I remember the first time I ever saw one of these brutes: Black Friday, 2008. I was in a local gun shop doing a little Christmas shopping, and the store was packed elbow-to-elbow … except for an area in the back, where the revolvers are kept.
There, an elderly Asian man whom I recognized from the Chinese Buffet down the street was waving a huge, stainless steel, Taurus Raging Bull .44 Magnum revolver around in a manner that, while excited, was not dangerous. Several customers had formed a ring around him, whooping phrases like “Damn straight!” and “You got that right!”. His Engrish was not so good, so I stepped closer to hear more clearly.
He was saying, “Dat fooking Oh-bah-mah, he gonna take our guns. He take dem all. I seen dis before, where I come from. So I gonna buy dis one, buy a really big, big gun. Make sure anybody come to take it fall down wit great big holes all in his smelly ass!”
(And, no … I’m not ad-libbing, making up dialogue, or trying to be cute here. As he spoke, I took out my pocket notebook and mechanical pencil to make sure I captured his exact words with a high level of precision.)
Yes, he had an FOID, and the cash to pay for the thing. I regret not knowing him better. Seeing a 5’3″, 130-pound, sixty-something Asian man dropping the hammer on this hand cannon for the first time would have been worth the price of admission.
Four years later, I finally got to shoot a Raging Bull, purchased about three years prior by a buddy who looks more like a lumberjack than an Asian restaurateur. My buddy says he’s put about 3000 rds of mostly handloads through it. So, as you read my review, keep in mind my sample was not exactly new-in-the-box.
Like the restaurateur’s, my buddy’s gun is stainless steel, with a gaping 6.5″ barrel. Even though it had been used quite a bit, it looked new as I examined it … no dings, no wear, not even any carbon around the forcing cone. My buddy is positively anal about his guns, as we all should be.
Cocking the hammer, I found the cylinder lockup was still tight as a drum. Lowering the hammer, I opened the cylinder and gave it a few spins and pushes here and there. There was no play in the cylinder, no wiggle at all. If nothing else, this massive, 53-oz monster was a solid piece of workmanship.
The Bull was still fitted with the original factory Taurus soft rubber grips. They didn’t feel quite right in my hands. Were the wheelgun my own, I would’ve replaced them with an ergonomically-perfect set of Hogue Monogrips.
The rear sight was adjustable, and seemed well-engineered.
Aesthetically, the gun – despite its Brobdingnagian size – was perfect. It looked and felt rather like a Colt Anaconda that had been fed a walloping dose of anabolic steroids, but without the ostentatious “pimp-gun” shininess of an Anaconda.
After a few minutes of fondling, I loaded six into the chambers, closed the cylinder, and took aim at a silhouette target 25 yards away …
I’ve long been a fan of Elmer Keith’s progeny, the .44 Magnum. God only knows why. Over the years, I’ve owned a S&W M29, and a heavier Dan Wesson .44 Mag. Such things are difficult to conceal, heavy to pack, and a bit much for self-defense use. I reckon I just enjoy feeling 240 grains of hot let exploding from a big pipe in my hands at 1500 feet per second. I don’t recoil from recoil, and get a kick out of the kick. At dusk, firing a .44 Mag is like turning back the clock, and making the sun come back out, if only for a fraction of a second. I don’t hunt, but nothing is better than launching these monster bullets at paper, bowling pins, or (at an appropriate distance) steels. And I’m always careful never to kill more than I can eat.
… and I dropped the hammer. Ka-WHOOOM! I blinked, and turned to my smiling friend. “These are full-house magnums?” I asked.
He pointed at the aggressive porting near the muzzle. “Full house. These bad boys here really help, eh?”
It occurred to me that the slightly-built Asian had no problem handling his own Raging Bull.
I fired the next five. Then another six. And another. I put a box of 50 through the Bull, cutting a single, ragged hole (truth be told, with a flyer or two – nobody’s perfect) dead-center in the X-ring. I wiggled my fingers. My palm didn’t throb as it did when I’d put that many through the S&W or Dan Wesson.
“OK,” I said, handing him back the Bull, a dreamy, spacey look on my mug. “Jaysus. I think I need a cigarette.”
He squinted hard at me. “But, you don’t smoke …”
Say what you will about Taurus firearms, but this is one solid, accurate revolver that is pleasant to shoot – really, a superb firearm. Fit and finish on my specimen was excellent. Apart from the factory grips, I have zero complaints or criticisms.
Someday, I’d like to own one. Not for defense, or hunting … simply as a thing to enjoy for its own sake, to have as a reassurance that somewhere in Brazil, where Tauri are manufactured, somebody got something perfectly right.
Resolved: I will own one – even if Oh-Bah-Mah say I not have right to own one. Fook him.