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Close encounter with the Taurus Raging Bull: I wouldn't consider this hand cannon for concealed carry but, for versatility, it's tough to beat.

Hopefully, the ghost of Elmer Keith (1899-1984) won't haunt me or that anyone still living who knew him will think I mention his name here merely to gain added interest in these words. This legend's first contribution to hand cannons appeared in 1935 with the .357 Magnum and his second, the .44 Magnum, was commercially released in 1956. Both rounds were the culmination of his experiments in pushing heavier bullets out of revolver barrels at higher velocity. Almost instantly, the .357 surpassed the .38 Special in popularity with law enforcement and the .44, propelling a 250 grain bullet out the muzzle at 1200 feet per second, became a formidable favorite amongst handgun hunters. His development of new bullet designs for his boomers is not to be overlooked either.

Keith subsequently leaned somewhat on Smith and Wesson and Remington to manufacture a revolver able to withstand his .44 Magnum load. Though S&W is credited with the first, Harry Callahan's Model 29, Ruger actually beat them to the market with their single action Blackhawk. Despite not getting involved with the revolver manufacturing, Remington did deliver a more powerful cartridge than the Keith .44 Magnum. It pushed out a 240 grain slug at 1500 ft/s. Dirty Harry warned bad guys he was tagging with, "This is the most powerful handgun in the world. Have I fired five or six rounds? Do you feel lucky, punk?" Harry wasn't kidding. Until the introduction of the .454 Casull, based on the .45 Colt, the .44 Magnum reigned supreme. What held the Casull back is its recoil, considered excessive by some shooters, and the cost of revolvers to handle it. The cost remained a drawback until Sturm, Ruger and Taurus introduced more economical models in the 1990s.

I've never personally fired a .454 Casull but I own a ten inch Black-hawk in .44 Magnum and have managed several five inch groups at 100 yards with it. What I have experienced, indirectly, was that of a fellow club member. Mr. Turner, an avid hunter, showed up at our outdoor range with his brand new Casull revolver and 50 rounds of .454. I was at port one checking out some reloads for my target-ready Model 1911A1. Turner, equipped with forearms like a gold-pounder, was clear up at the opposite end of the 40 port range and soon blasted through my ear muffs with noise from four rounds of .454. Admittedly startled, I looked to my right to see him clearing the spent brass from the cylinder and swinging open the shipping box of the gun. I never found out what became of the revolver. Turner, regrettably, resigned from the club and moved his spray coating business to a small town located northeast of Moosehead Lake in Maine. I figure if he ever lets go with that Casull up there it will scare the trophy moose or bruin he's after to death.

Field Stripping

The Raging Bull used in the photos accompanying this article is a pure Model 444 chambered for .44 Magnum. As a result, it could be the best seller amongst its fellow models. The model that interests me most and supports my earlier versatility claim is the Model 513 as it chambers three inch .410 shotshells, .45 Long Colt and .454 Casull with one, six-round cylinder. Wanna go after varmints? Stuff in the 410. Wanna try out some Cowboy Action loads? Downloaded Long Colt is perfect. Wanna knock out something big or mean? That noisy, barrel-bucking Casull is the can-do round. In addition, the sheer size of the Raging Bull itself can discourage anyone entering your shop or home with harmful intent. And its take down is a mirror image of any other Taurus large frame wheel gun. Be alert, though, as part numbers may vary in the schematics from model to model.

To begin, perform all work behind some form of eye protection. Depress

the take-down latch (10), push the cylinder to the left to swing it open and confirm there are no cartridges present. Back out the grip screw (52). Get a solid hold on the rubber grip (51). Wobble it back and forth. Keep up the wobbling as you are pulling the grip straight down from the frame. It's on there tight and may release its hold suddenly. With the cylinder open, the gun can receive a basic clean up. I recommend, however, that the side plate be removed as described in the next paragraph. Doing so will enable examination of the revolver's internal parts and allow a flushing away of any accumulated fouling. This to be followed by a drying with a hair stylist's blow gun and light lubrication.

Detailed Disassembly

The yoke screw (47), yoke retaining pin (49) and yoke pin spring (48) back out as a unit. Keep them together and separated from the two side plate screws (50). These two come out next. A husky, hard rubber or rawhide mallet is manned for removal of the side plate. The plate is on very snug and has razor sharp edges. Work over a padded bench surface. Hold the gun firmly by its barrel and whack on the side of the grip frame opposite from the plate. If it stays put, hold on tighter and whack it harder. Never pry on a side plate. It's ruinous. Still no movement? Whack the thumbpiece (17). That should do it but be very careful in handling the plate. Those edges can cut your fingertips to ribbons.

You've already removed the yolk screw. When you did, it loosened the bond between the frame and the lower yolk barrel (See #9). Swing open the cylinder (8) and give it a mild tap toward the muzzle. Pull out the entire yoke assembly and set it aside. Sooner or later, most revolvers having a coiled mainspring (42), as this one does, will require the services of a paper clip. Straighten it out, then put a short, 90 degree bend in one end. Pull back on the thumb-piece and slowly cock the hammer assembly (24) until you see the hole in the base of the main spring center pin (37). Insert the bent end of the paper clip in that hole to capture the spring. Move the hammer forward and memorize how the mainspring assembly (40,41, 42, 43) is installed in the grip frame before removing it. You'll be begging for all sorts of action problems if you reinstall it incorrectly.

The hand (45) is attached to the rear of the trigger assembly (35). Swing the hand back and out of its frame window, then lift it free of the hand spring (33) and pin (34). The spring and pin might decide to come out with the hand. If not, pick them out and do not lose them.

The next challenge for your brain tissues is how the sear (29) engages the trigger when the hammer is at rest as opposed to when it's cocked. Once you have those positions permanently relegated to memory, pull the trigger just enough to allow the hammer to be lifted from its frame slot. The sear stays with the hammer.

I'll be blunt. The sear must remain on the hammer. Trigger jobs on a Taurus, or any other double action revolver, are not to be attempted by one who lacks multiple experiences adjusting sear/trigger engagement on a Smith & Wesson. Enter Jerry Kuhnhausen's The S&W Revolver: A Shop Manual for an excellent text on the subject. Also look for the specialized tooling by Ron Power. Both will avoid sear/trigger foul ups sure to void a factory warranty.

Put another 90 degree bend in the free end of the paper clip. Pull and hold back the trigger. When you see the small hole in the trigger spring center pin (37) insert the freshly bent end of the spring. Grasp the trigger spring swivel (39) with long nose pliers or sturdy tweezers to remove the assembly from its frame recess. What you have in your hand is a paper clip with one end attached to a mainspring assembly and the other end to a trigger spring assembly. Leave it alone and safely deposit it in a magnetic parts tray. A minor amount of wiggling will prep the trigger to be released from its pivot and withdrawn upwards. Push the cylinder stop (44) down through its frame slot and lift it out. Turn the frame over. Backing out the thumb-piece screw (18) releases the thumb-piece (17). If the cylinder bolt (22) and its spring (23) remain in the frame, invert the frame and remove them. Just above the cylinder bolt is the firing pin retraining pin (21). Drift it left to right until you can withdraw the firing pin (19) and spring (20). Save the retaining pin, firing pin and spring in the parts tray.

Return to the cylinder/yoke assembly. The cylinder stop plunger with spring (12) may have already separated from the lower barrel of the yoke. If not, make it happen. On the upper side of the yoke is the front latch (10). It is only present on the Raging Bull and other Taurus revolvers chambered for the .454 as an extra line of defense against the pressure/recoil of the cartridge acting negatively on the cylinder. After all, it wouldn't do to have a cylinder flop open immediately after the dangerous game is down but not out. If that added line of defense ever requires replacement the only item holding its three components together is the front latch pin (13). It's a small roll pin. Treat it kindly and with the proper drift punch.

I'm assuming you don't have Sears Robo Grip pliers in your tool inventory as I do. I recommend you add them because they can be opened to span a cylinder and they have pads to cover their jaws. I do not doubt your ingenuity in whipping up a substitute for them but I chose not to and purchased a couple of ready-mades. Whichever your choice, grab the cylinder in one hand. Hold on tight. Squeeze the end of the extractor rod (14) between the padded plier jaws. Turn it clockwise. Once it's loosened up enough, back it all the way out by I hand. Look at the rod attached to the "star" end. If it has a groove you're working with an older model. No groove means it's come off the production line more recently.

Please be careful getting the yoke off the cylinder assembly. It's not going to fight you. Just use a wooden dowel or the handle of a screwdriver to start the yoke moving away from the front of the cylinder. After it is clear of the cylinder, the extractor spring (5) and its rod collar (6) can be pushed forward and out of the upper yoke barrel. Whether the same can be done with the cylinder retaining bushing (2) depends on a groove being present in the extractor rod. If there's a groove you can push out the bushing. If there isn't, you can't. The bushing is press fit in.

Problem Solving And Cautions

Two full pages on these subjects appeared in an earlier article on the Taurus Judge (January 2002). The same material applies to the Raging Bull. Since I believe that article is still available as a reprint, I'm avoiding rote repetition here by suggesting you refer to this additional source as it will serve you well.

Parts List Note:

If working simultaneously on more than one Taurus revolver of the same caliber, keep the frames, side plates and yokes distinctly separate. They all carry serial numbers. Get the numbers mixed up and the guns won't go back together.

1 Extractor

2 Cylinder Retaining Bushing

3 Center Pin

4 Center Pin Spring

5 Extractor Spring

6 Extractor Rod Collar

7 Extractor Rod Spring

8 Cylinder

9 Yoke

10 Front Latch

11 Front Latch Spring

12 Cylinder Stop Plunger w/Spring

13 Front Latch Pin

14 Extractor Rod 15 Barrel 16 Frame

17 Thumbpiece

18 Thumbpiece Screw

19 Firing Pin

20 Firing Pin Spring

21 Firing Pin Retaining Pin

22 Bolt

23 Bolt Spring

24 Hammer Assembly

25 Keylock

26 Keylock Spring

27 Keylock Ball

28 Keylock Pin

29 Sear

30 Sear Spring

31 Sear Pin

32 Transfer Bar

33 Hand Spring

34 Hand Pin

35 Trigger Assembly

36 Trigger Spring Assembly

37 Trigger Spring Center Pin

38 Trigger Spring

39 Trigger Spring Swivel

40 Main Spring Assembly

41 Main Spring Center Pin

42 Main Spring

43 Main Spring Plate

44 Cylinder Stop

45 Hand

46 Side Plate

47 Yoke Screw

48 Yoke Screw Retaining Pin Spring

49 Yoke Retaining Pin

50 Side Plate Screw(2)

51 Rubber Grip

52 Grip Screw

53 Rear Sight Assembly

54 Rear Sight Spring

55 Rear Sight Pin

56 Front Sight

57 Front Sight Pin

58 Stock Pin

60 Firing Pin Bushing

61 Center Pin Bushing

63 Rear Sight Screw

69 Cylinder distance Bushing
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Article Details
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Author:Blood, Chick
Publication:American Gunsmith
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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