Thread: .41 vs .44
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Old January 8, 2013, 07:12 AM   #83
BillCA
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Join Date: November 28, 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca
Posts: 7,083
I got as far as page 2 and had to stop.

The arguments over .41 vs. .44 always come down to the .44 Magnum guys trying to pretend their weenies are bigger and thus better. But like the ladies say, it's how you use it that counts!

I've owned at least one .41 since 1976 and never felt the need for a .44 Mag, ever (the .44 Special is another argument). After all these years I've learned that any animal you take with a .44 can also be taken with a .41 Mag.

Originally Remington made only 2 loads. A 210gr JSP at 1300 fps and a 210gr LSWC at ~1100 fps from a six inch barrel.

Today there are more loads from more makers and in a wider variety of bullet shapes & weights than ever before. Makers include;
Remington
Winchester
Barnes
Cor-Bon
Double-Tap
Federal
Grizzly and a few others

Bullets now range from 170 grains to 265 grains.

The only thing missing from the .41 magnum ammo line-up are some lower-power loads. There are a few reloading houses that make a lower power load (usually a 210/215 gr LSWC pushed around 1000 fps from a 6"). These are good ad hoc defensive loads for the most part.


For Deaf Smith: 1986 Lew Horton 657 with 3-inch barrel, finger groove k-grips

I find the lack of moderate loads disappointing. The .41 Magnum was originally the brain child of Border Patrolman Bill Jordan in cooperation with (hmmm..either Elmer Keith or Skeeter Skelton, my memory slips). The original concept was a .41 caliber revolver firing a 200 grain LSWC from a 4-inch barrel at about 900-1050 fps. This would be stout but less punishing than the then-existing .357 Magnum loads and far less than the .44 Magnum. Jordan said he would have accepted a 5-shooter if they could stuff it into a K-Frame. That wouldn't work as it turns out so they used the N-frame and, in 1964, S&W was suffering from "Magnum-itis" so the power level was increased. Police used to JHP ammo tried to use hunting ammo for it and scores dropped fast. Those who used the 210 LSWC found it controllable.

During it's relatively short police service life, the .41 Magnum was not deployed many times that I can find. However the handful of police shootings showed the .41 Magnum did live up to expectations. Hitting someone with that large LSWC bullet usually turned out the lights. The one case where a follow-up shot was given involved a guy on PCP.

During the late 70's we found some .41 Magnum 180 grain FMJ meant for silhouette shooting and loaded them up to about 1490 fps. Brisk load and loud. But at 60 yards a 1/4" cold-rolled steel plate wouldn't stop it. And it went through a junked '63 Impala like butter.

Blackhawk, Redhawk, Model 57, Stainless 657 or Model 58, you'll find one of them to your liking. Personally, I own five and find the (until recently) scarce Model 58 to be the best woods gun but the 6-inch the better shooting gun. If you run across a Taurus 615T Titanium lightweight .41 mag in good condition it's worth considering if the barrel is ported. With 175gr Silvertips it's actually not bad for shooting (with the ribbed rubber grips on it).


S&W Model 58's, nickel and blue. The blued gun is an "S" prefix vs. "N" prefix
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