*The Taurus Model 85
2"-Barrel 5-Shot .38 Special Revolver*
By: Kingpin

This revolver is a 5-shot SA/DA handgun. The firearm is robust, and I have had no major malfunctions with it after thousands of factory rounds through it.

The sights are small, and acquiring them takes practise, although the gun points nicely in the hand.

Safety and Carry

There is no manual safety. The double-action trigger pull is heavy, providing good protection against accidental discharge should the trigger be snagged. It proved impossible to get the weapon to fire ‘accidentally’ by deliberately snagging the trigger on items ranging from branches to furniture. This doesn’t mean that AD’s are impossible with this weapon uncocked, but it would be extremely unlikely that anything could snag the trigger with enough force to make it fire. The weight of the DA pull will simply bend branches rather than firing the gun.

The disadvantage with the heavy DA trigger pull is that for many women it is difficult if not impossible to use the firearm in DA mode. The single action mode has alight trigger. It is possible to be accurate out to surprising distances with it in this mode.

The revolver is compact enough to carry daily, even for small-framed women. It is significantly heavier than the equivalent ‘Airlite’ guns produced by S&W or Colt, but this is compensated for by the lower felt recoil due to the weight of the gun.

I have fired a variety of rounds, ranging from snake-shot to ultra-high velocity carry rounds. Heavy (150gr+) bullets loaded hot produce a heavy recoil, but milder hand-loads can make this gun a pleasure to shoot.

Expansion of hollow-point rounds is unreliable in short-barreled revolvers, so choose your carry ammo with care. I used Corbon ammo until it was no longer available here, and am currently using Federal Hydrashoks and Winchester Silvertips. When there run out I will have to go with a local brand. Stock up on your carry ammo while you can still get it!


The firearm can be disassembled to varying degrees. For most purposes, all that would need to be taken off would be the cylinder and crane, and the grips.The grips are easily taken off by unscrewing them. The cylinder and crane can be removed by unscrewing a screw on the right hand side of the gun, with the cylinder open. The crane and cylinder can then be slid off.

To remove the cylinder from the crane, the ejector rod must be unscrewed. This rod is reverse threaded. Once the rod is unscrewed, take out the two springs and the ejector rod. The extractor star can be taken out next, and finally the cylinder can be pulled off the crane. This requires quite a bit of force.

Once the components are cleaned, the cylinder should be put back on the crane, the ejector star replaced aligned with the groove in the central hole in the cylinder, the ejector rod replaced, the springs replaced, and finally the threaded rod screwed on again. The rod must be tightened by hand, otherwise it will come loose.

The crane can now be put back into the frame, and the screw screwed back in.

With the grips off, it is possible to take the side panel off. This allows you to oil and clean the internal mechanism. This does not need doing often. Unless you have a copy of the assembly diagram (which comes with the gun), do not take the internal part out, as they can be awkward to put back in without instructions.


As a result of dry-firing the gun several thousand times, the firing pin began to fail to spring back into it’s housing.

I corrected this by removing the small pin locking the firing pin into it’s housing, and then removing the firing pin. The firing pin is difficult to get out, and the best method I have found is to use a small Allen key or nail to push the pin out from the cylinder side. Once the firing pin is out, the small return spring behind it should also be removed.

In my case the spring had shrunk from repeated dry-firing, and I corrected it by counter-twisting the spring to increase its diameter.

The spring should be replaced, then the firing pin, which is locked in with its locking pin. Finally the cover-plate is replaced.

My spring eventually died completely, and I replaced it with a piece of another spring of the correct diameter.

Suitablity for Use

This firearm is a pleasure to use. With moderate handloads it is pleasant to shoot for extended periods of time, while full factory loads result in considerable felt recoil.

There are excellent aftermarket grips manufactured by Pachmyr that making shooting and carrying this firearm more comfortable.

Should a lady wish to use this gun for self-defence, the DA spring could be lightened by a competent gunsmith.

It is well suited to a camp/pack gun, as it is light and solidly built.


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