.41 DA vs .41 SAA
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Thread: .41 DA vs .41 SAA

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    .41 DA vs .41 SAA

    I was just now thinking of this and did not know the answer. I believe the .41 Colt used in the SAA was what they called a heeled bullet which I believe meant it expanded at the base to form the gas seal with the bore when fired. My wondering was whether the Colt Thunderer, 41c used this same bullet/cartridge or was it designed for a conventional type bullet? Thanks.
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    It was the exact same cartridge for both. And yes it's a heeled bullet.
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    No, they are quite different, although they use the same case.
    My 1886 Thunderer shoots .387 bullets from an Old West mold (210 gr.). It is hollow based, but not heeled. From what I have read, when the 1877's were first introduced they were .406-.408 heeled, but were later changed to "my" style. I have never found any authoritative information on when, or if, the 1877's were changed from wrought iron to steel, so I shoot BP only in the Thunderer.
    My 1901 SAA shoots .409 soft lead bullets that I buy from skhummer. They are heeled. With a rebuilt action by Jim Cornwall, and not a speck of finish remaining, it is my favorite and best shooting SAA. Obviously, the SAA will shoot the Thunderer shells (not accurately), but the SAA shells won't chamber in the Thunderer. I shoot both BP and smokeless in the SAA.
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    Let me add this: I have a Green Label, Winchester, Picture box with the Colt DA picture on it. They are .41 caliber. On the top, green label info it says: "For Colt's Double Action Pistol". Printed on the brown colored seal around the sides of the box is: "These Cartridges are made expressly for our 41 Caliber Double Action Revolvers, according to our specific directions. We unhesitatingly recommend these for use in this arm". So I wonder if the same boxed ammo received a label with a picture of a SAA with text changed accordingly??
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwjhfs View Post
    I was just now thinking of this and did not know the answer. I believe the .41 Colt used in the SAA was what they called a heeled bullet which I believe meant it expanded at the base to form the gas seal with the bore when fired. My wondering was whether the Colt Thunderer, 41c used this same bullet/cartridge or was it designed for a conventional type bullet? Thanks.
    The Colt M1877 DA's had the same bore size and chamber dimensions as the Colt SAA in 41. So they used the same 41 Colt cartridges. In the beginning the 41 Colt used a healed bullet, externally lubricated. But consumers didn't like the sticky externally lubricated bullets, so the hollow base bullets eventually replaced the healed type.

    I never had any problem shooting factory 41 Colt cartridges with smokeless powder in the Colt M1877 DA's. In the early 1960's I shot up the last remaining 41 Colt cartridges from all area hardware stores. They were in green boxes. What wasn't shot in Colt M1877 DA's was used in old Colt SAA's.
    Last edited by victorio1sw; 08-22-2019 at 01:15 PM.
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    I don't know. But to further add to the confusion, both the 1889 Navy (New Navy DA, Model of 1889) and the Model 1892 and 1895 "New Army and New Navy" were produced in .41 Colt, Long and Short. I've never owned either of these, so have no info on which cartridge they used.
    Maybe someone will come along to answer the question.
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    Here are some period .41 C.F. cartridges:



    So far as I know, all .41 revolvers had bores of .401 or larger, including the later double action solid frame guns. The later cartridges with inside lubrication had hollow based bullets which supposedly expanded to seal the bore.

    At one time it was the thing to do with old .41s was to fit a .38-40 cylinder to solve the ammunition supply problem after the .41 Colt D.A. was discontinued.

    The only experience I had with the .41 was with a borrowed old Bisley. Not a great experience, O.K. close up, but no accuracy at any distance.

    Bob Wright

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    Well guys, that must make my Thunderer that slugs .386 really special!

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    I think.386 is the correct bore diameter for the .41 Long Colt

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by phyllis1 View Post
    No, they are quite different, although they use the same case.
    My 1886 Thunderer shoots .387 bullets from an Old West mold (210 gr.). It is hollow based, but not heeled. From what I have read, when the 1877's were first introduced they were .406-.408 heeled, but were later changed to "my" style. I have never found any authoritative information on when, or if, the 1877's were changed from wrought iron to steel, so I shoot BP only in the Thunderer.
    My 1901 SAA shoots .409 soft lead bullets that I buy from skhummer. They are heeled. With a rebuilt action by Jim Cornwall, and not a speck of finish remaining, it is my favorite and best shooting SAA. Obviously, the SAA will shoot the Thunderer shells (not accurately), but the SAA shells won't chamber in the Thunderer. I shoot both BP and smokeless in the SAA.
    You are talking apples and oranges here.

    The outside lubricated heeled bullet and the hollow base inside lubricated bullet are just variations of the very same caliber. Either one can be used in both the revolvers mentioned.
    Last edited by Kurusu; 08-23-2019 at 07:27 AM.
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