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I know what you’re thinking: what were they thinking? Who needs a lever action single action revolver on a stick with a Picatinny rail? As Kentucky Packrat points out below, what does the Rossi Circuit Judge do that a lever rifle can’t—other than complicate matters and shoot 3″ .410 shotshells? The temptation here is to launch impeachment proceedings against the new Rossi Circuit Judge, or at least file an appeal against Taurus’ decision to build it to a higher court. But there is no higher court than than the court of public opinion. Either Rossi’s rifle revolver sells or dies. And you never know with these ballistic odd ducks. Like Perry the Platypus, sometimes a niche player finds the perfect niche. So . . uh . . . the Circuit Judge also fires 45 Long Colt. Just remember to fit the rifled choke tube. The price of inspiring endless “Wazzats?” down at the gun range: $680. View other new variants at thefirearmblog,com.

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  1. Why? Why, why, why?

    This gun has zero advantages over a pump action shotgun. None. Zero. Nada. Instead, you now have a cylinder-based rifle, one with a terribly complex lever mechanism to boot.

    IMHO, this thing is yet again an answer searching for a question.

    • It has the appearance of an all-purpose “truck gun”. That is, some beat up rifle in medium caliber that you throw behind the seat of your old single cab truck with a box of shells. It’s there if you ever need it, you can hit most anything at a reasonable distance, and it’s got enough power to handle 90% of what you might shoot at. It wouldn’t replace my Winchester ’94, but it wouldn’t be a bad choice. Just ugly as sin. The ability to load both shotshells and solid projectiles, and index rounds on the fly, is a bonus. I see several advantages over a pump action shotgun. Still wouldn’t buy it, but …

      • I own 4 of the judges. 2 raging judges, 1 3″ judge, and one circuit judge in stainless. i guarantee that you know nothing of which you speak of.

  2. I handled one at the recent Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly, VA. I was actually intrigued – wouldn’t mind throwing some rounds through it. Would I buy one, no. But damn does it look badass in person.

  3. Imagine if Taurus got all of their gun designers/computer nerds in one room and said “instead of wacky stuff, how about we make a firearm that knocks shooters socks off?”.

    And while at it, take the stupid locks off of the revolvers.

    • I own over 10 Taurus revolvers and I like the locking system and my circuit judge. I also own over 70 colt and springfield firearms. You know absolutely nothing about which you speak.

  4. I thought, why .45LC/.410? Why not .45LC/.454 Casull/.460 S&W or .500 S&W?
    Let’s have something that can handle big pistol cartridges in a rifle platform.

  5. “…[W]hat does the Rossi Circuit Judge do that a lever rifle can’t?”

    Accept speedloaders. Safely fire cartridges with “pointy” bullets. Leave spent cases in a neat pile at your feet. Vice Winchesters and clones, “be conveniently scoped.”

  6. Why not just chamber the bloody thing in 12 gauge and let the shooter choose between shot or solid slug without any necessary changes of choke. Use 2.75 inch rounds and take the extra metal to make the cylinder stout enough to handle the pressure. That way anybody can mix and match rounds with let’s say three solids and three buck shot. Ouch!

  7. Robert, what about speedloaders? We’ll need those for this. πŸ™‚

    Also: If you’ve managed to wed the concept of the revolver to the shotgun, tweak it just a little more and get us high-capacity detatchable magazines.

    Somehow. LOL

  8. Got to handle one at big r this weekend, feels good, exelent sights and a bit of versitility. Good alternative to the old m6 survival rifle. Reviews I have read say 50-75 yards with the long colt. May strap it to my pack next time I head into the bush for a week away from home.

  9. I promised my dog Ranger we’d go Blue Grouse (PC is now Dusky) hunting this Friday. I decided because of the usual density of folks up from the bottom land (Denver) I would not use the 22LR. I feel my 12, 16, or 20 gauges a bit overpowering for a shy grouse so I wanted to get a 410. I saw a nice Remington 870 and put it down to look at another shotgun for a moment and a nice older gentleman picked it up off the rack and bought it. Left with no real choices I remembered the WalMart down the highway a bit and it is one of the few that sells shot guns and rifles so there I headed before going off to one of the big sporting warehouse type stores. Walmart had a nice Mossberg 410 pump for of course a really low price that had potential. Then I spotted an odd looking revolver rifle and the counter person mentioned it also fired 45LC cartridges. No lever, it has a hammer and is rather light and not very long. Not to mention the gold trigger, that was the deal breaker. Perfect to knock a grouse out of a tree perch at 20 yards. At almost $500 it is $280 more expensive than the Mossberg but I had to have it. I have a 460 XVR that uses 454 Cassull and 45 LC for light loads, believe me, these two rounds are light compared to a 300 grain 460 round. I bought it, I think it will bring about some curiosity and will work great for small game at close range. Very distinctive and fits for hunting and plinking. I’m happy I stumbled across this odd little weapon.

  10. Weird, definately. The Taurus Circuit Judge is an odd duck indeed. Something about a revolving carbine seems to go against all reason. During the “Civil” war there were a few in service with Calvary units on both sides and, considering the times, performed ok. Of course during the same time period anyone and everyone wanted a lever action when exposed to it on either end of the barrel. 150 years later doesn’t make the revolver/carbine any better a choice but heck man, they are really neat and isnt that a good enough reason to buy any gun that you probably dont need? I bought one at my local WallyWorld for under 5 benjamins and dont feel ripped off. It is a versitle little .410(just ask the squirrels) and mine is good with .45colt for plinking milk jugs past 100yrds. Solution to a problem that doesnt exist? Maybe. Fun, accurate, and a decent deal, most definately. Buy a NEW gun and keep the gun co.s focused on the customer. Shoot, I for one would miss Taurus if they went out of biz like almost happened to S&W. Keep your powder dry.

  11. As an aside, Our heros the ATF had a hard time figuring out what to call this thing and, after untold tax dollars spent, came up with”shotgun”. Thats not a bad reason to support innovation. Maybe if the manufacturers keep thinking up neat products like the Circuit Judge we can keep our federal servants too busy to sell illegal guns to our enemies in Mexico with our money.

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  13. If it was rated for .460 $&W it would be one of my dream truck guns. handy on the RV should be good for grouse, ptarmigan. Keep a couple of cylinders loaded with .460 as bear deterant, since you never know when a bird hunt will turn into a bear hunt. In the AK interior anyway.


    • I have personally shot this weapon. The .45LC produces a noted “thud,” but the recoil is straight inline with the weapon. It does not torque or jump. It is easy to get back on target. I’m a lever-action guy (never grew out of wanting to be a cowboy), so I’m headed toward the lever style, but the DA is not hard to set up or operate. If you’re looking for an oddity that has some actual value, this might be it. From the cowboy perspective, your .45LCs will also go in your pistol.



    • Hey man, this is just a standard long gun and you can buy it same way you would buy any other gun in Texas.

      Basis: I live in Houston.

  17. I’ve got no doubt that this pistol carbine that will take off and will spawn more in other calbures same the Taurus pistol line maybe into rifle calbures as well? 30/30 six shot carbine with speed loaders wowa!! Hmm can u get .45lc speed loaders? That u can fit .410 shot shells?
    Awesome idea with a lot of twists to come me thinks !

  18. Hopefully this post will answer all previous and future questions. First off, the lever-action Judge is stupid and only meant for export and California where a regular Circuit Judge would be illegal to own. I own a .45/.410, stainless, single/double-action Circuit Judge (no-lever). It’s hands down the lightest rifle I’ve ever held, and it’s the fastest “quick-slinging” weapon I’ve ever fired. I actually think it’s faster than most pistol “quick-draws”. Recoil is just right – it’s light, but just stout enough to let you know it’s got some power. It’s accurate enough to hit a basketball at about 70 yards with .45 slugs, and the spread is tight enough to destroy one at about 10 yards with tripple-0 buck (no choke, I never use it). It’s a great gun for taking out anything from quail to black bear, though I wouldn’t use it for duck (but who would use .410 on duck anyway, right?). It’s the kind of gun you can carry comfortably all day, plus you can keep all five chambers loaded without worrying about shooting your foot off. This gun has advantages over pump-action shotguns and lever-action rifles, although those guns also have their own advantages over this gun. What does it do that a lever-action rifle can’t? – It can be un-slung and fired (“quick-slung”) more quickly since there is no lever to waste time, plus faster follow-up shots for the same reason (also, duh… it can fire .410). What can it do that a pump-action shotgun can’t? – Same as the latter, plus It can fire .45 slugs far more accurately than a 12-gauge can fire slugs. It can also be fired one-handed from the shoulder easily, fired one-handed out-stretched (like a pistol) with some practice, and fired rapidly and accurately one-handed from the hip (which is a lot of fun, all 5 rounds in just over a second). Bad points – plastic sights, cheap (but adequate) sling mounts, poorly contoured grip (awkward/uncomfortable), cannot use speed-loader (can’t even eject all five spent cases at once), made in Brazil (several screws loosened up after one trip to the range), gasses “blow back” into your face with each shot (must wear glasses or keep your left eye closed unless you like unburned powder and slivers of lead in it), less-than-acceptable fit and finish and more cylinder play than I would like. With all that said, this is still a great gun for someone who just has to have it (like I did) and doesn’t mind putting some money and work into it. I re-contoured my grip so it actually fits my hand, shaved down the part of the stock that hinders loading/ejecting (can use speed-loader now .45 and .410, and eject all cases at once), shortened the stock 1/2 inch to make it a little lighter and more compact, sanded and re-stained the wood black, and replaced the plastic sights with quality iron sights and a weaver-mount ghost ring. Next I plan to cut the barrel down to 12 inches (after getting the proper tax-stamp) since I never use the choke anyway. After that it should weigh a mere four pounds and be just about the handiest and coolest little weapon anyone has ever seen. Bottom line – if you think it’s cool and you want it, get it. Otherwise you might be disappointed.

  19. Blueox86. How has the rifle gun worked for you since your march post. Would you consider sending detailed instructions for the modification you made I an an amature but quite handy at following instructuions I am talking about the circuit judge 410-45. Thank you. Mike

    • Removed my metal sights because they kept loosening up since they weren’t made for the gun. Still have the ghost ring, it’s a low-profile backup shotgun sight from XS and it works great with the stock sights. I cut the sight rail in half and used the rear half to mount the ring at the middle of the receiver, this gives you a perfect sight picture for both the .45lc and .410. This sight combination allowed me to put .45’s in 3 inch groups at about 60 yards, getting a bullseye with about 30% of my shots. My brother on the other hand, was getting 6 inch groups on the same targets with a scoped .22 rifle with a bipod. As for the speed loader mod, you can get a 3-round loader for the circuit judge, which is pointless, or you can get a 5-round loader made for the Judge handgun like I did from 5-Star. You need a VERY sharp pocket knife with a curved tip, start shaving off the concave area on the left side of the grip keep the curved edge there intact, just gradually and evenly remove the wood above till you’re about an eighth of an inch from the plastic sleeve that the receiver slides into. You should now be able to use your speedloader, if not, use your speedloader to figure out where you need to cut shallower. Now that your finish has been destroyed you can re-shape your grip to fit your hand, sand it all down, remove all the finish and spray lacquer on that thing till it’s like a mirror (took me 5 coats). I’m sure you can figure out how to shorten the stock, if you want to, that is. I haven’t cut the barrel yet, don’t feel like going through all the paperwork for that yet. Though, I changed the balance of the gun by adding a shell holder to the stock that holds five rounds, and drilling a hole behind the recoil pad of the stock and stuffing six 230 grain bullets in there (just the lead projectile). This makes the gun less front heavy and increases the steadiness of my aim a bit. The center of gravity is right in the center of the trigger guard. I now handload jacketed 230 grain round-nose bullets (ACP projectiles) at just over standard pressure with Unique powder and find that they have a flatter trajectory than factory rounds. Unique seems to be a softer recoiling powder so I figured it’s a slower burning powder since it’s also used in shotgun shells, by this logic I can load the shell a tad bit hotter than normal and get more velocity out of that long barrel, besides the cylinder gap is just another reason why I don’t think this will blow up in my face, it bleeds off some of the pressure. Fired these at some melons, they look to have a lot of penetration, the exit hole wasn’t any larger than the entrance, but cause the melon to split all around the exit hole. This round should take down a black bear.

      • I’ve edited an image show you how my Circuit Judge will look after I convert it to something similar to a “mares leg.” Only mine has glossy black furniture, instead of woodgrain. I have a Rossi Ranch Hand mares leg in .45 colt, and a Judge mares leg is my ideal firearm, as it can be held like a rifle with your cheek against the stock, there’s just nothing touching your shoulder (this could not be done with a heavy recoil weapon of course!). This is almost as accurate as using a full stock, and is far more compact and easy to maneuver in close quarters. I plan to contour the stock so that it mates up with the heel of my palm and wrist for steady one-handed shooting. I’m thinking that the shorter barrel will tighten up the spread with .410 (remember, I don’t use the choke), especially buckshot since there will be less time for the shot/wad to get purchase on the rifling. I will use a scabbard holster on my back as I have realized that a sling is a bad idea with a revolver. The cylinder rubs against your body making it wiggle and oscillate, this will cause accelerated wear making for more cylinder play over time. Since it was discontinued before production, I dub this new weapon the “Trail Judge.”

        • Never mind that horrible mockery of a weapon I came up with before. This is the one I will be making, the “Bounty Hunter.” It seems to me like it would have been a perfect weapon for that line of work about 140 years ago. I like this so much that I will be making it sooner rather than later.

  20. Purchased a CJ two weeks before deer season in Ky. Took my son out and did some shooting. Opening day my son shot a 8 pt. buck at 82 yards, (lazer) with the .45LC. He fell where he was standing. I’d say its an outstanding rifle, a great squirrel shotgun, and an excellent home defense weapon.

    • Explain please. I have one of these that I’ve been shooting any and all shells including some pretty healthy reloads. After three years and an excess of 1,000 rounds fired it is still a great little gun. On close inspection I find no wear or signs of stress. What happened to that gun and what was loaded in it?

    • Brian, why the hell would you make a comment like that and not follow it up. Are you a troll? If not please explain as this would be important to current and potential CJ owners.


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