The buck stood broadside at 25 yards. I cocked back the hammer on my Taurus Raging Hunter .357 Magnum and lined up the sights on the buck’s heart-lung area, let out my breath and shot. Then I squeezed off four more shots, alternating between double and single-action trigger pull, confident the deer would hold still as he was, in fact, a Shooting Made Easy (SME) Deer Target.
Results? Shots 1, 2, 3, and 5 grouped at a very nice 1.22-inches. I pulled Shot 4 down and to the left.
But, clearly the Raging Hunter .357 Mag. would do the job at 25 yards and no doubt much further. And the shots on the SME deer target reaffirmed what the other 150 rounds I’d run through the revolver suggested all along: the Taurus Raging Hunter 357 Magnum is a very accurate revolver, perfect for handgun hunting, on the nightstand for home defense, at the range and just for plinking.
The Raging Hunter .357 features a great trigger and with the 8.37-inch barrel (which was the model I tested) a very generous sight radius. The porting near the front of the barrel plus the ergonomic grips do much to tame the .357 Magnum recoil, too.
Deer, hogs, coyotes, and similar-sized predators are all fair game for the Raging Hunter .357 Mag. The revolver certainly has self-defense uses, too, though I would opt for one of the shorter barreled versions if self-defense was my primary purpose for getting a Raging Hunter.
Taurus debuted the Raging Hunter in .44 Rem Mag in 2019, and it received a great deal of acclaim. The NRA’s American Hunter magazine, for example, gave the big bore revolver its Golden Bullseye Award as the 2019 Handgun of the Year. Almost to a person, reviewers praised the Raging Hunter.
As the revolver’s very name states, Taurus developed the Raging Hunter for big-game hunting. But it is safe to say the revolver’s appearance was the initial attention-getter, starting with the aluminum sleeve covering the barrel. That sleeve, as reviewers noted, was a looker and it gave the revolver a very balanced feel.
The Raging Hunter (then and now) featured a unique barrel configuration with factory-tuned porting and a gas expansion chamber to reduce muzzle rise. Finally, a Picatinny top rail combined with adjustable rear and fixed front sight system gives shooters the option of optic-assisted or open-sight shooting.
Available in two color schemes—matte black or matte black and stainless—these spurred hammer DA/SA big-bore revolvers offered a 6-round capacity in the .44 Magnum.
Having heard and read such good things about the 44 Mag version, I had to wonder if Taurus had hit another home run with the .357 model. I asked, and Taurus sent me a new .357 revolver.
I’m no wheel gun expert but in this reviewer’s opinion? Taurus has knocked it right out of the ballpark–again.
For testing the Raging Hunter’s accuracy and general performance, I used three brands of .357 Magnum ammunition: Hornady Custom, loaded with a 158-grain XTP bullet, and an average velocity of 1,255 feet per second (fps); Remington’s Hog Hammer launching a 140-grain XPB HP bullet, an average of 1,275 fps; and Winchester.
Super X Personal Protection round, firing a 158-grain jacketed hollow point at an average of 1,260 fps.
(All velocities measured with ten rounds of ammunition and a PACT Professional XP Chronograph, from Brownell’s, positioned six feet from the revolver’s muzzle.)
I shot off two, seven-round cylinders of the Winchester ammunition to acquaint myself with the Raging Hunter and I immediately noticed the revolver’s recoil was truly manageable. And not just during the first shot. I was impressed that follow-up shots were fairly easy to manage, too. A good number of the .357’s I’ve shot bounced around in my hand considerably after the first shot, so much so I have had trouble getting back on target in a reasonable amount of time.
The Raging Hunter’s long barrel helps with recoil management, too, especially since it features eight gas ports at the front of the barrel, four to a side. They help to push the muzzle down as a round is fired, reducing flip.
Also, the Raging Hunter’s rubber grips sport cushioned inserts, making the handgun more comfortable to shoot versus straight wood or man-made material grips. My hands molded to the grips.
Initially, the Raging Hunter was placing rounds low and left. This was a simple fix, as the adjustable rear sights required only a small flathead (slotted) screwdriver to operate both elevation and windage.
I then shot several Birchwood Casey IPSC Practice Targets at ten yards, standing and offhand. My best grouping had six shots into the Upper “A” rectangle (approximating a headshot) at 1.36-inches, with five of those actually in the “A” box and measuring 1.21-inches. This shooting was done in single action.
For double-action, I used the larger “A” rectangle in the target’s center mass. That group stretched out, no doubt because of me and the added length of the revolver’s double-action trigger pull. Yet, those six shots measured 2.19-inches, with five of the shots coming in a very nice 1.21-inches.
In other words, for self-defense? Single or double action, the Raging Hunter can and will thoroughly destroy the day for any bad guy.
I then moved on to shooting at 25 yards from a rest. The afore-mentioned deer target with the Hornady Custom .357 ammunition scored the best accuracy, with that four-shot group at just 1.22-inches. But the Hog Hammer and the Winchester rounds also punched five-shot groups at under two inches, consistently.
If I was going to hunt with this revolver, I would likely add an optic, and the Raging Hunter has a Picatinny rail built right onto the barrel shroud for easy mounting.
The Raging Hunter’s seven-round cylinder swung out easily. The revolver also features two-cylinder releases. These two releases, versus the standard one release, create a better alignment of cylinder to barrel than a single lock-up point, and no doubt are one reason for the Raging Hunter’s first-rate accuracy.
For safe operation, a transfer bar safety prevents the Raging Hunter’s hammer from striking the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled fully to the rear.
Trigger pull for the Raging Hunter measured at 3 pounds, 10 ounces, and 9 pounds, 10 ounces in double action, according to my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. In single action, the trigger snaps off very cleanly. The double-action does, of course, require a longer pulling of the trigger, and while that pull is actually quite smooth, for me that means reduced accuracy.
Negatives? At nearly 60 ounces unloaded, the Raging Hunter .357 is a heavyweight. Of course, no one purchases a handgun with an eight-plus-inch barrel and expects it to be dainty. Still, for the hunter, this means you will likely want/need a sturdy holster, especially if you are a mobile hunter. Galco Gunleather, for example, makes the Kodiak Chest Holster that fits large-framed Taurus revolvers.
Put an optic on it, and the Raging Hunter would require a more custom-built rig like the Scoped Revolver Holster made by Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged Holsters out of Arizona.
For home and self-defense, I would recommend the Raging Hunter with the 5.12-inch barrel. The 8.3-inch barrel on the model I tested is just too unwieldy in a tight space.
The Raging Hunter is a fine revolver. I hope to use it afield this year to find out just how efficient a hunter it can be, at what ranges and with which ammunition brands. Reports to follow!
SPECS: Taurus Raging Hunter .357
Frame Size: Large
Capacity: 7 rds.
Action Type: DA/SA
Caliber: 357 MAG/38 SPECIAL +P
Weight: 59.20 oz.
Barrel Length: 8.37″ (as tested)
Overall Length: 15.00″
Front Sight: Fixed
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Safety: Transfer Bar