As I mentioned previously, I received an email from a reader of this site, discussing the Taurus Judge. The Taurus Judge is a unique revolver which can fire either a .45 Long Colt cartridge, or a .410 shotgun shell. I have handled the Taurus Judge, and it seems to be a well constructed revolver. I won’t go into a full review of it, since my main focus is its ability to fire .410 shotgun shells in addition to the .45 Long Colt rounds.
Using Birdshot with the Taurus Judge for Self Defense
In the limited scenarios I previously mentioned, birdshot in the Taurus Judge might be an acceptable choice for a self defense load. However I think these situations are indeed pretty limited. Birdshot lacks the ability to penetrate deeply enough to reach an attacker’s vital organs, which is the only reliable way of stopping the attacker before it is too late.
Using Buckshot with the Taurus Judge for Self Defense
The 2 or 3 00 Buckshot pellets which would fit in a .410 shotgun shell, when fired out of the relatively short barrel of the Taurus Judge, will simply not penetrate the way that 00 Buckshot from a “normal” shotgun would. The Box-O-Truth demonstrates this limited penetration potential. Additionally, having only a couple buckshot pellets means that the normal benefits of a shotgun, namely a greater chance that some of the pellets will find a vital organ and stop the attacker, are not present.
Using .410 Shotgun Slugs with the Taurus Judge for Self Defense
I would strongly recommend against using a .410 shotgun slug in the Taurus Judge for self defense. The .410 slug is considerably less effective than a .45 Long Colt cartridge, as shown here.
Using .45 Long Colt Cartridges with the Taurus Judge for Self Defense
The .45 Long Colt seems to be the best self defense option for the Taurus Judge. Of the many loads available for the Judge, only the .45 Long Colt will reliably penetrate deeply enough to stop an attacker. This is not very surprising, given the limited power or a .410 shotgun shell, and the lower velocities achieved when a shot shell is fired through the 3″ barrel of a Taurus Judge, compared with the 18+” barrel of a shotgun.
Overall I would say the Taurus Judge is a unique and nice firearm. I think that outside certain unique circumstances, birdshot is not the proper ammunition for self defense, and that for the Taurus Judge, the .45 Long Colt is generally the best option. Outside the self defense scenario, birdshot or buckshot may be viable loads for the Taurus Judge.