I blame Caleb Giddings and Taurus. The Judge Home Defender broke my dislike of .410 revolvers. Extending the barrel to 13 inches gave it more of a .410 advantage. The design of the Home Defender welcomes accessories, and I began to think about how I would outfit it for a home defense situation. Adding a light and red dot was obvious, and I even added a side saddle because it is kind of a shotgun. It’s also a revolver, and that’s where I ran into the Maxfire Speed Loader.
The Maxfire Speed Loaders aren’t your traditional speed loader. They don’t have a mechanical function like the HKS or Safariland-style speed loaders. Instead, they utilize a soft polymer material that’s similar to a speed strip. The Judge frame doesn’t really support the use of speed loaders. The Judge is a big gun that’s built on a compact frame.
You might not know this, but the Judge is built on a compact frame that was used for the Taurus 450, a compact, five-shot .45 Colt revolver. Taurus built .44 Special, .45 Colt, and even a.41 Magnum snub nose on this same frame. The compact frame means the cylinder sits too close to the frame to load the revolver with a speed loader.
The Maxfire Difference
The Maxfire Speedloader is built for the Judge and addresses the issues with the compact frame of the Judge. This speed loader is shaped to be thinner at the side that faces the frame. Unlike other speed loaders, this specific Maxfire speed loader has to be oriented in a very specific way to load the revolver properly. The rounds sit at slightly different heights, and the tallest rounds go in part of the cylinder that is furthest from the frame of the revolver.
The Maxfire speed loader holds the rounds by the rim with a slight protrusion, much like a speed strip. These protrusions hold the rounds but allow them to peel away from the speed loader when pressure is applied. It’s very simple, and while it’s not fancy like a Safariland or HKS, it works wonderfully with a gun like the Judge, where a speed loader simply doesn’t work.
Loading the Judge
The Juge famously fires both .45 Colt and .410, but Maxfire advises you to only use these loaders with .45 Colt. I practiced with both .45 Colt and .410 shotshells, and I could see why Maxfire advises you to use only .45 Colt. With that said, it’s not hard to use the .410 shells with the speed loader. They fit into the loader without a problem, but getting the shells off the loader and into the cylinder is a little tricky.
The shells break away from the speed loader fine, but they don’t drop into the cylinder easily. Polymer .410 shells don’t slide smoothly into the cylinder like the brass cases of .45 Colt shells. After using the loader, you may have to press an individual shell or two into the cylinder. The differences in each shell make some fit tighter and some fit looser.
With the .45 Colt rounds, this isn’t an issue. Gravity pulls the hefty .45 Colt rounds into the cylinders without a problem. With practice, you can really quickly load the cylinder with five .45 Colt rounds.
Using the Maxfire
This speed loader uses an index ring to allow you to hold the device with an index finger. In fact, you can hold the loader while gripping the gun. If you load the cylinder, you don’t have to drop the Maxfire to get back to shooting. With the rounds properly oriented, you slide the rounds into the cylinder and then pull the Maxfire sideways. You aren’t peeling the rounds out like a speed strip, and you aren’t pulling it up or down.
Just pull it sideways, and it releases the rounds into the chamber. If you attempt to peel the Maxfire away, the rounds tend to pop out of the cylinder, leaving you short a round. Pull away from the gun to the side, and it works without a problem. I will admit it’s not as fast as a dedicated speed loader.
It’s faster than a speed strip, and as far as I can tell, it’s the only speed loader made for the Judge that works. You can use .410 if you aren’t in a hurry, but it works best with .45 Colt. Best yet, it costs a mere 15 bucks or so and you get two per package. Leaving one loaded with .45 Colt and one with .410 might be the way to go with the Taurus Home Defender.
Maxfire makes a ton of speed loaders for a variety of revolvers. This includes J-frames, which are notoriously tough to load with a speed loader. Check them out here.