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
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:
Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or
disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.
All content © 2001 GunBlast.com.
All rights reserved.