Taurus' new 856 Hy-lite 6-shot revolver


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Bob79
September 10, 2008, 04:34 PM
I get free Guns & Ammo mags from courtesy of Natchez for buying ammo, and today I read it. On the cover is the new Taurus 856HL, and HL=Hy-lite. The author says its made with magnesium instead of alumunium alloy, and that it weighs only 13.2 ozs. They also say it fits in his Taurus M85 holsters, and S&W J-frame holsters as well.

The big thing is that it holds 6 rounds, and is supposed to be virtually the same size as a S&W J-frame 38spl 2". It also has a decent rear sight on it, but the kicker is that it's only rated for standard pressure 38spl ammo. They do make stainless and blued models, that are rated for +P. I do imagine however that if you shot all .38 standard pressure at the range, and only a few cylinders of +P a year you'd probably be fine.

I have a S&W 442, and a 37 that I like a lot. I've never been impressed with Taurus, but most people seem to like them. I am intrigued though about having that sixth shot, the very low weight, and the rear sight. The question marks are the magnesium frame, and it only being rated for standard pressure .38 ammo. Although I must say I'm not too concerned with the non +P ammo rating, because I shoot 130 grain FMJ standard pressure through my Airweight, and that has plenty of recoil. I don't think you'd hurt it by shooting 2-3 cylinders a year of +P ammo.

I would really like to check one out, by getting my hands on it. MSRP is $467, so actual price might be $350-400? Below is a link to it on the Taurus website.

http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=616&category=Revolver

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Wes Janson
September 10, 2008, 07:33 PM
Haven't handled one yet, but my opinion of Taurus really couldn't go much lower by now. I've yet to see a product of theirs that doesn't inevitably have one issue or another...no thanks.

Schmidlin
September 10, 2008, 08:07 PM
so if you have nothing smart to say about Taurus or have never owned one why post? You really only make yourself look ignorant.

I have yet to see any gun manufacturer that can build a flawless gun. But yet people still buy them

Chuck Perry
September 10, 2008, 08:26 PM
I read the article last night. My initial reaction was a big yawn. Now that I've thought about it for awhile, the addition of the extra shot is definitely a big plus. Their solution to do this was to deepen the cylinder a tiny bit so it would accept a larger cylinder. Such an obvious solution, wonder why no one else has done it yet? Ruger and Federal went so far as to design the 327 Mag to fit an extra round in the SP. The rear sight is neat. What's up with the integral stainless front sight? Would have been nice to put a dovetail up front, to at least get a blackened blade up front.

19-3Ben
September 10, 2008, 08:57 PM
So when are they coming out with the 7 shot .327mag version?

Chuck Perry
September 10, 2008, 10:25 PM
I'm wondering that myself! If anything, I think we'll see a 357 prior to the 327, assuming the steel frame 856's can handle the pressure. I'm thinking they can't and that the top end for this design is the 38 +P.

Elm Creek Smith
September 10, 2008, 10:57 PM
I'd like one in stainless. If they put a three inch barrel on it, I'll take two!

I already carry a Taurus 85SSUL as my second primary gun loaded with +P ammo.

ECS

http://theturkeyfootbrand.blogspot.com/

ECS

TimboKhan
September 10, 2008, 11:53 PM
I like Taurus guns, but for one reason or another, I have drifted away from them and back to my first and true love, Ruger.

Still, I have a Taurus 605 that I am most fond of and would be loathe to part with... It was my main CCW gun until I let my CCW lapse, and it is now my dedicated truck gun.

ArchAngelCD
September 11, 2008, 05:17 AM
I'm not really impressed either. If it were +P rated I might think about it but not as it is right now. Also, Taurus prices are slowly creeping up to that of S&W and are already equal in price to Ruger revolvers. Unfortunately the quality of Taurus hasn't gone up as fast as their prices. I can't agree a Taurus is equal to a Ruger or S&W.

Bob79
September 11, 2008, 01:02 PM
Like Arch Angel I have always been a little skeptical of Taurus quality. I did own a 7-shot revolver once, and it was OK.

Like Chuck Perry points out above, I thought it was pretty interesting how they came up with a way to get 6 shots in there, without really increasing the size of the gun. When Ruger comes up with the 327 mag to fit in six.

I don't know yet. I'd like to check one out personally, and if its a decent price, I might buy one. The +P thing isn't a deal breaker for me. At the range, 99% of us would use standard pressure anyways. I just can't see a couple cylinders of +P ammo a year hurting the gun. Unless its Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, or similar.

I'm going to keep an open mind on this one, and this is coming from a guy who owns 9 S&W wheel guns.

1 old 0311
September 11, 2008, 04:33 PM
I have had good luck with Taurus, and I shoot a LOT.........I am NOT a gun snob though, so I will try one.

ArchAngelCD
September 11, 2008, 06:05 PM
I am NOT a gun snob though, so I will try one.
Not everyone who doesn't like Taurus revolvers is a gun snob just like everyone who isn't going to vote for Obama isn't a bigot. ;)

tinygnat219
September 12, 2008, 09:24 AM
I like the idea of making a 5 shot revolver a 6 shot one. However, Colt has had that since the Detective Special.

Bob79
September 12, 2008, 08:49 PM
Yes you are correct, but the Colt is a little larger. I don't believe a Colt DS will fit in the holster of a S&W J-frame. Also, the Colt Agent lightweight weighs about 16 ozs unloaded, and the Taurus is 13.2 ozs. I think Taurus has a real unique and well thought out product here. Now whether it holds up, and functions correctly...we'll have to see.

tinygnat219
September 12, 2008, 11:34 PM
Bob79,

Also, the Colt Agent lightweight weighs about 16 ozs unloaded, and the Taurus is 13.2 ozs. I think Taurus has a real unique and well thought out product here. Now whether it holds up, and functions correctly...we'll have to see.

Huh, I didn't realize the difference in weight was that small. You also summed up my thoughts on Taurus pretty well: Neat ideas, neat concepts. Execution leaves much to be desired.

denfoote
September 13, 2008, 05:56 AM
I too read the article.
I was asking myself if the addition of one more round, but reducing the ultimate strength of the frame so that it was unable to withstand the added pressure of standard +P rounds in an era where every revolver maker and his dog makes +P rated .38spl revolvers was "crazy like a fox" or stupid.

I decided that stupidity should be painful!!

I'll keep my first generation aluminum alloy framed M85UL that will handle the pressure, so to speak, thank you very much!!

CZ.22
September 13, 2008, 12:44 PM
I too read the article.
I was asking myself if the addition of one more round, but reducing the ultimate strength of the frame so that it was unable to withstand the added pressure of standard +P rounds in an era where every revolver maker and his dog makes +P rated .38spl revolvers was "crazy like a fox" or stupid.

I decided that stupidity should be painful!!

I'll keep my first generation aluminum alloy framed M85UL that will handle the pressure, so to speak, thank you very much!!

I think we can all agree that +P ammunition is not what you generally use for plinking or practicing. You might fire off. say, a cylinder a month, but otherwise, due to recoil and price, you'd probably stick to standard pressure. +P loadings, do, however, have their place because of self-defense.
Now, this Taurus isn't rated for + P, so some might discount it's value as a defensive option.
That's a moot point. For a while, old Model 12s, Cobras, and M37s have had very good self defense options.

Due to customer demand, we’ve developed this defensive 38SPL ammo. Our customers wanted some devastating 38SPL loads that would fill the following criteria.

It won’t hurt older/fragile/alloy revolvers. (Non +P)
Is effective as a “fight stopper” through the use of proper bullets.
Is more powerful than typical/standard, weak 38SPL ammo.
Generate much less recoil than our +P 38SPL ammo.
Is flash suppressed.
Buffalo Bore is introducing these three different heavy, yet standard pressure loadings for 38 SPL. These offerings are loaded at standard pressure, but they are much more powerful than normal 38SPL ammo. These loads will not harm older more fragile revolvers. So, these loads are safe for use in ANY 38 SPL revolver, provided it is in normal working condition. As stated above, the “POWER” level of these loads is really closer to a typical +P power level, but the pressure is standard. We are able to develop these powerful standard pressure loads with modern non-canister powders. Again, these loads recoil far less than our +P 38 SPL ammo.

All three of these loads are flash suppressed, so firing them in the dark wont blind you. We use flash suppressed powder in our defensive ammo, in the loadings we can, because over 90% of all civilian shootings in America, occur in low light, when the criminal element is at work. We don’t want you blinded by your own gunfire after the first shot.

Item 20C utilizes the same 158gr. very soft lead cast, SWC-HC gas checked bullet, we load in our +P 38 SPL ammo. It is designed to expand and then penetrate quite deep. (Approx. 14 inches in human tissue) This bullet is gas checked and will NOT lead your barrel. Note the below velocities that I recorded out of my personal revolvers—NOT TEST BARRELS!

S&W mod. 60, 2 inch barrel—854 fps (256 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66, 2.5 inch barrel—871 fps (266 ft. lbs.)
Ruger SP101, 3 inch barrel—930 fps (303 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch barrel—979 fps (336 ft. lbs.)
Item 20D utilizes a very hard cast 150gr. WAD CUTTER bullet. The bullet is made hard, so it won’t deform or mushroom. It cuts/crushes a “cookie cutter”, full diameter hole in human flesh just like it does on a paper target. It penetrates deeply (roughly 14 to 16 inches in human tissue) and its full diameter profile maximizes blood loss as it cuts and crushes (not slips or slides) its way through tissue. Although I’ve never been shot with a full profile wad cutter bullet, I must assume that the initial impact of that wide flat nosed bullet, is crushingly formidable. As a teenager, I took to the woods on a regular basis and killed many a critter with heavily loaded 38SPL wad cutters’. The effect of a full profile wad cutter on small game was obvious and amazing, compared to regular round nosed bullets. That flat nose, literally hammers living things. These bullets are hard and properly lubed and will NOT lead your barrel. Note my velocities from real world “over the counter” revolvers—NOT TEST BARRELS!

a. S&W mod. 60, 2 inch barrel—868 fps (251 ft. lbs.)
b. S&W mod. 66, 2.5 inch barrel—890 fps (264 ft. lbs.)
c. Ruger SP101, 3 inch barrel—961 fps (308 ft. lbs.)
d. S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch barrel—1005 fps (336 ft. lbs.)

Item 20E utilizes a Speer Low Velocity uni-core (Gold Dot) 125 gr. Jacketed hollow nose bullet. This bullet is designed to expand at low speeds and has no problem opening up at considerably less velocity than our advertised 900 fps, from two inch barrels. Penetration in human tissue is roughly 12 inches. Note my test velocities below from real world, “over the counter” revolvers—NOT TEST BARRELS!

S&W mod. 60, 2 inch barrel—921 fps (235 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66, 2.5 inch barrel—938 fps (244 ft. lbs.)
Ruger SP101, 3 inch barrel—1019 fps (288 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch barrel—1078 fps (322 ft. lbs.)
The above is taken from Buffalo Bore's website. Standard pressure .38s, but with all the power of most +P.
I posted a thread on this revolver a few weeks back. I'm impressed. True, it is a Taurus, and I've heard mixed things about their quality and horrible things about their customer service. But a lot of people seem satisfied with their Tauri, and they do experiment a lot more than S&W or Ruger does.
(I do wish S&W would just copy Taurus and release an Airweight six-shot J-frame.)
Does anybody know if someone's making speedloaders for the 85-6 yet?

Bob79
September 13, 2008, 02:05 PM
Both my S&W 442, and 37 are not officially rated for +P use because they are not built on the J-magnum frame. I have however shot Speer's 135gr SB +P ammo, Cor Bon's 110gr DPX +P, and Remington 158gr +P. I have maybe shot 40-50 rounds of +P ammo though the 442 in about 5 years, and the gun is fine. It locks up tight, and has never had a malfunction.

I think it would be great if S&W made a 6 shot .38 J-frame similar to the Taurus. I think they would sell very well, as long as the gun was reliable, and sturdy.

Guillermo
September 13, 2008, 03:24 PM
As one that has owed super light revolvers and several Taurus (Tauruses, Taurus'...or is that Tauri?) I can offer you two things.

1- Shoot before you buy. Too light of a revolver is NOT fun to shoot

2- Taurus is a crap shoot. Some are good, some are not. Many will tell you how great they are, others how crappy.
I have not been fortunate with the brand.

Your mileage may vary

Best of luck

denfoote
September 13, 2008, 06:47 PM
CZ.22,

While you are indeed right, I already have the M85UL and cannot see rushing out and plopping down plastic for this latest whiz bang incarnation!!

Elm Creek Smith
September 14, 2008, 03:33 PM
While the Hi-Lite is the subject of the article, I would, as I said above, be interested in the stainless version of the 856, especially with a 3 inch barrel.

Complaining about the Hi-Lite being a non +P .38 is ludicrous considering that many people depend on lesser calibers for personal defense. My BUG is a .32 ACP KelTec P32. It's not my first choice for defense, but it beats a pocket knife when I can't go bigger. With new bullets designed to expand at standard pressure velocities, I think it will find a market, especially at 13+ ounces.

ECS

Bob79
September 14, 2008, 06:45 PM
I agree with you Elm Creek, I think it will find a market. 6-shots in virtually the same size gun as before is very nice. I hope Taurus has good quality control on these things, and makes sure they are top notch. Again, I also don't think the non +P rating is a big deal.

Gary A
September 15, 2008, 11:34 AM
Well, I'm no metallurgist and I'm sure the Taurus engineers know what they're doing but, wow, isn't magnesium flammable? It just sounds weird shooting cartridges in a flammable gun. I'm sure the cylinder isn't magnesium, LOL. It would be funny if Taurus said the service life of the revolver is six rounds, he he he. Maybe it's a flare gun.

Elm Creek Smith
September 16, 2008, 09:29 PM
Volkswagen makes engine blocks from magnesium. BMW makes engine heads from magnesium. I don't think that the frame of the 856 Hy-Lite is in any danger of igniting.

ECS

Gary A
September 17, 2008, 12:52 AM
Well, I was being facetious, although I really don't know much about Magnesium beyond its flammable nature. I'm sure they wouldn't create a firearm that would ingnite upon firing :).

WAID
September 17, 2008, 03:08 AM
Throw a flaming chunk of magnesium at somebody and it'll do some damage though.

Ala Dan
September 17, 2008, 04:51 AM
I can only echo my friend Wes Janson's seniments 'bout Taurus~! ;)

MCgunner
September 17, 2008, 10:51 AM
I'll keep my standard SSUL M85. I don't need the extra round and 4 more ounces is a great trade off for +P rating. JMHO of course.


I've yet to see a product of theirs that doesn't inevitably have one issue or another...no thanks.

I've got three I could show you.


Complaining about the Hi-Lite being a non +P .38 is ludicrous considering that many people depend on lesser calibers for personal defense. My BUG is a .32 ACP KelTec P32.

I don't carry anything less than .38 and much prefer the +P FBI load for the caliber. I do have a .380, but I don't carry it much. Bought it 20 years ago and haven't really fired it that much. 9x19 is plenty all day pocketable and beats either .380 OR .38. Why settle for a .32 when you can get a .380 just as light and portable? I's as soon carry a .22, frankly.

Yes, I want a +P gun, so sue me. Besides, if the company will back it for +P, that means it's tougher, don't it? If they won't back it for +P, there must be a reason. Like I say, the standard ultra lite is just 4 ounces heavier, not enough to notice.

MCgunner
September 17, 2008, 10:53 AM
BTW, why does every tread about a Taurus turn into a bash? I happen to think nothing sux worse than Smith and Wesson, crappiest revolvers built today with the stupidest lock design, but I don't get on every Smith thread and express myself. :rolleyes: Perhaps I should start, though.

PedalBiker
February 20, 2009, 01:27 PM
I'd rather have an aluminum frame (or scandium) and +p capability. For now I'll stick with my 85 stainless, but if they can get it light (under 16 oz) and +p I'd consider trading for one. I too, won't give up +p for a few ounces of weight, nor for one extra round.

I have a Taurus 85 SS and I like it a lot. It's reliable and plenty accurate. My only complaint is that the forcing cone is a tad rough, like the reamer was a bit dull or it galled a bit. In every other respect the quality is more than adequate.

moph759fl
February 20, 2009, 06:15 PM
I conceal carry a Taurus Model 605, .357MAG, All Titanium/15oz, Snub with Hogue Grips, almost every day.

BlayGlock
February 20, 2009, 10:17 PM
I own both S&W and Taurus. My everday carry is a Taurus M85 ultralite with CT Laser grips. My wife carries a Taurus 605.357 mag. You cant go wrong with either model. My Smith has a little bit nicer trigger, but other than that not that big of difference. I own 4 Taurus revolvers for a reason. I have never had a prob with any of them. If you want an light carry model, by the Taurus and spend the extra $150 bucks on ammo so you can outshoot all the S&W fanboys :neener:

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