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Best and Worst Post “A” Series S&W M41’s?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Brazos_Jack, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Brazos_Jack

    Brazos_Jack New Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Texas/Saudi Arabia
    I understand that the very best Smith & Wesson Model 41’s were the Pre “A” Series and “A” Series. These were made between 1957 and the early 80’s and have a cocking indicator at the back of the slide that was dropped from later production.

    Later production has been sometimes good and sometimes not so good, from what I’ve read. But these disparaging comments never seem to say how to identify the good or bad later vintages. I have read that beginning in 1994, Smith & Wesson began to drill and tap the barrels for scope mounts. So pre and post 1994 guns may be identified. Also, at some unknown point there was a minor dimensional change in the barrel fit so that late barrels require fitting to fit early frames and vice versa. When this change occurred, I do not know.

    I plan to buy myself an M41, but doubt I can find one of the 30+ year old “cream of the crop”. Can anyone guide me as to how to identify good late model 41’s and how to identify the bad ones?
  2. 10X

    10X Active Member

    Apr 21, 2006
    Colorado Springs
    This is not directly a response to your question but may be more food for thought. Even the "A" series had problems in the late 1970s. I had a NIB one that had the cocking indicator and a 7 3/8" muzzle brake barrel. The barrel was curved to the left from bad heat treat, it shot 12" to the left at 25 yards. I sent it back. S&W straightened the barrel. You could see the grooves on the top of the barrel curve to the right, but the barrel was straight. Then the trigger went out after a few boxes of shells. I sent it in to S&W. It came back and the trigger went out within a box or two of shells. I sent it in again. It came back and worked fine from that point. I eventually bought a 5 1/2" inch heavy barrel. It shot better with that barrel. I sold it ten years or so ago. I can still tell you the SN from memory because it irritated me so much. The message is late in the 1970s there were quality problems with S&W. An "A" series is not an absolute guarantee. I do see 41s at gun shows. You have to carefully inspect what you buy. Look for striaght barrels. Snug fit of barrel to frame. Try the trigger and safety for proper functioning.

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