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Old June 26, 2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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Taurus Reliability - Actual Numbers

I see a lot of Taurus bashing going on in forums, and that's not to say that a certain amount isn't justified... I've never owned a Taurus, haven't even shot one before. However the amount that goes on (as others have said) seems suspiciously high for a company that's still in business. As a prospective buyer, the amount of worthless noise surrounding the brand is staggering, and more than a little annoying. But, is it justified?

I'm shopping for a snubbie 357 and I've mostly had my eye on the Ruger LCR, but at the shop yesterday handling some various options, a couple Taurus options (the 651 and the 605 poly) totally caught my eye. They were over $100 less and had better sights out of the box, some more heft that might help with recoil a little more, and felt really nice in my hand. Since I tend to be careful and know I'm going to like something before I buy it, I went home empty handed and did some research.

I know a lot of times the armchair experts make doing research like this on the internet a little maddening, and most professional gun reviewers are are worthless because they don't want the manufacturers to stop sending them free guns to review so they say everything is awesome, but I was driven to find some actually useful information about the reliability of Taurus firearms (which is my only real hang up with buying one). And lo and behold...

I found a post on this other site where this guy went through every issue of "Gun Tests" magazine (who aren't paid for by ads, and who aren't sent freebies by the manufacturers) to find all the tests of guns by Taurus and Glock (and also all of the various 1911 models, but that doesn't pertain to this discussion).

Out of the 83 total Taurus tests done between 1994 and 2010, 16 broke or locked up during testing (that's 13.28%). Out of the 47 Glock tests over that same period, zero (0) broke or locked up.

Not exactly the best score for their QA, however I would have to say that it is a far cry from them "making more bad guns than good ones," which I've seen said a lot on this and other forums, and it's a pretty silly notion as they really wouldn't be in business if that were true.

So to me it seems that while their reliability record isn't stellar, the people having problems are probably just louder. The ones without problems don't spend their time raging on the internet about it, because they're too busy at the range shooting their fully functioning firearm. ;)

So after finally finding some numbers, my opinion is if the extra $120-$200 is a lot of money to you, or if the extra money saved is worth the 13.28% chance of having to send it back for repair/replacement under warranty, and it feels good in your hands, then get one. If any of that bothers you, or money isn't an object, or you'd be embarrassed to be seen anywhere with a Taurus in your hand, or whatever your beef is, then don't. Simple as that. I know, some answer, huh?

Well, at least it's more concrete than "OMG TAURUS IS POOP BY WIFE'S FIRING PIN BROKE" or "I'VE HAD A TAURUS FOR 30 YEARS AND IT'S FINE"! :)

As for me, I'm still deciding if it's worth it to me or not. Maybe I'll sell some stuff and get both the Ruger and the Taurus?
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Old June 26, 2012, 10:29 AM   #2
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To each his own. I've spent over 250 dallors shipping my Tauruses back. This last time I figured it would be the last. I like them, but with the cost of shipping, I won't buy anymore. They cost just as much in the long run. Just my opinion.
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Old June 26, 2012, 10:35 AM   #3
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My Taurus PT-99 (purchased new in 1989) shattered the locking block which caused the slide, barrel, frame to "lock up". No one was familiar with this problem was back then or what the "fix" was. It took some time for the smith who worked on my gun to finally get it apart. By then, however, the soft aluminum frame rails were gouged by the sharp locking block bits.

Several things to note about this:

1. When the gun locks up due to a broken locking block, you would think it is just a normal jam or stuck case. So, there is a tendency to keep yanking on the slide to get it to open - this can damage the soft aluminum frame.

2. Years later Taurus came out with the "fix" to the broken locking block problem. The fix is to cut the barrel in half so that the slide can be lifted out without gouging up the frame. That's nothing short of a very bad design flaw, in my opinion.

3. Beretta has addressed the weak locking block by beefing up their locking blocks on their 92's - I think this was about 5-7 years ago - but don't hold me to this. No one has ever been able to confirm to me whether Taurus also now uses the "beefier" locking blocks, or if not, whether the new Beretta locking blocks can be retrofitted.

4. When my smith finally got the gun apart, the the locking block he received from Taurus was so out of spec that he felt it would be unsafe to fit it to the gun. So he sent it back and got another one. It needed some fitting, but much less than the 1st one. The replacement locking blocks were very rough looking - looked like it was sandcast and it had casting burrs on it.

5. Note: My PT99 was manufactured around 1989. Perhaps the new ones are better made. I'm not bashing Taurus as a company - I've shot some of their revolvers that work just fine over the years. I had my smith put the gun back together - fired it to make sure it worked ok, and then traded it + cash for a Smith & Wesson 659, which I still have today.
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Old June 26, 2012, 10:42 AM   #4
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never had a reliability problem with any of mine, but they were terribly inaccurate (or i was terribly inaccurate with them). my grouping spread all over the paper. picked up a sig p226, and my grouping instantly tightened to a few inches. sold my taurus that weekend.
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Old June 26, 2012, 10:45 AM   #5
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FWIW, I've owned both revolvers and autos from Taurus, and I will never buy another because they've ALL had problems of one kind or another. I think a good source of information on a brand is a gun store owner, if you know an honest one and have a good relationship with them. The owner of the store I buy from is very candid; he sells Taurus, he stands behind them, and he EXPECTS to have to send them back to the factory post-purchase to be made right. He says Taurus doesn't give him problems about it, the turnover time is reasonable (but growing) and the guns seem to work OK once they come back.

He also points out that there seems to be increasing problems with many, if not most, brands. Even the Gen IV Glocks are coming back far more frequently (his words) than the Gen IIIs.

I guess the bottom line is: buy what you like, but make sure the store, and the manufacturer, will stand behind the product if problems do arise.
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:06 PM   #6
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I don't own a Taurus, but friends and family do. Their experience has been mixed, with some good, others bad. The problem is the bad ones seem to seldom get fixed properly. The good ones seem to work w/o problems, though. So, my take is that if you get a good Taurus, it'll serve well and you'll be pleased. If you get a bad one, it may remain bad. So, Taurus is something of a gamble and their record of correcting problems is inconsistent.

I'll continue to avoid them.

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Old June 26, 2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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I have been neither a Taurus basher nor a Taurus fan, but permit me to comment that when it comes to a self defense firearm that I might need to protect my precious hide, 86.72% isn't good enough. I know that no gun (or any other mechanical product) is perfect and that no company has zero defects, but Taurus seems to have more problems than most. Not important in a safe queen or a range gun; damned important on the street.

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Old June 26, 2012, 12:30 PM   #8
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13.28% failure means there IS no quality control.
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:38 PM   #9
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I have nothing against Taurus revolvers, but for a few more dollars ($50) you can get a Ruger which has a reputation for ruggedness and reliability. Those little Taurus/Rossi 357 leverguns are interesting though.
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:45 PM   #10
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From what I see and hear and read, Taurus uses top notch materials and its original designs are excellent. Where they seem to fall down in in production quality control. In the best factories, skilled and motivated workers are the front line of QC. It is they who will spot bad or out of spec parts coming from the machines and call the problem to the attention of the supervisors. The final QC falls to the aseemblers, who should not let a bad part get into a gun, and should never "make it sort of work somehow".

I have never been in Brazil so I have obviously never been at the Taurus factory, but it seems to me that what they lack are those "skilled and motivated workers" necessary to make best qualilty guns.

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Old June 26, 2012, 01:03 PM   #11
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when it comes to a self defense firearm that I might need to protect my precious hide, 86.72% isn't good enough.
That's a pretty valid viewpoint. Although the 13.28% pretty much refers to problems present right out of the box related to machining of parts or assembly, rather than parts being made of sub-par materials that eventually break without notice. I don't hear so much about that happening. However, you might be right.

13.28% failure means there IS no quality control.
Nah, it means they either aren't taking a big enough sample, or their failure threshold is too high. None at all, and people would be killing themselves with their own guns left and right.

I have never been in Brazil so I have obviously never been at the Taurus factory, but it seems to me that what they lack are those "skilled and motivated workers" necessary to make best qualilty guns.
I believe they ship the parts to Florida, and they're assembled there, due to restrictions on shipping weapons.
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Old June 26, 2012, 02:48 PM   #12
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You might also consider that the failure rate slightly exceeded 13% in initial testing. You aren't considering what the failure rate may be one or three or ten years out, with regular range use.

To me, 13% failure rate out of the box is spectacularly high. I wouldn't put my money there, but obviously enough people do to keep the company in business. How many of those are people who buy the pistol and put it in the drawer after going to the range once, if that?
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Old June 26, 2012, 02:58 PM   #13
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Just the facts here. My PT1911 has broke three times, first time was after 50 rounds right out of the box. Shipping costs me $40 each time. Last time the part needed was backordered and took me a few months to get it back. In the time it took me to get it back I eneded up buying a P345 so I could shoot .45's again.
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Old June 26, 2012, 03:27 PM   #14
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I had a TCP .380 for a bit. I had numerous Fail To Extracts happen with several different ammo brands. I sold it to someone locally making sure they knew exactly what was happening. He sent it back on his dime. There were 3 or 4 problems with the gun they supposedly fixed.

I bought a Tiger LC9 and SR9c. They both work great. I wont buy another Taurus again peesonall
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Old June 26, 2012, 03:31 PM   #15
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13% failure out of the box! That's terrible. What a joke. Take it out to 500 rounds, 1000 rounds, 1500 rounds... I bet the joke keeps getting less and less funny.
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Old June 26, 2012, 03:57 PM   #16
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I must admit, I was pretty neautral on taurus until this point. I have owned a few that were OK, one that was great. And I did just get one the other day, that doesn't seem too bad, yet.

However reading this...I have to say a Proven, unbiased 13% failure out of the box is very unacceptable. Because if 13% fail right out of the many fail before the 1000 round mark etc.? And will your "13%" come up when you need the gun the most?

After reading this, and verifying as good as I can the facts on the matter, I would not consider a taurus a viable carry gun. Range toys, sure.

I still wont go around bashing on them, but nor will I suggest them as a budget brand gun for any serious use.

Kindest regards and thanks for the report
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Old June 26, 2012, 03:57 PM   #17
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Personally I have never had any problems with my Taurus' or would that be Tauri handguns.

I've owned and or own PT92's and various revolvers. My latest acquisitions were a couple of model 94 (.22 RF SA/DA) revolvers.

However back in the early 90's I have had friends that had some serious problems with their semi auto's.

All this talk about problems with Taurus would not stop me from purchasing one tomorrow if it was a good deal.

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Old June 26, 2012, 04:01 PM   #18
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You might also consider that the failure rate slightly exceeded 13% in initial testing. You aren't considering what the failure rate may be one or three or ten years out, with regular range use.
Yeah, I know it's just out of the box failure, I thought I had mentioned that... But also, and I realize this is completely anecdotal, the vast majority of complaints I've read online from regular Taurus owners about were problems experienced either in the first few rounds fired, or pretty well within the break-in period. I've found a few "I had one for 15 years and something broke" stories, but not many. There aren't many long-term tests done for any make and model though, so there isn't really any other way I can think of to get any sort of indication of their long-term reliability (today, anyway).

Of course someone could objectively collect new short and long term data on all products from all manufacturers using empirical evidence and standardized testing procedures for all products tested, publishing only the raw results and not 'what they thought about them' like all current reviews. But, that would take time, and there's no money in that so it's not likely to happen at all anyway. If anyone knows of any person or agency doing this, please let me know.

How many of those are people who buy the pistol and put it in the drawer after going to the range once, if that?
Hard to tell. There is also the phenomenon of people who haven't actually had any real first hand experience with a Taurus for any length of time weighing in, and recommending that people not buy them (because they wouldn't). I think most of time that has to do with an individual's personal biases and what they think is 'cool' or 'the brand to own' or whatever (or because they 'know someone who had a problem' or something), rather than a brand's true reliability. On the other side of the coin, people post things about Smith & Wesson revolvers that are so gushing they borderline on inappropriate, and that's almost as bad. While I'm positive there is a measure of increased reliability, the true reliability of each brand can't be nearly as polarized as posts about them online make them out to be.

It reminds me of Apple. If you take a survey asking if people love their iPhone/iPod, you'll get nothing but five star glowing reviews, and people saying "DON'T BUY CHEAP IMITATIONS, GET WHAT YOU KNOW YOU WANT!" and such. But in reality, the things are no better at doing what they do than the competition. Personally, every iPod I've ever owned had issues, and all broke after a couple years (not due to abuse, I babied the things), and absolutely everyone I know that ever owned one had the same experience. Yet most people (not me) love them anyway and the hype produces glowing reviews no matter what, and people bash the competition basically because 'they aren't Apple.' Some see a product's popularity (and how much it costs) as an indication of how 'good' it is. I don't. I see some of that same behavior in the pro-S&W-anti-Taurus posters too.

Weeding out bias is a big part of why user reviews are unreliable. It makes it hard for prospective buyers to figure out what they really want as opposed to what everyone else whats (or say they want). If I ask the guys at all the local gun shops, they all just say "We have to send guns from every manufacturer back, so just get whatever feels good in your hands."

All in all, I must say that I think over 13% is pretty high for a product that you could possibly be depending your life on. That is a good point. But I'd like to see deeper tests for longer periods done, and see if there were more of them closer to 1994 and not so much in 2010, or what. There are a lot of blanks left to fill.

Last edited by xanadrew; June 26, 2012 at 04:09 PM.
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Old June 26, 2012, 04:04 PM   #19
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I have a Taurus 94, its a great little gun. If you read on a lot of people enjoy their revolvers, not to say that DON'T have problems. I do know of a few people who own Taurus semi-autos and have had problems. I like Taurus due to affordable 22lr revolver prices. I will buy again a 22lr revolver from them, but thats pretty much it. Nothing else from them strikes me as worth buying.

My dealer said out of 100 Taurus 1911's they sold, about 30-40 had to be returned to broken parts.

Just ask a dealer whats their highest rate of return of firearms are, Taurus probably in the top 5...
Has Taurus really spent more on shipping customers their firearms back to them than actual sales?
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Old June 26, 2012, 04:15 PM   #20
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So some nobody says 13% frailer rate out of the box now it's internet FACT. From someone who has never owned one.

I’ve owned 2 without a problem, guess that makes it 100% reliability: rolleyes:
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Old June 26, 2012, 04:25 PM   #21
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So some nobody says 13% frailer rate out of the box now it's internet FACT
What... 'Some nobody' were various reviewers at 'Gun Tests' magazine over a 16 year period. The number doesn't represent the number of people that said they liked it or didn't, it represents the number of lockups/breakages this particular team of testers experienced. It's about as close to 'fact' as you can get without expending serious cash and resources to do proper reliability tests.

If by 'some nobody' you're talking about the guy that looked through all the magazines to count, he states that he does in fact own several Tauruses.

If you're talking about me, yeah.. I didn't make the number up, I just linked to what I found.

Nobody said it was FACT. In FACT, what I said was:


Last edited by xanadrew; June 26, 2012 at 04:40 PM.
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Old June 26, 2012, 05:44 PM   #22
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I currently own 2 Taurus guns (a PT140 Millennium Pro and an 85CH) and I've owned a few others (an 82, a 605, and while not a Taurus, Taurus owns Rossi and I had a Rossi 461). I put a lot of rounds through all except the 605 and 461 (I don't like .357mag out of a J-frame sized revolver). All have been good guns. I also used to own a Taurus forum and from what I've seen, when people do have problems Taurus is good about fixing them (though sometimes slow) and after the fix it usually works.

In contrast, I've had a few Rugers (generally acknowledged to be good guns). My first, a KP89 was reliable but couldn't hit the broadside of a barn (I was much more accurate with range rentals with which I was unfamiliar than my P89, and friends couldn't shoot that gun accurately either). My second was a KP345 which was horribly unreliable. My third, a Ruger MkII was reliable and accurate, but a pain to put back together after cleaning. My current Ruger is a LCP, I haven't shot it enough yet to have an opinion. I'm not saying that Rugers are crap, but I am saying that internet reputation isn't everything (if it was, all my Rugers would have been terrific, and assuming my LCP is good, I'm batting 25% on satisfaction with Ruger, and if the LCP turns out to be a dud, I'm 0 for 4).

I am currently in the market for a few different categories of guns over the next few months (a small pocket or nearly pocket 9mm, a compact pistol, a 6" .357mag, another 1911, and a .357mag lever rifle) Out of those categories, I am considering a Taurus for each category (counting the Rossi 92 as a Taurus for the lever rifle), and for some a Taurus is at or near the top of the list (the .357mag and the full-sized 1911). I've had personal experience with them, and I've heard from plenty of other owners (happy and unhappy) and I'm not afraid to consider them. If I get a bad one, they'll make it right, and once you have a good Taurus, in my experience it is a good gun (i.e. if you have a problem, you'll probably have it early, and once fixed, it is usually fixed for good).
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:26 PM   #23
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I find some of taurus designs to be good. The 24/7 series fits me very well, and i have always been intriqued by the firiing system used on it. If it wernt for the qc issues i would own a few tauri right now..
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:46 PM   #24
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So some nobody says 13% frailer rate out of the box now it's internet FACT.
Actually, I'd consider Gun Tests to be one of the few truly reliable sources.

At one time, I was keeping a tally at the shop of which manufacturers we were getting the most problems from. My sample size was limited to guns we had to return to the factory for service over a two-year period.

Taurus was at the top of the list by a wide margin. We were averaging three to four guns a month, most of which had problems straight out of the box. We're talking about guns that were sent from the factory with bad timing or serious lockup issues.

We were selling maybe 20-25 a month, which puts us at a similar percentage.

In one case, a Judge had a grip frame so badly canted that it was pulling the sideplate loose. The safety locks had a habit of spontaneously locking on the revolvers, and they'd frequently strip when the owners tried to engage them with the key. I don't think I ever fired one of their revolvers that didn't have at least one chamber grossly over- or underbored.

In that time, we returned one Smith & Wesson, which had the cylinder stop spring give out at around 500 rounds, one Ruger for cosmetic issues, and one Ruger that had a broken front sight.

We stopped carrying the brand altogether in late 2010. Two years earlier, we'd stopped carrying all their automatics (with the exception of the PT-92, which seem somewhat solid) for even worse quality-control issues.

That's not to say that Taurus can't make a reliable firearm. It's just that their oopsies are far more prevalent than other makers'.
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Old June 26, 2012, 08:05 PM   #25
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Ok off topic, Is the 24/7oss still in production? I noticed that the new g2 eliminated the sa/da trigger in favor of a standard da/sa or sa only or da only. I wonder why they eliminated the sa/day??

I may take the plunge on a oss, becuase its what they were going to submit for testing to the us army, but didnt get the chance. So i figure if im going to get another tuari, might as well be that one..
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