Tactical

New Bolt-Action Rifle Platform Debuts

Why? That was the initial thought when I heard Taurus was going to introduce a bolt-action rifle—the Expedition—at the 2024 SHOT Show. Most are familiar with Taurus legacy products involving revolver and semi-automatic handguns. The Taurus Expedition bolt-action rifle will catch some by surprise. It should not. Taurus’ goal is to develop into a noteworthy force in the U.S. for multiple firearm categories, including sporting, competition and personal defense. Taurus is committed to offering its customers the best products in a multitude of categories. The Expedition confirms this. 

Taurus Expedition Details

Significantly, Taurus built the Expedition as a hunting rifle, not the tactical/sniper role. The Expedition’s salient features are all geared towards this. There is a developing aura involving hunting with a bolt-action rifle in this day of the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR). The focus of this article is a return to the hunting style symbolized by bolt-action rifle typified by the Taurus Expedition. Instead of focusing on long-range hunting scenarios, let’s operate under the assumption closer is better when taking an animal. This puts the onus on scouting and choosing the best ambush position or stealthily creeping through the woods in search of your desired prey. Of course, if a 400-yard plus shot presents itself as the only option, having the ability to successfully place the round where needed is an asset.  

Many of the bolt-action rifles coming online today reflect more of a target shooting influence, weighing 13-plus pounds versus more practical measurements conducive to carrying afield. The Taurus Expedition in .308 Win is a pleasing 7 pounds. It measures 37.9 inches in overall length with an 18-inch spiral, fluted, 5/8×24 threaded barrel.  A 6.5 Creedmoor chambering is available sporting a 20-inch barrel. A five-round AI-style detachable magazine feeds rounds into the Expedition’s chamber. The magazine is of single-stack design, allowing for centerline feeding reliability as well maintaining as much stock material as possible to support the action for better potential accuracy.

Time to Expand

When queried about being one of the few companies offering a truly genuine new product in 2024, Taurus USA’s Caleb Giddings disclosed the Expedition had been under development for years and was ready for introduction. This implied a strong sense of confidence that the bolt-action rifle would garner attention in a market dominated by the AR-15.

The Taurus Expedition uses a Remington 700-footprint action. The 700-pattern action opens up a plethora of aftermarket accessories, including triggers, stocks, barrels, magazines and more. The stainless steel receiver and barrel feature a DLC coating for extreme durability, along with self-lubricating properties. The bolt operates slickly, and spent rounds eject vigorously.

Stock Options Equal Versatility

The Expedition stock is what catches your attention. It has a raised comb and lowered heel height, creating a stable and repeatable rifle fit to end user. Taurus has paid special attention to the Expedition’s forend by facilitating easy mating to various tripods such as BOG Deathhead, HOG Saddle, and Kopfjager Reaper. A section of the stock a few inches in front of the receiver section features a flat bottom and perpendicular sides. The Expedition’s forend comes with an M-LOK-compatible rail embedded under it, giving users options for sling and/or bipod attachments such as ARCA-rail adapter. Located in front of the M-LOK rail, a Spartan adaptor cup enables bipod or tripod mounting. The bottom of the butt resembles a bag rider, adding to flexibility when using afield from the prone position. It includes sling swivel studs.  

With all that said, the stock’s greatest attribute is the way it feels–both in your hand and when pressed against your shoulder. Thanks to a savvy mating of components, the Expedition balances near the front of the receiver. This is important for any weapon considered for hunting when scouting or moving around with the chance of jumping game.  

Ready to Accesorize

The Expedition’s threaded muzzle was used to mount a Banish Backcountry suppressor. The Backcountry is a fixed-length suppressor that measures only 5.5 inches in length and weighs just 7.8 ounces thanks to titanium construction. The compact size and weight translates into minimal interference with the Taurus Expedition’s handling while still offering a six-baffle design that drops the decibel level down to 135 dB for .308 Winchester.  

A Leupold VX-5D 3-15x44mm optic was mated to the Expedition’s upper receiver rail with 30mm Leupold rings attaching to an installed aftermarket Picatinny rail. The Leupold VX-5HD offers versatility with its wide power range while minimizing weight/bulk with the 44mm reasonable objective size. The 44mm objective gives you less weight and a lower mounting profile with outstanding glass clarity. The Leupold VX-5D is one of the best valued scopes on the market.

The Taurus Expedition was initially sighted in at Echo Valley Training Center’s (EVTC) Range #2 with a 100-yard zero. Different .308 Win loads were fired from the bench to determine a base accuracy level. Various loads from Hornady and SIG Sauer were used to illustrate the ballistic flexibility inherent in both the Taurus bolt action and .308 Win cartridge. Example of specific loads were SIG Sauer 165-grain CET and 150-grain HT, along with Hornady 178-grain ELD-X and 150-grain SST. Subsonic loads from Engel Ballistic Research and Cor-Bon were also brought out of inventory for use with the Backcountry suppressor. A suppressed bolt action using subsonic loads provides extra level of discreteness–truly “Hollywood” quiet when fired.  

Taurus Expedition full right.

Out and About

After initial bench work testing innate accuracy, other shooting consisted of off a bipod or tripod at clay pigeons at 300 yards from prepared “dug-in” positions offered at EVTC. The .308 Win cartridge combined with the ergonomic Expedition proved potent. Other range work consisted of shooting B-27 man-targets out to 600 yards on EVTC’s Known Distance Range. The Expedition’s accuracy combined with premium ammunition and a clear Leupold optic enabled center mass shots with ease. A Kopfjager tripod was included for this test evolution. The Expedition was more than manageable in terms of handling when carrying and engaging targets from a standing or kneeling position.

The Taurus Expedition is tailor made for pursuing game in thick/rugged/steep terrain. Most do not realize that even with the relatively short ranges involved in thick timber hunting, pinpoint accuracy is crucial to find shooting lanes. The Expeditions’ high degree of accuracy is also conducive for hunting from stands or ground blinds with shots across wide clear cuts or agricultural fields.  

Built to Carry Afield

Still hunting is where the Taurus Expedition comes into its own. As the name implies, still hunting is walking stealthily through an animal’s habitat, stopping frequently—sometimes for long periods—to scan and listen for game. As a rule, spend at least 5-10 times longer being still and observing than walking. The Expedition’s superior carry qualities and natural to-the-shoulder attributes are conducive to quick, well-placed shots when an animal presents itself. 

Further field testing will consist of predator hunting with the Taurus Expedition in both Virginia and West Virginia. The Banish Backcountry suppressor and Kopfjager tripod will be must haves as well. Incorporating a lightweight, quality suppressor such as the Banish Backcountry brings advantages. It is impressive how stable you can make a sitting or standing position using a Kopfjager tripod. An Eberlestock H2 Gunrunner pack adds utility as well. The minimalist pack supports day outings. It retains Eberlestock’s patented scabbard design to hold your rifle while keeping it handy for quick access.

Many will contend that the .308 Win chambered in an accurate, well-handling rifle like the Taurus Expeditions is the epitome of a modern bolt action. This evaluation would tend to agree. 

For more info, visit taurususa.com.

SPECIFICATIONS: Taurus Expedition

  • CALIBER: .308 Win
  • BARREL: 18-inch stainless steel 1:10 RH twist 
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 37.9 inches
  • OVERALL WEIGHT: 7 pounds
  • ACTION: Remington 700-pattern bolt-action
  • CAPACITY: Detachable AICS magazine; 5-round magazine arrives with rifle
  • MSRP: $989

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