(from Jul 2014)
In this test, I'm going to try out two types of buckshot for the Judges: Federal .410 Handgun ammo in two varieties, the 5-pellet 000 buckshot (part #PD413JGE000) and the 9-pellet 4 buckshot (part #PD413JGE4B).
This test is different than most of my ammo tests. In this test, I'm not evaluating the performance of one pull of the trigger; instead I'm loading up the whole cylinder and blasting the living tar out of the gel block with every round as quick as I possibly can. The idea is to simulate what you'd probably do if you were faced with a home invader, and I'm trying to determine just how much damage the Judge can do, with each of these loads.
In this testing, it's obvious that the 000 buck is a far superior load. It literally cut the gel block in half and left over 20 bullets buried deep in the optimal penetration zone (13 to 17.5" deep). The 4 buck, by comparison, largely missed the target and those pellets that did hit, did comparatively very little damage.
In patterning tests, the 000 buckshot delivered a nice tight group of approximately 2.25" from a distance of 7 yards. The 4 buck, on the other hand, spread out to almost 15", meaning that only five of the nine pellets actually landed on the target! Three others were clearly misses, and I never did find where the ninth pellet went -- but only five landed on the target.
The standards I use to judge bullet performance are the standards established at the 1987 and 1993 Wound Ballistics Conferences, and subsequently adopted by the FBI.