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Taurus Ti Torture Test
Mike Giboney on 2005-07-16

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Taurus Total Titanium Torture Test

Unlike the ‘torture tests’ that gun magazines occasionally run by shooting thousands of rounds of ammunition in one setting, my idea for this ‘torture test report’ came about in an entirely different matter.  It started when I dropped my primary carry gun, a 7-shot .357 Magnum Taurus Ti, on the ceramic tile of my kitchen floor (transfer bar safeties really are good to have!).  This accident (the tile fared worse than the gun, incidentally) caused me to closely inspect the gun for damage.

Although the gun was little hurt by the impact with the tile (it appears to have struck almost flat on the top of the frame; yet another success story for fixed-sights!), I discovered to my horror that there were a number of rust spots visible on the gun.  While the frame, cylinder, and barrel shroud are made of corrosion-proof titanium, the hammer, trigger, barrel liner, screws, springs, and some other internal parts are made out of steel.

The frame screws showed a patina of rust on the heads, and there was a mottled pattern of surface rust on the sides of the hammer and trigger.  There is a considerable amount of the light metallic blue surface finish gone from the titanium parts.  Finally, the patented ‘ribber’ grips have seen a fair amount of wear and there are chunks missing.

This revolver has been my primary carry gun in Texas over the past three years, and that includes a considerable amount of time spent outdoors in the summer.  If you don’t sweat in the Texas heat…. it’s because you are dead.  It is slipped into my pants pocket every morning, and taken out every night, never having seen the inside of a holster.

Truly, I do not recall the last time it was wiped down with any gun oil or other rust preventative.  Although there is no excuse for lack of firearms maintenance, I had just gotten complacent due to the titanium construction.  As a defense, the hammer and trigger originally had a sort of mottled brown finish, vaguely reminiscent of case-hardening, except without much color.  The slow change in appearance over the last three years simply did not register until this recent inspection.

Right away, the gun was disassembled for cleaning/inspection.  The screws came right out and the sideplate, never before removed, popped off easily.  Fortunately, the lockwork of the gun was in perfect order, and no rust was found on any of the springs or other internal parts.  About the only faults that were noted are that two of the screw heads appeared to have been somewhat deformed on assembly.  Speed counts in the factory, I suppose.

The light rust on all steel parts cleaned up easily.  I believe that the hammer and trigger are stainless, but I don’t know what kind of steel is used in the screws.   They do appear to be blued.  Incidentally, the barrel liner appears free from corrosion, but it does collect pocket lint and probably should be cleared once in a while.

It is well worth pointing out that anything, and I do mean anything at all, just wipes off of the titanium.  The rust from the screws simply was wiped out of the screw holes with a cotton swab & gun oil.  Had this been a blued or even stainless gun…. there could have been serious problems removing those screws!!  They almost certainly would have rust-welded themselves into the holes, causing frame damage on removal.  Yet they backed right out with only normal expected pressure.

The external finish wear doesn’t bother me at all.  Frankly I like the natural grey-silver of the titanium, but the colors probably sell a few guns.  The wear on the soft grips was unexpected.  Ugly, but the trade-off is that they help tame what is truly brutal recoil with full-power .357 loads.  It’s a marked step up in recoil from, say, a Super Blackhawk model .44 Mag.  The individual, of course, can select standard .38 Special or .38 Special “+P” ammunition to reduce recoil, if required.

A couple of other notes.  The fixed sights aren’t regulated perfectly, but I can keep shots on a paper plate at 25 yards, with full-power 125gr. Cor-Bon hollowpoints.  That’s good enough for minute-of-felon, in my book.  Don’t know if speedloaders are available or not; if seven shots doesn’t solve your problems, it’s doubtful that the 8th would have made things considerably better.  Not nearly as effective of a club as a typical Ruger single action, but I wouldn’t want to get smacked in the head with one, either (yes, it’s good to have a backup plan after the ammo runs out).  As I recall it hits a little to the left… someday I’ll get ambitious and fix that.  You can’t turn the barrel in the frame or it may screw up the position of the ejector shroud, but I’ll do some careful measuring and open one side of the rear sight channel a few thousands of an inch to ‘move’ the sights.

It’s truly a gun that you carry a lot and shoot very little.  A joy to carry, and a beast to shoot.  Although there is a school of thought that demands regular practice with your carry gun, I have other revolvers that are far better suited for practice, and operate identically.  It’s been used twice in the field (with earplugs, ported .357s are L-O-U-D); a ringtail (ie. civet cat) and an armadillo have been dispatched with no problems.  Terminal ballistics were impressive from the Cor-Bon loads, which chrono about 1200fps from this gun.  Someday, a small Texas whitetail or hog is going to wander too close to me and will suffer the same fate….. a .357 hollowpoint through the lungs will harvest either.

To wrap up, even titanium firearms need proper care, but there are some tremendous advantages to the material as I have discovered.  If I could carry a full-sized 1911, that would be great, but I can’t and this little gun fits the bill perfectly.

Although ‘keep your powder dry’ may only be an expression these days, it does pay to keep your guns oiled, especially anything you carry.

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