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Old February 22, 2008, 12:12 AM   #1
MrTuffPaws
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Taurus M85 Ultra-Lite range review

Well, I finally got to take my M85 Ultra-Lite to the range.

Gratuitous Picture


After bringing it home, I did the standard Taurus revolver welcome home. I popped the slide plate and doused it in CLP to get all of the metal bits and grit out of it, then let it drip dry with the slide plate off. After putting it back together, the action was 10 times smother. This is personally considered a must for all new Taurus revolvers.

I used snap caps to get used to it, then loaded up some plinker ammo, CCI Blazer 158gr LRN, and a box of my planned carry ammo Speer Gold Dot 135gr GDHP Short Barrel, and headed off to the range. I couldn't really be there for a long range session, so I only took 120 rounds total.

After getting there, I bought 3 large bullseye targets, they were out of silhouettes, and set the first target up at 5 yards and loaded up 5 of the Blazer 158gr LRNs to give it a go. Keep in mind, the Blazers out of my 357 have the recoil of a .22, so I wasn't expecting much of anything even though the UL only weighs 17oz. I brought it up in a double hand grip, cocked it, and fired off one single action shot.

Holy cow! The recoil was harsher than my 357 with stock magnum loads. It was impressive to say the least. Not to mention the flash was huge.

I fired off 3 more and checked the crimp on the last round. It slipped, but not enough to lock up the cylinder, so I fired it off and loaded up another 5. Again, the last round slipped crimp, but not enough to be an issue. One the third load full, the last round slipped enough to lock up the cylinder. After a bit of playing with it, I was able to open it up and eject the round. So much for cheap 38s for plinking.

Next I moved on to the Speer Short Barrel. I was expecting something like a hammer hitting my palm, but after firing off one, it was just a bit less than the Blazers. None of the 4 last rounds of the 4 full loads jumped crimp. It was almost pleasant to shoot. The muzzle flash wasn't noticeable, but I wasn't really paying attention to it. I only had 20 rounds with me, but it shot point of aim for me, and the recoil was such that with a few more rounds, doing a 5-5-5-5 drill shouldn't be that difficult to do. Thumbs up for Speer Short Barrel!

All in all, I put around 90 total rounds though it. My hand hurt afterwards, but nothing to extreme, and for a first time out, I was decently proficient with it at 5 yards.

Pros: The grip is really comfy and the guns points naturally for me. The looks, to me, are more pleasing than the Smith J frame. The trigger, though a bit heavy is very consistent and smooth as silk. The weight of the gun makes it like it's not there.

Cons: Blued guns show wear and scratches like the all get outs, and it is not helped by the Al frame in contact with stainless steel parts. The black on black sights disappear on a black target. The weight of the gun make for some heavy recoil. My cheap 38s jump crimp, so I'll have to find some substitute for general plinking ammo.

For the future, I have a wolf spring set on the way in hopes of lightening up the DA trigger some while maintaining reliability. I'm also trying my and at making a leather pocket holster for it as well. I'll post a how to when I get done with it, assuming that it is not a total mess.

All in all, I am very please with it.
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Old February 22, 2008, 01:29 AM   #2
Mosin44az
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I have one too, and find it serviceable. I actually prefer the Uncle Mike's "boot grip" to the standard Taurus grip, the recoil feels better to me, probably because the gun rolls a bit with the smaller grip.

I carry Federal Personal Defense, and generally shoot lighter loads in mine, the Federal 130-grain jacketed, or the Winchester White Box 125 grain JHP.
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Old February 22, 2008, 02:07 AM   #3
saber9
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I have a model 85 identical to yours except it is stainless steel. My experiences with it are pretty much the same as yours. My practice ammo is handloads, usually light wadcutters. I carry it with either 125 gr hp +P or my standard velocity handloads with 158 gr LSWC. It is one of 3 different CCW's and I would estimate I carry the 85 at least 50% of the time. I am well pleased with mine and have recommended them to several people as a very good and less expensive alternative to a S&W J frame.
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Old December 31, 2008, 01:43 AM   #4
GunConvert
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please pardon my ignorance: What is meant by "jumped crimp"..

I dont know what it is but it doesnt sound good lol
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Old December 31, 2008, 08:28 AM   #5
Jkwas
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Tuff paws, congrats on the new '85. I just pulled my 605 out of mothballs for winter carry and you've given me the itch to take it down to the range.
Even though these guns use most of the same holsters as the J-frame, they just seem to fill the hand more. They're like a J1/4 size

Good shooting and Happy New Year to ya.
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Old December 31, 2008, 08:43 AM   #6
12GaugeShuggoth
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+1 for the 85, I've got the stainless ultra-light. I like the short barrel Speer loads as well, though I prefer Golden Sabers. About the stiffest recoiling loads I've tried have been the WWB 125gr. +p JHP. They are the ones that just have the exposed lead hollowpoint overtop of a jacketed base. I've got a couple hundred rounds through my 85 and have no complaints, I painted the front sight with some waterproof acrylic neon green paint and it has helped considerably.
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Old December 31, 2008, 09:18 AM   #7
mega twin
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Most bullets are crimped into the cartridge case to keep them from moving until being fired.
Some ultra light guns recoil enough to make the bullets move from their crimped position from the other rounds being fired. Kinda the same way an inertia bullet puller works.
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Old December 31, 2008, 02:48 PM   #8
Sulaco2
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^

Under heavy recoil the bullet "jumps crimp" forward because of the difference in weights between the case and the bullet. With each shot the bullet is "pulled" forward and in some instances the bullet moves forward enough to lock up the cylinder so that it will not rotate and that IS a bad thing...
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Old December 31, 2008, 03:46 PM   #9
dajowi
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A few weeks back a shooter at the range where I was an RO had one and asked if I wanted to shoot a cylinder full. I said sure and the gun was loaded with some down loaded reloads. After the first shot I wasn't sure I wanted to finish shooting the gun. It was like someone hitting my hand with a 2x4. I gritted my teeth and preceded to conclude the shoot. This was not the first time that I've shot one of these lite weight snub nosed pistols in either aluminum or titanium. I had to laugh when the owner, (a military and civilian award winning marksman) said that he himself had only fired a few self defense loads in the pistol and found them to be among the most punishing shooting experiences he'd ever encountered. Although it was ultra lite for carry, something a little easier to control without the punishing recoil and blinding muzzle flash might be preferable in a defensive situation in case follow up shots are necessary
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Old April 7, 2009, 11:49 AM   #10
jonvitosal
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Taurus 85UL Disaster

2 months ago bought a new Taurus 85UL 38 cal, and fired 1 shot when the gun jammed. It has been at Taurus since 3/21, and they are way behind on repairs. It took my gun shop 3 weeks to get a clear shipping back date for warranty work. It means I'm out $385 bucks, and 3 months without home protection. Thank you very much. I should have listened to my grandpappy when he said get a Smith.
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Old April 7, 2009, 12:43 PM   #11
Lolgasm
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Nothing but good news with my m850. Its blued as well and is normal weight, and its an older model so it looks just like a m85 but with no hammer spur(I think the new shrouded hammers are UGLY). I was even surprised how this thing kicks and its not an ultra light model either. I love it though, it does seem to fill the hand really nicely with the factory grips, but I have been looking for a set of wood boot grips, just cant decide what color looks best on a blued gun, red or grey.
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Old April 7, 2009, 08:50 PM   #12
denfoote
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I've had an M85SSUL since 1997.

No real problems except for the crimp jump thing.

Firing +P ammo out of it is...um...different!!!
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Old April 7, 2009, 09:11 PM   #13
Laker
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Acording to another thread all Taurus are junk and shouldn't be purchased by anyone. My Taurus 605 is carried 90% of the time and my Smith & Wessons share the other 10. Your milage apparently will vary.
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Old April 7, 2009, 09:20 PM   #14
Lolgasm
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In my Taurus manual it says not to fire +p so i use federal premium hydra shoks
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Old April 7, 2009, 09:40 PM   #15
BlayGlock
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I have an 85 UL Homeland defender edition with CT Grips. The larger grips really help tame the harsh recoil. Mine also has a fiber optic front sight on it which helps to acquire a target more quickly. Been a great gun so far and shares carry duty with my Kahr CW9.
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Old April 7, 2009, 10:47 PM   #16
Paool
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I have one of the M85 Total Titanium models that I use for CC. Shoots very well, but yes, it hurts like the dickens to shoot. Honestly, it hurts my hand more than my SRH .44 mag with hot loads.
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Old April 8, 2009, 07:17 AM   #17
Leejack
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Congrats on your new gun!
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Old April 8, 2009, 02:51 PM   #18
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I have an 85UL that I really like. You'll love the Wolff spring set on it! Makes it a totally different gun.

I see you still have the stock 2-finger grips on it. Change those out to a set of three finger rubber grips and you'll have a much easier time handling the recoil. Smooth finger grip wood grips don't work for me - they let the gun move too much in my hand.

I've tried Corbon, Speer Short Barrel, and Hornady Critical Defense ammo in mine and the Speer seems to kick much more than the other two.

The frame isn't aluminum, it's a titanium alloy.
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Old April 8, 2009, 09:05 PM   #19
Lolgasm
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untitled-2.jpg

this is my older model taurus 850. I love it and as you can see, it has a concealed hammer, but it is like a bobbed hammer because there is no spur but it is not hidden inside the gun. I cannot seem to find any other pictures of a model like mine and it works flawlessly and kicks quite a bit too. But taurus says no +p through it

sorry for the quality, its from my cell because i dont have a camera, but you get the idea
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Last edited by Lolgasm; April 8, 2009 at 09:06 PM. Reason: added last part
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Old April 8, 2009, 09:55 PM   #20
Keltyke
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Quote:
But taurus says no +p through it
Really? They say +p is fine through my (new) 85UL.
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Old April 8, 2009, 09:59 PM   #21
Lolgasm
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This one is mid to late 90s I think, Ill have to dig out the manual, but i remember reading no +p through it. Which is fine by me, I dont mind firing normal hydra shoks out of it, and it kicks pretty hard anyways
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Old April 10, 2009, 10:15 PM   #22
B.N.Real
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I have the exact pistol you have.

I did exactly what you did by taking the side plate off,wiping out what grit I could find,spraying Rem Oil in the lockworks and letting what ran out,run out and relubing with gun grease.

It definitely helped smooth out the trigger workings.

I have fired 158 grn lead round nose standard pressure loads and 95 grn +p loads through it and all have been comfortable for me.

And pretty darn accurate for a light weight snubby too.

At seven yards I can easily dump all the pounds in a pie plate size target ( size of a grown mans chest)in under two seconds without using the sights.

I like mine.

I do feel bad for those of you who have bought ones that have needed service though.
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Old April 10, 2009, 10:39 PM   #23
Laker
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According to several posters here, Taurus are all junk. BN like you I've never had a problem with mine. I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!
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Old April 11, 2009, 08:11 PM   #24
B.N.Real
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I have owned three and the only problem I've had is I was too stupid to not trade or sell the first two.

My present Ultralight stays in the family forever.
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Old April 12, 2009, 06:01 PM   #25
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Laker:

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

I get tired of thr BS certain people spread!

You'll get over it some day!

Keep shooting.
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