Once again, we are taking a look at a revolver, for survival purposes. We have received numerous requests from our readers over the past several months for more articles on revolvers. We sometimes tend to get so caught up with the newest and coolest semiauto handguns that we forget the good ole’ fashioned revolver. While the revolver is a very old design, it is not antiquated, as many think it is.
We also have to take into consideration what is meant by “survival” in any discussion on this topic. For too many, myself included, survival means financial survival, and no firearm is going to help me survive this unless I had some high-end collector grade firearms. I don’t own anything even closely resembling a collector’s gun. To others, survival might mean living in the boonies and surviving what dangers they might face on a daily basis. In many rural villages in Alaska, and outlying areas far from villages where people live, survival means hunting and fishing for your food and packing the most powerful handgun you can handle in the event of an attack by a brown bear or an enraged moose.
Many police officers believe that survival just means getting home safely at the end of their shift. To civilians in a big city, survival might mean getting home safely from a long commute through dangerous neighborhoods. I have been there and done that when I lived in Chicago, IL many years ago, and it appears Chicago is no safer now. As I wrote this article, there were 40 shootings with two dead over a long holiday weekend, and the weekend was only half over.
So, we have many different types of survival that we all must deal with, quite often on a daily basis. We must select the appropriate form of protection to get us through whatever situations we might have to deal with. We select our tools very carefully, and hope we make the right decisions. While a firearm is considered a “weapon”, it is also considered a “tool” for the job at hand. Keep that in mind.
The Taurus Model 605 revolver is such a tool and an excellent choice for many tasks. My sample 605 is a snubby, with a 3-inch barrel, although the 2-inch barrel is more commonly encountered, as it is a little bit easier to conceal that shorter barrel, especially if carrying on the belt instead of inside the waist, where that slightly longer barrel is easier to conceal. The Taurus 605 is a stainless steel, 5-shot revolver, and the stainless finish is a brushed one with a nice soft finish that’s not shinny.
The 605 is a double-action/single-action revolver in that it can readily be fired by simply pulling the trigger or manually cocking the hammer and then firing it, for a lighter trigger pull. The gun weighs 24 ounces and has sports rubber grips with the Taurus logo in the center. The fixed sights, front and rear, are about as hardy as they come; however, they were a bit hard for my aged eyes to pick up. So, I applied some bright orange paint to the front sight. This helped a lot. The rear sight is a notch in the top strap of the revolver. There is no way to adjust it, and it’s practically impossible for it to be damaged or destroyed. Of course, the gun is chambered in .357 Magnum, and it can also shoot .38 Special loads. My sample was purchased used, and the previous owner snugged the grip screw down too tight, and the grips were actually pushing away from the gun at a few points, so I replaced the grips with a pair of Hogue rubber grips for all of my shooting for this article. They’re much nicer grips all the way around, and they really helped absorb the recoil when shooting .357 Mag rounds.
I don’t believe the .357 Mag snubby is a beginner’s gun, period! The recoil and muzzle blast has caused more than one person to give up on the gun, after only a few rounds. Ask any gun shop owner who sold a snubby .357 Mag to someone who readily returned it, in like-new condition. Why the gun was returned is because of too much recoil and muzzle blast, according to what the previous owner said. I also see this when some clerks behind a gun shop counter, will sell a petite woman a super light-weight revolver in .38 Spl or .357 Mag, thinking that because the gun is light weight that it is the gun for them until the women actually shoot the gun. After they shoot it, the gun is returned in short order for something else, or the gun will be put away and never fired again. I know many husky males who also purchased a light-weight revolver in a hot-stepping caliber and after shooting it put it away or traded it for something else. To be sure, the .357 Mag in a revolver does have some serious muzzle blast and recoil, and the muzzle blast is a sight to behold when fired inside of a building in low light.
Of course, any revolver is more controllable if it is full-sized guise and manufactured out of all steel. That’s just common sense. However, the bigger the revolver, the harder it is to conceal. Although, full-sized handguns are much easier to shoot than their smaller counterparts, so keep that in-mind. I was recently teaching some new shooters firearms safety and marksmanship, and a small gal fell in love with a Ruger GP100– a full-sized .357 Mag. She shot it well, too. Go figure?
For testing the little Taurus 605 for this article, I probably had the largest assortment of ammo ever, for an article. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition, I had their .38 Spl 110-gr Barnes TAC XP all-copper hollow point standard pressure short barrel ammo, .38 Spl 110-gr Barnes TAC XP all-copper hollow point +P, and .38 Spl 125-gr Low Velocity JHP +P. In .357 Mag, I had the 180-gr Hard Cast, LFN GC Outdoorsman load +P, 125-gr JHC +P, and their 125-gr Barnes XPB +P. From Black Hills Ammunition, I had their .38 Spl 125-gr JHP +P, .38 Spl 148-gr MATCH HBWC, in .357 Mag I had their 125-gr JHP, and their 158-gr JHP. From Double Tap Ammunition I had their 110-gr Controlled Expansion JHP. I also had their .38 Spl. 148 Full Wadcuter match load, .38 Spl 110-gr DT Lead Free +P, .357 Mag 110-gr DT Lead Free load, .357 mag 180-gr Hard Cast solid. It was quite an assortment of .38 Spl and .357 Mag to run through the little Taurus 605.
There were no functioning problems with the Taurus, nor were any expected. The gun perked along just fine in over 300 rounds of shooting. Large rocks out to 50-yards were easy to hit. However, my accuracy testing was conducted at 15 yards, and that is a reasonable distance for a short-barreled revolver. I will say that there were several rounds that really woke me up, and that is the Double Tap 180-gr Hard Cast solid, and the Buffalo Bore 180-gr Outdoorsman load. They really made the little Taurus buck in my hand. Either of these would be an excellent choice when out hiking in the boonies, where you might encounter black bears. The Black Hills .357 Mag 125-gr JHP probably had the most muzzle blast for some reason.
The best groups I could get at 15 yards were right about 3 ½ inches. I was hoping for better though. The gun was rested over a sleeping back over the back of my pickup. I didn’t want the muzzle blast taking out the windshield of my rig. I had many groups over four inches, and the winner in the accuracy department is, well, actually no one load really stood out in the accuracy department. However, if I had to pick just one, it would be the Double Tap 148-gr Full Wadcutter Match, and it just barely, every so slightly gave me a best group of the day. Testing was conducted over several days. The muzzle blast and recoil of the .357 Mag loads were causing me to flinch after a bit. The .38 Spl loads were all easy to shoot, and you should use .38 Spl for most of your target practice, if you ask me, because they are less expensive and easier to shoot for extended periods of time.
I rarely carry my Taurus 605, because I have other handguns that I carry on a regular basis, and I don’t have a holster at this time that fits this little revolver. However, I do have a concealed carry jacket– a fleece jacket that has a built-in holster, on the left side inside the jacket, that can conceal a variety of handguns. I have carried the little Taurus in this jacket from time to time. However, there are plenty of holsters out there that will fit this snubby, inside the waist or on the belt.
A word on shooting .38 Spl ammo in .357 Mag revolvers: the shells are shorter, thus they tend to “mark” the inside of the chamber of a revolver. If you don’t thoroughly clean a revolver’s cylinders, it can make extraction of .357 Mag empty shells a bit difficult, which is not something you want if you need to do a speed reload. So, anytime you fire .38 Spl ammo in a .357 Mag revolver, make sure you give the cylinder a thorough cleaning.
If you’re in the market for a small, 5-shot revolver that is chambered in .357 Mag, then take a close look at the Taurus 605. It’s a lot of gun in a small package, and it will sure get the job done.
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio