Taurus Judge and Winchester PDX1 .410 Shotshell Gel Test

A TFB reader tested the penetration of the Winchester PDX1 .410 shotshell round in 10% ballistic gelatin. The PDX1, which consists of three 000 Buckshot sized discs backed by twelve BB-sized pellets, performs better than I expected.

1 PDX round fired from a Taurus Judge, 3″ chamber/ 3″ barrel at a distance of 5 ft into a 6″X6″X15.5″ gelatin block.

The 3 discs appeared to flatten, turn into “shrapnel” and continue to penetrate to a max depth of 13.75″. Only a few minute fragments of the discs were recovered.

Two of the of the pellets appear to have exited the block, the rest penetrating 8″ to 14″.

The last photo is the pattern of the same round fired of the same Judge at 5 yds. Note the 3 near the “A”. 8 of the 12 pellets are inside the “A” zone, 4 in the “C”

[ Many thanks to rbbub for the photos. ]



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • 1655 called and they want their buck-and-ball back.

  • jpcmt

    Dang!! This blog is starting to chap my hyde. Just as I settle on a Raging Bull 44mag and set the judge aside as my next purchase, this comes along. Grrrrrr. I guess it’s my fault for not looking into penetration of 410 and 45colt rounds.

    I’m looking for a trail gun and would love a 6″ 44mag raging bull because I think it’s more adequate for bears/wolves/cougars in my mountains (bitterroot) than a judge’s 45colt.

    Anyway, had to vent. Thanks for the article/post.

    • Kitchin

      I like the 22 short for mountains full of bears and lions. But I use the buddy system. Usually an in-law. I find when confronted with a dangerous wild animal one well placed shot from my 22 to my sister-in-law’s kneecap and I can simply walk away.

    • Josh Perkins

      44 magnum in a 6 inch for bear…??? The raging judge throws a 454 casull…now thats a little more likely for a bear gun IMO…in blackie territory my 10mm comes out…in brown bear area…454 and +p+45lc are stacked! regardless of the pdx1’s stack a 45lc every other shot and then a 454 for the 6th…hell…say good bye to any bad guy. The ragin judge mag gets my vote! leaving my 629 home when I go trailside

  • howlingcoyote

    Hey, just the round to use for hunting feral nutria and wild hogs in Texas!

  • Sian

    finally there’s some valid defensive .410 rounds specifically made for short barrels.

    I’m not interested in the Judge though. The Bond Arms Snake Slayer with 2xpdx1 would make a heck of a holdout/car gun. Just need to find something similar in 3″.

  • TZH

    I’m pretty surprised at these good results. I wonder when we’ll start hearing about how these things are serving people “out there”.

  • Popedizzle

    I would NOT want to get hit by one of those.

  • Jerry

    The problem is that I see no indication of gelatin calibration. It could be light jello or modeling clay in consistency.

    Apart from that, despite it being claimed to offer average terminal performance, the pistols chambered in it are large, heavy, and poor choices for carry –let alone purchase.

  • That’s better than I expected too. I’m definitely very impressed by the performance of this round through a short handgun barrel.

  • Nolan

    Wow! I did not think it would be that effective. Just might work for self defense at close range, maybe.

  • Woodroez

    It has been a while since I’ve checked, but I want to say the penetration of the disks is roughly in the same range as many .380 acp hollowpoint loads, though the .380 tests I’ve seen also had two layers of denim in front of the gel. Back to the .410, while it’s inadequate to the standards of many in terms of penetration, I personally have a hard time arguing with creating three wound channels simultaneously.

    If anyone has any imagery or data regarding how Federal’s 2 1/2″ 000 plated buck rounds perform, I’d like to see it.

  • Doc Merlin

    I wonder how a cutshell would do in a Judge.

  • Other Steve

    This actually makes those 410 revolver rifles actually look like they’re worth buying. Still a fun gun, but actually could be useful. I’m intrigued.

  • Flounder

    What will this do that a 357 or a 44 or a 45 won’t do?
    And the gel does look a little bit off… I think the judge is one of those guns that looks like a lot of fun to have but then when you really think about it other guns fill it’s roll just as well…

  • DaveR

    Problem is this ammo is NOT the reason most people were/are attracted to a .410 handgun. Most people are attracted to these guns because they have misguided visions of wanton destruction since single shot shell will take out a whole room of bad guys.

    What this new ammo does turn the Judge into an over-sized (yet under-powered) conventional handgun.

  • charles222

    I remember Guns & Ammo having an article on .38 special & .357 mag versions of this; no buck, but the discs were there. IIRC you could stack something like four or five in a .357 loading.

  • DougGa

    It’s funny to hear people put down these weapons but often it’s more about what people like to shoot. I own the governor model by S&W and I can assure you at the average ranges in my home of 10-25 feet these PDX 410 rounds or the federal/remingtonHD 00 buckshot X 4 balls rated at max 1300fps are nothing short of devastating and provide a nice pattern for people that are not as good of a marksman. My wife loves this round and she could literally block a doorway with the firepower, or we can dump the load and pop a moonclip of 45 acp P+ in there. I have some 250grain speer long colt 45 rounds that could stop bigfoot but that’s just another option. The concept applied to the better made S&W revolver is solid. And the gun is simply a blast to shoot for recreation, surprisingly accurate on 50yard range. Glad I tried the gun and the ammo before using the web to make my decision.

  • Beeb

    I’ve had my Judge for about 6 months now. LOVE it. It is the perfect home self defense gun. Not a routine carry option. It’s to big. You or your wife don’t have to be a great shot. Point this thing in the general vicinity, pull the trigger. Problem eliminated. In fact my 21 year daughter just went to the range Monday and shot it. She handled it well. NO semi auto misfires, loading issues etc. it goes bang every time.. Mid home defense is what you want, this gun is what you need!

  • Vinny

    Read the article. The penetration test was done at 5 feet. At 7 yards it takes a man 3 seconds to reach you and plunge a knife into your heart. At 5 feet he can stab you before you finishing blinking.

    Notice no penetration testing past 5 feet. Also notice that the test was with 3″ ammo not the 2.5″ that most guys I know use. I am not bashing anything because I own and use a Governor but you have to be realistic and keep in mind that there is a difference in number of holes and penetration. Shot placement AND penetration is what stops attackers. Pattern is only of concern when bird hunting, trap and skeet shooting. Measure the farthest distance in your home and then find the right gun/ammo combination that allows you to hit your target and penetrate despite heavy clothes or an arm thrown up in defense. Anything else is relying on the person shot giving up due to non physical reasons.

    • rbbud

      Regardless of ammo, platform, caliber, SHOT PLACEMENT is KEY

      I’ve been working out some low light tests comparing attached lights, trij front sights, etc and stock firearms. Plan on distances of 25yds, 10yds, 7yds, and 5yds

      If all goes well perhaps 2/34 1 oz fired @ 50yds with the proper attachments.

      I look forward to the results…

    • rbbud

      Besides, it was a 2 3/4 PDX round fired from a 3″judge. So, the AMMO was 2 3/4”.

      The shot on the IPSC target was fired at 5yd (15′) just to see the pattern. Personally I was impressed with the results. All 3 discs managed to stay within a 3″ group. 8 out of the 12 pellets were inside the A zone. The remaining 4 were just out side of the A zone.

      Hence impressed. 3 discs probably lethal, 8 more pellets with the chance of puncturing something in the area that is vital and 4 more striking the edges….

      All of this from one trigger pull. Imagine what more 3 or 4 well aimed shots would bring? Chances are, If mine were ever used (due to its storage) all 5 will most likely be fired into a torso near that distance.

      Long story short, its not versatile, but used as an emergency at 5 yds or less. Really does its job well. After all, its what does what its designed to do

      Oh and lastly, Boo to the 21 second 7yd draw challenge. With practice drawing from concealed and putting round on a target @ 7yds should take not much more than 1 sec. 1.25 sec is on the slow average.

  • n2racin

    Well if your old lady cant hit the broad side of a barn at 7 steps this is the gun for her if u want a hole cutter buy something else u shoot at me ill shoot at you who’s got the bigger hole ive seen worse for a whole lot more money

  • toolkien

    People who want to hate a Judge will hate it and the people who like it/use it.

    They will argue that at XX YARDS, the gun is not accurate, regardless of the fact that most SD/HD situations are going to be 12 FEET or closer.

    They argue that it is under powered, yet I hear none of these people even ONCE talk about over penetration, especially in situations where it is HD and they likely have loved ones on the other side of the thin drywall.

    They also talk as if when the SHTF, they’re going to have the steely nerve of Dirty Harry and the marksmanship of an Olympian, and are going to hit center mass without question, again from the dozens of yards their SD situation arises in, instead of being pumped up and possibly erratic when their life is on the line (paper targets don’t shoot back). No consideration is given to perhaps split payload that, together, will deliver a big punch, but have less likelihood of sailing through walls. If you don’t have any over penetration concerns (family, apartment, condo) great, another gun, probably a full sized shot gun with 00 buck, is in order

    There are more than enough videos on youtube to show the effectiveness of the Judge at SD/HD distances. At 4 yards on in it will more than get the job done with 3″ 00 or 3″ pdx1 round. And you can mix the rounds, so that if the pdx1 leaves doubt, then you can send a 45lc right after it, knowing you’ll be in a position to better place where it goes.

    The Judge would also make a great car gun, but the full sized models probably aren’t the first choice for CCW and I’ll be the first to admit that. That’s why I own a Glock 27. The Glock will be my 6am-10pm gun, and the Judge, with its choice of load and penetration control, is my 10pm-6am gun. I’d much rather shoot a pdx1 round in the haze of an abrupt 2am awakening than the Glock. When the kids are gone, and I’ll know where my wife is, I’ll worry a lot less about penetration and upgrade my night gun to my Mossberg 500 (or the equivalent).

    • rbbud

      Um I fired theses tests to see what the results where. Not to try to justifying its existence. It is holstered in a place in my home in a position where its strengths would be an advantage.Think to yourself, when would it be prudent to have a 5 shot .410 revolver within arms reach? I’m sure there are dozens of different answers for that.

      Just curios what others though…

  • Vinny

    12 feet or closer does most no good in new homes with open floor designs. I know that from where I sit in my living room on one side of the house I can see the door leading to my garage on the other end of the house and I can assure you that it is much more than 12 feet. The distance from my bedroom door to front door is similarly much more than 12 feet. However if I take all the distances from all the postions in my house to the doors it may average 12 feet and that is the problem with averages. My point is that averages are made up of extremes from the median so there are many shootings further and closer to 12 feet and there are many guns that are good no matter what the distance.

    Split load recommendations are more the fodder of gun forums. Most real experts will tell it is not even a good idea to mix types or brands of th same caliber in your gun. We can start off with the problem with split loads because they try to predict how your gunfight will go and if they do not go that way you may find yourself with not enough time to get to the right bullet especially since you believe that the distance will be 12 feet which will take 1.4 seconds for the Bad Guy to reach you. Regardless of what you can do at the range shooting with a gun already in hand and pointing downrange under no stress at targets that do not shoot back, you would be doing well to get off one good shot in that time period. The problem is that many people have a mental picture of “their gunfight” and make decissions on guns and calibers based on that mental image. First thing those of us who have shot and been shot at know is that it rarely goes as you imagined it so be prepared for worst case.

    The Judge is a marketing success because its targeted market is the inexperienced shooter who equates shotgun rounds as making up for deficiencies in shooting skills or inability to perform under stress. Every person I know with a Judge has never fired a shotgun, has no idea what rifling does to shotgun shells and thinks you just point in the general direction and magically hit your target with minimal training. Pick a task for the Judge and I can give you many guns much better than it. Even snake shooting as any of my revolvers do well against them with simple snake shot. Buy a Judge or Governor for gun or amazing your friends like I did but it is a gun that is a niche gun good for many tasks but not so good for any individual one. It is way too big to carry comfortably as an EDC gun for 8-10 hours a day and over 40 years I know that most who profess to carry large guns do not carry them everyday and end up leaving them at home unless they think they need them. Again with the uncanny ability of some gun owners to predict the future. 🙂

    Anyway buy whatever you like for no more reason than because it is cool as I do all the time but it is more prudent to first make sure you have the best gun for self defense and do not make the Judge your sole gun for self defense as there are much better choices if you are only going own one gun. So here you have someone who likes the Judge (but likes the Govenor better due to the extra round and ability to use my .45 acp with fast loading moon clips), who has combat and civilian defensive use of guns, who is saying that there are better choices out there and preparing for the average or imagined gunfight can get your hurt or worse as things often do not go as planned. Especially do not use split loads. Different felt recoil and points of aims coupled with the most likely chance that you will only get off 2-3 shoots, statistically speaking according to the same sources that quote the 12 feet average, make it a poor choice. Much better to just use the best all around bullet.

    • KF

      I agree with Vinny… the Judge is a gimmicky gun, able to do a lot of things, but not do any of them excellently. If you have a Judge, your best ammo for defense would be .45 LC…and there are a number of better choices in that caliber.

  • Mike

    Great For Snake Charmers And Feral Dogs

  • David Anderson

    It seems like most people are only concerned with the bad guy. What about your loved ones and bystanders?? Where do your misses go?? Within 5 yards you will hurt the bad guy. BUT if you miss, and many people do, you won’t kill your neighbor or someone a block away. Yes more powerful weapons are nice, but collateral damage is allways a concern. I will opt for close range defense and safety for the innocent.