The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 3, 2012, 08:33 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: June 20, 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,179
44Sp or 41mag

I am considering buying a Ruger Blackhawk in either 44 Special or 41 Mag. I see 44Mag and 45 Colt all the time and want something a little different. Due to ammo cost, availability, etc. I will need to reload. I realize there is a difference in 41mag and 44Sp in the power dept. I don't particularly need a magnum caliber, but might go with one if it felt right at the time. Are there any peculiarities in either of these two calibers I should consider?
This is my gun. There are many like her, but this one is mine.

I'm not old. I'm CLASSIC!
KMAX is offline  
Old June 3, 2012, 08:42 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: June 4, 2007
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 1,943
The 41 will do everything the 44 spl will do and then some. You can load it up or down, and still be able to handload and cast for it. It remains my favorite wheelgun caliber. I've owned several and all were capable of one hole groups with tailored ammo. Brass is a bit harder to find in OF condition, but Starline makes new stuff every so often. Moulds are available on the e site and lead can be found there also. Anyone who thinks the 41 is underpowered probably hasn't fired the Lyman 410610 over 20.5 grains of WW296/H110. It simply dribbles deer, hogs, and black bear.
If you want your children to follow in your footsteps, be careful where you walk.
Beware the man that only owns one gun; he probably knows how to use it.
I just hope my ship comes in before my dock rots.
crowbeaner is offline  
Old June 3, 2012, 09:54 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: July 1, 2007
Location: texas
Posts: 968
I have a Ruger in 44 special, great gun and great caliber. Standard loads or +p, it's way more versatile than 41 mag because of the broad range bullets available. Lightweights or heavies, lead or jacketed 44 caliber bullets are very common, and brass is also widely available.

I like the 41 also but when forced to choose, the 44 makes more sense to me.
oldscot3 is offline  
Old June 4, 2012, 12:02 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: November 9, 2005
Location: Ohio, Appalachia's foothills.
Posts: 3,779
Love loading for my SBH Hunter in 41RemMag.

One of those fantastic, overlooked, rounds.

Sent from a highly hacked Android device using Tapatalk 2.
mrawesome22 is offline  
Old June 4, 2012, 06:57 AM   #5
Mike Irwin
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 40,031
I wouldn't sell the .41 Magnum short on versatility.

I've seen bullets as light as 150 grains and as heavy as 300 grains. That's a pretty darned good spread.

If you need power occasionally, go for the .41 Magnum. At full magnum loads it really loses nothing to the .44 Mag.

If you want to just plink, consider the .44 Special. Very mild mannered, and with Trail Boss powder it can be fantastically accurate.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old June 4, 2012, 07:46 PM   #6
Crunchy Frog
Senior Member
Join Date: December 26, 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 522
I have a .41 Magnum S&W M57. I started shooting cowboy action a couple of years ago and decided that a single action revolver in .41 would make a good companion to the N frame.

I've never cared for the Ruger Blackhawks with the aluminum grip frame but Ruger used to make a Bisley Blackhawk in stainless steel. I had found some .41s on Gunbroker and a friend of mine who is handgun hunter and a big Ruger Bisley fan offered to let me shoot his .45 Colt Ruger Bisley Blackhawk which is a virtual twin to the .41 version.

When we go to the range he pulled out the .45 but also showed me something new: a Ruger flattop Blackhawk Bisley in .44 Special. I was able to shoot the .45 and the .44 Special back-to-back.

The difference is that the .44 Special is built on the smaller New Vaquero size cylinder and main frame. The .41 and .45 Colt use the larger Blackhawk frame. I liked the feel and balance of the .44 Special much better.

I load hard cast bullets in the .44 Special. I have loaded light loads and recently worked up some 240 grain handloads just under the classic "Skeeter load". I could load up some "Elmer Keith loads" that I'm sure will be plenty warm enough for me.

I wouldn't turn my nose up at a .41 Magnum Ruger Bisley should I come across one at a bargain price but I certainly don't feel undergunned with the .44 Special.
Crunchy Frog is offline  
Old June 4, 2012, 11:47 PM   #7
Junior member
Join Date: January 24, 2010
Location: South West Riverside County California
Posts: 2,763
"At full magnum loads it really loses nothing to the .44 Mag."
Buffalo Bore is the best place to get real world numbers and
I was surprised to see that it is true for the most part.
The .41 mag looks versatile.
"Heavy .41 Magnum Ammo - 265 gr. L.W.N. (1,350 fps/M.E. 1,072 ft. lbs.)"
"Heavy .44 Magnum Ammo - 305 gr.L.B.T.-L.F.N.(1,325fps/M.E.1,189 ft.lbs.)"
I'd say you are right on but they do make a crazy +P+:
"Heavy .44 Magnum +P+ Ammo - 340 gr. L.F.N. - G.C. (1,478 fps/M.E. 1,649 ft. lbs.)"
The .44 Special is less gun - but I still like mine
"Heavy .44 Special Ammo - 255 gr.S.W.C.(Keith-type)G.C.(1,000fps/M.E.566 ft.lbs.)"
jmortimer is offline  
Old June 5, 2012, 01:11 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: January 31, 2008
Location: Arizona
Posts: 214
That's a tough one. I really like both those calibers. I guess I would have to give the nod to the 44 Spl. In a Blackhawk you can get 1100fps with a 240gr bullet without pushing it very hard. There isn't much that wont deal with. Bullet selection is better in the 44. It really comes down to what you prefer. They are both great calibers.
Outdoor Equipment Outfitter for your outdoor equipment needs
Nomadicone is offline  
Old June 5, 2012, 09:29 AM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: February 14, 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 753
Does Ruger even make revolver chambered in .44 Special ? I think only .44 magnum. That said, IMHO you'd be better off with a .44 mag rather than .41 mag. More reloading components and ammo are available for .44 mag.
tom234 is offline  
Old June 5, 2012, 07:29 PM   #10
Crunchy Frog
Senior Member
Join Date: December 26, 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 522
"Does Ruger even make revolver chambered in .44 Special?"

Yes, although some are distributor exclusives and some are regular catalog items. Off the top of my head I believe you can find the following Rugers in .44 Special:

Vaquero (it's a New Vaquero but the "New" is missing from the rollmark)
Vaquero Sheriff's Model
Flattop Blackhawk (blued or stainless)
Flattop Blackhawk Bisley (Lipsey's Exclusive)
Crunchy Frog is offline  
Old June 5, 2012, 09:46 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: December 10, 2005
Location: Central , OR
Posts: 1,838
"Does Ruger even make revolver chambered in .44 Special?"
yes, but here is another option,
joneb is offline  
Old June 7, 2012, 09:16 AM   #12
Join Date: July 21, 2007
Location: centraL pa. on the west bank of the susquehanna river
Posts: 22
i have both .41
budman46 is offline  
Old June 7, 2012, 09:25 AM   #13
Join Date: July 21, 2007
Location: centraL pa. on the west bank of the susquehanna river
Posts: 22
sorry about that, fat fingers.

as i started to say, i have both .41 and .44 mags...a 1000 fps, 240 gr lead, .44 special in a mod 29 s&w is a treat, so it would be my first choice...will .41 mag be available 20 years from now? don't know, but i'm sure both .44 spec and .44 mag will be.


ignorance is fixable...
budman46 is offline  
Old June 7, 2012, 09:33 AM   #14
Join Date: August 31, 2007
Posts: 47
I do not have one , but to my knowledge , there is nothing wrong with a .41 Mag . But from what I have always heard and read , it just never caught on big ? I think it is very close to being an orphan caliber ?

Brass & bullets are probably less available / plentiful than a .44 . And .44 may not be a lot more expensive ?

For anyone that reloads , I would recommend the .44 Mag , hands down . You can tailor your loads anywhere from mild to wild .

And a revolver in .44 will probably sell better than a .40 , if you should ever decide to sell it .

God bless
WyrTwister is offline  
Old June 7, 2012, 09:29 PM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: August 13, 2011
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 661
.41 Mag

I have two and love em! Ruger BH w/4-5/8" Bbl and a S&W Mtn Gun w/4" Bbl.
So far I've only loaded 210grn cast SWC's @ 1050fps and 210grn HP's @1300fps.
Accuracy is very good with both 2"-3" @ 25 yds and 4"-5" @ 50yds standing off hand.
But I do want a S&W 596 in 44 spl.
tahoe2 is offline  
Old June 8, 2012, 07:22 AM   #16
Robert Palermo
Join Date: June 30, 2010
Location: Home of the Steelers
Posts: 56
I am diehard .41 mag fan but love the .44 Spl as well so your solution is quite simple. Get one of each.

In the Blackhawk get the .41 I have one in the Ruger Bisley and its great.
The .44 would be good carry gun in a smaller package like the 3 inch Taurus 431. Also very good.
Robert Palermo is offline  
Old June 8, 2012, 08:21 AM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: January 20, 2001
Location: UCLA (upper corner of lower Alabama)
Posts: 522
Given that you may have settled on a Ruger Blackhawk, why not go the .44mag route (Super Blackhawk)? You have the versatility of shooting anything from .44spl thru full house .44magnums. For cleaning purposes you can download the .44mag casings to approximate the lower performance of the .44spl and eliminate the need for different brass while maintaining ease of cylinder cleaning (no residue buildup as when using the shorter .44spl in the Super Blackhawk chambered for .44mag.
Arub is offline  
Old June 8, 2012, 08:02 PM   #18
Crunchy Frog
Senior Member
Join Date: December 26, 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 522
Regarding the .41 Magnum: I don't buy much factory ammo but I have purchased factory fresh brass for the .41. It was the same price, more or less, than the .44 Special or .44 Magnum. I've purchased hard cast lead bullets, or factory jacketed bullets, for the same price (or less) than .44s.

Back to comparing the .44 Special to the .41 Magnum; with the Ruger, the .44 Special is built on the smaller New Vaquero frame, making it less bulky and heavy than the .41 Magnum.

To me, the proportion is better in the .44 Special. Of course, "feel" is subjective so "your mileage may vary".
Crunchy Frog is offline  
Old June 9, 2012, 06:36 AM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: March 4, 2010
Location: Fayette AL
Posts: 184
I would get the 41 and 44 mag and while I was at it I would look for a 357 and 45 colt as well. The 41 is my favorite caliber to shoot. Brass and bullets cost no more than 44 and powder charges will be smaller so cost of reloading is not much different.
Don't squat with your spurs on!!
LOLBELL is offline  
Old June 9, 2012, 08:47 AM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: September 8, 2010
Posts: 495
Unless I had a specific need for a .41 magnum, then I'd stick to a .44 special, especially if you think you might buy a .44 magnum in the future. (I originally looked at several .44 Specials, but finally settled on the .44 mag, since it's more versatile.)

I've almost bought a .41 magnum, but what stopped me was limited projectile selection. There's nothing wrong with out of the ordinary cartridges, but they're easier to love when the projectiles are readily available. For instance, I enjoy shooting the .38 super, which can share projectiles with the 9mm, and those are relatively inexpensive.
testuser is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10647 seconds with 10 queries