What could have been?
The Taurus 590 revolver is an example of what could have been. Leading up to the 2008 SHOT Show, Taurus had a 5mm handgun under development. It seemed like a sure thing…but then…nothing.
I’d like to examine the nearly-released Taurus 5mm Magnum revolver and the current state of the 5mm RFM cartridge.
Taurus Teases a 5mm Handgun
In the “old days,” Taurus would show up at the SHOT Show with a plethora of new guns. Sales staff claimed that all of the guns were ready to go and orders were being taken.
Near as I can tell, that was a bunch of hogwash. The truth seemed closer to Taurus was willing to display a lot of concepts that they believed could enter production in 6-12 months if buyers expressed enough interest.
The 590 Tracker revolver was an excellent example of this.
At the SHOT Show, Taurus sales reps said the gun was a “done deal” and should be arriving at dealers by summer. One of the reps I spoke with mentioned that Aguila Ammunition introduced new 5mm RFM ammunition at the show. He seemed to suggest – but did not say – that the ammo and gun introductions were coordinated.
Since 5mm ammo was as hard to find as hens teeth in 2008, I can’t imagine Taurus didn’t plan the gun without ensuring someone would offer ammunition for it.
Unlike Aguila that carried through on its promise to manufacture the ammo, Taurus seems to have failed in its assurances to deliver the 590.
What Was the 590?
So, what was the 590 supposed to be?
The Taurus 590 was a full-sized revolver designed for varmint hunting, sport shooting and pest control. It was part of the company’s Tracker line.
As revolvers go, it presented as most modern Taurus revolvers do. The stainless version contrasted nicely with the rubber “Ribber” grips and the full-length lug gave the gun a solid look.
Taurus designed the gun with adjustable sights. An optional scope mount base sold as an accessory to mount an optic to the gun. The base accepted Weaver-style rings.
The company equipped the 5mm handguns with gas ports. The ports allowed some of the gasses to bleed off and reduce muzzle rise under recoil.
As with most of the wheelguns manufactured today, the 590 was a double-action gun with a hammer that allowed for cocking. Cocking the hammer for a precise, single-action shot can really make the difference in landing a hit when hunting.
After more than two years, the Taurus 590 Tracker briefly appeared on the company’s website. It didn’t stay long and was gone by the 2011 SHOT Show. No one at that show seemed willing to talk about the gun or why it never hit the market.
Taurus 590 Specifications
The following specifications are for the Taurus 590 in stainless steel. A blued version (no known photos) was also planned with identical specs.
About the 5mm RFM
For those not familiar with the 5mm RFM, the rimfire cartridge was introduced in 1970 by Remington Arms Co.
Along with the cartridge, Remington introduced two rifles chambered for the 5mm, the models 591 and 592.
However, a lack of sales and concerns about pressures prompted Remington to cease sales of the rifles in 1974, and by the early 1980’s, they stopped making the ammunition as well.
Like many discontinued cartridges, the 5mm rimfire has a small, loyal band of followers who have kept interest in this cartridge alive.
Who Makes 5mm Ammo?
Aguila Ammunition announced the production of 5mm Remington Magnum ammunition about the same time Taurus announced the 590 Tracker.
This is also good news for the owners of those Remington model 591 and model 592 rifles. More than a decade later, Aguila continues to list the 5mm RFM ammo in its catalog. Be sure to read my article on the new Aguila 5mm Ammo for all of the details.
Last update: June 1, 2021