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Should I buy a .41mag?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by chaim, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    OK, it is getting close to time for me to buy another gun. Unfortunately, my grad school situation and job situation didn't turn out as I planned so I will not likely be moving to a CCW state for about a year (I am in an online graduate certificate program as of last week, but I had to do it full-time so I am stuck again w/ my parents until I start a regular, probably out-of-state, MA or Ph.D. program next year since I'm concentrating on school so I'm not working and all I have is student loans that have to be paid back). My attention has mostly been on carry sized guns in anticipation for moving and since I won't I am again thinking about full-size guns as well. I have also been on a bit of a revolver kick lately.

    Right now I only have small bore revolvers (3 .357s, 2 .38s) with the exception of one blackpowder revolver (the Taurus 431 I bought on Gunbroker was bought from a business that offers layaway since I was expecting a good sized check but didn't yet have it- I still don't and I had to cancel the layaway). I still intend to buy the 431 when my check finally comes (should be any time, though I've thought that for months), though other money is coming soon so even if I'm still waiting it'll still be time for a new gun soon. Anyway, while I do intend to buy the 431 it is a .44spl so while it will be a big bore, it really isn't any more powerful than what I already have (.357mag is more powerful).

    I love my .357magnums. The Taurus 605 (J-frame equivelent) was a bit too much, but I love pretty much all loadings I've tried out of my 3" K-frame (65LS), 4" K-frame (19) and 6" L-frame (586). I am considering something more powerful but .44mag is just too much for me to be fun to shoot. I am thinking about splitting the difference and going with the .41mag. Yes, some of the observant among you may notice that I asked this months ago when I thought about the same thing, but when I did get another revolver it was a M19.

    Convince me on the .41mag. I do reload now but I still am not that interested in the .44mag (I know, I can always download, it is easier to get brass, factory ammo is easier to find, can use .44spl, etc). It seems like everyone and their mother owns a .44mag if they own large bore revolvers. The .41mag is simply a bit different. I might also be convinced to get a .45lc too, but I really do want to have one big bore magnum.

    How is the recoil for a N-frame .41mag v. an N-frame .44mag? V. a K-frame .357? How does the blast and noise compare? Shockwave (one thing I really do like about the .357 is that you can feel it on your face when you, or someone next to you, shoots one)?

    I can't really think of a reason I need one. One doesn't need to have a need to buy a gun, but it can help push me over if I'm on the fence for a gun. Can someone help me on this.

    I don't hunt so I won't be hunting with it. The closest need I can think of is for the possibility of encountering bears when camping.

    However, I live in MD where carry is illegal anyway. If I carry illegally on the campsite or legally in PA (I'm getting an FL permit and PA now honors the FL permit even for non-resident permits) or VT (the most likely other states where I'd be camping) I'm not sure I really need a big bore. I know, .357mag is only the bare minimum in bear country and most people consider the .41mag to be the minimum that is reasonable. However, here on the east coast there are only black bears and few that are particularly large. Also, the chances of encountering one is pretty low. Last, much of what I've been reading lately suggests that pepper sprays made especially for bear defence is better than a gun anyway. Can anyone help me find a "justification" or convince me that I have to have one?
  2. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Well-Known Member

    If you reload, you won't have a problem. Bullet weights are available from (I think) 175 grains (probably less than that) out to 265 grains. Good factory self-defense loads are available. Try Winchester Silvertips and the offerings from Cor-Bon.

    I *LOVE* my M57 .41 Mag. Factory ammo is expensive and hard to find, so consider reloading and/or ordering from Georgia Arms. They have REAL good deals on .41.

    I'm planning on getting my revolver rebarreled to 4" eventually (it currently sports a 6" barrel). It's a real pussycat to shoot with the 175 grain Silvertips, even though they generate over 600 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

    Finding a decent revolver in .41 Might be a challenge. There's the Ruger Blackhawk, but it's single action. Smith and Wesson makes a 657, but only with an 8" full underlug barrel. Dan Wesson offers their interchangable barrel large frame model in .41, and is likely the strongest double action .41 ever made, but you'll have to order one and they're heavier than others.

    Taurus makes a few .41s. 5-shot snubbies, the 5-shot Tracker, and a 6-shot Raging Bull. They do NOT, however (for some reason), make a full-sized, 4", 6-shot .41, which is the type that many of us want.

    You also might be able to find a Smith & Wesson M57 or M58, or a Ruger Redhawk in .41.

    Go for it! Dare to be different!
  3. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    Oh anyone out there own the Taurus Tracker in .41mag? The Tracker series are basically medium framed, but with the porting and "ribber" grips I'd guess felt recoil should be comprable to a S&W N-frame (especially if I go with a 6" barrel). Anyway, anyone actually own one who can let me know how they tame the recoil?

    If it helps anyone, the models I'd probably consider (more or less in order, though subject to change nearly daily) are:
    -the "older" full-sized frame .41mag from Taurus (I forget the model designation but I think they had one other than the Raging Bull until about a year ago)
    -the new .41mag Taurus Raging Bull (since the .44mag in this frame is a pussycat the .41mag should be quite comfortable)
    -the .41mag Taurus Tracker
    -the classic S&W
    -a Ruger gun in this caliber.

    Note: Today is my B-day so if anyone is feeling really generous, you know what I'd really like for my birthday.:evil:
  4. Sisco

    Sisco Well-Known Member

    Should you buy a .41 mag?
    Yes. In fact, everyone should have at least one .41 mag.
    I had a model 57 Smith then in a moment of stupidity I sold it. Local shop has a Blackhawk I keep salivating over everytime I go in there.
  5. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Greeting's All-

    Like our friend Sisco, I owned a beautiful Smith
    & Wesson 4" barrel model 57, .41 magnum in the very
    early stages of my firearms life. As a matter of fact, the
    .41 magnum is the very first caliber I handloaded for;
    using a 170 grain Sierra JHC, and W-W 630P powder;
    it was advertised as clicking along at 1300 fps>:uhoh:
    Sorry, but I can't remember the exact powder charge
    that I used to accomplish this?

    This firearm was an older model with the "S" serial
    prefix; and I kept it in pristine condition, in its velvet
    lined mahogany box. One day, a friend offered a sweet
    trade that I could not refuse!:rolleyes: My S&W 57 for
    his nickel 4" barrel Smith & Wesson model 29 .44 mag,
    also with the "S' serial prefix. Done deal; now I don't
    have either.:( Moral of the story is, I wish I had kept
    the model 57; instead of acting like an idiot and trading
    for that model 29!:rolleyes: :D

    If you can swing it, go get the 57! I don't believe that
    you would ever regret it!:D

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
  6. caz223

    caz223 Well-Known Member

    if you reload, get the .41
    If you don't, then start reloading...
    .41s are the holy grail.
    Big bores are the most fun to shoot.
  7. happy old sailor

    happy old sailor Well-Known Member

    caz223 is steering you right.

    two i am slobbering for is a 6" 57 and a Redhawk in .41. the ones i find are in someone's hand and NOT for sale. i offer a good price.

    have a 657, a Blackhawk, and a small Taurus snubby. all fire my sturdy reloads with no discomfort.

    i also have several .357's and .44's. the .41's are the most comfortable and, i think, will kill anything within a thousand miles of my house.

    additionally, the .41 seems to shoot well with any safe load i can cobble up. i have setteled on one load for all. life is easy with a .41. gitcha one.
  8. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    Do you reload?

    If so, buy the .41. It's a great cartridge.

    If you don't, hold off until you reload. Otherwise the ammo costs will eat you alive.

    Edit in: Oh Geez, I should have read all of the responses. I could have saved myself some typing and just written "What Caz says." :)
  9. Gmac

    Gmac Well-Known Member

    :D Love my Blackhawk .41 Mag!!!!! With max. load of H110 behind a 210 gr. jhp performance is impressive!
  10. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    I'm in the market for a Smith & Wesson model 57 with a six-inch barrel myself. I've wanted one for years. I just haven't found the right one at a reasonable price.
  11. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Well-Known Member

    The thing about the .41 is, it's big enough. It's big enough to shoot anything up to and including black bear, and big enough to let you know you're shooting a big-bore revolver; but not big enough to actually hurt ya, if reasonable loads are used. I took mine to our local weekly IDPA shoot a couple days ago, and folks were interested when they saw it (5.5" Redhawk); then they aahhhd appreciatively when I shot the first stage--without telling them I was shooting a pussycat load (8.0 gr. 231). Next stage I took out the actual ammo--20 grs of 2400--and got the actual reaction :uhoh: :uhoh: :D

    It's big enough, in other words, to have fun with and to impress. But yes, it would be the most foolish caliber around (almost) if you didn't reload for it.

  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    If I understand correctly, you would use this revolver (if you bought one) as a "woods & range" gun, not a personal weapon. In that case - since you are on a limited budget - I would suggest you consider a used Ruger Blackhawk. In .41 Magnum they can be found for less money then the more popular .44 Magnum's and .45 Colt's.

    I happened onto an "Old Model" .41 and picked it up for a very reasonable price. My intention was to have it rebuilt into a .44, but after I shot it that never happened. The .41 Magnum is not particularly popular - except with those who own one. Off-the-shelf cartridges are expensive and sometimes hard to find, but handloading easily takes care of that.

    It will do much more then any .357, without the sometimes punishing recoil of the .44 Magnum. The felt recoil is lessened even more by the single action's "plow handle" grip (if that's what you get).

    I think your "defensive gun" need are well met now. Perhaps you should consider something else in a different direction.
  13. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    Get the .41 and you will never be sorry. I would stay away from the light model Taurus as a full powered .41 can generate recoil. As a real comparison, the .41 isn't far behind a .44mag and way ahead of a .357. You can't make a 210 grain bullet move out a barrel at 1400fps without the added recoil.
    If budget is a concern, considering the use you have stated for it a single action would serve you well. I have a old 3-screw Blackhawk and a Bisley in .41 and both are joys to shoot. To me the Bisley handles heavy loads better in my hand. Cast bullets up to 280 grains really show the potentials of this caliber.
  14. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam


    Greeting's Again Ya'll-

    What really drew my attention to the .41 magnum
    was not the fact that it was considered an ideal
    "police caliber"; but rather as a hunting caliber.
    Early on, I saw in an old Gun Digest where Major
    George Nonte preferred his 6" Smith & Wesson
    model 57 for wild boar hunting; and that got me
    very much interested.

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
  15. Stainz

    Stainz Well-Known Member

    A friend bought a somewhat rare 2.5" 657 several months ago. Nice looking - but with factory loads, a real handful - and the sharp-edged trigger drew blood the only time I shot it. I have experienced recoil - I have a .454 SRH - the 657 was just a bit rough - a bit more than a Ti/Sc .347 with hot loads. He wasn't reloading then - and disposed of it rather quickly.

    I think that the best woods/carry piece around is one of the S&W 'Mountain Guns'. I have the 625 .45 Colt and the 629 .44 Magnum. The latter is a great choice because of the availability of .44 Russian, S&W Special, and Magnum ammo you can feed it. You can plink mildly and cheaply, if you reload, or have great PD .44 S&W Special rounds (Blazer 200gr GDJHP), or buy a myriad of lighter .44 Magnum hunting loads (Remember, it only weighs ~2.5#.). You can get one at 2/3 the weight, the 329PD, as well as a blued version (29 MG - limited availability), too.

  16. caz223

    caz223 Well-Known Member

    Another nice thing that has already been mentioned, but I have to underscore it again.
    Reloading for the .41 magnum.
    Using the correct range of powder (Fairly slow burning magnum powders like 2400.) it's incredibly easy to find an accurate load, and because the case mouth is formed to your cylinder, smoothly expanded, and usually very uniform, the bullets seat with very little runout, and COL is easy to keep, esp. with jacketed cannelure bullets.
    The perfect caliber to start your adventure into reloading.
    If this scares you, it really shouldn't.
    I started with a Lee loader kit for around $20, a pound of 2400, and hornady's excellent XTP 210 hollow point bullets.
    A brick of CCI 350 magnum primers.
    Total investment- around $50.
    Granted, reloading was very slow (A little slower than a round a minute.)
    But you still save $15 an hour at that speed.
    Your kit pays for itself, all of your supplies, and some other unforseen stuff in less than 5 hours.
    But the quality of the ammo was suberb.
    My entire reloading kit and all my related stuff fit inside of a plastic milk crate with plenty of room to spare. (Block of wood, radio, powder dipper, reloading manual, plastic tipped 12 oz. hammer, powder funnel, 1 ounce tupperware container, etc.)
    Later, I got a powder scale, powder trickler, hand priming tool, dial calipers, RCBS pardner press -later a rock crusher, case prep tools, vibratory cleaner, etc, but the quality really didn't increase, just the number of different bullets and powders you could use.
    Production speed went from 50 to 100 rounds an hour.
    The powder measure that I said I was never gonna get.
    200 rounds an hour.
    Now, I have a bench that is insanely crowded, spent all sorts of money, dillon setup, etc.
    The only difference is speed of production.
    Over 300 rounds an hour, instead of 50.
    Better and better.
    But the ammo quality was still the same as the Lee loader I had back in '94.
  17. caz223

    caz223 Well-Known Member

    Also, most of the guns available in .41 are of excellent quality, and are .44 mag size frames, making a sanely loaded Smith or ruger last almost forever.
    .41 mag and 10mm are my favorite calibers, and are in the 'sweet spot' in the powerband as far as I'm concerned.
    Ammo for both is expensive, and let's just say the local supermarket, bait shop, and gas station don't have it in stock. :D
    There's too small (9mm, .357 mag) too big (.454 casull .50 S&W), and just right (10mm, .41 magnum.)
    Just to clarify, I have many nines, and many .357s, and shoot them just fine, I just enjoy shooting 10mm, and .41 mag more.
    I am physically limited from shooting casulls, etc. because of RSI, and don't really need the self-inflicted pain and suffering.
  18. Bullet Bob

    Bullet Bob Well-Known Member

    DON't buy a .41 magnum!

    Particularly, don't buy any Smith & Wesson model 57's;
    especially the 8 & 3/8" ones. It sounds like if you bought one, you might shoot it, instead of letting it sit in one of those nice, dark closets, just waiting for ..... er, someone.

    I hear those Tauri and Rugers are fantastic super great spectacular wonderful .41's, you should probably get one of those.
  19. Zeus

    Zeus Active Member

    I have 44s and some of the others they mentioned were on the large size (Freedom Arms 454 Casull) and have had a hankering for a 41 lately to see what all the hype is about. I ordered one of the new Super Blackhawk hunters chambered in 41 mag in April and it finally came in about a month ago. I need to go pick it up I guess, paid for it but haven't had a chance to go and get it. I like the single actions. I sure hope it lives up to my expectations. I say go ahead and buy you one. GS
  20. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

    Smith .41 Model 58

    I have a pair of Smith 58s and love them one new in the wood box. As a police weapons instructor and police and civilian rangemaster I learned that the 44 mag revolvers were kept the shortest time and traded off the most of any caliber and the 41 caliber weapons were so sweet they became permanent keepers like mine..

    As a dealer I sold Star and Auto Champ reloaders in 41 as well as Keith design Saeco bullet molds and Star Lubers in that caliber far more than for any 44 caliber weapons.

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