Dear Michael:

What is your opinion of Taurus revolvers? I recently purchased a model 851ss for my wife’s first gun. It appears to have a good fit and lock up with a smooth trigger pull but is a little heavier than my Smith. What loads do you recommend for a snubby Also is this gun a shooter, will it handle a lot of practice. Thanks in advance, Mel J.

 Dear Mel:

I hope this note finds you well.

Overall the Taurus gets a “very good” rating on the ones that are running well.

About 10% of the time I see a dud – but the rest are good guns. It is disconcerting to not know (before you buy it) if the gun you are buying is one of the good 90% or one of the bad 10%.  I might not worry about the poor 10% with their lifetime warrantee – IF – customer service was not just as “iffy” I have one student who sent his Taurus back six times (!) for the same very basic issue – Each return came back with the wrong item attended to. In the end, he ate the cost (he could not afford the down time for the free, life time repairs) and brought the gun to an area gunsmith.

I have a Taurus revolver and I love it. It was made in the late 1960’s, and is an absolute “tack driver.” It was and is a shooter, so much so that I wore out its original pencil barrel and replaced it with a bull barrel. But if I wanted to buy a current Taurus as a kick around gun/kit gun – I would only buy it used from a gunsmith that I completely trusted who I knew would stand behind the gun 100%

Currently the 90/10 rate of “dog guns” is too high for me to recommend the gun to my family and friends – But if you nave time and money to burn, and you like to throw the 90/10 dice you just might end up with a winner.

Regarding ammo; that is a great question. Whenever suggesting ammo I always remind the shooter that the best choice will vary with the shooter and his gun. The ammo is only as good as the shooter’s control over it and the revolver’s reaction to it. Gun owners are often told that the best self defense ammo for the snub is the 158-gr semi-wad cutter lead hollow-point. But I have a Colt Cobra that absolutely refuses to give base-line accuracy with this ammo (all hits on a 6-inch plate at 25-yards) but the same gun is great with 125 jacketed hollow-points. So what “I” want (158-gr) has to take a back seat to what the gun shoots well (125-gr.) My best advice is to test a few rounds of mixed hollow-points and find out what you and the gun can do well with as a team.

I hope that helps a little.

Thank you for the question.

If I missed anything feel free to call me.