I'd like any input from those who actually own these. Pros and cons, quirks, value. I'm interested in one to maybe use as a back-up for a .410 shotgun. Share your wisdom. Also 2 3/4" vs. 3" chamber. Thanks in advance.
The Judge with .410 is an outstanding snake gun out to 15 feet or so with small shot (6 7 1/2 or 8). For self-defense at carjacking range you will be hard pressed to beat some of the 3 or 4 ball 000 loads at 1450 fps. My father has a Judge, we have fired .45 Colt, .410 slugs (Which are fairly anemic) and all sizes of shot. His gun has 5 or 6 rattlers to its credit, all one round at 8 to 15 feet. A .410 loaded with no. 6 or 7 ½ shot is much more effective than .45 Colt shot loads ever thought about. I load 255 Keith type SWC’s at 870 fps (out of a chrono), the Judge is certainly not a target gun, but you can easily hold 5” or 6” groups out to 25 yards (I think the sights are problematic here as they are not designed for precision work but fast close target acquisition). For 000 loads, on a full sized human silhouette, I can keep all 000 balls in the chest area out to 15 feet.
Will it replace a .410 shotgun? In my opinion no, but it does make a very effective short-range self-defense gun (10 to 20 feet) loaded with 3” 000.
The 2 ¾ gun seems to be better balanced, but the 3” gun has a fair bit more horsepower. They do take a little getting used to, and you need to place the front sight deep into the rear sight notch to keep shot from going high (short sight radius makes this fairly critical at any distance).
Depending on your use, they can be a very effective little gun.