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Old March 4th, 2004 #81
Antiochus Epiphanes
Ἀντίοχος Ἐπιφανὴς
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: flyover
Posts: 13,175
Antiochus Epiphanes

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?
I used to shoot with this old cop in the Windy City who carried a colt cobra 357 with a 4" barrell, maybe a little longer, from the early seventies. It was higher quality that anything I had shot before, and I understood it was stock and had a couple thousand rounds through it and had been tuned up only once. It locked and rotated smoothly and effortlessly, and the thing felt like it had a 2 pound trigger pull on single action, maybe five on double, not a long pull either. It's finish was worn but beautiful. I asked him how he was able to carry this as a duty piece and apparently the old timers were allowed more latitude than newbies who more or less were told what to carry. You still see some old codgers there carrying revolvers.

Indeed I have shot plenty new stock revolvers and they are nowhere near the quality of some of the older ones unless they're custom. I mean, the rugers are nice quality guns, but they're obviously designed with heavy triggers.

I offered him a grand for the cobra and he laughed at me and said he might give it up for two.


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