Taurus’ New Gaucho Single Action .45 Colt Revolver


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

March 6, 2005




Single action revolvers have been making a steady comeback from the brink of extinction for just over fifty years now, and the resurgence shows no sign of letting up.  Once declared by many as an obsolete design, the single action plow-handled sixgun was just too good to die. The grand design has always had a core following as a working gun and as a good tool for hunting, but nostalgia and a greater appreciation for its historical significance has led to a surge in the popularity of the single action revolver amongst not only those who participate in the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting, but among hand gunners in general.  Before the turn of the twentieth century, a cowboy had to spend a month’s pay or more to buy a new sixgun, but today, while prices have certainly increased, good sixguns are more affordable than ever, and are built of better materials. Today, the market is rife with good sixguns, and shooters have never had it so good.  Most of the single action sixguns available today are replicas of the classic Colt Single Action Army; one of the most successful handguns ever devised by man.

One of the latest to join in the production of this grand design is the Brazilian firm of Taurus. Their firearms are distributed in the United States by Taurus USA. Taurus has been building handguns and rifles of increasingly good quality for several years, and I was excited to hear that they were introducing a new single action sixgun that they have dubbed the "Gaucho". In Brazil, Gaucho means cowboy, which is a fitting name for their new "cowboy gun". Brazil is second only to the United States in worldwide beef production, and like the cowboys in the American West, gauchos in South America also needed a rugged and dependable sidearm while working cattle and living on the pampas, and the Colt Single Action was in use there also over one hundred years ago.

The Gaucho is offered in .45 Colt chambering and in four different finishes; all blued, satin stainless, polished stainless, and blued with a case-hardened frame and hammer. The latter version is the one sent to me for review. It wears a five and one-half inch barrel, and has the traditional Colt-style front sight with a square notch rear. The rear sight is an improvement upon the original in that it is wide enough to allow a good sight picture for quicker, more accurate shooting. The bluing on the sample gun is a very well polished deep blue-black finish, with no visible flaws. Likewise, the color case-hardened finish on the frame and hammer is beautifully done with shades of blue, gold, and copper. The black checkered plastic grips are well fitted to the grip frame, and are sized and shaped like the original Colt grip frame that was first found on the 1851 Navy model. The ejector rod is of the crescent shape, and the rod housing is cam cut to facilitate operation of the rod. The chambers line up perfectly with the loading gate when the hammer is placed at half-cock, just as it should.  The springs are the traditional flat design, and the hammer spring has a lightening cut up the center. The action on this gun is smooth and the timing precise. The bolt drops into the notches of the cylinder as it should, and the cylinder locks up just as the hammer reaches it rearward full-cock position. The action is the traditional four-click design, but it has an added transfer bar safety to allow the safe carrying of a fully loaded sixgun. The frame mounted firing pin cannot be struck unless the trigger is held at its rearward position. The Gaucho also has the Taurus Security System incorporated into the hammer, which is a key lock that renders the action inoperable. It is a good feature for those who desire such devices, and is unobtrusive and easily ignored for those who do not. The trigger pull on this revolver feels clean and smooth, without a hint of grittiness and just a bit of travel before the sear release, and breaks at just under two and one-half pounds. The trigger is of the narrow smooth style, just like a Colt. It is one of the better trigger pulls that I have experienced on any single action revolver. The cylinder measured the same in diameter as a Colt that I had on hand for comparison, and was just a bit shorter. Thankfully, the cylinder throats measured .4525 inch, which should work perfectly with most .45 Colt bullets. The gun looks, handles, and feels like a single action sixgun should. With the five and one-half inch barrel, it weighs 37.8 ounces unloaded. The barrel/cylinder gap measured .005 inch. 

Shooting the Gaucho proved to be very enjoyable, as expected. I fired the sixgun with a variety of handloads and factory ammunition. All loads tested grouped under two and three-quarters of an inch at twenty-five yards using a two hand hold over a solid rest. The best  groups were with Cor-Bon 200 grain factory hollowpoint loads, which would group five shots into one and seven-eighths inches. I regret that I had no Keith style bullets available for testing. For some reason, I had allowed myself to run out of them, but the Keith is my favorite bullet for standard .45 Colt revolver loads. For me, the Gaucho shot about one and one-half inches to the right at twenty-five yards, with elevation naturally depending upon the load.  There were no failures to fire with any load tested, and all cases extracted easily from the smoothly finished chambers.

The Gaucho should be a hit with Cowboy Action Shooters. It also would be great for an everyday working gun, or just for bumming around the woods. It has a delightful feel to the action, a great trigger pull, and is chambered for the beloved .45 Colt cartridge. I like it better than most of the Italian imports, and it is also priced below most of those.  It is a quality sixgun that shoots well, looks great, and like all good Colt replicas, it has that wonderful grip that points like the finger of God. I like it.

For more information on the Gaucho and other Taurus firearms, check them out online at: www.taurususa.com.

Jeff Quinn


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Taurus’ New Gaucho Single Action .45 Colt Revolver



Taurus' new Gaucho sixgun is right at home in a fine rig like El Paso Saddlery's money belt and San Pedro Saddlery's "Duke" holster.







Taurus' transfer bar safety is effective, yet retains the wonderful "four-click" sound that is beloved of all sixgunners.



Chambers line up perfectly for loading and unloading.



The Gaucho features traditional flat springs, and a lightened hammer spring (bottom).





Taurus did a great job of re-creating the feel of the original Colt SAA grip. Bottom picture shows a Gaucho grip panel atop a Colt Single Action Army grip panel.





The Gaucho's .4525" cylinder throats are sized perfectly for most .45 Colt bullets.



The Gaucho features a crescent-shaped ejector rod with cam-cut housing.



The Gaucho also features the Taurus Security System, which is easy to use or easy to ignore as the shooter sees fit.



Taurus' Gaucho is a good-looking, good-shooting sixgun at a very attractive price.