December 22, 2009

Taurus Judge: Gun Tests Revolver of the Year 2009

Every December Gun Tests Magazine surveys the work of Ben Brooks, Roger Eckstine, Ray Ordorica, Joe Syczylo, Gene Taylor, Kevin Winkle, R.K. Campbell, and Ralph Winingham to select guns the magazine’s testers have endorsed without qualification. From these evaluations the magazine picks the best from a full year’s worth of tests and distills summary recommendations for readers, who often use them as year-end shopping guides.

These “best of” choices are a mixture of the Gun Tests original evaluation and other information the staff compiles during the year.

“This is our third year of letter-grade scoring, and all the guns in this compilation are A or A+ choices,” said Gun Tests Editor Todd Woodard.

Additionally, the magazine selects the best type of firearm--pistol, revolver, shotgun, and rifle--for its “Best in Class” award.

The “Best in Class” Revolver for 2009 was the Taurus Judge No. 4510TKR-3BUL 3-Inch 45 LC/410-Bore, $620. It was originally reviewed in the August 2009 issue.

The Gun Tests team of evaluators said of the Judge: “As a trail or self-defense gun, the Judge has a lot going for it. As a last-ditch effort in the courtroom, we strongly suggest any judges planning to pack it make some practical pattern tests before they carry this gun loaded with 410 shotshells into any courtroom.”

Taurus Judge

Courtesy, Gun Tests

We found the Judge to be a lot smaller than we thought it would be. It is a very handy, easily carried revolver that did exactly what it was supposed to do. The Ribber grips tamed recoil well enough that we didn't want any more weight to this five-shooter than this Ultra-Lite version had. The red front sight worked well, too.

The Taurus Judge, a 45 LC- and 410-shotshell-chambered revolver, might fit into many individuals’ self-defense schemes with its powerful, simple operation. The Judge bears that name on its barrel, and it’s supposedly destined for those judges who pack iron in the courtroom. The Judge is catalogued in the Taurus line as the Model 4510, and there are several versions. Some are blued steel, others are stainless, and there are versions that accept longer 3-inch 410-bore shotshells. There are also Judges with 6.5-inch barrels.

The Gun Tests team liked quite a few aspects of this five-shot revolver. The Judge featured a pleasant, glossy, all-black finish with aluminum-alloy frame and Taurus’ wonderful, recoil-absorbing rubber grips, called “Ribbers.” The front sight held a red-plastic insert that let it stand out fairly well against most backgrounds, as long as there was good overhead light.

The rear sight was a square notch milled in the frame that, we thought, could have been cut a bit wider to make it easier and faster to align the front sight for more deliberate aim. The hammer and trigger were case hardened, and gave a reasonable DA pull and a workable, if slightly creepy, SA pull of around 5 pounds.

Fit and finish and lockup were excellent, the GT testers said. They liked the feel and balance of this revolver, and thought it had adequate weight, especially with those excellent grips, for the power it had. In case you’re wondering, hot 45 LC loads give more recoil than 410 shotshells. The Judge has an imposing appearance with that 2.6-inch-long cylinder.

Taurus Judge

Courtesy, Gun Tests

At 3 feet the Judge made 1-foot-diameter patterns. We estimated the maximum range for self defense would be about 10 feet. Smaller shot would also be more effective than the #4s tested.

The GT team tested with two types of 45 Long Colt ammo, Blazer 200-grain JHP and Black Hills 250-grain flat-nose cast lead bullets, and a Winchester Super X 2.5-inch 410-bore shotshell, which was loaded with half an ounce of #4 shot.

Serious patterning on a 4-foot-square paper gave a better indication of the usefulness and range of the Judge with shot. At 3 feet the pattern diameter was 1 foot. At 6 feet it was 18 inches, and at 12 feet from the muzzle, the pattern diameter averaged 34 inches. In all cases they were fairly well centered at the point of aim. “We’d guess the maximum range for shot loads from the Judge would be 10 feet,” the Gun Tests shooters said.

The Judge did very well with 45 LC loads. GT’s best group was 1.6 inches for five shots at 15 yards, with the 200-grain JHP Blazer ammo. Black Hills’ cowboy loads averaged less than 3 inches at that range. Now, that’s 3 inches at 45 feet.

“Our testers said they would prefer the idea of 45 LC loads for self-defense shooting,” Woodard said. “The Judge might just fill a perfect niche for you as a powerful, compact revolver.”

Comments (27)

I Love my "El Juez", version of the "Judge"!... I've recently purchased a "Bond Arms" "Snake Slayer IV", Over & Under, Derringer; chambering the .45 long Colts, and a 3 inch Magnum .410!... With the Driving holster, that fits over your belt. This is very concealiable, under a t-shirt, while wearing shorts!...[As we dress this way often, in the Florida "Keys"!... American made gun, out of Granberry Texas!...[a great lil' back up weapon!...lol, with this, you really need, No Other!...

Posted by: muffdiver | June 30, 2012 2:29 PM    Report this comment

With the.410 OOO Buckshot, [propelling 5 pellots, at the same velocity, of 5,
.357 magnum rounds], Why, would you even bother, using anything Else?...

Posted by: muffdiver | March 24, 2012 8:20 AM    Report this comment

I just purchased a 3" chamber, 3" barrel Judge and when inserting 3" 410 shells, the cylinder will NOT rotate.
Is my gun defective? It has never been fired.

Posted by: lyledb42 | December 29, 2010 11:08 PM    Report this comment

Hey, "Navy-Vet"! Did you purchase, the correct size , .410, ammo?... the 3 inch, "Will", cause the "Jam", [on a 2 1/2 inch cylinder...!] Try, the 2 1/2 inch, .410, 000Buck, by Federal! Alternating, starting with the .410!...
Shoot Safe!
Captain George Dowling

Posted by: muffdiver | July 30, 2010 10:51 AM    Report this comment

is it possible to fire .410 slugs through the 2-1/2" Judge?

Posted by: Randy H | June 1, 2010 3:53 PM    Report this comment

I just purchased a new Taurus Judge 4510 SS With a 2-1/2" Cylinder, 3" Barrel & Crimson Trace Grip.

I have not shot the gun yet but I have purchased a box of (50) Ultramax .45 Colt 250 grain RNFP & Federal .410 2-1/2" #4 Shot.

When I chambered the Ultramax .45 Colt rounds I could not completely close the cylinder but had no problem with the Federal .410 rounds.

I paid $740 for the gun & I'm already having problems before even firing a round!

Could it be the Ultramax ammo or did I just purchase a lemon?

Posted by: NavyVietnamVet | April 11, 2010 3:34 PM    Report this comment

Thanks, I have ordered at least two other brands of .45 Colt. Unfortunately, the dealer had no .45 Colt in stock & with the shortage, they had no idea when they would be getting any new stock!

I guess I was wondering if anyone else had problems with this brand of ammo.

Is Ultramax a reload brand? This ammo had "Winchester .45 Colt" stamped on it.

Posted by: NavyVietnamVet | March 24, 2010 8:17 PM    Report this comment

To NavyVietnamVet; Why not try a different .45 long Colt round, like Blackhills brand. Take it into your dealer and have him try another load.

Posted by: www.gusplaceresort.com | March 24, 2010 4:31 AM    Report this comment

I just purchased a new Taurus Judge 4510 SS With a 2-1/2" Cylinder, 3" Barrel & Crimson Trace Grip.

I have not shot the gun yet but I have purchased a box of (50) Ultramax .45 Colt 250 grain RNFP & Federal .410 2-1/2" #4 Shot.

When I chambered the Ultramax .45 Colt rounds I could not completely close the cylinder but had no problem with the Federal .410 rounds.

I paid $740 for the gun & I'm already having problems before even firing a round!

Could it be the Ultramax ammo or did I just purchase a lemon?

Posted by: NavyVietnamVet | March 24, 2010 1:40 AM    Report this comment

Is there a pattern difference between the 2 inch & the 2 & a half barrel with the shot gun ammo.

Posted by: thespin | March 8, 2010 6:33 PM    Report this comment

Is there a pattern difference between the 2 inch & the 2 & a half barrel with the shot gun ammo.

Posted by: thespin | March 8, 2010 6:26 PM    Report this comment

Is there a pattern difference between the 2 inch & the 2 & a half barrel with the shot gun ammo.

Posted by: thespin | March 8, 2010 6:25 PM    Report this comment

I have owned a natural color ultralite, 2.5"chamber 3"barell for going on two years. I have fired ribbed and smooth .410 hulls with no sticking problems. I also shoot .45 colt in 200 grain Blazer and 200,250 RNL cowboy loads with excelent results with all. For plinking I use any .410 in #12,9,8,7,6,4, and 000. for serious work I use the new Federal in 000, and #4. I added a Crimson Trace Laser grip and would recommend one to everyone. I love mine. The natural finish titanium seems almost impervious to rust which is good here in South Georgia.
Thanks,
Roy






39#4 shot. They areonl good to about 20 feet. I have used Federal plinking

Posted by: Grizzly | March 4, 2010 11:52 AM    Report this comment

Had a public defender it would hang up at least every ten rounds didn't make any difference if it was 410 or 45 cal. sent it back they couldn't find anything wrong I have three other taurus double action revolvers so I know you have to release the trigger complety I know not to use 3 in. shells in 2 1/2 in. chambers this was something in the trigger mechanism I liked the gun was great for shooting packrats when mowing fields but did not trust it to fire in an emergency

Posted by: johnnie k | January 6, 2010 2:52 PM    Report this comment

Gentlemen. I was almost carjacked while trying to obtain fuel in February 2009 on an out of state trip.What I didn't know was the location that I stopped was a gang hangout after dark. I chose the Judge Public Defender, a 2"bbl stainless dbl. action only revolver.

What I learned is that use only FEDERAL .410 buckshot only, muzzle velocity 1200 FPS, 4 pellet 000 BUCK. It is designed for handguns only. They also make #4 shotshells which are worthless unless you just want to blind or wound your attacker. Then you are in for lengthy lawsuits even if you are in the right. Regarding the 45 Long Colt in this model, it too is worthless. I know someone who has sent his back toe the factory three times trying to get accuracy improved. If you want to use a solid bullet, shoot a hi-cap Glock or similar favorite model.

The purpose of this weapon is to kill, up close and personal. The FEDERAL handgun buckshot load shoots four 000 Buck very well with groups not exceeding 2.5 inces out to 30 feet. After all, the majority of gunfights happen at 7-14 feet. If you want a handgun
shoot handgun ammo in it. Regular .410 only has three 00 Buck and is designed for a minimum of 18 inch bbl. to burn all the powder.

Up close and personal with devasting results, use your JUDGE. When you run out of bullets, pick up your HI-CAP semi auto for longer well placed shots. If that is not enough for your situation, grab another mag for your HI-CAP or grab your personal defence shotgun and finish the job.

Posted by: cectn | January 4, 2010 2:39 PM    Report this comment

Gentlemen. I was almost carjacked while trying to obtain fuel in February 2009 on an out of state trip.What I didn't know was the location that I stopped was a gang hangout after dark. I chose the Judge Public Defender, a 2"bbl stainless dbl. action only revolver.

What I learned is that use only FEDERAL .410 buckshot only, muzzle velocity 1200 FPS, 4 pellet 000 BUCK. It is designed for handguns only. They also make #4 shotshells which are worthless unless you just want to blind or wound your attacker. Then you are in for lengthy lawsuits even if you are in the right. Regarding the 45 Long Colt in this model, it too is worthless. I know someone who has sent his back toe the factory three times trying to get accuracy improved. If you want to use a solid bullet, shoot a hi-cap Glock or similar favorite model.

The purpose of this weapon is to kill, up close and personal. The FEDERAL handgun buckshot load shoots four 000 Buck very well with groups not exceeding 2.5 inces out to 30 feet. After all, the majority of gunfights happen at 7-14 feet. If you want a handgun
shoot handgun ammo in it. Regular .410 only has three 00 Buck and is designed for a minimum of 18 inch bbl. to burn all the powder.

Up close and personal with devasting results, use your JUDGE. When you run out of bullets, pick up your HI-CAP semi auto for longer well placed shots. If that is not enough for your situation, grab another mag for your HI-CAP or grab your personal defence shotgun and finish the job.

Posted by: cectn | December 28, 2009 4:21 PM    Report this comment

Gentlemen. I was almost carjacked while trying to obtain fuel in February 2009 on an out of state trip.What I didn't know was the location that I stopped was a gang hangout after dark. I chose the Judge Public Defender, a 2"bbl stainless dbl. action only revolver.

What I learned is that use only FEDERAL .410 buckshot only, muzzle velocity 1200 FPS, 4 pellet 000 BUCK. It is designed for handguns only. They also make #4 shotshells which are worthless unless you just want to blind or wound your attacker. Then you are in for lengthy lawsuits even if you are in the right. Regarding the 45 Long Colt in this model, it too is worthless. I know someone who has sent his back toe the factory three times trying to get accuracy improved. If you want to use a solid bullet, shoot a hi-cap Glock or similar favorite model.

The purpose of this weapon is to kill, up close and personal. The FEDERAL handgun buckshot load shoots four 000 Buck very well with groups not exceeding 2.5 inces out to 30 feet. After all, the majority of gunfights happen at 7-14 feet. If you want a handgun
shoot handgun ammo in it. Regular .410 only has three 00 Buck and is designed for a minimum of 18 inch bbl. to burn all the powder.

Up close and personal with devasting results, use your JUDGE. When you run out of bullets, pick up your HI-CAP semi auto for longer well placed shots. If that is not enough for your situation, grab another mag for your HI-CAP or grab your personal defence shotgun and finish the job.

Posted by: cectn | December 28, 2009 4:18 PM    Report this comment

I have the "El Juez", version, of the Taurus "Judge"...[Gold Trigger, Gold Hammer, 2.5 inch chamber], looks nice, works well! I chamber 2,.410; OOO Buck, 3; 45LC, 250 grain Hollow Points! My new Concealed Carry Gun!...[My 2 .45's], i previously carried, are "Sidelined"! This, i find, to be the perfect, self defense, Carry Gun!
I'm diabled now, only having my one arm, to use; with this Gun to Back me, [if needed], Any "Attacker", would have but two "Chanches"!... Slim, and None!...lol!
Thank You, Taurus!
Captain George Dowling

Captain George Dowling

Posted by: muffdiver | December 27, 2009 11:09 AM    Report this comment

as a concealed carry weapon,how well does it "conceal" and what carry position works best? how much bulk are we seeing here?

Posted by: popdog | December 27, 2009 10:15 AM    Report this comment

This is for the Iraq contractor ytatton. If you are gonna get one be sure to get one with a 3 inch cylinder. You have alot wider variety of 410 shells to choose from with the 3 inch cylinder.

Posted by: Kendal D | December 26, 2009 4:18 PM    Report this comment

love it

Posted by: alan f | December 26, 2009 12:49 PM    Report this comment

I like my Judge with the new Federal handgun 000 buck 410 shell,(Loaded with 4 000 buck) it gives me a 3" pattern of 4 holes with one shot out to 50 feet and stays on point of aim. and you get more than one hole per shot in less than 10 feet. Very nice Shell, Nice gun.

Posted by: Michael K G | December 24, 2009 10:02 PM    Report this comment

Good reading, I'm currently a contractor in Iraq and have been making a gun 'wish list' for awhile now. I've been interested in the Judge as I like like muti-pupose weapons (357 Mag-38 Special etc) Your article as well as the user comments hve tipped the scale from interested to purchasing when I come back in January. I also appreciate the comment on getting smooth 410 shells versus ribbed. It will save me time as well as reduce frustration. Thank you, as always, this is the most informative gun 'tool' in the buisness.

Posted by: ytatton | December 24, 2009 8:29 PM    Report this comment

I wanted to buy this revolver, but just try to do so in California. It is considered a shotgun because of the .410 shot shell capability . . . bbl lenght of less than 18." Only in California, yes! Whats more dangerous, a .410 shot shell in a handgun (illegal) or a 44mag round in a revolver (legal)? Thank you Diane Feinstine, Barber Boxer and all the other anti-gun politicians with their heads up their posteriors.

Posted by: CaptRLD | December 24, 2009 11:06 AM    Report this comment

I own the " Judge " and find the .410 000 Buck very effective out to 15 yards. Forget the smaller # 4 shot. Both the 000 Buck and .45 ammo work fine. My concern is that my revolver " Jams "!!On several occasions at the range, my cylinder would not turn !! Not good for a personal defence weapon!!! Perhaps the brass swells upon firing??? I would like some feedback if anyone else has experienced this problem.

Posted by: JTL | December 24, 2009 10:24 AM    Report this comment

Have one in the 2 1/2" model, not sure of the shot pattern but the 45LC is about the the same. Completely satisfied

Posted by: LTC | December 24, 2009 9:40 AM    Report this comment

I have owned my Judge for about a year and half. I must agree with most of the positive features of this versatile revolver, an unbeatable personal/home defense weapon with easy to see & read sights. This year I found a great ammo choice for this revolver, made by Federal. It is the "Federal Premium .410 Handgun". Boxed in lots of 20 rounds, selling for about $14 each round has 4- "000" buckshot. This is a very potent pill mixed or alternated with the 45 long Colt that you can feed your Judge. The only improvement I would like to see Taurus make with this weapon is to reduce the weight, simular to what Ruger has done with its .38cal LCR revolver. For those of us who carry on a regular basis, weight, knock down punch and comfort go hand in hand. The Judge is a great Gun. www.gusplaceresort.com ....GUS SHEKER

Posted by: www.gusplaceresort.com | December 24, 2009 9:05 AM    Report this comment

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