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I've got my eye on a local Taurus 608 with a 6 1/2" barrel. The problem is, I'd want it with a 4" barrel.
My question for all of you Taurus experts is - If I get this pistol, will I be able to re-barrel it?
If it is possible, how difficult will it be?
Would it be a wee bit difficult, Really difficult, cheap, crazy expensive, easy, or somewhere in between?
Anyone out there experienced at this?
Thanks!
 

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First of all, understand that Taurus will NOT sell you a barrel. You can send the gun to them - and pay them to do the re-barrel - but they will NOT sell you a barrel. So, your only option for obtaining a barrel is the used market.

Second, if you haven't done a re-barrel on a revolver before, there are a few things you need to be warned about. One, it is ridiculously easy to ruin a frame - so you CANNOT clamp the barrel and use a lever put through the frame to unscrew the barrel !!! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER !!! You will RUIN the frame that way, every time. The frame MUST be clamped in a set of vice blocks, with a CLOSE-FITTING block THROUGH the inside of the frame (where the cylinder normally resides) to FULLY support the WHOLE of the frame. Then, a suitable barrel wrench is clamped to the BARREL.....and the BARREL unscrewed. The issues and difficulties (of not damaging the frame) are MAGNIFIED, if the frame is an alloy one, as opposed to steel. So, I will say straight away, that I would NOT attempt this, if the gun in question is a light weight model.

The needed vice blocks (frame clamps) and barrel wrench, etc. are expensive. Plan on several hundred dollars. You COULD build what you need, but you truly need to know what you are doing. As I said, the frame vice blocks (clamp) MUST be precisely made to fully support the frame. These could be made of wood, no reason why not.....and no reason a DIY gunsmith couldn't make them. A large bench vise could be used - but it needs to be very secure.....and support blocks/ pads (to fully support the frame blocks) need to be made also. Simply clamping the whole works in between a couple of 2 x 4's, in the jaws of an ordinary bench vise, simply WON"T do, unless you want to take a BIG risk of ruining the frame.

Having said all of that, I will add that, in theory, a re-barrel is not technically that difficult. After safely removing the old barrel, the new barrel is screwed in. BUT, the cylinder/ forcing cone gap must be set correctly.....and the barrel must be "timed" to line up just so, so that the sights are lined up, just as the barrel is torqued into final position. Here again, ruining a frame/ barrel by over-torquing (to get the sights to line up) is EASY. If the forcing cone gap is too wide, on the first try, then the shoulder of the barrel must be turned back PRECISELY enough, to allow the barrel to line up at the proper torque. The amount of torque necessary for a barrel is not a big problem. 50 ft/lbs will do, which is not difficult to generate. But, getting the dimensions right IS a problem. If the forcing cone gap is too narrow, when the barrel is test-fitted, then the forcing cone face (barrel face) is cut back to make the gap correct - that is the best-case scenario. But, in reality, the gap will almost NEVER be right at the first try. MANY test fittings....and PRECISE machining....are usually needed.

At the end of it, a re-barrel is really NOT a tough job.....IF you know what you are doing......IF you have the proper equipment......and IF you take the proper care to not twist your frame like a licorice stick. But, I wouldn't even consider this unless you are WELL-versed in re-barreling guns.....and have successfully completed a re-barrel before.....or can work closely with someone who HAS....if I were you....
 

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I agree with just having it cut, crowned, and a new front sight. I had a Tracker in 45 acp cut from 4" back to 3" to get rid of the ports. Taurus at that time would not sell me another barrel and said they would only replace it with the same length that it came with? The front sight I had put on it is a Weigand and the blade can be changed. I got the fiber because it was easy to see. A different blade can be put on in less than a minute with no tools. The smith repowder blasted the barrel and it looks good. Took all the Taurus name etc off. Would do it again in a heart beat.
 

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I agree with just having it cut, crowned, and a new front sight. I had a Tracker in 45 acp cut from 4" back to 3" to get rid of the ports. Taurus at that time would not sell me another barrel and said they would only replace it with the same length that it came with? The front sight I had put on it is a Weigand and the blade can be changed. I got the fiber because it was easy to see. A different blade can be put on in less than a minute with no tools. The smith repowder blasted the barrel and it looks good. Took all the Taurus name etc off. Would do it again in a heart beat.
I have a Weigand front sight mounted on my Model 66. I love it. Gun sight Interchangeable blade by Weigand
 

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Not That it wouldn’t be an interesting project – but I would guess by the time you are done buying the gun & changing out the barrel, you would probably be real close to having enough invested to just buy the gun new.

Even if you decide to cut & crown the barrel & have a new front sight mounted, you could probably find a used S&W or Ruger in 4” for about the same amount of money.

To each is own of course! Revolvers with 4” barrels are pretty common though; it shouldn’t be too hard to locate one already set up.
 

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Not That it wouldn’t be an interesting project – but I would guess by the time you are done buying the gun & changing out the barrel, you would probably be real close to having enough invested to just buy the gun new.

Even if you decide to cut & crown the barrel & have a new front sight mounted, you could probably find a used S&W or Ruger in 4” for about the same amount of money.

To each is own of course! Revolvers with 4” barrels are pretty common though; it shouldn’t be too hard to locate one already set up.
You're right about that. I have far more in my S&W 66 than I'll ever get out of it. I thought I would try the custom route, and I don't regret it, but I don't think I'll be doing custom guns very much, if ever.
 

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Taurus at that time would not sell me another barrel and said they would only replace it with the same length that it came with?
That's still the policy according to the rep I talked to just a couple of months ago. They will replace the barrel only with a same length barrel. They will not sell a barrel separately either.
 

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Sometimes custom work is well worth the cost. I have a few that are used a lot that the money invested has been worth the satisfaction received. There have been plain Jane factory that were bought at a super bargain that sucked. While others were a real treasure. I have had Smith custom shop guns I loved and a couple that were a disappointment.Custom revolver work by some of the better Smiths is to me always worth the cost. Back when I shot 1911's a lot, nothing shot like a custom gun. Same for having double action heavy barrel revolvers built. Those guns did amazing things with 38 wadcutters. It is like custom auto, bike, trucks, body or mechanical custom work. Lot of people out there into spending money on different things.
 

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Ruger will do a different barrel size.

When I sent my 4 inch GP-100 in for crown work I put a footnote on my letter explaining it wouldn't break my heart if they put a six inch barrel on and they did it. And since they offered to make the repair to the crown in the first place (after I contacted them with the problem), for my trouble they installed a 6 inch barrel no charge!

Ruger customer service is second to none, even though they do not have an expressed warranty. I hope Taurus is of the same quality of service. if I ever need it for our Model 85 or 608. I have not had trouble with a Taurus gun yet over the years, even on ones I previously owned.

Here is a pic of my GP-100 with 6 inch barrel (and Hogue Pau Ferro grips).

 
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