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Taurus Tracker - Page Two
By Dick Metcalf, Technical Editor, Shooting Times.

Page Two

A Real Tackdriver
My review sample Titanium Tracker .357 Magnum model was finished in Matte Spectrum Blue, which has a deep, satiny midnight hue and is an elegant-looking finish. The long double-action trigger pull has an around-the-cylinder average of 10.839 pounds according to my computerized Dvorak TriggerScan, and the cocked single-action pull broke clean at 3.950 pounds with only 0.07-inch overtravel and 8.6-millisecond
locktime. It’s quick and crisp. The barrel/cylinder gap gauged at .004 inch, which is about .002 inch tighter than the average standard for .357 Magnum revolvers in general. And the overall fit, finish, and feel of the very tidy Tracker package was just excellent.

I chronographed and fired the .357 Tracker for accuracy with seven different commercial .357 Magnum loads and five varieties of .38 Special +P ammunition, targeting the open-sighted revolver at 25 yards. The results are listed in the chart.

As I found with the .357 and .41 Magnum chamberings of the snubnose Total Titanium line for my report in the May ’99 issue, the combination of the soft, hand-conforming Ribber Grips and the integral barrel porting makes the lightweight Titanium Tracker revolver extremely comfortable to fire and easy to control—even with the heaviest recoil, full-power 180-grain .357 Magnum loads. The .38 Special loads were powder puffs.

Given the same-power cartridge, fired in two guns of the same dimensions but different weights, barrel porting will recover the lighter gun quicker and more efficiently. You would expect a lightweight gun to really take off in recoil, but for the same reason that it does, in fact, accelerate so rapidly (due to its low inertia at rest), it’s also easier to control. Consider someone swinging a heavy wooden baseball bat at you, and someone else swinging a lightweight, same-dimension sponge Whiffle-ball bat at you at the same speed. Stick up your hands in front of the blows. Which is easier to stop? Which stings less?

Add to these weight/porting factors the cushiony and hand-conforming Ribber Grip design and you have a 24-ounce magnum revolver you can shoot securely and comfortably with complete rapid-fire control. The Ribber Grip doesn’t shift in your hand, and your palm has no abrasion. The light titanium material is only one element of an integrated three-part self-recovering shooting system with the other parts being the unique Ribber Grips and the integral barrel porting. Remove any one part, and the system doesn’t work.

As for accuracy, the .357 Titanium Tracker was exceptional—and a surprise. The overall combined group average for all .357 Magnum loads fired at 25 yards from this open-sight four-inch gun was a tight 1.81 inches; for all .38 Special loads it was 1.40 inches. Just for comparison, consider that when I recently reviewed a six-inch S&W Model 686 and a six-inch Ruger GP100 with .357 Magnum ammo loads at 25 yards using a 5X scope, the overall combined averages came out at 1.24 inches—and that’s with two inches more barrel and optics. Taurus reports that some Tracker groups fired in the ballistics tube in its Miami headquarters are coming in essentially one-hole. The Tracker gave me some of the best iron-sight magnum revolver groups I’ve fired in a long time.

Why would a Titanium four-inch gun with a fairly common 1:18.75-inch rifling twist rate perform so clearly above the norm? Well, individual guns do have individual personalities, and there are always performance variations gun to gun even among identical specimens of the same model, particularly with revolvers, due to normal manufacturing tolerance variations. The next Tracker off the line might not be quite so good—or it might even be better. But one inherent design element to consider here is the lined barrel. Remember that a primary reason for the universally recognized superior accuracy of the Dan Wesson removable-barrel revolver system was the fact that the slim inner barrel tube was secured at both ends—screwed into the frame and held tightly to its outer shroud by a heavy-duty muzzle nut—thus reducing barrel vibration and flex. The stainless-steel bore liner of the Taurus Titanium revolvers is not removable and does not employ a muzzle nut, but it is nonetheless similarly threaded separately into the frame and secured to the enclosing titanium barrel at several points along its length in a manner that gives it considerably more rigidity than any free-hanging, muzzle-thread-only barrel attachment system. This is not a factor to be overlooked. Ask a Taurus spokesman, he just smiles and says, “Proprietary.”

An Outdoorsman’s Dream
I believe the Titanium Tracker magnum revolvers will have great appeal to hunters and outdoorsmen of all types given their high level of accuracy and performance, near-indestructible construction, and extreme light weight. Handgun hunting aside, every big-game rifle hunter in the world ought to find the unencumbering security of a 24-ounce .357 or .41 Magnum very reassuring should the sudden need arise for an additional close-quarters shooting tool. Trout or salmon fishermen in bear country will certainly appreciate the waterproof comfort of a powerful yet lightweight sidearm. Ranchers and back-country workers who now leave their heavy steel revolvers under the driver’s seat when stepping out of their pickup trucks can have a powerhouse companion that can be stuck easily in the hip pocket or a belt-slide holster without a dragging weight pulling at their waists. And hunters who need to move rapidly over rough ground after a fleet quarry or pack of hounds will think the Titanium Trackers are a Godsend.

I remember in the 1960s and 1970s, after the first stainless-steel snubnose and fixed-sight revolvers appeared on the market, how interminably long the wait seemed before sport and field models began to appear on the market. The original stainless S&W Chiefs Special Model 60 was introduced in 1965; it was then nearly a decade before the first adjustable-sight, longer barrel stainless revolvers were available. When the S&W AirLite Ti and Taurus Total Titanium personal-defense and police revolver configurations were initially displayed at the IACP Convention and SHOT Show several months ago, I immediately craved the longer barreled, full-featured sport and hunting models I knew were sure to eventually come. But I expected a long, long wait.

Boy, did I underestimate this company. Simply put, the weather-impervious super-light Titanium Tracker .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum revolvers are the answer to an outdoorsman’s dream.

Shooting Modern Big-Bore Lever Actions

Factory Load

Velocity (fps)

Standard Deviation (fps)
25-Yard Accuracy (inches)
.357 Magnum
Remington
125-gr. BJHP
1280
13
1.63
Federal 130-gr.
Personal Defense
1381
41
2.00
Hornady
140-gr. HP/XTP
1198
20
1.63
Winchester
145-gr. Silvertip
1161
30
2.25
PMC
150-gr. Starfire
1097
76
2.50
Speer
158-gr. Gold Dot
1169
49
1.50
Winchester 180-gr.
Partition Gold
1093
29
1.13
Overall
average accuracy
1.81
.38 Special
Remington
125-gr. BJHP
1036
35
1.25
Speer 125-gr.
Gold Dot
1008
24
1.88
Winchester
125-gr. Silvertip
886
32
1.50
Federal
129-gr. Hydra-Shok
884
15
1.62
Speer Lawman
158-gr. TMJ
817
7
1.13
Overall
average accuracy
1.48
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of five seven-round
groups fired from a sandbag benchrest at 25 yards.
Velocity is the average of seven rounds measured
10 feet from the gun’s muzzle, and standard
deviation is instrumental.

Coming To Grips With The Tracker
The grips on the new Tracker are Taurus’ patented Ribber design. They absorb recoil and increase controllability tremendously, which is a very important factor in firing a 24-ounce, full-power-magnum handgun. A handgun’s direct recoil impact ordinarily does two things to the hand: It slams the backstrap against the web of the palm and wedges the angle of the grip downward, working to break the shooter’s grasp. Ergonomic grip designs can compensate by providing cushioning for the palm over the backstrap and by securing the purchase of the fingers against the frontstrap. The Taurus Ribber grip does both.

Molded from a soft-textured polymer, the Ribber’s backstrap is thickly cushioned around the reduced-dimension inner titanium grip-frame, and the front and sides of the grip are formed by wraparound, closely spaced, small elastomer ribs. These softly flexible ribs (visualize them as three-dimensional teeth on a comb) deform and squeeze together when grasped, shaping themselves into a natural “fingergroove” configuration that molds to the individual shape and surface of the palm and fingers of the specific hand. Released, they return to natural, ready for the next different grasp. Plus the many small ridges greatly increase the surface area contact between the grip and your palm compared to conventional solid-surface grips.

This is a major advance in grip technology. We have long known that the most effective handgun grips for keeping a secure grasp against direct recoil are those with fingergrooves—but only if the fingergrooves match the shooter’s hand. Unfortunately, no one shape or size, no matter how “average,” can fit every shooter’s hand (“one size fits all” always means no size exactly fits). The Ribber solves the problem, creating an individual “custom” fingergroove fit self-molded to the individual hand every time you pick it up. It provides a remarkably comfortable and controlling grasp on lightweight titanium guns, even the snubnose Total Titanium .41 Magnum, even in rapid fire. It’s the best, most secure revolver grip design I’ve ever encountered. I hope Taurus will license it to aftermarket accessory manufacturers for application to other manufacturers’ handgun models.

Page One - History, Total Titanium, Durability, Finishes
Page Two - A Real Tackdriver, An Outdoorsman's Dream, Accuracy/Velocity, Grip Design

This article was originally published in Shooting Times magazine in August, 1999.

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