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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using Cowboy .45s for shooting tin cans at 20 feet with an earth backstop as suggested by the local gun-shop. They're a bit expensive, but fairly consistent as far as I can tell. I keep my Judge loaded with the PDX1 round in the bedroom otherwise (no kids or crazy people in the house). I've seen arguments both ways about the PDX1 vs Federal 000 buckshot. Before I go out and buy more ammo, I'd be very interested in some current informed comments about the best ammo for casual target use and serious self-defense with the Judge. Thanks!
 

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For SD I use PDX1, for plinking I use whatever is the cheapest. Here is what everyone hear is gonna tell you, use what your gun likes. Every gun is different and there is no magic ammo. Most of all, use what you are comfortable with.
 

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For around the house, PDX1 is great, but if you're using your Judge for concealed carry out and about, I certainly wouldn't recommend PDX1. The PDX1 BB's spread very rapidly; for home defense that's probably okay as they ensure there's a cloud of pain heading at whatever you're shooting at, and the BB's themselves aren't likely to be deadly and probably won't penetrate walls so those that don't hit your target aren't likely to cause too many complications. But when you're out in public, if you had to pull a Judge to defend yourself and shot PDX1's, you are going to be legally responsible for where each and every one of those BB's goes. And if they strike bystanders, you're going to have a very unpleasant legal situation on your hands.

I would recommend a more-controlled load. .45 Colts are good, and the Federal 00 buckshot keeps a nice tight pattern at self-defense distances. Nobel's buckshot stays in a head-sized circle out to about 7 yards, so a center-mass shot with that should be brutally devastating while not causing much concern for spraying pellets. I haven't patterned the Critical Defense .410 yet, maybe I can get to it next week, but it looks like a very interesting round for self defense. The lead slug is a 40-caliber hollowpoint bullet that should be accurate since it engages the rifling, and if the two buckshot balls stay in a tight pattern then it might prove to be a useful all-around home-and-away defensive round.

Forget birdshot for defense, that's for shooting birds or small pests and would be a bad combination of ineffective plus a liability nightmare in any defensive shooting situation. And stay away from non-Judge-specific buckshot, as it will likely spread its pattern out too rapidly to be effective. Judge-specific buckshot (such as the Federal .410 Handgun rounds) are designed to not spread much, concentrating the energy and the pellets in a smaller area, thus significantly lessening the likelihood of stray projectiles hitting unintended targets.
 

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I, too, keep my Judge loaded up with the PDX-1 shells. I live alone in a brick house so practically no worries (other than shooting at an intruder in my home!!!:eek:). I just got a bedside gun holder Tiger Holster Systems which I think is pretty cool. The gun is at ready right where my hand is (I got the aluminum one with the post to hold your firearm). I sleep lightly and now the Judge is at attention waiting .....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks! And...

The gun is at ready right where my hand is...
I decided against having a gun where I could reach it in my sleep.

For around the house, PDX1 is great, but if you're using your Judge for concealed carry out and about, I certainly wouldn't recommend PDX1. The PDX1 BB's spread very rapidly; for home defense that's probably okay as they ensure there's a cloud of pain heading at whatever you're shooting at, and the BB's themselves aren't likely to be deadly and probably won't penetrate walls so those that don't hit your target aren't likely to cause too many complications. But when you're out in public, if you had to pull a Judge to defend yourself and shot PDX1's, you are going to be legally responsible for where each and every one of those BB's goes. And if they strike bystanders, you're going to have a very unpleasant legal situation on your hands.
Barry, this is very helpful info! I will definitely be interested if you or others can post more info about grouping with the various available loads. I've worried about getting into a situation where there's a friendly target near or behind the bad guy. OTOH, I don't want to have to shoot anybody more than once (if at all).

I also found this interesting test report: http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot53.htm
 

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I decided against having a gun where I could reach it in my sleep.
Well, #1 the DA trigger-pull is a bit of a deterrent and the gun is pressed up against the mattress and a bit below the top so you don't just grab it unintentionally (at least I don't...). I wouldn't put my Glocks there, nor any semi-auto pistol. I think the Judge is a good choice for this use.
 

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I've worried about getting into a situation where there's a friendly target near or behind the bad guy. OTOH, I don't want to have to shoot anybody more than once (if at all).
The appeal of the Judge, as a defensive weapon, seems to me to be all about the multiple shots at once aspect. I don't know anyone who buys a Judge specifically to shoot .45 Colt loads, I mean, that would seem silly; there are better, smaller weapons that could deliver equivalent or even more punch.

The appeal of the Judge (to me) is that it lets you send three, four, or more bullets on each and every shot -- specifically so that you have more of a chance of hitting and disabling an attacker with fewer pulls of the trigger.

Which is why loads such as PDX1, Critical Defense .410, and buckshot are so appealing. They send multiple projectiles, with a (hopefully small) spread, which should make it a little more likely that you will hit your target, as well as giving you multiple chances at a disabling shot rather than all the energy concentrated in hitting just one spot.

So yes, I well understand the appeal of the PDX1. It really is a great round, it's powerful, the discs hit hard, they group well, and the BBs ensure that *something* is gonna get hit no matter what! I just have concerns about using it in public.

As far as pass-thru, that's something of a concern, but frankly -- I think it's a grossly overrated concern. If a bullet passes through a human body, it's going to be slowed down significantly by the time it exits. As an example, Federal 410 buckshot - it will penetrate deeply (it'll actually go all the way through a 16" block of ballistic gel and come out the other side!) but it slows down so much as it goes through the gel or the tissue, that by the time it exits, it's moving pretty slowly. Especially because it's pretty difficult for a projectile to push through the back layer of skin, since skin is so stretchy; it takes about as much force to push through the exit layer of skin, as it would to travel through 4 more inches of gel or tissue.

It seems far less likely to be a fatal shot if it passed completely through an attacker and hit someone behind your target (unless it hit in an incredibly shallow and sensitive area like the jugular or the eye socket!) So there remains a danger, yes, and you need to be vigilant about what's behind your target always! But I think it's an overstated danger. I'd be far, far, far more worried about shots that miss the target entirely, than I would be about shots that pass through your intended target and keep moving. Studies done about police shootouts have shown that even our police officers end up missing somewhere around 3 or 4 out of every 5 shots they take! They only hit maybe 1 or 2 times out of five, when engaged in a firefight. And those missed shots are moving at full speed and full lethality, so -- yes, overpenetration is a concern, but I'd be far more worried about missed shots than overpenetrating shots. An overpenetrating shot might still be dangerous, but it'll be far less dangerous than a full-speed missed shot would!

I also found this interesting test report: The Box O' Truth #53 - The Taurus Judge, Revisited - Page 1
Interesting, yes. Accurate? I'm not so sure. I mean, he shows the Federal .410 as having penetration of "6 to 9 inches". That's ridiculous. I've seen video of Federal .410 cleanly exiting a 16" block, and in my own testing it has penetrated a full 18"+ in ClearBallistics synthetic ballistic gel.

I mean, I appreciate what the guy's trying to do, but I don't think he's getting accurate results at all. I have many questions about that and intend to conduct an extensive series of tests that will definitively answer what a Judge is capable of.
 

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Here's one example of Federal .410 buckshot, 2 1/2", penetrating completely through a 12" block of ballistic gel: http://www.410handguns.com/Fed_5-pel_10yard_TJ3x3.wmv

Those pellets are still flying after 12 inches, which should certainly call into question the box o' truth's claim that they'd only go six to nine inches.

There's another video test out there somewhere that shows the Federal buck exiting a 16" block, but I can't remember where it was, so I'll keep googling...
 

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I don't own a Judge so, I'll just pose the question. Why not keep three rounds of PDX1 in the last three cylinders and save the first two rounds for 45 Colt JHP? The first two shots will give the wise opportunity to duck before you unload the last three cylinders?
 

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EDIT: found the video I was thinking of.
Terminal Ballistics - Part 2 | Down Range TV

Fast forward to 2:09 for the Judge stuff, where they test a slug, PDX1 and Federal .410 Handgun ammo. The slug was a disappointment, but with PDX1 they got up to 14" of penetration (versus what the box o' truth claims, which is 6" to 9"), and the buckshot penetrated through the entire 16" block, and still moving fast.

Anyone who thinks a Judge shooting buckshot is ineffective... well, let's just say the evidence disagrees!
 

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I don't own a Judge so, I'll just pose the question. Why not keep three rounds of PDX1 in the last three cylinders and save the first two rounds for 45 Colt JHP? The first two shots will give the wise opportunity to duck before you unload the last three cylinders?
The wide array of ammo selection does certainly lead folks to think about how to combine them for most effectiveness. I've usually seen people recommend PDX1 or buckshot for the first couple of shots, and .45 Colt JHP as the last few rounds, under the assumption that you'd want to get a shot (any shot) on target with the first pull of the trigger, and if they're still coming at you after two shots of PDX1 then you'd hit them with the hard-hitting Colts. I don't know if that's a strategy I'd subscribe to in public, again, because I'm uneasy about spraying BB's uncontrolled in public. But in home defense I could see it as a reasonable strategy, and I'd definitely want a "spraying" round as the first one or two.

Again, this is what makes the idea of the Hornady .410 Critical Defense so interesting, is that while the PDX1 offers "defensive discs and BB's", Hornady offers basically the same concept but with a hollow-point .41-caliber bullet instead of FMJ-style "defensive discs", and it has two buckshot balls instead of a bunch of BB's. So it's possible you'll get a hard-hitting, accurate, rifled hollow point hitting right on the point of aim from that .41-caliber FTX bullet, and two buckshot balls slamming in close but spreading out a little (hopefully little enough to not cause a threat to anyone other than the bad guy), so it might really be the best of all rounds. The accuracy and effectiveness of the JHP, combined with the spreading and multiple projectile nature of buckshot...

Potential downsides of the Hornady are that it isn't loaded to that high of a speed (750 fps) and the FTX bullet isn't that heavy (I think it's 115 grains and a hollow-point at that) so it might not penetrate that far. Testing (proper testing) will verify that, but we can only verify how it performs relative to other rounds; how it performs in any individual actual defensive usage is relative to so many variables that it's really difficult to predict.
 

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Anyone using the 454 Casull for self defense? I'm pretty sure they will stop someone with one shot. Looking at this box next to me it says 1550fps and 1708 ft/lbs. It's also 320 gr FPPN. I would say one of those an the BG is no more.
 

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Hard to imagine a case of more overkill than that though... the 454 Casull hits with 4 to 5 times as much energy as a 45 ACP. That Casull is a round designed more for defense against bears, not humans. I'm sure it would stop a bad guy, but not sure it's the right round for the job. In a stressful panic-fire situation, that Casull round is pretty likely to blow that RJM right out of your hand, or at least it would make getting a follow-up shot a lot more difficult. Not saying it wouldn't work, but I think there are more appropriate rounds for an RJM for personal defense, like Hornady .410 Critical Defense or Federal .410 000 Buckshot or Nobel .400 Buckshot. And with those, you're going to get some power and velocity increase from the RJM's huge chamber and long barrel, and its weight will keep recoil nicely managed so you would be much more effective at follow-up shots if necessary.

If you can handle the weight, an RJM could make a superb personal defense firearm; I just doubt that the 454 Casull would be the right choice for that job. Unless they were wearing body armor; maybe the Casull could punch through Level II body armor?
 

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I was actually surprised that it doesn't kick anywhere near what I thought it would. Of course I'm a pretty big guy.

Those rounds are fun on the range, but certainly NOT cheap. Hmm, maybe it would be good to bring along if I were hunting in big game country as a backup.
 
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