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.357 mag vs. .41 mag for SD

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Jenrick, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Jenrick

    Jenrick Senior Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I reload so the cost or difficulty of find ammunition isn't a problem. I'm also not worried about the bogeyman of getting attacked by the DA for using my own reloads for SD (deadly force is deadly force in Texas). The .357 magnum with a 125gr round has long been considered one of THE most effective handgun rounds. However lot of very experienced shooters (Jordan, Keith, etc.) felt that the .41 mag with a 200gr bullet at about 900fps was a better choice.

    I have shot and owned a .357 mag before (Model 19), and I found the recoil at the upper end of the caliber to be objectionable. However this is in a K frame gun, in an L or N frame it probably wouldn't be an issue. Mid range loads didn't bother me, and were actually quite fun to shoot. I've never shot a .41 magnum. A 200gr bullet at 900fps should put it around .45 ACP recoil, which is one of my favorite cartridges to shoot. I have no desire nor need to go to the higher end of .41 magnum loadings, so that's not an issue.

    Overall which would be a better choice?

    Any pistol I'd end up going with would be a 4", the bulk and size of concealing it aren't an issue. The ballistic effectiveness of the round are.

    Thanks for you information,

  2. pmeisel

    pmeisel Member

    Dec 28, 2008
    Since you are reloading, and you haven't bought the gun yet, you can make either work.

    I am very fond of 158 grain and 180 grain 357 from my model 19 and my Python, and I think the recoil is less "snappy" with the heavier bullets. I think either an L or N frame size revolver would .make it more manageable.

    But a 41 loaded to run at the velocities you suggest would work great too.

    Can't really go wrong. I'd shop for the gun first then pick the load.
  3. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Senior Member

    Feb 7, 2004
    Either .357 or .41 will do fine.

    But just which revolver fits your hand?

    Secuirty Six?
    Smith 686
    Smith N frame (.41)

    That is more important than either .357 or .41.

    Now if you intend on also hunting.... then while I use a GP100 for my field gun you might prefer a .41.

    I'd go to some place like Gander Mountian (yea I know about their bonzo prices) or a gun show and handle as many as I could to see which one feels right for me.

  4. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    Nov 16, 2010
    If you are using this for defense, perhaps you should consider the 10mm. It lies between the two for performance, and since you reload as I do, the cost is no different, really.

    I have a 686+ 6". That extra load is great for Dirty Harry moments. I chrono 110 gr. loads at over 1700fps. That is awesome.

    That said, I always wanted a .41 mag.... And a .44 mag too...

    Speaking of Dirty Harry (I got all four movies at Wal Mart for ten bucks recently) he used a .44 magnum loaded with .44 specials. Reason? .44 special recoils less in a large frame.
  5. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Senior Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    I think the .41 Mag. downloaded would still be a pretty fine defensive choice. Not sure if anyone offers bullets for the .41 Mag. that will expand much at 900fps - never really looked into it. I don't carry revolvers for defense, but either of those choices would comfort me if I did.

    6" Model 57 loaded to 900fps is quite easy to control. All I generally shoot in mine are lead bullets at that speed. This year I think I'll make up some hunting loads with jacketed bullets and experience the full thrill. K-Frame or larger .357s are also easy for me to control with any load.
  6. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Senior Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    There is no right answer...Get which ever one you prefer and find a load you like.
  7. Snobal

    Snobal New Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Arizona Wilderness
    I have not tried to take deer with a .357 --- but would not feel "under-gunned" using one for deer hunting (as long as I could load the ammo).

    I have taken several deer with a .41 Mag (and also lots and lots of jackrabbits, coyotes, etc) and found it to be quite "effective.":D

    Since you reload, my suggestion is .41 Mag. Once I got brass, bullet molds, reloading dies, etc. etc. for .41 --- I really did not want to shoot anything else because you can do about anything with a .41 that is reasonable to expect from a handgun.

    I have also reloaded and taken deer with a .44 Mag (and reloaded for a friends that took several deer with .45 Colt in Ruger revolvers).

  8. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Central WA
    I like both .357's and .41's very much and have messed about with both quite a bit. I find I prefer shooting a big-bore with a moderate load to a smaller round in a screamer load; but I also find I like K- and L-frame revolvers better than N-frames, and the .41 (regrettably) doesn't come any smaller than an N-frame. So I've vacillated, and kept both an N-frame .41 and a K-frame .357 (and a host of other revolvers) in home defense locations over time.

    In the end, I migrated to a 1911, when I transitioned to it as a duty gun (I like the .45 too, and my wife's bedside gun is still a revolver--in .45 acp). But prior to that I'd more or less settled on an 8-shot .357 N-frame--a gun that didn't really fit either of my stated preferences but offered increased capacity and the mass to bring the recoil of the .357 down to truly manageable proportions.

    The .41 is a worthy experiment and one you should try if you're curious--particularly if you haven't tried a large frame revolver yet or aren't yet sure how you like them. Your biggest limitation will be bullet selection; but the classic 210-220 LSWC you're contemplating isn't hard to find and won't be, I'm sure, for a long time.
  9. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    all over Virginia
    Sounds like you are creating the .40 S&W in a revolver.

    Nothing wrong with that... except that its not a Glock.

    Jordan and Keith are among my heros. I know they would drink the Kool-Aid if they had been around for the party.

  10. dhfenno

    dhfenno Member

    Jan 19, 2009
    I have a few .357s that I love but no .41s so take this with a grain of salt.
    I would go with the .41.
    I have a handful of .44s and what I love about them is I can download to .45acp performance and shoot all day long for pennies or load hot and know I can take care of almost anything.
    The .41 was the collective brainchild of Keith, Jordan, and Skelton as a man stopper. It can be downloaded to sedate levels, loaded to mid range levels or pushed hot and do darn near anything needed in the lower 48.
  11. mes227

    mes227 Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Incline Village, NV
    Since you're loading your own, you might find that the 41 Mag gives you more versatility.
  12. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Senior Member

    Jul 15, 2007
    Northern Orygun
    Why limit the choice to .41 spl. In the N frame you could also look at the .44 spl and .45
  13. Iggy

    Iggy Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I carried a 41 Mag as a side arm for 13 year as a LEO. The .41 is a very adequate and effective SD weapon.

    Nuff sed.
  14. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Senior Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    No. CA.
    I remember when the 41Mag, was the sidearm of Oxnard PD CA...Back about 1970...They had it for a few years, went to 40 S&W I believe:scrutiny:

    As far as a SD weapon, I don't think either are up to the job the new autos are at, with all the firepower and control because of fast 2nd and 3rd shots:uhoh:...

    If you are a strict Revolver person, it is a good choice as many have mentioned...

    Good luck on your pick...:)
  15. slicksleeve

    slicksleeve Member

    Sep 1, 2009
    Fort Payne, Alabama
    I have both, and love them both. My first was a .41 magnum. I only have the one, 6" model 657. I wish I had a 4" to carry. I carry the .357's I have more often, due to their size. As far as low velocity expansion with .41 caliber bullets, well I say don't worry about it. After all, they are .410" diameter, and that's pretty good size holes.
  16. galena

    galena Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    I shoot both .357 and .41M. Either will do but I can handle fast DA strings better with the .357. I have a hand load for the 41 that sends a 210gr out the barrel right at 900 fps, it makes DA strings fun when you get that big old cylinder rollin' around on either of my two M-58s. For hunting I use factory full power loads either in my M-57 or my Ruger Blackhawk. Keep shootin'
  17. Magnumite

    Magnumite Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    Belcamp, Maryland
    With bullet and load technology the way it is, the 357 is far more effective defensive round than the 41 in any loading. Better statistically stopping percentages, much moreload evelopment, less over penetration, more energy transfer to the target, larger temporary wound cavity, more practical gun size...
  18. ms6852

    ms6852 Senior Member

    Oct 19, 2009
    I would opt for 357 but that is just my personal choice. I did read somewhere though that there has been more "ONE SHOT" kills with a 357 magnum than any other caliber.
  19. Deen Macheen

    Deen Macheen New Member

    Feb 26, 2011
    Washington state
    Actually, S&W didn't have a model 29 in 44 Mag in stock when the movie company needed it. Eastwood used a 41 cal that looked identical.... per movie trivia
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  20. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Senior Member

    Jun 11, 2005
    Something tells me you really want a 41 mag revolver. So go for it and have fun. I think you will find the normal factory loads a bit hot for your purposes. GA Arms sells 800 fps 210 gr loads in once fired brass.

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