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Taurus tracker model 627.

THE.357 MAGNUM IS A GREAT CARTRIDGE, and due to that there is a huge number of options when it comes to guns so chambered. One of the most versatile.357s I've come across in a while is the Taurus Model 627, part of its famed Tracker series. Available in four-or 6.5-inch barrel, the kicker here is that Taurus engineers have reworked the dimensions of this medium-frame revolver so the cylinder will hold seven rounds.

Picking up the gun reminds one of the larger-framed guns that Taurus markets under the Raging Bull moniker. With a full barrel underlug, the guns have the additional weight to soften the blow of harder-hitting cartridges while still being handy enough for holster use.

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Taurus has continued this look on the Tracker series, which is chambered in a number of cartridges from.17 HMR to.44 Magnum. Most, like the 657, are finished in matte stainless, and the longer barrels adapt easily to the Taurus scope mounting system for those who choose it as a hunting gun.

For my test, I picked the four-inch version because I am always on the lookout for a shorter, more powerful handgun for my treks in the mountains of New England. While it may suffer from a slight decline in ballistics, this gun is perfect on the hip or in my backpack for all-dav hikes.

The balance is perfect in the hand, especially when fully loaded. The rubber Ribber grips fit my hand very well, and the ribs give under pressure, which makes the gun more comfortable to shoot with heavy loads.

The finish on the gun is even all around and done in a matte stainless that's perfect for all day, outdoor use. The hammer, trigger and cylinder release are chrome-plated for durability and contrast nicely with the rest of the gun.

The hammer is serrated, with a width between target and service, and is supported by a hammer transfer system for safety. On the base of the hammer is the proprietary Taurus Security System that locks the gun with the hammer down, via the supplied Allen key.

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The target trigger is wide, smooth and perfect for deliberate double-action shooting. The single-action trigger pull measured 4.5 pounds, and while heavy it did release with a minimum amount of slack, giving it the feel of a much lighter pull. Double action had the normal stacking problems and broke at 13 pounds. The distance from the hammer and trigger is very comfortable, and the trigger guard is large enough to accommodate heavy gloves.

A slight push forward of the cylinder release opens the seven-shot cylinder. Although the gun is chambered for this larger-than-normal capacity, the cylinder itself measures just 1.53 inches, which is comparable to others of its ilk. The cylinder locks both at the rear of the frame and at the yoke rather than at the front of the ejector rod.

A brisk action on the ejector rod dumps all seven cases to the ground. Timing is nearly perfect as there is no evidence of a heavy drag mark on the periphery of the cylinder.

The gun is equipped with a premium adjustable rear sight assembly with a blade that is tipped back slightly to counteract glare. The notch is more than adequate and is surrounded by a white outline. Up front, the sight is ramped, serrated for glare and has a red-orange insert.

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The heavy barrel has four ports machined into each side of the barrel as well as a gas expansion chamber help to diminish I the felt recoil of heavy J magnum cartridges. Both the top of the barrel and the frame are matte stainless, and in outdoor testing I had no problems with sun glare off these parts.

I found the gun pleasant to shoot with both.38 and.357 ammo--thanks to the combination of the porting and the Ribber grips--and accurate at 25 yards. Being a big fan of lighter bullets in both the.38 Special and.357 Magnum, I chose Hornady 110-grain +P FTX loads in.38 Special and 125-grain.357s from Winchester and Remington.

With the shorter barrel, the porting and a windless day, most all groups fell into groups from three to 3.5 inches from a braced rest with a full cylinder load. I enjoyed the session and walked away without the strain and pain from shooting a short-barreled gun with heavy loads.

For those who like the outdoors and feel the need for a compact, accurate and well-handling magnum revolver chambered for seven rounds--or certainly for defensive handgunners looking to pick up an extra round of.357--consider the Taurus Model 627. Once you pick it up you'll never put it down.

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TAURUS TRACKER MODEL 627

TYPE: SA/DA revolver

CALIBER: .357 Mag.

CAPACITY: 7

BARREL: 4 (tested), 6.5 in.

OVERALL LENGTH: 8.75 in. (as tested)

WIDTH: 1 5/8 in.

HEIGHT: 5.5 in.

WEIGHT: 28.5 oz.

FINISH: matte stainless

GRIPS: Ribber

SIGHTS: adjustable rear, ramp front

TRIGGER: SA, 4.5 lb. pull; DA, 13 lb. pull

PRICE: $600

MANUFACTURER: Taurus, TaurusUSA.com, 305-624-1115
ACCURACY RESULTS TAURUS TRACKER MUDEL 627

Cartridge   Bullet weight      Muzzzle       Standard   Avg. Group
                (gr.)      Velocity (fps)   Deviation     (in.)

.38 Special

Hornady +             110           1,084         24         3.5
PFTX

.357 Magnum
Remington             125           1,417         33         3.0
SJSP

Winchester            125           1,408         32         3.5
JHP

Notes: Accuracy results are averages of three seven-shot groups at
25 yards from a braced rest. Velocities are averages of 10 shots
recorded on an Oehler Model 35P chronograph. Abbreviations: JHR
jacketed hollowpoint; SJSR semi-jacketed softpoint
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Title Annotation:FIRING LINE REPORT
Author:Trzoniec, Stan
Publication:Handguns
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Oct 1, 2011
Words:941
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