February 25, 2008
Taurus Model 66 .357 Magnum
If like many shooters you’ve noticed the increase in not only ammunition prices but in the price of all guns you may be looking for a less expensive alternative. This Taurus Model 66 may well be a good alternative for many of you. This is the Model 66 .357 magnum. The frame size is the same as the S&W model 686 and like one variation of the 686 is a seven shot revolver. The speedloaders for the 686 also fit the model 66 Taurus. This revolver was slightly used and was purchased for $270. The previous owner fired only 14 rounds so I would realistically consider it new. The sights are of the Millet type rear with a standard ramp front sight. The way the top strap is constructed is almost identical to the Colt Python in shape. I would say this is for the purpose of added strength. The trigger is slightly wider than the usual variety and has a smooth surface that is curved for a more comfortable feel.
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At 40 ounces this is no lightweight by any means. However this would make an excellent weapon for home defense as well as hunting. If I were to consider this revolver for home defense I would most likely add laser grips. As far as concealment is concerned unless you are 6 feet 5 your only choice is the use of a vertical shoulder holster. I have tried concealing this big boy in a shoulder holster a good friend gave me and honestly it works fairly well under a jacket that doesn’t fit to snug. Of course drawing a six inch revolver in a hurry takes considerable practice. It certainly is an intimidating weapon. The most important question is this a reasonable choice for a concealed carry gun? No not really. Can it be done of course but I would certainly prefer a good 1911 or the H&K USP compact as far as the guns I own. If a revolver is the way you like to go for a concealed carry gun then a previously reviewed revolver like the 3 inch barreled S&W model 64 or 65 would be ideal.
When comparing the Taurus to the S&W action the transfer bar is the most obvious difference. When you remove the side plate and compare the internals there is very little difference between the two. The way the trigger operates as well as the method the cylinder rotation operates is also almost identical. It does use a coil spring rather than a leaf spring as S&W does. It actually seems to be a blending of S&W with a little Ruger built in. The action is a sturdy build. The rest of the gun is also well made and has a very good cylinder lockup. The trigger feels more like a Colt in that you need to pull the trigger straight through rather than being able to partially pull the trigger like a S&W. The trigger pull in double action is nice and smooth as is the single action. Previous Taurus revolvers were really nothing to get excited about. The quality and design features have undergone significant improvement in recent years. The best example is the Taurus 1911 which has also been reviewed on the blog. I have to give Taurus credit they are making a quality product throughout the line. Where you used to see very few Taurus guns in dealers cases that has changed. Most every dealer you visit now has a pretty good selection of Taurus guns both revolver and 1911’s. The snub nose revolvers seem to be the most popular after the 1911. I know many people think that Taurus guns are just cheap copies of S&W’s. At one time this may have been true but no longer. You really do get your moneys worth with these guns. Are Taurus guns as good as S&W’s. Not really but it doesn’t mean they are inferior just different. They also have a lifetime warranty. Is customer service up to par with some other companies? Well from what I’ve heard no it’s not. Time to have a repair done seems to be the biggest complaint. Personally I have never been big on warranty coverage. When you get right down to it most problems you encounter are rare and fairly simple to remedy.
Shooting the Taurus is pleasant even with some pretty hot loads. The grips that come standard on this model soak up recoil well. Also the full lug barrel adds enough weight to dampen recoil and allow for less muzzle rise getting you back on target quickly. I normally shoot most of my handguns from about ten yards when doing a review but with this particular gun with the six inch barrel I started at 15 yards and moved back to 30 yards then finally 50 yards. From 15 yards it was almost effortless to keep seven rounds into one hole of about 1 1/4 inch. Moving back to 30 yards I fired four cylinders and maintained a group of 3 inches with one called flyer. All rounds were fired from the 30 yard line single action. I did have to adjust the sights a bit from the factory setting at 30 yards .I moved back for my last round of shots to the 50 yard line. After firing another four cylinders I managed to keep all my shots within the 5 inch target. All in all I found this revolver to be pretty accurate with a good trigger and an overall very good value. Anyone in the market for a good target revolver to shoot at extended distances or for hunting use would do well to consider this Taurus. It’s always fun to test your skills with a revolver at distance!
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