Originally Posted by Gruniak
Yeah, A.E., that's the gist of what I got the few years I subscribed to Gun Tests. Much better than them, though, are the gun forums. I'd ask a question or do a search, and at least ten people who owned the same gun would chime in with their experiences, whereas GT would test just the one of each.
Taurus had started as the maker of cheap crappy knockoffs of S&W. They got marginally better as S&W began their descent, reaching their nadir in the late '90s through about 2002. In that same time period Taurus thanks to new QC & CNC tooling was making pretty decent stuff, with tighter barrel/cylinder gaps, for example, and fewer "oops" type nicks, gouges, & such in the metalworking. The latest S&W offerings, with the laser-etched emblems, seem pretty neat, from my side of the counter glass. Expect atrocious trigger pulls in any modern regular-production revolver: decent trigger pulls require better materials and workmanship than will be found below a certain price level.
Your assessment is correct: for a snubbie to tuck under one's right nut, a Taurus will suffice. However, for a duty or hunting piece, one should go with a Colt or a S&W Custom Shop model. That is, if one were buying a new revolver. I'd still avoid any Taurus auto or any non-Tactical S&W auto.
My preference and recommendation for revolvers is still older S&W's in good shape. I didn't know what old-school American White Man gun craftmanship was, until I obtained a .38 15-1, a late 50's/early 60's model. Christ, the metalwork, action, and finish (Carbonia bluing, which I understand is now an environmental no-no) just cannot be reproduced anymore (on the gun forums, that's attributed merely to general-purpose American industrial entropy. Those of us who graduated to VNN know better). At the time, this was standard day-to-day output. Now, that's custom shop type of work. How many thousands more languish on store shelves beneath newer, more hyped guns?