A revolver dedicated to .45 colt is an improvement on the Judge, but with the cowboy action ammo it’s doing only a might better than a .45 acp. . . which for the size and weight of the suggested revolver dishes out the same ballistics only with more capacity and faster reloads. It’s bad when a gun (the judge) is so far from a practical defensive weapons that it actually gets us 3 degrees of separation from a 1911.

  13. avatar Jesse Johnson says:

    I have a Judge I bought probably 5 years ago when I first saw them think its the Public Defender model it is in matte stainless with a 2 1/2 chamber and I think the barrel length is 1 7/8 inch. I carry it on my property loaded with #4 shot for the snakes. I live on the coast in SC and have came across a few rattlesnakes, copper heads, and cotton mouths out in the woods. I have some of the Winchester PDX1, and some of the Federal 000 Buck too never shot any of the PDX but that Federal keeps a tight pattern not really any different then this Hornady, I would like to buy some of it still though. That Federal has copper plated shot in both the 000 and #4 shot so that buck should penetrate pretty well. I guess it has one of their wads that keep the shot together because out to 15 feet or so shooting it I get all the 36 caliber pellets in a group the size or smaller then my fist.

  14. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    Joe Grine and I tested the S&W Governor with the PDX rounds. We loved the accuracy of the ‘flying watch batteries’ but the secondary payload of BBs was completely worthless. They flew all over the place, and they wouldn’t even be all that useful even if they did all hit the intended target.

    These sound like a big improvement.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      I have my doubts about the effectiveness of a watch battery on anything but paper.

      I mean, I wouldn’t want to get shot with one, or anything, but I feel the same way about a .22 or snakeshot.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Swarf, you don’t respect the .22? Never lived on a farm or hunted? Can’t say for a fact now but in my youth the no. 1 deer poaching gun in WVA was the .22.

        Would I choose a .22 as my primary self defense gun? No. But if all I had was a .22 I wouldn’t curl up in a ball and cry, either.

        I ended an agressive dog pack in the woods with 1 shot from a .22 bolt gun. The 1 shot went thru and thru the head of a german shepard mix. He dropped on the spot.

        1. avatar Swarf says:

          Actually, I respect the .22 more than most around here, so yes, that was a bad example.

          My larger point that suspecting a round flat thing wouldn’t fly well still stands, but I dunno, maybe 2″ of rifling stabilizes it.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Hickock 45 did a video on these .410 revolvers. I don’t remember specific ammo brands and loads but what I remember is that it was a very close range gun and at the ranges he used it penetration was iffy on his targets.

        3. avatar Swarf says:

          Yeah, now that you mention it, I remember a Box-o-Truth video that came to the same conclusion.

          They head these on sale at a ridiculous price (before the two most recent panics: $285 and it was the Public Defender if I recall correctly. A good price even then) at my LGS a few years back right at the time I was in the market for a house gun my wife would be comfortable with, so I researched The Judge online– half the fun of any gun purchase as far as I’m concerned– and found that video. I went with the Ruger LCR in .38. Doesn’t get easier to operate than that.

          I have to say that I really want to like The Judge. I think the concept is cool as hell– not smart, but neat– but the negatives so outweigh the positives, at least in the buying frame of mind I was in at the time: I was looking for a gun my wife is comfortable with, and, while she is not afraid of guns and understands their importance, she is not into it as a hobby like I am. She doesn’t want to go to the range every weekend and practice, she goes on one or two maintenance sessions a year that I’d better schedule on a rainy weekend because she’d rather be in the garden. This makes the idea of a pistol that shoots multiple projectiles attractive, but then look at the thing! What am I going to do, drop some 39 pound hand cannon in front of her and say “There you go, Hon, not intimidating at all, right?”

          So get the ultra light Scandamandiumiumsandman version, right. Yeah, pretty sure that recoil would mean one trip to the range, 4 shots and a gun she’s afraid to use even if her life depends on it.

          I could go on, but shouldn’t.

          Point is, I see this gun as being fairly good at the task of fending off a carjacker (although all that hot crap coming at my face through the cylinder gap might change my mind), but as Alton Brown has taught us: “Uni-taskers are bullshit.”

          That might not be a direct quote.

  15. avatar Ron Burgundy says:

    I have no clue why this ammo is treated as a ‘new’ thing, it’s been around for many months and I have a case (200 rounds, 10 boxes) sitting here. At about $15 per box, not too bad.

    1. avatar Sock Monkey says:

      Did you get that at the gun show, Ron?

      1. avatar Ron Burgundy says:

        Nope, online. A guy suspiciously looking like Brick in brown shorts came and dropped it off.

  16. avatar tdiinva says:

    The return of the Minie ball!

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      Pumpkin balls would be nice too.

  17. avatar S.CROCK says:

    to many people are hating the judge because it is inaccurate and will shoot with a low velocity. this is probably the greatest car gun for an urban area. this hornady load loaded every other with some #6 shot would be the best get out of my face load in a car.

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      While I have little doubt that one defensive role the judge could fill is ‘car gun’, as in using it from the seat to the window and no further it would be effective, though I’d load it with 000buck, 6 shot is for birds (though there are some Emu on which that would be a defensive load). The thing is it’s a solution in search of a problem. At point blank range proper ammo from the judge fired into what’s likely to be the head (driver firing at someone accosting him through the window) ought to be highly effective. However virtually every other revolver of serious caliber (.38 spl and up) would also suffice while many in the size class of the judge are actually more effective, hold more rounds and are more accurate should a longer shot be needed.

      The judge is a novelty and as such it succeeds. It is also big medicine for snakes and such and in a pinch (and with an ammo swap) can be used as a marginal self defense (from 2 legged critters that is) weapon. By any other criteria it’s outperformed in several categories by almost everything else it’s size and weight. Consider one could be carrying an Alaskan in .44mag, a GP100 .357mag, or a whole host of other revolvers that are more practical and effective for their size/weight and will still fire shot shells in the event of a snake. Really, to be a threat a snake would have to be so close I think this is the better compromise than a more dedicated snake gun that had to be prayed over to perform defensive work.

    2. avatar JJ Swiontek says:

      The problem with small shot (#6 and smaller) is the rifling of the barrel ‘spins’ the shot into a ‘halo’ around the target at a fairly wide angle. Next to nothing of the shot hits the target beyond 3 feet.

      If you decide to use small shot in a Judge, then do this: Cut the top 1/32″ off the shot shell; pour the shot into a pan that will never be used for food again; add wax; melt; remove from heat; scoop the shot back into the shot shell; let cool. Your shot is now a wax/lead slug. Poor penetration but excellent anti-personal.

  18. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Wow lots of haters, I don’t have a problem keeping most of Pdx1 on an 8×10 piece of paper at 10 yards. I’m also able to hit out to 25 yards with .45 colt. Maybe I just got lucky, and mines the stainless defender with 2 inch bbl.

    1. avatar Jesse Johnson says:

      I own the same model. I have some of the PDX never shot any of it but I have shot plenty of the Federal the past 5 years I owned the revolver. I kinda like the Federal better that shot behind the discs in that PDX seems kinda useless to me and the Federal is better priced think it is like $13/25 round boxes. That 000 from Federal is copper plated and whatever wad they use keeps a pattern about the size of my fist out to 15 yards or so. With that copper plating on the shot should help in penetration over just lead shot even the #4 shot is copper plated I load up when I am out in the woods on my property for snake control. I don’t ever carry it other then out in the woods but if that was all I had I wouldn’t feel like I wasn’t protected. There is some pretty nasty .45 Colt loads out there but most say they are not for use in the Judge. I do have some of the PDX1 .45 Colt and another from some mfg from WV that used the Hornady XTP bullet for self defense .45 Colt loads. Would be just fine if you had the Raging Judge since that one will fire the .454.

  19. avatar KAT says:

    I have this gun and tried the same ammo. Not very effective but loading all .45 would drop a hog, bad guy, whatever needs dispatching. As revolvers go, like my Ruger LCR .38 & Rhino 2″ D/S ,357 – both much easier to carry. Taurus .410/.45 hope to find it a new home next gun shown. Hate having a weapon I don’t cotton to.

  20. avatar Jeff says:

    A friend of mine joined us hunting in Montana last year and brought his judge. I watched him empty the entire cylinder of .410 on a grouse some 25 yards away and miss every single shot.

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      thats because your friend used an in your face personal protection handgun as a hunting shotgun.
      the gun is made for if someone comes up to your car and tries to rob you while your at a stop light, you shoot them from 2 ft away.

      1. avatar Jesse Johnson says:

        He said he was 25 yards away too probably wasn’t the gun’s fault he was missing. Easy to miss at those kind of distances especially with a .410 revolver.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I haven’t used a .410 in many years. But 25 yards was getting to be a longish shot with the shotguns and loads we had then. A revolver loaded with .410s must max out closer than that.

        2. avatar S.CROCK says:

          also very true. blaming the judge for lack of success at 25 yards is like blaming a smith j-frame for not popping soda cans at 50 yards.

    2. avatar JJ Swiontek says:

      You were using bird shot? The rifling will spin the shot into a wide halo around the target. 12 feet target = 4 foot halo. See my solution above.

  21. avatar jim says:

    Going back to the original Thunder-Five 20 or so years ago, I’ve just never gotten the .410 revolver. Maybe if I was doing a lot of fishing in water moc territory, but a hollow-point .22 has always worked fine for that. However, got to admit I’m intrigued by the 28-gauge Rossi Circuit Judge revolver/ shotgun/ carbine. Neat styling and the blast shield in front of the cylinder is a good idea. (I shot a Navy Arms “revolving carbine” once and burned my hand pretty good.) Seems to me that the bore would be just right for shells loaded with .54 muzzle-loader balls.

    1. avatar Layne says:

      I’m intrigued by the 28 gauge as well, but unless somethings changed recently they don’t sell it in the US. I don’t know of any reason not to, except that it probably wouldn’t sell all that well.

      1. avatar jim says:

        There was a six-inch “handgun” version that didn’t make ATF muster (rifled barrel over .50) but the shoulder-stock version with 19″ smooth barrel is listed by some wholesalers. Haven’t seen one in person. The 28 seems to be making one of its periodic comebacks – several semiautos and pumps. I’ve used .410 and 20-gauge for quail and running rabbits quite a bit, and hunted with a guy that had a 28. Seemed to be best of both worlds.

  22. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

    I think you summed it up perfectly, Mr. Farago: ….”Snake Gun”.

    That’s all it is regardless of what new kind of ammo they try to come out for it.
    I can tell you that because I OWN ONE – and that’s what it’s been relegated to: Snake Gun Duty. The only thing I will put through it is birdshot and that is actually kinda fun, but not exactly what I would take out to hunt upland waterfowl 😉 I guess we all make mistakes, but refusing to acknowledge reality is where mistakes become behavioral issues.
    It’s basically my squirrel hunting side arm now. Anyone who owns one of these contraptions and hasn’t yet realized that it’s inherent inaccuracy (due to lousy “rifling”) and the fact that .410 is NOT suitable for self defense (especially from a short barrel) means this whole concept (and your $500 purchase) is a mistake — please take my advice and realize this sooner rather than later! Get a real gun now before you need it. You can barely hit paper with the old, slow cowboy .45 LC and the buckshot is a total joke. It’s a fun little bird/squirrel/snake gun that you can take on the trail with you when you’re sure there aren’t any REAL dangers (either man or beast) and you want to take a pot shot at a squiggling snake. That’s about it. I can’t think of one other valid use for this darn thing and if I didn’t have a personal policy never to sell my firearms, it wouldn’t even be in my safe right now. Hell, I’ve even considered getting a $50 gift certificate at the next gun buyback, but I won’t promote that stupid idea either, so I’m stuck with it. Worst. Purchase. Ever. Oh well, we live and we learn.

  23. avatar Shooting The Bull says:

    “Anyone who owns one of these contraptions and hasn’t yet realized that it’s inherent inaccuracy (due to lousy “rifling”) and the fact that .410 is NOT suitable for self defense (especially from a short barrel) means this whole concept (and your $500 purchase) is a mistake — please take my advice and realize this sooner rather than later!”

    Well, to address this directly — the “inherent inaccuracy” is a bit of an overstatement. I have three of these things — the Circuit Judge, the Raging Judge Magnum, and the 2″ Public Defender, and I have been conducting extensive testing to get to the bottom of it. The 6.5″ Raging Judge Magnum is very accurate handheld, although I have yet to put it on the Ransom Rest. I did, however, put the 2″ barrel Judge on the Ransom Rest and test it at 7 yards (21 feet) and at 25 yards (75 feet). At 7 yards it held a 2″ group with .45 Colt, and at 25 yards it held a 5″ group with .45 Colt. Is that “inherently inaccurate”? I guess that’s a matter of individual perception; keeping a five-shot group all within the 8-ring on a 12×18″ silhouette, at 75 feet, doesn’t seem all that inherently inaccurate to me. It’s not target-pistol precise, but then again, 75 feet is well, well beyond the range one would expect to be firing a 2″ snubbie defensive pistol anyway. I think it’s plenty accurate for its intended purpose — close-quarters self defense.

    To your second point — “410 is NOT suitable for self defense (especially from a short barrel)” — I would just ask — why not? When loaded with the Nobel 2.5″ buckshot, you will get three 40-caliber bullets that weigh 90 grains apiece, that’s 270 grains of lead, making three separate wound channels and penetrating 18″. How is that not suitable? In fact — how is that not, actually, pretty darn good?

    Or, alternatively, you can use the Federal 000 2.5″ buckshot shell, and from the 2″ barrel you’ll get four bullets that are the diameter of 9mm FMJ’s, each weighing 70 grains, and each penetrating about 17″. I don’t know too many people who would think that four 9mm FMJ’s to the chest in a 2″ spread would be unsuitable or ineffective, do you? And if you pull the trigger again, you get four more 9mm FMJ-sized bullets, all hitting in another 2″ grouping…

    If you want to talk about birdshot, then I’ll agree with you. But I have a hard time understanding why 280 grains of lead in four wound channels causing four separate 17″ deep holes in a good tight grouping, would be considered “unsuitable” or ineffective.

  24. avatar Shooting The Bull says:

    “You can barely hit paper with the old, slow cowboy .45 LC”
    Sorry, got to go back into this. With my 2″ barrel Public Defender, I’ve cut cloverleafs at 7 yards.

    And “old, slow cowboy .45 LC”? Try some PDX1. The terminal ballistics of a 2″ barrel Judge are on par with my 3.3″ barrel .45 ACP Springfield XDs. I don’t have a 3″ barrel Judge, but would wager that its terminal ballistics with PDX1 would be on par with a 4″ barrel Glock or 1911. Now, if you’re shooting cowboy-action rounds, that’s one thing, but the .45 Colt is a very capable cartridge and there are some excellent defensive rounds available for it that are every bit on par with what’s available in .45 ACP.

    ” and the buckshot is a total joke.”
    Again, I have to ask — how is 4 9mm-sized bullets that pass completely through a 16″ block of ballistic gel, “a total joke”? Because if it’s a joke, it’s one I don’t get.

    “Hell, I’ve even considered getting a $50 gift certificate at the next gun buyback, but I won’t promote that stupid idea either, so I’m stuck with it.”
    If it’s a 3″ barrel, I’ll be glad to take it off your hands. Hate to see another firearms aficionado suffer, after all…

  25. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

    Hey Bull – You’re experience sounds different than mine, and all of my statements were of course IMO only. I don’t question your evaluation of the Judge and don’t really want to get in a back and forth. To each his own…

    I have the full sized version with the 3″ cylinder, not the snubby. When I try to compare it to my M&P, Glock, XDS, XDM, etc – it’s just all over the place. Maybe I got a bad one, but the 45 LC’s even from 7 yards were sloppy to say the least, where as with any of my other handguns, I can knock out the bull from twice, 3x that range. The buck was just sloppy too. I couldn’t get any reliable pattern that would make me feel confident using it as a defensive pistol (other than point blank of course). It was just too scattered even at short range – regardless of it’s penetration.

    I’m not saying a .410 won’t kill someone up close. I guess what I’m saying is that I won’t rely on this particular firearm for my personal protection and when I compare it with a true defensive sidearm, it’s just not in the same ball park. I have therefore relegated mine to birdshot only (on the trail, for snakes and such). I just don’t feel confident with it in a real life self defense scenario, as I do with any of the other sidearms mentioned above.

    Again, all in my experience. If you know your firearm and feel confident with it and can get good consistent hits at defensive range, than by all means roll with it.

    I just know when I pick up my Glock or XDS, XDM, M&P – I feel 100% locked in and can punch the bull 15 times in a row pretty darn quickly. When I try to group that Judge, man… it’s a hot mess.

    If you like 45 LC (which aint bad for self defense), why wouldn’t you consider getting a true 45 LC pistol with some real rifling that isn’t gonna get all fouled up and worn down from shooting buck and bird through it? I really like the Ruger Single Actions. Now that’s a true .45 LC pistol.

    Heck, if I didn’t have that damn personal rule about not selling my guns, I’d try to pitch you on taking my Judge off my hands, but as it is – I guess it does fill a nitch… Aint no damn squirrel gonna get a full frontal attack on me when I’m out huntin’ ! 🙂

  26. avatar Shooting The Bull says:

    ” just know when I pick up my Glock or XDS, XDM, M&P – I feel 100% locked in and can punch the bull 15 times in a row pretty darn quickly. When I try to group that Judge, man… it’s a hot mess.”
    Wish I could reply in-line, but for some reason it’s making me make a separate post…

    Anyway — I agree that my Glock, my XDS, my 938, yes they’re all more accurate than the 2″ Judge. Especially at distance. But in my experience the Judge isn’t a hot mess with .45 long colt, it’s — reasonable. Within its given design parameters, which is a close-range defensive gun, I found it plenty adequate. But I’ll agree that I can outshoot it with my other pistols.

    The Raging Judge, I’m not so sure that it’s any less accurate than my best pistols… that thing just seems really accurate, and really easy to get great results with.

    I don’t have a 3″ Judge, so I don’t know about the performance in that design; maybe you have an early one and maybe they were refined later, I don’t know… my Judges are 2012 manufacture… just speculating…

    “The buck was just sloppy too. I couldn’t get any reliable pattern that would make me feel confident using it as a defensive pistol (other than point blank of course). It was just too scattered even at short range – regardless of it’s penetration.”
    My question for you would be — which brand? Because there are some rounds that perform really well, and some that perform relatively terribly. If you were using Winchester buck, I would not be surprised at all by your report. That stuff just doesn’t sail straight, the pellets deform and the short barrel doesn’t keep ’em in line long enough, so they aren’t accurate. But with the Federal, they hold an incredibly tight group out to 7 yards at least. They are hardened buck, they don’t deform and flatten out like the Winchester, and they have a specially-engineered-for-the-Judge shot cup that keeps them tightly together. If you haven’t shot the Federal 000 Buck, you might want to give it a try, it just might change your mind.

    “If you like 45 LC (which aint bad for self defense), why wouldn’t you consider getting a true 45 LC pistol with some real rifling that isn’t gonna get all fouled up and worn down from shooting buck and bird through it?”
    Completely reasonable observation. I will say that I don’t use my Judges as 45LC pistols; I’m glad they have the option but, really, as you said, there are better dedicated .45LC’s than the Judge. I will say that the .45LC can be a very effective defensive round, but so are many other rounds, like 357 magnum, that are available, so buying a Judge as a dedicated 45LC would be a little silly to me. The Judge exists, and is popular, because of buckshot, pure and simple. If it didn’t shoot buckshot, it never would have caught on.

    There are so many diametrically opposing viewpoints about this range of pistols. I have to say, it was the controversy that got me originally interested in them. How can people love and hate one product so much? And what is the truth — how does it really perform? That’s why I’ve spent a lot of time testing my Judges, and I’ve come to the conclusion that with the right ammo, and used for their intended purpose, they can be very effective.

    “Heck, if I didn’t have that damn personal rule about not selling my guns, I’d try to pitch you on taking my Judge off my hands”
    If you change your mind, let me know. 3″ barrel with 3″ chamber is a big gaping hole in my collection right now, and I think that’d make a heck of a nightstand gun!

    1. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

      Hey Bull – Good point on the buck. I believe it was Winchester. And yeah, it was sloppy. Maybe I’ll give the federal a day at the range some time just for kicks… but really I’ve put so much birdshot through this thing by now and I’m so locked in with my other guns, there’s no reason to really go back and try to re-evaluate this piece to try to fit a different POU. . It’s actually the ‘matching’ sidearm for my over/under .22 /.410 youth rifle, so guess it has it’s spot now. Let the kids learn and have their fun… (and of course, me being one of those ‘kids’ some days)

      I believe the ‘truth about this gun’ is probably somewhere more towards the middle, as you note. Who knows, maybe mine is worse than the norm. I did put a good amount of bird and buck through it and it’s hard to even see the rifling now.

      I’ve never tried the Raging Judge, but am guessing that has to have considerably tighter groups. I think you can actually put the hot stuff through that one too? If so, that’s a whole different ball game than cowboy rounds.

      Sounds like you eval’d yours much more so than I did mine, so you have more data and a different experience. Ahh heck, it still beats the crap out a .380 right? – but I better not go there! (Don’t want to start a darn caliber war on Farago’s blog)

      Peace. God Bless the Republic. In the end, we’re all on the same side here…

      VF77

      1. avatar Derrick Haman says:

        Raging Judge in Action, Check it out. That’s pretty sweet accuracy for 454 out of a handgun.

  27. avatar Ardent says:

    I’m wondering if it’s the extra inch of barrel or if .410 ammo has improved dramatically over the last 15 years but in an admittedly haphazard and anecdotal experience with a 2 inch barrel .410 pistol with a variety of loads to include 3″ 000 penetration was found to be lacking to the point that there were often hazardous ricochets from old lumber, something I’ve never encountered with any other cartridge/gun combination. Paper targets posted in front of a cross tie back stop were showing both entries and exits in the target face from a variety of loadings. Not very scientific but it was enough to put me off the .410 shot shell as a legitimate SD round pretty much completely.

    Something to recall is that the 9x19mm cartridge loaded lighter than 147gr, with other than hollow points or traveling less than about 1050fps is a marginal defensive load. When you get into short barreled shotguns throwing round solid shot at the same diameter but less than half that mass and at lower velocities it’s misleading to refer to such as being like taking multiple ‘9mm’ pistol bullets.

    It would be like saying since the common 00buck balls are .34 cal and the 8mm rifle is only .31 cal thus each buckshot is superior to a hit from a Mauser.

    All that said it’s not really a ballistic argument to me, it’s size and weight. The judge for it’s capacity and effect is simply to large and heavy. Taking it’s dimensions and weight into account most duty sized revolvers and pistols could be substituted. Given the higher capacity of the latter, more rapid reload options and wide variety of high quality defensive loadings Virtually every duty sized handgun on the market is superior to the judge in terminal effect, accuracy, capacity, reload time and ergonomics.

    It’s a really cool novelty and niche gun which excels as a snake charmer but struggles to be marginal as a PDW.

  28. avatar A-Rod says:

    Why, Oh Why, get The Raging Bull or The Judge when you can get a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in .454 Casull?

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      Yes, I know the Raging Bull comes in .454 but I meant the quality of the Ruger over the Taurus. Either would be nice to take to the range.

  29. avatar Shooting The Bull says:

    “Why, Oh Why, get The Raging Bull or The Judge when you can get a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in .454 Casull?”
    If your interest is solely in .454 Casull (and, by logical extension, .45 Colt and even .45 Schofield), then yeah, I would totally go for the Ruger over the Raging Bull.

    Why get a Raging Judge over the Super Redhawk? Because it’s a heck of a shotgun too. In 3″ chamber with 6.5″ barrel, the Raging Judge can fire 6 pellets of 00 buck per trigger pull, or 9 pellets of 4-buck, or 5 pellets of 000 buck, or 4 pellets of 90-grain 40-cal buck.

    I will say, I think the Raging Judge is my favorite range toy. It’s extremely accurate, easy to shoot, has zero recoil with anything other than .454 Casulls, is very powerful, was reasonably inexpensive, and — oh yeah, it’s also a shotgun with the equivalent of a 9.5″ barrel on it, which makes it reasonably quite powerful.

    Not saying you have to agree; just answering your question as to why someone might buy one of those over the Ruger.

    Nothing against the Ruger at all, Ruger’s a great brand and the Super Redhawk Alaskan is still on my wish list… but the Raging Judge is a great pistol (while also huge and preposterously heavy; it’s a full pound heavier than the 7.5″-barrel Super Redhawk).

  30. avatar MW says:

    The Judge (and it’s peers) are chambered for both .410 and 45LC.

    My question is: can the Hornady triple be fired from a 410 chambered long gun? It says that the slug is .410 and expands to fill the barrel, but I’m still a little concerned that the slug is oversized. Wouldn’t want to plug it up.

    Next question: any guesses what the velocity and pattern would be from a long smoothbore?

    If I could get my hands on some (everyone seems to be sold out!) I’d let you know…

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