While filming the 2011 PDTV season, we were doing some experimenting with the .410 revolvers. I know there is a bunch of controversy surrounding them, but people are buying them for personal defense. That being the case, we decided to see how the loads and weapon systems can best be utilized for personal defense.
The Taurus Judge has the capabilities of shooting a .410 shotshell or .45 Colt. The Smith & Wesson Governor can shoot the .410 shotshell, 45 Colt or the .45 ACP with a moonclip. The idea behind our testing was to see the maximum effective range per load and the different load penetration depths in ballistic gel. We shot the ballistic gel at the distance we found was ideal for the particular load based on the shot spread. We looked at both Number 4 birdshot and Winchester's PDX1 loads with "Defensive Disks."
Both the .45 ACP and .45 Colt performed pretty standard for revolvers in range and penetration depth, but the .410 shotshells had limiting results. They still proved quite effective given certain use restraints. The Number 4 birdshot was only effective regarding spread and penetration out to 3 yards, leading me to believe it is a close contact option only. Anything beyond that range will be less reliable in penetration and there is extreme spread of the pellets well beyond a human-sized target. The Defensive Disks proved to be reliable out to at least 10 yards with reliable penetration and out to 25 yards for effective projectile spread.
We used the testing and the results to create a PDTV episode surrounding the .410 revolvers on the upcoming season of PDTV. I hope you find them informative and entertaining. Stay Safe.