In April of this year, I was fortunate to be invited to an event hosted by Taurus USA and held in Bainbridge, Georgia. But what was Taurus doing in South Georgia, and not South Florida? It turns out that Taurus is moving its operations and manufacturing headquarters to Georgia. The event allowed everyone in attendance to see the company’s new 200,000-square-foot facility. And while the plant itself was still under construction, we were all impressed with the future plans for the company. By the end of this year, the plant should be fully operational and provide more than 300 jobs for Bainbridge residents.
The rest of the event was held at Southwind Plantation, a five-star bird-hunting facility just outside of Bainbridge. During the event, we tested a wide range of Taurus products, from the company’s excellent Model 856 revolvers to the Raging Bull, a massive wheelgun chambered in .454 Casull. But my favorite boomer was the new Raging Hunter in .44 Magnum.
The Raging Hunter is the little brother to the Raging Bull, and it shares the same general design and profile. However, the Hunter is built on Taurus’s large frame while the Bull uses the extra-large frame. To get the statistics out of the way, the Raging Hunter is 15.75 inches long, 7.1 inches tall and weighs in at a hefty 55 ounces unloaded. And like the Raging Bull, the Raging Hunter has a secondary cylinder-locking feature located on the crane. To open the cylinder, both the thumb latch and cylinder lever must be depressed at the same time.
My test revolver came with a striking two-tone finish, with a black barrel shroud and cylinder paired with a matte stainless frame. Taurus offers an all-black version as well. And as would you’d expect on a pistol this size, the large rubber grip has a cushioned insert to help absorb recoil while the exterior texturing and finger grooves provide plenty of traction.
The Raging Hunter uses a two-piece barrel assembly, with the barrel shroud being made of aluminum. This reduces the revolver’s weight and improves its overall balance. The barrel is also ported like the Raging Bull’s. Unlike some designs that feature large ports, the Raging Hunter’s barrel has eight small ports, with four on each side.
In terms of iron sights, the revolver has a fixed Patridge-style front post while the rear sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. However, Taurus, recognizing that many handgun hunters use either red-dot sights or magnified optics, has also equipped the Raging Hunter with a Picatinny rail that runs along the top of the barrel. The rail has 13 slots, providing shooters with plenty of space and options to fit their needs.
Taurus is committed to safety and has equipped all of its current-production revolvers with a trigger transfer-bar safety. The transfer bar prevents the hammer from contacting the frame-mounted firing pin unless the trigger is depressed. In addition, it makes lowering a cocked hammer much safer.
When I first unboxed the revolver, I was impressed with its overall fit and finish. The dual cylinder latches were easy to manipulate, with the forward latch being operated by the left thumb. The action on my sample Raging Hunter was smooth, with a single-action (SA) trigger pull that broke cleanly at 7.69 pounds. While this sounds heavy, it is actually a very clean trigger that feels much lighter than it weighs.
There are more .44 Magnum loadings now than ever before, and for this test, I chose two proven loads from Federal Premium and one from Speer. The first was Federal’s 240-grain Fusion soft-point load, which uses a bonded bullet to provide good terminal performance on medium-sized game out of a shorter pistol barrel. The Fusion load averaged 1,469 fps at the range with an extreme spread of 56 fps.
Next up were Federal’s Hydra-Shok rounds. The Hydra-Shok brand has been synonymous with personal defense and terminal ballistics since 1989. This .44 Magnum load uses a 240-grain jacketed hollow point (JHP) with the line’s signature center post. It’s essentially an ideal load for small- to medium-sized game where significant penetration is not required. The Hydra-Shok load averaged 1,376 fps with an extreme spread of 30 fps.
Speer’s Gold Dot bullet is a proven design in all calibers and has a superb reputation in the law enforcement community. As expected, the 210-grain Gold Dot load I tested was the hottest of the three, averaging 1,570 fps out of the of the Raging Hunter’s 8.37-inch barrel.
The Taurus Raging Hunter handled these three loads in fine fashion. Make no mistake, as with any .44 Magnum pistol, the recoil was significant. Still, the Raging Hunter’s ported barrel and grip design made the felt recoil quite manageable. Using the factory iron sights, I shot all three loads from a bag rest to see what accuracy I could obtain. And as you can see in the accompanying table, all three loads produced sub-1.5-inch groups. Shooters also have the option of shooting milder .44 Special loads. A load like Federal’s 200-grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow point (SWCHP) ammo, at 870 fps or so, would be a kitty cat in the Raging Hunter.
Taurus has a unique team concept when it comes to new product development, testing, marketing and sales. The marketing team is completely integrated into every aspect of the company. An added benefit is that the marketing team is made up of shooters and hunters who understand the needs of the customers. In addition, many of Taurus’ employees are shooters and hunters.
Prior to the official launch of the Raging Hunter, Taurus hosted a hog hunt for a number of employees and media representatives. Two engineers from the company even participated in the hunt. This enabled the design team to test the Raging Hunter under actual conditions to ensure that the design and implementation would meet expectations. And for this situation, the Taurus team took advantage of the accessory rail and mounted TruGlo red-dot sights on the Raging Hunters.
The hunt consisted of both stalking and hunting with dogs. The Raging Hunter had to be accurate enough for long-range shots while still being well suited for dynamic close-quarters shots. When four dogs bay a large boar and the fight is at your feet, you must be able to make the shot without hitting the dogs, another hunter or even yourself. How dynamic was the hunt? One employee, while attempting to film a shot, was actually bitten by a charging hog.
In all, the group put down 12 hogs on the hunt, which lasted a day and a half. To quote one Taurus employee, “The .357 Magnum performed well, but there is no replacement for displacement. The .44 Magnum is the go-to cartridge for hogs and larger game.”
I would have liked to take the Raging Hunter out for a hunt in a more dynamic environment. However, my hunting opportunities are very limited. Before I left the range, I did take some snap shots at a couple of targets from 20 or so yards. The revolver’s weight and balance stabilized it and made my shots easy.
Taurus is making great strides, and the move to Georgia will only enhance the company’s line of products. I am only two hours or so from Bainbridge and look forward to another visit when the plant gets up and running. For more information, visit taurususa.com.
Taurus Raging Hunter Specifications
- Caliber: .44 Magnum
- Barrel: 8.37 inches
- Overall Length: 15.75 inches
- Overall Weight: 55 ounces (empty)
- Grip: Rubber
- Sights: Front post, adjustable rear
- Action: DA/SA
- Finish: Black, stainless
- Overall Capacity: 6
- MSRP: $920
Performance: Taurus Raging Hunter
Load: Velocity, Accuracy
- Federal 240 Fusion: 1,469, 1.50
- Federal 240 Hydra-Shok: 1,376, 1.00
- Speer 210 Gold Dot: 1,570, 1.25
Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 25 yards.