Taurus Judge experience

Not open for further replies.


Oct 4, 2009
S.E. Wisconsin
The Taurus Judge comes up a lot on THR, as well it should. It is an attractive concept and offers two cartridges with considerable self-defense power. For the many show-stopper problems I’ve had with their guns, problems I’ve detailed several times on THR, I don’t like Taurus guns, period.

Recently, our professional military son came home on leave and showed us the Judge he now uses as his “truck gun.” He has been shooting since he was five, owned his first gun (a Ruger 10/22) when he was 10, and became proficient with everything I’ve had since.

He has been deployed four times to Iraq and is proficient with quite a range of personal arms. I was, frankly, distressed that he would buy a Taurus, since he knew the problems my employer and I had with them over the years. He has also seen failures of Tauruses (any grammar Nazis out there know if that is the correct way to pluralize the name?) owned by others, and remembers quite well the pieces of crap he and his brothers got me to buy for them years ago.

We took it to the range with his FN SCAR (a gun I plan to steal from him) and a variety of .410 shells and .45 Colt, including two of my handloads. Before coming here, he had put 50 rounds of Winchester .45 Colt and 50 rounds of .410 mixed bird shot and “000” buck shot through it. The birdshot kicked the worst, he said.:eek:

The “I told ya so’s” started even before he took it out of the gun rug. “The fiber optic front sight flew off at the fifth round I put through it,” he said. He also said it seemed to be a rather cheap version of that type sight, with an unsupported fiber he could slip his fingernail under. When I looked, sure enough, it was gone. Five rounds. Erk. We had the same problem with a Taurus .22 Magnum revolver years ago, but it was the rear sight that flew off after only a few rounds.:barf:

His Judge is the “ULTRA-LITE” with a barrel measuring three inches from cylinder face to muzzle. He added Crimson Trace Laser Grips. For such a large and chunky looking revolver, it is quite light and I think this is the version I’d get if I were so inclined. It is very easy to wield from center console to car door.

Four of us took turns firing it. Our youngest son is a six-foot five-inch LEO, and our middle son is a six-foot four-inch Jujitsu instructor. Like their older brother, they have been shooting since the age of five, owned since the age of 10, and shot everything I’ve ever owned or been issued.

The LEO is issued a Glock 17 and carries a miniature Glock as backup/off duty. He has an AR, and a S&W M&P he previously carried. The middle son owns a Wilson we all drool over, and a mini-Glock .40S&W; and an AR. All three can bounce golf balls out to 75 feet and more with anything in their hands.

Herewith our impressions and experience with the Judge.:scrutiny:

Opening the cylinder is difficult. The release is hard to push and the cylinder is difficult to push out. I checked to see if there was something special about the lockup, but there isn’t. Only the cylinder bolt and rear of the cylinder axel hold it. It has only a couple hundred rounds through it, so this may improve. The push button itself does not stay secure, and all but fell off a couple times. Maybe a little Locktite would help, but I just don’t expect or accept this.

Timing is completely suspect. If the trigger is not allowed to move COMPLETELY forward after firing, the next pull will rotate the cylinder but NOT cock the hammer. Very very bad. Then, we found several instances where the hammer DID cock, but the cylinder did not turn. Very very VERY bad! It is also possible, if the trigger is not allowed to go FULLY forward, that the action locks up completely until the trigger is released and pulled again. Very very very VERY bad!:fire:

Every time the hammer fell on a live round, it went “BANG.” When we examined the primers, we found quite a range of strike depths. In my experience, this has been a problem with Taurus guns of all stripes since the early ‘80s. I suspect that sooner or later the Judge will not fire due to light primer strikes. I tried the “pencil test” and found no two cylinders hit consistently, only one launching the pencil completely out, the other four ranging from not quite out to barely an inch of travel up the barrel.:banghead:

In the cylinder window there is a stainless steel insert above the barrel/cylinder gap, like you’ll see in the S&W Scandium frame revolvers. The frame is an aluminum alloy and the cylinder is stainless steel. Other aluminum alloy frame guns have a limited life with full-power loads, and are uniformly considered “Carry lots, shot little” guns. I would think the Taurus is in the same class, but I haven’t done detailed measures of the frame over time and use, and don’t intend to.

During clean-up I found the barrel was greatly fouled with lead. When our son brought it here he had cleaned it but pointed out that the barrel was heavily fouled with lead and said he didn’t know if it was from the .45 Colt or the .410 shells. I noted it followed the grooves and was very rough. The lands were relatively free of fouling in their middles. I cleaned it thoroughly before our test, and it looked just as bad when we finished. The chambers were heavily fouled with burned powder. So far as we could tell, there was no degradation of performance, nor any binding or difficulty inserting or removing cartridges and shells. But it was FILTHY!

I had my S&W 625 Mountain Gun and put rounds from the same batch through it. I use Lasercast 200 and 250-gr bullets over a bees wax wad and 5.9-grains of Hodgdon Clays and Large Pistol primers. There was NO leading in the S&W. These are the loads I shoot in my Colt Peacemakers, my S&W 25-5s, my S&W 25 Mountain Gun, my Ruger Blackhawk and Redhawk, Marlin Cowboy, and Colt Anaconda. I never see leading.

Accuracy seemed fine for defense. We fired bird shot and “000” commercial .410 shells and my .45 Colt handloads.

At 30 feet, the birdshot made an 18-inch circle. The 000 was all in about a four- to five-inch circle. To my eye, they seemed to hit high at that distance, but I had a hard time being consistent. At 50 feet the .45 Colt loads all went into three to four inches, and none of us was trying to shoot a group. The bullets all struck about five to seven inches up and to the right of point of aim. We are all “windage shooters” and had no problem holding off the desired impact point after the first, ranging round.

When I cleaned the Judge after shooting, I noted the cleaning jag and patch pushed through the barrel rather easily compared to the S&W 625. As with any revolver, the chambers were even looser. Considering the long cylinder the .45 Colt bullet must jump before engaging the rifling in the bore, it may be that the bullet is rattling around and doesn’t really stabilize as it catches the rifling and traverses the barrel. I’d like to hear from people more knowledgeable about that kind of thing.

By the way, our middle son provided “Zombie” targets (www.zombietargets.net), which gave great amusement. I recommend them.

We all have large hands and I, despite being the smallest at a mere six feet tall, have the longest hands. Using the shotshells was painful as the trigger guard slapped my middle finger each time I fired. We all said “OUCH” when firing the shotshells in the lightweight Judge. The .45 Colt was less punishing, but the “Ultra-Lite” Judge is not, in our opinion, a “plinker.” It just hurts too much. Letting the Judge fly up in recoil did not help me. It just plain hurt.

For my money, the Judge gets a “pass.” Our son said he waited over a year for S&W or Ruger or SOME American company to make one, but in the end bought what was on the market. He feels it best addresses his desire for a “truck gun” that he can wield quickly and which delivers a devastating hit. For his needs, the drawbacks described here do not detract from those needs.
Timing is completely suspect. If the trigger is not allowed to move COMPLETELY forward after firing, the next pull will rotate the cylinder but NOT cock the hammer. Very very bad.


I don't mean to yell, but citing this as a gripe is a bit ... frustrating to me. Again I apologize.

I'm sad to hear that the gun is such a piece of crap, though. In all honesty I was hoping they'd hold up better, since it's my personal opinion that the industry needs a bit of fresh air, or rather some innovation. I guess it's not the Judge, then?

Taurus Judge Ultra-Lite

Oops! Forgot the pix!


  • DSC_0496.jpg
    284.3 KB · Views: 21
  • DSC_0497.jpg
    253.5 KB · Views: 17
Nushif: "Every double action revolver does that." Hmmm. Maybe. I'm not willing to concede that.

Perhaps, though, it could be explained a bit differently. I've never had a Colt or S&W that could be short-stroked so easily. Some of my S&W's in particular do not require the trigger to be fully returned to the forward end of their stroke before they can be pulled again and make the gun go "bang."

I just took a pause to grab a Colt Trooper and a S&W .38. Both can be fired d.a. without fully releasing the trigger. The difference isn't much, but it's there, and the position is easily found. On the Judge, it isn't.

Regardless, with the Judge it was far too easy and happend way too often to suit me, and it has a looong trigger pull. The idiosyncracies of any tool or machine can be learned until it performs as intended. I am a pilot and fly (and have flown) a wide variety of planes made by engineers with differing "opinions" as to how to make it go. Some are wonderful and some are nightmares. All may be learned to an expert level through practice. If a pilot is accustomed to a standard, such as is required for an aircraft to receive FAA certification, he or she can find themselves in deep doo-doo when flying one that doesn't meet their long-learned expectations.

I don't expect a defensive arm to have an idiosyncracy I must learn for that arm to function.
Last edited:
Interesting stuff regarding the Judge. Perhaps a pistol smith somewhere will make his mark perfecting this gun. Or maybe its not worth it.
re: grammar nazi
I might have used " Taurus's " to show that they owned the failures or left the " Taurus " alone and added " models ( or something ). " This type of language situation, even for the punctuation police, gets a pass. " Tauruses " is fine.
Sometimes you get a bad one in any brand. I haven't had any of the problems you described, with my Judge. It shoots very well and I don't notice much leading at all in mine. I actually see more in my Ruger Vaquero's. My front sight is solid and the cylinder opens easily, as expected. I own several Taurus revolvers and pistols and haven't had any problems with any of them. I have a couple of friends who also own Judges and they have been trouble free as well. All of our guns are the steel models. Maybe that makes a difference.
re: Ruger LCR


Funny you should say that. Same son also bought a LCR. It felt really odd in my hands, but we all found it easy to shoot well. Icky trigger. He actually likes the LCP better because of it's concealability and 7 shots. He uses really hot loads from Cor Bon and ???

From 30 feet he was stitching a life-size target from crotch to brow.

I'll spend some more time with the LCR and see what happens.
Gunsmith and grammar


In fact, I've heard there are gunsmiths who specialize in the Tauruseseses; Taurus guns. It seems likely they could do a good job. I seem to recall one of the champion competition shooters using Taurus, uh, guns, and his were worked over by a pro.

I gotta work on the grammar stuff some more.:banghead:

It's worth noting, I think, that "jfrey" had good service from steel Taurus guns. Might be a difference.
Technically it is Taurus guns, there is only one manufacturer of Taurus guns, ditto with Colt guns, S&W guns...
Here is where the apostrophe comes into play, just like Williams' is a group of my family, the same for Taurus' is a group of Taurus guns.
I still believe that Taurus goofed big time when they dropped the 445, compact frame in 45 Colt or ACP.
A Good, Honest Review

You admitted in the beginning that you were a little biased, but you wrote up one heck of an honest review. Kudos to you sir, the internet in general could stand to learn a lesson from you.
Not open for further replies.