The .41 magnum cartridge was the result of several popular shooters in the 60's wanting a law enforcement firearm that was between the .357 and the 44 magnum. IIRC, Elmer Keith was one of those shooters, he wanted a lighter load for police carry and a heavy load for play. The .44 was considered way too much for the police ( the cartridge and the heavy gun ). When the cartridge came out unfortunately it was with a hot load and a hotter load and the guns S&W made for it were just as big and heavy as it's big brother. As A result, the cartridge never caught caught on with the police and a very excellent cartridge is falling by the way side. The facts are , in the hands of a capable shooter the 41 mag will do every thing but tap dance and bring you a beer. It does so will slightly lighter bullet and a little less recoil and a much flater trajectory. My Super Blackhawk is accurate and deadly on whitetail. JMHO and I have others
I remember the .41 Magnum "Police" load. It was an non-jacketed lead bullet (gas checked? Not sure...) that was in fact too hot to shoot with comfort. I remember the introduction of the .41 Magnum as a police solution and the controversy that followed...all played out in those days in the Gun Magazines. In short, you are spot-on about it and what happened to it. Except for deer loads, I fired a ton of 220 grain (Saeco four cavity mold), with 6.5 Unique for double action work. Most would likely recommend at least 7 grains of Unique, but I found that 6.5 was ideal for my shooting, plinking, Steel Bowling Pin work.
Owned several .41's including a S&W 58, S&W 57 with 8-3/8 barrel, S&W 657 with 6 in. barrel, and a 4-5/8 Ruger 3-screw Blackhawk.
Have since sold my last .41, still have a lot of 6.5 Unique hand loads, bullets, cases, speed loader block, etc., that I will have to get rid of. Will likely get around to pulling the bullets, salvaging the Unique, selling the primed cases and re-casting the bullets into either .45 ACP, 9MM, 38 Super, .44 Spl., .357 Mag., etc.