Friday, November 8, 2013

Taurus Raging Bull .454 Casull Review

I’ve always been fond of large caliber revolvers. So when Steve suggested I review the Taurus Raging Bull in .454 Casull I was all for it. Now this is not your usual .454 but a snub nose with a 2 ¼ inch barrel!
Granted this is not a daily carry revolver by any means but this type does have it’s place. The primary use for a revolver such as this is protection from predatory animals in Alaska as well as parts of the lower 48 states.
Many hunters carry a large caliber handgun as backup to the primary rifle. Of course there are campers and fisherman in areas with large bear populations that have revolvers such as this for protection. Certainly the uses for a very large revolver are limited but this gun will take care of most any predators that cross your path.
Watch the VIDEO
Anyone who chooses to carry a revolver in this caliber may not want to shoot it enough to be proficient with it, which is a big mistake. It won’t do the shooter any good to carry a potent revolver if you don’t hit your target.Practice is mandatory regardless of the recoil if you intend to seriously use this revolver for protection. One alternative is practice some with full house rounds with most practice using 45 Colt ammunition. Any 45 Colt ammunition will work fine in this revolver.
Speaking of hitting your target I put together a video for those who have requested this addition to some of our reviews. I hope you enjoy it.
Just to add some narrative for the video after I shot the first round I thought I might find the spent round in one of the bottles. That was not to be. As I mentioned in the video the bullet must have yawed left or right after exploding that last bottle. As you can see it had plenty of energy left when it hit the last bottle. Now you may say the Taurus didn’t seem to recoil that much but then again I’ve never been recoil sensitive having shot so many large caliber revolvers. Believe me it did push back hard with that 2 1/4 inch barrel even if it is ported.
The rounds I fired were Magtech 260 grain jacketed flat nose. The stats of this round are 1800 FPS with 1800 foot pounds of energy! Now that’s impressive. One other note is the lack of a big boom on the audio.These cameras just don’t convey the deep and very loud report.
Something happened right after I left the range. I stopped in our local meat market to pickup a few things.The market is about 1/4 mile away from the range. When I walked in the owner said “Phil what kind of big ol rifle were you shooting!” Of course I grinned and told him it was a snub nose revolver. Of course he looked at me with the I don’t believe you look. I said well come out to the car. I showed him the Taurus Raging Bull to which his response was you have to be kidding! Nope, wanna shoot it? No way after the racket that thing made! I got a real kick out of it and I hope you can appreciate the circumstances as well.
Stats
Model: 454SS2M
Caliber: .454 CASULL
Capacity: 5
Barrel Length: 2-1/4″
Frame: Large
Finish: Matte Stainless Steel
Weight: 48 oz
Front Sight: Fixed/interchangeable fiber optic tubes
Rear Sight: Fixed
Safety: Transfer Bar
MSRP: $974.00
This Taurus is built like a tank! Overall it’s larger than say a S&W model 29. The cylinder holds five rounds of either .454 or .45 Colt depending on the shooters intended use of the revolver. It has two cylinder locking devices to strengthen the revolvers lockup under the 60,000 psi pressure of the .454 Casull.
The Raging Bull has the usual rear lockup as well as the front latch pictured above. Besides the standard cylinder star pin there are two small pins under the star to add greater stability for the cylinder star itself. Lockup is very snug with no play in the cylinder. The action is of the transfer bar type with a coil spring inside the grip.The only downside I can see is the front latch appears to be a MIM part. This is not a piece I would want in anything other than stainless steel.
Using both thumbs at once it’s very easy to release both latches for reloading. The rear sight is a large deep notch that provides plenty of width to view the front fiber optic sight and make adjustments to the sight picture. As mentioned earlier it also has three ports on either side of the front sight.These ports are effective in reducing recoil.
Range Time
I didn’t take the usual several hundred rounds of ammunition I normally would for a gun review, which I’m sure you can all understand. I’m not recoil sensitive but I’m not a glutton for punishment either!
My ammunition for this session included 20 rounds of Magtech .454 Casull 260 grain flat nose jacketed bullets. I also had 20 rounds of Federal 225 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoints. These are identical to the old FBI load of the late 1980’s in 38 special. I also took along some handloads using a 250 grain lead semi-wadcutter. All together I fired 60 rounds during this session.
With the exception of the rounds fired in the video from 7 yards all shooting was done from 10 and 15 yards. Having shot the S&W 500 making a comparison between these two rounds I have to say the recoil is sharper with the .454. The .500 tends to have a big push instead. In other words the .454 has more felt recoil for me than the .500 does. With the Raging Bull if you have a decent grip and don’t lock your elbows the recoil is not terribly punishing. One design feature that helps is the red material in the rear of the grip which is much softer than the rest of the grip providing a cushion which is very helpful when shooting full house loads.
The groups I fired varied depending on the ammunition used. When firing the .454 Casull rounds the groups at 15 yards were right at 4 inches. Firing the milder Federal 45 Colt loads the groups shrank to an average of two inches. My handloads gave the best group at just under 2 inches at 15 yards. All rounds were fired single action with the exception of those in the last part of the video.
Conclusion
The day following my range session I thought my hand would be sore but it really wasn’t. I think this was a result of using a grip which allowed some recoil to push back into my arms rather than holding a deathgrip with locked elbows and wrist. The grip material helped as well. I believe this is also the reason you see videos of people shooting the .454 Casull and the gun seems to climb 4 or more inches. Relax a bit; it will save you from being miserable shooting this combination of .454 in a snub nose revolver such as this.
I found the double action trigger pull to be a bit heavy while the single action was very good with a crisp release. The hammer has the usual lock at the rear if you choose to use it.
The sportsmen who travel in areas where large predatory animals are fairly numerous will have to decide for themselves which gun would suit them best. This revolver will always be on your hip and very fast to get into action whereas a carbine, while fairly fast, will require the owner to reach for it and take up valuable time.
I have to say I would feel comfortable carrying this revolver for protection from four legged or two legged predators whether in the hunting woods, camping or along a stream while fishing.
One last note on a good holster for this and other guns used in the field for hunting, fishing etc. It has an open top but having been fitted for each gun it holds the weapon snuggly in place. I’ve been using it for over a year now when hunting or general range use. Check this link to view this holster from Erik Little who owns Combat Gunleather.