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  • In 1965 Smith & Wesson had been purchased by a conglomerate named Bangor Punta Alegre Sugar Corp., a conglomerate based in Bangor, Maine, with operations in railroads, textiles, foundry equipment, sewage disposal systems, yacht manufacturing, commercial finance, grain elevators, and other areas.
  • In 1970, Bangor Punta also purchased 54% of Taurus. Thus, the two companies became "sisters." Smith & Wesson never owned Taurus. They were both independent companies.
  • However, during the next seven years, a great deal of technology and methodology was passed between the two. What may come as a surprise to some is that more of what was "right" in Porto Alegre was sent to Springfield than was sent from Springfield to south of the equator.
  • Today's revolvers still bear a superficial resemblance to Smiths, but Taurus has made many modifications and improvements to its original designs and today's revolvers owe very little to any other manufacturer.

Sources:
Taurus USA History
American Handgunner, May, 2002 by Charles Cutshaw


This FAQ was the product of the group effort of all the moderators of Taurus Armed.
 

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Now that was a suprising, but interesting fact.
 

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Short of Mateba and Rhino, just about every revolver resembles each other. The early Taurus revolvers also looked like S&W, prior to anyone buying them. There are only so many ways to make an ergonomic revolver in an economical manner. Actually, S&W could be said to resemble Colt Revolvers, but that doesn't make them clones.
 

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Nice facts, when i get time i will redesign revolvers to look like an alien space gun.

At least yours looks like a pistol, mind looks like a rifle with the long barrel laws here
 

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There's a lot of great information available to gun enthusious on the net by simply using a search engine like GOOGLE.

The average 20-30 something has ten times more computer savy than an "Ole Fart" like me.

So there's no excuse for them not doing a little home work before posting gun related questions.

That speeds things up for "sharing the wealth" of knowledge to be passed on...;)
 

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I had already read that before... somewhere on here there is a history of the company... in depth as I remember.
 

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To me, more important than the "looks like" factor between Smith and Taurus is the fact that the grip frames are pretty close on a lot of revolvers. I've got a set of stags meant to fit a Taurus 85. With minor pin hole adj. they fit a Smith J frame. The same holds true with my recently acquired Taurus 65 RB, and S&W K Frames.

 

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I have to say that most snub-nose revolvers look very similar to each other.
Other than that ugly Chiappa Rhino how different could they look ?
 

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S&W revolvers are a bench mark that many manufacturers peg themselves to. Also, I agree with the comment about a revolver looking like a revolver :)
 

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Sure, revolvers look like revolvers, but the S&W/Taurus similarities go beyond basic double-action revolver characteristics (barrel/frame/cylinder/trigger/hammer).

Put either one of these up against any Ruger double-action revolver and the differences are striking. The Ruger has no side-plate, but it does have a coil hammer spring, different trigger/hammer design, and even a different locking method for the cylinder.

So from that perspective, Taurus and S&W are closer to each other than either are to other makes of double-action revolver.
 

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Taurus and Smith were owned by the same holding company Bangor Punta in the 70's. The two companies ended up sharing some intellectual property and swapped some engineering. Taurus broke away from Bangor and Smith in the early 80's. Although there may be some aesthetic similarities the firearms are fairly different internally. When comparing the two revolvers from a form and function perspective they are definitely apples and oranges. Not that one is better than the other, just two differn't companies with products focused on different target markets and market share in the same industry.
 

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One thing that most Taurus bashers never mention is the years Smith put out some real junk. Just like Harley had some bad years from bad management, so did Smith. Both have come a long way and produce a good product now. I have been blessed with good products from Taurus,BUT, because of being burned on Smiths, Ruger, and other brands I check every gun " Before" I buy. I have been amazed at the accuracy of the Taurus revolvers I own and have owned. Over the years I have owned Freedom Arms, and custom revolvers from some of the best revolver smiths. Have custom shop guns from Smith, and Smiths that have been custom reworked. With the exception of Freedom, and some custom smith work some of the Taurus guns come extremely close to even them. I have a Smith Performance Center 44 mag with a 4 X Leupold hand gun scope. I bought the gun to shoot at 100 plus yards and it is accurate. A Taurus Tracker in 44 mag with a 4 X TC scope shoots better. Taurus has their cylinder alignment, throat size etc right for a factory gun to shoot that well. They may have some problems, and produce some junk, I am willing to look for the treasure in what some call junk.
 

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It seems that I remember there was a Tiger Arms in South America that made a clone of the Smith and Wesson, but it has been a
long time {years} since I have seen one.
 

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Unlike their semi-autos, Taurus has been manufacturing revolvers since 1941. That was decades before the initial importation of the guns by Interarms. That first revolver borrowed from Spanish guns, Colt, and S&W. Actually, it borrowed from guns in production before Colt and S&W, as well.

Try to make a revolver that doesn't look like what we commonly think of in a modern gun. Ergonomics, economics, and tooling will always give you approximately the same gun shape.

S&W has NOT been the penultimate manufacturer of revolvers, even the the United States. They sort of took that title because nobody else thought that it was important. Colt, for example, diverged into the semi-auto market nearly half a century before the first S&W marketing success, in the late 1940s. Ruger started out in 1949 manufacturing a semi-auto pistol, as well.

If you were to black out the silhouettes of the various makers today, it would be hard to tell many models apart. THAT'S what I believe the OP meant.

S&W is also a manufacturer of lemons. Look how well the Models 57 and 58 sold. Or how trouble-free the original Model 29 was. I would also ask you to remember the Model 53? How did THAT lemon ever get out of the engineering stage? Their semi-autos were also problematical, as well. Like the snobs love to point out about the 1911, the original S&W 9mm guns wouldn't feed reliably with anything but FMJ rounds. That even included the early Model 59s. Or perhaps that paragon of marketing, the SW380. Life expectancy of 5000 rounds. Yessir, that doesn't even rival the life expectancy of a Bryco, Lorcin, or Jennings.:)
 

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Taurus and S&W are brothers twice removed.. ;)
 

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I have to say that most snub-nose revolvers look very similar to each other.
Other than that ugly Chiappa Rhino how different could they look ?
You hit the primer on the head with that one.
 
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