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Why the Taurus Model 617 Is No Great Revolver

Taurus Model 617
Taurus Model 617

Taurus Model 617: Simply an Average Revolver? Taurus has been catching my eye these past few years. They used to be one of those companies I’d scoff at and try to dissuade people from buying their products. It’s not like that anymore. In fact, I find myself confused when I recommended that my buddy purchase a GX4.

All this hubbub about Taurus had me wanting to take a look at a couple of their firearms over the years. The Taurus 617 caught my attention. It’s a 7-shot .357 magnum revolver, something typically outside of my wheelhouse. But I figured I could only play with Glocks for so long. Is the 617 an overlooked gun or something not worth the mention? Read on to find out.

By all accounts, this little revolver looks as generic as you can get. It has a stainless steel frame and rubberized black grip that I found rather unhelpful when shooting 357 magnum. It is still a rather appealing look, especially when it’s all cleaned up. The Taurus 617 is a snub-nose which is something I like for looks, but not so much for keeping my hands pain-free. Even though it’s from Taurus, it doesn’t look cheap. I found it to be a nice-looking gun all told.

More than a few people have purchased the Taurus 617 with concealed carry in mind. I personally am not interested in carrying anything like this around. The reliability of a wheel-gun can’t be overstated, but I just can’t get past the limited rounds. Yes, seven is more than usual for a revolver, but I’d still prefer to have at least 15 rounds. Adrenaline can throw off shots and that becomes especially concerning when you have an extremely tight ammo supply. 357 is a pretty sweet self-defense round, but in this frame, it’s unwieldy and limited. It wouldn’t be bad for defending yourself from bears though.

Reliability is basically perfect as is expected out of virtually any revolver. I didn’t have any misfires over 1000 rounds, but it wouldn’t have really mattered anyway since you don’t really clear malfunctions on revolvers. This is just the standard for wheel guns. We’d be having a massive issue if this firearm malfunctioned so horribly that it prevented the operation of the handgun.

I have to bring up recoil. 38 is fine, whatever, nothing too serious. Maybe a little snappier since it’s coming out of a short barrel. 357 however is horrendous. It is straight-up unpleasant to shoot and is one of the biggest flaws in this handgun. You’d think that the heaviness of the full steel frame would mitigate that, but it really doesn’t do much. If you insist on carrying this gun for an EDC, carry 38. 357 is a helluva round for stopping power, but it’s just not as controllable. 357 out of the 617 is one of those things that’ll make you not want to practice with it.

The Taurus Model 617 isn’t a bad gun by any means, but it’s just not really for me. It’s, unfortunately, going to be sitting in a safe until I can find a buyer. That’s doesn’t, however, mean that this isn’t a good buy for you. If you like revolvers and have a budget, you might be looking in the right direction.

Richard Douglas writes on firearms, defense, and security issues. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, 1945, Daily Caller, and other publications.

Written By

Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast, and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller, and other publications.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pete Mitchell

    December 27, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    It’s a left-handed revolver?
    You need to flip your photo, genius.

  2. Isaac Rodriguez

    December 28, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve had my 617 for about 8yrs now and it is accurate and fun to shoot. You must me a little guy or something because even my daughter’s like to shoot it 357rds or 38rds. I did buy bigger grips for it. I do carry it sometimes but mainly it’s my carry piece when I’m hunting. If you live close to Houston TX and are selling for a cheap price I’ll buy it from you. My daughter wants one.

  3. Michael Coburn

    December 29, 2021 at 3:29 am

    I guess the only way you can make money writing about guns is to write about guns you don’t like from the start.

  4. John M

    December 29, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Relatively poor review saying that it’s terrible to shoot 357 mag through. I’ve owned my 617 for well passed 10years, made in the days when Taurus only made decent wheel guns. For a gun about the size of a S&W J frame with 2 extra rounds it carries excellent, and my 115 pound wife has never had a problem shooting 38 or 357 loads out of it. Ever hot ammo like Buffalo bore on occasion has been put through it for fun at times. Maybe the reviewer is to old or to weak to handle what petite women handle fine.

  5. ERIK CARRON

    December 29, 2021 at 7:31 am

    BRO , I RESPECT YOUR OPINION BUT MY 617 SS BRUSHED STAINLESS ( MIRROR FINISH ) ITS PROBLABLY 1 OF MY TOP 3 FAVORITE IN MY COLLECTION AND I HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH GUNS INCLUDING ( JUST TO MENTION A FEW ) SIG SAUER XCARRY / X-5 LEGION , KIMBER RAPTOR 2 , HK USP45 LEM / P30L , BERETTA 992F , S&W 629 PERFERMANCE CENTER , COLT 45 ACP , ETC . ETC .( A GOOD 30 SOMETHING GUNS IN TOTAL ) YEAH , NO KIDDING SHERLOCK , HIGH CAPACITY 9MM SEMI WILL HAVE AN EDGE WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO SELF DEFENSE BUT STILL , LETS NOT MIX “RICE & MANGOS” IF YOURE LOOKING FOR A HARD HITTING PIECE. EASY TO CARRY AND CONCEAL : TAURUS 617 ITS A “PITBULL”OF A GUN NO QUESTION ASKED , NOW IF YOURE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE KICKING POWER OF A 357 MAGNUM IN A SNUB REVOLVER , BRO , MY WIFE IS A PETITE WOMAN 130 LBS AND SHE LOVES THAT LIL SNUB , I THINK YOURE A TAURUS HATER OR M MAYBE YOU DIDNT EAT YOUR WHEATIES THE DAY YOU TOOK THAT LIL SNUB TO PRACTICE , THEN AGAIN , YOU CAN ALWAYS GET YOURSELF A DAISY BB GUN THATS WAITING FOR YOU IN WALMART . BY THE WAY , LEAVE THEM BEARS ALONE , THEY GOT ENOUGH PROBLEMS TRYING TO SURVIVE AGAINST ALL ODDS , NOT TO MENTION THEY HAVENT DONE NOTHING TO YOU , IF YOU WANT TO PLAY RAMBO CATCH A FLIGHT TO SYRIA OR AFGHANISTAN , THERES NO GLORY KILLING INOCCENT CREATURES .THANK YOU AND HOPE YOU HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR !

  6. Daniel M.

    December 29, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Regardless of who makes it. A 357 out of a snub nose 2″ barrel is going to not be very pleasant. At the authors admission he says that 357 revolvers are “typically out of his wheelhouse”. He is criticizing the maker of the firearm for the normal characteristics of this particular configuration of gun and caliber. Bad review

  7. William Hoppe Jr

    December 29, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve spent much of my life selling firearms and training folks how to use them. In the 1990’s we had to send back an inordinate number of Taurus products because of poor workmanship. The author doesn’t seem interested in the barrel/cylinder lockup or the gap between the barrel and cylinder. These are key indicators of quality in a revolver. I doubt most people didn’t know that a snubby 357 mag has a ferocious recoil. It reads like a review written by a novice.

  8. chris hale

    December 29, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    This moron has never even fired a .357. Or…he is just a pathetic wimp. My 55 year old 120 lb. Wife can shoot heavy .357 loads in her sp101. WhT a moron.

  9. Jack Fulton

    December 29, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    Your articles are very informative but you’re way off on this review. As mentioned before me, any 357 2″ barrel weapon will be uncomfortable. If you’re serious about selling it, I’d be interested.

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