Thursday, August 17, 2017

Featured Gun: Taurus 669 VR

This month's featured gun is the Taurus model 669 VR revolver.

You may remember this gun made it in the TCB's Sexy Gun Awards post.
The gun was also listed on my post Guns I used to Own, which is what led to it becoming a "Featured Gun". My revolver looked exactly like the one pictured above, a 669 VR stainless with a 6" barrel, unfortunately I didn't save any pictures of it.

The model 669 VR is a variant of the Taurus model 66, the 669 VR model had the addition of a full under lug and a Vented Rib, which is where the VR comes from.

the Taurus model 66:

The under lug eventually became standard on the model 66

Before we tell the story of the model 669, we should probably explain why the Taurus revolvers bear such a striking resemblance to the Smith & Wesson revolvers. 

The Smith & Wesson model 66

At one time, Taurus was owned by the multinational conglomerate Bangor Punta, who also owned Smith & Wesson. The company thought it might be a good idea for the engineers at Smith & Wesson teach the Brazilians how to make a revolver.....the result was a very close (cosmetic anyway) copy of the K frame Smith.

The specs below are based on the model and vintage 669 VR that I owned.

  • Finish: Blued carbon/stainless steel(Inox)
  • Action: Single/double action revolver
  • 6-shot cylinder rotating counter clockwise
  • Chambered in .357 Magnum
  • Adjustable rear target sights
  • Ramp front sight with red/orange plastic insert
  • Brazilian hardwood stocks
  • 6 groove barrel 1:16.5" RH twist
  • Grooved target trigger
  • Checkered spur target hammer 
  • Transfer bar safety and frame mounted hammer 
  • Size: Mid-size frame (comparable to S&W K frame or Ruger Security Six)
  • Height: 5.68"
  • Width: 1.496"
  • Length: 9 3/8" (4" barrel) 11 3/8" (6" barrel)
  • Weight: 36.5-40.25 oz in weight (depending on barrel length)

The top of the frame and barrel is grooved to disperse light and prevent glare in the sight picture

Production of the 669 VR began in the 1980's and sometime in the early 1990's Taurus switched the model number to 689, then in 1998 production for this model ended.
This is a picture of the end of the box my Father's 669 VR/689 came in, someone (the distributor?, dealer?) wrote over the 689 and changed it to 669 VR. The owner's manual above listed the model as 689 as well.

The guns came shipped in this black cardboard, foam lined box

Please keep in mind that this report is based on a model 669 VR owned by me in the early '90's and may not be indicative of the current quality of firearms coming from Taurus today.

No one would argue, least of all me, that the model 669 VR is not a beautiful gun, it is basically a Smith & Wesson K frame with a Python barrel (although I like the look of the vent rib on the Taurus better than Colt's).
Looks, however, only get you so far.......
It is a universal truth that you get what you pay for, and with the Taurus, you get a decent gun for a decent price. 

If you are looking for precision fit & finish buy an older Smith & Wesson or a Colt, you want a revolver built like a tank, get a Dan Wesson or Ruger. 
In this life there are only compromises. After all if you could get the reliability of a Ruger with the fit and finish of a Python for the price of a Taurus...there would be no need to look any further.

The gun seemed hefty and well built, the fit and finish were better than what you would expect from a budget priced gun (If my memory serves me correctly, I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 for the gun from the dealer).

Like a K-frame Smith & Wesson, you should not feed a Taurus 669 VR/689 a steady diet of potent .357 ammo, better to stick with 158gr wad cutters or .38 Special loads for plinking.

My particular gun had a timing issue from the factory, it shaved lead horribly, which also affected its accuracy as the bullets seemed to tumble. I sent it back to the factory twice (did I mention Taurus has a lifetime, no questions asked, warranty?), but they were unable to fix the gun to my satisfaction.

I ended up trading the gun off. I have read plenty of reviews that suggest my experience was not completely unique, but also not the norm. 

My Father owned the same exact gun, he also owned a Taurus model 85 (2" 38 Special) and he had similar luck with his two Taurii (the plural of Taurus?).

Here are some pictures of other 669 VR and 689 revolvers