What kind of gun is it that attracts your eye when you are skimming across the counter at a well stocked gun shop? Shiny ones? Big ones? One’s with scopes? Let me bring your attention to one that is none of those things. It’s a rather flat, gray colored revolver, small, and very simple. In fact, it is so simple that some might think that this would be a suitable handgun for a novice to start out with… and usually this assumption would be correct. However, in this case, you would be so wrong that you might turn off the novice from shooting forever.
When I picked up this gun from my federally licensed dealer, he handed me the black, lockable case from across the counter. I took the case from his hands and instantly thought that the case was empty. Right there, I had to open the case to see if a weapon really was in there. I was surprised to see that there was. I felt like Will Smith’s Agent, "J," from "Men in Black" when I picked the gun up; "Man, I’m going to break this damn thing." Turns out that this is about the closest thing to a "Noisy Cricket" that you are going to want to get. This is the Taurus model 605n according to the sticker on the box, but it looks like the production version is the 605sh2. The 605 is much like the last two guns I’ve reviewed, in that this is another "J-Frame" sized, five shot, .357 magnum revolver. This is where all similarity ends.
Line for line, it is almost an exact copy of a typical J-Frame, and dimensionally it is the same as my S&W model 650, a revolver that I love a great deal. Ounce for ounce… well… you would have to stack three of these 605s on the scale to balance the single 650. And the 650 is not a weighty pistol. The Taurus Titanium 605 weighs a claimed 16 ounces, but it feels like a lot less. Taurus’ website also says that the construction is "steel." I can see some of the parts are steel, like the trigger, hammer, and the barrel insert, but the rest is very lightweight titanium. This is an incredibly small amount of heft for a platform from which one launches .357 Magnum projectiles. Sixteen ounces, multiplied by 158 grain magnum loads, equals a tremendous amount of felt recoil. This is why a novice shooter is better off with something else. Let me explain this. Even experienced shooters can develop a flinch from a harsh recoiling handgun. Flinching in a novice shooter is something that takes a lot of training to train out. Luckily, since this is a .357 magnum revolver, one can load it with light .38 Special ammunition and practice all day long. But this isn’t what I did. When I picked up the 605, I also grabbed a couple boxes of heavy .357 magnum ammunition of different sorts because Taurus claims that its handguns are all +P capable. I wanted to test this.
Before I report on the shooting, let me give you my impressions of this little gun. While examining it, I found that it was extremely well made and well finished. S&W would be proud to have put out such a product. Any company would have been. Taurus has the reputation of being second fiddle to S&W when it comes to revolvers, and in the past, this reputation was deserved because it was quiet true. This is no longer the case. Taurus has made some great efforts to improve the quality of their products, and they have gone to some lengths to distance themselves from being a mere clone maker. Most of Taurus’ product lineup consists of revolvers very unique from anything Smith and Wesson makes. The Tracker series is a line of handguns perfect for anyone wanting to hit a trail in our great outdoors. The Raging series which includes Raging Bull and Raging Hornet revolvers are perfect for sports and hunting–strong and capable of firing the hottest rounds out there with perfect accuracy. I’ve fired several and have found them to be excellent revolvers. It used to be that if you wanted a revolver, there was S&W and there was Ruger, and if you couldn’t afford those, there was Taurus. That’s just the way it was. Was. Nowadays, a Taurus can go toe to toe with anything out there. Again, let me remind you of Taurus’ lifetime warranty, something that S&W doesn’t offer. When I have called Taurus in the past, I was always greeted with the honest attitude of "What can we do for you?" Taurus wants you to be pleased with their guns and their services, because if you are not, your next gun will not likely be another Taurus. They understand that, something I wish other gun makers would clue in on. I don’t need to go over the last time I called Beretta USA, but the feeling I got on that call was that I was keeping the guy from something more important, like his game of Solitaire on his computer.
The one feature I did not like on the gun is the locking system. There on the back of the hammer is a little tiny locking mechanism matched to a little tiny key. The idea is that you are much safer if you lock the gun up when you are not using it. I have another idea…if you have to lock up your gun with a little tiny key, then maybe you shouldn’t have a gun. If a bad guy is kicking in your door at 3:00 and 911 says "Hold Please"… I don’t think the goblin with the crowbar in his hand is going to give you a minute to go get your gun, then go find your keys, then fumble with them in a panic until you finally manage to get that little tiny key into that little tiny hole. No thank you. But it seems that you have to have some sort of locking system on any new gun these days, and personally I think this is a better arrangement than what S&W is doing, putting the lock on the side of the frame.
Looking at this 605 at the same time I was looking at my 650…the 650 has a better double-action pull. That’s important because it is a hammerless design and the 605 isn’t. The 605 has the traditional hammer spur that lets you thumb-cock the action so you can fire the pistol with a short, crisp, single-action pull. The single-action pull on the Taurus is surprisingly very good. This was a contributing factor in the 605’s accuracy. But more on that later. When I loaded it up to fire it for the first time, I noticed how easily each cartridge slipped into each cylinder. Then I locked the loaded cylinder shut. I noticed that the lock-up in the cylinder was nice and tight, more so than my Smith. A little play in the cylinder is a normal thing, but this Taurus had not a bit. That’s a good sign. When I addressed my target, I took up a good two handed stance, braced for the expected recoil, thumbed back the hammer, closed my left eye, and pulled back on the trigger. Pow! The recoil was sharp! Ouch! But it wasn’t so bad. The 605’s grips are made from a nice rubber compound that really helps. I’m afraid that if it was sporting some wood grips, I’d have been picking shards of splintered wood from out of my palm. I fired another shot, and then another. Then I noticed with pleasure that all my shots were impacting the target all right there, where I wanted them to. Lovely! The shot group was much tighter than I expected. About two inches at 15 paces. This is good enough accuracy for almost any handgun, but out of a snub nosed revolver that almost weighs less than the box that it came in, this is outstanding. After the fifth shot, I noticed a small pain in my palm, but I ignored it. I unlocked the cylinder and was about to eject the empty cartridges when I noticed some blood on my hand. "You little minx," I thought. The recoil was sharp, but there was nothing that should have drawn blood. Nothing on the gun cut me, but there was a tear in the flesh of my right hand palm that wasn’t there before I started shooting. I don’t know how to explain this, and I know that this might even open myself up to a lot of jokes about what sort of friction could cause injury to a guy’s right hand palm… but hey, I’m just reporting the facts here.
To continue, I went ahead to eject the empty cartridges. This didn’t go so well. One of the cylinders was stubborn, as four empty shells fell right out. Four out of five isn’t that bad if you are playing Rock Paper Scissors. You could go to the RPS Championships with that sort of regular performance. In a weapon, this doesn’t cut it. The gun was clean when I got it, but I took it apart and went over everything with an oil moistened swab before I went out to shoot it. I dragged a dry swab over everything again, through all the cylinders and I didn’t find any burrs or anything of the sort, yet this one chamber in the cylinder remains "sticky." Had this been my own gun that I actually owned, I’d have called Taurus right then and there. Really, I would have. Believe it or not, out here in the middle of nowhere, I do have at least 3 bars on my cell phone. No, really. Taurus would have said something like, "Well, send it in and we’ll make it right." And I would have, and they would have. So I wouldn’t have been worried, but this is an annoyance. Okay, more than an annoyance, this is flat unacceptable in a gun that I’m going to stake my life on. Other Taurus revolvers I’ve shot have never shown this problem before, so I’m going to chalk this up as a fluke, in good faith. When I send this unit back to Taurus, I’m going to do so with a note for them to sort this problem out, and I know they will. Taurus is a good outfit. But I’m not just reporting what my assumptions are, because I did call Taurus about this. Not right there, but the next day. Had I wanted, the arrangements would have been made to send the gun in, and if they could not have fixed the problem, the gun would have been replaced with a new one. If that model was not available, they would have replaced it with a similar unit of equal or even greater value. Like I said, they wanted me to be happy. I didn’t tell them I was in the middle of a review for a gun magazine, so I expect that this would have been the same service that you would have received had you called Taurus. This goes to show you that Taurus did not send me a "Ringer," a specially selected revolver to send to a gun writer. No, pretty much, this was an off the shelf unit. It did sport a nice little ring around the cylinder, so this gun was not new; it’s been fired before. Makes me wonder about the gun writer that fired it before me. Why didn’t he report the sticky chamber? Maybe he didn’t fire all five shots? Believe me; it was tempting to stop shooting after five shots! But it was kind of like Angelina Jolie biting my lip. Hurts, but enjoyable in a sick, freaky sort of way. (Insert an Austin Powers growl here, "yeah baby!") I went through all of my .357 ammo testing this little gun. The sticky chamber never got any better, but the cylinder lock-up never loosened either, and the accuracy never opened up. Titanium is some amazing stuff, isn’t it? Very light, but very strong.
Overall, I’m very pleased with this 605. I’d have to get that sticky chamber sorted out, but once that was done, I think this would make one heck of a fine revolver for CCW, especially for someone who carries "Off Body," such as in a planner or purse, or maybe in a front pocket. Those Dockers Hidden Pocket slacks come to mind as the perfect match for this gun. I couldn’t think of a better choice for ankle carry for someone wanting to pack a .357 maggie. Have you ever watched the movie "The French Connection"? Great movie. Our hero in that feature carries a small revolver in an ankle rig. Had he been given the choice, I think he would have picked a 605 Titanium too. I also think he might have decided to just load it with .38 Special ammunition, which is what I suggest. .357 Magnum loads could be reserved for loading should you have to take a trip downtown after dark, or for your speed loaders, because if you have to reload fast, you probably need the extra potency. But in most situations, I think some .38 Special Gold Dots would serve most anyone just fine in this gun.
MSRP on this thing is only $375, which is fantastic for what you are getting for your money. I am trying to decide if I send this gun back to Taurus for repair and with a check, or return it with a note telling them to check out the cylinder. I can’t decide