Winchester PDX1 .410 ammo review

but it looks so coooooool

Last year around this time, Winchester introduced their new “defensive” .410 load for shotguns and the Taurus Judge.

The PDX1 round was pretty obviously designed for the Judge, as there are already decent buckshot and slug loads out there for .410 shotguns.  This round uses three “defense disks” which are backed by 12 BB-sized shot pellets.  The defense disks will actually engage the rifling on a Judge and be somewhat more accurate than the shot, which will get spun out in a circular pattern on target.

I recently had the opportunity to pattern the PDX1 ammo at 7 yards from an actual Taurus Judge.  At 7 yards, all three defense disks impacted the target center of mass in approximately a 2-3 inch spread.  The 12 BBs?  7 hit the target, 4 more hit the paper, and the 12th was a total miss.  At 7 yards.  Now, I have no doubt that if I had run the same load through a conventional shotgun, the BB group would have been acceptable, but out of the Taurus Judge even at 7 yards the shot spread is too wide to be safe for defensive use in any circumstances.   The penetration on the defense disks leaves something to be desired, as outside testing has shown they’ll only penetrate 10 inches in bare gelatin from the Judge.

I am considering testing this ammo out of a .410 shotgun – while I wouldn’t use this as defensive ammo out of a Judge, it might have some benefit out of a full size shotgun with a proper barrel.


  1. I’ve been wondering how the Judge tailored loads would do. Thanks for the testing and write up. Looking forward to see what they do out of an actual shotgun. If they prove somewhat useful in your testing I might have to grab some and try it in my .410 Saiga.

      1. I just wonder if the results would be different out of one of the 6.5″ barrel Judge versions. Granted that’s too big to carry, and if you want a gun that size for home defense there are numerous better, pistols or shotguns for the same price, but for data comparison of bad idea loads in cool concept, pointless execution guns, it’s be nice to have more reference points.

      2. It was my Taurus Judge 2-441031MAG with the 3″ barrel and 3″ cylinder.

        On the PDX1 load, I agree with Caleb that at 7 yards the BBs add little to no value but at 7 feet, not so bad. Maybe a better car load than a home load. I still would not want to be shot with the 3 discs.

        Not my .22LR trainer… or my .380 pocket carry… or my 9mm compact carry… or my 9mm IDPA gun! Not a rifle or shotgun replacement, but I have all those already. Sometimes Gun Nuts just want to have fun, and it’s fun! 😉

  2. Would be interesting to see someone pattern this load out of a standard .410. Without the rifling spinning the disks to create stability, I’m betting they’ll suck a whole lot more.

  3. I wonder what a load of just those discs out of the Judge would do? Sure there’s not really enough penetration out of any individual one, but would 4 or 5 at once make up for that somehow?

    1. Because someone just had to prove they could make a shotgun with a 3 inch barrel that would be blessed by the idiots at BATFE as legal .

        1. I thought i remembered a previous ‘shotgun revolver’ before the judge came out.
          Getting old and the memory is……..

          What was I talking about?

  4. I don’t know if 10″ in ballistic gel translates into 10″ in a bad guys chest but that sounds like enough to reach and mangle vital organs without over penetrating. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyone know where I could see the results of those tests?

    1. No, it doesn’t, and that’s not the purpose of gel testing. It’s merely a consistent medium for evaluating performance.

      The human body is not a homogeneous mass and the average gel penetration requirements specified by the FBI and other agencies take this into consideration.

  5. Depends on one’s perspective. Some folks want lots of spread by 7 feet. One might argue that “7 hit the target, 4 more hit the paper, and the 12th was a total miss” is a strong endorsement because the one stray pellet might be the hit when the others all miss.

  6. In the June 2010 issue of Guns and Ammo, Dick Metcalf gives both the .410 and 12ga PDX1 ammo a positve review. In the article he states the the .410 load cronys at 752 fps (3 1/2″ Judge) and that a single bb penetrates 5.5 inches of 10 percent gelatin while the disc pentrates 10.5 inches of the same. A single lead pellet with a .180″ diameter and a weight of 8.8 grains at 752 fps delivers a dead-right-now 11 fpe. I could not find the weight of the discs but would guesstimate 55-65 grains and agree with those that compare the impact of one to a .32 cal bullet. I think that Winchester should offer a load with five of the defense discs forget the bb bs. As is, I would hesitate to rely on this gun/load to protect me or my loved ones, but then agian I train to hit center of chest in rapid succesion. If all I had was a Judge, then it would be loaded with some good performing 45 Colt rounds. There is one thing that we should all agree on; Taurus is selling s ton of Judges and ammo companies are going to develop high dollar ammo to meet this “need”. The Judge would make one heck of a snake gun here in the Sonoran desert. Hmmm?

  7. Check the side of the box on these rounds and it says something along the lines of not intended for rifled barrels. I thought that these round were designed for the Judge, but a quick call to Winchester and I was informed that they were made for smooth bore .410s. Anyone have any insight to this?

  8. Why Winchester didn’t just have the disks alone instead of wasting BB shot is beyond my understanding…..

  9. i used these rounds in my public defender,i was impressed AT FIRST.then i had a major malfunction with one of the rounds and i am afraid to use them again.the plastic casing seperated from the metal primer and got lodged in between the barrel and the cylinder.luckily this was during target practice as it rendered the gun inoperable until i got home where i had the proper tools to remove it.if this had been a “personal defense” situation,i might not have lived to write this.

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