Firefly - Mal pistol base gun

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Well-Known Member
I just thought I'd post this for others thinking of one day building a functioning or blank Mal pistol, should brass body pieces become available. Apparently there was some confusion at one point over whether the original Taurus used was a clone of a J or N frame revolver. So....

Here we have a j-frame hammerless model (S&W model 640) overlaid with phillippes wonderful cast of the hero:

Not only does the trigger line up, but the barrel lines up. Yippee. That means for those of us who want to get close to the "real thing" it should be possible to use either a narrow round barrel and sleeve like the original prop, or perhaps have the factory barrel replaced entirely with an octogon barrel blank (available from Track of the Wolf and Dixie Gunworks, among others)

(I know the "hump" of the hammerless model wouldn't quite fit, but I figure with all the other major surgery the gun would have on the grip and barrel, that wouldn't be much of a problem).

Meanwhile, the very next size up, a K-frame (S&W Model 19-3) is clearly far too big to fit in the Mal pistol shell:

An N-frame is larger still, and there's just no way it could be shoehorned into there.

Also, note the different shapes of the triggerguard:

Now, I just traded my way into the little j-frame today with the intent of eventually using it in a Mal pistol.. I got the .357 model because it seemed rather out of place to have a big ol' hogleg like Mal's only shooting .38s. But on closer inspection, I'm not sure that would work -- the cylinder is only 1/8" shorter than the boxy areas on the side of the Mal gun -- I'm not certain anything cast could accomodate that without risking binding.


So.. the slightly smaller .38 only j-frame (or Taurus clone) is the only way to go, I think. (Think model 36 or similar for a smith, or model 85 or similar for a taurus)

I do hope this helps a little. :)

edit -- a little more digging shows that S&W enlarged even their regular j-frames a tad at some point. I'm not sure of the details... but it might be wise to look for the Taurus or older Smith to be sure.

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Sr Member
I guess great minds think alike--last night I checked my Taurus M85 against the Mal casting. :lol

In the ENVY thread, Phil said the hero pistol was built on an M65, which I believe is the blued version of a 5 shot .38 Spl snubbie--the M85 I have is the stainless model.

I didn't take pics, but it looked like it would have been a perfect fit--the muzzle opening is even .38 caliber ;)

The only thing I'm not sure of is how they cylinder worked---not a lot of space in there under the bronze shells, so where's the cylinder release? :confused


Well-Known Member
Hrm.. Phil, no offense, but are we certain it's an M65 and not an M85?

The M65 seems to be Taurus' answer to the S&W 60/640 -- it's also in .357, so I'd expect the same size problems compared to the Smith 36/Taurus 85.

if so, how thin is the metal of the "box" parts, or is the shroud on the frame of it ground down a touch? If so, that might help the fit a bit.

I can't help but think the cylinder pin might be cut back a little as well so as to easily clear the cutout in the front when opened for reloading. TT, you're right about the cylinder latch looking difficult.. perhaps a different latch was installed to make it easier to access? I know the early Colt double-actions had a little "L" shaped latch -- that sort of thing might fit easier, and be easier to access when the shell was in place.


Sr Member
I think the mag release catch could possibly be modified to work, but part of what I was looking at was the lever that locks the side cover plate in place.

Based on the circular area on the right side of the gun and the "raw castings" pic, there's a bronze rod going completely through the area where the hammer draws back.

It's possible that the hammer had a slot cut into it to clear the rod, but that seems like a lot of work :unsure

Someone posted a pic of the left cover removed, but it's very small/grainy/fuzzy.

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Well-Known Member
With all respect, um..

the shrouded vs. open ejector rod isn't the difference between the 65 and 85 -- it's a chambering difference -
(I see almost all shrouded rods there for both 65 and 85 variants -- I imagine that's newer, though I don't know Taurus' history in detail)

And as my pictures above show an N-frame just couldn't fit. It has to be a j-frame (Smith 36, Taurus 85), or *possibly* a "j-magnum" frame (Smith 60, Taurus 65) though I'm not certain how that would fit.


Originally posted by Noeland@Jan 29 2006, 10:54 PM
This is a quote from one of Phil's posting in the envy thread, #75 to be exact. The envy thread has a slew of great photos.

"The base gun is a snub Taurus 65, a Smith and Wesson N-frame clone. Any N-frame clone will work. The 65 differs from the 85 in that it has a minimal cylinder pin end-guard which is easier and cleaner to remove."



Master Member
My understanding is that the gun was very heavily modified to fit inside the shell they created, including removing the entire grip/mainspring.

Check the envy thread and you will see the opened hero gun. The image is small, but may help inform what you are trying to figure out.

Perhaps there was some tooling involved in making it fit. :love



Sr Member
I lOVE this thread.
I have been wanting a REAL Mals Gun for a while, as in actually real firing.
this would be a dream to see happen.


Sr Member
I was just contacted by an expert on the subject, and he apologized for an earlier error. He just confirmed with the armorer who worked on the gun that the base weapon is the Taurus 85 (not the 65).


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