When I wanted a small concealable revolver, I decided to pick up a Taurus 651. When I first saw the revolver in the shop, It appealed to me. It was double/single action. Had a shrouded hammer. It was lightweight, made of steel and best of all, was sub $400.00.
The fit and finish was OK. It weighed in at 25 oz empty which put it at 27.6 oz loaded with 5, .357 self defense rounds. The cylinder was tight with a little play, nothing like a Colt, Smith, or Ruger however. It released with the same push style as Smith & Wesson revolvers. The bluing was rich and dark. It came with rubber boot grips that were easy to grab onto, but hung up on a t-shirt when carrying concealed so I opted for some Eagle Rosewood Secret Service grips. The grips along with the dark bluing made for a beautiful handgun. You can check out the grips here: Eagle Grips
The double action trigger was heavy and measured 14.1 lbs and it had some creep so the first thing I did was pick up some snap caps and sit at home and run about 1000 trigger pulls through it to really smooth it out. It went down to about 13.4 lbs and the creep was almost gone when I was done. In single action, it was a short, crisp 2.75lb pull. The sights were good for a revolver and easy to use making aimed shots easier on the eyes.
Over the course of two months I took it out to the range to give it a good run down and shot many different types of .357 through it to ensure it would be accurate and manageable one handed and while moving. I ran 158gr wad cutters, and multiple types of 125Gr JHP through it. My counts were around 250 rounds of .38 special and +P and 250 rounds of .357 magnum. During that whole time I had one lockup with the 125gr .357 golden sabres and a few lockups with the 125gr low recoil Buffalo Bore .357.
It had a nice snag free design and the flat hammer surface had serrations on it making it easy to cock. I bought a high noon Mr. Softy to work it from appendix carry and couple HKS speed loaders that also work with J-frames and the LCR.
It was a good shooter. There is no comparison to my LCR or Smith as far as fit and finish and trigger however. It is a good cheap handgun. It looked nice with the eagle grips I put on it to replace the rubber ones that came with it. At the range it was accurate and handled recoil well, even with full house loads, as you can see from the below video:
It wasn’t the weapon so much the customer service that turned me off to Taurus. With the cylinder falling off in my hands during dry reload practice after only 500 rounds, it gave me pause. So yes, it was the weapon and the customer service. The customer service folks are the worst I have ever dealt with. They were rude, incompetent, and impossible to deal with. It amazes me they are still in business. I suppose I should have been forewarned when I joined a Taurus forum to research the 651 and noticed a sub-forum dedicated to customer service complaints. Yeah Taurus gives you a lifetime warranty, but they make you pay for it one way or another. Oh well, you live and you learn.
In conclusion, I wanted this revolver to work out, it just didn’t. Buying a Taurus revolver is just not worth the cost savings. Spend the extra 1-200 bucks and get yourself a Ruger or Smith because not only do you get quality craftsmanship but excellent customer support if there are issues. Thank god when the cylinder stop plunger broke and the cylinder fell out of the weapon, I was doing dry reload practice, if I had been shooting it and the timing went haywire it could have been ugly. I do understand that a lot of Taurus owners out there have been happy for many trouble free years with their firearms. I hate to openly bash any manufacturer, however this is the second Taurus that has had to go back, maybe if the customer service experience was good then I wouldn’t have been so vocal about it. But you are only as good as the service you provide so if you come out with a decent product, and offer a great warranty, then follow it up with bad customer service, do not be surprised when you lose customers.