Taurus Model 941 .22 Magnum Revolver
by Jeff Quinn

photography by Boge Quinn & Jeff Quinn

 

Forgas Taurus has been manufacturing revolvers in Porto Allegre, Brazil for over 50 years. They began selling their wares in this country in 1968, a year of great change and turmoil for the handgun industry in the United States.

The first Taurus revolvers sold here were, for several years, of varying quality. Basically, the were looked upon as a poor man's Smith & Wesson. The guns also contained design features of other guns, but were generally viewed by the shooting public as a cheap copy of Smith's Model 10. The guns worked well enough, but had a few rough spots and lacked sorely in the area of "Pride of Ownership". However, if a shooter needed a cheap, reliable revolver, the Taurus would usually deliver.

That was the 1960s and '70s, and since then things have definitely changed at Taurus. Taurus is no longer viewed by  knowledgeable shooters as a cheap copy of anything, but as a leader in modern  firearms manufacturing. Taurus now handles the import of its Brazilian made firearms through Taurus USA in Miami, Florida, and also manufacturers some of its guns at the Miami facility.

Taurus recently sent to me for testing a .22 magnum revolver, which is the subject of this article. This particular revolver is built on their small frame. As has been the case for many years, when reviewing a new small-frame .22 made for what I call a "Trail Gun", I end up comparing the new gun to my favorite old Smith Model 63. I have written about the model 63 before, so I won't get into the details of the little sixgun here (see Jeff's article on the S&W Model 63 at Little Big Gun). In the basic design, size, materials, and weight, the new .22 Magnum from Taurus is very close to my Smith 63. Sadly, Smith & Wesson no longer makes the model 63 .22 Long Rifle or its .22 magnum counterpart. The Smith .22 revolvers now available are either made from light alloys or on a larger, heavier frame. That leaves Taurus filling a pretty important niche in currently available firearms: the rimfire double-action trail gun. 

Taurus offers this particular revolver in a choice of blued steel or highly polished stainless. They offer this gun in .22 Long Rifle as the model 94, or in .22 magnum as the model 941. Finally, Taurus offers this gun with the choice of two, four, or five inch barrels. These guns all come with fully adjustable rear sights and ramp front sights. The front sights on the stainless models are supplied with a red insert. The guns also are supplied with a set of finger-grooved pebble-grained rubber grips. Taurus also offers this gun in a light-weight alloy frame model, but only with the two inch barrel.

The .22 Magnum model 941 tested here was ordered with the five inch barrel. In a .22 Long Rifle trail gun, I think that a four  inch barrel is just about ideal, but to handle the extra power of the .22 magnum, the five inch seems better suited to the task. My first impression of the gun upon opening the box was that this definitely wasn't a Taurus of thirty years ago. The finish on this handgun is flawless, with a bright polish overall and a satin finish along the top of the frame and barrel. The rubber grips are  both hand-filling and comfortable, while not being bulky or out of proportion to the revolver. The barrel is made with a full underlug design that, while adding a couple of ounces, gives the handgun a nice overall balance. Another nice feature of this revolver is that Taurus has supplied it with an eight-shot cylinder, as opposed to the  traditional six chambers of most competitive guns.

A feature supplied on Taurus revolvers, including this one, is their patented Taurus Security System. This unobtrusive device  consists of a round stud recessed into the hammer which, when activated by the supplied key, renders the handgun inoperable. To disengage the lock and ready the gun to fire, the key is turned a  quarter-turn and removed from the gun. The process takes about two seconds, and can either be left locked or ready-to-fire. Personally, I believe that one should educate children to not touch a gun without permission, and no mechanical device can take the place of a parent's attention. However, in the world in which we live today, the Taurus system may prevent curious little kids from firing the  gun. In effect, the Taurus Security System can be either used to lock the gun or ignored as seen fit by the gun's owner.

As with any firearm, regardless of the quality of the finish or the price, the proof is in the shooting. I can say without qualification that I was genuinely surprised, even amazed, at the accuracy of this gun. .22 magnums in general are, in my experience, not as accurate as a good .22 Long Rifle. I was expecting this gun to group into the three-inch range. My interest was piqued when the first five-shot group measured only three-quarters of an inch at 25 yards. This revolver continued to display exceptional accuracy throughout the shooting session. I am very anxious to try every brand of .22 magnum ammo  available with this gun. I also want to point out the fact that 3/4 inch groups are about as good as I can shoot with any handgun,  especially when equipped with open sights. 

While on the subject of accuracy, the practical accuracy of this gun was enhanced by its excellent trigger pull. The single-action pull is crisp and releases at  about three pounds. The double action pull is smooth but somewhat heavy, a  necessary requirement to ensure reliable ignition in a rimfire revolver. The 941 functioned perfectly during testing with no misfires of any kind.

Excellent handgun velocity was obtained with Federal 30 grain hollow-point ammo, exceeding 1450 feet-per-second out of the five inch barrel, due in part to the tight barrel-cylinder gap on this revolver. This is good enough accuracy and velocity to engage small varmints and predators out to 100 yards.

Overall, I was very impressed with this revolver. The 941, and its Long Rifle counterpart model 94, fill a void that has been left by the demise of the J-frame steel S&W rimfires, the Colt Diamondback, and the High Standard revolvers. This Taurus is a superb little revolver to pack along when walking through the woods, or for hunting small varmints and predators. The gun is light enough to carry unnoticed in a hip holster or backpack, yet has enough heft to balance well when placing your shot. With eight shots of .22 magnum available, it could perform double-duty as a defensive weapon against two-legged predators as  well.

If you haven't handled a Taurus handgun in the last few years, you will be surprised by the quality of both materials and workmanship of the new guns. Taurus is a manufacturer who seems ready to meet the needs of shooters with a wide variety of products in a time when some other gun makers have let quality slip badly. You can check out this revolver along with all Taurus handguns and rifles on the web at: www.taurususa.com

Jeff Quinn

 

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Weighing in at a handy 27.5 oz, the Taurus Model 941 .22 Magnum revolver is a nice trail gun reminiscent of the great trail revolvers of years past.

 

 

 

The Taurus Model 941 compares favorably in size, workmanship and accuracy to the author's beloved old Smith & Wesson Model 63 "kit gun". The 8-shot Taurus is shown at top, with the S&W Model 63 below.

On the left is the Taurus Model 941, at right is the author's trusty S&W Model 63.

 

 

 

Excellent factory sights on the Taurus Model 941 contribute to the gun's amazing accuracy.

 

 

 

The patented Taurus Security System is a relatively unobtrusive, quick and easy to use locking device for those who feel it necessary to utilize such things. Taurus supplies two keys with each gun.

 

 

 

As can be seen in these photos, the Taurus Model 941 is capable of excellent accuracy. The author was frankly amazed at the "out of the box" accuracy exhibited by the Taurus. That's a DIME shown for comparison!

 

 

 

Author having fun with the little Taurus. Jeff has long been a proponent of the small, accurate "kit gun" type revolvers that are sadly no longer made by the major American manufacturers, and is pleased to report that somebody is making them like they used to!