Need input on buying a used S&W 41


February 19, 2003, 02:34 AM
Hi Folks,

I'm looking at a used 22 pistol and was hoping to get some advice...

It's an old, probably from the 70's, Smith & Wesson model 41 ( S&W M41 )

I know it's missing all box and paperwork, comes w/ 1 mag.

The guy is asking $400, although I might be able to talk him down a bit (maybe even $350).

So what should I look for when I examine this pistol? I'm not familiar at all with 22cal pistols but know my way around many different larger cal semi-auto pistols.

Any tips on how I can tell how 'used' it is? Any tips in general? Does the price sound ok?

I'm mainly looking for a good plinker, something to hone skills w/ cheap ammo, and something that I could use later as an entry level competition gun if I end up moving that way.

What do you think?


If you enjoyed reading about "Need input on buying a used S&W 41" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Kahr carrier
February 19, 2003, 06:37 AM
The Price sounds good depending on the condition 90%-$335.00- 95%-$415.00,80%-$280.00.:)

February 19, 2003, 06:58 AM
Some 41s can be picky about ammo. My 1970 41 won't eject properly with the high-priced match stuff, but shoot Fed. Champion and CCI standards fine, and with equal accuracy to the 'match' ammo. Other than a shooting function test, check bore with a good light, check controls to see they work. It's a pretty simple pistol and should last forever with minimal care, so it's not like buying a used centerfire revolver which could be 'shot loose'.

That's a nice price. I paid $500 for mine, bull barrel, 100% bluing, original box,papers, test target, tools, one mag. They are superb match pistols.

Al Thompson
February 19, 2003, 08:59 AM
The fact that it's older is a plus, IMHO. My old shooting coach had one with over a 140,000 rounds through it. He quit keeping track after that as it seemed pointless. :) Around here 400 is a super price.

February 19, 2003, 10:47 AM
Sounds like a good deal depending on condition. Years ago, I knew a guy who had one that he shot ALL THE's a wonderful gun and will stand up to alot of use.

February 19, 2003, 01:41 PM
that's a great price.:cool:

Look at the face of the breech where it meets up with the long, skinny forward extensions of the slide. If that juncture is cut at a 90 degree angle, check closely under strong light for signs of cracks, or cracks which may have been repaired. If it's OK, I'd still get the gun, but restrict its use to standard velocity ammo. If it's cut in what appears as two 45 degree passes, it's new enough to have had that change made in its design.

Also, check the feed ramp to see if there's been any peening from the lower edge of the breechface as it comes to a halt in chambering the shells. That's unsightly, but doesn't necessarily effect the function. There's spare barrels out there, so that wouldn't put me off either.

All in all, I'd say pick it up.:)

February 19, 2003, 01:55 PM
Thanks folks, that's great info so far. Especially VictorLewis, that's exactly what I'm wondering about, the issues that are particular to the 41 that I should know about and look for.

bty, it might have the 90 degree cut, because it's been in the guys family for quite a while. Since the guys totally not into firearms, and knows nothing about them, I can't get too much information from him over the phone about this pistols condition before we meet.

Is that 90 degree cut a bad thing? Do they tend to crack all the time, or just if you use high velocity rounds?

Since they changed that cut, does that mean that all parts from older production 41s won't work with newer production 41s?

I plan on running 50-75 rounds of many different brands of 22 ammo through it before I buy it, hopefully that will be enough to give me some clue as to how it might behave.

thanks :)

February 19, 2003, 04:04 PM
That is indeed a good price. These guns are over $800 new right now.

I don't care what the Blue Book might say, I haven't seen one of these under $400 since the 80s.

The 41 is a pretty serious target gun, your seller is offering it to you for a "plinker" price.

February 19, 2003, 04:10 PM
Is that 90 degree cut a bad thing? Do they tend to crack all the time, or just if you use high velocity rounds?

It can happen with hi-vel rounds. Of course, this can be mitigated somewhat by 'upspringing' it a bit with a Wolff replacement

Since they changed that cut, does that mean that all parts from older production 41s won't work with newer production 41s?
AFAIK, you shouldn't have anything besides minor fitting with any part you choose to replace. Keep in mind, some things like the older rear sights are no longer available from S&W.

Standing Wolf
February 19, 2003, 10:23 PM
I'd recommend a full set of Wolff replacement springs installed by a competent gunsmith, including magazine springs.

My model 41 (recent manufacture, pre-agreement) was a dog out of the box. An action job and new springs helped considerably. It's a very good plinker, although not the equal of my best High Standards.

February 20, 2003, 02:04 AM
could anybody

1) tell me about the disassembly and assembly procedure for the 41

2) tell me about the positives and negatives of the 5.5" Vs 7" barrel


February 20, 2003, 07:53 AM
Mag out
Verify empty chamber
Pull triggerguard down- it hinges at the rear where it meets the frame.
Lift off barrel.
Pull slide slightly back until you can lift it free. Watch the spring.

Mine is the 5.5" bbl and I found it especially steady for timed & rapid fire. For slow fire (I'm talking bullseye pistol mathces) the longer barrel might have some advantage because of longer sight radius. 5.5" barrel looks much cooler though.

February 20, 2003, 02:17 PM
Thanks Khornet,

I too like the 5.5" better than the 7" but the guy knows so little that he couldn't even tell me the barrel lenght over the phone.

If it's the 5.5" and shoots good it's going to be mine...

If it's the 7" I might not buy it... I plan on shooting it first though, to see if it shoots so good that I have to buy it despite the fact that I think it doesn't looks good.

February 20, 2003, 04:39 PM
I'd buy it whatever the barrel length. I was the only shooter in my Canton club with a 51/2" 41; all the others had the long barrel and they did fine. Take it and run....or refer the owner to me!

February 20, 2003, 04:59 PM

I've come around to that way of thinking :D

Unless it shoots like a dog, or looks like it's been abused, I'm gonna get it... regardless of whether it's a 5.5" or 7" barrel.

And I think this will be a great pistol for my wife and my sister to pratice with too. They both just went to the NRA basic pistol class and came back... actually enthused :what:
ANYTHING I can do to keep that happy feeling going I'll do, and a sweet shooting 41 might just help :evil:

My wife even said she'd stop complaining about how I always slip a couple of boxes of ammo in the cart each time we go to Wally World!!!

4 eyed six shooter
February 20, 2003, 10:00 PM
I would also check the muzzle very carefully, make sure the rifling is sharp and has not been damaged by improper cleaning.
I have had 3 41's past years and sold all three. At the time I bought them new at $350.00 to $375.00 wholesale. I still kick myself for getting rid of them. Hindsight is 20 - 20.

February 21, 2003, 09:21 AM
One of the BIG advantages of a Model 41 is the ability to change the barrels. If the gun comes with a 7" barrel and you want a 5 1/2 incher, buy one. Then you will have two barrels. I actually have three barrels for my 41. The other is the seldom-seen 5" field barrel. It is a lightweight barrel with a red-ramp front sight!

February 21, 2003, 11:00 AM
I use an S&W 41 for bullseye match shooting (as do most of the other Purdue team shooters), and I really like it. I think it's way better than Ruger Mk IIs and Browning Buckmarks. Never fired a Hi-Standard, though.

February 21, 2003, 12:30 PM
They are great pistols and hardly ever turn up used at good prices around here. I would get it unless it looks like total crap. Watch-Six

February 21, 2003, 02:10 PM
If the pistol is in good condition, you're getting a seriously good deal. The Model 41 is the best US made .22 pistol.

If that pistol's in good condition, I'm hella jealous.:)

The only caveat is that you should only shoot standard velocity ammo through it. The 41 is a competition gun, and isn't designed to fire high-velocity stuff. (I have no idea if a change of springs and such would make it able to shoot the hotter stuff.)

February 21, 2003, 04:32 PM
Hi Folks,

Thanks a lot for all your help and info.

It turns out the deal didn't happen :cuss: :banghead:

The kid was selling the gun his father gave him, that used to belong to his grandpa... which he told me during our first conversation (yes, I though he was insane for doing so)

The kid called me today, said he mentioned to his sister that he was selling it and got read the riot act so he had to promise her he'd keep it in the family.

Gawd damn, this was going to be my first 'great deal' that I'd tell everyone about and watch them turn blue with envy... and now I'm just left nursing dissapointment.

ahh well, such is life

February 21, 2003, 05:14 PM
good things come to those who wait. Took me 10 years to finally get mine.

Jim K
February 21, 2003, 09:21 PM
Veritas, where are you located? I know a gun store in MD that has 3 or 4 Model 41's right now. I don't know the prices but he is usually pretty reasonable.

Phone is 301-662-5912 email at


If you enjoyed reading about "Need input on buying a used S&W 41" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!