November 22, 2022
While filming a new segment for Guns & Ammo TV, Editor-in-Chief Eric Poole and I had the opportunity to review the catalog of Taurus firearms to celebrate Taurus USA’s 40th anniversary. Founded in 1982, Taurus recently moved its headquarters from Miami, Florida, to Bainbridge, Georgia.
With the award-winning G3 and TX22 casting a large shadow, Poole and I agreed that it was time for a revolver update. Taurus manufactures and sells more revolvers than anyone else in the world.
Taurus Raging Hunter
The Raging Hunter series improved on the original Raging Bull lineup, which was introduced in 1997. Having dual cylinder latches, the “Raging” revolvers earned a reputation for safely delivering hand-cannon performance. Now a full-featured hunting revolver, Taurus expanded the Raging Hunter’s chamberings in 2021 to include the .460 S&W Magnum — the most powerful production revolver cartridge in the world. In the spirit of that statement, I also shot a Raging Hunter in .44 Magnum, which held that title from 1955 until Dick Casull’s .454 went mainstream in 1983. (The Raging Hunter is also available in .454 Casull.)
Dressed in a matte, two-tone finish, these revolvers can be bought with barrel lengths ranging 5 1/8 inches to 8 3/8 inches. The porting of the barrel, combined with the heft and rubber grip do a lot to manage felt recoil. Unlike the discontinued Raging Bull, the Raging Hunter features a barrel shrouded in an aluminum sleeve. As a result, the sleeve offers an integral full-length of Picatinny rail. The rail is ideal for attaching a micro reflex sight for fast and precise shooting.
The Raging Hunter 460 could face off against any dangerous game, but the .44 would satisfy those chasing whitetails.
The Judge was officially introduced in 2006, but Poole’s history with it dates back to beta testing a sample in 2005. It was an instant success for Taurus, even landing a role in the hands of Mark Wahlberg for the movie “Max Payne” (2008). Though the performance of the .410 shells in it were exaggerated on the silver screen, the Judge was met with high demand and resulted in the development of modern .410 loads for defense from every major ammunition manufacturer.
In 2010, the Raging Judge was introduced that expanded this line to hunting uses, and that same year the Poly Judge and Public Defender Poly models proved that Taurus engineers could make the design lighter and more practical for concealed carry users. Fifteen variants of the Judge are cataloged, and don’t forget they also shoot .45 Colt.
Introduced in 2008, the .327 Federal Magnum was slow to catch on, but interest is growing. Based on a lengthened .32 H&R Magnum and loaded to higher pressure, the .327 can fire a 100-grain bullet at nearly 1,400 feet per second (fps). Defensive-minded shooters are discovering the versatility of the .327 and its terminal performance. Taurus has decided to capitalize on the opportunity with the new-for-2022 Model 327. Similar in size to the 856, the 327 has a six-round capacity. Recoil is more than you’d expect from a carry revolver, but considerably less than a .357 Magnum in a similar package.
Possibly my favorite of all the revolvers that we shot for TV, the 66 is a medium-frame revolver available in either stainless or matte black, 4- or 6-inch barrel. This gun is strictly business, and I love it.
With seven rounds of .38 Special — +P rated — or .357 Magnum loaded in the cylinder, the 66 represents a basic all-purpose revolver. The trigger was smooth throughout the entire double-action stroke, and it was crisp in single action mode. It has a fixed front sight for durability, and the adjustable rear allows us to tailor loads specifically for the gun.
The example that we shot wore a handsome set of gray-and-green laminate stocks. It looked great against the stainless finish.
Do I have an unreasonable urge to buy another 4-inch revolver? Yes.
Taurus 856 Series
Going from shooting the big boomers to a concealable 856 series with 2-inch barrel was radical. The 856 is your common “snubbie,” but with the added benefit of two extra rounds of .38 Special. (The 856 is +P rated.) In revolvers this size, it’s more common to find only five, but the 856 boosts your defense by nearly 30 percent in terms of capacity. This explains why the 856 remains the most popular revolver series Taurus offers. (Distinctive colors, VZ Grips, and a “concealed hammer” option can add to its appeal.)
Triggers are entirely serviceable, and the 856 has been reliable in my experience. It’s lightweight, easy to conceal and is an affordable answer to address home and personal defense situations.
Shooters needing a rimfire revolver with a little more punch than a .22 LR need to look no further than the Taurus 942 in .22 WMR. It’s offered in both stainless and matte black finishes, with 2- and 3-inch barrels. The 942 has versatility and repeatability with its eight-round capacity. At 23.6 ounces, the 942 is a low-recoil lightweight that can be used for personal defense with the right load, plinking or skills training.
Revolvers that chamber 9mm are uncommon, but have a loyal following. From a personal-defense standpoint, they make a lot of sense. Often carried as backups, the 905 is desirable to have your second gun because it shoots the same round that a lot of our primary pistols do: 9mm. Taurus has two options — black or stainless — for those of us who are inclined.
The 905 is a straightforward, fixed-sight revolver with a 2-inch barrel and a spur hammer. The ubiquitous 9mm Luger is a rimless cartridge, so the 905 requires spring-steel “Stellar” moon clips to organize five rounds of 9mm. However, when pre-loaded, these clips make for easy loading and unloading. Shootability is high for the concealable 905; no frills, just performance.
Taurus Tracker 692
The next 9mm revolver that I’m going to encourage you to try stands a pretty good chance of ending up in my safe: the Tracker 692, multi-caliber revolver. Available in matte black or stainless steel with 3- and 61/2-inch barrel lengths, the 692 offers much-needed versatility in a time where we all are experiencing fluctuating ammunition availability.
Every Tracker 692 includes two cylinders: one .38 Special/.357 Magnum, and one in 9mm. Both cylinders carry seven cartridges. This combination gives us the option of shooting everything from budget .38 to modern 9mm defensive hollowpoints to hard-hitting .357 loads. It also improves the odds that we’ll find a box or two of ammo on the shelves so we can go out and practice.
Like the 905, the 9mm cylinder uses Stellar clips to hold seven rounds. Reloading is fast and easy, and the barrels are ported for effective control. Though the front ramp is fixed, the rear sight is fully adjustable.
Heritage Manufacturing 16-Inch Rough Rider
The last wheel gun we felt worth recommending came from Heritage Manufacturing, a company within the Taurus family. The Rough Rider with 16-inch barrel is a series of rimfires that exists only for fun — and we loved it. G&A TV’s “Joker” model is a sly homage to the ridiculously long-barreled revolver that the character, as played by Jack Nicholson, pulled from his pants in “Batman” (1989). The alloy frame has a color-case-hardened appearance that’s complete with “Joker” themed grips. If you want to be the talk of the range for not-a-lot-of-money, one of these 16-inchers is for you. Hahaha!
Be sure to watch as we review these revolvers and other Taurus firearms as the company marks 40 years of Taurus USA on Guns & Ammo TV.
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