As the delivery van drove away, I stood at my front door holding a box and thinking to myself, "This is either a long handgun or a short rifle." When I opened the box and withdrew the contents, I corrected myself: "This is a very L-O-N-G revolver!" The long revolver is one of the newest wheelguns from Taurus, the Model 17SS12 Silhouette — a stainless-steel .17-caliber double-action revolver with a barrel that measures a full foot in length.
The Model 17SS12 is a stainless-steel DA revolver that features rubber finger groove grips, a full-length ventilated rib, adjustable sights, an adjustable trigger, and can be fitted with Taurus's excellent scope-mount base. The gun is chambered for the .17 HMR cartridge.
The number of new guns chambered for the .17 Hornady Magnum rimfire (HMR) and introduced over the course of the last year is staggering. Just about every rifle and revolver maker of note is offering a product capable of launching .17-caliber projectiles. And of these none has a larger selection than Taurus International Manufacturing Inc., Dept. ST, 16175 NW. 49th Ave., Miami, FL 33014; 800-327-3776; www.taurususa.com. In fact, I did a quick perusal of the 2003 catalog and discovered 10 revolvers and four rifles chambered for the .17 HMR!
Taurus revolvers are manufactured at a state-of-the-art facility in Brazil, and over the years they have earned a reputation for quality, ruggedness, and performance — at a very competitive price. Taurus offers an extensive selection of revolvers designed for plinking, target shooting, hunting, personal defense, and police service in calibers ranging from the diminutive .17 HMR to the massive .454 Casull.
The .17 HMR cartridge has created a lot of excitement among shooters and hunters. And with good reason. It is capable of minute-of-angle accuracy, has a flatter trajectory than .22 rimfire cartridges, and can, when fired from arifle, maintain supersonic velocity in excess of 200 yards. With the .17 HMR there is reduced wind drift and noise levels no greater than .22 rimfire cartridges. Its jacketed bullets produce "explosive" performance on target while reducing the dangers of over penetration and ricochets. It is well suited to small-game and varmint hunting under conditions where .22 rimfirecartridges are not powerful enough.
Features Of The Model 17SS12
Built on Taurus's medium-size frame, the Model 17SS12 comes standard with a number of features one might only find on customized handguns, including an adjustable trigger stop. Additionally, the mainspring tension can be adjusted simply by removing the grips and turning a knurled knob. Another handy feature is the "Arm Support," which can be fitted to the grip to provide additional support and steadiness for long-range accuracy.
The cylinder center pin and the ball detent on the cylinder crane ensure secure cylinder lockup.
Naturally, with a revolver intended for precision long-range shooting, the 17SS12 is fitted with a fully adjustable rear sight and rubber, finger-groove grips. Cylinder lockup is by means of the center pin entering a hole in the recoil plate while a ball detent on the cylinder crane locks directly into the frame.
The ejector rod is protected by a shroud and features a knurled tip for positive ejection of spent cases while the barrel has an integral, full-length ventilated rib. The rib serves as the mounting platform for the scope base that comes with all Taurus Silhouette revolvers. The base can be quickly attached by means of two wedges and four Allen screws and provides a Weaver-style surface for mounting various types of optical enhancement devices.
The 17SS12's mainspring tension can be adjusted by means of a knurled nut, and its trigger stop can be adjusted via a screw at the rear of the trigger guard.
And the 17SS12 is fitted with the Taurus Security System in which a special key is used to lock the hammer and trigger so as to prevent unauthorized firing of the revolver.
Wringing It Out
Hoping to wring the best performance out of the 17SS12, I mounted a Leupold M8 4X 28mm extended eye relief scope on the revolver and then headed out to the gun club with a supply of Hornady, Remington, and CCI .17 HMR ammunition. The Leupold scope provided a crystal-clear sight picture that greatly facilitated the zeroing process. Since the .17 HMR cartridge generated no discernible recoil in a handgun of this size and weight, the chore was not as onerous as usual. Once completed, new targets were set out on the 25-yard backstop, and I proceeded to fire a series of five-shot groups with each brand of ammo. Helped along by a very decent single-action trigger pull, the 17SS12 showed itself to be a pleasingly accurate revolver, and all my five-shot groups were inside of 0.75 inch.
The Taurus Security System uses a key to lock the hammer and trigger to prevent unauthorized firing
of the revolver.
I then trekked out to the 50-yard backstop and set up several more Birchwood-Casey Shoot-N-C targets. Rezeroing the scope for the longer distance required a minor elevation adjustment. I then settled down and carefully fired a number of five-shot groups at this longer distance. Much to my surprise (I rarely shoot scoped handguns so this was sort of "new" to me), the Taurus/Scarlata team performed equally as well at twice the range. Every group was well centered and none wandered beyond two inches in size with the CCI and Remington ammo tying for honorable mention with matching 1 5/8-inch groups.
Chronographing the three brands of ammunition out of the 12-inch-barreled Taurus provided more education. I had already tested the Remington Model 597 Magnum in .17 HMR with its 20-inch barrel the week before (see my other report elsewhere in this issue of Shooting Times) so I knew that the round produced velocities ranging from 2583 to 2673 fps in the rifle's longer barrel. But I wondered what the cartridge would do from the 12-inch barrel of the Taurus revolver. I soon discovered that despite having eight inche
s less barrel plus a cylinder-barrel gap, the Taurus gave up an average of only 350 fps.
The Model 17SS12's 50-yard accuracy was excellent, measuring 1.75 inches or less with each of the three loads.
So I wouldn't have to carry all that ammo home, my father and I spent the next hour plinking at a series of beverage cans placed on the 25- and 50-yard backstops. While firing the scoped Taurus offhand took a bit of getting used to, we soon had the empty containers dancing to our tune.
If hunting small game and varmints with a handgun is your bag, then Taurus's 17SS12 revolver might just be the means of your achieving the happiness you seek. It combines ease of operation, ruggedness, and environmentally resistant construction with very impressive accuracy. I liked it.
Taurus’s 12-Inch .17 HMR
Model 17 At The Bench
|CCI 17-gr. TNT|
|Hornady 17-gr. V-Max|
|Remington 17-gr. V-Max|
|NOTES: Accuracy is for the best five-shot group fired from a sandbag benchrest at the distances specified. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 15 feet from the gun’s muzzle.|