Taurus Expedition Rifle

By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor

I just assumed Taurus’ new Expedition bolt action rifle would be something akin to a $400 Savage Axis or Ruger American. This isn’t an indictment on Taurus, but let’s face it, historically the brand has positioned itself in the market more like Toyota than BMW, and in fact has done very well for itself in that role. But some things are continuing to change over there.

As FE CEO Jason Vincent explained a couple years ago, Bret Vorhees became CEO of Taurus USA and began implementing his vision of what the company can become. Vorhees believes Taurus is capable of competing at the higher levels of the firearms market, and from what we’ve seen from the company lately, we think he’s right.

I realized my lazy assumption was wrong about the Expedition as I lifted it from its box. The first thing I noticed was its spiral-patterned, hammer-forged barrel. It’s beautiful. It’s also not cheap. There are very few hammer forging machines left on the production floors of the major gun manufacturing, and that’s not because they aren’t great—it’s because CNC machining is more cost effective. With everything else being equal, hammer forging around a mandrel to impart precise internal bore and rifling specifications is arguably still the best way to churn out perfect barrels en masse. The Expedition’s 18-inch pipe is then threaded for a suppressor and then mated to an action à la Savage’s barrel nut system that controls for headspace. 

Its speckled gray stock is as rigid as a 2×4 and doesn’t feel like that cheap brittle plastic used by the rifles I’ve already mentioned. I had to remove it from the barreled action to see that it is indeed made of molded polymer, a production method that allowed engineers to easily incorporate several features into it, including an integrated ARCA rail, an attachment point for a Spartan Precision bipod or tripod (as far as I can tell, this is the first rifle to do this), a raised comb and a thumb hook for target shooting. The forend has flats for a clamp-style tripod. The stock supports the barreled action by way of two aluminum pillars that serve as the action screw anchors.

The Expedition’s action is based on a Remington 700 footprint that’s been modified for smoothness, weight and function. The 60-degree throw, three-lug bolt features dual plungers to add a level of insurance against ejection failure. The bolt body itself is fluted as is the bolt knob. The bolt handle is skeletonized as an added touch. The rifle’s two-position safety is smooth and quiet, and—very significantly for Taurus whom I’ve repeatedly criticized for its shit triggers in the past—my test rifle’s trigger broke at 3 lbs., 4 oz. Praise Jesus. Finally, it comes with a 5-round AICS pattern magazine. Right now the Expedition is chambered only in .308, but I’d bet a barn full of brewskis that more calibers are coming.

In general, I like the rifle’s overall weight of 7 lb. This means that after a scope, sling and full magazine is added, it’s around 8. I find it’s a great balance between being easy to shoot well on the range yet easy to carry in the field. I immediately plugged a Spartan Precision tripod into its stock and a Silencerco Scythe Ti suppressor onto its barrel and shot 1.1-inch groups. As such, it’s a rifle I can do about anything with, and one I’d be proud to own. 

And that’s good news for Taurus, because at around $900, its first bolt action rifle isn’t competing with the bottom-rack rifles down at Bass Pro. Nah, it’s in the big leagues now, and it appears to be holding its own.

Cost:   $980 MSRP

Pros: short, compact, accurate, feature-filled including an adaptor for a Spartan Precision bipod/tripod

Cons: bottom metal is plastic; considering the rifle’s cost, it should be metal          

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