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Raging Bull
Length Overall Barrel Length Weight Caliber Action Type Magazine Capacity
   6.5" 53 Oz. .454Casull/.45 L.C. D.A. Revolver 5

No this is not the famous boxer, played by Robert Deniro, but an outrageously powerful double action revolver from Taurus. This huge gun fires a development of the .45 Long Colt called the .454 Casull, after it's developer, and the cartridge it was based upon. The Casull makes the highly regarded .44 Magnum look (and feel) like a kid's gun. When used with the .45 Long Colt, the gun is pleasant to fire, but those magnum rounds are a real eye opener. This is probably the dumbest gun I have yet purchased, as I already own a .45 Long Colt, and am not likely to be firing too many .454 rounds through the Raging Bull; still, I could not resist the new "world's most powerful handgun". The Casull round held this title for several years; but was eventually displaced by several others. Still, like the old 44 Magnum, the Casull is more than enough cartridge, for nearly any purpose. The round is capable of generating over 2000 foot pounds which is a magnitude of order above most other pistol rounds, and puts it in a respectable company even among rifle rounds. The original guns for this caliber were the Casull series of single action, stainless steel revolvers. These are 5 shot guns, and are amazingly well made; they are also quite expensive.
    Though not cheap itself, the Raging Bull is much easier on the bank account than the Casull guns, and is a double action to boot, though I do not see myself doing much rapid fire, double action work with this piece. The gun is well finished, and is available in stainless or standard blue steel. Like the single action Casull guns, the Taurus holds 5 rounds, the extra metal in the cylinders being necessary because of the power of the cartridge, and has a great trigger and good accuracy. The extra width between the chambers, is obvious in the photo to the left. The five shot limit is not too much of a handicap, in a revolver of this power.
     Aside from it's awkward size and weight, which are actually desirable qualities in a gun of this power, I have no real criticisms of the piece. It is certainly less cumbersome and outlandish in size than the less powerful, gas operated Desert Eagles by Israeli Arms. Guns of this size, weight, and power are primarily hunting pieces, and have little application for self defense, besides being quite unpleasant to fire for recreational shooting, but there is a definite appeal to owning a gun of this power. Along with the increased cylinder wall strength, the cylinder itself is locked to the massive frame in back by a latch similar to that on a Smith & Wesson, and at the front by a crane mounted latch resembling that of the Dan Wessons. The fit and finish of my particular example are excellent, and I like the look of the gun.
    This particular example is rendered in stainless steel, though blue steel versions are available. the weight helps a bit, making the recoil seem not as severe as the specifications of the cartridge might lead one to suspect. Recoil management is also helped by a special series of four ports, cut near the end of the barrel, on each side. These do not cut into the rifled end of the barrel. Rather, they open into an expanded chamber, just past what should probably be considered as a drastically recessed muzzle. This serves to reduce perceived recoil, and also acts as a protection for the crown of the muzzle. In addition, this system does not interfere with the rifling grooves. The drawback of the system is that it adds, perhaps, an extra inch, and a few extra ounces, to what is already a rather large and heavy revolver. This is the latest in a long series of porting systems, derived from the old Magnaport system, which itself was influenced by the original Cutts Compensator. The ports sit directly beneath the front sight. As far as what effect this system may have on perceived recoil, this is hard to say. I did note that the Raging Bull, even when firing full powered 454 loads, seems little worse than my Model 29, 44 Magnum. It is actually more pleasant to fire than that the Star PD, and probably about the same as, of all things, the little Walther PPK. I may someday block off the ports in some manner, and run a comparison test; but for now, I am pleasantly surprised at the level of perceived recoil
     The rubber grips are black, with a softer, red insert along the back portion. This is another approach to the problem of handling the large amount of recoil generated by the 454. The softer, red, insert acts as a cushion, while the harder black portions of the grip transmit much of the energy to the side, and allow for a better grip. At least, this is how Taurus describes the system as working.
     The trigger pull breaks wonderfully crisp, in either single or double action, and the weight of the pull is quite moderate. The gun includes the Taurus safety lock, which locks the hammer down, preventing firing. The lock is enabled/disabled, with a small hex key. The gun will not fit into a standard holster, in part because of the large cylinder, but mostly because of the very thick shroud around the barrel.  I have a reloading press, and my .45 Long Colt dies are reputed to be able, with some adjustment, to reload the slightly longer .454 rounds; we shall see. The possibility of reloading for this potent round means that some frightening things may come down the chute of my reloading press. I will certainly update this site to reflect this, provided my fingers are still around for me to type with.
     To the left, is a comparison of the old 45 Long Colt, of cowboy fame, the 454Casull, to which it gave birth, and the venerable 44 Magnum. None of these cartridges is exactly under powered. Though the 454 is obviously the largest of the three, it's greater size only hints at it's power advantage. The 454 operates at a much higher pressure than either of these other cartridges, making it far more powerful, than it's size would indicate. Though there are more powerful cartridges out there (!!), the 454 is becoming a bit of a standard cartridge, much as the 44 Magnum became one in the sixties. This means that the 454 is widely available, chambered in a number of different firearms, and has had a number of loads worked out for it. With the exception of the 500 S&W (soon, soon), it is unlikely that any of the other super magnum cartridges will have similar advantages. As a matter of fact, I have had a 454 lever action for several years. Because the 454 was developed form an existing, and fairly popular cartridge , there are already a number of bullets styles and weight being produced, and a certain interchangability with the old cartridge is possible. a 45 L.C. can always be used for target shooting or practice, and to save your hands and wrists. In the meantime, make my day!