I have some handguns for specific purposes. I have a long-barreled .44 Magnum for hunting. I have a number of smaller guns for concealed-carry, and some just for recreational target shooting. Most of them aren’t quite as specialized as my Taurus Model 415 .41 magnum. That’s my, ‘Peeing-in-the-woods-oh-crap-is-that-a-bear?!’ gun.
There isn’t much chance I’m going to run into a dangerous animal in the woods while hunting, but it could happen. It makes sense to have a carry gun; something powerful enough to deal with an irritable or inquisitive Black Bear.
To be clear, this is not a ‘hunting handgun,’ it’s a sidearm to carry while hunting, just in case. IN Washington state a handgun used to hunt big game must have at least a 4″ barrel, so this one is right out of the running.
So, relatively small, only slightly larger and heavier than a S&W K-frame but firing a very powerful cartridge. Easy to carry, doesn’t get in the way too much… but it kicks hard. The stock grips do a pretty good job of making the recoil tolerable, but they are a bit ‘sticky,’ tending to grab clothing, and the squishiness of them isn’t ideal for control in rapid-fire. I made a set of custom grips, and while they impart excellent control they are painful with full-power loads. That’s a compromise I can live with; I mean, it’s not like I am going to care if I need to use it. But if I could come up with something better…
A couple of years ago a friend gave me a set of grips for a large-frame revolver for Christmas. Very fancy, with black enamel and mother-of-pearl inlays. I have a large hand, so these worked out nicely. Some time later I sold that gun, but I kept the grips. I mean, I was bound to get another gun they fit sooner or later.
I ran across those grips last night and thought, ‘I wonder…’ The thing is the Taurus is based on their Tracker revolvers, meaning it has a non-ergonomic grip-frame; one piece grips are slipped on over the frame and secured with a screw at the bottom of the grip. So they might fit, but they’d need some adaptation to secure them.
The solution was pretty simple; I cut some wood pieces and glued them into the grips to properly surround and secure the tang.
So, quite a good fit and provides a really nice grip. But it seemed out of place against the matte stainless finish of the gun. OK, that’s easy enough to solve; some buffing, some 3000-grit sandpaper and Flitz metal polish and the now-shiny gun looks much better with the grips.
So, How’s it Shoot?
Better than I do, but that’s not unusual. The large grips have done the trick; while recoil with full-power loads was not what I would call pleasant it wasn’t bad, and with .41 Special loads (210gr. LSWC @ 900 fps.) it was downright tame. I mean, relatively speaking. This gun consistently shoots high and right; I’m likely to modify the sights.
OK, But… Why?
Not many people will bother to work on a Taurus, and the reason is simple; they can be an iffy proposition. Quality control on Taurus has been… let’s call it whimsical. Generally the Model 85s are consistently good, and some of their new semi-auto pistols are well regarded. Others are catch-as-can; if you get a bad one it’s bad. If you get a good one it can be very good indeed. This irregularity has caused people to regard them, somewhat unfairly, as junk.
This is a good one. But leaving that aside the question remains; why spiff up a working gun like this? My response is, why not? Why shouldn’t I have a ‘fancy’ gun as a sidearm for hunting? I’m not stalking perps through dark alleys; it doesn’t matter if the gun is reflective or has fancy grips. If the gun is holstered the shiny bits are covered; if I need it the shininess is irrelevant.
Anyway, it’s my gun, it’s cool and I like it. Good enough.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 18 January 21