The .41 Remington Magnum has been with us for almost 60 years now. When it was launched, a number of individuals within the trade felt they deserved credit score for the concept of the brand new cartridge. It’s usually accepted that Elmer Keith was the driving drive in making the idea a actuality.
Keith wrote in his Weapons and Ammo column within the early sixties that he had been approached by many within the legislation enforcement neighborhood in regards to the want for a greater police cartridge. Invoice Jordan was certainly one of them, suggesting a forty-caliber revolver spherical launching a 200-grain lead semi-wadcutter (SWC) at round 1,200 fps. In Jordan’s opinion, that may be the end-all of police cartridges, superior even to the .357 Magnum he had championed for the Fight Magnum within the 1950’s.
Keith was in full settlement. Though he thought the .44 Magnum was the last word battle stopper, he acknowledged that the .44’s recoil could possibly be problematic for many officers. Keith and Jordan determined to behave on their ideas on the 1963 NRA Members assembly in Washington DC.
SELLING THE .41
They spoke with management from S&W, Colt, Ruger, and Remington in regards to the idea. By that point, Keith thought that the cartridge must be provided in two ranges: A solid or swaged (plain lead or copper coated) SWC transferring at 1,100 FPS for city legislation enforcement use, and; A jacketed gentle level (JSP) loaded to 1,400-1,500 FPS for rural and anti-vehicle functions.
It’s a sign of the standing that Keith held within the trade that he might safe verbal commitments from these firms to make the mission a actuality. S&W agreed to chamber the brand new spherical in its massive (N) body and have a look at the potential of a five-shot, medium (Ok) body variant. Ruger was on board with their Blackhawk single motion, Colt thought the proposed spherical could be a pure match for its .41-framed Python. Remington promised to develop ammo if the gun firms made the revolvers. Keith predicted that S&W would launch the heavy body gun with a full contour bull barrel in 4- and 5-inch lengths for police use, and a light-weight tapered barrel model (just like the 1950 Goal Mannequin) for sporting use. He thought the .41’s gross sales would eclipse these of the .357 and .44 Magnums.
THE NEWEST MAGNUM
The .41 Magnum was launched shortly thereafter. It had grown from the .400 diameter that Jordan had envisioned to .410. Keith had steered rising bullet diameter to forestall the spherical from chambering in outdated .41 Colt revolvers, and Remington agreed. The .41 Magnum’s working stress had a prime finish of 43,500 CUP, and firing one in a Colt Thunderer would possible convert it right into a fragmentation grenade.
The stress and dimensions of the brand new cartridge drove the dimensions of the weapons that may hearth it. The dimensions of the cartridge and the stress it generated possible satisfied Colt to go on chambering their Python for the brand new spherical. Smith & Wesson declined to pursue the five-shot Ok body, introducing the .41 Magnum because the bull-barreled, N body Mannequin 57 in February of 1964. The N body Mannequin 58 adopted quickly after.
The Mannequin 57 was a lifeless ringer for a Mannequin 29, aside from the smaller bore and cost holes. It was provided with 8 3/8”, 6” (versus the 6 ½” barrel of the Mannequin 29), or 4” barrels. The Mannequin 57 was a deluxe revolver, it got here in a velvet lined wood presentation case. It shipped with Goncalo Alves goal shares and had a large goal set off and hammer. It was outfitted with a crimson ramp entrance sight and white define adjustable rear sight. The N body was serrated with 10 grooves entrance and rear, and the sideplate was affixed with three screws. The barrel had a raised serrated rib, and the gun could possibly be had with a blue or nickel end.
The primary two weapons made had been blue 4” variations and had been shipped on to Elmer Keith (a great indication of whom S&W felt was primarily liable for the brand new spherical). The weapons arrived an hour earlier than Keith was departing for a polar bear hunt within the Arctic. He took the 57’s with him together with a partial field of the brand new Remington 210 grain gentle factors that S&W had despatched. Keith shot 5 Caribou with the Mannequin 57’s from ranges of 60-400 yards. A decent maiden voyage for the heavy load, particularly contemplating the subzero temperatures. The terminal efficiency impressed Keith and he discovered that it shot flatter than his trusted .44 Magnum.
THE MAGNUM M&P
The Mannequin 58 debuted on the NRA Conference in Los Angeles, in July of 1964. Its no-frills design stood in stark distinction to the flowery Mannequin 57 that preceded it. The .41 Army & Police was objective constructed as a sidearm for police use. A sq. butt, three screw, N body, it got here with a hard and fast rear sight lower into the highest of the body and a 1/8-inch serrated ramp entrance sight. Just like the Mannequin 57’s, the cylinder was fluted and had counter sunk chambers. It is also had in both a blue or a nickel end. The fore and backstraps lacked serrations and it shipped with service-style, “Magna” grips. The extractor rod was non-shrouded, the 4” bull barrel had a matte completed flat prime rib. It featured a skinny service hammer and a skinny serrated set off. It was a novel departure from the N frames that S&W was producing at the moment, with its spartan options and stuck sight bull barrel.
The .41 Magnum created a stir within the legislation enforcement market and was adopted by a number of police departments. Amarillo and San Antonio, Texas issued Mannequin 58’s quickly after their introduction. The Nevada State Patrol issued Mannequin 58’s from 1965- 1969. Though it’s exhausting to fathom now, San Francisco PD issued Mannequin 58’s for some time, too.
It’s rumored that Louisville, Kentucky issued .41 Magnums, in addition to the Cellular County Sheriff’s Workplace in Alabama. An internet discussion board reported that Blackhawk County, Iowa issued Mannequin 57’s with the full-house 210 grain JSP. I examine not less than twelve different companies from Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, California, New Jersey, Ohio, and Maryland that possible issued .41 Magnums. In case you are conscious of others, please tell us within the feedback.
IN POLICE SERVICE
The cartridge earned a stable status as a battle stopper. Keith heard from a number of companies having good outcomes with .41’s in gunfights. He even acquired a number of experiences from U.S. troops in Vietnam carrying .41 Magnums acquired from “unofficial” provide chains. Their experiences with the .41 versus “man targets” had been fully passable. The ballistics had been spectacular, even when they had been somewhat shy of what Elmer wished. The Police load ran 1,050 fps from an 8 3/8” barrel, round 985 fps from a 6” tube, and over 900 fps from 4” weapons. In distinction, the 210 gr. JSP was near 1,500 fps from the lengthy barrel, 1,340 from a 6” Mannequin 57, and 1,250-1,275 fps from a 4” responsibility barrel.
Smith & Wesson referred to the Mannequin 58 because the “.41 M&P” within the promoting marketing campaign that launched the gun, and known as the Remington swaged load the “metropolis” loading. They referenced the 210 JSP because the “Magnum” spherical for use when penetration was fascinating, and ranges had been longer, helpful for freeway and open nation patrols. It’s attention-grabbing that S&W averted the magnum terminology with the Remington load–prone to keep away from making nervous city division heads and massive metropolis governments uncomfortable.
The .41 Magnum’s efficiency got here at a worth. The .41 Police load was a giant step up for officers within the mid-sixties who had been used to the recoil produced by commonplace velocity, 158 grain lead .38 Specials. The gentle, swaged lead SWC utilized by Remington leaded barrels to various levels, and a few companies switched to the JSP load due to main points. The JSP load produced an entire new stage of recoil although, even for seasoned pistol shooters. Taking pictures that spherical by means of the Mannequin 58 with Magna grips made reaching proficiency fairly tough for many cops.
One other strike towards the Mannequin 58 was its weight. It was a giant, heavy bruiser with its bull barrel. The smaller diameter cost holes and bore made it even heavier than a .44 or a .45 of the identical measurement. Giant officers and devoted shooters possible didn’t thoughts the load of the hefty N body, nevertheless it was a problem for smaller statured officers to hold it and be taught to shoot it nicely.
When the novelty wore off, issues step by step went again to “enterprise as traditional” in American legislation enforcement. Medium body S&W’s and Colts in .38 Particular and .357 Magnum discovered their means again into most cops’holsters.
There have been exceptions although, with Evan Marshall being certainly one of them. Marshall was a cop in Detroit within the 1970’s and he described The Mannequin 58 as a dream come true. The Remington Police load earned a stellar report of 1 shot stops within the Motor Metropolis. Marshall drastically most popular the Mannequin 58 over the difficulty 5” Mannequin 10 and .38 Particular ammo of the day.
The .41 Magnum had made believers out of many officers, nevertheless it didn’t take over the LE market like Keith predicted. Gross sales of the .41 M&P tapered off and Smith and Wesson discontinued the Mannequin 58 in 1977.
IN THE FIELD, ON THE RANGE
The primary rounds Keith fired from these unique Mannequin 57’s confirmed the best way for the following chapter of the .41.
It earned respect as a handgun searching cartridge. When loaded to its potential, it was nearer to the .44 Magnum than the .357 Magnum, in efficiency. It shot a bit flatter and had rather less recoil than the .44 Magnum, however delivered comparable terminal efficiency on all however the largest critters.
The .41 Magnum grew to become recognized for accuracy and gained favor with lengthy vary metallic silhouette shooters. It had the vitality to reliably topple 200-meter rams and different firms (Dan Wesson, Freedom Arms) started constructing weapons for the cartridge.
Advocates of the .41 Magnum claimed their selection was extra correct than different straight-walled revolver cartridges. The .41 Magnum’s bore and throat specs had been set from its inception, and diversified little–chamber throat diameters ran .410” to .411”, and bore groove diameters had been constantly lower to .410” on trendy equipment. Jacketed bullets measuring .410” and solid bullets sized to .411” to .412” suffered minimal tilting or deformation when fired. The eight S&W .41 Magnums I had entry to for this text had been manufactured from the early 1970’s to round 2010. Bore and throat measurements fluctuated little from the oldest to the latest gun–all had been precisely the place they need to be, at .410” to .411”. In comparison with .45 Colt weapons which have dimensions all around the map, and .44’s with massive throats and small bores, the .41 was extra mechanically correct than its’ contemporaries.
The swaged Remington Police Load was dropped from manufacturing because the demand for extra highly effective searching and silhouette hundreds elevated, and LE curiosity subsided. There have been no selections on the low-to-middle finish of the facility spectrum till Winchester launched its Silvertip in that caliber. Early on, Keith designed certainly one of his confirmed bullets for the cartridge that weighed between 205-220 grains, relying on the alloy content material. It gave distinctive efficiency throughout the cartridge’s velocity envelope, and was adopted by legions of the devoted.
Extra so than another cartridge, the .41 Magnum benefited from handloading due to the dearth of range in manufacturing facility ammo. The Police Load could possibly be duplicated with commercially solid 210-215 grain SWC’s for shooters who didn’t solid their very own bullets. Doing so supplied a straightforward taking pictures and correct observe spherical that allowed these weapons to be shot for enjoyment.
S&W ceased manufacturing on 4” and eight 3/8” barreled Mannequin 57’s in 1992. The 6” Mannequin 57 was retired in 1993. The 657 got here alongside in 1986 and remained in manufacturing into the brand new millennium, with a give attention to longer barrels for handgun hunters. The 4” 657 was solely made for 2 years.
After that, S&W solely sporadically made carry-friendly .41’s. It took 34 years longer than Keith predicted, however they lastly launched a “pencil”-barreled gun with the stainless Mountain Gun in 1998. A blue model adopted in 2005. S&W constructed a .41 Magazine model of the ultralight 329 .44 with a scandium body and titanium cylinder (357PD) for a number of years, too. It was a pleasure to hold, however physics dictated that almost all house owners seldom shot them.
Smith & Wesson provided a 2.5” barreled .41 Magnum of their Night time Guard collection as nicely. Like all Night time Guards, it was solely out there briefly. There was a snub nostril Efficiency Middle 657 with a flat-sided 2 5/8” barrel and unfluted cylinder, and a run of Basic Mannequin 58’s in blue and nickel. The one .41 Magnum S&W at present produces is the Basic Collection Mannequin 57 in blue metal with a 6” barrel.
I used to imagine that if the .41 had been provided in a cartridge simply highly effective sufficient to attain the ballistics Invoice Jordan initially hoped for, it will’ve been way more profitable.
Image a rimmed model of the 10mm Auto with a barely longer case. Colt would have possible chambered Pythons and Troopers for it. Smith & Wesson may need come out with the L body sooner than they did, likewise Ruger and the GP-100. The dimensions and weight of the L body / GP-100 class of weapons appeared like the right car for the spherical Jordan wished!
When Ruger launched their 10mm GP-100 Match Champion in 2018, I needed to have one. It’s exhausting to get there with manufacturing facility loadings, however you possibly can handload 200 grain solid bullets to Jordan’s 1,200 fps. The recoil that load generates in a 37-ounce gun is noteworthy and turns into disagreeable after only a few cylinders’ value. If you happen to shot as a lot heavy artillery as Jordan or Keith did, it wouldn’t be unmanageable, nevertheless it’s extra recoil than the typical police officer or sportsman is prepared to tolerate.
Perhaps that they had it proper by chambering the .41 Magnum within the N body, to start with.
NOT DEAD YET
Each few years, somebody writes about cartridges that should be eradicated or have outlived their usefulness. The .41 Magnum is all the time on these lists, however someway refuses to go away.
I used to be tickled once I learn that Chuck Haggard and Mark Fricke shot the .41 Magazine Silvertip by means of a Mannequin 58 throughout their ballistic gel exams on the 2022 Pat Rogers Memorial Revolver Spherical up. It penetrated 22.25” and expanded to .520” to .547” after traversing 4 layers of denim. It’s a formidable protection load, as are 170 gr. JHP’s or 180 grain Barnes XP stable copper HP’s.
If you end up sleeping outside removed from streetlights, the .41 Magnum is a comforting selection. Manufacturing unit hundreds with exhausting solid, flat nostril bullets, weighing 230-300 grains, from outfits like Buffalo Bore, shine on this capability. These heavyweights will also be handloaded to decrease velocities than manufacturing facility choices (900-1,000 FPS) and nonetheless penetrate deep and straight, with out battering the shooter.
The .41 Remington Magnum tackles the position of two- and four-legged predator protection nearly as good as–or higher than–any handgun spherical. You aren’t prone to see one in a police officer’s holster as of late, however the .41 Magnum has actually earned the suitable to stay round.
All pictures courtesy of the writer, Kevin McPherson.
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