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 magazines testers have endorsed without qualification. From these evaluations the magazine picks the best from a full years 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.
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 its 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 youre wondering, hot 45 LC loads give more recoil than 410 shotshells. The Judge has an imposing appearance with that 2.6-inch-long cylinder.
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. Wed 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. GTs 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, thats 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.