Taurus 85 Convertible Hammer or Hammerless–Same Revolver

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The hammer in place.

The hammer in place.

The hammer-less option.

The hammer-less option.

Read more at Taurus: http://www.taurususa.com/
Buy an 85 on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=taurus%2085

Taurus has been bullish about innovation. The Curve, one of the most widely discussed pistols of 2015, has a lot of features that may very well shape the way we think about concealed carry guns. The View was less controversial, though the gun is destined to be a collector’s item. The clear Lexan panel shows off the inner-workings of the gun the way some glass panels on the backs of watches show off the movements. But neither of these guns have taken major market share from their competition.

We’ve already covered one of the new additions that Taurus is launching this year; the TCP with cocking wings looks to be fully evolved and ready to roll out. The other is just as simple and intuitive. The 85, a cornerstone of the Taurus line-up, has been a very traditional approach to the revolver. Some materials have changed, and there are finish options to choose from–but the basics are rock-solid-wheel gun. One decision for those looking for a concealed carry gun has been to buy an 85 with a hammer, or an 85 without. The best available compromise was the zero-profile, fully shrouded hammer option.

Now there’s a new 85 on the way. This one has a full hammer. If you don’t want a hammer spur getting in the way of concealed carry, you can remove the spur. While this leaves the bulk of the hammer itself exposed (at least during the travel of the trigger during a double action pull), there’s nothing protruding to catch on clothing during the draw.

The 85, at the core, is a timeless design that has a proven track record.

The 85, at the core, is a timeless design that has a proven track record.

How easy is it to remove?

The action, at least in how I will describe it, is easy. After making sure the gun isn’t loaded, you simply twist the spur itself, clockwise, from the 12:00 position to the 3:00 position. When the spur is twisted, it can be pulled free. It takes practice to get it out. Inside the hammer, a detent pin is held in place above a spring by a rolled steel pin. That detent pin indexes a channel in the spur. Twisting the spur pushes the pin down. As the spur twists, the detent picks up another channel which runs out at the edge of the spur (which allows the spur to be pulled from the rest of the hammer).

The pin and removable hammer spur.

The pin and removable hammer spur.

There's a spring, too, that I couldn't get out of the hammer. But this is the pin and the detent.

There’s a spring, too, that I couldn’t get out of the hammer. But this is the pin and the detent.

It takes practice, at first. The model I have was very stiff. It has loosened up significantly as I’ve played with it for two weeks. In between each of these sections, as I think about what comes next, I fiddle with it. I push it in and out. And it is now easier to get the spur to twist and it pops free.

With the spur in place, the hammer cocks like any revolver. There’s no chance that it will shoot loose, or shift when you thumb the hammer. With the hammer pulled, the gun runs just like a revolver with an internal hammer. I dry fired from inside a bag, and from inside several style of coats and I never had a single issue with the hammer hanging up or biting loose material on the way back to the pin.

So enough about the innovation. How does it shoot?

The 85 is tried and tested. If you need an economical .38, this is on your short list. The double action pull is breaking around 10 pounds, and the single action breaks at 4 pounds. The break is clean. I’m not so hot with this gun in double action mode–at least from an accuracy perspective. I’m fully capable of working from the holster, and making solid shots, but I can’t split hairs like I can with some of the heavier guns on the market. And I think that’s it. The small frame and light weight of a snub nosed revolver means I’ve got to pull the trigger a fair distance, and against a 10 pound pull.

Ten pounds in double-action.

Ten pounds in double-action.

A clean four pound single action break.

A clean four pound single action break.

Single action is different. I can adjust my grip, keep the sights locked on the target, and the clean break means spot on accuracy. Even from the two inch gun, I was seeing great results. From reasonable self defense distances, I could keep 5 shots in one ragged hole. From 25 yards, I saw a lot more distance between the shots, but I was still within 8-10 inches of point of aim (and most of those were just slightly wide left).

That’s likely me. I found that I shoot the 85 slightly left. When I first unboxed it, I chalked the drift up to trigger control. Whenever I encounter a new gun, I’ve got to learn the nuances of the trigger. That’s natural. And I’ve got large hands, so finding the right position on the grip that allows really clean trigger manipulation requires practice. After working with this one for a couple of hours, I was still hitting just left of point of aim. If it were a gun meant for target shooting, I’d be more concerned. As a self defense gun, I’m perfectly comfortable with the way this gun performs (or the way I perform with it).

My first five out of the gun from 15 yards. Single action.

My first five out of the gun from 15 yards. Single action.

Single Action, 5 shots. 7 yards. I hate those pesky red dots.

Single Action, 5 shots. 7 yards. I hate those pesky red dots.

5 from 7 yards, aim adjusted slightly left.

5 from 7 yards, aim adjusted slightly left.

Double action from 15 yards.

Double action from 15 yards.

5 from the holster from 7 yards.

5 from the holster from 7 yards.

10 from 25 yards. 9 shots were aimed at the center dot. I adjusted point of aim for the 10th, and put it less than an inch from my intended target.

10 from 25 yards. 9 shots were aimed at the center dot. I adjusted point of aim for the 10th, and put it less than an inch from my intended target.

The takeaway?

I’m enamored with the whole concept. I was having a discussion with a cousin this past week about what gun to get for concealed carry. He had a couple of intended uses in mind. He wanted a gun that was reliable, and one that he could conceal, and one that would not be adversely affected kicking around in a tool-box. In short, he wanted an 85. This is the type of gun you will never baby. With proper maintenance, it will run forever. The .38+P rating makes it versatile. You can run light loads all day long on the range and never feel the hand fatigue. You can ramp up the power for carry. While the cylinder limits you to five shots, you have the confidence that the gun points naturally, is capable when aimed, and isn’t going to jam.

This 85 has the extra perk of the removable hammer, making it even more adaptable. And the phosphate finish on it is nice, too. Most of the others in this line are blued–which looks sharp, but requires more maintenance. No this is a one-gun solution for a lot of folks who are looking for a simple workhorse. And at the price? The 85 line can be found at retail for somewhere north of $200. As materials and finishes and options are added, they go up–but reasonably.

The hammerless, cocked.

The hammerless, cocked.

The hole here holds a roll pin that keeps everything in place.

The hole here holds a roll pin that keeps everything in place.

The pin can be drifted with a #1 roll-pin punch.

The pin can be drifted with a #1 roll-pin punch.

Even if the pin drifts out, everything will stay in place--even through cocking and recoil. The hammer has to be turned over to release.

Even if the pin drifts out, everything will stay in place–even through cocking and recoil. The hammer has to be turned over to release.

The rear site on the 85 is a simple milled channel.

The rear site on the 85 is a simple milled channel.

The front blade.

The front blade.

 

The 2" snub nosed is a reasonably sized 5 shot .38.

The 2″ snub nosed is a reasonably sized 5 shot .38.

After 250 rounds, the Taurus showed no signs of heavy use.

After 250 rounds, the Taurus showed no signs of heavy use.

The key to the lock.

The key to the lock.

The lock, locked. No bang.

The lock, locked. No bang.

The Taurus ejects left, and rotates to the left.

The Taurus ejects left, and rotates to the left.

Deep pin strikes.

Deep pin strikes.

Easy to eject brass, mostly.

Easy to eject brass, mostly.

But watch that these two closest to the frame don't hang up on the rubber.

But watch that these two closest to the frame don’t hang up on the rubber.

The cylinder showing some signs of use.

The cylinder showing some signs of use.

After a full day of mixed target loads and heavier Hornady carry ammo, I felt no hand fatigue. The rubber grip works well.

After a full day of mixed target loads and heavier Hornady carry ammo, I felt no hand fatigue. The rubber grip works well.

Read a review of the Curve: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/carrying-the-taurus-curve/

Buy a Curve on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=curve

Read a review of the 85 View: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/taurus-view-glowing-innovation-or-glitzy-gimmick-new-gun-review/

Buy a 85 View on GunsAmerica (there’s only one!): https://www.gunsamerica.com/913456484/Taurus-85-VTA-38-Special-P-1-41-Inch-Barrel-Aluminum-Finished-Frame-5-Round-2-85001.htm

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Dan February 18, 2016, 10:55 am

    I like the removable hammer – surprised this isn’t a universal option on revolvers.

  • John Bibb February 15, 2016, 3:06 pm

    ***
    Seems like an extra cylinder or option in 9mm. Luger would be a nice addition.
    ***
    Rocketman
    ***

  • LVE4GOD February 15, 2016, 11:54 am

    I’ve been considering a S&W Bodyguard (with CT laser) or Ruger LCR for my first gun, having determined that a nice lightweight CC wheelgun was for me, and putting a box or so of rounds through each at the range. I guess now I’m even LESS decided, so thanks for that. In all honesty, I guess more choice is always better, and this Taurus would cost about half as much. But then I can’t help wondering if I’d get exactly what I pay for, i.e. LESS (lifespan, reliability, something).
    Decisions, decisions…

  • Steve Warren February 15, 2016, 10:43 am

    The hammer is there for two reasons: “Looks” and because many holsters are designed to use it as a retaining point.

    There is no such thing as single action shooting with a revolver in a defensive shooting situation. Ever.

    Therefore, always train double action. The hammer spur really is unnecessary on a revolver carried for defensive purposes.

    • howard2374 February 16, 2016, 10:23 am

      “There is no such thing as single action shooting with a revolver in a defensive shooting situation. Ever.”

      Concur! The 10 pound pull is way too much. My Taurus 941 has a heck of a pull. (Check out the YouTube videos for confirmation of that statement by various posters.) I’m in the process of replacing the ‘factory’ hammer spring with a lighter spring. Only problem is that Wolfe Springs only had 9.5 pound spring. Of course one cannot put in too light a spring to ensure reliable firing of the primer. (BTW, the 941 and the 85 take the same hammer spring.)

    • Aaron February 16, 2016, 4:06 pm

      Dang, if only there wasn’t about 200 years of defensive pistol history contradictory to that statement..

  • Mossberman February 15, 2016, 9:41 am

    Why is it every one of their guns shoots low and left out of the box. I have two pistols and one revolver and they all did the same

  • BruceB February 15, 2016, 8:07 am

    I’m with Will, pretty big misses for “aimed” fire at 25 yds. No bueno.

    • Alan February 15, 2016, 9:35 am

      Well IMHO, expecting something better from those rudimentary sights at that range is just silly.
      It’s a self defense snub, NOT a target gun.
      Frankly, that range is silly too, out of it’s design element.
      On that note, I had a 85 that would consistently put all 5 spot on in a 3″ group at 15 yards with my Ex shooting it, but that girl could shoot.

  • Mr Robert Anton Novak February 15, 2016, 4:42 am

    Several years ago I bought my wife a Taurus 85. The trigger pull in single action was so light that I deemed it dangerous for her to use, and ended up trading it in for a S&W .40 which she loves. I don’t know, but it seemed like the trigger pull on the 85 was about 2.5#, if not less. Far too many rounds went into the dirt bringing the gun up into play. My wife has CP and this was definitely not the gun for her.

  • Hugo Stiglitz February 12, 2016, 6:47 pm

    I like the concept. I wonder why the industry leaders (S&W, Ruger) don’t seem to innovate like some of their smaller competitors.

  • Mark N. February 12, 2016, 2:05 am

    I wonder if a “commander” style round hammer would work on this gun, instead of that spur. Wouldn’t worry about things catching on it, and yet have a hammer to go single action if desired.

  • Will Drider February 11, 2016, 7:52 pm

    Oh, you mean spur or spur-less, but it is not hammerless buy common definition. Qs: Did you actually shoot it with the spur removes and did the spring you could not remove stay in the hammer? Does the manual address removing the spring with the spur prior to being fired?
    Even for a shorty, that example shot well to the left. Accuracy should always be addressed as point of aim and resulting point of impact. To say “the gun points naturally, is capable when aimed,” is deliberately misleading. It may point naturally but you have to adjust (aim) to the right. The latter negates the former. Groove and post sights are rudimentary at best. I can accept short barrel results that spread out 360° but not a coulpe feet to one side at 25 yards (or was that 25 feet?).

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