View Full Version : Anyone know what a "Colt 41" Revolver is?

October 18, 2002, 06:31 PM
Hey all,

A buddy just called and told me that he went shopping today and ran across an old Colt revolver and wanted me to tell him about it. He said all it had on the barrel was "Colt 41". It is obviously a Colt and he says it was a double action although I would not put too much faith in that. He says it looks old and it is wore down almost to the bare steel. He thinks he may be able to get it at a good price.
If anyone knows what this thing is, let me know. I also would like to know what caliber this thing is because the owner told him the reason he is selling it is because you cannot get ammo for it anymore.
I know it all sounds fishy, but I did not see it. I am merely relaying what was just told to me.
Any info will be appreciated.



October 18, 2002, 06:58 PM
Could have been a .41 Long colt (or .41 short colt).
Introduced in the double action Thunderer model in 1877.
Bore diameter is approx .41". Ammo scarce. Rather wimpy cartridge.

Subsequently, several other models chambered in .41 Colt. Do some research on exact model and condition before paying more than a pittance for it. From your rough description of condition, it could be worth a hundred bucks or less. They don't get pricey till the condition level gets high.

Two biggies to look for besides exact model...
Mechanical condition.
Amount of original finish remaining and general appearance.


October 18, 2002, 07:54 PM
Agree with the above thread, Colt made a number of Double Action revolvers in 41 caliber up to 1910 or so. Even though it is a Colt and old ,in poor condition most DA 41's are not worth a lot. In my area $125-$200 at best , the price goes up for better condition and as stated 41 ammo is very hard to find- more of a collectors item.

James K
October 18, 2002, 08:48 PM
They also made the SAA in .41, and it is pretty desirable even in only fair shape. The Model 1877 ("Thunderer") and Model 1878 were made in .41, as was the Army Special and the old Official Police. I once knew a cop who carried an OP in .41 and swore by it.


October 18, 2002, 11:25 PM
Starline does list brass for the .41 Colt. $376.00/1000...

One can use .386 hollow base bullets. Tho they are under bore size, the base obturates enough to get fair shootability.

The original loading was with heeled bullets. The part that goes in the case is smaller than the part that rides the bore. Like a .22 LR.


Michael Mayfield
October 19, 2002, 08:44 AM
The double action Colts were originally made in 38 Long Colt, black powder of course, shorter than 38 spec. The 41 long colt was introduced to give more power. Since the 38 was called Lightning, the 41 got the name Thunderer. These pistols have a rather fragile action, as the cylinder latch, which locks to the face of the cylinder rather than the outside as other revolvers do, has a leg that is only 1/64 inch thick! If the piece is in working order, your friend has quite a find. If anyone knows of a smith who is willing to work on one of these, PLEASE let me know. This was my Dad's first gun,and he sure would like to get it into working order again. Also, if your friend is interested in shooting it, he absolutely MUST check first to be sure that it is safe for smokeless powder. The date of manufacture can be determined from the serial number. He could contact Collectors Firearms in Hou. And prices for these regularly run up to 1200 bucks. One in good condition but not working can bring 800. These were popular with many of the old gunslingers, even though they were prone to breakage. John Wesley Hardin was carrying one when he was killed.

Old Fuff
October 19, 2002, 08:37 PM
Be advised that Colt did not certify any 1877 model revolvers in .38 Long Colt or .41 Colt for smokeless powder although they were manufactured through 1908. The original boxes carried a label, "For Black Powder Only" during later years.

Old Fuff
October 19, 2002, 08:51 PM
Regarding your dad's revolver. I presume from what you said that it is one of the model 1877's. You can tell because this model will be chambered in .38 Long Colt or .41 Long Colt and it either has an ejector like a Single Action Army or a round, short barrel with no ejector. You load it through a gate on the right side.

Usually the problem with these is a broken spring - the lockwork is filled with small ones. Most springs and some other parts can be obtained from:

Dixie Gun Works
Gunpowder Lane
Union City, TN. 38281


They may also know of a gunsmith that works on these guns since they sell the parts.

7th Fleet
October 19, 2002, 09:13 PM
If that old Colt is indeed the 1877 Thunderer be advised that they're quite fragile and delicate old guns...


Johnny Guest
October 21, 2002, 01:38 AM
- - -have, normally enough, dealt with the Thunderer and the SAA. Normally, because these are the most valuable. The SAAs are almost to valuable to fhoot, and the Thunderers are quite delicate, as noted.

The Colt Army Special in .41 LC, though, is really a pretty rugged item. The same model later became the Official Police, chambered in .38 Special and .32-20. The .41 LC went out of favor, though, as the ammo companies didn't want to load ammo at too high a pressure for fear it would be used in the old Thunderer revolvers. It was therefore somewhat less powerful than the higher-intensity .38 Spl ctgs. If not for that problem, the .41 would have been known as a pretty powerful number.

When handloaded with care, proper-size hollow base bullets and a fairly healthy charge of Bullseye or Unique, the late Colt OPs and SAAs served outdoorsmen, small game hunters, and peace officers well for many decades. Winchester made a fairly small run of .41 LC with a blunt, round-nose, Luballoy bullet in, I think, 200 grains, back in the 1970s. It wasn't very popular, and I don't think they repeated the performance. Now, if you're lucky enough to find any, it runs well over a dollar a round, and an intact factory box of 50 is into the collector's realm.

If reasonably priced, ANY Colt .41 is worth having, but it shouldn't be bought with the idea of shooting it much. :p