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Taurus - Never had one - Curious

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Red Cent, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Red Cent

    Red Cent Senior Member

    May 20, 2010
    McLeansville, NC by way of WV SASS 29170L
    For years I have heard about the badly made Tauras firearms. Thinking back, I have only read about the "problem" guns. I mean I cannot remember reading about the hammer, trigger, springs, or any other part of the lockwork.

    In the current American Rifleman, they have a review on the new Tauras 22lr/22 Mag revolver. Very good looking revolver.

    Is anybody aware of a common problem with the handguns?

  2. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Participating Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    So many threads you could search.

    Taurii can be fantastic guns. A good friend has dissolved one half into rust with waistband carry, and his .357 is as smooth and accurate as my 1940's navy model 10 SW.

    My old man is waiting on a 9 shot 22 tracker to be returned from it's 4th trip to the factory for repair, it refuses to hold it's timing, locks up in DA and skips rounds.

    Lifetime warranty follows the gun itself, not the purchaser. Personally, there aren't many they make that I'd risk my money on, (the Circuit Judge .410 revolver rifle being the exception currently, love that ugly)

    However MANY members here will give you glowing reviews and write off bad guns as a small percentage, or just bad owners. They can't all be insane.

    My rating with them is 2 bad guns, 1 good gun through my hands. Try em out, you may get perfect ones and be a Taurus believer.... Or you may be a Taurus Agnostic like me... I may or may not believe they work.
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    I have owned several Taurus revolvers, and currently own two (a model 85 lightweight .38 and a .44 Special model 445). None have given me any problems, but I have - with one exception) stayed with all-steel construction, and avoided Titanium in particular. When brand new they can stand arould 1,000 to 1,500 cycles of dry-firing to burnish the lockwork, and be sure to have something in the chambers such as snap-caps. When finished, disassemble, clean, and relubricate.

    I will also mention that it is easier to keep a 5 or 6-shot cylinder in time, then one that has 7 to 9 or more chambers. There, the cylinder stop or bolt has to drop and come back up very quiclky.

    They are clearly not the equal of older Smith & Wesson's or Colt's in terms of fit and finish, but they seem to be fully functional, and for a walk around gun, the price is attractive.
  4. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Senior Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    IN between
    Inexpensive, QA spotty but if you get one that works from the get-go, it will be a keeper. Workmanship of late is crappy. I have a ton of Taurus revolvers and the new ones have sharp edges, thin finishes, and sticky/rough triggers. Overall, their revolvers are "ok" but I did read their model 94 has some issues. This is after doing a ton of research 'cause I wanted to get one for plinking.

    From experience - The best semi in their line is the PT92. Early PT1911s had some major issues with firing mechanism and ambi-safety. Also, stay the heck away from the earlier 24/7 line.
  5. bikemutt

    bikemutt Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2010
    Renton, WA
    I own 5 Tauri now, all wheel guns. One I bought new which had trouble right out of the box, Taurus fixed it no-charge, now it's my favorite range shooter. Another I bought new and it's been flawless. The other three I bought used or traded for and they work flawless. All are .357 magnums.

    I would trust any of the five I own with my life because they have yet to do anything but accurately go bang every time I pulled the trigger. I suppose I could live (die?) to regret that statement but for now, they have been 100% reliable.

    I agree with Onward regarding sharp edges. I have not experienced the sticky/rough triggers.

    I also owns several Smiths and there is no question for me they are worth the premium paid over a comparable Taurus. I just have a congenital cheapskate side to my personality, so I own a few Tauri to satiate that need :)
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Senior Elder

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I bought one new M85SSUL and two used (both M66s). They're fantastic shooters with good to great triggers. All are very accurate. The M85 is a daily carry and the 3" 66 is an occasional carry. the 4" 66 is a great range gun and outdoor carry.
  7. plateshooter

    plateshooter Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    N.E. Ohio
    I have an older model 85 in stainless, and a current Tracker in 44 mag. Both of them have been great shooters. I like them every bit as much as my S&W and Ruger revolvers. I would buy either of them again.
  8. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Southern Virginia
    Got 3

    605 357

    pt92 9mm

    pt 1911

    All perfectly function and get carried and shot regularly along with my Rugers, Smiths, and CZ's
  9. NM Mountainman

    NM Mountainman New Member

    May 12, 2008
    New Mexico
    I have only owned one Taurus: a stainless Tracker with 4" barrel in .44 mag. IMO, the Tracker design concept is excellent for its intended purpose as a lightweight trail gun. It is compact, lightweight, well balanced (slightly muzzle heavy). The factory ported barrel is effective at reducing recoil and muzzle jump.

    My Tracker had a very good smooth trigger pull in both SA and DA. In fact, the trigger was as good as many out of the box S&W 629's, but the Tracker trigger pull in both SA & DA was about .5 lb heavier than the trigger pull of a typical 629. Overall accuracy at 25 yd and 50 yd was as good as most 629's with 4" barrels which I have tested.

    Workmanship and external finish were OK with regard to functionality, but problems with fit and finish did detract from the appearance of the revolver. One problem which could have affected reliability and accuracy was the loose fit of the hammer which caused it to rub against the frame when firing. It took less than 30 minutes to stone and polish the frame to eliminate the problem. I had to stone off some sharp edges on the hammer spur and trigger. There were visible tool marks in the chambers and on the rear of the frame where the rear end of the cylinder pin engaged the frame. The extractor star was crudely machined and showed rough tool marks. The rear sight blade had a very loose fit and had a lot of play, but it didn't seem to detract from accuracy.

    The amount of play in the cylinder with the trigger held to the rear after dry firing was more than I usually see in a new Ruger or a Smith. The cylinder gap was .009 which is within SAAMI specs, but, IMO, is excessive. The length of the cylinder is almost .1" shorter than the cylinder length I have measured on my 629 classic. That could limit the use of the heaviest bullets, and Taurus does not recommend bullet weights over 240 gr in Trackers. Overall, I would say that the fit of the cylinder was looser than with most out of the box Smiths and Rugers.

    None of the observed problems with workmanship seemed to affect functioning, reliability, or accuracy. The ported barrel means that shot shells should not be used and also results in difficult cleaning when lead bullets are used. From the POV of practical functionality as a trail gun, I would say my Tracker (after about an hour of hand work with a polishing stone) was equal to most 629's I have examined and tested. It could be a good choice for a trail gun which is carried a lot but seldom fired with maximum loads.

    The firing pin spring broke after a lot of dry firing (more than 500) without snap caps, but the Taurus manual recommends against dry firing with this revolver.

    One big problem for me was that there are few aftermarket accessories available for the Tracker. A nice Hogue grip, 5 shot HK speed loaders, and holsters designed for S&W L frames represents a pretty complete list of available accessories. There is no way to mount a red dot mini reflex sight on the 4" barrel Tracker without some custom work.

    I have also examined and fired several other Taurus revolvers and semi-autos which have belonged to friends. They seemed to function and shoot pretty well, but we did have occasional stove pipe malfunctions with a 9mm 24/7. Could have been the low cost practice ammo we were using.

    Overall, my view of Taurus handguns (based on my limited experience) is that they are often based on a good design concept, and most of them seem to function and shoot well. Workmanship problems which degrade the cosmetic appearance and finish are fairly common, but workmanship problems do not usually have a negative effect on reliability or safety. I don't know much about their long term durability and reliability.

    Even though my Tracker has been quite satisfactory, I probably won't buy another Taurus. I think they need to increase their quality control, fit, and finish and also improve customer service. Even if that means raising the price another $50 to $100, it might make them fully equal to many US made handguns.

    I recommend that you carefully inspect before you buy, and don't forget the feeler gauge to measure the cylinder gap if you are looking for a revolver.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  10. joed

    joed Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2009
    I own a stainless Taurus model 445 and like it, and I said I'd never own one. My opinion is getting a good one is a crap shoot. I've handled some that were horrible and some that were good.

    My advice is I wouldn't own one unless I could put my hands on it first.
  11. MCgunner

    MCgunner Senior Elder

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I can say that for Smith and Wesson and Ruger, too, and I own both.
  12. DenaliPark

    DenaliPark member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Far north of global warming
    Yeah, they are produced by Taurus, and "uhh" their customer service is as good as their guns! If you buy one and it runs fine, then you go, if by chance it doesn't, then you don't!
  13. saemetric

    saemetric New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    I have only one:the holy grail of Tauri-the blued 3" M431 in 44 spl. Perfect in all respects

  14. RNB65

    RNB65 Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Richmond, VA
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  15. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    May 27, 2007
    My brother has a .44 Special exacty like the one in post #13 except the barrel is an inch longer. It has held up fine for 15 years through a moderate amount of shooting.
  16. VampyreDark

    VampyreDark New Member

    Oct 16, 2011
    My brother in law has the tracker 357 and I have the Rossi 357 (made by Taurus). Honestly, his Taurus 357 is a nice gun, but I do not prefer it to my Rossi. No matter though, I think they are good guns. My cylinder has more play in it then his though, so maybe Taurus is a little better, but I dont know how because they are the same company.

    Saemetric, that gun looks awesome dude!
  17. weregunner

    weregunner Participating Member

    Aug 12, 2006
    I own 17 Taurus revolvers. That's from .22lrf to .44 Special.

    3 revolvers, model 65,66,and 85CH, have been in my battery for over 25 years. Closer to 30 years.

    When I needed handguns to help protect my family and myself I was on a budget. The Taurus line filled the bill. I was able to buy 2 centerfire revolvers that were and are are reliable,accurate, and durable.

    I took things very seriously and looked the revolvers over with a critical eye and a checklist for buying handguns. This was back in the middle 1980s.

    I also looked at used guns and other brands and could not find anything in my price range. Taurus did fit the price range and performance. I've sold off two Taurus revolvers to get more Taurus revolvers. None of these has had any problems.

    Only one gun ever was sent to Taurus in Miami, by that's the way guns are fixed is by going to Miami, and that was something of a problem I created.

    The ball bearing in the adjustable sight slipped out and was lost. I had turned the sight one too many times when that happened. Taurus replace the sight on the 669 without charging a thing. Yet, it was my mistake.

    I've carried and use Taurus models 65,66, 82,85CH,327,431,441,856,94,and 941. No problems there.

    You wanted actual Taurus owners' experience. Here it is.

    As for actual satsified owner experiences I can bring 18 typed pages full of links. Yes, there are a fewe exceptions.






    I do own a Taurus 990, but just in .22lrf. The 990 balances well and is accurate.

    It would be better if people focus on the 990 as that is the model for which info has been asked for.

    Those who have actual verifiable Taurus experience with their .22lrf revolver line are relevant. Those who do not are irrelevant.

    Anecdotal that is second party or third party evidence is irrelevant.

    If a gunshop feel Taurus is not a good brand then they have no business selling them. Selling supposedly sub-par guns means the seller's credibility is shot. Why would a shop sell sub-standard merchandise? They'd go out of business very quickly.

    Most of the supposed problems would have been found prior to the person buying the gun.

    Quote from another thread.

    Inspecting a Revolver

    All of this works with DA or SA wheelguns..."close the action" on most DAs means swing the cylinder in, on SA types, close the loading gate, on breakopens, close 'em. UNLOADED.

    WARNING: most of these tests require violation of the "finger off trigger" rule. Therefore, be extremely careful about safe muzzle direction and making sure the gun is unloaded ahead of time, PERSONALLY, as you begin handling it.

    Note: bring a small flashlight, something small and concentrated. A Photon or similar high-powered LED light is perfect. You also want feeler gauges if you're not used to eyeballing cylinder gaps; at a minimum, bring a .002", .004" and .006".

    Note2: no dry firing is required or desired at any point.

    Cylinder play.

    1) With the gun UNLOADED (check for yourself!), close the action.

    2) Thumb the hammer back, and while pulling the trigger, gently lower the hammer all the way down while keeping the trigger back - and KEEP holding the trigger once the hammer is down. (You've now put the gun in "full lockup" - keep it there for this and most other tests.)

    3) With the trigger still back all the way, check for cylinder wiggle. Front/back is particularly undesirable; a bit of side to side is OK but it's a bad thing if you can wiggle it one way, let go, and then spin it the other way a fraction of an inch and it stays there too. At the very least, it should "want" to stop in just one place (later, we'll see if that place is any good). The ultimate is a "welded to the frame" feeling.

    Cylinder gap

    4) Still holding the trigger at full lockup, look sideways through the barrel/cylinder gap. If you can get a credit card in there, that ain't good...velocity drops rapidly as the gap increases. Too tight isn't good either, because burnt powder crud will "fill the gap" and start making the cylinder spin funky. My personal .38snubbie is set at .002, usually considered the minimum...after about 40 shots at the range, I have to give the front of the cylinder a quick wipe so it spins free again. I consider that a reasonable tradeoff for the increased velocity because in a real fight, I ain't gonna crank 40 rounds out of a 5-shot snub.

    If you're eyeballing it, you'll have to hold it up sideways against an overhead light source.

    SAFETY WARNING: This step in particular is where you MUST watch your muzzle direction. Look, part of what's happening here is that you're convincing the seller you know your stuff. It helps the haggling process. If you do anything unsafe, that impression comes completely unglued.


    5) You really, REALLY want an unloaded gun for this one. This is where the light comes in. With the gun STILL held in full lockup, trigger back after lowering the hammer by thumb, you want to shine a light right into the area at the rear of the cylinder near the firing pin. You then look down the barrel. You're looking to make sure the cylinder bore lines up with the barrel. Check every cylinder - that means putting the gun in full lockup for each cylinder before lighting it up.

    You're looking for the cylinder and barrel holes to line up perfectly, it's easy to eyeball if there's even a faint light source at the very rear of both bores. And with no rounds present, it's generally easy to get some light in past where the rims would be.


    (We're finally done with that "full lockup" stuff, so rest your trigger finger.)

    6) Swing the cylinder open, or with most SAs pull the cylinder. Use the small flashlight to scope the bore out. This part's easy - you want to avoid pitting, worn-out rifling, bulges of any sort. You want more light on the subject than just what creeps in from the rear of the cylinder on the timing check.

    You also want to check each cylinder bore, in this case with the light coming in from the FRONT of each hole, you looking in from the back where the primers would be. You're looking for wear at the "restrictions" at the front of each cylinder bore. That's the "forcing cone" area and it can wear rapidly with some Magnum loads. (Special thanks to Salvo below for this bit!)


    7) To test a trigger without dry-firing it, use a plastic pen in front of the hammer to "catch" it with the off hand, especially if it's a "firing pin on the hammer" type. Or see if the seller has any snap-caps, that's the best solution. Flat-faced hammers as found in transfer-bar guns (Ruger, etc) can be caught with the off-hand without too much pain.

    SA triggers (or of course a DA with the hammer cocked) should feel "like a glass rod breaking". A tiny amount of take-up slack is tolerable, and is common on anything with a transfer bar or hammerblock safety.

    DA triggers are subjective. Some people like a dead-smooth feel from beginning of stroke to the end, with no "warning" that it's about to fire. Others (myself included) actually prefer a slight "hitch" right at the end, so we know when it's about to go. With that sort of trigger, you can actually "hold it" right at the "about to fire" point and do a short light stroke from there that rivals an SA shot for accuracy. Takes a lot of practice though. Either way, you don't want "grinding" through the length of the stroke, and the final stack-up at the end (if any) shouldn't be overly pronounced.

    Detecting Bad Gunsmithing:

    OK, so it's got a rock-solid cylinder, a .002" or .003" gap, and the trigger feels great. Odds are vastly in favor of it being tuned after leaving the factory.

    So was the gunsmith any good?

    First, cock it, then grab the hammer and "wiggle it around" a bit. Not too hard, don't bang on it, but give it a bit of up/down, left/right and circular action with finger off trigger and WATCH your muzzle direction.

    You don't want that hammer slipping off an overly polished sear. You REALLY don't want that. It can be fixed by installing factory parts but that will take modest money (more for installation than hardware costs) and it'll be big time unsafe until you do.

    The other thing that commonly goes wrong is somebody will trim the spring, especially coil springs. You can spot that if you pull the grip panels, see if the spring was trimmed with wire cutters. If they get too wild with it, you'll get ignition failures on harder primers. But the good news is, replacement factory or Wolf springs are cheap both to buy and have installed.

    There's also the legal problems Ayoob frequently describes regarding light triggers. If that's a concern, you can either swap back to stock springs, or since you bought it used there's no way to prove you knew it was modified at all.

    In perspective:

    Timing (test #5) is very critical...if that's off, the gun may not even be safe to test-fire. And naturally, a crappy barrel means a relatively pricey fix.

    Cylinder gap is particularly critical on short-barreled and/or marginal caliber guns. If you need every possible ounce of energy, a tight gap helps. Some factory gaps will run as high as .006"; Taurus considers .007" "still in spec" (sigh). You'll be hard-pressed to find any new pieces under .004" - probably because the makers realize some people don't clean 'em often (or very well) and might complain about the cylinder binding up if they sell 'em at .002".

    The guns in a dealer's "used pile" are often of unknown origin, from estate sales or whatever. Dealers don't have time to check every piece, and often don't know their history. These tests, especially cylinder gap and play, can spot a gun that's been sent off for professional tuning...like my snubbie, the best $180 I ever spent.

    As long as the gun is otherwise sound (no cracks, etc) a gunsmith can fix any of this. So these tests can help you pick a particularly good new specimen, or find a good used gun, or help haggle the price down on something that will need a bit of work.

    It wil be recommended that you actually go to your local gun stores. Handle and shoot as many Taurus model 990,970,941 or 94s and make up your own mind if these rimfire handguns meet your needs.

    My 94 and 990 meet my needs. Thes can be used for a trail gun,fun gun,understudy gun, or for defense in pinch.

    Use the checklist provided and you cannot go wrong.
  18. evan price

    evan price Mentor

    Dec 7, 2005
    http://www.ohioccw.org/ Ohio's best CCW resour
    Taurus gets beat up on the forums because when one is bad, it gets talked about but when they are good nobody really talks a lot.

    I currently own a Taurus 605 .357 Mag snub nose (like a J-frame). As far as problems with the gun- when I got it the sideplate screws kept getting loose and I almost lost one; but some blue lock-tite solved that once and for all. I had it at the range last week- it's a ccw gun carried IWB usually- and it seemed to me that the blueing was already mostly off the high spots. Taurus' blueing is an odd color, sort of a graphite silver blue color, and it looked neat when new, now it looks like it needs reblued. That said, it is a CCW gun that gets carried so I don't expect it to look like new forever.
    As far as function, it has never missed a beat and I keep it loaded with Hornady XTP 140-gr JHPs.

    With Taurus, like ANY manufacturer, there are a few bad ones that slip through. Their customer service has been slow in the past. I can't complain, I've never needed it.
  19. oldfool

    oldfool Senior Member

    Jul 18, 2009
    Thomasville, Georgia
    Red Cent,
    if you pay closer attention to Taurus threads, I suspect you will find significant repetitive praise of some specific models, and repetitive complaints about other specific models. Somewhat vintage related as well, but not so much so as model specific. I suspect the more practiced gun hands (in general) are probably a little better at picking out the better models vs. the problematic ones, which just might have a little to do with why some models yield higher satisfaction to owners than others.

    There are really only 3 mass producers of revolvers still in the game, S&W, Ruger, and Taurus. Of the three, Taurus is clearly the lowest price, highest volume maker, and it shows up in their overall product line (erratic) quality. It is a tad naive for people to expect top tier quality at lowest average price. Luck of the draw is always factor in any firearm, but the less you pay, the more relevant the 'luck' factor is, no big surprise. I personally think they push their production lines too hard for volume and rush their products to market too quickly, focusing their marketing efforts on "different" ('differentiating the product', 'telling the tale', 'high sku count' in sales lingo) vs. consistent quality in manufacturing and/or time spent in development.

    The three I own are good ones (model 66 and model 96 revolvers, and model PT99 autoloader, all decades old vintage). Seems like I am not the only one who had good luck with those models. I likewise hear very few complaints and much praise of the basic 85 series revolvers and 92 autoloaders. There are others. There are also specific models which are notorious for repetitive issues. You cannot browse many Taurus threads (here or elsewhere) without noticing that. Claiming that criticism of such is just hearsay (much less heresy) is just plain silly.

    Caveat emptor applies always, yes.
    But the more you lower your price point sights, the warier you need be.
    A man can only have just so much luck.

    No one with common sense expects a Heritage Rough Rider to compete on quality and round count with a S&W K-22 or Colt Diamondback. Most of us don't even expect a Ruger Single Six to do that. Nobody expects a Hi-Point to compete on quality with a Glock or Les Bauer, either. You don't always get what you pay for, but you mostly will get "fair expectations" per pricing, if you pay close attention. Pay attention. Be double wary when shopping the low end of the price range. Be triple wary of "new & improved" because it mostly isn't. Sticking with well proven models (in any brand) is not a bad option.

    Bargain hunting never was an easy adventure, but IMO, the preponderance of opinion to be found on most non-branded gun forums (this forum in particular) is pretty doggone reliable, even if somebody's woobie feelings occasionally get hurt. So I do disagree with EvanP on that point. If interested in a specific make/model/caliber.. ask about specific make/model/caliber, not just a "brand". You ask only about "brand", you are just going to be a magnet for love/hate threads, people who "will never own one" for all sorts of non-firearm reasons, and/or woobie syndrome.

    But having said all that, there are very few current production Taurus models I myself would personally recommend to close friend or family. How it is.

    when it comes to expressing your opinions on gun forums "vote early and vote often"
    I do
    It's a dirty rotten thankless task, but somebody has to balance weregunner's opinion of the Taurus 94/941 :D
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  20. CajunBass

    CajunBass Mentor

    Jun 2, 2005
    North Chesterfield, Virginia
    I've owned three Taurus revolvers. Two the them, a Model 66 and a Model 85, I will admit that I didn't shoot them a lot, because I didn't have a place to shoot back then. When I did they worked fine. The 66 especially was one of the best looking, best feeling guns I've ever owned. I traded it off when I got bit by the "small, CC, semi-auto" bug. I should have just taken two asprin, and gone to bed for a couple of days and kept the Taurus.

    The third one was a Model 82...83...something like that. A Model 10 heavy barrel lookalike anyway. I got that one back in the 80's and shot the snot out of it. Mostly wadcutters, but that gun would shoot. The blue wasn't as nice as a S&W, and the grips looked like they had been carved out a 2X4 by some guy using a Swiss Army knife, but they worked.

    I've seen several of those old Taurus 38's for sale recently. I've been tempted to buy one for old times sake and just because they're inexpensive.

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