When the Taurus Raging Hunter was announced as an NRA American Hunter Golden Bullseye award recipient in 2019, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Why? Not for the worthiness of the product to receive such a distinguished accolade, but rather for Taurus’ commitment to producing dedicated hunting revolvers for the masses (or rather the small corner of the hunting world handgun hunters actually occupy). You see, we as handgun hunters are an often-ignored demographic, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too soon. I immediately loved the concept of the Raging Hunter, which was originally introduced in .44 Mag., and .357, but I automatically longed for something a bit rowdier. I didn’t have to wait long because here it is, the new Taurus Raging Hunter in .454 Casull. Clearly an addition to the line indicates a level of commitment I hope Taurus continues expanding upon—for the long term.
However, let me put the bad news up front. How do I put this delicately? The trigger pull is ... very heavy. As in 8½ pounds—in single-action. But, here’s the good news: This thing outright shoots! The accuracy, in no uncertain terms, was outstanding. When you look at those two items in total, there is a direct correlation. I am willing to wager that I could cut those already-good group sizes by half with a trigger pull reduced in weight by half.
In a nutshell, the Raging Hunter is a double-action, five-shot revolver with a 6.75-inch barrel (as ordered). A feature I really like is the integral Picatinny rail built into the top of the barrel shroud, making the addition of a scope or red-dot-type sight simple. But, what I like even more is that you can install an optic, take it out to the field, drop your revolver, break your scope, and with the loosening of two screws, the optic can be removed and your iron sights are ready to go. That is a great piece of insurance for the handgun hunter.
The Raging Hunter series of revolvers comes in a number of configurations. Starting with caliber options, three are available now and they are .357 Magnum (seven-shot), .44 Magnum (six-shot) and lastly .454 Casull (five-shot). Three barrel lengths are available—5.12 inches, 6.75 inches and 8.37 inches—so there is something for pretty much everyone. The new Taurus is equipped with a shrouded barrel which allows for a lower overall weight, and it takes heft off the front end of the revolver resulting in much better balance, even when fitted with the longer barrel length. This is particularly beneficial to shooting offhand. The Raging Hunter comes in two finishes, a positively sinister Matte Black, and the two tone Matte Stainless. All come with the aforementioned porting (the reason for the odd barrel lengths, I suppose) and comfortable rubber grips. An important note is that Taurus revolvers are equipped with transfer-bar safety systems allowing safe loaded carry, a welcome feature from a safety standpoint. If you are not familiar with these revolvers, the cylinder release procedure takes some getting used to, as there are two latches that need to be manipulated simultaneously in order to complete the task. There is a button to depress in front of the cylinder (it actually resides on the crane) while simultaneously pushing the button at the rear of the cylinder to the left (like a Smith & Wesson and Ruger double-action revolver). It’s a bit complicated, but the cylinder lockup is tight. Aesthetically, the Raging Hunter looks all business. It also balances really well with the tested barrel length and was easy to shoot offhand, something every handgun hunter should be concerned with, as offhand shots on game—especially follow-up shots—are seemingly inevitable.
But I have another minor complaint that is purely subjective. Let’s talk porting. I’ve never been a fan, although I understand the draw. It cuts down on muzzle flip (combined with the gas-expansion chamber), a good thing particularly when fast follow-up shots are imminent. However, that recoil force has to go somewhere, and porting redirects the recoil into your hand. Extended shooting sessions netted a sore palm, but that is something that often gets attributed to the .454 Casull loaded to spec. I just wish Taurus would offer the porting as an option. Okay, no more gripes, as this thing exhibits serious accuracy, the most important virtue.
So let’s talk about that accuracy. In order to extract the maximum potential accuracy from this test revolver, I equipped it with a Burris fixed 2X pistol scope. I picked a number of loads that were a good representation of real, full-blown .454 Casull loads. No reduced recoil or glorified .45 Colt loads. They were a 300-grain jacketed hollow-point load from DoubleTap Ammunition, a 300-grain load from the Swift Cartridge Company (using the exceptional Swift A-Frame), and lastly a 300-grain solid-copper load from Buffalo Bore Ammunition made specifically for dangerous game hunting. All proved extremely accurate, and as I mentioned above, I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that I could cut these groups by a significant margin with a lighter trigger.
The new .454 Raging Hunter is a welcome addition to the hunting revolver ranks, offering first-class accuracy in a well-balanced package. My hope is that Taurus stays the course with this new product line, and not only expands on available options (like calibers) but makes them permanent additions to their product line.