Defense Date


Document Type

Directed Research Project

First Advisor

Dr. Marilyn T. Miller

Second Advisor

Stephanie Walcott

Third Advisor

Wendy Gibson


The Taurus Judge is a five-shot revolver designed to fire both 410 Bore shotshells and caliber 45 (Long) Colt cartridges. It is marketed as a self-defense firearm by Taurus. As of 2010, the Taurus Judge was “quickly becoming a popular personal defense firearm”.1 Although it has become somewhat popular, the Taurus Judge and its various models have not had many distance determination studies completed and there is still a dearth of information on how these handguns compare with shotguns when looking at range of fire determinations. This study focused on: how barrel length affected pellet spread patterns produced by the Taurus Judge, how patterns produced by the Judge revolvers compared with traditional smoothbore shotgun patterns, and if GSR analysis would aid in distance determination for handguns firing shotshells. First, test ammunition was selected from common types observed in casework. Fifteen birdshot and two buckshot shotshell types were tested. The birdshot pattern measurements were analyzed and using one-way ANOVA; buckshot measurements were compared using a Welch two-sample t-test and a boxplot. From these comparisons, a single birdshot load (Winchester AA Target Load 410 2.5in Max ½oz 9 Shot) and a single buckshot load (Remington HD Ultimate Home Defense 410 2.5in 1225 FPS 4 Pellet 000BK) were selected. Each of the nine firearms was fired five times into blotter paper, both birdshot and buckshot loads, at the following muzzle-to-target distances: 1ft, 2ft, 4ft, 8ft, and 16ft. GSR testing patterns were made by firing each firearm three times into 12in square cotton twill, using both shotshell loads, at: 0.5ft (6 in), 1ft (12 in), 1.5ft (18 in), and 2ft (24 in). Only two sets of GSR patterns, produced by the A1 (Taurus Judge, 2in barrel) and B1 (Taurus Judge, 3in barrel) firearms using the birdshot load, were processed with only the Modified Griess test. All data was analyzed using two-way ANOVA with interaction, to determine if firearm type (barrel length) and distance significantly affected diameter. This analysis was followed by a comparison of Least Square Means (lsmeans) to ascertain where statistical differences lay. A review of the data suggests that there is no relationship between barrel length and pellet spread size in regards to the Taurus Judge. It was also determined that there is indeed a statistical difference in pellet pattern spread between the shotguns and revolvers beginning at the 4ft range and that GSR could prospectively further differentiate between patterns.


© The Author(s)

Is Part Of

VCU Master of Science in Forensic Science Directed Research Projects

Date of Submission