Taurus Raging Bull Model 500, .500 S&W Magnum Revolver

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 21, 2006

 

 

 

Click for video!

It has been over three years since Smith &Wesson introduced the big S&W .500 Magnum, and the guns have been selling very well for them. As noted in my article, some of the early guns had a problem of the cylinder unlocking and rotating upon firing of the heaviest loads. S&W says that shooters were holding the guns improperly, but I corrected the problem on mine with a slightly stronger cylinder bolt spring.  However, apparently shooters are holding them properly now, for I have heard of none in the last couple of years doing so.  It was a minor glitch with an easy fix, and the big .500 has become a success.

Taurus has now entered the biggest, baddest revolver arena by chambering the .500 S&W Magnum cartridge in their Raging Bull revolver. The gun reviewed here is the ten inch barreled version, and there will be others to follow. Like the Smith & Wesson, the Raging Bull is a big handgun. The heavy ten inch barrel is somewhat ovate in shape, having both an integral underlug and rib, making for a noticeably muzzle-heavy balance, which is conducive to accurate shooting, and helps to reduce muzzle rise upon firing. The barrel has a built-in expansion chamber near the muzzle with eight exhaust ports at the top; four on each side of the front sight. The front sight is a black blade pinned atop the integral stainless ramp that offers an excellent sight picture coupled with the flat-faced adjustable rear. The rib of the barrel wears five vented slots which serve to  look good, dissipate heat, and  to attach a scope mount.

The cylinder of the Raging 500 is the same size as found on the Smith & Wesson, being just over two and one-quarter inches in length, and one and seven-eighths inches in diameter. The barrel/cylinder gap measures a tight, even two one-thousandths (.002) of an inch.  To unlatch the five-shot cylinder for loading and unloading, two latches must be pressed, one at the rear of the cylinder like on most revolvers, and another at the front, like on Dan Wesson revolvers.  The hammer of the Raging 500 contains the Taurus Security System key-activated lock, which when activated prevents the weapon from firing, but is not bothersome to those who choose to ignore it.

The Raging 500 wears a black synthetic rubber grip which has a contrasting red insert down the backstrap. It is very hand filling, and those with small hands will most likely choose to change them for another style. The grip worked very well in my hand, proving to offer good weapon control and a reasonable amount of comfort, considering the cartridge that this big handgun fires.  The Raging 500 has a smooth-faced trigger that is three-eighths of an inch wide. The double action pull weight measured just under eleven pounds, and the single action pull weight measured four and three-quarters pounds. The trigger pull was very smooth and even in both modes of operation, exhibiting no signs of grittiness.  Considering the size and weight of the weapon, the trigger pulls are about right for me.

The finish on the stainless steel is a satin, bead-blasted  texture, and was very well done on this revolver. There were no visible flaws in the finish of the weapon. It is a good-looking handgun.

I fired the Raging 500 with five different factory loads, all from Cor-Bon. Cor-Bon also loads .500 S&W Special ammunition, which is the Magnum case cut down in length a bit, with reduced velocity. These loads were included in my chronograph testing of the Raging 500. The air temperature during testing was just under seventy degrees, with the chronograph screens set at twelve feet from the muzzle. All velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). JHP is jacketed hollowpoint. DPX is the Barnes solid copper hollowpoint. HC is a hard-cast LBT style lead bullet. Bullet weights are listed in grains. FMJ is full metal jacket.

LOAD VELOCITY
Cor-Bon 350 Grain JHP Magnum 1768
Cor-Bon 275 DPX  Magnum  1736
Cor-Bon 440 HC Magnum  1662
Cor-Bon 350 FMJ Special  1304
Cor-Bon 275 Barnes X Special  1280

It is interesting to note that the 440 grain hard-cast load produced the exact same velocity average from the Raging 500 as it did from the S&W handgun three years ago: 1662 fps.

Firing the big Taurus, recoil is noticeable with the magnum loads, but not at all painful. Apparently the combination of gun weight, compensator, and grip design tame the recoil pretty well. As can be seen in the video, the weapon is controllable even firing the Magnum 350 grain load double action.  The Raging 500 functioned perfectly with all loads tested, except that extraction became sticky with the 350 grain Magnum load.  However, this only occurred after firing several of the shorter .500 Special cartridges without thoroughly cleaning the cylinder, which apparently raised chamber pressures somewhat. It is always a good idea to clean the chambers after firing shorter cartridges, before firing high pressure Magnums in the same chamber. Earlier firing of the same 350 grain loads extracted easily, so this little glitch was my fault, and is easily corrected. The Taurus never showed any signs of unwanted cylinder unlocking or rotation.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Bausch & Lomb 2 to 6 power scope atop the Taurus using a Taurus mount and B-Square rings. The Raging Bull .500 magnum exhibited excellent accuracy from the bench, producing  tight groups with each load tested at twenty-five yards.  It would hold five shots inside of three-quarters of an inch when I did my part.

Weighing in at just over seventy-six ounces, with an overall length of sixteen and one-half inches, the Raging 500 is no pocket gun. It does not even qualify as a trail gun or packiní pistol. It is, however, a very good revolver for use as a primary hunting weapon. Carried in an across-the-chest holster, it carries well, leaving both hands free for other things, but is readily available when needed. It has enough power to take any game animal that walks the Earth. It is well-built, and reasonably priced. Current suggested retail (May of 2006) is listed as $899, which is almost 300 bucks less than the Smith & Wesson. Before the emails start rolling in, I cannot recommend one over the other. I like them both. It comes down to personal choice. I will most likely not be found carrying either one afield, as I prefer a lighter handgun on my hip. However, for a primary hunting handgun, I like the big .500 Magnum revolvers much better than a single shot pistol for that purpose. Taurus also includes a one-year NRA membership with each handgun purchased, which is a nice little extra.

Check out the Taurus revolvers, rifles, and pistols online at:  www.taurususa.com.

For the location of a Taurus dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR icon at:  www.lipseys.com.

For high performance hunting and personal defense ammunition, go to:  www.cor-bon.com.

Jeff Quinn

To locate a dealer where you can buy this gun, Click on the DEALER FINDER icon at:

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Taurus Raging Bull Model 500, .500 S&W Magnum Revolver.

 

 

Iron sights are pinned front blade and fully-adjustable rear.

 

 

Vent rib allows for easy scope mounting.

 

 

 

 

Factory grips are very well-designed and help tame the big .500 Magnum.

 

 

Cylinder locks at front and rear for extra strength.

 

 

Hammer features the Taurus Security System key locking mechanism.

 

 

 

 

Cor-Bon offers several factory loadings, including one featuring Barnes' excellent 275-grain XPB bullet.

 

 

The Taurus Raging Bull proved to be very accurate with all loads tested.