A few days ago I wrote about the amazing similarity between the Colt 1855 Revolver Rifle that Mordecai Slate uses in the monster hunter series of stories published by Pill Hill Press and “The Circuit Judge,” a new revolver rifle being manufactured by Taurus International Manufacturing Inc., and Rossi Firearms.

There hasn’t been a successfully marketed rifle that uses a revolving cylinder instead of a magazine in about 150 years. The Colt was abandoned because it had serious problems—mostly it blew up in your hands when you tried to shoot it. As I said before, I liked the design of the gun, and thought that it was too bad it disappeared and that somebody didn’t try to find ways to solve its problems.


When I thought of using the Colt 1855 Carbine as Slate’s primary weapon, it seemed obvious that the problem with the original weapon was the use of paper cartridges that would tear and leak gunpowder into the cylinder chamber. When the gun was fired the loose powder ignited causing all the cartridges to fire at once in a phenomenon known as “chain fire.” The gun would literally blow apart in the shooter’s hands. So to me it seemed logical that changing the cylinder chambers to accommodate .45 caliber shells would eliminate the problem.  Steel jacketed shells don’t leak. So Slate redesigned the 1855’s cylinder so that it would fire .45’s. Naturally, being a monster hunter, he uses silver shells, dipped in garlic.  That seemed to take care of the main problem. Coincidentally, Taurus/Rossi decided that was the way to go too.–minus the silver and the garlic.

But there was another issue, and that was the blowback of hot gases escaping sideways from the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. These gases can cause nasty burns to the hands. Slate never explained how he solved this problem. But it’s obvious he came up with some solution. In the case of Taurus’s “Circuit Judge,” the problem was solved by the use of gas deflector shields. According to a review by http://www.AmericanRifleman.org, the shields are placed on the frame near the cylinder gap along with a wedge-shaped flare between the cylinder and where the shooter’s hand rests. “These enhancements successfully work to protect the shooter,” according to the AR review. I’d be willing to bet that’s exactly what Mordecai did too.

The beauty of “The Circuit Judge” is that you can load it with different ammo in different chambers pending on application. The gun fires both .45 cartridges as well as .341 shotgun shells. This is a feature that does not exist in the modified Colt 1855 that Slate uses, wish he’d thought of it.

At any rate, I can’t reveal my sources at this point, but I have it on pretty good authority that my blog is currently being forwarded around the corporate offices of Taurus USA.  If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.