Taurus Model 84


by Paco Kelly

Photography by Paco Kelly

February 22nd, 2005




Several years ago I bought two Taurus Model 84s, one in .22 rimfire and one in .32 Special. The .32 has a six-shot cylinder, and the .22 has a nine-shot cylinder. My daughter now has the .32, and I have managed to hold on to the .22 rimfire.

The .22's barrel, from the muzzle to the cylinder face, measures 2 inches, but that leads one into a false concept because the real barrel length is from the base of the bullet in the chamber to the muzzle in any gun. That's why autoloaders that advertise, say, a four-inch barrel actually have around a three-inch barrel. Because the cartridge case in an autoloader takes up barrel space, and the length of that case subtracted from the barrel length gives the "real" barrel length, NOT from the muzzle to the bolt face.

In this Taurus .22 revolver, it is just the opposite: the cylinder, like the barrel, has a length of two inches. The length of the .22 cartridge case is around 7/10s of an inch (with the longer-cased CCI Stingers). So from the mouth of the Stinger case to the muzzle is really 3.3". Since gas expansion starts at the bullet base, you don't subtract bullet length from the barrel length, just the length of the cartridge case.

What's it all mean? Firing an Aguila SSS 60-grain .22 from a real 2" barrel gives a muzzle velocity of 540-plus feet per second (FPS). From the Taurus it goes a surprising 111 FPS more, giving 651-plus FPS. This long bullet had difficulty stabilizing in the 2" barrel, but had no problem grouping 9 shots into a ragged hole at 15 yards from the Taurus. From testing years ago we found that the .22 rimfire pretty much reaches its peak velocity within 16 inches of barrel, and from that point will begin to slow down in longer barrels...this is to say the extra 1.3" of barrel length in the Taurus is very important in terms of muzzle velocity.

The overall length of the Taurus Model 84 is just over 6 inches from the rearward-most point of the backstrap to the muzzle. Frame width is just over 1/2", .534" to be exact, and the cylinder diameter is 1.3". This makes for a small and easy-to-carry gun.

The trigger is fairly wide at .355", and is nicely curved and smooth to facilitate double-action shooting. Originally the double-action trigger pull was a bit over ten pounds, and four pounds in single-action. With very little polishing work the double-action pull is now six pounds, and the single-action pull is a crisp one and one-half pounds.

The very nice grips you see in the photos are polymer grips from Ajax. I have had very bad luck in the past using polymer grips on heavy-recoiling handguns. My Taffin/S&W Model 29, for example, broke the left panel of a set of polymer grips completely in half under the recoil of commercial .44 Magnum loads. 'Tis a shame, as they are fairly expensive in comparison to even Micarta, but Micarta will stand up to the recoil of heavy loads in the .454 Casull.

I like creamy white grips on handguns, but ivory is very expensive. I also like Sambar stag grips, but they have gone out of sight in price since the tree-huggers got the Sambar stag put on the endangered species list, thus ending importation of the horn. They used the country of India as the basis for endangerment - so what's new? It's been that way in India for fifty years. But New Zealand has so many Sambar that it's considered a pest animal and a crop killer; still, the horn cannot even be imported from New Zealand. Obviously a bunch of Adam/Henrys are running the endangered lists...

A fine alternative to Sambar stag are the Eagle  American Elkhorn grips.

My Taurus .22 is the stainless model. It also comes chambered in the .17s, and I have seen a few in .22 Magnum. They are also available in blue steel and the new lightweight metals. I also have a .17 HMR model. The Magnums are chambered for six rounds rather than the nine rounds featured in the .22 rimfire, and a 4" barrel is available as well (giving a "real" barrel length of 5" or so). This excellent little gun is made in Brazil and imported by Taurus International in Florida.

Just a word about personal protection and .22 rimfire handguns: as a friend of mine told me years ago, "It's better than an empty bottle, Paco." Maybe so, but...

I don't think a .22 rimfire, even the vaunted Stinger-class rounds, would be as effective as a .22 Magnum, so I can't recommend a .22 rimfire for personal protection. But, as the old saw goes, in skillful hands it can be very deadly, and to quote another old saying, a .22 on your person is better than a .45 in a drawer at home. Still, with small and effective choices like the Kel-Tec P3AT available, I see little excuse for regularly carrying a .22 rimfire for personal protection.

Even with the best and coolest shooter, the .22 rimfire offers little in the way of stopping power. But there is another side to this, for older people, recoil-sensitive people, or just general around-the-house protection: believe me, a round fired into the floor if a burglar type breaks into your home will cause him to re-asses his attitude about arguing the issue any longer. He will seek a way out.

Federal prison surveys of really bad felons show they fear a woman in a house at night with a gun (ANY gun) the most, and a police officer with a gun the least, because police officers have so many restrictions on the conditions under which they are allowed to shoot, and they become such easy targets for lawsuits.

Personal defense aside, I have found this little Taurus to be wonderfully effective on pests and small game. As a backyard pest control tool it is hard to beat, and with its fine accuracy it is perfectly capable of head shots on larger pests of the four-legged or two-legged variety.

Paco Kelly

[Ed. Note: Taurus has discontinued the Model 84 line, and replaced it with the similar Model 94 line - Boge Quinn. See Taurus' line of firearms online at: www.taurususa.com.]

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