newbie to reloading... looking for specifics on a 4 5/8 blackhawk .41 mag


January 10, 2013, 08:32 PM
Hey folks, first off... I know NOTHING about reloading. I recently was gifted a .41 new model blackhawk with the 4 5/8 barrel. I am able to accurately shoot this thing off of a rest at 100 yards using the winchester 175 gr. silvertip. Due to ammo availability I figured I might as well reload as the money spent looking for ammo and buying it will probably be equal to reloading so... Today a fella practically paid me to take a reloading kit. I got a Lyman Expert kit, it's an older one with all metal accessories. Picked it up with 9 dies and 200 rounds of milsurp 8mm mauser ammo for $150. Stopped by the gun shop on the way home and sold 6 dies for $100 bucks ;-) Still have 2 more dies I need to get rid of (30-30 and .243) as I have no desire to load those rounds... should pretty much break even by then ;)

anyhow, I need to acquire a die for my .41 before I can start, but I figure I'd like to get everything at once so I don't have to wait...

My question (scratch that, first question of many) is where is a good starting point for this gun? I want a 100 yard accurate round and I use this pistol as my primary farm patrol weapon, so it'll be used to take down deer under my farm permits. Basically I need a starting point, there are so many variables, my head is spinning... I am just looking for a round that is accurate and capable of 100 yard deer kills. I will need to know everything, primer type, powder type and weight, a good (cheap as possible) bullet to buy, OAL and whatever other relavant info I can get...

I may start loading for the mauser and 30-06 but not right now, I want to get my head around one thing at a time... anyone willing to share their recipe I would appreciate it, please understand that I am a complete newbie and know NOTHING about this so explain technical terms if it's not apparent.

Thank yall!

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January 10, 2013, 08:44 PM
Ok...first thing you need to do is some reading before you injure yourself or anyone else.

A good place to start would be the book ABCs of reloading, Lyman's 49th manual. Read those, then read them again. Then get another manual of whatever brand of bullet you might think you want to load. Those manuals will have loads in them along with primers, powders etc.

While reading those you can try and find components and price them.

January 10, 2013, 08:47 PM
To reload it, you need a .41 Mag three die set & a shell holder.
An RCBS, Lee, or Redding die set will do the job.

But first, you need to buy a couple of books and read them six times each.

The ABC's of Reloading.
And the Lyman #49 Reloading Manual.

There are some highly accurate loads for your gun in the Lyman manual.

Then read this Sticky thread at the top of this forum too:

Once you get all that reading done, we can help with any other questions.

I don't have enough time or energy to write a basic step-by-step reloading manual for you on the Internet tonight.


January 10, 2013, 08:48 PM
I have a couple of books that were given to me over the years, I think that is one of them... I just have to find them... I of course wouldn't just dive in and start making bullets because someone told me a recipe...

I am however looking for a good starting point that someone with experience using the same type of pistol has loaded, that I can then have some sort of starting point to think about... the variables are so vast with this stuff I would like some advice on the specifics. I appreciate your concern but contrary to my screen name I'm no fool ;)

January 10, 2013, 08:49 PM
RC, I appreciate the info, I'll look at that sticky, I always miss those... I would not expect someone to give me a step by step, that's asking alot...

I'll go dig those books out, I think they're in my bronco actually ;)

January 10, 2013, 08:52 PM
what I was referring to is a specific manufacture of projectile, powder, primer and an OAL that has worked for folks... I trust you folks on here much more than the other sites I encounter in my searching!

January 10, 2013, 09:02 PM
Standard Lg Pistol primers, Alliant 2400 powder, and 210 grain JHP bullets from Hornady, Speer, Sierra, or Barnes will get you there with the least fuss & bother.

You need to get the starting load powder charge out of a reloading manual and work up till you find your guns sweet spot.

Nobody can tell you what that load is except you & your gun.


January 10, 2013, 09:07 PM
thank you very much RC I have learned that each and every gun is different, sometimes vastly different even if they're the same model... just too many parts in a machine like that to make them all 100% the same.

I shall dig out those books this evening and start on them, I am a fast learner and a very fast reader so I didn't want to wait and wait on getting things shipped here... It'll be a few weeks before I have everything set up and have dies in my hands anyhow so plenty of time for research.

Just for the record, this scares the heck out of me, I still have a bunch of handloads a very good friend gave me for my 30-06 for just that reason... not that I don't trust him, but I like having my body parts intact for the most part ;-)

I'll let you guys know what results I get.

January 10, 2013, 09:19 PM
Reloading is far safer then mowing the yard with a power mower.
Or driving your farm machinery.

Just do the research up front.
Then develop your own safety check systems that work for you.
And never deviate from them, ever.

I use loading blocks and load in 50 round batches.

All the cases get powder charges.
Then I inspect each and every one for the same powder charge levels in each case.
Then I set 50 bullets on them and go to the loading press and seat them.

Unless you miss-read the load manual data, or misread your powder can label, or misread your scales?

There is No Way you can double-charge, over-charge, or leave the powder out of one.


January 10, 2013, 09:26 PM
from what I have gleaned over the years it does seem that getting a solid routine is quite possibly the most important thing to do... I really only plan to reload for one caliber so I don't forsee any mixup issues, my a-bolt seems to really like the cheapest federal ammo I can buy from walmart so I see no need to expend my time an energy on anything else.

as far as the 8mm goes, I got 200 rounds in this deal so with the amount that I actually shoot that gun, I may never run out of ammo for it...

the .41 however I want to practice alot with so I can make those long range shots without having a nice perfect rest to do it with, that means alot of ammo for a guy like me and with the availability of ammo locally... alot of hunting for ammo... I really dislike ordering anything and prefer to spend my money locally, so with the exception of projectiles I should be able to get everything else here...

thank you all for your patience and concerns! You won't read a story about me blowing myself up with reloads, I'm over the hotrod phase of my life ;)

January 10, 2013, 09:43 PM
btw... just found the book, it IS the ABC's of reloading... 8th edition. awesome! thanks, signing off to go read now :)

January 10, 2013, 09:53 PM
I should have added that you will make much faster progress as a pistol shot using reduced power lead bullet loads you can afford to shoot mass quantities of.

.08 cent bullets and 5 - 6 grains of powder goes a lot further in practice then .25 cent bullets and 20 grains of powder.

Sight alignment and trigger control won't know the difference, but your credit card will.


January 11, 2013, 12:39 AM
Favorite load for my .41 Blackhawk was 19.5gr H110 behind the old Speer 220gr half-jacketed bullet. Super accurate and potent, I wouldn't think twice about shooting a deer with it. Unfortunately they have stopped making that bullet, so I started using Hornady 210gr XTPs which are also very good.

H110 is an excellent powder for full-strength loads, but it isn't good to reduce it by much. I find recoil to be very manageable in the Blackhawk design, so I haven't loaded anything lighter.

41 Mag
January 11, 2013, 05:57 AM
I have loaded and shot thousands of rounds of 41 magnum ammo through both a Blackhawk and a Redhawk. I have found that while the upper limit loads are a hoot to shoot, and in some cases VERY accurate, that the mid ranged loads will deliver the same or better accuracy, and just as much performance, with less wear and tear on both the firearm and your hand.

I have only began to shoot cast in mine over the past couple of years. Nothing against cast, just that I liked the Rem 200gr SJHP I usually loaded, and I'm one of the KISS folks who finds one great load and sticks to it. I got into casting year before last for another revolver and it simply grew from that one mold into quite a few. That said, my friend also started out shooting cast through his. Before this we were both shooting the Remington 200gr SJHP loaded over 20.5grs of 296 in Starline cases and using Win-WLP primers. This is a great load for general use and has been accurate in several 41's. It usually runs around 1300fps from our 7.5" barrels.

As mentioned above the old Speer 220gr was about the most accurate bullet I ever shot from either of mine. When my friend was looking at shooting cast he purchased some of the Montana Bullet Works 215gr H&G 258's and they shot so well we purchased a mold. To date these have shot as well or better than the old Speer bullet in both of our revolvers. We don't push them to much if any over 1200fps and use AA-5 or 9 to load under them. Also when looking at cast don't get caught up in having the hardest bullet you can find, anything from around a 11BHN up through around 15-18 BHN will be plenty hard enough for most shooting or hunting. THe key wiht cast is slugging your bore so yoru sure you have the right fit. It should be a .411", but you might find as a LOT of others have that there is a tight spot where the barrel screws into the frame. If you don't feel up to driving a pure or soft lead slug through your bore any local competent gunsmith should be able to help you out for little or nothing in cost. If you DO have a tight spot, it can be polished out using some of the bullets with lapping compound. The key thing is to have your cylinder throats, and bore the same size and then your bullets sized to around .001 or so over that diameter. It isn't nearly as bad as it sounds, and you can be easily up and running great with around $100 at the most IF you need work at all.

Once you get set up and are ready to load, I can suggest the following powders which should cover most of the loads your looking to shoot. For lower to mid ranged cast loads Unique, Universal, 2400, HS-6 or AA-5,7, will work out great depending on just how much power you looking for. If your looking for upper scale rockers, then AA-9, 2400, 296 or H110 will be the ticket. There are plenty of others, but you will find more data on these than most. Stick with the 210'ish grain bullet weights to begin with. If your looking for budget jacketed, it's hard to beat the Remington 200gr SJHP, and 210gr SP, they cost quite a bit more now than they did a few years back, but compared to other bullets they are still affordable when purchased in bulk. Of the two for your intended purpose I would go with the 200gr. It has done the job for me for over a decade on hogs ranging form 20 up to over 250# out to past 100yds. I haven't shot but one deer with it and it was a done deal upon impact. I haven't tried any of the newer plated cast bullets, but from what I read they shoot very well, and might be another option if your looking for economy.

Shop around for brass, but you will probably find that Starline will be your best bet. If you pick up 500 you will be set for years of shooting, especially if your careful with your crimps and pressures on your loads. OF course using what you have on hand is usually the cheapest.

Primers, hard to say what will be the most accurate, but I have had the best luck with Winchester, followed by CCI and in most cases the standard version works as good or better than the magnum with most powders even when using the slower burners. It is simply one of those things you will have to try to find out about.

When you get set up and read up on the how-to's, feel free to touch base with me if you have anything specific. I grew up loving this particular caliber, and have about researched loads with it as far as one possibly could. Like most have mentioned, the mid ranged loads are very good even though you might not be topping out on velocity your still pushing a goodly sized chunk out, and if your doing your part the rest will take care of it's self.

Good luck on your new adventure I am sure you will gain a new found respect for your revolver, I know I did.

January 11, 2013, 07:37 AM
A really sad day when Speer chose to drop the half jackets in all calibers.
Not trendy enough with a patented trademark name I guess.

In all the 41s I've owned, the HJ/HP 200gr. with 19 grs. of 2400 was the ticket and the only load I shoot now.

2400 does produce a bit of flash in the short barrel, but I'll bet the load shoots.
In fact I've yet to see a .41 that doesn't shoot at close to full throttle.

Like RC said, work your way into reloading after reading about it and take your time to get right.
Sounds like 41 mag can give lots of pointers as well. The only silly questions about what you do not understand are the unasked ones.

At least there is not a run on .41 bullets with the current frenzy. Yet.


January 11, 2013, 11:40 AM
wow, thank you guys so much, such a wealth of info here. sadly I'm too ignorant to absorb it all yet, but it's coming... about 1/3 of the way through the book now, I'm taking my time to read it so i'll remember what I need to.

RC, i had already found missouri bullet works and liked their "outlaw" bullets, at least liked the look of them. I intended to ask about them after i learned what questions I needed to ask ;)

41 mag, you will certainly be hearing from me, I'm not what I would call a "comptent" handgun shooter, but this little blackhawk is like magic for me so I intend to find a load I like and probably never deviate from it, if it'll drop a deer at the distances i can accurately shoot one, then that's all I'll ever need. I'm not a paper puncher and while I own a decent sized farm I really don't like shooting here alot, don't want to make an area too "hot" with lead deposits ;-) Not that I won't shoot here, I do, but would rather go to the range and pollute the ground there since it's already bad. I just want to practice enough so I'm confident I can hit a deer in the kill zone at the ranges needed and then practice enough to stay there.

Everyone else, thank you so much for your inisghts, I'll get a set of dies as soon as I can find one, hoping to get one locally but might not be able to find such an oddball. I would like to get into casting bullets, but won't be able to afford the setup for a while.

Quick question, i think I already know the answer but wanted to make sure... The kit came with quite a few primers included, should I dispose of these properly since I don't know what kind of conditions they were stored in or are they pretty resilient and should be fine? I'm not really interested in live or die self defense with these rounds, but want to be safe and have a consistent burn.

January 11, 2013, 11:49 AM
If the primer flats do not look like they have been wet or oil stained, the primers should be fine.


January 11, 2013, 12:56 PM
Ok...first thing you need to do is some reading before you injure yourself or anyone else.

A good place to start would be the book ABCs of reloading, Lyman's 49th manual. Read those, then read them again. Then get another manual of whatever brand of bullet you might think you want to load. Those manuals will have loads in them along with primers, powders etc.

While reading those you can try and find components and price them.
Yep, best answer. Purchase books first...

January 11, 2013, 02:04 PM
Whenever I travel (which isn't all that often) I always look for the local small town gun store or hardware/sporting goods store - occasionally I'll find a dusty old box of those old Speer 220gr half jackets sitting on the shelf. I've found a few boxes that way, but unfortunately not in the last couple of years. I'm down to 1.5 boxes now, and I'd love to find some old stock laying around to buy.

41 Mag
January 11, 2013, 05:13 PM

What you need to do in order to shoot at the farm is build yourself a bullet trap. If your halfway handy with a welder and have some old plate and pipe sitting around, it wouldn't take much to stick rod one up. It don't have to be overly engineered, there are some great designs over on Castboolits.

I'm using 5 gallon buckets full of damp sand. I lay them on their sides, and shoot through the tops. The lids will take quite a few rounds before needing replacing and if your not shooting top end 44's or 454's, the buckets will last quite a while. I just sift the sand over some small holed expanded metal and put the dirt right back in. I keep all of the lead separated as to what alloy it is, or if it is jacketed or not. Then I melt it down when I get a big coffee can full, and cast it back up. I just put another layer of tape or another target over the previous holes and I'm back in business. Makes a good use for those empty hydraulic oil buckets.

Yep I miss those old Speer's as well, but I miss the 170gr Remington's even more. Those were some sure nuff hot rods there for sure. I even tried to get Midway to get a special run made up, but they said they wouldn't sell. Go figure....

January 11, 2013, 05:32 PM
I would heartily recommend heeding the first two posts and.....

215gr SWC's at 1000-1200fps for practice, plinking and general purpose.

210gr Speer Gold Dot or 170gr Sierra for deer sized critters.

January 12, 2013, 10:37 AM
RC thanks for the info on primers, I'm guessing they're not expensive (judging only by the price on the cartons I have now) but still, waste not want not. I wasn't aware that they were fairly hardy for longevity.

41 mag, bullet trap... dang. That's one of those simple ideas that I should have thought of well before now... I'm a great welder and have all kinds of junk (I think most farmers have all kinds of junk) laying about I can scavenge... I've got a 250 gallon oil tank that I've been looking to repurpose, I bet that thing filled with sand would make a great trap for even the 30-06.

That's the main reason I don't shoot more, I don't want to drive to the crowded range and I don't want all the toxins in my soil since we are a wholesaler and people all over get our fruit. Thanks again!

I am now done with the ABC's of Reloading, good book, answered lots of questions I didn't even know should be asked... One question that I didn't see though, although I'm thinking the answer will be "no" from what I have already learned...

Is there one powder that will work with a 30-06 as well as my .41 magnum? I'm guessing probably not, but always helps to ask, having one "keg" of powder laying about is better than 2. I understand slow burn for rifles, fast burn for pistols now, just wasn't sure if there was some sort of medium that could be achieved here and still function well... most "happy mediums" are just bad for everything that I've encountered though.

January 12, 2013, 10:51 AM
My shooting buddy has a large flat steel plate leaned 45 degrees toward the shooting line on a stacked railroad tie target backer.

Sand under the space between the ties and steel plate.

Every bullet is deflected down into the sand trap.

He rakes the scrap lead out of it every year or so and makes more cast bullets out of the lead.

BTW: A 250 gallon oil tank full of sand would stop a 20mm cannon AP shell!


January 12, 2013, 12:28 PM

welcome to handloading. it's addicting!

no, two separate powders are needed if you want to shoot deer at 100 yards. that lyman manual is a "must" for working up a deer load for your blackhawk.

also, the type of bullet for deer at 100 yards is very different than one for the 30-06. hollow-point bullets don't perform like they should at 41 magnum velocities. a semi-wadcutter is best here. penetration through the vital organs is the way to go.

pick a bullet first, then choose an appropriate powder from the lyman manual to suite your needs.

this is just my opinion. i'm sure everyone else will chime in with theirs.

one more thing, a healthy respect for handloading is much better than being afraid. if you pay attention and eliminate all other distractions, this game is quite enjoyable.


January 12, 2013, 12:29 PM
After you've done some instructional reading, a lot of reading actually, and have bought your die set, buy the "One Book, One Caliber" book. It contains a wealth of reloading component options and is only about $8.

I learned by reading the Speer #10 and ABC's of Reloading, and a couple other's. But I actually found Speer to be the best for putting things into easy to understand terminology, while also providing the technical terminology.


January 12, 2013, 12:42 PM
thanks guys, I'll get those manuals on the way as well.

I understand enough now about the hollowpoint bullets not really being worth a flip for a 100 yard pistol shot (meaning expansion and all that) and have been of the opinion even before I seriously thought about reloading that a .41 size hole is plenty big enough ;-)

Until I can get someone from montana bullet works to get back in touch with me (I'm sure they work all the time and don't just answer the phone because it rings) I'm thinking of ordering from Missouri Bullet Company

I'm thinking the Trooper may be best because of the lube grooves looking a little more substantial, I wish I could get the Trooper with it's 215 gr. weight but with the Outlaw tapered nose.... I guess that's how it goes. When I find something that works, you bet I'll start casting my own, might as well. I can get all the other components locally and I prefer to shop local when possible.

thanks for the info, any suggestions on these missouri bullets would be welcomed!

January 12, 2013, 01:24 PM
I understand enough now about the hollowpoint bullets not really being worth a flip for a 100 yard pistol shot (meaning expansion and all that) and have been of the opinion even before I seriously thought about reloading that a .41 size hole is plenty big enough
Nonsense and I don't know where the above comes from. While I am a HUGE proponent of cast bullets and they work VERY well on game, a good jacketed hollow or soft point tends to put deer down quicker. You don't need gobs of penetration to kill whitetail but expansion does help anchor them more effectively. And yes, jacketed pistol bullets do expand at pistol velocities, that's what they're designed to do. The two I recommended are very well reputed.

January 12, 2013, 01:32 PM
well then, color me ashamed :uhoh:

I'll look into those as I do not wish to order a 500 count of bullets for my first go around anyhow. I'll check those out and report my inexperienced findings.

I had read on quite a few different articles/opinions that they were not expanding, I'll order me some then since I can get those in 100 lot batches.

January 13, 2013, 04:52 AM
hipoint- I recently started loading .41mag as well, and it is by far the my favorite caliber to shoot now. I've used both Missouri Outlaw and Trooper bullets with great results. Also have some of True Dog Casting Works lead Keith SWC that'd were great also. For jacketed, the only ones I've used are the Hornady XTP's and as always I'm very pleased with them as well. I would recommend just putting in an order with Starline brass for some bulk brass to have. I ordered a 1000 right away so I don't have to worry about it for a long time, very pleased with them as well as it was my first starline purchse. As for powders, I'm playing around with Universal, Trail Boss, Unique, H110, and 2400 and the Redhawk likes them all. From my experience, the .41 has been the easiest to load for and hasn't been finicky at all, but YMMV. Best of luck loading and have fun putting the lead downrange.

Also, if you looking at loading cast bullets, I'd recommend getting both the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook and the Lyman Pistol and Revolver Handbook, they both contain some very useful tips for loading for revolvers and cast bullets (especially helpful for me as I'm relatively new to cast bullets) and also both contain some load data for the .41mag.

January 13, 2013, 11:06 AM
thank you lerk! I now have so much info in this thread I'm going to have to take notes! I think this thread has turned out to be very informative for myself and any new loaders looking aroung, all of these folks commenting on here have been very knowledgeable and happy to share.

January 13, 2013, 02:31 PM
Another good thread to check out if you haven't already is the .41 Mag Association, bunch of loading data, bullet preferences, and overall just information about .41 in there, but you have to dig a bit to find it.

.41 Mag Association (

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