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Taurus Stainless 85: sharing my experience...

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Taurus Stainless 85: sharing my experience...

Old 07-09-2011, 08:52 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Default Taurus Stainless 85: sharing my experience...

I know that a posting online isn't hard evidence by any stretch, but I thought I'd share my surprisingly pleasant experience this week with a Taurus 85 stainless .38spcl (specifically, an older 85SS2 with the longer wood grips-not the new birdshead style-and pre-transfer bar).

I've been putting some of the women in my family (wife, sis, mom, mom-in-law, sis-in-law, and a few of their friends) through the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program for the past few months to help improve their skills with their home defense/concealed carry weapons.

My mother-in-law joined in for her first range session this week, and brought her Taurus 85 Stainless .38spcl along. She bought it over 2yrs ago, but had only fired it once before, and said she LITERALLY couldn't hit a refridgerator (they were taping targets to an old fridge at some friend's house).

I checked out the pistol, which had been used, but not much (barely starting to "ring" at the front of the cylinder). I warned her that a 2" snubby wasn't going to be easy for a beginner to shoot with, and that Taurus has a reputation for being a little "sub-standard" in reliability and accuracy, but it's "what she has", and she'd have to learn to shoot it, potentially to save her own life.

The first course of fire is 5 shots two handed on a 9" paper plate at 15ft. After completely missing the first cylinder full, I had her move up to 7ft and try again. When she missed all 5 shots again, I asked her if I could check her POI myself (fixed sight snubby). I expected the Taurus to be inaccurate, but not getting ONE SHOT OUT OF 10 on a 9" plate at 7-15ft was pretty bad.

At 15ft, my group was 1" left of X, and I could cover 5 shots with a quarter! Compensating for the 1" adjustment, my second group was one ragged 3/4" hole, dead center of the X-ring on an AP-2 target. Besides the surprising accuracy, the little Taurus had remarkably crisp trigger pull and VERY smooth ****ing. I shot a 3rd group rapid fire, double action, scoring a 42 on an AP-2 (four "8's" and a "10", all within the 3.36" 8 ring).

So after a little dry fire practice, mom-in-law started doing much better and started scoring qualifying targets, and the little Taurus was off to the races. Passing each qualification level requires 10 repetitions of each qualifying target, essentially requiring a minimum of 100 shots per level. By the end of the session (a few hours), she took her 85 through over 500 rounds without cleaning, without a glitch. At the end of the session, my wife (distinguished expert) tried the revolver, posting a stringing group about 1" wide and 3" long at 15ft. Even after a gruelling day of shooting, and with the firearm incredibly dirty, it was still shooting great.

All in all, I was VERY impressed by the Taurus.

Nothing magic here, definitely not world record groups, but I'm sure most readers will pass it along as another internet-liar, but I just thought I'd pass along my own surprise for those shooters that knock down Taurus revolvers just based on the rumor mill, without handling one in person. I have handled Taurus revolvers in the past, even own a few myself (Tracker .17hmr and Raging Bull .44mag), but I still didn't expect much from her Taurus, and certainly didn't expect what it delivered.

(Side note 1) I personally HAVE seen several of the alloy framed Ultra Lite Taurus revolvers have broken bushing issues, either the cylinder pin bushings or the firing pin bushings are breaking, causing the gun to lock up, or the firing pin to lock up. I have not heard of these problems with the all steel models, which makes sense, since they wouldn't have the pin bushings.

(Side note 2) After using the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program for instructing new shooters for about a yr now, I highly recommend it for new handgunners. The pistol program is designed well to help familiarize new shooters with their weapon and help them gradually improve their skills. The patches (relatively cheap) give younger shooters, and even some older shooters, something to strive for and incentive to improve. The bottom end "marksman" qualifications are relatively attainable for true beginners, and the top end "distinguished expert" qualifier is definitely a stretch, even for skilled handgunners.
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:38 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 12,551

I have a Taurus 605 which is basically the same revolver except in .357. Mine has the Hogue grips and is also 2". And I have had the same experience as you. I normally carry it with .38s and a spare speed loader just in case. The only time I load it with .357s is in the woods and might need the little extra. But in either event, both rounds are very controllable and accurate.
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:51 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 608

Like any manufacturer, Taurus has some good and some not so good.

Taurus is not a Sig or H&K, but it also does not have the price tag of them either.
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:42 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Wide open Nevada
Posts: 515

I had a 4" 66 in 357 it shot well w/all the 38s and+Ps and the light 357s ,125s,dirty or clean. It let me down w/the heavier loads, all in all it was a good gun for the money.
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