Why you should never buy a Taurus revolver, part 1

I get accused of being a gun snob pretty frequently. In order to create a fair test, I decided to buy, with actual cash money, a Taurus 82 revolver. This is about as close to the concept of “revolver, blue 6-shot” as you can get without being the preferable S&W Model 10; but what I wanted to do was really explain to shooters why if you’re looking for a defensive wheelgun, your search should proceed alphabetically, and never go further than the “S” section.

taurus-1-tau_2_820041

When I first got the gun, the best way to describe the trigger pull was like pulling a rusty pipe over a field of gravel. It wasn’t good. Being familiar enough with Ruger and S&W revolvers to perform basic action work and armorer level tasks, I decided to pull the sideplate off the Taurus. This was not a good idea for my sanity, as I was greeted with a carnival of horrors and engineering decisions that make basically no sense. Let’s first look at the mainspring strut, which is, as the kids say, “kind of important.”

Fixing a Taurus (2)

The mainspring rides on this strut; the round end of the strut goes into a small slot on the back of the hammer. Pulling the trigger compresses the spring, blah blah blah guns happen. Now, I’m not an engineer, but I was somewhat surprised to find that the strut was bent when I took it out of the gun. It had a nice little bow in it, which means that when you pulled the trigger, the spring was dragging on the side of the strut in a way that is…less than ideal. Ruger uses a strut and coil spring system for their mainsprings, and I checked a reasonable sample of Ruger wheelies, none of which had bent struts.

Moving on to other parts of the gun, we have the lockwork itself. It’s obviously very roughly finished, which isn’t particularly unusual. Most revolvers are kind of rough on the inside once you get their skirts off, but what really struck me about the lockwork on the Taurus was how haphazard everything appeared.

Fixing a Taurus (3)

I mentioned the rebound spring previously, but I want to sit on that for a moment. It’s anchored to this protrusion in the frame, and the anchor point is held in place by a pin that’s just pressed into the frame. So it’s not exactly what I’d call “sturdy.” In fact, it’s actually the sort of bit that’s very sensitive to good metallurgy, which isn’t something Taurus is known for. Being as this is a .38 Special revolver, it’s probably not going to shear off and completely tie up the gun, but it’s also not exactly something I want to see.

Tomorrow we’re going to look at part 2, where I’ll examine why Taurus’ various engineering choices make the guns suck so much. We’ll also later this week pull the sideplate on a comparable S&W revolver and get into the guts of a Ruger to show how it’s done.

23 thoughts on “Why you should never buy a Taurus revolver, part 1”

    1. You know, I’d rather have a Charter Arms than a Taurus; mostly because if the Charter goes down, you’re shipping it to the USA to get it fixed.

      1. Taurus has a factory in Florida now and their website lists the Florida address for warranty repair shipment. I’d still rather have a Charter, but apparently the Taurus doesn’t go back to Brazil for repair anymore.

      2. Any mechanical system can fail no matter how much $ you spend
        If in a DGU and I have a failure to fire, warranty probably won’t make a shit of difference
        Jennings 22 with 2 magazines for sale, grade A – condition, loaded a lot with minimal round count,

        Enjoy reading your articles, 90 second reviews, sense of humor, self criticism, reviews of guns and gear
        Thank you
        J 22, make me an offer I can’t refuse

  1. I always thought Taurus was just a cheaper copy of the Smith. Now your showing how much cheaper. Thanks for the article. I enjoy reading un biased opinions of guns. Makes me glad i have two Mod. 36 Smiths and a GP100.

  2. Huh… I’m pretty sure the mainspring strut on my GP100 is bent a little… I kind of assumed it was supposed to be that way… going to have to look at it more closely next time I have the gun apart.

  3. Seeing the internal finish of the frame, I’m wondering if Taurus is not casting their frames now. The lockwork parts are clearly MIM, but S&W has been doing the same for nearly two decades. The bent mainspring strut is inexcusable, but their struts have seemed flimsy for years.

    Just out of curiosity, does the rebound spring’s retaining pin pivot during the trigger pull?

  4. 1. Charter Arms
    2. Chiapa
    3. Cobra
    4. Colt
    5. Dan Wesson
    6. NAA
    7. Rossi
    8. Ruger
    9. Smith

    I may have missed some in there. And I’m just being an ass 😉

    1. Don’t forget Rohm!
      I was going to make a similar list, but just decided to call out Charter Arms, but I guess I just left the floor open for you to be the ass. 😉

  5. Guess I got lucky. I have a Taurus 4″ M44 44 mag. When I picked it up, I asked my FFL who is also my gunsmith, if he did a trigger job on it. It was very smooth DA. I bought 5 boxes of factory ammo. Remington, Winchester, and Hornady in bullet weights of 180-240 gr. I shot them at 25 yds. There was a bit of difference in a few with POA/POI but I could adjust that with the rear sight. All shot 2″ groups or better. This is me shooting sitting on the ground and using my knees for support. No bench or solid rest. It has become my pack gun for the mountains.

    1. Yep, bought my first model 85 years ago specifically because it had a better trigger than the Smith and was a whole bunch less expensive. I now have a couple of them and I’ve never had a lick of trouble with either. I just load ’em and shoot ’em.

  6. I’ll tell you the story of when I first shot a Raging Bull in 454 just as soon as I have the stiches in my face removed

  7. Not every Taurus is going to be crap, and not every S&W is going to be perfect. But the likelihood of the above outcomes is much more probable than its inverse.

    Especially if there’s a gunsmith involved.

  8. I’m interested in seeing the Ruger. When I bought my first wheelgun, the GP100 had a much better trigger out of the box than its S&W cousin. I’ve stuck with the brand ever since.

  9. I agree almost 100% except expand the never buy list to any Taurus/Rossi/Braztech product. I bought a high polished stainless ported DAO Taurus 5 shot 357 mag revolver on the cheap a few years back and was impressed with the fit, finish, and smooth action which caused me to assume that Taurus/Rossi/Braztech had come up in the world of firearms.

    Now I suspect that pistol was just a fluke since last year I bought a single shot Rossi Tuffy 410 as a snake gun and immediately discovered it had a ridiculously out of tolerance chamber rendering the shotgun incapable of ejecting a spent shell short of driving it out with a dowel rod. Luckily I bought it at Academy and they took care of sending it back to Taurus/Rossi/Braztech for repair.

    My long winded point is, if Taurus/Rossi/Braztech allows a gun as basic as a single shot 410 to leave the factory without benefit of a simple quality control check using go/no go gauges, just imagine how [email protected] up the pistols and revolvers leaving the factory likely are. The unreliable junk reputation of Taurus/Rossi/Braztech products is well deserved.

  10. Leaving Revolvers alone for a minute, have you done any comparo’s between the SCCY CX-2 vs the Kel-tec P-11? Would you reccomend either? I had a Taurus Millenium pro .45 and never had any problems…are their Semi-Autos a different game?

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