Current Production Taurus Revolvers?

Jeff H

NW Ohio
I am going to stick my neck WAY out there and attempt TWO things:
1) To ask a loaded question, which will likely yield a lot of advice to buy Smith or Ruger - which is APPLES, and I'm looking at ORANGES;
2) I will TRY to elucidate efficiently and without making one of my typically long posts.

OK, I see I've already failed miserably on objective #2 - if you want to skip the background, scroll down to the actual question, understand that I HAVE (and have had) many Rugers and several Smiths and that's not what I'm looking for.

Background first: I have nothing against Ruger or Smith and own or have owned both. I'm partial to Charter Arms revolvers though, because I am fond of the design features, low mass, small form and almost every one of them has been acceptably accurate, like 2" to 2.5" at 25 yards-accurate - in spite of the short (3") barrels I prefer. My last one, while it IS accurate, was a royal PITA to get going and I detest the "adjustable" rear sight on the thing. I HAD an SP101, 3", which was marvelous, but still prefer the lighter 3" Charters - mostly older ones. I HAVE put an average of 50 to 100 through a few of the 44 Specials over the course of many years. I've ot personally experienced the "meant to be carried a lot and shot a little" phenomenon many are quick to offer up, and personally question just how much experience supports that idea. Has definitely not been MY experience.

Taurus, in the late eighties and early nineties made some darned fine revolvers and I had several in 44 Special. While I never liked the "feel" of their triggers, they were as accurate as my Charters. Two Rossi 720s I had were amazing (but heavy) regarding triggers and accuracy, but the Taurus revolvers I had were excellent guns. NO, not Smiths, but that's not what I'm after here.

I'm looking at FEATURES, which I find lacking in my favored Charters, Rugers or Smiths. Rugers and Smiths are off the table, especially with the overall economy and my personal economy.

TAURUS has a couple revolvers right now that are just too tempting; the 856, 3", 6-shot 38 Special and the 605 "Defender," 5-shot 357 Mag. Fixed sights (Tritium front sight, to boot), with a replaceable front sight, smooth, clean, decent grip selection (which has always been poor for the Charters) longer ejector rod on the 357, nice hammer spur checkering, NO LOCK on the hammer,...

The dilemma is that I recently off-loaded a Taurus 2" M85 UL of fairly recent manufacture, as I was thoroughly unimpressed with it. The lock-up, with the trigger back was sloppy and the chamber throats did not align well with the bore. Accuracy was (yeah, I know, it was a "gitoffme-gun") not great. I've had several 2" and 3" Charter 38s which would shoot 2.5" groups at 25 yards.

Almost no reviews I've read on ANY gun lately even bother to quantify accuracy - it's all "it's accurate" (they shot at three to seven yards) and yap on about how many rounds of what they put through it, how much it hurts to shoots it, how it "feels," etc. Typical of what seems to be the prevailing attitude... The most common problem I've read about regaridng Taurus revolvers centers on cylinders binding, but I've yet to read an anecdote posted by anyone who has any clue as to how a revolver works, so I can't put my finger on what this problem might be.

MY QUESTION IS... (guess I blew the short post attempt) Does anyone here have any experience with the accuracy of Taurus' current revolvers in 38 or 357? I'm specifically looking at the 3" 605 "defender" or 856 in 357 or 38, respectively.

THANKS for any input. I value your opinions over all others.

The 605:

The 856:
 
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Rick H

Well-Known Member
They certainly are good looking revolvers. I like the tungsten finish with wood grip model Defender. I have no idea how their quality or accuracy is just looking at the writeup you referenced and the Taurus website. The Executive series 38+P with bobbed hammer is interesting as well. I have to wonder what "hand tuned trigger" really means.

My brother owns two Taurus pistols a 738 380acp, and a 9mm G2. Both have been reliable and as accurate as most pocket 380's and compact 9's that I have seen. Not outstanding but adequate for most social purposes.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
Thanks for the input, @Rick H .

The features, or maybe lack thereof, is exciting. No silly "fresh ideas," just basic revolvers without unnecessary stuff on them.

3" barrels - PLUS
An actual variety of "finishes" and grip designs - PLUS
NO PORTING - PLUS
NO LOCK - PLUS
Fixed sights with an easily swapped front sight - PLUS
Longer ejector rod on the 357 - PLUS
Compact, lightweight - PLUS
STEEL - PLUS
Actually AVAILABLE - PLUS,... unless they're available because no one wants them.:oops:

I could actually swing one of these, and later another if I decided I liked it.

Things about the M85 I recently moved were loosey-goosey crane, crane barrel/cylinder fit, poor bore to chamber alignment and sloppy lockup, uninspiring accuracy, sloppy ejector fit,...

Taurus seems to have stepped it up in terms of ditching gee-gaw for basic functionality and usefulness*, I'm hoping maybe they tightened things up in the slop-department.

*Admittedly based on personal preference, but dangit, I don't need, nor do I want a gun that looks like a blasted modern sneaker with dashing eye-appeal, slots, holes, vents, rakish, chiseled lines, "rails," non-fluted cylinders, TAPERED cylinders (geeze, Ruger!), neon sights,.... Sorry.

Ironically, I may be setting my standards too high (yeah, I know, keep reading), but my "carry revolvers" see a LOT more use as "trail guns" and "fun guns" and must be capable of hitting something I can eat, or that may be eating what I want to eat. So, I'm really looking at my ideal "trail gun," "woods gun," etc., which happens to have to double as my CCW.

Don't laugh, I've carried 3" Bulldogs in 44 Special since the early eighties and they were always up to the task as a "trail gun," and I never had an issue with concealing one. I've taken in the 357 since a bit more than a decade ago for the sake of mating a revolver with my carbine, so I'm still shopping for a small, 3" 357 or two.

I don't actually shoot the 357 like I used to either, so wear isn't as big a concern as it once was. I do, however expect whatever revolver I am carrying to be able to shoot my "deer loads" for the carbine (if in a pinch) without blowing up. Note that my "deer loads" for the carbine do not exceed listed data in current loading manuals and it's all cast bullets.
 

JonB

Halcyon member
MY QUESTION IS... Does anyone here have any experience with the accuracy of Taurus' current revolvers in 38 or 357?

THANKS for any input. I value your opinions over all others.
While I don't have any experience with Taurus's current production, I have owned several Taurus' guns in the last two decades...and that is besides the guns my local friends and acquaintances have owned. With that disclaimer out of the way, I've learned that Taurus guns (in general) have been a 50-50 proposition with their build quality. If you get one that was built properly, you will likely have a accurate shooter. It's not just one problem or another, it's a cornucopia of possible problems.
Good Luck.

PS: if I were to ever buy another Taurus, I'd only consider buying a used gun from a trusted source, that claimed it was a problem-free gun.
 

Thumbcocker

Active Member
Not exactly on point but I have looked at a couple of Rock Island .38 revolvers and they seemed like a lot of gun for the money. I think they offer 3" barrels.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
.....

PS: if I were to ever buy another Taurus, I'd only consider buying a used gun from a trusted source, that claimed it was a problem-free gun.

VERY valuable and much appreciated input @JonB . Exactly what I am looking for.

Thank you.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
Not exactly on point but I have looked at a couple of Rock Island .38 revolvers and they seemed like a lot of gun for the money. I think they offer 3" barrels.

Yeah, those things are cool and I'd like to have one some day. Maybe something's wrong with me, but I get more excited about guns like that. Haven't seen the 3" but will look now. I'm looking for a 357 right now, but may add a 38 or to back into the mix later.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
i'd look at some reviews on how they handle returns and repairs etc. first.

Thank you, @fiver . I have and that's why I asked here (and on singleactionsdotcom) in reply to a a few threads over there.

What I'm seeing in terms of CS is a mix of the best and the worst and nothing in between. Doesn't bode well, but then these same reviews include all kinds of positive adjectives and adverbs about the guns' every aspect with no mention of accuracy - at least not quantifiable remarks.

In other words, not to come off like I'm smarter than all those other guys on the 'net, but I'm not confident that meaningful information is being served.
 

CWLONGSHOT

Residing in New England
I have owned three... All three had issues first I returned. Got back and sent back cause they didnt fix it... second I brought back as I bought used. Third I really liked so I fixed myself. Then sold off in a trade deal.

I avoid Taurus. Not worth the hassle to me. The TX-22 Comp is very enticing and reviews are excellent but its a Taurus.

CW
 

JustJim

Active Member
PS: if I were to ever buy another Taurus, I'd only consider buying a used gun from a trusted source, that claimed it was a problem-free gun.
I've never had good luck with Taurus. If I ever had to purchase one it I'd follow JonB's advice above. . . but I'd do everything I could to find something else. That said, a couple weeks ago I put 10 rounds of 38 Special (FBI load) into about 4" at 25 yards using a fairly-recent 85CH. I just didn't trust that it would fire the next time. . . .
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
I have owned three... All three had issues first I returned. Got back and sent back cause they didnt fix it... second I brought back as I bought used. Third I really liked so I fixed myself. Then sold off in a trade deal.

I avoid Taurus. Not worth the hassle to me. The TX-22 Comp is very enticing and reviews are excellent but its a Taurus.

CW

Thanks, Brian. I've felt the same way for some time. Was hoping they possibly stepped up their game. The M85 I sold would SHOOT, it was probably "to spec" according to Taurus, but I didn't like it - definitely not a good woods-bumming gun.
 

Winelover

North Central Arkansas
The July issue of G&A has a article on the new SS Executive Grade 856 with bobbed hammer and 3" barrel. "For its price point of $689, it has no real competition withinn $100 of MSRP".

Author felt the trigger pull weight(12#) need improvement (hammer spring change) and the front sight need to be upgraded to Taurus' orange night sight.

Firearm was chambered in 38 Special (+P) weighed in at one pound 9 ounces with standard Altamount walnut grips. Four inch groups @ 25 yards was the norm.

I might be tempted if I ran across one in the LGS but that's unlikely.

 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
Thanks, @Winelover . I may have missed that one.

It was the 856, 38 Special which first caught my attention and made me look, The "Executive" has some nice looking grips, but way too big for a gun like that - for me. The retail price is,... a bit flattering, but these days, I bet there are those who would pay it.

What I've seen, price-wise, for the basic, blued stainless 605 (357) is just under $400, which is not the main objective, but low enough to tempt me hard to try one. Not quite hard enough without hearing from people who's standards and expectations are based on substantive criteria - meaning you guys.

When I bought the last Charter I got, I was setting cash back for a another Ruger SP101. Price wasn't the main consideration there either, but no, I wouldn't pay within $100 of a Ruger for a Charter or a Taurus. Actually, I'd still buy an older SP101, but not as a substitute for what I am looking for in Charter or Taurus.

Yeah, 4" groups at 25 yards are NOT acceptable. Jeff Quinn had written a good commentary on what people accept today as "accurate" in handguns and that may not provide the incentive for manufacturers to make anything any better than people are capable of realizing or expecting.
 

Winelover

North Central Arkansas
Rugers are too heavy/over built to carry all day long. Exception is the LCR or LCRx. That 3" Taurus 856, I would consider a midweight at 25 ounces. Would just be a range toy for me............personally, I would want 357 version. I've also become partial to hammerless (DAO) handguns with short barrels.

Already have a 357 LCR, three J-frames (SS Model 60 and a pair of 642's) in 38 Special. If I didn't already have a 6" Royal Blue Python, I would be looking at the new 3" Python.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
I've actually been considering the 3" King Cobra, in the other category - the one I put the SP101 in, but that's a separate consideration and subject to wait a lot longer. Either of these would be "nice-to-have" guns for me. I've carried an SP101 a good bit and it's not bad, but the Charter-weight 3" guns have spoiled me for day to day cary.

25 ounces is something of an optimum for me -I have carried Bulldogs for a long time, so have become accustomed to that weight. My current 3" Mag Pug is just under 25 Ounces (empty) and is perfect for weight/bulk for me. For times when I need even smaller/lighter, the Charter Undercover still does it for me, but that's a "special occasion gun" and the 3", 25-ounce five-shot 357s cover more like 95% of my carry needs.

I do have an LCRX in 38 Special. It's a neat gun, very light, BUT it does take up more space than my Charters. I'd consider a 357 LCRX, but for what they want for them now, I'd hold out and keep looking for an older SP101 or maybe hold out longer for a King Cobra, but again - those are in a different class than I am currently considering.

"Range-toy," I get. This weight range serves a specific carry purpose for me in that they are intended to be mostly woods-bumming guns - which I CAN carry concealed effectively if I need to. For something I'd have to carry day and night, I agree that a more compact and lighter gun would be desirable.

The type of gun I'm talking about is one I'd want to use often, like I've done for many years with a 4" "Target" Bulldog in 44 Special, which disappears under a heavy shirt/light jacket and is completely forgotten while running a chain saw or swinging an axe. These are guns I get out to p lay with as much as I carry for "peace of mind" while outside.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
By the way, I really appreciate the insight shared on this topic. It has all been very useful, though I'm still on the fence and may just take a chance one one. Hard to rationalize taking such a chance at $800 to $1k, but for under $400, my curiosity may get the better of me yet.

I do think @JonB nailed it with the "crap-shoot" nature of a Taurus revolver. I can reconcile that fairly closely with my own impressions and those I am getting from others.
 

Winelover

North Central Arkansas
One of my 44 Specials is a Charter Fit for Duty with shrouded hammer, 2 1/2" barrel that weighs 21 ounces. That's my dedicated bow hunting carry piece. Bit too large for everyday pocket carry. It does fit in my camouflage hunting pants' cargo pocket.

The 357 LCR is a bit more expensive than the 38 version but it's more versatile and still comes in at a carriable 17 ounces. IIRC.
 

Rick H

Well-Known Member
After watching many LEO's, soldiers, and civilians fire handguns, there are damn few who can shoot better than 4" groups at 25 yds (except on a keyboard). The handgun might, but the shooter???? Well that is another matter. I don't own a ransom rest so I can't tell you how good my pistols shoot, only how well I shoot them. Some of the writers might be a bit reluctant to publish how good they are/aren't.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
After watching many LEO's, soldiers, and civilians fire handguns, there are damn few who can shoot better than 4" groups at 25 yds (except on a keyboard). The handgun might, but the shooter???? Well that is another matter. I don't own a ransom rest so I can't tell you how good my pistols shoot, only how well I shoot them. Some of the writers might be a bit reluctant to publish how good they are/aren't.

Yes, Sir! Exactly!

And again, THIS is why I'm tossing this out to you guys.

The many forums are full of very vague assertions, but from what I've read in many of the actual publications, I can't muster any more faith in them, or their authors' abilities. Many of the blog posts fall flat with incorrect historical information widely available in loading manuals and other texts, so they lose my trust immediately. 90% of the so-called "reviews" I've seen have been a word for word rehash of the sales fluff Taurus has right on their site. THAT's not a review. Going out and shooting it is a review.

I find it ironic that we live in the "information age" (or have we given up on the catch-phrase?) with exponentially more and easier access to information than in all man's time on earth combined, yet the vast majority of what fills this boundless information-space is benign, non-information, sales drivel, clever dodges of fact and crafty manipulation of the product of being too lazy to use the resource to look up a word or check on the commonly accepted year of origin of a thing.

OK, I'd better hop down off this soap-box and get back to doing something productive, like finding clever ways to articulate how doing nothing today was actually SOMETHING, because nothing really IS something or we wouldn't enter our consciousness and we wouldn't have a word for it,...

OK, I'll shut up.

Your point, @Rick H , is very well stated and very appropriate to defining the frustration in an illusory quest.