Colt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Finally had a little time,despite 4 days of rain/drizzle,to do some serious work with my 1920 vintage 5" Army Special in .41 Colt. I've owned the gun for close to 15 years,and have fired it off and on,with reloads,but never really worked up what I consider an acceptable load(2-3" at 25 yards @750 fps. at least with 190-200 gr. bullets.) The gun is an old reblue over moderate outside pitting on side of frame,but an immaculate bore that measures .403. Weight is only 31.5 oz.,or about 2 oz. less than a 5" O.Police I own.

A while ago,I settled on 700-x,as my powder of choice-with Magnum(small pistol) primers.Using 195 gr, commercial cast Hollow Based bullets,I got the desired results. They are far more consistent than the heel based .406 sized cast I was using. Just can't get a comsistent crimp,and even with mag primers,there was inconsistent velocity and hence accuracy.

I was a tad disappointed in Red Dot,a powder Ive been having great luck in with milder 44 and 45 loads. I think,I didn't "use enough" and used regualr primers.

Got buy on a statch of Remington factory .41 hollow based bullets,and tried em with the Red Dot,but will try them with my load of 3.8 "700-X" and mag. primers. BOTH these and the commercial cast,expand to take the rifling-thats why I use a fast burning powder,to get that quick "jolt" to the hollow base. Even Unique seemed too slow for best accuracy. Basically,I am taking .38 Special powder amounts,and have figured the increased case volume of the .41 Colt is offset by the .40 gr, heavier bullet: NOT "+P loads"!!!

The gun is a "hoot" to fire,it balances different from the normal .38s,and that bigger hole in the mizzle is impressive-BUT-the thiness of the rear of the barrel(forcing cone) is a "warning" about making a magnum out of it.

My other .41 Colt,is one I bulit up on an old Great Western Frame,using a Colt .41 SAA cylinder,and less than perfect 4 3/4" Colt bbl. This can be loaded a little hotter,and like the Army Special,recoil is quick,but mild, Those 195 gr, slugs sure make "can rolling" from the hip fun.

Anyway,probably NO one out there reloads or is interested,but there are a few .41 Colts out there,not collector or rare pieces,that can be gotten cheaply because of the lack of "ready made ammo",but you can reload em' safely and accurately.

Bud
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
What! No photos?!

Sounds like you have a fun shooting/reloading project. I am pleased to hear that at least one DA Colt .41 is spending quality time out at the shooting range.

Mike W.
Indy
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,045 Posts
Thanks for the valuable info . I'm thinking about reloading for my DA41 . I have a little factory ammo left , but I hate to use them up .

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Nice looking "transitional" model,Guy! I have a 6" "transition" in 32/20. Handloads for this Colt are milder than I shoot in my "newer Colts & S&Ws 32/20's. I think they only made this style of frame(no indented trigger guard),for a couple of years,just prior to going over to the E frame on the Army Special. 1906-08,or there abouts.

Let me know if you want a couple of custom casters names/web addresses/sites. You can use your existing brass with the harder to get hollow based bullets,but if you go to heeled type,the brass is too long to fit in anything but a SAA cylinder,as only about 1/8" fits in the case mouth.

Looking at an old reblued 1892-96 "civilian" 3" D.A. today,but its "only" in .38 Colt. ONE place lists heel type cast bullets,but I think that 148 gr. swaged hollow based wad cutters,by Speer,.358 diameter,would expand enough to fill the .362-.364 bore,especially using .38 Special cases(the older D.A. .38s were also bored straight through the cylinder with no "step"like the .41 Colts,and a very beat up 1894 Army I had,shot mild target wadcutters quite well. Yet a first MOdel Officers,I own,made in 1905,has a stepped chamber, for the .38 Special,and a regular tight bore for .357 bullets. Speaking of ."357s",some Darwin Award winners "discovered" that .357 Magnum factory loads would chamber in the straight through D.A. Army/Navy cylinders!!!! There were some "fragmentation cases"!!

Thanks for sharing the photo of the .41 D.A. "Transition". Saw a box of that last load of ,41 Colt,in the "white box", that W-W made up in early 70's for only a Texas Distributor(L.M. Burney) for $40.00 today. Not bad in today's market and reasonably fresh(as 1955 is the usual date given when factories stopped making it.) Have an empty box of this 1970's ammo,with the invoice from Burney. Cost to customer was $10.34,less shipping,in 1975. Cheap until I recalled buying 158 gr, Federal ,38 Specials for under $5.00 a box at that time period!

Bud
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,045 Posts
Thanks Bud . It is a late one . If I recall correctly , 1907 . I own only the one .41 , but 5 or 6 of the DA38 38LC . When I shoot these old pieces I usually stay with the 38's . I bought a good qty of factory Remington back in the mid 1980's when Remington discontinued it .

I really enjoy these old DA Army / Navy revolvers . For years they were "orphans" . No one wanted them . Now that all the other models went up , these have climbed in value too . Luckily , I bought most of mine over 10-15 yrs ago .

Here's a pretty clean 1903 Army .

Mitch

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I have a late 1916 6" .41 army special that I bought in December, it is in good shape though the finish on the barrell is a bit speckled. It is a fun gun to shoot, I have not had the chance to really experiment with different loads though. I have found little info on reloading .41's. I bought some redding dies, some starline brass, found a guy on the web that made bullets and reloads and I am set. The bullets are 195 hollow based from a Rapine mold, I think. I found that 4.5 or 5 gr Unique worked best of the Unique loads I tried. Thanks Bud for the post this will give me some other options.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The 4.5 to 5.0 Unique is what I've used in the past(plus the 700x). Can you post the NAME,email and website of the place you got your cast hollow base 195 gr. bullets from,as I am always looking to try new sources. Thanks, Bud
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,351 Posts
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by guy sajer:
Thanks for the valuable info . I'm thinking about reloading for my DA41 . I have a little factory ammo left , but I hate to use them up. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

What's the going rate for .41 Colt ammo in your neck of the woods? The last box I found on a show table was 45 bucks after negotiations, and it's getting scarce.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Saw a full box of the last run of .41 Colt,made by W-W in early 70's for a distributor in Texas (L.M. Burney Co. of Lamesa) for $40.00 in a gun shop last week,so that $45.00 is "in the ballpark".

Came in a very plain white box,from W-W,so the "box collectors" tend to neglect it.

BTW,price on Burney's invoice on the white box I have( I shot the factory ammo,and now has my reloads),dated 7/17/75 was $10.34,plus $1.85 express. Considering,I can recall buying Federal .38 Specials for under $5.00 a box around that time,pretty dam expensive,as was the shipping!!

Bud
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Bud,

You probably know this guy already but here is the link to the website. His company is Gad custom cartridges. The fellow I dealt with was Bernold. His prices on loaded ammo is good $35 for fifty considering that just the starline brass alonegoes for more than that on some websites. He will load what you want as well. He seemed to have the best prices when I was searching.
http://gadcustomcartridges.com/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks,DVG; I've heard of him,but its good to know that he produces good stuff,and his price of $35.00,is great(with the new Starline brass-pricey!),when you read the above posts from me and Ohiobuckeye,about going rate of "factory ammo". Of course,you have to figure in the "cartridge box amd cartridge collector factor",into the price of any old ammo. They love the older,colorful boxes too-even empty!(kinda reminds me of like collecting empty condom boxes,as you never had the fun of "shooting" what was inside!!.

I upset one octogenarian cartridge collector at a Gun Show,buy buying a nearly full box of Dominion .455 Colt ammo,Canadian made,about 40 years ago,just to get some more of this longer brass to shoot in my .455 Colts and S&Wslast month(plus it was a great price).

Thanks,for the info,I think I will give "Gad" a try,as I really like the hollow bases, better,as I dont have cut brass down,lube heel type bullets(actually,I use hi temp,bearing grease-a dab-just prior to shooting,and this works super!) and finally,getting a considtent crimp on the heel based bullets!

Bud
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,045 Posts
ohiobuckeye


I haven't seen any recently . Over the years I've picked up a box here and there . Sometimes it comes in when we buy a gun collection or estate .

[This message has been edited by guy sajer (edited 06-25-2005).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,351 Posts
The original 41 Colt ammo is getting scarce and pricey, so a few months ago, I did a little gun show scrounging and came up with a set of 41 Colt dies, and a still brand new pair of the old Ideal molds.....one for the hollow base bullet, and one for the heeled bullet. I save all my bullet casting for cold winters, so it will be a while before I get into casting and loading for the 41.
I've never used one of the molds with the removable insert plug for the hollow base bullet, but I would assume pure lead with just a touch of 50/50 tossed in to help it fill out the mold a tad better should work well in the mold, and still give proper base expansion. I would like to hear any tips from anyone who's already been down the hollow base casting path.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I have not found any .41 at the gun shows I have been to recently. I did find a guy selling remington .45 auto rim for using in my modified 1909 new service, but he wanted $30 a box for it and I can load my own for much less. Would be nice to have a box of .41 for posterity. I shied away from the heel based, as it seemed rife with complications and I don't need anymore of those in my life. I picked up a '96 reloader magezine at the suggestion of a forum member and it had some useful info in it. One interesting thing they mentioned in the article on crimping the heel based, was taking a wire stripper and "customizing" it to make a crimping tool. They said it worked well. I was looking into finding a Rapine hollow based mold so that I could have a turn key operation for my reloading, but just have not put any energy into that yet. I was pleased with what I recieved from Gad and will order from him again. It takes him awhile to fulfill the order but I had plenty of other things to shoot while I waited.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
936 Posts
I haven't cast any hollow based revolver bullets, but I've cast thousands of hollow based .58 caliber Minie balls for muzzleloaders. My moulds are Lymans with the removable base plug. The plug just slows casting down a bit, as it is an extra step. Make sure the plug is seated correctly.

Personally, I would stay with pure lead, as it is softer and you want the skirt to open. After all, you shouldn't have any leading problems at these low velocities, providing the bore is fairly smooth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
The wire stripper idea does work,but it is still difficult to get a consistent crimp(and this different velocities,vertical stringing).

I got a hold of a bunch of Remington factory "swaged" hollow based. Talk about soft lead! They sure expand,and even pruduced a little leading in the bore;first time ever for a .41 Colt.

Bud
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Went to the country this weekend to pop off a few rounds in the .41 army special and my 1909 New Service. All was going well until I noticed what appeared to be a crack in the forcing cone of the .41. Upon closer inspection sure enough there is a crack in it. I had just reloaded some hollow base Rapine bullets with 4.5 grains unique. I had posted earlier in this thread that those rounds had worked well in the .41. Once I got it home, I looked closely at it and the forcing cone is severly lead fouled. I attribute the lead fouling to the crack. But what I don't understand is that the gun was clean before I went shooting and I only put 30 rounds through it before I noticed the crack. I would not nor did I expect that degree of lead fouling after 30 rounds and the 4.5 grains of Unique is not a hot load. I take really good care of my old gals and I am torn up that .41 is now a wall hanger. Was it something I did in my loads that would have caused the fouling? My gut tells me that the gun is toast but is there anyway to fix a crack like that or is it a barrel replacement? If its a replacement than I am SOL.

To make matters worse when shooting the new service the barrel came loose. This is the second time that has happened. The first time we attributed it the fact that someone made it an ACP gun and I did not know it and was shooting .45 colt out of it. This time it was factory ACP and some loads I made with 6 grains Unique with 250 grain RNFP lead bullets in auto rim cases. I did load some .452 bullets as well as some .454 bullets. I was trying to get a feel which would give me better accuracy. In my research I found that the 1909 were .454 barrel diameter, so my thoughts were that the .454 bullet would give me better accuracy. Anyway what would cause the barrel to come loose. I don't think I was shooting hot loads, could it be the .454 bullets? At least this one is repairable. I will be sending it back to be re-tightened. Any advice or thougts would be appreciated so hopefully I won't mess it up again. Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
DVG73; Sorry to hear about the Army Special. But I wince every time I look at the thiness of the forcing cone on mine! That E frame barrel is pretty small diameter,for such a big bore size. This is another reason why,those who advocated a more powerful 40-41 caliber cartridge for this frame size,are wrong,along with how thin the cylinder walls would be,for a cartridge,with a full .40 bullet fitting INSIDE the case.

The loading should not have caused it,nor the bullets. The leading puzzles me,also. Do you think the gun is out of time just enough for the bullet to strike the forcing cone,even a hair,off center?? This COULD cause the crack.

As far as repairs,I dunno?(I have seen older .41 bbls. for the 1892 Army on eBay). Unscrewing the barrel,should "tighten up the crack",and MAYBE a skilled gunsmith could weld,or braze the cone area,then recut it.(I had this done to a 1917 that had been assembled from various guns by a previous owner,and that had timing issues,and my firing of oversize 300 gr. .455 "Webley" types,cracked the cone. Removed barrel and had it brazed,and it fired OK afterwards,but I never trusted it with anything but wimp loads,even with corrected timing.)

I can't see the barrel of a nearly 100 year old gun loosening up!!!(ever try and remove one!!!). Had a previous owner replaced the barrel? The .454 sized bullets,and your VERY MILD 6.0 Unique load wouldn't have loosened it. Yet I have seen this happen on 2 Colts,a 1933 Det. Special and a 1967 SAA. BOTH had had their barrels removed,prior to my getting them,for work/replacement. In an "effort"(?????) to align the front/rear sights,the "gunsmith had not turned bbl. far enough!

Good Luck. Bud
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,045 Posts
41 Colt ammo update .

We just received some from Ultramax Ammunition out of South Dakota That I ordered for myself . Cowboy loads . 200 gr lead rn . Starline brass . Looks like it'll retail for about $49 .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Anyone try to make some 41 caliber hollow based wad cutters?
Years ago I had a S&W N-frame I converted to 41 Magnum. It would only shoot handloads and loved a 41 caliber hollowbased wadcutter. I loaded it to the Old Police 41 Mag (Special I called it) and it drove tacks. Anything jacketed it tore off the jacket and spit it out the side.
I lost track of the handloader that made the wadcutters for me but now that i have 41 Long Colt it'd be worthwhile to investigate a wadcutter.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top