.41 magnum vs .44 magnum? do you need both calibers?


September 12, 2004, 09:42 PM
I got a .41mag that I enjoy shooting but the other day's viewing of Dirty Harry got me fired up on the .44mag. Would you recommend getting .44mag AS WELL AS .41mag? Or would one caliber in this power range be enough? Any point of getting .44 magnum just because Harry used it?

If you enjoyed reading about ".41 magnum vs .44 magnum? do you need both calibers?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
September 12, 2004, 09:48 PM
With today available ammo, I see no reason to have to have both. But it's always nice to have both! :D

Now, if you had neither, I would say buy the 44 Mag.

September 12, 2004, 10:04 PM
Now, if you had neither, I would say buy the 44 Mag.

would it be worth it say, to sell .41mag and then buy the .44mag?

September 13, 2004, 12:08 AM
Since I have a pile of .41s, I don't need a .44.
I've always been more interested in the .41 than in the .44.

September 13, 2004, 12:31 AM
I am not an expert, nor do I play one on TV.

My first question, though, is this: what are you gonna use it for?

Paper punching? Both will go the whole way through.

Plate shooting, or pins? Probably not much difference there, either.

Hunting? Supposedly you can do a wee bit more with the .44, but I gather the difference is mostly academic.

Personal preference/The Cool Factor? Only you can decide that.


September 13, 2004, 01:35 AM
You have a lot more options in factory ammo for the .44 Magnum, and that's a big plus in my book - anything from low-recoil .44 Specials through to the wrist-stomping heavies from Garrett and Buffalo Bore. Versatility is the name of the game with this caliber.

However, the .41 Magnum, properly loaded (which implies hand-loading to get the same spectrum of loads as the .44 Magnum, I'm afraid...) will do 95% of what the .44 will do. So, unless you aren't into .41 much, or don't reload, I don't see a need to move up to the larger caliber.

For myself, I think that if I had a good selection of .41 Magnum guns, I could dispose of both the .357 and .44 Magnum, and standardize on the "mid-Magnum" caliber for anything I want to do with a revolver. However, I have lots of .357's, and a couple of .44's, so I'll stay with those two. YMMV...

September 13, 2004, 01:41 AM
yep, paper punching, and not for hunting. I do also plan to reload, either .41 or .44mag, which ever I decide to stay with. In that case, would .41 be as versatile as .44, and also be more "pleasurable" to shoot?

I'd rather stick with .41 too but the only draw back of .41mag is also bothersome. I always have to explain the calibler.

Friend: "So that's the Dirty Harry gun?"
Me: "No, that's not the kind you saw in the movie"
Friend: "But it's one of those 44 magnum?"
Me: "no, it's a 41 magnum"
Friend: "41? Never heard of it"
Me: (shrug)
Friend: "is it as powerful as .44"?
Me: "kind of"
Friend: "44 sounds bigger than 41"
Me: (feeling inadequate)

Ala Dan
September 13, 2004, 05:27 AM
I don't think one necessarily needs weapons chambered for both
calibers. Having owned both, I can't see but one advantage of
one over the other; and Preacherman has already nailed that.
And that is the availability of more diverse ammo for the .44 mag
over that of the .41 mag. But, handloading is a viable option that
makes both about equal.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

September 13, 2004, 06:26 AM
For big bore paper punching I would go with 41 Magnum if I was a reloader (and I am). When I was in the market for a big magnum, I looked high and low for a S&W model 57, preferably blue, with a six inch barrel. Finding none, I settled on a 29-3, nickeled, six inch barrel. It is a sweet gun and I stoke it with my mild loads, but it can't do anything that a 41 magnum could not have done.

I see revolvers in 44 magnum all the time, it is rare that I see one in 41 magnum and they usually are not in the case or on the table for very long. The 41 magnum does have one distinct advantage over the 44, flatter trajectory. Oh, yeah, a little less recoil too!

September 13, 2004, 06:45 AM
get rid of the 44 mag. if a 41 mag can't handle the situation you probably will need a rifle anyway

September 13, 2004, 08:18 AM
You should have both. The next step would be a 43 wildcat to plug the performance gap between them.

You know you have gone too far when you start planning a 31-30 wildcat to plug the performance gap between your 30-30 and your 32 Special.

September 13, 2004, 09:28 AM
I think they're pretty much the same thing, although 44 Magnum has a bunch more factory ammo availability and usually the ammo is cheaper than 41 Magnum. I got rid of my 41 Model 57 in favor of a 44 Model 29 and haven't looked back. YMMV

September 13, 2004, 10:12 AM
There is one other "advantage" to the .44 Magnum: if you wish, you can get a lever-action or semi-auto carbine or rifle chambered for the same cartridge. Out to 100-125 yards, this makes a very fine deer rifle, easily equivalent to the .30-30 in field performance. Marlin recently released their Model 1894 in .41 Magnum, but it's hard to find, and there are no alternatives out there. The .44 Magnum is chambered by Winchester, Marlin, Rossi and Ruger in lever-actions, and by Ruger in a semi-auto. Just a thought...

September 13, 2004, 10:29 AM
here's one more for reloaders. does it cost more/less/same to load .41 vs. .44? and any difficulties reloading either caliber?

Also would .41 reload material dry up over the long run? It's definitely not fading a way but it's not "out there" with the .44mag.

Ala Dan
September 13, 2004, 11:22 AM
Greeting's Again All-

Air Power, I have handloaded for both the .41 and the
.44 magnum; and there is not enough monetary difference to claim
much of a savings. As too the availability of .41 magnum reloading
supplies, my dealer is well stocked with all the necessities for this
caliber with the R.C.B.S. line. I don't think that the .41 magnum is
ready to roll over and die yet.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

Bullet Bob
September 13, 2004, 12:40 PM
EXACTLY what unspellable said. You should have both to be considered a handgun nut, and it's required if you love S&W's.

September 13, 2004, 02:22 PM
This is true. You should be trying to get the whole set.

Mike ;)

41 magnum fan
September 13, 2004, 03:39 PM
In my experience the 41 mag has been more accurate than comparable 44 mags.Also if you handload the 41 will do anything that the 44 will with less recoil and better accuracy.

September 13, 2004, 06:41 PM
If I was going to reloading and had a 41 Mag, had no 44 Mag, I would not sell or trade my 41 Mag in favor of the 44 Mag. For your needs there's no reason to do so and it's just more payola spent.

Keep your 41 Mag, reaload and enjoy! When you can afford to buy a 44 Mag and still want one, get one.

Now, how much ya want for that 41 Mag? :evil:

September 13, 2004, 09:14 PM
You should have both. The next step would be a 43 wildcat to plug the performance gap between them.

Not exactly, you see the 41 magnum is a true 0.410" caliber, but the 44 magnum is actually 0.429", so to fill the gap you need a 0.4195" diameter, we can round it off to a 42 magnum.:D

Little Loudmouth
September 13, 2004, 10:55 PM
No, you don't need both. You just need the .41.

Then again, ACP230 has biased me on that factor, so, what do I know? :D

September 14, 2004, 12:46 AM
do like harry callahan shoot lite 44spcls out of a 44mag ;)

September 14, 2004, 04:03 AM
I have both, but honestly my .44mag just rounds out a collection ( I just traded off a M29-8 for a M25-5). Now my .41mags range from the 3 incher to the 7.5 incher with all the stops inbetween and they see plenty of service.
As far as explaining it to friends and admirers I learned long ago to just let them think what they want it to be and life's so much easier.

BTW....people have been killing off and predicting the death of the .41mag since it first came out in the early 1960's and it's still with us alive and kicking. Don't worry about supplies drying up.

September 14, 2004, 12:12 PM
I've owned both calibers for over 20 years. I will continue to own and shoot both. But if I had to choose only I caliber of the two I would keep the 41. Yes uyou do need to reload to bring out the best in the 41 but it wasn't all that long ago that you could say the same thing about the 44magnum/44 special.

THere are now more factofy loadings and more different component bullets available for the 41 than ever before.I was around nine years old whan the 41 magnum was debuted but it will long outlive me. If you think about it there are more factory loadings in 41 magnum than there are in 45 Colt and no one is saying that the 45 Colt is dying.

dictated by BluesBear via phone, typed by Lady45

September 14, 2004, 12:39 PM
I had a .41 mag. Its a cool caliber and for deer will work just fine. Besides, the .44 isn't that cool anymore since the other bigger calibers have come about.

If I had to choose one, I'd take the .41, just because it's different and I reload.

September 14, 2004, 01:14 PM
And that is the availability of more diverse ammo for the .44 mag
over that of the .41 mag. But, handloading is a viable option that
makes both about equal.

Even with reloading the 44 is far more versatile in the bullet selection weights. I have used 180 , 200 , 220 , 225 , 240 , 265 and 300 grain bullets in my various 44 mags. There are even 300+ grains available. Don't recall the 41 having such a range of bullet selection. The major bullet producers like Hornady and Sierra have 210 gr listed for the 41 and Sierra has a 170 also. Looking in my Midsouth catalog I don't see a lot of bullets available for the 41.

In my experience the 41 mag has been more accurate than comparable 44 mags.Also if you handload the 41 will do anything that the 44 will with less recoil and better accuracy.

Comparing 210 grain 41 top loads with 240 grain 44 top loads in the same weight guns I agree that there would be a difference in recoil. But using bullets of similar weight - like a 200 gr 44 and a 210 gr 41 I can't see how there is going to be a significant difference in felt recoil in guns of similar weight.

As far as accuracy , in my experience a good 44 is capable of producing accuracy as good as , or better than , any other centerfire revolver cartridge. These are 6 shot 25 meter groups from a rest - good enough for my purposes.

September 14, 2004, 01:49 PM
I don't know about less recoil on the .41...

FWIW, a gunstore I frequent has a guy who shoots and owns a LOT of revolvers. He told me he doesn't like the .41 because its noisy and doesn't like the muzzle flip. He kind of compared the .41 snap to the .44 push like the .40 to .45 ACP.

I've only shot the .41 out of the Redhawk and .44 out of the Blackhawk extensively and I didn't notice a whole lot of difference. The Remington 210 gr factory vs .44 240 factory may have been a factor and he's a big single action Ruger guy, so that may have been the factor too.

Looking at the data, I don't think the .41 can outperform the .44, but it can come close with some bullet weights.

September 14, 2004, 09:02 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that the prop master wasn't able to get a m29 prior to filming............I thought that he used a .41 mag in the movie.

Am I wrong? - JM.

September 15, 2004, 12:12 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that the prop master wasn't able to get a m29 prior to filming............I thought that he used a .41 mag in the movie.
If you are talking of the revolver the Dirty Harry used I had heard it was a M25. Anyone know for a fact which model was used in the original filming?

September 15, 2004, 02:14 AM
It was a 57. The model 29 did not arrive 'til most of the filming was done.

For me the 29 4" was impossible to shoot double action. The 57 or 58 4" I could eventually shoot DA well enough to qualify with as Expert.

The 44's recoil with full power loads was enough to rattle me briefly and stop me from triggering a second shot for a second or two. The same full power 41 loads I could ( barely ) handle, but could continue shooting.

But while I shot Expert with the 41, with a 2 & 1/2" model 19 357 loaded with magnum 125 gr. ammo I could shoot Distinguished Master.

For my money, the 10" Super Blackhawk 44 was the only 44 or 41 I could enjoy shooting. Today the only 41 or 44 I own is a 44 mag Winchester 94 Trapper carbine.

September 15, 2004, 07:28 AM
The mivie Dirty Harry (1974) was NOT filmed using a model 57! Get the DVD and freeze frame it. You can easily tell it's a 44 and not a 41. The cylinder is an obvious giveaway. There is also a little bit of difference in porportion betwen the 57 and 29 since the 29 had a 6 and 1/2 inch barrel while the 57 only had a 6.

It would also be impossible to have been a model 25 since the 25-2 was the only 45 in production at that time and it had a much shorter cylinder and only came with a patridge front sight. The long cylindered 45 Colt 25-5 didn't come along until 1978.

(dictated by BluesBear, typed by Lady45)

September 15, 2004, 09:28 AM
Personally, I have several of each, and I'm not selling any of them....
I also think there's more difference in the guns than there is in the caliber of the ammo.
For instance, I also think that there's more difference between a vaquero-bisley and a vaquero than there is between two similar blackhawks chambered in .41 mag and .44 mag.
therefore to understand the differences, you have no choice but to collect the set. :)

Paul "Fitz" Jones
September 15, 2004, 02:35 PM
In my contact with thousands of customers and gun shops I was told that the 44 mag pistol was the pistol that was the most bought, and shot the least before being resold.

My personal experience and with my customers of Reloading tools and bullet molds is that the .41 Magnum is a keeper whether for a deer gun in Virginia or Bear and Moose gun in Alaska. I was surprised when a Alaska retired Major bought a Saeco .41 mag 220 gr. bullet mold from me and advised me he shot Bear and Moose for his winter meat with his .41 which he always had on his belt even when stepping out doors to get some more firewood. His address is North Pole Alaska.

I have carried Smith Model 58 .41 as an Officer.

I also reload and cast my own 220 gr bullets for it.

September 15, 2004, 02:55 PM
the .41 Magnum is a keeper whether for a deer gun or bear and moose gun in Alaska.

And the 44 is a throw away piece? I would think the 44 is a far superior choice for an Alaskan moose/bear handgun. The fact remains the 44 is immensely more popular than the 41 ever was , and will continue to be so.

September 15, 2004, 04:38 PM
I have both a .41 and .44 I like them both. If I had to pick one it would be the .44, just more ammo options in my area. I also think you can get a better deal on a .44 mag because they are more prevalent.


September 15, 2004, 05:31 PM
I am a handloader, and if I ever got a magnum revolver, it would be a 41. I just like having something different than most people.

September 15, 2004, 09:33 PM
If you have a .41Magnum, I wouldn't think you'd need a .44 unless you wanted one anyway. I'd say the .41Magnum will do 98 % of what the .44 can do. I've had both and now all I have are .41Magnums and a .475Linebaugh for really big stuff. I've taken elk and elk-sized game African game with the .41Magnum. I also had the displeasure to shoot a big, old, mean range cow to keep her hooks out of me.

As far as versatility, I've shot everything from 130gr collar-cuttons to 300+gr LFNGC bullets. The one I get the most use from is a NEI mould 250gr.WFNGC that I cast and water quench to harden. I've had it go end to end on 300+ pound hogs. I also like the .41Magnum 'cause everybody and their grandma' has a .44magnum!:neener:

September 16, 2004, 04:44 AM
And the 44 is a throw away piece? ... The fact remains the 44 is immensely more popular than the 41 ever was , and will continue to be so.
I believe what the illustrious Mr Fitz meat was that many many people buy a .44 Magnum because of the "image" it has. many people buy a .44 just to be able to say they have one.
While people who buy .41 magnum revolvers are more likely to be serious shooters.

In my years of working behind a gun counter I have seen many trade in .44 magnums that have been shot very little. They also usually have no holster or handling wear. The few .41 trade ins have encountered been fired and carried extensively.

I see the same thing with the .50 Desert Eagle. People buy them because of their exposure in Hollyweird movies. Not many people really shoot them.

Another analogy is guitars. The Fender Stratocaster is the most popular guitar in America. There are hundreds bought AND SOLD every day.
Now look at the Gibson L-5. Very few change hands. People who want an L-5 keep them for a long time. Popularity has very little to do with practicality of use.

The bottom line is to buy what suits you and don't belittle someone else for buying what suits them.

You carry your popular .44 and I'll carry my underdog .41.
I am confident that I can address anything that crosses my path.

September 16, 2004, 08:23 AM
Have had a couple of each for several years and can't really decide which I like better!:D Guess I'll have to keep on shooting them until I figure it out.

Straight answer from my point of view...no, you don't NEED one of each, but it's wicked fun.

September 16, 2004, 11:47 AM
many people buy a .44 Magnum because of the "image" it has. many people buy a .44 just to be able to say they have one.

I agree that was true - 25 or 30 years ago. The Dirty Harry mystique does not hold much merit anymore since the advent of far more powerful revolver cartridges than the 44. Most of my shooting friends who own 44 Mag revolvers are hunters and they do not own them just to say "I have a 44".

While people who buy .41 magnum revolvers are more likely to be serious shooters.

I just like having something different than most people.

A more likely reason for buying the 41 and good enough reason to be sure.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
September 16, 2004, 12:32 PM
As the distributor for the founding Saeco company Lead melting pots and bullet molds I learned that the .41 was a "Keeper" because in my bullet mold sales I have sold hundreds of .41 molds to only a handful .44 molds..

What I know about weapons is my experience as a Police Weapons Instructor, Competitor and what my Gun Shop, Saeco and Star Reloader Customers tell me.

I like what Blues Bear says about working behind a gun shop counter in a post above about the difference in wear and use of the weapons of this post.

In my old survival stash I have several .41 molds left for a good home.


September 16, 2004, 12:50 PM
As the distributor for the founding Saeco company Lead melting pots and bullet molds I learned that the .41 was a "Keeper" because in my bullet mold sales I have sold hundreds of .41 molds to only a handful .44 molds..

Maybe the reason is, with the 44 cal you can go to any gun store , gun show or catalog sales like Midsouth and find 44 cal cast bullets that are readily available in a wide variety and at decent prices. Same cannot be said for the 41. So , for greater versatility the 41 shooter probably has to cast thier own bullets. So , in that sense , I will agree - the 41 owner is a more serious shooter.

Really , the 41 seems to me a good revolver cartridge - it just does not have the spread of bullet weight availability of the 44 and that is a fact. But I agree , within the same bullet weight range, using the 41 or 44 , I don't see any great adavantage with either. I just like the idea of being able to use a great variety of bullet weights that I have with the 44.

September 16, 2004, 01:11 PM
I would say the .44mag is superior to the .41mag, but in no way is that by any great difference. There simply isn't enough bullet or case volume difference for it gain any great power increase. It's just like comparing the .44mag to the .45 Colt. At the upper end of the power levels the biggest one wins out, but not by any great lengths.
I do have to agree with what others have said of the .44mag in it's resale. Many shooters made the decision to move up to the big bore magnum based on what they have only seen. They moved up from the .38sp and were quite shocked when they first pulled the trigger (I ave seen it many times at varius ranges). Many of these people then put the revolver away and it goes back on the market virtually unused. By the .41mag not having the notoriety of the .44mag shooters learn of it while using magnums and are not shocked by it's recoil, but admire it's other qualities.
.44mag revolvers were made in much greater numbers than the .41mag revolvers, but the .41mag don't make it back to the used market as often. People tend to hold on to them.

As there are thousands of .44mag revolvers that have never had a magnum level cartridge in it's chambers, if the ammo makers produce .41sp loads then the .41mag revolver would probably rocket in sales as that it's biggest complaint from the average shooters. Te guns are already in place so it should be rather simple for the ammo industry to tailor a load. I always wondered why they ignore this relatively easy market.

September 16, 2004, 01:11 PM
for me it's more about type of gun than caliber.

My first bigbore handgun was a .41mag blackhawk I bought in 82 for Ohio's new deer handgun season.I shot a box of shells and put it away,I didn't like the way it fit my big hands so I sold it.

20 years latter I bought a 44mag super redhawk and I love it. Not because of caliber but because of fit, I enjoy shooting the SRH and if it was a .41mag I'd enjoy it just the same.

We all buy guns for different reasons,if you really feel the need to buy a gun becase of the movies then do it . but don't fell under gunned by your .41mag it should do all you need as long as you enjoy shooting it.

Oh and as I eluded to in an earlier post, in Magum Force when harry meets sweet and the guys at the range he admits he's shooting .44spcls to avoid the recoil and have better control than a 357mag.

September 16, 2004, 01:11 PM
double post

September 16, 2004, 02:07 PM
In the early days of the 41 Mag there was a commercial off the shelf mid range "special" load. Remington loaded a plain lead bullet to around 900 fps. I don't know if it's still arounf or not.

My first 44 mag (In 1968) was an other wise near mint S&W 29 with a small ding in the top strap. I asked the dealer for the story. Seems some bright boy let off a round through the car window and during recoil the revolver hit the top of the window frame. He sold it to the dealer with less than a dozen rounds through it. (One wonders what it sounded like going off inside a car! Maybe he sold it to raise moeny hearing aids! Probably not bright enough to have ear protection.)

September 16, 2004, 06:33 PM
In the early days of the 41 Mag there was a commercial off the shelf mid range "special" load. Remington loaded a plain lead bullet to around 900 fps. I don't know if it's still arounf or not.
Are you talking about the old police load of a 210gr SWC at around 1100fps or was there once a load even slower? The only Remington loads I have ever seen or heard of was the police load and the full power hunting loads.

September 16, 2004, 09:13 PM
Yeah, it was 1100 or 1150 (not that I've ever shot it or even seen it; only know from reading); I bet that thing leaded like a son of a whatever.

September 17, 2004, 06:09 AM
The Remington lead SWC "Police" load was our issue ammo.
As I recall it did about 960 from our issued Model 58s and did about 1075 in my 6" 57s.

Leading wasn't a problem.
Sadly it's no longer in production.
I try to snatch it up at shows if and when I can find it reasonably priced.
Which is seldom.

September 17, 2004, 07:02 AM
The bullets used were a soft cast not swaged. A pure lead swaged bullet would lead at those velocities unless a scraper is attached to the base, but a cast bullet can be driven up to 2200fps with miminal leading if done right.

September 17, 2004, 08:09 AM
I see; I had assumed they were swaged for a 'splat' effect on impact. I've shot moderately hard 215 and 230 cast SWCs through my 657 at around those velocities without much mess.

September 17, 2004, 11:57 AM
Some one mentioned that .41 vs. 44 recoils are like .40S&W "snap" vs .45acp "push". Is the .44mag more than .41mag, but in a slower push fashion?

September 17, 2004, 02:07 PM
IMO both the cartridges will give you a good snap. The heavier bullet of the .44mag will give the harder slap if you know what I mean. The is no push like shooting a .45acp. It's a whole new world.

September 17, 2004, 07:42 PM
The Remington 210 SWC Police load DID use a swaged bullet. Just because a bullet is swaged doesn't mean it's too soft.
While it's true you can cast a harder alloy than you can effectively swage, don't discount the ability of a good swaged bullet to shoot cleanly.
Major ammo companies utilized swaged bullets over cast because swaging is much faster and less labor intensive thereby making them much cheaper to produce in large quantities.

September 17, 2004, 08:47 PM
If you want a really SWEET shooting and accurate .41 magnum, get an old 3-screw Ruger Blackhawk. The trigger on it is just about perfect.

September 19, 2004, 10:47 AM
As I understand it, the .41 mag was developed with law enforcement in mind and, due to recoil/frame size considerations, was less than well received. Shooters seem to have kept it alive for some 40 years now, so it probably won't give up the ghost any time soon. The advantage of the .44 over the .41, as I see it, is the availability of a larger number of bullet weights for handloading as well as in factory ammo. If faced with an either/or decision, I would opt for the .44 based upon this. However, if you are a handloader and tinkerer like myself (I'm a hopeless case) you will find ample reason to own both!

September 19, 2004, 06:39 PM
Hi Guys

A little info about the movie Dirty Harry from a 1971 "Guns" Magazine article I read many years ago.

Two Model 29's were assembled by Smith & Wesson for the movie. Both were blue with 6 1/2" barrels. Upon completion of filming one of the guns was given to John Milius who wrote the screenplay for Dirty Harry. A nickel silver shield was inlaid in the left grip panel that was engraved with the guns history. Who got the other gun is unknown (maybe Clint Eastwood ?).

I also heard the story years ago that a model 57 was used but it's obvious the gun in the film has a 6 1/2" barrel not a 6"

On the DVD you can freeze frame the scene at the end of the movie before Harry shoots Scorpio and see 44 MAGNUM on the barrel.

Hope this helps.


September 20, 2004, 04:48 PM
I have owned just about all magnum and non magnum calibers in handguns. I have hunted and taken animals from javelina to elk sized with the spread and I stayed with the .41 mag for several reasons.

The trajectory is flatter than the others.

The recoil is much more managable than most.

The accuracy I have been able to achieve hsa been better with the .41.

So my favorite is the .41. I am concerned with the deminishing supplies for this load so I buy all that a dealer has, or what I can afford anytime I run across supplies. I have wanted to try my hand at bulletcasting, this just might be the time.

Good luck to all of you that also shoot this great caliber. Its a blue ribbon for sure.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
September 20, 2004, 08:08 PM
I have read in my Speer manual that the 6 inch 41 is an ounce heavier than the 6 1/2 model 29 and that the 41 has 20% more recoil than a .357 and 20% less recoil than the 44 for full power loads.

You are more likely to see a woman and a serious hunter with a .41 because the recoil of the .44 and the .41 will reload with considerably less expense with the Winchester recommended use of 7.4 grains of WW231 with a 210 gr lead bullet giving 1125 fps. Also cheap with hand cast bullets.

I use 7 grains of WW231 for my hand cast Saeco 220 gr molds which is similar to the loads I carried as an officer in my Smith 58. Carrying and shooting a standard recommended load is good enough for me and I leave experimentation with bullet weights to the younger folks.

Now that surprised me the weapons being within an ounce of each other really making a difference in the felt recoil.

My manual says

.44 11 gr WW321 gives 1285 fps with a 240 gr bullet

That is shy a third more powder for a 30 grain heavier bullet that Speer calls Hand Numbing so the weight of the .41 must make a difference.

No officers of my experience have ever carried a .44mag.


September 23, 2004, 09:06 PM
I guess both!

I have been reloading for and shooting the .41 Mag for a lot of years and I really like the round. I have an old Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8", A Ruger Redhawk 7.5" and a T/C Contender 10". The one thing I "needed" was a S&W .41 Mag.

After searching gun shops,gun shows,pawn shops,online auctions, and classified sections of the most popular gun forums I never found one that did not require refinancing the house. I was looking for a Mdl 58 or 57 with a 4" barrel in reasonably good shape.

I finally threw up my hands and bought a S&W Mdl 29 4" barrel, like new for $400. I spent $100 on 44 mag dies,bullets and brass and I am ready to go.

I have never owned a 44 mag before and do believe the .41 will do anything you need to it to, with the right handload, of course. But sometimes it doen't hurt to try something new.

September 23, 2004, 09:32 PM
Yooper nailed the truth of it. So did several others regarding the commercially available bullet weights for the .44 Mag over the .41.

Me? I'd take one of each. But then, they'd all be S&W's, as I like 'em. If I had the scratch, I'd have one each, from .22LR to .500.

Unfortunately, my gun guy knows I'm a weak, simple minded fool when it comes to a good S&W revolver.:rolleyes:

Ben Shepherd
September 23, 2004, 11:18 PM
As I recently acquired one of Mr. Jones' 41 220kt moulds, I can tell you it is a piece of exceptional quality.

As for the original question: If you handload go 41. Cost difference is a non-issue.

As for oomph: I drive a 220 out of my 7.5" 41 redhawk at 1600, the 44 redhawk I run a 245 at the same speed. The only difference is about 10% more recoil with the 44. (In fact the 41 usually has better penetration).

So: 6 or half a dozen, either will fill the bill well.

October 19, 2004, 12:17 PM
excerps from Sunday Child by Paco " The 41 mag’s head size just before the rim is .434, the 44 is .457, and the 45 Colt is .480 (parts of an inch). Since the extra thickness of .023 in steel in the 44 Special over the Colt round, allowed Keith to go to 1200 fps with his 250 grain bullet. The old books I have show a pressure of 18,400 psi with 17.5 grains of IMR4227 and 21,500 psi with 17.5 grains of Herc2400 in the 44 Special (these pressure figures are from a time when a pound of powder was only $1.50). So obviously the 41 mag with .023 more thickness over the 44 mag is also going to have more strength.

That’s thicker than it sounds, about the thickness of a strong finger nail. It’s not so much having that extra thickness in the cylinder steel of the 41 mag, but in actually having that extra thickness inside the bolt cut is what counts....because the bottom of the bolt cut is the thinnest area over the chamber. And most times it goes first, and then the rest of the chamber follows when a revolver blows. Also important, it’s extra strength between the chambers another weak area...and it is critical to strong guns".


October 23, 2004, 08:53 PM
I've got both calibers. MOD. 57, Mod. 629 and a Taurus 44. I shoot 'em all, like 'em all and won't sell or trade any of 'em. If you buy a 44, you'll have both too, I'd expect.

October 24, 2004, 11:38 AM
If you go back to the beginings of the .41 mag, it was designed as a law enforcement tool not primarily as a hunting gun. The loads that followed were more of the hunting design, so here comes the trouble, and the .41 has suffered ever since. I personally like both calibers and would vote to keep them both.

October 24, 2004, 07:38 PM
If you go back to the beginings of the .41 mag, it was designed as a law enforcement tool not primarily as a hunting gun. The loads that followed were more of the hunting design, so here comes the trouble, and the .41 has suffered ever since.
Actually there were two distinctly different loads at first. One a full power load and another reduced power police load. What caused the revolver to suffer in police sales was the very same reason the LEOs were getting away from the M28. They were big, heavy framed revolvers that most officers didn't want to carry all day. The K-frame Combat Magnum (Model 19) made for a better carry revovler and the switch was made to that model by most departments.

October 24, 2004, 08:21 PM
Majic, don't disagree at all. Maybe I should of elaborated more. Elmer Keith sought a .40 caliber handgun on the N frame for LE, while Bill Jordon and Skeeter Skelton and others sought the lighter K framed guns. I should note here that many others were on both sides of this argument at the time but I've only mentioned the ones who were mostly in print at the time. Keith's vision was to have loads more suited to the police use(I think in the 1000fps range) The K frame guys needed hotter stuff in the lighter caliber, maybe not their wish in the begining but that's what it took to get the job done with this caliber. Now, rumor has it that, Smith will drop the K framed .357 magnums, because of the damage done to the lighter frames with constant use of magnum loads. If memory serves, the heavier of the two .41 mag. loads hit the market way before the somewhat lighter load did. I can remember the first box of the so called police loads I got, I personally didn't see that much reduction in the felt recoil. I think I've still got the box of brass somewhere in the basement shop. This argument was also fought with the semi auto crowd as Jeff Cooper wanted the Bren 10
(what a carnival that was) and S&W later found the recoil to much for police work and shortened it to the .40 S&W.

October 25, 2004, 01:11 PM
Senior Member

Registered: May 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2747
The bullets used were a soft cast not swaged. A pure lead swaged bullet would lead at those velocities unless a scraper is attached to the base, but a cast bullet can be driven up to 2200fps with miminal leading if done right.

In my own experience, swaged bullets are no better than cast and all will lead a bore if fired over about 1000 fps. I am a firm believer that the condition of the bore affects leading more than any other condition of the gun. Even with a gas check at 2200 fps., I'd guarentee leading, with either cast or swaged.

October 25, 2004, 06:39 PM
....and your point with the copy and paste in the preceeding post being...? :confused:

October 25, 2004, 07:01 PM
Majic, he was simply clarifying his opinion of cast vs swaged bullets and demonstrating his lack of knowledge of how to properly cut and paste a quote.

By the way...

SB Welcome Aboard™

October 25, 2004, 09:03 PM
Thanks,BluesBear. Sometimes us ignorant people can't seem to get it right.
Majic, meant no evil towards you sir, just not as computer literate as some.

October 26, 2004, 12:50 AM
I traded an old dirt bike for a pristine-condition S&W 629 with a 8 3/8" barrel. It was a blast to shoot and blow up stuff out in the desert. WIth the extra-long barrel, the recoil wasn't bad at all. It was fun to shoot, but it didn't seem very practical. So I found a 4" barreled S&W Mtn Gun at a pawn shop and traded the longer-barreled 629 straight across. It seemed more practical to carry in woods, but the recoil was hellacious to say the least so it didn't go with me much on shoot-n-fun days. So I sold it and bought a GLock 29 for backwoods protection (my job takes me in the wilderness quite often). It's a tool that works quite well. But nothing was so much fun as the oriiginal 629 .44 magwith that gangly barrel. Wish I had her back.

October 28, 2004, 06:50 PM
I'm a real believer that the 41 will do everything a 44 will do. However, I don't reload and have no desire to. For me the 44 makes a lot more sense. I can get ammo anywhere at a reasonable price from specials (not so reasonably priced) to heavy magnums.

Its a shame that the 41 didn't also come as a special. They asked for a police load using a 200 gr bullet @ 1000 fps (Sounds like the 40 S&W 180 gr load) and got a a 210 gr bullet @ 1200 fps (sounds like the original 180 gr 10mm load) plus the 1400 FPS load (great for hunting). A special would have been great, maybe it would have made it like the 40 S&W as opposed to the 10mm, another great round that was just a little too powerfull and required a gun a little too big for mainstream police work.

The bottom line though is that for many like myself the 44 mag has too many practical advantages to ignore and buy a 41 that is only practical if you reload.

October 29, 2004, 07:36 AM
The 41 Special exists. At present it is a wild cat, but it does exist.

You guys are asking the wrong question with the 41 vs 44 thing. The real question is, after you have both, do you want to go for a 42 mag wild cat?

Brian Williams
October 29, 2004, 08:40 AM
Why not go with a 45 Colt????

Said while thinking, I should buy a S&W 58...

October 30, 2004, 08:56 AM
Any point of getting .44 magnum just because Harry used it?

I ain't likely to buy any gun, any model, just because some person used it on TV. Unless I had the need to try to boost some ego/machismo. Besides would I then need to buy a gun like all the other models that he used in his other movies? :confused:

I've got a .41 and a .44. Like 'em both. What one I use for a particular purpose depends on which I decide to reach for that day. Either will do what the other will. I just enjoy having a choice and not being limited to only one option. Besides that mighty .44 is ctually only a .429!

February 6, 2005, 03:27 AM
I just couldn't stop thinking about experiencing .44mag, and couldn't stop with the .41mag so,,,,,,,, I ended up getting the .44magnum earlier this year!!!

So now I have both. :uhoh: the magnum stuff is addictive! I wonder if I should add a .357mag. :D

41 Mag
February 6, 2005, 06:38 AM
WEll now your going to be having some real fun. You won't regret your decision. Even if one or the other gets more range time you will still have a great pair of arms for years to come. Just hang on to the 41, you will still come to use it.

I got my first 41 the day I turned 21 out of a pawn shop. It was a 3 screw flat top blackhawk. Not what I wanted, but definately a 41 Mag, which I did. Years later I traded it for a Redhawk, and never looked back. To be honest I had already bought a 44 in Redhawk to trade but ended up likeing it too. LOL

As far as bullets for the 41 go, if you reload you can now get some g/c cast heavy weights for it from Midway going up to 265 gr's. Which is about as big as is practical for top end loads. If you don't then there are still a couple of companies that sell some heavy weight hunting loads for the 41 now.

I have shot many rounds through mine and used to like the Remington 170 gr till they quit makeing it. Then I switched to the 200 gr JHP and that is now my primiary load. I shoot enough that the bulk Rem's are practical, and do what needs to be done. I have every weight in bullets up to some cast 250's.

For the 44 I shot mostly 180gr, up until about three years back when I switched over to some 240grs. I like it a lot but sa a rule the 41 heads to the woods with me. Nothing specifically notable from one over the other just the 44 has a scope mounted and the 41 is open target sights. Out to 100 yds, either will do all I need from them. For anything else I use a rifle.


February 6, 2005, 11:13 AM
I can't even find .41 magnum in Indianapolis anywhere. .44 is pretty common though.

happy old sailor
February 6, 2005, 11:34 AM
do i need both? yes. my personal favorite is my 6" 657. what a wonderful gun and the very last one i would let go. i need my .44s too. can load up the Rugers and they sound like elephant guns going off. kick like it too. i like magnums. am still working on the load for my .454 SRH. it may put my .44 SRH on the bench when it comes to recoil. both - absolutely.

February 6, 2005, 09:19 PM
Glad to hear that you now have both the .41mag. and the .44 mag. I own both myself, and handload for both. there is somthing that I have not read in this thread, but in my experience, have found, that the .41 mag. will shoot to the same point of aim with different loads, and brands of ammo better than the.44 mag. I have been shooting the .41 mag. since the year that they came out, and have four .41 mags., and one .44 mag., so, that tells you which one I prefer. I think the .41 mag. will grow on you, if you are honest with yourself, after some range time with both calibers, and discounting the "Dirty Harry" syndrome.

December 3, 2007, 09:23 PM
This is a great thread.

G&A magazine had an article on "obsolete" ammo, the Remington .41 Magnum was on the list as well as .45 GAP and .32-20, etc.

Marlin makes the 1894S(old) and 1894FG(current) come in .41 Magnum.
Smith still makes several .41 Magnums.
Ruger still makes Blackhawk .41 Magnums.

I shoot and reload .41 Magnum for my Blackhawk.
I think the Ballistics are more liveable than .44 for general shooting and hunting needs. Of course, some people want the 400gr and 500gr mammoths on the market.
I like the Ruger trigger better than the S&W 629.
I like the grips of the 629 better than the Blackhawk. Hogue can probably solve that.

.41 Magnum ammo has been hard to find for me in North Texas. Winchester makes the 175gr Silver tips and 240gr Platinum tips. Remington sells the 210gr JSP. I bought the Winchester 175gr for $20/20 at a gun show and Remington JSP's for $38/50 at Bass Pro.

The 175gr loads are mild recoil. The 210gr Remington's are pretty stout. If I could find some of the 240gr, I'd snatch it up. Or better yet, just the bullets.

Reloading the .41 is easy and cheap. I have Nosler 210gr JHP(there are several manufs of 210gr JHP in .410 cal), Federal Magnum pistol primers, Winchester and Remington brass (used ;)), and H110 powder.

Saeco, RCBS, Lyman, and Lee makes 410 caliber moulds.

But I'm a newbie reloader and having fun with my JHP's.

Buffalo Bore makes .41mag rounds:

December 3, 2007, 10:32 PM
The first thing I taught my sons aobout owning handguns is that NEED has nothing to do about it.

Having a fondness for the 41 mag and in the process of picking up another Smith 58. I own several .44 also. Glad I don't have to make a choice.

December 4, 2007, 12:36 AM
AirPower: Good choice! These are tough problems to have!

+1 45 Colt

Since you're going up in size you need to keep going and get a 45Colt!

Although I think you will need to reload to feed these critters adequately.

I'm going to have to slow down...I bought my last pistol before the previous one was even broken in!:o So when I go shooting I take both - it's a terrible problem to have:)

Enjoy your new companion. May both serve your "needs" well.

December 4, 2007, 12:56 AM
I've been looking for a 41 mag thats "portable" [ meaning 3-4", preferrable 3" ] for when I'm in the Superstitions on searches.

I don't want a 44 magnum, I want a 41 magnum.

Now if one of you kind folks who've posted you have "several" 41's would just outfit me with one thats not pristine, as it will carried in the rough country anyway against potentials of big cats and bears over on overnight stays in the mountains, I'd really appreicate it, I really would.

A 58 would be perfect for the field use it will get with me. Please keep this in mind if anyone ever wants to part with a 57 or 58 in 3-3.5-4 inch version. No need to be clean, just good timing and lockup.

I can be reached at arizonaqkr@yahoo.com This has been one of the most interesting threads in some time for me personally, as I've been looking for a "shooter" 57/58 for some time.


December 4, 2007, 01:04 AM
Keep the .41Mag and Hand Load for it. I like having the "OddBall" Caliber. I considered buying a .44 buy really couldnt come up with a good enough reason.

Read my Signature


December 4, 2007, 02:37 PM
"Unfortunately, my gun guy knows I'm a weak, simple minded fool when it comes to a good S&W revolver."


December 4, 2007, 02:49 PM
Hi AirPower...

To have both would mostly be self-indulgence, but then, what's wrong with that ? :D

I like 'em both, a LOT, but don't actually own a .41, mainly because my .44 Magnum (a Ruger Super Blackhawk) is fine for deer hunting and also allows me to shoot .44 Special ammo which is really, really sweet.

I also have an 1875 Remington in .357/38 Special and it is an absolute hoot to use with the 38 Specials - so I just haven't been able to expand my self-indulgence to include a .41 Mag. (yet). :D

December 4, 2007, 04:56 PM
I dumped my 44's long ago and only have 41 mags and 357's now. If I want something more powerful, I have a 480 Ruger for that. I would really like to have one of the Marlin 1894's in 41 mag. I could see blasting away a lot with that thing and it would be fun in the woods.

December 4, 2007, 05:05 PM
I'm sure I'd have to twist your arm to make you consider buying both.

I like the .41 a bit better just because it is different. but I like .44 mag's too

December 4, 2007, 05:32 PM
Well according to wikipedia:

"The gun used by Clint Eastwood in the filming of the movie was reportedly not a .44 Magnum. According to a story related by a member of the studio's prop department, Smith & Wesson did not have a Model 29 in stock at the time one was requested for filming. Instead, they used a Smith & Wesson Model 57 in .41 Magnum.[citation needed] The Model 29 and Model 57 are identical except for minute differences in bore size, chamber dimensions, and exterior markings, none of which are visible in the film"


December 4, 2007, 09:26 PM
I have both, shoot both, and will keep both. Redhawks in both and a Smith in .41.

Keep the .41 and buy a .44. Then decide if you are willing to get rid of one or the other.

December 5, 2007, 01:10 PM
My take is...if you already own a .44, keep it & don't worry about us who prefer the .41. I started with a .41 and then skipped the .44 altogether and picked up a .45 Colt (Ruger) when I wanted to get something "a little bigger." IMHO, the ".43 mag" didn't seem to offer enough of a difference from the .41. Personally, I find the .41 Mag and the .44 (.43) mag pretty much interchangable on game.

December 5, 2007, 07:10 PM
Started with the .357 magnum and never got my hands on a .41 of my own. I have a buddy who did let me shoot HIS, but then he sold it later. I wanted it. Oh well, got a .44 after that. I like that I can shoot .44 special loads out of it. I don't handload. So, the .44 makes more sense for me. As for the bigger calibers: I can't find a use for .500 mag (too expensive anyway), .480, or the .454, although it would be cool to have because of the availability of the .45 colt load as well. Maybe I'll get one after all. Maybe not. I WILL get another .357 though...

December 6, 2007, 01:01 PM
Holy thread resurrection batman! I too like the .41 and hope to have one in a customized blackhawk one day, but to bring back a thread from '04? That is true love!

January 22, 2008, 10:01 PM
I fired a model 57 4" nickel that belonged to a friend of mine and thought it was the sweetest revolver I had ever shot. That was 25 years ago. After that I always had an eye out for a 57 in blue.
In '93 I was thought I was going to "escape" a local gun show without spending a dime, when on the last table (last gun) was a 4" 57, blue, that looked unfired. I bought it, 275.00 if memory serves, and have enjoyed it ever since.
I have had 357's, and had fired 44's but the 41 was it. The 357 was for me, a bit light, the 44, while it packed the punch, and was great, wasn't what I was loking for.
The 41 appeared to be the perfect round. Shoots flat, has plenty of energy, and is not what my neighbor is shooting. I have had some impressive results (accuracy wise) with this gun. This is with factory ammo as I am not a handloader.
While I do not like the prices I am seeing (25 / 40 % more than 44 mag) for
factory ammo, I do enjoy having an amazingly accurate (trust me) pistol, in a caliber that is not considered common. The 4" length seems to be very handy,
(while the uninitiated think longer is better) and extremely accurate.
Bottom line, great cartridge, great ballistics, great performance !!! Sure, my 45 / 70 derringer puts out a tad more ft. lbs., but I'll gaurantee my 57 will
be more enjoyable to use.

January 23, 2008, 03:02 PM
45 / 70 derringer? ^^^^ :what: Any pics?

January 23, 2008, 07:04 PM
Boomstick45 said:
I WILL get another .357 though...

.357's are like the crack-cocaine of the handgun world. once you have one it's really hard to stop. I already have 2 and have a third coming soon with another one on the list after it.

Grizzly Adams
January 24, 2008, 01:11 PM
I have both!


Because I like BOTH and CAN!

Vern Humphrey
January 24, 2008, 01:45 PM
And that, boys and girls, is why I prefer a .45.:neener:

January 24, 2008, 02:29 PM
Don't you dare sell that .41mag unless you want to sell it to me. I own a .44mag and love it. I also shoot my uncles .41 and my friend .41 and love those too. I live in Maine and I use my .44 for hunting. Anything that I would want to kill in Maine I would feal as though I had enough gun whether I had a .41 or .44.

If you enjoyed reading about ".41 magnum vs .44 magnum? do you need both calibers?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!