Here Comes the Judge! Taurus .45/410 Revolver


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

February 19th, 2007




Taurus has introduced a handgun that may just be the ideal trail gun for those of us who live, work, and play among timber rattlers, cottonmouths, copperheads, and diamondbacks. It should also prove just as useful for our Western friends who must contend with the sidewinder and the Western version of the diamondback. I donít know which I hate more, as all are ornery when cornered, but the cottonmouth is the only snake that I have ever had personally come after me. Most snakes will slither off if they can, except for maybe the copperhead, who just lies there quietly grinning and waiting for your approach.  At least the rattlers will sound off and give you a chance to soil yourself just before he sinks those fangs into your flesh. However, in my experience, the cottonmouth is downright mean.

There are those in our society who look with disdain and loathing upon those of us who kill poisonous snakes - mostly they live in nice apartments or suburban subdivisions. If they are really well-heeled they call them "estates". However, those of us who live in the Southern woods (forests, for you snake-loving high society types), for about eight months out of the year, we must keep a careful eye out for poisonous snakes as we walk amongst the chiggers, ticks, and poison oak.

I do not kill non-poisonous snakes such as black snakes and chicken snakes, for they provide a service and do no harm, unless you happen to step on one at night, at which point they might cause you to hurt yourself trying to hop around on one toe without touching the ground, which should probably be an Olympic sport in itself.  However, if I find a poisonous snake around my house, I will do all that I can to kill it. I have two young grandchildren that play around here, and a snakebite could easily kill one of them, or even kill their dear old Grandpa, and I just will not risk it. Now, if some short-haired, Volvo-driving, apartment-dwelling, cappuccino-drinking, Nancy Pelosi fan club chick wants to send hateful email, let the games begin. However, I really donít think that those women read Gunblast, so hopefully, I am safe.

I always carry a handgun, unless I am flying what was once termed the "friendly skies". When out deeper in the woods or down by the creek, I carry one loaded with shot loads if I am wandering around there during  the itching season.  This new Taurus is chambered for the .410 shotshell, and packs a pretty good payload of shot to reliably dispatch crawling vermin. For the vermin that walk upright on their hind legs, it also chambers and fires the .45 Colt cartridge, making this a very versatile handgun. Taurus calls this five-shot revolver "The Judge", which seems appropriate, even if the name will most likely offend the type of person referenced in the preceding paragraph. It weighs in at just under 36 ounces, and packs rather comfortably holstered on the hip or across the chest in one of Rob Leahyís Grizzly Tuff holsters, with the latter preferred if any riding or wading is anticipated.

Patterning the .410 shotshells proved that this revolver is, as I expected, a close range proposition, which is just fine. Any farther than twelve feet away, the pattern opens rather quickly. The number 7-Ĺ shot at that range is pretty sparse. I would have liked to have some number 9 shotshells for testing, but none was to be found. Anyway, the 7-Ĺ penetrates better, and at normal "A SNAKE!!!" range, it does just fine. The spread is wide enough to assure a good hit, and the pattern tight enough to assure a quick kill.

I also tried some number 4 shot at closer range, and it is with larger shot such as this that The Judge becomes better suited for solving social disputes of the most unfriendly kind. I see this as an ideal weapon to keep on the car seat to quickly resolve an attempted car-jacking. When a punk jerks the car door open, a face full of number four shot should rapidly dissuade the social misfit from wanting anything to do with your car, and should also render him unable to pass the eye exam for a driverís license for the rest of his miserable life. If this seems cruel, so be it. If someone sneaks into a parking lot and hot-wires a car, that is one thing, but if he tries to forcibly take an occupied vehicle at a traffic light, he can learn to read Braille in prison as far as Iím concerned.

I tested the penetration of the number four shot loads on some aluminum bottles (no, I did not empty them. I found them that way) and some tough cured country ham hocks. The shot completely penetrated both the lightweight bottles and the tough meat, and would surely do the same on a close range snake or small game for the pot. Anything farther than about twelve feet, and the cylinder needs to be stoked with the .45 Colt loads.

I really had no high expectations of accuracy using the .45 Colt ammo, considering the long cylinder and fixed sights with the fiber optic bead front. I was, however, very pleasantly surprised at the practical accuracy of the weapon, especially at combat ranges. After shooting the gun offhand, I wished that I had ordered an insert for my Ransom Rest to see just how accurate the gun would be without the handicap of the shooter influencing the outcome. At any rate, the Judge is not meant to be a paper-punching target revolver, but rather a practical and versatile fighting weapon.  At seven yards, the five shot cylinder would place the bullets right at point of aim, and grouped tightly together. The double action trigger pull was smooth, and measured nine and one-half pounds. The single action pull measured a crisp four and three-quarters pounds, and in either mode, the Judge was a delight to shoot. Recoil was easily controlled, and the Taurus Ribber grips took any bite out of the Judgeís bark. The grip is very comfortable, and the backstrap well-padded. The Judge has the "Taurus Security System" key lock, for those who like to use it. The test gun wears a three inch barrel, but longer barrels are offered. However, I think that the three inch is the better choice for social work. It is just a lot handier. The Judge also can be purchased with either two and one-half or three inch chambers, the test gun being the former. You also have a choice of blued or stainless steel. The test gun was very well finished, with no visible flaws, and functioned perfectly with all ammo tested.  The barrel/cylinder gap measured .006 inch. The ejector rod is fully shrouded, and cylinder lockup was tight.  The color casehardened hammer and trigger contrast nicely with the deep blue-black finish. The Judge has a nice, business-like appearance.

I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Judge, with both shotshells and solid bullet .45 Colt ammo. It offers a lot of versatility in snake country, and can be carried for urban defense loaded with shotshells, heavy .45 Colt hollowpoints, or a combination of both. A number four shot load followed by four hollowpoints might be just about ideal for social work.

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Jeff Quinn


February 24th, 2007

Jeff also tested .410 slugs in the Judge. However, there is no advantage to using a 96 grain .3995 caliber bullet when the handgun will more accurately fire .4525 inch bullets weighing over three times as much. The accuracy with slugs limits the use to around 15 yards, while the .45 Colt ammo is accurate out to over 100 yards.

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Taurus .45/410 Revolver.







Taurus Security System effectively locks the revolver.



Safety is further enhanced by a transfer bar.





The .45/410 (top) is not much larger than Jeff's Smith & Wesson 342PD 5-shot .38 Special.





For woods carry, Simply Rugged's Grizzly Tuff holster is hard to beat.







Number 7-Ĺ shot pattern at 12 feet.



Number 4 shot at 8 feet would prove an effective load for legged or legless threats.



Number 4 shot fully penetrated this tough cured ham hock at 6 feet.



The "Judge" .45/410 also uses .45 Colt ammo.



The Judge proved to be surprisingly accurate, as this 7-yard offhand group using .45 Colt ammo demonstrates.