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.41 Magnum (courtesy Gilmer writes [via] 

The .41 Magnum ammunition is the most underrated, and unappreciated of all magnum handgun cartridges. While still maintaining a healthy following, it is widely overlooked. This is unfortunate, it is a widely capable handgun cartridge. It is a far better big game cartridge then the .357 Magnum and a better defensive cartridge then the .44 Magnum. With the right loads, there is not much the 41 Magnum ammo cannot do . . .

Famed shooter Elmer Keith and lawman Bill Jordan persuaded Smith & Wesson and Remington to develop the cartridge in 1963. Fellow lawman Skeeter Skelton jumped on the 41 bandwagon believing it to be a better cartridge for law enforcement than either the previously introduced .357.

Interestingly enough, both the .357 and .44 magnums had forerunners, the .38 Special and .44 Special, from which the magnum loadings were developed. The .41 Special would come later.

The .41 Magnum saw law enforcement use in the Smith & Wesson models 57 and 58. It found favor in San Antonio, San Francisco, Detroit. and in many North Carolina jurisdictions. While a proven fight stopper, like the FBI’s 10mm, the .41 would prove to be too much for many officers to shoot effectively and it was soon replaced. Had the .41 Special been introduced first, shooting a 200 grain bullet at 1000fps the story might be different.

Elmer Keith saw the .41’s potential as a hunting round. While on a polar bear hunt he shot a caribou in the head at 100 yards. Elmer figured out, as have many after, including sixgun expert John Taffin, the .41 shoots flatter than the bigger .44 Magnum. My experience confirms this. J. Scott RuppDick Metcalf, and Dave Workman are among modern gun writers with an affinity for the .41 Magnum.

Classic Special and Magnum Cartridges: .38 Special and .357 Magnum, .41 Special and .41 Magnum, .44 Special and .44 Magnum.
Classic Special and Magnum Cartridges: .38 Special and .357 Magnum, .41 Special and .41 Magnum, .44 Special and .44 Magnum

While it’s easy to understand how the bigger .41 surpasses the .357 Magnum in power and performance, how it stacks up against the bigger .44 Magnum is misunderstood. Their differences are not as big as one might think. The .44 Magnum is actually .429 caliber where as the .41 is a true .41 caliber.

Many ballistic tables show the 41 outperforming the .44 in velocity, energy and penetration depending on bullet weight. Companies like Underwood Ammo and Buffalo Bore have used modern powders to push the 41 beyond traditional factory loadings while maintaining SAAMI specs.

Underwood Ammo 41 Remington Magnum 210 Grain XTP Jacketed Hollow Point
My favorite .41 Magnum deer hunting load from Underwood pushes a 210 grain Hornady XTP out of a 6.5” barrel at about 1560fps and develops 1135 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy.

The .44 Magnum’s advantage is with heavier bullets. The heaviest standard load one can buy for the .41 holds a 265 grain bullet while bullets for the .44 exceed 300 grains. Still, the .41 delivers enough power and penetration for North American big game. It’s doubtful an animal will notice the difference in bullet weight and diameter.

The shooter will, however. The .41 Magnum recoils noticeably less than the 44. Less powder, lighter bullets, and lower pressures make for a more pleasant shooting experience. The .41 is also accurate. Accuracy is subjective and dependent upon the shooter as much as the gun and load but my open sighted .41’s are most capable of game taking accuracy at 100 yards.

For the reloader, a great deal of information is available for those who want to tailor their own 41 Magnum loads. The .41 Special is another option. To the .41 Magnum what the .38 or .44 Special is to their magnum counterparts, the .41 Special is not loaded commercially but brass is available. The .41 Special makes an excellent defensive round or woods load. A 200 grain bullet at 1000fps should offer enough power for most situations.

RUGER New Model BLACKHAWK Handgun in 41 Magnum.

Ruger leads .41 handgun manufacturing today, particularly in its single action Blackhawk line. New for 2016 is a 4.2” double action Redhawk. Smith & Wesson currently lists a six-inch barrel Model 57. Their stainless 657 and Mountain Gun are hard to come by but are excellent shooters. Freedom Arms chambers the .41 in their Models 83 and 97 single action revolvers.

My .41 collection includes three Rugers and a custom 10” MGM barrel for a Thompson Center Encore frame. Topped with a Trijicon RMR this gun is quite the shooter. “Maude”, as I’ve named her, has traveled with me to the whitetail woods, bear hunting in Maine, and to southeast Alaska to hunt deer and bear. Never once did I believe the .41 would not be up to any task it may face. Loaded with hard cast bullets, many in the north country depend on the .41 for protection against big bears.

Are you looking for handgun power and performance without punishing recoil? If so, give the classic .41 Magnum some consideration. While its never been featured in a movie like the .44 Magnum, but its reputation in the field is nevertheless proven.

41 Magnum Resource:

.41 Magnum Load Data:

.41 Remington Magnum Load Data by Nosler

About Doug Gilmer,

Building on his over 20 years of law enforcement and military experience, Doug began writing law enforcement and tactical articles as a way to break into the outdoor market. Today, Doug is published in Grand View Media. He also provides content to a number of other traditional print and digital publications. As a professor of Adventure and Outdoor Leadership at Liberty University, Doug is a mentor to dozens of students each year. He’s also a frequent seminar and conference speaker and author of Backcountry Devotions. Also known as the Backcountry Chaplain, Doug and his family make their home in northern Virginia.

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  1. Pre internet days the only readily available loads for the .41 mag were the full power jacketed mag load and and the semi wadcutter lead police load.

    But I believe what wrecked the .41’s chances was Clint Eastwood and the Dirty Harry movie.

    “This is a .44 magnum….”

      • He knows (unlike you, apparently), that it’s a .429 caliber, and that .429 rounds to .43, hence putting his hypothetical .42 in the middle. Strictly speaking, I suppose he could have suggested a .4195 to be dead nuts on, but that would round to .42 cal.

        • I wouldn’t round .357 to .36… but if I DID I’d still be a hell of a lot smarter than the sort of individual who rounds .429 down to .42 then tries to treat someone who would round up, as if he were an idiot.

          You were a dick to Aerindel, for no reason whatsoever, out of your own ignorance/stupidity. When called on it, you could have said “I sound corrected, my bad.” Instead you tried to deflect with an irrelevant (and ridiculously weak) counterattack at me.

          This says a number of things about you, none of them good.

        • Steve the correct phrase you were grasping for is “I stand corrected”. Perfect example of how you can’t always rely on spell check to mask a poor education.

        • @Ted,

          Good grief, how did that slip past me? (I bloody well knew the phrase, contrary to what you seem to be thinking. It’s just that somehow the wrong thing ended up on the screen.) Thanks. I stand corrected.

        • @THC

          She will very much notice that a 5 shot cylinder .41 at magnum pressures can be fitted in a GP100, while .429 can not, relegating them to heavy, clumsy Redhawks…. (Smith does have a 5 shot mid frame .44 “service revolver” now, but only for the past few years. Nothing from Ruger. Not sure about Taurus.)

          As long as you’re stuck with guns large enough for .44, why even bother with the hard to find marginally smaller cartridge? There are just soooo many more bullet and cartridge offerings in .357 and .44. The whole idea behind police use of the .41, was that it could be made to work in a service sized revolver. Like the 10mm for autos, it is a nice round for those somewhat equally concerned about attack by man and beast.

        • Just looking at case dimension drawings, SAAMI max COAL for the .44 Special is 1.615″ and it fits in a GP100’s cylinder, though you can only get five of them in there. SAAMI max COAL for the .44 Magnum is listed as 1.610″ in multiple sources. I am going to make a wild guess that this is because the .44 Special’s most common projectile is an extremely long pointy 246gr lead roundnose loaded just about that long, where the Mag’s load data and the Magnum is mostly loaded with jacketed bullets and cast SWC and truncated-cone designs that are much shorter. Plus there’s an awful lot of .44 Mag loading data for heavy cast bullets that put them out significantly longer than 1.610″ OAL. Ruger GP100 cylinders run 1.609″ to 1.610″ in length and you might get those cartridges in, but they will stick out the front and you will get a surprise when you try to close the cylinder.

          So, on paper, it looks like you could get five rounds of .44 Magnum into a GP100 cylinder–if they weren’t heavy bullet handloads longer than SAAMI max. But when I look at how thin the forcing cone is on the .44 Special GP100s, I am not exactly filled with confidence that it could stand up for long to the hammering that fullpower .44 Mag ammo dishes out.

          The .41 Magnum, with its SAAMI max OAL of 1.590″ looks like a more practical choice–again, on paper. The case diameter and rim diameter are smaller than .44 Special. I see no problem fabricating a cylinder into which you could fit five .41 Magnum cartridges for the GP100. But is the forcing cone going to have much more “meat” to the sidewalls than the .44 Special? Maybe, maybe not. The 10mm GP100s have a very heavy forcing cone, which makes me wonder if they have a larger hole bored in the front of the frame to accommodate that massive barrel shank, and how much meat the frame loses up front as a result.

          I am of the opinion that .41 Magnum in a GP100 would beat the absolute daylights out of the gun, and the shooter, and that is probably why they don’t make one. Internet rumor has it that in the 1960s at Colt they built exactly one prototype Python in .41 Magnum and fired it exactly once, giving up on it as a bad idea and locking it in a safe never to be seen again.

      • Well. technically speaking, the barrel diameter of the .357, the .38 and the .36 caliber black powder guns is the same. Many .36s were modified after the War of Northern Agression (as it is called in the South) were converted to the new metallic “.38” cartridge. Since these conversions did not change the barrel, originally only lopping of the back of the cylinder and replacing it with a Richard-Mason device, I would assume that the early .38 metallic cartridges likely carried a .375 bullet (just as the .36 used .375 ball or coned projectile) that is then squeezed through a forcing cone, popping out the end of the barrel at .36(or .357). Of course now the .38 comes with a .357 bullet. So yeah, .36 is a perfectly acceptable, if not customary, caliber designation.

        • I think you are correct. I have read that even early blackpowder .38 Speical ammunition–which appeared decades after the Richards-Mason conversions–was usually loaded with a 158gr heel-based bullet that was .38″ in diameter at its widest point, over 21 grains of FFFg blackpowder. The early revolvers had a generous forcing cone that was designed to squish that .38″ bullet down into a barrel with .357″ groove diameter.

          Just so, the earliest .38-40 Winchester ammunition had a hollowbased 180gr conical lead bullet with a hollow skirt like a Minie ball or a modern Foster type shotgun slug. It was .38″ in diameter at its widest point in front of the crimping groove, but when it began moving gas pressure inflated its hollow skirt to a diameter of .40″. Hmm, a 180gr bullet, .40″ in diameter, traveling at 900 f.p.s. and change. Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

    • I think everyone is leaving out the ever popular .327 Magnum. First time I saw one I thought it was a typo. Wikipedia told me different.

      • Now there’s a cartridge I’d invest in: incredibly efficient, enough power for self defense or predator defense, small enough to pack an extra round in 38/357 frames, and the ability to shoot like 18 different versions of ancient .32 caliber loads. Unfortunately, it’s caught on like Bing and Google+. When folks already have a jillion 38spec plinking rds at home, how can they justify a new cartridge?

        • There has been a bit of a revival lately – even Ruger introduced LCR (which is pretty damn popular) in .327

        • It’s too overbore for anything less than a 7.5″ barrel. Great lever carbine round, though, if only anyone would bother cambering it in one…..

  2. Oh please. Every 10 years or so, somebody else “discovers” the .41 magnum. The 10mm auto is it’s counterpart in pistols. Neither is much use unless you invest in loading equipment. With the plethora of loads commercially available for .44 magnum / .357 magnum , what’s the point?

    • Can’t disagree. If you HAVE to handload a cartridge (or see some really oddball/fringe loading on the shelf that costs huge money), it’s a specialist thing.

      Too bad. I like 10mm.

        • What is your preference on 10mm pistol. I am leaning towards the Glock 20 Gen 4. I am a bit scared of some of the older metal offerings due to frame cracking the internet loves to cite.

        • For what it’s worth I have a Glock 20. Nightsights, flashlight. I give free demos at 2 and 3 AM. No need for an appointment, just drop in.

        • Randall: I got a G20 gen4 as a hiking piece and thoroughly enjoy it. I have small hands (a G42/43 fits my hands perfectly) and the G20 still somehow feels great in a 2-handed grip. Shooting lighter (40S&Wesque) loads is as pleasant as a G19 and full power Underwood loads are still enjoyable due to the wide blackstrap and flexibility of the polymer frame. Accuracy is as good as any pistol I’ve shot.

          I’ve been tempted to get a longer lone wolf barrel or even upgrade to a G40. Whitetail and hog hunting would be a blast.

          10mm may not be cheap but I’m saving brass to roll my own. 15+1 of 180gr GoldDots from underwood is about as effective as it gets this side of a 12ga. Makes me wanna go outside and ping some steel right now…

    • Oh, Please. Everyone knows the 10mm is making a resurgence due to hog hunting. More guns on the market and a lot more ammo. Even Sig has a 10mm and full power ammo.

      Just ask the folks at Double Tap Ammo what they think of the 10mm

        • Geoff PR,

          Full power .44 Magnum cartridges out of a carbine seriously kick @ss. For example Winchester white box .44 Magnum 240 grain semi-jacketed soft-points should exit a 16 inch barrel just under 1800 fps. That’s over 1,700 foot-pounds at the muzzle! That has enough size, mass, and velocity to put some serious hurt on a hog well out to 150 yards.

          While full power 10 mm loads definitely get a significant boost out of a carbine, they don’t get anywhere close to .44 Magnum out of a carbine.


          So, basically, out of a 16″ barrel (which is pretty much optimal for .44 and .357), .44 can push a 240gr bullet faster than 10mm can push a 150gr one.

          .357 vs 9mm is even more amusing – more than 700 ft/s difference for the same bullet weight in a 16″ barrel.

          Magnum revolver cartridges generally scale better with barrel length compared to semi-auto ones. .357 is particularly impressive – with hot loads (which still work in revolvers if need be), you can get it past .30 Carbine energy levels, and into mild .30-30 territory, with velocities exceeding 2000 ft/s.

    • The 10mm is much more akin to the .357 magnum in power than the .41. Usually they throw out that the 10mm ‘approaches’ .41 magnum power or some such nonsense. Basically the hot 10mm rounds are about as powerful as the lightest .41 loads. Comparing hot and mild loads the 10mm and .357 are very close.

      You might also note that equal barrel lengths produce similar velocities whether in vented or non-vented barrels. I.E. a 5″ .357 Coonan will produce about the same velocities as a 5″ revolver.

      • That may be, but the 10mm rules in firepower. 15 + 1 rounds of 10mm out of a Glock has a whole lot more energy than 6-8 rounds of .357 or 6 rounds of .41 out of a revolver. My .357 revolver is pretty wimpy and difficult to shoot due to extremely light weight and a short barrel. If I want revolver power it’s .44 mag, .454 Casull, or .460 Mag.

        I’m sure the .41 is a fine caliber, I just have no need of one. If I did, I’d definitely try out the Underwood loads.

        • Hmmm…. a 16 chamber revolver in .357 magnum with an 8 3/8″ barrel…

          All depends on what your needs are. For self defense I carried 9mms for a while. I never felt undergunned with 16 rounds of 9mm. When I switched to carrying a revolver I went with Double Taps for my .357 since I’m limiting myself to 6 rounds, I figured I should make them count. 16 rounds of 10mm will certainly do the job. On the other hand, if your hunting, I’d much rather have a single action trigger over the Glock’s ‘safe action’ trigger dingus thingy.

          My official position is that if you need more than a .44 magnum you need a buttstock, however, I am open to expanding that up to .454. The .460 weighs as much as a rifle anyway. .357s need a little more than 1 7/8″ of barrel.

          Anyway, I wasn’t raising an auto vs. revolver argument, just pointing out that 10mm is not as powerful as .41 magnum.

        • No problem. I own lots of calibers (too many?) because I like ballistic variety. My carry gun these days is a 15 + 1 9mm or a 11 + 1 .40 for duty. I’ve got no choice regarding my duty gun. I’m not a .41 guy, but if other guys enjoy it then I say go for it.

          I really have no need for a 6.8 SPC AR, but I’ve got one anyways. Underwood loads .40 Smith over 700 foot pounds and 10mm over 800 foot pounds. I didn’t realize they got over 1100 foot pounds with .41. I’ve chrono’d some Underwood loads, and so far their velocity claims have been pretty accurate.

        • I’ve never shot Underwood but I looked at their .357 ammo and deduced by some of the comments that those velocities are from 6″ barrels. Still puts them on par with Double Tap and Buffalo Bore and I believe that Underwood is usually cheaper so I should give them a try.

          6.8 and .41 are great ‘if you could only have one gun calibers since they could be suitable for both hunting and defense, but if you’ve got a collection they’re just in between calibers.

    • True that the .41 mag remains an undeserved B lister but every 10 years there is a new audience to hear about it. Elmer Kieth is a legend people should know about. He was big and rugged and really liked revolvers more than rifles so he developed .44 mag loads that came close to 12 gauge slug performance. Now when I say he was big and rugged look up a picture look at his hands. If he played baseball a glove would have been an optional piece of equipment. If he, instead of Rubio, had told Donald Trump he had small hands Trump would have agreed. Because of this he was not aware that the commercial success of his .44 mag loads might be limited until his rancher and industry pals told him the loads where too much for them. He went on to develop the .41 mag as the best all around revolver cartridge for mere mortals. Bottom line if you are thinking of a magnum .44 consider the .41.

    • I think they are. For what it is worth, I tend to agree … with one major weakness that is insurmountable: availability of firearms, ammunition, and accessories.

      That is the sole reason that I chose .44 Magnum over .41 Magnum. I have lots of choices in revolvers, lever-action rifles, break-action single shot rifles, and holsters, and ammunition. And .44 Magnum ammunition seems to be available at every store in the United States that sells ammunition. I cannot say the same for .41 Magnum.

      As for the .41 Magnum advantage in recoil, it isn’t big enough to matter to me. And if you are wise enough to acquire full-size revolvers with ported barrels and rubber grips, even women can shoot them comfortably in .44 Magnum.

  3. Finally!! Yup it’s not needed but I have one anyway, and it’s fun, accurate, and deadly on deer. And different! Thanks for the article! Now where is that .257 Roberts post….

  4. Jeez
    Everyone disses the 40 and 45 for the 9.
    And now you’re saying 41 is better than 357? Is it because the 357 is slightly bigger than the 9 making it inferior? Then why is 41 the even bigger round better? It shoulda been the worst of the 3.
    No you are dead wrong.
    The best caliber is 22 driven to 4500fps loaded with “modern hollopoints” (whatever that is) that gives minimal recoil, 35rd capacity in Glock Model 85 or a 12rd cylinder in a SW642 and 12″ of penetration.

    • Phased plasma rifle in the 40kW range.

      (Yes, I know he said 40 Watt, but that would be incredibly anemic. A tenth second pulse at 40W will deliver a whopping three foot pounds of energy. 40kW, about 3000 ft/lbs.)

      • Care to speculate what that 100 ms long 40 watt pulse concentrated on a 1 mm spot would do to human flesh?


        • Nasty, but likely not lethal. And that’s assuming the bolt of plasma (it’s not a laser) doesn’t spread out much. My mental image was a blast of superheated plasma (not much though, not with a mere four joules) smacking into about a square centimeter of skin.

      • I’ve been playing Fallout recently and it’s so fun to watch your enemies lose their limbs and turn into a pile of ash when you shoot them.

      • Big fan of the .243, I just love that caliber.I know hunters whom disdain it.No big, big game here in ks.but deer n coyote killr it is. I once made a illeagle 475Yrd measured neck shot on a turkey. 22-250 would have gotten blown off course. I just love .243, Id go caress that rifle right now,Mossberg 800b made in 68, but sadly it drowned in a boating accident

        • If President Hillary says I can only keep one rifle I would choose my Winchester Model 70 chambered in .243. It is the most versatile hunting cartridge around.

  5. I can not say enough good about my .41 mag. However, I inherited it so I can not even claim that I purchased it even to just be different. The hand loads that I have always shot through it are hotter than any .44 mag I have ever shot. So I don’t get the recoil benefit. But my old 3 screw Blackhawk is a fantastically effective and fun gun to shoot.

  6. What is the point of the 41 special? It’s not a commercial load, so why would you bother loading it or chambering something in it? You’re reloading anyways, so you can just make a cowboy 41 Magnum load. Since it’s a revolver OAL doesn’t really matter either.

    • iirc, some custom smiths have made Single Sixes and K-frames into .41 Specials. The benefit is that you could get a 5-shots of a larger round than the standard .22/.32 or .38 those light, handy sidearms. I think one of the major drawbacks of the .41 Magnum is that it’s only chambered in .44 Magnum-sized guns, so you’re always lugging around a big, ungainly boat anchor, which could just as easily have 6 bear-busting .44 Mags in it instead.

      • 41 out of a single six, whow dogs. Have you noticed a single six n superblack hawk got the same top strap dimmension? Under built or over built, damn traded the single six for a mark 2, aint had near the fun

        • Yeah, it is way overbuilt for a .22 revolver. That’s why the Bearcat exists, and why I would never consider a Single Six in anything less than .327 Federal.

      • I’ve not tried a single six.

        I know I sure wouldn’t enjoy anything above a 357 magnum out of an SP101 though. (Five rounds of .357 out of someone’s snubbie hurt.) Something the size and shape of my GP-100, though… .357 is snappy but not painful. That would be interesting in .41 or maybe .44.

  7. I do wonder what his formula for determining underrating is. Sorry, that was a pretty dull regurgitation of most cartridge articles.

    • Go to The most underrated cartridges also happen to be the most expensive to shoot.

      • Yep. No one likes ’em because no one wants to shell out the cash for them! And I can’t blame them either. I inherited a 257 Roberts and am taking up handloading; about 450 for a decent total set up (Scale, press, powder dispenser, several sets of dies, etc). I wouldn’t bother except I have a sentimental attachment to that rifle. Otherwise a 25-06, or 7mm-08 would do fine

        • I’ve been wanting a Ruger No.1 for a while now and was looking at the RSI International. Last year it came in .257 Roberts and this year it’s 6.5mm Swede. There’s plenty of both available (new) on Gun Broker. Both fit the bill for a light, compact, low recoil deer rifle but I can get PPU ammo in 6.5 Swede for less than $14 dollars and the cheapest .257 available is Hornady’s Superformance at $27 a box. In fairness Hornady’s 6.5 Swede Superformance ammo is slightly more. I kind of prefer the .257 but that’s a bit steep for range ammo. Probably getting a lever gun first so I’ve probably got a year to mull it over. Great cartridge if you hand load though.

  8. If you could only have one magnum caliber the .41 would make a lot of sense. However, I have 2 .357s and one .44 magnum. I might get around to filling the gap someday. I’m guessing I’m not the only one with both a .357 and a .44.

    • I love 357. It’s just a perfectly balanced cartridge. Plenty of power, but recoil is tame coming out of a full size revolver. Plus it’s so easy to reload and brass stays right there, and lasts forever.

  9. I refinished an Old Model Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8″ in .41 Mag and gave it to my dad as a present several years ago. We love to shoot it and it is accurate too. We are both smaller guys 5’9″ 160-170lbs and it’s really mild recoiling compared to a .44 Mag. While I have not hunted deer with it, I have shot a 200lb boar at about 60 yards and it seemed like it rolled it off the pond levy. I own a few .357 Mags as well and while they are fun to shoot, there is something about that .41.

  10. Love love love my Smith & Wesson Model 57 with a six inch barrel I bought at the Gun Exchange here in SF in ’82. Total quality machine. Lucky to be able to compliment it with a Marlin 1894fg. Sweeeeeeeeeet!

  11. I bought a .41 Mag Ruger Blackhawk about 25 years ago. I got it very cheap at a gun show. Best buy I ever made. At the time .44 and .357 Blackhawks in less desirable condition were selling for at least $100 more.

    Using the excuse of commercial availability to steer away from the .41 magnum is ridiculous. Reloading the these straight walled revolver cartridges is easier than any other, and it is a lot of fun as well. Dies are cheap. Components are easy to find, and cases last a long time. If nothing else, get a .41 magnum and use it as an excuse to start reloading.

    The price of two boxes of factory ammo will get you a set of secondhand dies and a used single stage press. It is really fun, very economical and will get you to the range more and more to test your handiwork. I love it.

    Around my house the .41 magnum gets shot a lot more than the .44s or the .357s, and nearly as much as the 45 Colt. The 45 Colt is a whole ‘nuther story 🙂

    • I’ve actually seen .45 Colt for sale on a brick and mortar store’s shelf than .41. I think the Judge or Governor or whatever (I can’t keep ’em straight and really don’t care that much) might be helping its popularity some.

  12. Good old fashioned caliber war right here. Why would you bother with a weakling like .41 mag when you could use a real mans round like .454 casull. Of course, let me also trash all you feminine 9mm fans, who think your 9mm out preforms .50.

  13. The .41 Magnum is an answer in search of a question. Though I have to admit that I fell in love with it when I was stationed in Alaska in the early 80’s. A local bush pilot carried one. He was the Uncle of one of the guys in my squadron which is the whole reason my buddy asked to be stationed there. On occasion they would invite me to the uncle’s place on the weekend. I only shot his model 57(I think that’s what it was) one time. Ammo was scarce and expensive. But that was one sweet gun.

    Being a poor GI with limited funds 357 mags were cheaper and more readily available so the choice was easy.

  14. I had a 41 ruger, ammo was to hard to find. I liked it, but doggone ammo, 357,44,45,9mm,380,25s, uh yah got any 41s.. how about some .32 rugers, now theres a sleeper

  15. The .41 Magnum ammunition is the most underrated, and unappreciated of all magnum handgun cartridges.

    I say the .45 Winchester Magnum is the most unappreciated of all magnum handgun cartridges (and rightfully so).

  16. “.41 Magnum is the most underrated and underappreciated of all the handgun magnum calibers.”

    Um, I believe you’ve forgotten the .22 Magnum which is an amazing small bore rifle cartridge and has become an exceptional handgun round that has been shown to have greater energy and penetration than .38 Special.

  17. Oh great another boutique round I never see. It looks great on paper. Next gun will likely be 357. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 41 in the 5years I’ve been at this …and who besides Ruger makes these? I know Freedom arms is some expensive hardware too.

  18. The real problem for the .41 Mag was that when S&W came out with revolvers for it, they used the N-frame.

    If you want to become a non-fan of a caliber pretty quickly, haul around a N-frame sidearm all day. They’re heavy. Some people end up with back problems as a result of the weight of a n-frame on a belt.

    This is also why the .44 Mag never really took off as a police round, yet the .357 still finds a home on the belts of some departments. Elmer wanted something a tad smaller than the .44, but S&W sort of screwed the pooch when they used the N-frame. Once you’re into a N-frame for a round, why not just go to the .44?

  19. I wish we had more of these articles. I love reading up on the oddballs, and it makes finding a old gun at a shop more fun if you know what it is

  20. Superb cartridge. I shoot a N frame M657-2. I shoot hand loaded ammo most of the time and keep the loads to about 900 to 1000 FPS. If you want heavy loads, with a slow powder. It will do anything the 44 Mag will do. By the way, some moron in a prior comment rounded down the 44 Mag actual caliber from .429 to .42 instead of rounding up to .43, which goes to show why our average students are mathematically handicapped. I like the 44 and own a Model 29-3 that I bought in 1984. Both are good weapons and I shoot them often but if I had to stick to one gun I will take the 41 Mag since for some reason I can shoot it with a bit more accuracy. Just personal preference, like everything in life. Enjoy both calibers guys, and don’t argue about a non existing problem.

  21. While on a polar bear hunt he shot a caribou in the head at 100 yards.
    Looks like he missed the bear and shot the caribou instead?

  22. Ruger Super Redhawk in .454 you can also shoot .45 Colt out of them. I feel this covers all balistic bases in one package. It pretty much does it all. Target Grey finish is the cat’s meow.

  23. DyspepticGunsmith nailed it. What really doomed the .41’s career as a service round was the N-frame. Carrying one on your hip for a day of hunting is way different than carrying one on a duty belt.

  24. I guess I better duck and cover when I sing the praises of some hot 38-40 Winchester rounds. I know, who gives a crap about some ancient cowboy caliber right? The old 38-40 tosses a .401 slug while being an easy round to shoot effectively. Have taken several nice deer with it from my Ruger as well as the old model 1892.

  25. To add a comment on the sniping above, let me say with great confidence that JWM here has been a solid reader/contributor here for years. I never detected any ill will on his part in any of his replies. IMHO the responses he received were not right, as I think the responder misunderstood the intent of his comment. Now back to your regular programming…..

  26. Hey TTAG,

    THANK YOU for writing this. I just picked up a Ruger Blackhawk in 41 mag, and was hoping to hear more folks enjoying it.

  27. oh, that flat .41 trajectory compared to the.44’s apogee arc. right.
    single and double action revolvers. single action semi auto pistols. single shot pistols. probably even a derringer. semi auto rifles. bolt action rifles. lever action rifles. single shot rifles.
    .44 mag for the versatility.

  28. If this article pumps up the prices of the already-shoved-up Model 58 shooters, I will put a haint on you.
    Used to be, four hundred bucks got you a decent, shooter-grade 58 (N-frame, fixed sight service revolver).
    Nowadays, $750 looks like a hoax. Sheesh.

  29. As a young adult in the mid 70’s I got a chance to shoot every caliber Ruger made in single action and decided on 41 mag. It had less recoil than both the 357 and the 44. It had close to the power of the 44 and was flatter shooting. My favorite is a 265 gr. WLNGC from True Shot in front of 20.8 gr. of H110. This delivers 1450 fps and is hot but very controllable and VERY accurate out of my Ruger. I reload and shoot a lot of lead target loads with flawless results. The gun is flawless, not me. I prefer my 41 but have succumbed to the 40 for round count. My 41 is still my choice for one shot stops.I would love to find a 4.5 inch Redhawk in 41 mag at a reasonable price, whatever that is anymore.

  30. I’ve been lusting after a 41 mag Smith for a few years now with the occasional flirtation with the idea of a Ruger.

    Fun fact, 41 magnum was practically the only cartridge on the shelf at Cabelas in CT for a while after the Sandy Hook panic buying started.

    • Maybe. But you don’t call it the .458-70. Nor do you call it the .460-70. You call it the .45-70. Or “sir” will also do.

      Same goes for the .450 Marlin, the .450 Rigby and the .450 Nitro Express. Those are all .458 bullets that rounded down for the cartridge name. So, yes, you can round up… but oftentimes you can also round down.

      The .357 Mag’s diameter is .357. The .41 Mag’s diameter is .410. The .44 Mag is the only one lying about it’s girth.

      I’ve always thought of it as a .42 Mag for the same reason I think of the .45-70 and 450 Marlin as .45 caliber.


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