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Old June 13, 2013, 07:48 AM   #51
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...Winchester, Marlin and Rossi should have introduced lever guns at the same time the revolvers were made. Any new caliber should be introduced as a complete package...
Remington introduced the .41 Magnum cartridge in cooperation with S&W. They had no control or influence with Winchester, Marlin and Rossi in regard to what the chamberings were offered in their products. Aside from that, the .41 was envisioned as a more effective police revolver weapon first and one that could be used to shoot game.
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Old June 13, 2013, 06:56 PM   #52
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The .41 like it's siblings the .357 and .44 are all easily handloaded for and all can be loaded light or hot.
And I've loaded light and hot for all three. The .41 just seems to adapt well to varying velocity and pressure levels. Sometimes I've had to work for an accurate load for the other two. With the .41, I find that I have to work at finding a load/power level that it won't shoot well in any of the several revolvers I've owned.

Quote:
Had one of those, a 3-screw Blackhawk. Always carried it when walking along the Pere Marquette River area that was across the road from my land. It was just the "right size".
There's somethin' about mating a 4.62 inch Blackhawk and the .41 Magnum cartridge that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

I suspect that the match was ordained or somethin'. Just one of those things that was meant to be.

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Some very knowledgeable and discerning shooters and loaders discovered the best-kept secret in revolverdom.

The great unwashed masses have yet to learn what we discovered some time ago..sorry about that.
We really oughta have a secret handshake and a "sign" so we can spot each other from a distance.
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Old June 13, 2013, 07:25 PM   #53
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...I find that I have to work at finding a load/power level that it won't shoot well in any of the several revolvers I've owned...
That mirrors the experiences I had with the .41's I have owned. I had a M58, The Ruger 3-screw, a 657 six-inch and a M57 eight and three-eights inch. I notice that when I used a plain-base cast bullet in both the M58 and the 657 with Unique powder, I could load down as far as 6.5 grains for fast double-action work and they would both shoot that load accurately and hotter loads accurately by just arbitrarily (not worked up or down to find the sweet-spot) selecting the weight of the powder...6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, etc. Those two guns especially, did not seem to care where I settled the load of Unique. For hunting loads then, using the gas checked 212 grain Lyman bullet, and Blue Dot (years before Alliant issued its warning about the .41 Alliant Blue Dot in the .41 mag.), all four did not seem to be picky with that powder either.
Another thing I liked about the .41 is that it seemed to be just the right size for manipulating with my fingers when hand loading. 9MM-way to small in length and diameter, 38-357 too small in diameter, 44 spl and Mag, .45 Colt, all to big in diameter. However, the .41 seemed to have just the right size to rapidly insert in a shell holder (for years I used a single stage) and remove it quickly. It was not as evident in my Dillion 550b, but still was fast to grab out of the container and get it into the shell plate. Likewise the .41 cast bullets were quicker to get in and out of my Lyman bullet size/lube press also. That became apparent to me when using the old punch-press technique of placing a bullet into the die with my left hand, sizing and lubing it, removing it with my right hand while picking up another bullet to be sized with my left...using both hands in the process for speed. The ease of handling will become apparent if one compares the .41 size/lube process with that of the those "cone shaped" 9MM lead bullets... I hated having to work with them.
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Old June 13, 2013, 07:31 PM   #54
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I just picked my black hawk up from being shipped from Georgia. I'm kicking myself though because I shipped it in the plastic container that the gun came in. In transit the plastic case rubbed some blueing off on the right side of the top strap
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Old June 14, 2013, 04:51 AM   #55
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.41

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hat mirrors the experiences I had with the .41's I have owned.
I've wondered why that seems to be the rule rather than the exception with the cartridge, and whether it simply comes down to the ratio of case capacity to caliber...length to diameter. Everything just seems to have fallen into place with the .41 because it's not sensitive to pressure levels and load density.

Purposeful engineering or happy coincidence? Don't know/don't care. I'll always have a .41 as long as I have a say in the matter.
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Old June 14, 2013, 01:25 PM   #56
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The .41 Magnum is a classic example of a fine cartridge that just never quite caught on. The reasons are numerous, and fairly clear in hindsight, like a lot of things.

There was a failure in the gun community to have a unified vision of what the round ought to be, and because of it, neither camp got the success they envisioned.

For quite some time the major gun writers of the era (and especially those who had been lawmen) had been writing about what would be the perfect police revolver. In general they felt it ought to be a .40 or .41 caliber, shooting a 200/210gr bullet at 950-1000fps or so. They felt that would be the best blend of size, weight and power.

Guns were made, and marketed, and so was ammo. But what was specifically made, and when played a big part in public acceptance and popularity. S&W made a top of the line gun for sporting use, and a fixed sight "duty" model intended for the police. Quite a few guns were bought by the police for testing.

The trouble at the time was, that for reasons known only to the folks at Remington, they concentrated on producing the magnum ammo first, and didn't get supplies of the lower velocity "police" load ammo on the market until well after many police agencies had tested the .41 (with magnum ammo) and decided it wasn't for them. And since the police weren't wanting them, not many other folks did, either.

On the sporting side of the house, the .41 was accurate, and had a flatter long range trajectory than the .44 Magnum, some people took to it right away. Others didn't, because the guns were the same as the .44 Mag, and the .41 was "15% less". And even though the .41 was "15% less" many people couldn't really tell much difference in recoil, and when Dirty Harry came out just a few years after the .41 mag, the .44 fever that swept the nation's shooters just made double sure the .41 never got the limelight.

Its not dead, the .41 Mag lives as a niche round, keeping enough sales to stay, if only barely. Well loved by the people who know it well, and mostly ignored by everyone else.
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Old June 14, 2013, 04:02 PM   #57
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41 Mag

I love the 41 mag. and have been shooting and hunting with it since the late seventies. I have a Smith Model 57 in 6" that I use for shooting paper and carry a Ruger 4 5/8 when hunting. Shoots light and heave bullets really good.
I also carry a 1894 Marlin a lot of the time. I never want to be without this round.
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Old June 17, 2013, 12:10 AM   #58
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.41 mag- what happened to what?

"Never caught on" Every time I hear that expression, it makes me laugh! It caught on with me the first time I shot it! It caught on to those that liked it! I owned and shot a Ruger Redhawk in .44 caliber and it always felt too big to carry and kicked quite a bit! In 1984, I sold my .44 and bought a .41. Every time I fire it, it feels like a potent revolver should. Bottom line is both the 44 and the 41 are potent rounds and both caught on with shooters. Who cares how many? A hit with a .41 is better than a miss with .454! Try both! The biggest difference between a .44 and a .41 is in the mind of the shooter!
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Old June 17, 2013, 06:51 AM   #59
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Bottom line is both the 44 and the 41 are potent rounds and both caught on with shooters. Who cares how many?
How many new .41's are on the market today? "caught on", means popularity. Popularity is what keeps the makers making and selling them.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:50 AM   #60
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+1 on the need for a companion 41 special.

A 40 Mag(and Special) would have been more interesting. The 41 is so close to the 44 Mag(more like 42 or 43 Mag) that it's offerings differ little. Something closer to the middle of the 38 to 44 gap leaves more room for cylinder wall thickness in smaller frames.
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Old June 19, 2013, 05:20 AM   #61
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The Special .41

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+1 on the need for a companion 41 special.
That was done several years ago as a wildcat, and caught on in a few corners well enough that Starline .41 Special brass is available as a catalog item.

Handloaded ballistics match or exceed the original "Police Load" levels. Sadly, there are no large commercial producers of the ammunition that take it to those levels, instead setting their sights on the CAS crowd. If the gun manufacturers would get together with the ammo makers, and introduce an L-framed, 5-shooter chambered for the cartridge, I think it would fly...albeit in smaller numbers than the well-established .357 Magnum and .44 Special.

The custom revolver smiths are all too happy to make conversions...at a fairly stiff price...and that's another obstacle. As it stands, Many a New Model .357 Vaquero and a few Colts have undergone the transformation to .41 Special, and those who have taken that plunge are pleased with the results...but even that's a fairly small market.

Personally, I wish that Ruger would jump in with a .41 Special New Vaquero. I'd have to break my long-standing hiatus on new gun purchases. I don't look for it to happen, though. There just isn't enough demand for it. Maybe Lipsey will come to the plate with a limited run.
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Old June 20, 2013, 11:06 AM   #62
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Personally, I wish that Ruger would jump in with a .41 Special New Vaquero. I'd have to break my long-standing hiatus on new gun purchases.
I would be standing in line with you for that offering. Although I have to wonder why a new vaquero couldn't be chambered for the .38-40 and accomplish nearly the same thing. I'm thinking a .38-40, 3 1/2 inch barreled new vaquero with a bird's head grip would be pretty nice.
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Old June 21, 2013, 05:30 PM   #63
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Iv'e been shooting the .41 mag since the 70's and regardless what some people say, it's one of the best revolver calibers out there bar none.
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Old June 21, 2013, 09:00 PM   #64
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I would be standing in line with you for that offering.
And where exactly would you be buying ammunition?
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Old June 21, 2013, 09:04 PM   #65
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41

My 6" Armaloy S&W 57 in 41 mag is the most accurate revolver I have ever shot. It is my go to gun for boar and drops them cleanly. You can cut down 41 mag brass 0.10" and develop a ".41Special" using a 215gr hard cast lead bullet, this is lots of fun to shoot without magnum recoil.
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Old June 22, 2013, 12:35 AM   #66
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re:

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And where exactly would you be buying ammunition?
.41 Special Starline brass...check.

Large pistol primers...check.

Commercial or home-cast 200-210 grain SWC bullets...check.

One pound Alliant Unique...check.

One set of .41 Magnum dies...check.

One Little Dandy powder measure and a #15 rotor...check.
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Old June 22, 2013, 06:56 AM   #67
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limited selection has never been a helpful thing. according to all the old gunwriters, when the cartridge came out there was only two factory loads. an overpowered hunting load that had more recoil, noise, and flash then did the .357 that it was supposed to replace in police circles. and a lower powered target load that had the same respect as a 158 grain standard pressure lrn out of a 38 special.

still doesnt have much ammunition selection from the factories.
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Old June 22, 2013, 08:36 AM   #68
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only two factory loads. an overpowered hunting load that had more recoil, noise, and flash then did the .357 that it was supposed to replace in police circles. and a lower powered target load that had the same respect as a 158 grain standard pressure lrn out of a 38 special.
There was no, "...lower powered target load...". What it did have is a soft-lead, semi-wadcutter bullet that was intended to be the "police" load. The police load was never considered ineffective. The "...overpowered hunting load..." was not overpowered for hunting any more than factory .44 Magnum loads are overpowered for hunting.
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Old June 22, 2013, 09:25 AM   #69
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the ruger

I agree with the opinions on the Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8" .41. The whole Bore/Barrel Length/Frame Size just grooves together. The .357 seems chunky compared to the .41 and the 6" barrel seems too long for hip carry. Some shooters don't seem to want/like the adjustable sights on a SA revolver but they don't bother me. I also have a 657 .41 in smith. I had it cut for moon clips and use it in ICORE matches. It is much easier to shoot than the same gun in 44.
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Old June 22, 2013, 11:30 AM   #70
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A lot of the reason that it never caught on with its intended LEO market was that it's only chambered in large-framed revolvers. It's big and it's heavy. For some officers with smaller hands, it was hard to manage. For some of smaller stature, it was hard to carry for an entire shift, and even the big guys complained of its weight.
People keep bringing up the police load as an example of a .41 Special. I'm 51 years old and been watching this whole drama over the years. I've become convinced that the real problem with the initial introduction wasn't that they skipped out on introducing .41 Special ammo. It's that they didn't make a .41 Special handgun right from the beginning.

I love my N frames. But they can be a bit much in size and weight to carry around all day as a duty gun. I guess we have to ignore the L frame since that comes later... which means S&W should have introduced a K frame in .41 Special. The same size gun that everybody was already using in .38 Special. Match it up with some mild Special loads but which would still have better stopping power than the then ubiquitous .38 Special 158 grain RNL. Security guards and "gun indifferent" cops could have been issued that gun and ammo. The serious gun types could have bought an N frame and used the Magnum police load or even the Specials.

I've got two of the .357 Magnum size OM Rugers that I've had converted to .44 Special and they are wonderful revolvers. They would be just as good in .41 Special.

Gregg
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Old June 22, 2013, 12:23 PM   #71
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My thought is what is the point of a .357 if you have a .41. I may have more .44s than .41s but the old 57 is still my favorate N gun here.
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Old June 22, 2013, 12:36 PM   #72
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41 magnum bullet - what happened?
OK Poindexter. let's get into the "Way Back" machine. Meaning that we can look at a couple of books and remember a couple of things. In this case Elmer Keith's "Gun Notes" Vol. 1 and John Taffin's "Big Bore Handguns".

The .41 Magnum was introduced in 1964. Cops used revolvers. The U.S. was a nation of wheelgunners. Lead ammo was the round of the day. Reliable JHP ammo for handguns was a decade away.

In the early 60s law enforcement overwhelmingly carried the 38 Spl. round. These were in the K frame S&W guns and similar sized guns from Colt. Those that wanted the .357 Magnum carried an N frame Smith or the Colt Python there was also the excellent K frame "Combat Magnum" which became the M19.

In those days there was a good deal of discussion about a round that could split the difference between the lighter weight bullet and speed of the .357 with the larger caliber size and power of the 44 Magnum. It could potentially have more power than the .357 with less recoil than the 44 Mag. More "stopping power" than the .357 with less recoil than the 44 Mag due to a lighter bullet and bore diameter. It could have both "Great Taste" and be "Less Filling".

Elmer Keith also thought it could be fit in a smaller gun than the N frame Smith and thus reduce weight for all day carry. The lighter weight K frame .357s were selling quickly in all quarters.

Keith rounded up several friends like Bill Jordan and Skeeter Skelton to help him lobby for a new design.

Keith went to speak to his friend at S&W Doug Hellstrom. They felt that if they aimed at law enforcement they could create a market for a new round and maybe gun. He wrote about this in 1963 in Guns and Ammo:

Quote:
Many officers do not like the weight or the recoil of the heavily loaded 44 Special or the 44 Magnum, and the consensus is that a .41 Magnum is what is needed...The cartridge case should be the same length as our present .357 and .44 Magnums. The bullet should be a Keith design of 200 or 210 grains in weight. The full load should carry a full jacket over the bearing-surface soft point at 1,400 to 1,500 fps velocity...The lighter load should be the Keith-design 200-210 grain cast or swaged lead alloy bullet, plain or copper-coated, at 1,100 fps with pressures well under 20,000 psi...
Keith felt that the 200-210 grain load at 1,100 fps would be good for general practice or police work. In the latter he said it would be "an excellent man-stopper, far better than the .357 Magnum at it's best"

Quote:
Doug Hellstrom (of S&W) feels as I do that the ideal police weapon would be a heavy-loaded .44 Special, not available commercially, ... but he also realizes how hard it is to put over to most police organizations, whereas a .41 magnum might well become the accepted police cartridge.
Hellstrom thought they could bring the gun out in the N frame and maybe a 5 shot K frame.

So Elmer Keith and his friends went and spoke to Colt and Ruger. Colt would do it in a Python and Ruger the Blackhawk and Super Blackhawk. They got the agreement of Remington to produce the ammo.

It came out first in the N frame. The ammo for law enforcement was hotter than Keith later said he wanted and the bullet not what he wanted. The bores leaded badly some reported. The fact was the law enforcement ammo Remington supplied did about 1150 fps with a 200 gr. bullet from a 6" barrel. Which was only a bit more than Keith originally wanted.

What law enforcement did try it opted out after a year or so. They did not want to give up lighter weight guns that they shot fast and accurately for heavier guns that they shot slower and less accurately. The lead rounds did not expand and penetrated excessively in urban environments.

So it went nowhere in law enforcement. It was not good enough to dethrone the 38/357 combo. Even less so when a few years later the 110 and 125 gr. jhp ammo for the .357 was introduced from Lee Jurras and Super-Vel.

PLans to chamber it in other guns faded.

Most handgun hunters could not tell much difference between a hot loaded .41 and the 44 magnum recoil wise. It did not dethrone the 44 Spl./44 mag combo.

Most shooters saw no reason to "split the difference".

But the .41 is a good round. Mike Venturino developed a .41 Spl. for it.

It's a nice round. Like the 44 Spl. the 10mm, 38 Super and a couple of others. It ain't gonna get big but its too good to die.

tipoc

Last edited by tipoc; June 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM.
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Old June 22, 2013, 03:56 PM   #73
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Police

The .41 Magnum Police load was a 210-grain Keith-style SWC with an advertised velocity of 970 fps. It was marketed by Winchester and Remington. The swaged bullet was fairly hard, with Remington consistently upsetting to a greater degree than Winchester's offering in several different mediums. All tested penetrated from here to breakfast in the softer stuff.

Chronograph testing with several lots through a Model 58 Smith didn't bear out the advertised numbers, most barely breaking 900, though one lot of Winchester did make close to 950. Close enough, for gub'mint work or so they say. One lot of Remington did 850 fps. Still roughly equal to .45 Auto on paper, with the added effectiveness of the brutal, flat nose. Not exactly the Hammer of Thor, but no weak sister, either.

None of it was exactly sterling in the accuracy department, but was adequate for its intended purposes.

I didn't have any heavy lead fouling in the Smith or the Ruger Blackhawk that I shot it through, but it did start to show up by the time 40-50 rounds had gone down the pipe. Bullet size was the likely culprit as the bulk of the fouling was in the first inch of barrel.

For those wishing to duplicate it, a cast SWC dropped from the RCBS mould, pushed by 7.5 grains of Unique produces 960-970 fps in my Smith, and 20 fps faster in a 4.62 inch Blackhawk...which isn't the same one that I used all those years ago...and beats the factory load for accuracy hands-down in both guns. With an even 8 grains, it just doesn't get much better for a balance of respectable thump, accuracy, and followup control.

Turn up the fire with the same bullet and 18.5 grains 2400, and it'll shoot through an Elk lengthwise out to about 50 yards. This load isn't recommended in the Smith in large quantities. I shot a Model 57 loose with it pretty quickly some years ago. The Ruger soaks it up and begs for more.
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Old June 23, 2013, 09:01 AM   #74
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As usual 1911tuner is spot on in his posts. Even though the .41 doesn't have the array of different bullet weights that the .357 & .44 have it is better than it used to be. Truth is there really isn't much that can't be done with the 210-220gr swc along with some unique and 2400. 1911tuner turned me on to 8.5gr of unique with the 210gr bullet a couple years ago and it's a winner.

Taking a page from tipoc I took a trip in the "Way back machine" and made up some real Keith loads feateuring the Hensley & Gibbs #258 Keith bullet on top of 19gr of 2400. If anyone thinks the .41 mag is lacking they won't for long after touching one of these loads off. The H&G #258 Keith is the real Keith bullet for the .41. I ended up dropping back to 18.5gr of 2400 as it is a bit more pleasant and hits to the same poa as factory fodder.

The H&G #258 aside I found that mass produced cast bullets as sold by the different vendors are to hard and lube them with LLA for the lower velocities to keep leading down. Other than that one would be hard pressed to find a better general purpose load than 8 to 8.5gr of unique with a 210gr swc bullet.
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Old June 23, 2013, 02:59 PM   #75
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Personally, I wish that Ruger would jump in with a .41 Special New Vaquero. I'd have to break my long-standing hiatus on new gun purchases.
Although I'd rather have the .41Spl, the .41Mag works in the mid-frame Rugers.
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