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Old June 7, 2013, 06:29 PM   #1
chrisintexas
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.41 magnum bullet - what happened?

why is this caliber not popular?
Does any company makes revolvers in this caliber?
How effective will be this against black bears/grizzlies? Thanks
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Old June 7, 2013, 06:40 PM   #2
MLeake
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S&W Models 57 and 58

Ruger Blackhawk (SA) and Redhawk (DA), though .41 is not as common in those

Energy is similar to .44, though not quite as high; trajectory is flatter than .44.

The .41 never really achieved popularity because it was marketed to police officers, who were really looking for more of a ".41 Special." If the .41 had been developed around a 200gn bullet at 950-1000fps, it would probably have sold like hotcakes.

But, since it was marketed primarily to LE, and not hunters, it didn't take off like the .44 (marketed to hunters) did. Low quantity of sales led to higher cost of ammo, which made it even less popular - except with handloaders, who often love the .41.

Edit:

Should be fine against black bears; not sure I'd want to use ANY reasonable handgun against a grizzly, but in extremis this might work...

Buffalo Bore heavy .41 Magnum (A: 265gr LWN; B: 230gr Keith; C: 170gr JHP)

Check these velocities taken from real guns.

1. 6.5" Ruger

a. Item #16A - 1379 fps
b. Item #16B - 1459 fps
c. Item #16C - 1640 fps

2. 4" S&W Mountain Gun

a. Item #16A - 1310 fps
b. Item #16B - 1370 fps
c. Item #16C - 1551 fps

Note: Against larger critters, I'd go with the heavier bullets

Last edited by MLeake; June 7, 2013 at 06:45 PM.
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Old June 7, 2013, 07:39 PM   #3
oldgunsmith
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I've been shooting and loading .38 spec., .357, .41 mag. .44 spec., and .44 mag for 40 years. I have always preferred the .41 for most of my shooting.
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Old June 7, 2013, 07:48 PM   #4
jben
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The 41 magnum is my sentimental favorite caliber. I have had as many as 4 revolvers chambered in 41 mag at one time, but am now relegated to just two of them - albeit very fine ones. I have a model 657-4 Mountain Gun, and a model 57 P & R 4" complete with presentation case. In our area, 41 magnum factory ammo costs the same, and sometimes a little less than similar 44 magnum loads. It's a fine cartridge. I also have two 44 mags, but the 41 - there's just something about it! jben
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Old June 7, 2013, 08:48 PM   #5
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The 41 magnum has become my favorite caliber! Dennis
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Old June 7, 2013, 09:24 PM   #6
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I acquired my first 41 Remington® Magnum Revolver, a 4" 5 shot SS Taurus® TRACKER™ in July of last year. It has quickly become my favorite handgun! I plan on purchasing two others; a Large frame 6½" double action and a Ruger® Blackhawk 4⅝" single action.
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Old June 7, 2013, 09:41 PM   #7
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why is this caliber not popular? It is still around and very popular to a small subset of revolver shooters. It is probably more popular today than it has been at any time since it was released in 1964.
Does any company makes revolvers in this caliber? S&W, Ruger, and Taurus
How effective will be this against black bears/grizzlies? Should be just fine for bear protection. Effective? Just about as effective as 44 magnum except when compared to large weight 44 mag bulllets.
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Old June 7, 2013, 09:47 PM   #8
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Savvy handgunners almost to a man regard the .41 magnum as one of the best rounds chambered. Less recoil than a .44 magnum, flatter trajectory etc. endear it to those of us who are reluctant to get a sore palm from shooting a 40 shot string at sillhouettes. My personal revolver is a model 57 six inch nickel I paid full-pop retail for in 1986 ($247.50) and had to send back to S&W five years ago because I'd shot it out. Approximately 40K rounds through it, none of which were factory!
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Old June 7, 2013, 10:12 PM   #9
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I'm going to start saving up for a Freedom Arms revolver, but I've been torn on what caliber to get. I really don't have a need for a powerhouse(I already have 460, 454, 44 etc), so I've been looking at the model 97s. I love the 357 and have been considering that. But after reading this, I'm thinking the 41 might just be the ticket.
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Old June 7, 2013, 11:47 PM   #10
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The mighty .41 has been my favorite wheelgun caliber since the early nineties.
It's just right.
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Old June 7, 2013, 11:56 PM   #11
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I find the 41 mag just about the perfect blend of power and practicality in terms of recoil and accuracy. Makes an excellent whitetail deer caliber. After shooting 41 mags for a while, I got rid of all the 44 mags I owned. I just didn't "need" them and at that time... I had to "need" them to keep them. That has changed a bit over time. But still in the back of my mind, I need a reason beyond just wanting something to buy it in most cases.

Fits nicely in the steps in power from 38spl > 357 mag > 41 mag > 480 Ruger/475 Linebaugh.... Had I not gone this route, I think I could have become a substantial 44 Spl lover. But that time has passed.
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Old June 8, 2013, 08:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
...The .41 never really achieved popularity because it was marketed to police officers, who were really looking for more of a ".41 Special." If the .41 had been developed around a 200gn bullet at 950-1000fps, it would probably have sold like hotcakes...
I do not see any significant difference between your suggested 200gn load and the 210 gr. "Police Load" at 950 fps. One of the complaints about the "Police Load" was that it was still too hot and thus produced too much recoil for officers. In the "old days" I shot some of the police loads and came to the same conclusion, the recoil was too heavy to be able to recover for a second/multiple shots, something a police officer would want to do. A 200 grain bullet at 1000fps seems like it would be about the same as the police load.
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Old June 8, 2013, 09:03 AM   #13
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The other primary reason why the round failed to gain popularity with LE was that the initially available guns were all expensive and heavy large-frame revolvers.

One of the main reasons why .38Spl was the standard for such a long time was that the guns were relatively inexpensive and easy to carry.
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Old June 8, 2013, 09:59 AM   #14
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I honestly have not read that the "police load" had too much recoil for LE back when a number of law enforcement departments were evaluating the 41 mag. The caliber was only available in the M57 and M58 Smiths (N-frames).

The problem as I understand it was only "magnum" loads were available for testing and as a result the recoil was too substantial from a revolver that would probably considered "large" anyway for law enforcement.

It was designed to be the "ultimate" law enforcement caliber; or a balance between stopping power and recoil. The later 40 S&W (mostly for semi-autos) actually was the round that the 41 mag tried to be.
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:08 AM   #15
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Part of the reason the .41 is a niche caliber is because it was designed as such. It also in a caliber that is between the capabilities of two of the most popular handgun calibers ever created. Most folks new to handguns don't even know the .41 exists. It is a fine caliber, but will never achieve the status of it's more infamous bigger and littler siblings.
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:19 AM   #16
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Quote:
. It is a fine caliber, but will never achieve the status of it's more infamous bigger and littler siblings.
Right on. I have .357s, I have .44s, and .45s. So why would I need a .41? No logical reason to me. "It's flatter shooting..." or "just because" or "less recoil" doesn't 'click' with me... I prefer slow and heavy rather than 'fast and light'. Ie. If .357 (158g loaded to around 1100fps) can't handle the job, the .44 will, if the the .44 can't the .45 will.... At 'normal' handgun range the 'flat shooting' argument holds no water (to me). My shooting is all under 100 yards... more like 75 yards max for most. Beyond that I have rifles for distance. BTW, I handload so I keep my loads under 1200fps and under 1000fps for general shooting in all calibers.
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:41 AM   #17
MLeake
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Re: "My load."

Um... no, that was something recommended by the shootists of the day, including Elmer Keith.

Note the similarity between the .41 200 at 950, and the .40S&W 180 at 980; the .40 was designed from the start as a cartridge for LE, and designed very similarly to the proposed .41 police load.

So, not "my load."
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Old June 8, 2013, 12:10 PM   #18
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Don't forget that Freedom Arms alsoatill makes revolvers in 41 magnum.
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Old June 8, 2013, 03:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
The .41 never really achieved popularity because it was marketed to police officers, who were really looking for more of a ".41 Special." If the .41 had been developed around a 200gn bullet at 950-1000fps, it would probably have sold like hotcakes.
The .41 Long Colt was developed in 1877 and ran a 200 grain bullet at 750 FPS. It was a popular round for many years. Methinks the .41 mag was an attempt to revive a tried and true caliber that just didn't make the final cut.
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Old June 8, 2013, 04:40 PM   #20
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One of the reasons the 41 mag was not as successful as the 44 mag is that the 44 mag will "blow your head clean off". Yeah, that's a LE round...

So many 44 mags were purchased after the Dirty Harry movie that you couldn't find one and the ones that were available were often priced above retail at that time. But, so many did not have a full box of ammo shot through them before the new owner decided it wasn't for them. Now.... folks treat the 44 mag like it is commonplace and easy to shoot well; it's not.
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Old June 8, 2013, 05:05 PM   #21
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I'm no expert on the .41 but it seems like a spiffy round. I think earlier posters are correct about the marketing under-serving the product. We saw the same thing more recently with the .327. What's worse is that after the marketing undercut, the low resulting sales caused a market contraction and poisoned the well. It meant distributors cared less and eventually, manufacturers cared less. These blunders have led some excellent rounds to fall short of their full potential. Now they languish in the shadows of the firearms community where more expensive customization takes up where manufacturing leaves off.
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Old June 8, 2013, 06:18 PM   #22
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The 480 Ruger seems to fit the same characture. The 327 and 480 were left to languish by primarily Ruger.
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Old June 8, 2013, 08:34 PM   #23
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I am a .41Mag fan.

That said, IMHO part of its downfall is the initial offering in the N frame. That is a big gun for police carry....there is no advantage in a frame big enough to hold a 44Mag.

Conversely, I have a 41Mag Taurus Tracker in a .357Mag frame size. Same smaller size as a 357....considerably more power...what's not to like?
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:03 PM   #24
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Another reason for the 41 mag not being super popular is that it came out in 1964, long after both the 357 magnum (1935) and the 44 magnum (1956). Its a compromise between those 2 cals, which of course can also be achieved by handloading a 44 magnum, and loading it down a little.

Quote:
That said, IMHO part of its downfall is the initial offering in the N frame. That is a big gun for police carry....there is no advantage in a frame big enough to hold a 44Mag.
I think its an advantage that a N frame 41 magnum (57, 58, 657) will not blow your hand off. What I mean by that is, when the 41 mag came out, the only S&W frame which could handle it was the N frame. I can acknowledge you saying the N frame is big and heavy, but it was necessary.
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Old June 8, 2013, 11:07 PM   #25
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I have never understood the 41 Magnum. Supposedly meant to fill the gap between the 357 and the 44, the recoil is much closer to the latter than to the former making it too much for many shooters. Many 41 owners brag on their guns, but the truth is there is nothing the 41 can do the 44 doesn't do about 15% better. Meanwhile, 41 ammo is harder to find and 41 bullets for reloading are less comprehensive. The 41 failed as a cop gun (the 58 is a gun that has no real purpose as far as I can tell) due to size, weight and recoil and it couldn't equal the 44 for sporting use. I have no idea why it has survived at all. Except as I said, some guys love it.

Having said all that, I confess to owning a pair of S&Ws in 41 Magnum. Don't ask me why I bought them. The price was right and I wanted it. Explains about 95% of my gun purchases.

Got this in 1988 for $189. Still haven't figured out a use for it. Notice mine has the correct "Modified Magna" stocks. Only the 58 and the 1980 M520 used this style in the N frame line and most 58s are found with incorrect wood.




Got this off Gunbroker a few years back for $325. It's shiny and I love the shiny guns.

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