This is a UK-legal Taurus long-barrelled revolver, or LBR. The configuration you see here, with 12″ barrel and peculiar “dough paddle” at the rear, is the only lawful remainder of centrefire pistol shooting in this country.
Made in Brazil, these revolvers have been a staple of British LBR shooting for decades.
There are other types of LBR out there, such as Alphas and, very rarely, converted Smith & Wessons, but most long-barrel shooters go for a Taurus. This is because there are quite a few in circulation and, although expensive, they aren’t as cripplingly so as the other makes.
The only trouble is, Taurus has stopped making LBRs for the British market, so prices have spiralled upwards.
Another major issue is the finishing, the quality of which varies a lot, especially internally. The Model 66 and Model 980, on which our LBRs are based have a couple of besetting issues to do with their cylinders and, if these aren’t slicked out, owning a Taurus can become an exercise in frustration.
Then there’s spares. Taurus parts are not easy to come by in the UK.
All that said, you can take one of these revolvers and turn it into something really pretty to look at and you can make them work.
This is mine:
It’s the 44 Magnum version. I sold this gun to someone who got it all sorted out and was intending to keep it. Then he changed his mind and sold it to a friend of mine and I eventually bought it back.
Just recently, I got handed another 44 Mag Taurus. This one had only seen light usage and for very good reasons. Nothing worked smoothly and the cylinder was barely rotating. Not good for a nearly-new gun.
I decided to give this revolver the makeover of its lifetime and sort out its rotational problems.
Here it is:
All stripped down and ready to be sorted out.
The sideplate was a pig to remove, because it hadn’t been finished well and was way too tight. A sideplate should be a snug fit, but shouldn’t require a sledgehammer and dynamite to remove.
These guns are always supplied in a brushed finish. That has charms of its own, but is poorly set-off by the uninspiring rubber grips that come with the gun. They’re narrow too, which means they transfer a lot of nasty recoil to the web of your hand.
The cylinder. Meh.
The ejector (the odd-looking angular thing sticking out) was so stiff it was barely operating. The centre pin (which pokes out the centre of the ejector and locks the cylinder into the frame) was stuck in its hole and couldn’t do its job. Dreadful!
Day one. I was still considering how far to go with this revolver when curiosity got the better of me and I polished the top of the vent to see how hard it would be to get it mirror-bright.
Damn. That’s torn it. Now I’ve got to do the rest of it!
OK… here goes.
Really getting stuck in now. No turning back.
By now, I had sorted out the grotty cylinder release problems and that ejector. All working smooth as butter.
This first bit went more quickly than I had anticipated. I refined my technique as I went along; learning how far to go with polishing before calling it done.
Not totally done yet – still some scuffs and lines to get out, but we’re nearly there!
Internally, I had got to grips with the poorly-fitting sideplate. I’d made it snug, but without the nasty peening at its leading edge resulting from over-tight initial fitting at the factory. Unfortunately, the sideplate is on the opposite side to this photo.
And that’s Jenga.
Some crud and oil on the gun make the bit around my thumb look duller than it really is.
The revolver is now away having some finishing touches added by my good friend David at Shooting Shed. Click the link for David’s journal.
This was a labour of love, initially to see how long it would take (about 2 weeks on and off), but I now think there could be a new lease of life waiting for dozens more Tauruses out there.
Once I have it back and new grips on (those may take some while to get), I will post an update.