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Summary: Paul Markel’s review of and rating for the Taurus Judge revolver, including a range report, photos, pricing, specs and user ratings. (Click here to see all of Markel’s pistol reviews.)
The Taurus 4510TKR revolver, nicknamed the Judge, is a five-shot revolver chambered for .410-caliber shotshells and .45 LC ammo. It’s now available in several configurations, but the original Judge featured a steel frame with a cylinder designed to accept only 2.5″ shells. In 2009, Taurus extended the cylinder to allow shooters to chamber all manner of .410 shotshell ammunition, including 3″ shotshells.
This review contains basic info on all Judge models but focuses on the 3″ cylinder models.
The Judge is a double-action (DA) revolver with a 3″, rifled barrel. Up front you find a red/orange fiber-optic front sight. The rear sight consists of a square notch cut along the top of the frame.
The double-action pull is very smooth for a factory gun, and the single action has a crisp, positive feel. The trigger is wide and smooth as you would expect on a DA revolver. The cylinder release is polished and rounded. Those of you out there with scarred thumbs from the square, sharp releases of old magnum wheelguns will appreciate that.
The Taurus Ribber grip is probably the gun’s most important yet underrated feature. This soft rubber grip has been gracing the company’s DA revolvers for a number of years now and quietly doing a tremendous job. The grip gives you a solid purchase on the big gun and fills in the gap between the trigger guard and the grip frame, an area that has historically produced the greatest discomfort and pain for magnum revolver shooters. The matte stainless finish and black grips offset each other nicely.
As noted above, the Judge is available in a variety of configurations:
- 4510TKR-3B and 4510TKR-3SS: These models are built on a steel frame with a 2.5″ cylinder with either a 3″ or 6.5″ barrel, and available finishes include blue and stainless steel.
- 4510TKR-3SSR: This model is built on a steel frame with a 2.5″ cylinder, a 3″ barrel and a stainless steel finish. Additional features include a picatinny rail and a ported barrel.
- 4510TKR-3BUL and 4510TKR-3SSUL: These models are built on Taurus’ Ultra-Lite alloy frame with a 2.5″ cylinder and a 3″ barrel, and available finishes include blue and stainless.
- 4510TKR-3BMAG and 4510-3SSMAG: These models are built on a steel frame with a 3″ cylinder with either a 3″ or 6.5″ barrel, and available finishes include blue and stainless steel.
My 3″ cylinder model is certainly not a pocket pistol—it tips the scales at 36.8 oz. empty. By comparison, the original Judge weighs 29 oz. That extra steel adds 7 oz., but it also dampens felt recoil. Overall length of the gun measures 9.5″. As an added feature, all Taurus pistols include the Taurus Security System with two dedicated keys.
As this gun is definitely out of the ordinary, my range testing time needed to be a bit unique as well. My test fodder came from Remington and included 3″ shotshells loaded with #6 and #7.5 birdshot as well as 2.5″ slug ammo. According to Remington, the solid lead slug weighs 87.5 grains.
Rather than simply fire at paper and cardboard, I wanted to test out these common types of .410 ammunition on realistic material and see what kind of damage and penetration I would get. My first stop: the local home store, where I picked up .5″ drywall/sheetrock, insulation, .5″ plywood and 2″x4″s. From this material I constructed an interior wall façade. The “wall” consisted of a layer of sheetrock, one layer of fiberglass insulation, one layer of .5” plywood and finally another layer of sheetrock. I transported this barrier to the range along with a silhouette target frame and Bullet Test Tube material.
Once on the shooting range, I set up the wall in front of a silhouette target clothed in a cotton T-shirt. The head of the target was poking up over the wall. From a distance of approximately five yards I fired the #7.5 shot load followed by the #6 load and finally the .410 slug.
Upon close examination, I discovered that the #7.5 shot had failed to penetrate the first layer of sheetrock. Much of it was stuck in the dry wall, and some was actually lying on the table.
The #6 shot penetrated the first layer of sheetrock but failed to exit the other side. Not surprisingly, the lead Foster-type slug passed all the way through the wall, through the target and ended up in the berm down range.
For the next portion of my testing, I placed a layer of Bullet Test Tube material onto the silhouette under the shirt. The gel like material measured roughly 2″ thick. Firing the #6 shot into the target, I found that most of it passed through the gel material but didn’t have enough force left to exit the cardboard target backing.
A couple of years ago I was asked to prepare a review of defensive loads for the shotgun. During this workup I performed a similar test on a rack of beef ribs. The ribs and meat measured no more than 1.5″ thick. From seven yards, I fired a load of #7 shot from a 12-gauge shotgun. Not one pellet passed completely through the meat/bone combination.
The last penetration test I performed featured the .410 slug vs. the Bullet Test Tube. From about 5 yards, I fired the slug into the tube. The entrance hole was considerable. After returning home from the range I split the tube and discovered the slug had caused a permanent cavity in the material about 5″ deep and completely fragmented. Six separate pieces of the lead projectile were recovered.
Keep in mind the one-fifth ounce equals approximately 88 grains. The slug was moving at better than 1,600 feet per second out of the Judge when it struck the Test Tube.
What can we take from all this? Surely birdshot at close range will cause a horrific surface wound on a human attacker. On a venomous threat, such as a rattlesnake, it would prove devastating.
When it comes to two-legged predators, however, we must understand there are three basic classifications: Type 1, 2, and 3. Type 1 will surrender or flee from a determined show of force—the display of a firearm will send them running. A Type 2 attacker will stop only after some type of harm has occurred. The wound or injury may not necessarily be life-threatening, but the fact that they have been injured will deter them.
The last classification is the Type 3, a determined and deadly predator who has no fear or regard for the display of a weapon. This predator will only stop when their body has been damaged to the point they’re physically unable continue. Many of those in the Type 3 category are narcotic drug users, their minds so polluted and rotted by poison that they have not the sense or rationality to fear even an armed defender.
The problem you as a good citizen face is that you won’t know the threat you face until it has materialized. Will the mugger melt away at the first sign of resistance, or are they determined to take what they want regardless of the cost?
Some would argue lack of penetration is a good thing in the event of a home/apartment invasion in which innocents might be in another room. That’s certainly something to consider. If over-penetration of interior walls is a definite concern, then birdshot loads might be viable for you. However, you must keep in mind the limitations of such a load.
Overall, the Judge gets high marks for quality, construction and handling. Even with the “magnum” 3″ shell it was easily controllable. The fact that you can chamber such a wide variety of ammunition makes it a most versatile firearm. Snakes, varmints and two-legged predators can all be dealt with.
The key to using the Judge effectively is knowledge and training. Load it with the right ammunition for the task you hope to accomplish.
Be smart, be safe, and keep shooting straight.
Paul G. Markel became a United States Marine in 1987 and served his nation honorably during peace time and at war. Among the many hats he has worn in his career, Markel has been a police officer, professional bodyguard, firearms instructor and gun writer. Markel is the creative director and host of “Student of the Gun,” a weekly television show airing on the Sportsman Channel (www.studentofthegun.com). Visit his Web site at www.paulmarkel.com.
|steel||.410, .45 LC||5||3″||2.5″||9.5″||5.1″||1.5″||29 oz.|
|steel||.410, .45 LC||5||6.5″||2.5″||12.5″||5.1″||1.5″||32 oz.|
|steel||.410, .45 LC||5||3″||3″||10″||n/a||n/a||36.8 oz.|
|steel||.410, .45 LC||5||6.5″||3″||13″||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|alloy||.410, .45 LC||5||3″||2.5″||9.5″||5.99″||1.76″||22.4 oz.|
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On camera: Check out Hickock45’s video review of the Taurus Judge.