Smith and Wesson Model 41 (.22 LR cal) reviews


April 14, 2005, 01:07 AM
So how is the SW Mod. 41 in 22LR? How does it compare toa Ruger Mk2 or Buck mark. Worth the extra $$$$ ? Reliability? Accuracy?


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April 14, 2005, 01:32 AM
I have a ton of experience with the 41. We had them on the Purdue Pistol Team and I probably shot 100 rounds or so per week with my issue gun. I love them. It was very reliable and very accurate. The solid steel construction felt great in the hand but I might not want to tote one around the woods all day out of general principle. Why carry a very heavy 41 when I can just strap on my Single Six? I think the 41 is an excellent target pistol for the price, especially with a set of new grips. But I think there are better choices for field use which is what I assume you would use it for.

We also had Mk IIs and Buckmarks which I have also used extensively. I would break it down thus:

Accuracy- 41

Reliability- 41 and Mk II, we had quite a few Buckmarks that had issues related to a loose topstrap or seemingly magazine-related malfs.

Trigger- 41 with the Buckmark close behind. Buckmarks come with a great
factory trigger

Sights- 41

Ergonomics- Very subjective but the 41 was the easiest to shoot well for me

Ruggedness- Mk II, the sights seemed slightly more rugged to me and the internals seemed more solid than the 41. I don't know if you would have a single problem with the 41 in this department regardless.

Fit and finish- 41, nice blueing job, nice factory grips

Ease of Carry- Also very subjective, tie between the Buckmark and Mk II, the 41 is quite heavy.

If I personally had all three, I would use the Mk II for field use due to its ruggedness and very adequate accuracy. I'd use the 41 for serious target practice. And the Buckmark I would just use as a plinker. Even though the Buckmark is a nice gun, I don't trust a gun that you have to Loctite together. The top strap is prone to coming loose even with the lock washers in place which lead to all kinds of problems since this piece ties the whole gun together. Just one man's opinion.

April 14, 2005, 01:42 AM
Thank Dan. As you know, I already have Mark 2 that I have decided to keep. Would like to get the 41 for general target and plinking. Have a old Smith and Wesson, maybe a model 41-forget, with a short barrel that I gave to my brother back in 1993. It is around the house somewhere? My Dad stored it somewhere and unfortunately he can not remember.

April 14, 2005, 10:36 AM
I've got a 41 HB and it is one accurate SOB. In about '68 I had a 41 in .22 short. Really wish I still had it

Standing Wolf
April 14, 2005, 09:25 PM
Fresh out of the box, lots of model 41s need work. This one, for example, needed a lighter recoil spring, trigger work, and glue to hold the rear sight in place on the original barrel. Once I got done fooling around with the things Smith & Wesson should have done at the factory, it turned out to be a pretty accurate shooter. The trigger isn't quite as crisp as a good High Standard trigger, but those are nearly as hard to find these days as an honest politician.

Those stocks are by Randall Fung ( with wing walk compound I added. The red dot scope is from Ultra Dot ( and the target is the first 99 I've shot in quite a few years.

April 15, 2005, 01:20 AM
My personal choice is the S&W M41. I shot one in Bullseye competition many years ago and bought another about 10 years ago. Never had any problems with either. If the shot didn't go into the X-ring, I knew the error was mine! No malfunctions, trigger jobs, etc. required on either of my guns.
Also had a Ruger HB target gun with Clark trigger. It shot well but I just didn't like the feel of the metal grip. YMMV

Good shooting and be safe.

April 15, 2005, 01:29 AM
Some people complained of the M41s that were made a few years ago. I know of 2 that had to go back to the factory a couple of times with feeding problems (both are great now). Now I don't know if whatever problems with them have been corrected, but they won't the same pistols of yesteryear. I have an early "A" serial number model that has never given a minutes trouble.

April 15, 2005, 01:31 AM
Finicky gun my 41 is. I keep a list of ammo it will function close to 100% with.

Still, it puts my K22s and my Woodsman to shame when it's firing on all cylinders.

April 15, 2005, 05:01 PM
I have an extra one i am parting with for 600.


April 15, 2005, 07:06 PM
That's odd you guys experience malfs with your 41s. The Purdue Club ones functioned quite well on a diet of standard velocity loads.

Standing Wolf
April 15, 2005, 09:13 PM
That's odd you guys experience malfs with your 41s.

No, not really. Most match pistols tend to be finicky about ammunition. My model 41s are less finicky than my High Standards, but they still won't feed, fire, and extract anything in the right caliber.

I buy CCI standard velocity ammunition by the case: it's the only stuff that will consistently work in my model 41s, High Standards, and Browning Medalist. A friend who's a Benelli and Pardini enthusiast won't buy anything but PMC and one of the Ely rounds.

pete f
April 17, 2005, 01:00 AM
My old 41 shoots anything rem or CCI without a blink it does not care for winchester at all. never shoot hyper speed or the like in them with out getting a stronger recoil spring.

Ruger Redhawk
April 17, 2005, 10:51 AM
I have a older "A" series model 41 I bought in 1973 if I remember correctly.I've put 1000's of rounds through it.Mine has the 7 1/2"bbl with the plastic muzzle brake.Several years later I bought a heavy 5 1/2" bbl for it.I used to go to a local range several times a week shooting it.Without digging out the receipt I believe I paid 150.00 for it.Another fine 22 was the High Standard Victor.Another gun I put 1000's of rounds through.It would be a hard choice which I would rather shoot.You won't go wrong with a Model 41.I know the new one's are rather expensive. All depends if the craftsmanship is anywhere as good as the were 30 + years ago.

Ruger Redhawk

May 20, 2005, 08:44 PM
What is the difference between the older serial "A" 41's and the new ones?
When you look at gun auctions they seem to tout the older guns vs. the new ones. Any legitimacy to this?

Standing Wolf
May 20, 2005, 11:11 PM
When you look at gun auctions they seem to tout the older guns vs. the new ones. Any legitimacy to this?

Smith & Wesson quality control has never been the highest, and is slowly sinking a little deeper with each passing year. That's not to say you can't find a perfectly good new model 41, nor than the old models are always better: only that on the whole, the older models were better finished and more reliable.

That saidô, I recently bought a 1985 model 41 that turned out to be utterly worthless.

May 21, 2005, 02:18 PM
One of the downsides of living in a city is not spending enough time with the old friends like my Model 41. A move is in my plans, hopefully where I can shoot it off the porch!

The 41's are finicky, but as was said, so are all match pistols. For plinking, definitely get a Ruger. Heck, some of them shoot just as well.

But there's something about the feel of the 41. History, maybe?

May 21, 2005, 02:23 PM
When you look at gun auctions they seem to tout the older guns vs. the new ones. Any legitimacy to this?

To a certain degree, it's just the old model is better syndrome. Some of the changes really were improvements, but the they're often perceived as just cost cutting measures. Like the recessed cylinders. People pay extra for them now, when we were screaming at Smith to get rid of them at the time.

I personally think the mid 70's to late 80's Smith's were the worst guns they ever made. Friends of mine who worked for the company agreed.

May 22, 2005, 05:50 PM
My 41, like the other three I've shot, was randomly unreliable, so I ditched it. The 41's feel great in the hand, have spectacularly wonderful triggers, are more accurate than almost any human being, and take down easily.

My Buckmark Camper had much cheesier internals, a goofy takedown system, an excellent trigger, good accuracy and good reliability. Retracting the slide required great care, great strength, or midget fingers, so I ditched it. The 41 and the MKII have somewhat clearer sights.

I've owned two Mark II's. One was completely reliable; I ditched it in a temporary (I hope) fit of idiocy. The one I own now occasionally has bizarre FTE's couple with double feeds, but, like the many I've shot, has an excellent trigger and is quite accurate. Takedown on the Mark II's is a notorious PITA, among the worst in the industry.

My favorite .22 semi, however, is the CZ Kadet. Mine isn't as accurate as the guns above, and its SA trigger is a bit mushier than the others, but it's generally reliable and shoots softer than any pistol I've fired. Takedown is simple. Since it's the same size as CZ centerfires, the grip frame is fatter than other .22's, but it still has a nice feel. I like the gun's large size, but I particularly favor the fact that it operates exactly like the CZ centerfires, which are my carry guns on the very rare occasion that I tote a semi. Except for the long-dead Colt Ace, I can't recall another .22 auto that was the same size and worked the same way as a manufacturer's centerfires. (The current Kimber .22 is so light that it doesn't feel like a 1911; it seems like something from the toy store.) You ought to practice with the same equipment that you use for serious purposes, in my view.

All that said, I prefer any K frame Smith .22 to any .22 pistol ever made. Their SA pulls are always marvelous and they always go bang; you don't have to spend your life testing ammo. Since my regular carry piece is a Smith revolver, the K .22's duplicate its mode of operation.

May 22, 2005, 08:29 PM
For hunting tin cans, there's nothing wrong with a Ruger.

But as a out-and-out gun snob, I have to admit that I can't stand them. Straight from the factory, Ruger is kind enough to install a trigger so heavy only a lawyer could love it.

If you buy the Mod.41, it will be great as a plinker, and if you ever decide to take up any sort of rimfire pistol competition- Bullseye, Sportsman's Team Challenge, etc. it'll certainly serve you well.

The trick is to test a bunch of different ammo types with it and find a brand that works. Many I've seen seem to eat CCI Standard Velocity rounds with nary a hiccup.

May 22, 2005, 09:53 PM
If I can only keep one .22 handgun, it will be my model 41.

May 24, 2005, 05:59 PM
I found that if I swab out my magazines with a little Hoppes and then dry and lube them my FTE problems went away. I'm using a MKII now for target and with a Volquartsen trigger kit the trigger is acceptable although not consistently. Sometimes it'll creep and sometimes it'll break just fine. I plan to upgrade to the 41 within the next few months.

If anyone out there gets the trigger kit DO NOT try to change the mainspring unless you want to send away for a new mainspring assembly.

Once I got the hang of it the Ruger is a piece of cake to break down and reassemble.

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