My buddy Steve at the Firearms Blog asks for opinions on Federal’s new “Self-Defense Birdshot” load for the Taurus Judge. No, that’s not a typo, I actually wrote that. In addition to their Judge buckshot load, Federal has also released a .410 shotshell load that contains about 60 pellets of number 4 shot – not to be confused with #4 Buckshot, mind you. No, this is 60 pellets of #4 birdshot. Which, nevermind that you can already buy .410 shotshells loaded with #4 birdshot, I don’t know what particularly makes this round “personal defense” as opposed to the other .410 shotshells.
As far as the round’s actual efficiency for personal defense, I have a pretty simple question: would you load your 12 gauge shotgun with birdshot for personal defense? I wouldn’t, unless it was the very last box of ammo in the house. So if I’m not going to load a much larger and more effective gun with birdshot, I’m certainly not loading a revolver with a 2.5 inch barrel with birdshot.
If you’ve got a Judge, and you’re shopping for a round for personal defense, Federal makes an excellent 255 grain semi-wadcutter hollowpoint. It’s an all lead round doing about 800 fps. If that’s not your particular flavor, Hornady makes a .45 Colt round in the LeveRevolution line with a 225 grain bullet with a polymer tip. It’s designed for slugging deer, but out of a short barrelled pistol would probably make a handy defensive round.
The .45 Colt is a proven stopper. There are a lot of cowboys under a lot of headstones because of that round, so there’s no particular reason I see to go mucking around with a shotshell for personal defense from 2 legged varmints.