The Hobby Gunsmith

Auto Shooting-

Rebuilding the Taurus PT-92

9mm Auto Part One

There are a several well known gun makers in the world such as Smith & Wesson, Colt, Beretta, Ruger, Springfield, etc.  There area also a series of lesser known companies that make guns for niche markets.  Taurus is one such South American company that evolved out  of Smith & Wesson many years ago. 

   My first contact with Taurus guns was with an imitation of the Smith & Wesson model 10 K frame revolvers.  Although it resembled the S&W Model 10 revolver, the gun was crude and did not shoot well.  It was, however, reliable and I carried one of these for several years. 

   I retained that impression of Taurus firearms until I had an opportunity to shoot one of their Raging Bull revolvers.  I found that to be a well built revolver that shot well.  With my change of opinion about the Taurus line, I was willing to look at their products again as I was in the market for a semi-automatic pistol project for the Hobby Gunsmith.

   I have always like the appearance and features of the Beretta 92 9mm semi-automatic pistol that was adopted by the US Army, but I have never had an opportunity to own one of these fine pistols.  It was not surprising that I would be attracted to what I thought was a stainless Beretta in the local gun store so I picked it up and the low price caught my eye.  I examined the gun and found it to be a little loose, but repairable.  The surprise was in seeing it was not a Beretta, but a Taurus.

   The Taurus PT92 is a replica of the Beretta 92.  At least it was good enough to fool me until I saw the brand on the slide.  I pondered the price, but decided to hold off until I researched the gun a little to learn about its reputation and parts availability.

   A search of the Internet determined that the Taurus PT92 was a reasonably popular gun, and that many parts, including the barrel, are interchangeable with the Beretta.  Grip panels, sights, and other components are available with a little searching.

   The gun did not have a magazine because the Taurus originally came with a fifteen-round magazine, which is no longer legal in California.  I was able to locate California legal replacement magazines on the web at a very reasonable price.

   I found several web sites that cater to owners of the Taurus PT92 semi-automatic handguns so I read the various reviews of the gun and found it has a strong following of owners, and learned that it was considered to be a well built and reliable firearm.

 

   Knowing that I was not purchasing another orphan with a bad reputation, I laid down my cash and bought the used gun.  The California ten-day waiting period ended only a couple of days before the deadline for this issue of the Hobby Gunsmith, so I was not able to do any range testing for this first in a series of articles on turning this abandoned gun into n competitive IDPA match pistol.

   Upon bringing the gun back to the workbench, it was time to determine its condition.  I found that I like the feel of the gun as the wide stocks fit my hands very well.  The feel is much better than the thinner grip of the Colt M-1911.  This was done to accommodate the high capacity magazine that should hold 15 rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition.

   Like the Beretta, the Taurus barrel protrudes forward of the frame by about a half an inch.  This gun has a lot of space between the barrel and the frame where the barrel passes through the front of the frame. 

   An examination of the barrel suggests it is in good shape and there is very little wear in the rifling, but there is wear on the outside of the barrel where is passes through the frame bushing.  I removed the slide by pushing on the right side of the slide release, turning the release lever down, and moving the slide forward and off the gun.

   After removing the guide rod and recoil spring from under the barrel, I was able to angle the barrel out of the slide and examine it for wear.  I found no obvious problems with the barrel until I slid it into the frame where the fit should be reasonably tight and smooth.  This barrel was still somewhat sloppy after being seated in the rear position.

  Looking down at the frame between the barrel and the guide rod, we can see the gap formed by the loose fitting barrel.  The evidence is visible by looking at where the barrel dovetails to the frame and the frame slides.  The gap tells the story of a poor fitting barrel that will be less accurate.

  Moving to the outside, we can see the grips are very attractive, but their smooth surface will make it difficult to control the gun during the rapid firing conditions of IDPA competition.  These will have to be replaced with molded rubber grips for competition. 

   The last two places to examine are the gun's sights.  The standard sights allow for adjustment of the windage, but no adjustment for elevation.  This will limit the gun when it comes to target acquisition or changes in ammunition.  We will look at the potential of changing to a fully adjustable set of sights.

   The final stopping point in the visual inspection is with the area where the magazine well where the magazine slides into the frame.  The tolerances are tight and it requires a careful alignment to insert the magazine.  Unfortunately, this does not appear to be allowed under the rules of the Stock Service Pistol division.

   An inspection of the double action and single action feel of the trigger left a lot to be desired.  The overall action of the pistol seemed a bit stiff considering the amount of wear on the barrel.  We field stripped the pistol and found it to be completely dry.  After cleaning and oiling the barrel and action, we applied some Brownells action lube and the difference was quite pleasing.

  We are new to setting up a pistol for IDPA shooting, but we have reviewed the rules and procedures.  We may have made an error in our interpretation of the rules and look forward to attending some IDPA matches and to learning more about this sport.

Visit next month as we field test the gun and determine how it performs on the range.