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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, so one of the exciting things to me about owning a Judge are the different options in Ammo. For instance, when i went to the range this weekend, all I was allowed to shoot was 45.... and i was missing the fun of blowing targets to shreads :D. I found some Federal 000 ammo and excited to try it, stopped in at a Walmart after, curiosity drove me to their ammo section and i found Winchester 410 shotgun ammo 2.5", 1275 velocity, 1/2 oz. 6 shot, there was also a version of 410 slugs. None of these said "hand gun". Are they safe? The velocity seems high, is this a "no, no" like +P 45's? Are slugs safe? or not worth it and stick to 45's?

As I'm sure this has been asked before, but i couldn't find it.... is there a website or a chart of what the Judge can safely handle? And a website to learn all this ammo tech stuff would be great!!!

As usual, thanks!!!!
 

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Good question, I really have no idea. Now the Judge was designed to shoot .410 and I think the .410 handgun ammo came out later. I would GUESS that using standard .410 should be fine.

I have seen videos of people shooting slugs with no problems. They say .45 colt is more accurate.
 

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You can fire any 2.5" shot shell. However, shotgun shells are not optimized for the Judge. So you won't necessarily get optimal results from it. Shotguns have long smooth barrels, usually minimum 18" long. The Judge, on the other hand, has a short rifled barrel -- sometimes as short as 2" (Public Defender) or as long as 6.5" (Raging Judge) but still, a short rifled barrel. So the net result is that you get really spread-out shot patterns. When using regular shotgun ammunition in a Judge, you can get sub-par performance -- because, frankly, the Judge isn't a shotgun, it's a short-barreled rifle, and general-purpose shotgun ammo was made for a big long shotgun with a smooth bore.

So -- will it fire? Yes, it will all fire, although some might cause you some problems when extracting the cases. For example, Nobel Sport 2.5" .400 buck in the blue box, that stuff jammed up my Judge every single time. The casings would expand too far, and keep the cylinder from turning for the next shot. So they would fire fine, but you'd then have to actually get out a knife and cut the extruding portion of the case so you could open up the cylinder, and then you'd need to use something like a pencil to force the expanded case out of the cylinder. So that's definitely something you don't want to be doing when it's important, y'know?

The rounds that work best for the Judge are the rounds that are made and marketed for it -- the Fed 410 handgun, the Hornady 410 Critical Defense, the NobelSport Judge 000 buck, the Winchester PDX1... those are all made for and optimized for the Judge, they give the best patterning, and the cases are made to be easily extracted from a revolver's cylinder.

Winchester birdshot will work, it'll fire, it'll just spread out really quickly, way faster than it would from a full-size shotgun. Don't worry about the velocity; velocity is a factor of the powder charge and the weight of the ammo, and a little tiny load like 1/2 ounce is going to put up very little inertial resistance, so the powder load will blast that out really fast.

Regarding slugs -- those are pretty much pointless with the Judge, as you could always just shoot .45 Colt rounds instead, and the .45 Colts are much more powerful because they're a lot heavier (up to 250 grains, vs. a normal 410 slug's 1/5 ounce or about 90 grains. A 250-grain lead bullet or 230-grain JHP is going to be a far more destructive projectile than a little 410 slug, and the accuracy from the 410 slug is not going to be anywhere near as good because the 410 slug is not very effective at engaging the rifling in the Judge's barrel. The 410 slug is 0.41" in diameter, but the barrel on the Judge is made for a 0.452" bullet. The bigger bullet of the 45 colt will engage the rifling and spin, becoming more stable and flying a lot more accurately. The slug, on the other hand, may fly erratically, and may even "keyhole" (meaning that it's not traveling true and straight like a spinning football, but that it's tumbling out of control; that's terrible for accuracy).
 

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Now the Judge was designed to shoot .410 and I think the .410 handgun ammo came out later.
See, yes, that's exactly what happened. The Judge appeared on the market, and people tried using regular .410 ammo in it, and the results were so-so. And that's probably a contributing reason as to why lots of people seem to have formed a negative opinion of the Judge, early on.

Then, later, the ammo manufacturers figured out how to optimize the loads to take advantage of what the Judge does, and they've come out with some exceptionally good rounds. The Federal 000 buck is just fantastic, it punches very very hard, and its patterning is just superb -- it'll stick to under a 2" grouping as far as 7 yards. It's a devastating round. And PDX1 is well known for its three very effective "defensive discs" (which are basically just flattened shotgun pellets, when you get right down to it) which have excellent grouping, and then it adds a cloud of BBs to it. And the Nobel .400 buck is cheap, about .57c/round, and the buckshot balls are just massive -- they're as big around as a .40-caliber S&W bullet. They pattern pretty tightly, and they redesigned the case to extract better from the Judge. Then there's Critical Defense 410, which was designed specifically for a 410 handgun -- it has a 41-caliber hollowpoint slug and two 36-caliber buckshot bullets. They claim that the 41-caliber FTX slug will engage the rifling on a Judge. My own testing has been pretty disappointing on Critical Defense 410, I found the patterning to be just awful from my 2" Public Defender, but I will say it's much better from my 6.5" Raging Judge. I don't know what it'd be like out of a 3" barrel, I haven't tried.

Whatever you choose, I would recommend the Judge-specific loads as they'll be a lot more likely to perform well. I would also advise that if you have a 3" chamber, stick to 3" shells. Yes the 3" cylinder Judge can also fire 2.5" shells, but you're just giving up firepower by doing it. With Nobel or Federal, you gain an extra pellet, so you get 20% to 25% more bullets... why give that up?
 

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The standard bird shot 410 will do you less than good protection wise against a 2 legged for. However, for a snake, you can't ask for much better in my book. Like has been mentioned, for personal defense, stick with the 45 and/or the specialized 410 loads. I keep my chamber's staggered, one 45, one PDX1, and so on. Just a preference of mine
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok cool, thanks for clearing things up guys! It's pretty amazing how versatile the Judge is, well, besides bird shot for the lil legless creatures, I'll stick to what was made for the Judge. I'm excited to see what new options will come out in the future.
 

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Buy the cheap stuff for practice and the good stuff for self defense. Of course, you should also practice shooting your carry ammo as well, but the cheap stuff shouldn't do any harm to your gun.
 

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A lot of guys have reported problems buying cheap, imported .410 shells with the judge. The brass on some of the imports is thin and the shells swell and will lock up the cylinder which is apparently a bitch to get loose. Even if they don't jam the gun, they don't come out easily and you sometimes need to punch them through from the front with a pencil or something to get them out. I've stuck to the well-known, domestic brands - Winchester, Federal, Hornady, etc. and haven't had any of these problems.

I agree that you will get best performance from the shells that are specifically made to be fired from a .410 handgun. The stuff optimized for an 18", smooth barrel won't work as well, which is really no surprise when you think about it. The regular shells are cheaper and it won't hurt your Judge to shoot them, but don't expect great accuracy. If you are just plinking soda cans with birdshot, no big deal, but for anything more demanding, use the ammo specifically made for the Judge. For HD work, PDX1, Federal 000 Buck or that Hornady Triple Defense seem to be the most common .410 choices.
 
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