Anybody who reads much of what I write knows
that I am a big fan of the little .22 Magnum cartridge. The
little magnum seems to kill all out of proportion to its size.
It is, like its little brother the .22 Long Rifle, a very
efficient little cartridge. However, many people think of it as
just a souped-up .22 Long Rifle, which is a mistake. The magnum
can be had with bullets that wear real jackets to control
penetration and expansion. It is closer to the .22 Hornet in
power than it is to the Long Rifle. Out of a carbine, it is an
excellent killer for control of vermin and predators, and has
been used many times to take whitetail deer, even though there
are better cartridges for this.
Out of a handgun, the .22 Magnum offers better
penetration than many cartridges that are commonly preferred for
social situations, like the .380 Auto and the .38 Special. The
.22 Magnum also has a lot less recoil, offering faster follow-up
shots. I often recommend the .22 Magnum as a handgun for those
who, for whatever reason, cannot handle the recoil of a more
powerful defensive handgun. A crime victim who can quickly
place a few twenty-two caliber holes into his/her assailant is
no longer a victim. The problem is finding a good quality
lightweight .22 Magnum revolver. There are a few, but a very
few, on the market. One of my favorite handguns is a Taurus
Model 941 stainless revolver with a five inch barrel. It
gets a lot of holster time when I am in the woods, but is a bit
long to conceal in a pocket or in a compact holster on the belt.
It is however, a very accurate and reliable revolver. With that
in mind, I placed an order for the 941 Ultra-Lite .22 Magnum
with the two inch barrel. Weighing in at just under nineteen
ounces and carrying eight shots of .22 Magnum, it is just about
the right size to be a real handy packing gun. Besides handling
an unsavory social encounter, a small .22 Magnum revolver is
ideal for quickly dispatching poisonous snakes, and I have
popped a few with my longer-barreled 941, using CCI shotshells.
The rimfire shotshells pattern better than do the centerfire
versions, and the .22 Magnum has plenty of shot to quickly turn
an ornery rattler into a nice hatband.
The Taurus 941 has several features that make it
suitable for a carry piece. The adjustable rear sight allows it
to be sighted in to suit the chosen ammo. The eight shot
capacity gives it a three-shot advantage over most .38 Special
revolvers of comparable size. The short barrel allows for easy
concealment and makes the gun harder for an opponent to grab.
The synthetic rubber grip offers a very comfortable and secure
Like all Taurus revolvers, the 941 has the
Taurus Security System internal lock, if that is important to
you. It securely locks the hammer in place, rendering the weapon
inoperable until unlocked with the key. If you have to
leave the gun stored in an unsecured place while away, it is
probably a good idea to lock it up.
For any firearm that might be called upon to use
in low-light situations, I like some type of night sights.
Therefore, I installed a Crimson Trace Lasergrip on the
Ultra-Lite Taurus. This new version has a softer texture than
did the earlier Lasergrips, and is a very comfortable grip,
offering a secure hold on the weapon. Equally as important, the
Crimson Trace Lasergrip makes it a lot easier to place shots on
target in low-light conditions. See my previous article titled Shots
in the Dark. If you can see your target at all, you can
hit it. The CT Lasergrip adds no bulk to the weapon, and it
requires no special holster to accommodate it. The Lasergrip is
activated naturally with a small button which falls under the
shooter’s middle finger when properly gripping the weapon.
The Taurus 941 proved to be very reliable as
delivered. However, I found one fault with the weapon, which is
a problem with any lightweight rimfire revolver. The trigger
pull in double action mode was very heavy. To me, this is no
real big problem. However, to some it may be. To a shooter who
is not particularly strong, the trigger pull is just too heavy.
I passed the gun around to a couple of women, and these were not
small weak women, but some pretty strong gals, and they found
the trigger pull to be too heavy for them to operate. In the
meantime, I have a friend who lives in Michigan who is in his
seventies, and has rather weak hands. He tried a Taurus 941
Ultra-Lite .22 Magnum, and found that he could not operate the
weapon in double-action mode. His gunsmith installed a weaker
hammer spring, but it caused severe reliability problems. He
ended up having the original spring installed, and sold the
weapon. I was hoping that the .22 Magnum would work out well for
him, as recoil is also a problem for my friend with his hand
condition. The problem lies with reliably setting off the
priming mixture in a rimfire cartridge. It has to be hit hard to
ignite it. With a light hammer and a short double-action stroke,
that means that a strong spring is required. The double-action
pull on this Taurus measured about sixteen pounds. This is
estimated, as my gauge only goes as high as twelve pounds.
I put in a call to Brownell’s for one of their spring
kits for a small frame Taurus. These are made for the centerfire
revolvers, but it was also helpful on this rimfire 941.
Replacing the hammer spring resulted in too-light of a hit on
the primer, so I had to go back to the stock spring. However,
replacing the trigger spring with the one from the Brownell’s
kit helped tremendously in reducing the trigger pull, getting it
down to a manageable eleven and one-half pounds. This
makes for a usable trigger pull for most, but those with small
or weak hands might want to try the trigger pull on any small
rimfire revolver before purchasing, because you can only lighten
the pull so far without sacrificing reliability. On a defensive
handgun, reliability is paramount. I have encountered this same
problem on compact .22 revolvers from other makers as well. It
is just the nature of the beast. I would prefer a larger,
heavier hammer with a lighter spring.
The Ultra-Lite is made of stainless and
aluminum, making it very rust resistant. That is important for a
gun that is carried a lot. The short-barreled 941 also is
capable of very good accuracy. Shooting at a standard human
silhouette target rapid fire, it is very easy to keep all hits
in the kill zone. The 941 proved to be very accurate. I fired
for groups using the Ransom Rest.
The little Taurus could keep six shots into under two and
one-half inches with all loads tried. With the Winchester
Supreme JHP loads, it grouped consistently under one and
one-half inches. The best group measuring just one and
one-quarter inches, is pictured. Also pictured is a group fired
rapid fire standing offhand at ten yards, aiming for the head of
a human silhouette target. The light recoil makes placing the
shots accurately and quickly very easy to do.
The little Taurus displayed respectable
velocities from its short barrel, due to it having a good, tight
barrel/cylinder gap. The velocities are listed below in
feet-per-second (fps), with bullet weights listed in grains.
|Winchester Supreme JHP
|CCI Maxi-Mag TNT
|CCI Maxi-Mag +V
|PMC Predator JHP
|Federal Game-Shok JHP
The little Taurus 941 Ultra-Lite fills a niche
that needed filling in the small revolver market. It is a good
little defensive piece whether used against snakes, wild dogs,
or predators of the human kind. Its eight shots and light recoil
make it particularly well-suited for those who are bothered by
heavy recoil. The little magnum offers good penetration and
accuracy, in a small package. If you can handle the heavy
trigger pull, I definitely recommend the little Taurus .22
Magnum. Be sure and try the trigger before you buy one. If the
pull is to heavy for you, and you still need light recoil, look
at the same revolver chambered for the .32 Magnum. It is a
centerfire, and the spring can be lightened a bit for a better
Look at the extensive line of Taurus firearms
online at: www.taurususa.com.
For the location of a Taurus dealer near you,
click on the DEALER LOCATOR icon at: www.lipseys.com.
To locate a dealer where you can
buy this gun, Click on the DEALER FINDER icon at:
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