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Old March 24, 2012, 07:49 PM   #1
erob3
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Smith & Wesson model 41 .22

Hey guys, Just curious as to what all of the "hu bub" is over the S&W model 41 .22. I have never owned one, never touched one, yet I am very intrigued about all I have heard and read. I currently own four .22's; three Rugers and a Buckmark. I find I am enjoying the .22 as range gun more and more. Yes the larger calibers have a bigger bang and may turn a few more heads but just for the pure joy of shooting, I am finding the .22 is sure hard to beat. So....What is it about the S&W? Also, is the newer Model 41 just as good as the older one? Thanks in advance for the info.
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Old March 24, 2012, 08:09 PM   #2
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Depending on one's skill level, it might not mean much.
I don't know much about the newer ones, all the ones I've shot were at least 10yrs old.
I can tell you from my brief experience with them, if I was a competitive target shooter, I'd own one.
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Old March 24, 2012, 09:33 PM   #3
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This is the best target .22 that money can buy. I have had mine for 50 years. It is just as accurate today as it was when I first bought it. The new ones are just as good as the old ones. These guns are made for serious competitive shooting. I got mine when I was on a pistol team and we competed in a league for bullseye shooting. I haven't competed in many years but still enjoy shooting this fine pistol. By the way, the only ammunition that S&W recommends for this pistol is CCI Standard. I got this straight from the S&W gunsmith who worked on mine when I sent it in for an overhaul a couple of years ago.
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Old March 24, 2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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The 41 being the King is a matter of opinion

A lot of people feel the way that Sid does about these. However, many don't. Many people like High Standards over a 41, whether they have a Citation, Trophy, Victor, maybe a 10x, or whatever. The 41 came out later than the Woodsman or any of the High Standards (except the Victor model and 10x, which came out later) so it had that benefit of seeing what worked and what did not. They are great guns but I don't know that they are the top as I myself do prefer high standards. The model 46 was a short lived cheaper version of the 41, so you could maybe luck into one of those for a good price.

Also, many people do think that the earlier 41s were better, those without a letter prefix (or maybe it was suffix?) which denotes pre 1970 status. I shot my grandfathers from 1959, and it worked great while my dads from the 70s had some extraction problems.

41s are great guns, and very few people get one and find themselves longing for something better. However, many other guns can be had which leave people very satisfied, such as high standards.
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Old March 24, 2012, 10:34 PM   #5
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Its as sweet a shooting gun as you will ever find.

Truly a tack driver.

I think I got mine for $170 in the early 70s. Now they are like $1200, used ones for $700.

I don't think the new ones are quite as good as the older ones, just based on comments.

There are some good 22s out there, but there is nothing quite like a Model 41.
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Old March 25, 2012, 12:32 AM   #6
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Do you target shoot? Would a half a inch tighter group be worth a grand of your money? If yes then a s&w 41 is about as hi as you can go. If your looking for a cheaper deal look for a old Swiss made Sig trailside. I have shoot both and the sig out shoot my father s& but not by much. If you can find one buy that.. If not a 41 is still a tack driver.
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Old March 25, 2012, 08:49 AM   #7
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I'm interested in a premium .22 myself, although the budget won't allow a purchase for quite some time.

I recently checked out a used Sig Trailside and a new S&W M41, among other makes and models. LGS was asking $1050 for the Model 41. The various Mk IIs and Mk IIIs don't really float my boat, nor do the Buckmarks, but that M41 sure was sweet!

A lot of people advocate buying used, but the Smith has a non-transferable lifetime warranty if you buy new. Some say the bluing on the older guns was better but the new ones should function just as well. The new one I looked at was beautiful. Smith says you should only fire standard velocity ammo through a 41 and with a used gun you have know way of knowing what ammo went through it, whether it was dry fired, etc.

For less money, I also like the look of the Beretta 87 Target (about $750 new), but a few people have written a lot of not-so-nice things about the trigger.

Based on what I've read and held in my hand, I think I'll go with a Hammerli X-Esse, which is the same as the older Sig/Hammerli Trailside that you can't buy new any more. A 6" X-Esse with target sites is $750 and is just as accurate as Model 41. Hammerli guarantees that every pistol shoots a group smaller than 1" at 25 meters from a machine rest and includes a little target with the proof in the form of a ragged little 5-shot hole. It's also got an adjustable trigger.

Review of the Trailside/X-Esse

Where to buy a new X-Esse
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Old March 25, 2012, 09:07 AM   #8
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I've had a M-41 since the early 80's; bought it for target NRA 50' competition then and have never regretted the cost. My #1 son went off to college with it, competing with the U. of Michigan pistol team with it as well. My gun originally came with the heavy target 5-1/2" barrel, but later, I found a 7-1/2" barrel that fit and felt right on target, so it too was acquired. Accuracy with any domestic target grade ammunition was phenomenal...easily sub-1" at 25 yds from rest with the original 5-1/2" barrel. Never did get around to trying it from rest with the longer tube. And the "field" barrel mentioned below, does as well....good tubes S&W put on those guns.

I quickly found that the shorter barrel suited my style of shooting better (less side to side wobble). Much later, again I found one of the lighter weight "field" barrels; (5-1/2" I think without going to the safe to measure) with the red insert in the front blade. This makes up for a beautiful trail gun if you like a .22 lr in that venue.

One caveat though, over the years we've lost two magazines while carrying the piece in a conventional holster as the safety sticks out somewhat and allows it to drop the mag at inconvenient times...be careful, they are expensive and more so every passing day as the guns increase in value.

The basic gun is a good value if you treasure a first rate bullseye gun, or enjoy plinking with a top of the line .22. I've no experience with the current S&W offerings, but would be surprised if they weren't up to snuff even compared with those produced decades ago...S&W made a goodly part of their reputation for accuracy in the bullseye target world with them.

And thanks for starting this thread, you've peaked my interest again and I'll get the old war-horse out, she hasn't seen the light of day in years. Time for a refresher.

JMHO, Rod
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Last edited by rodfac; March 25, 2012 at 09:09 AM. Reason: Thoughts on ammunition
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Old March 25, 2012, 09:53 AM   #9
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They are that good and then some !!

Quote:
What is it about the S&W? Also, is the newer Model 41 just as good as the older one?
Just about everything that would become evident, the first time you shoot one. Of course, that is if you can afford to go there. Basically I am a Ruger MK-Family fan and have been fortunate enough to own a few older High Standards but the 41's are still heads above these. ....

The worse thing about them, is that once you shoot one, you don't need to look for anything better. ....

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Old March 25, 2012, 10:07 AM   #10
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The M41 is a good pistol.
Few owners complain about them and many shooters lust after them.
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Old March 25, 2012, 12:41 PM   #11
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I picked up a model 41 with 5.5 heavy barrel several years ago ( when prices were more reasonable ) and it is by far my favorite rimfire handgun at the practice range ! Even my guests that have not shot the pistol can do pretty well with it.....the stock wood grips fit me well , weight distribution feels good to me for target use , and for my taste the trigger is phenomenal compared to anything else I've owned ! However , for a field / hunting 22 lr pistol I would prefer an accessory rail for the scope or red dot optics mounting option and a bit lighter in weight when using just iron sights !
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Old March 26, 2012, 12:20 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies and info. There is little doubt the model 41 is definitely one of, if not, the best .22 out there. The opinions seem to be mixed as to whether the newer versions are as good as the older ones. I guess that's the last big question. I would appreciate a little more feedback on the older ones vs. the later generation. Is there a big difference, if any at all? Obviously the older S&W's bring a premium in price, with that said if a newer generation 41 could be had for a $200-$300 less than an older would you get it? If you were looking to get one?

P.S. - Rod...... I'm glad to hear you're Model 41 is being brought out of the dark.
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Last edited by erob3; March 26, 2012 at 12:26 PM.
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Old March 26, 2012, 12:30 PM   #13
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How do you make the cut !!!

Quote:
Obviously the older S&W's bring a premium in price, with that said if a newer generation 41 could be had for a $200-$300 less than an older would you get it?
I have not seen this as of course most of the older ones show some wear. Another point, is where do you make the cut between either one? All seem to be running about the same price. One difference that I have seen, is the muzzle break as well as the addition of weights that I have seen on the older ones. Granted, I personally would love to have an older NIB rather than a newer one but certainly not going to get either one cheap. .....


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Old March 26, 2012, 04:32 PM   #14
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1970"s Had a heavy barreled model. Shot my highest slow fire Bullseye scores with it. The 41 had feeding problems. Had to shoot 100 rounds till it was dirty, then it worked. Returned to factory. They did not fix it. Sold it. The High Standard Victory was my first choice, same vintage.
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Old March 26, 2012, 06:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
A lot of people advocate buying used, but the Smith has a non-transferable lifetime warranty if you buy new. Some say the bluing on the older guns was better but the new ones should function just as well. The new one I looked at was beautiful. Smith says you should only fire standard velocity ammo through a 41 and with a used gun you have know way of knowing what ammo went through it, whether it was dry fired, etc.
You simply send it back and do not tell them you are not the original owner.
Don't ask don't tell and it works fine.

If its a warranty item they will fix it, if abuse you pay for it.

We have had 3 of them. Two were flawless, one bought a bit latter in the 70s or ealry 80s was not. Rather than send it in he sold it. Nice setup with multiple barrels. Did not tell anyone. I could have starngled him.

I carried mine for years for SD (damn confidient I could shoot the eye out of a squirel at 75 ft) as well as a woods gun. It was all I had that was on the concealible side. Its a bit dinged up but functions flawlessly.

No clue on the new ones, have not shot one.

You can get a different barrel with a rail setup which is where I will go one of these days so I can shoot it again. Old eyes can't see the iron sights which is a shame.
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Old March 26, 2012, 07:37 PM   #16
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Older ones had a few features the newer ones don't....like removable comps, cocking indicators on the back of the slide, and grooves for the addition of external barrel weights. Outside of that new or old, they are superb shooters that need little to no improvement from a gunsmith. In terms of quality fit & finish, they are akin to Gold Cups and Pythons.

Perhaps the nicest feature is the quick release barrel....wish all guns were this easy to break down.







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Old March 27, 2012, 10:29 AM   #17
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5" barrel and no sights !!!

Rembrandt
Thanks for the schematic and parts breakdown. I noted that they mention but do not picture, a 5" lightweight barrel. Mostly by chance or luck, I wound up with one of these. Most Smith guys, had never seen one. Like the rest, it's still a great shooter. .....

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Old March 27, 2012, 10:50 AM   #18
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I've compared the new ones to the old visually and I vote that the old ones have superior fit and finish then the newer models. Also all the text and logo are laser engraved golden into the new ones rather then stamped/engraved/machined or whatever...

I will say this as a benefit to the newer models. Older models REQUIRE standard velocity ammo, 1080fps, anything hotter and you run the risk of cracking your slide. (after extended use of HV ammo)

I've 'heard' they are sprung a bit harder then older 41s so they can shoot some of the Higher Velocity (standard 1250fps stuff) or they come with an additional recoil spring that allows it.

Which makes sense to me because when they first came out .22 was 1080fps nowadays 1250fps is much more the norm.

Brownells also carries a buffer to cushion the slide when it returns to battery. I'd much rather risk cracking a new 41s slide then an older one.
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Old March 27, 2012, 03:32 PM   #19
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Last year I spoke on the phone to a gunsmith at S&W. He told me that he has 40 years experience working on the Model 41. He specifically warned against shooting ANY high velocity ammunition with this pistol.
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Old March 27, 2012, 07:28 PM   #20
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I have an older one that a guy at work loaned me, gave me a big box of Winchester ammo and asked me to shoot the heck out of it. So I have. Has two barrels, the 5.5" and the 7.375", the longer one has a 2.5x Bushnell scope mounted on it. I can sit and hit the shiny end of a pop can at 100 yards all day with it, once I get adjusted all over again to the 1-1.5# trigger.

I just checked the empty box of the ammo he gave me, 1280fps. I'll let him know about the speed issue, I'd sure hate to have to replace the slide on this thing.
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Old March 27, 2012, 07:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Based on what I've read and held in my hand, I think I'll go with a Hammerli X-Esse, which is the same as the older Sig/Hammerli Trailside that you can't buy new any more
I have owned a lot of 22lr handguns. I started on a ruger 22/45 mkIII about six years ago. It inspired me to mortgage the house, buy a model 41, and ditch the ruger (I now have a strong personal dislike for rugers). I got the 41 used for something like $630 four years ago.

I had a trailside that had been worked on by a good gunsmith. It was a beaut, and I regret selling it. It was easily my second favorite 22 semi auto pistol. It may have been more accurate than my m41 due to its amazing trigger. The negative for me was the lightness of the pistol (and the outrageous price of the mags). I sold it for something like $350.

My third favorite 22 was a 4" buckmark slabside I got in trade for a $200 tokarev. Very nice, although I had to replace some internals when I got it due to age. Sold it to a friend of mine that still loves it.

I've also had a benelli MP-35E (IIRC). However, I don't shoot one handed much due to my eye dominance. And a Beretta m71. Probably some others I cannot remember. Don't even get me going on revolvers.

Through it all, I have had the m41, and it is the last gun I would sell if I needed a heart transplant.
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Old March 27, 2012, 09:00 PM   #22
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Ok - so on "average" what is an older model 41 going for in very good condition? Best educated guess. Also; What would a newer version for? Say mid 90's to early 2K's. Both examples are in the box. Surely if you could find one 10 yrs. old or so it will have the bugs worked out of it. From what everyone has written the newer generation has had some issues.
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Old March 28, 2012, 09:54 AM   #23
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Google it !!

My SWAG on this is $600.00 to $800.00. Have seen some older ones, in the $900.00 price range. I'm talking dealer's price not private owners. Go to GB and see what they are going for. ....


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Old March 28, 2012, 07:13 PM   #24
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not condoning it but....

I've used HV 22 ammo in my model 41 for 15 years through my 5 inch field barrel without any noticeable sign of slide damage....changing out recoil springs and adding a buffer is about all I've done to it ! In my 5.5 heavy barrel I use Federal HV gold medal 719 ammo advertised at 1200 fps....I may tone it down to the standard velocity stuff though !
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Old March 28, 2012, 09:39 PM   #25
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Rembrandt man I LOVE your pictures! they
look so nice!
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