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A friend just picked up a New Army in 41 Long Colt and is looking to reload some "target" level loads. Anybody have experience with reloading the 41LC?

I fully aknowledge that reloading is inherently dangerous and any load information provided would be used "at the owners sole risk".

Thanks.

Scott

[This message has been edited by SEBCo (edited 03-15-2005).]
 

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I have been loading .41 Colt for 10 years now. I have a 1920s Army Special 5" and a Great Western SAA with a 4 3/4" 38/40 barrel(not the best bore) and .41 Colt Cylinder.

Try and get a copy of Handloader Magazine,Dec.1998(Wolfe Publishing Co.6471 Airpark Dr. Prescott,AZ 83301). A super article!!

First choice you have,is type of bullet. Heel type bullets are still made,and i used these for years. My first supplier went belly up,and second ripped me off,so I switched to hollow base bullets from another supplier. I now prefer hollow base,as they are far easier to load,crimp,and no messy outside lubrication. Also,if you have an Army Special,or earlier,New Army/Navy,some cases,are too long for the shorter cylinders with heel bullets,another reason why I like hollow bases now.

I have never loaded black powder,but used 5.5 grains Unique with the heel type,and 4.5 with the hollow base that seat much further in the case. There are other loads,and quite a few in the Handloader article,I mentioned. That would be a great place to start. Accuracy is surprisingly good,especially with the Army Special.

Good Luck;hope this helps you get started. P.S. go on Huntingtons web site,as they carry bullets and cases,and I will try & get a couple of other loads and suppliers. Bullets are NOT cheap,and we are fortunate now that Starline is making brass,but it too is expensive. Bud
 

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I know nothing about 41 colt so please go into a little history and detail.
Could you use a 41 mag all lead bullet. Could you use a 41 mag case? Could you use 41 mag dies to reload?

Of course the powder charge would have to be SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER.

My only concern would be mixing up loads since I shoot 41 mag.
 

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The .41 Magnum was deliberately made larger so as not to be able to chamber in .41 Colt revolvers,including the great majority that do not have a "step" in the cylinder mouths. The .41 MAGNUM is a true .41 caliber bullet,and its bullet fits inside its case,which is .433 at the base, vs. .405 for the .41 Colt.

The .41 Colt is a very confusing cartridge,almost like the .450/,455/.476 series of British rounds. It was originally a black powder round in the 1870's,firing a 195 gr. heeled bullet. Look at a .22 long rifle,the bullet is the same diameter as the case,and a smaller diameter "heel" fits inside the base. The heeled bullets carried their lubricant on the outside,exposed to all the "elements". Then there was a .41 Short Colt,popular in Colt's spur triggered revolvers.Then a .41 D.A. long,with a shorter case.

The SAA got chambered for it,as did the Thunderer.D.A. The New Army/Navy D.A.s and finally,the Army Special(there were a few O.Polices too),before the chambering was dropped around 1930.

The round was popular with gunfighters,as it could be carried in a smaller gun,such as the Thunderer,and had plent of wallop at short ranges,at around 750 fps.

The bores of these guns were anywhere from .402 to .408(and the same size bore was used for the .38/40,which is a 40 caliber). This was not a problem,as the heeled bullets and case were also this size. Then "outside lubed",heel bullets became out of fashion,and Colt,instead of reducing the bore diameters,went to hollow based bullets,for inside lubed ammo. The .41 Colt was now made with a .386 diameter bullet,that fit inside the case,but was now .020 to small to take the rifling in the bore-but it did!! A deep hollow base,expanded with black powder and accuracy wasn't bad,but got worse with smokeless powder!

So,Robin,you will need a set of dies,and they are expensive,as few are sold. RCBS makes them;my guess would be over $100. Cases are NOT a problem,as Starline is making them. Bullets(unless you cast your own) are a much easier to find,than when I started loading the .41 a decade ago. Huntingtons(in fact they should have the dies,brass and Whitehorse hollow based bullets) carries most every thing you need. I am going to try some heeled bullets from Bear Creek Supply,but these heeled bullets will be too long for the longer .41 Colt Brass,designed for the inside .386 hollowbased bullets,except in an SAA. Their price is great,$36.00 per 500,shipped!

Small primers are used,and I have had better luck with magnum primers to give a quicker ignition to expand the hollow based bullets or to start the heeled base bullets,as there is not much of a heel to crimp on! I have had best luck with 5 grains of Unique with the heel type,and 4.5 rains of it with the hollow base. "700-x" has also proved fine. Good Luck,and this is "an uncommon round" to reload,frustrating at times,but you certainly won't be shooting anything "common". You have NOT said what type of a Colt you have?? These rounds,with smokelass are fine,except if you have one of the old D.A. side ejecting Thunderers,then I'd use Black Powder ONLY !! Get the Handloader article I mentioned in the first reply to your question!! Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the tip on the Handloader reprint, and all the other helpful information!

Scott
 

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I want both a Thunderer and the 41 DA.
Does anybody factory load the .41 and .38 Long rounds? Maybe the SASS ammo providers??

I got out of reloading a few years ago and don't really want to buy everything all over again.
BTW thanks for letting me know about 41 mags. I'd hate to experience another blow up.
 

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I am new to old colts, SEBco got me started(the wife hates him now). We found a New Army .41 at a show recently, good price on a gun that was in good shape. I think it is about 1934 vintage.

In my search for ammo I have found a few places on the web that sell ammo and it varies in price. No mass produced ammo for the .41. Do a web search and you will find people that sell it. Starline and Bertrum make Brass for the .41 and it varies in price as well. The batch of ammo I just received was from Gad custom cartridges, specializing in obsolete cartridges. http://gadcustomcartridges.com/.

Redding makes noncarbide dies that I have seen run from about $55 to $65 depending on who is selling them. Lonewolf is right, RCBS makes carbide dies but they are pricey from >$135.

I ordered that 1993 handloader article about the 41 loads today, $6 bucks and should be here in a few days. Thanks for all the info.
 

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.... Also,if you have an Army Special,or earlier,New Army/Navy,some cases,are too long for the shorter cylinders with heel bullets,another reason why I like hollow bases now...... Bud
Forty-one Long Colt cases came in two flavors, .93" long for the original heeled bullet load, and 1.13" for the later inside-lubed bullet. Cartridge over-all length was the same, the case just came up further on the inside lube bullet to cover the lube grooves. Some people mistake the .93" case for the Short Colt, which is another critter altogether (case .63" OAL, 160 gr. OL bullet, 14 gr. blackpowder).
 

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bernold at gad custom is the best, least expensive source for new loaded rounds. the standard for reloads is 4.5 grains of unique or 3.3 grains of bullseye driving a 196 gr. bullet to something over 700 fps. the cases themselves are expensive, and bernold can supply loaded ammo at very competitive prices.

don't push these old guns and for god's sake please forget that the .41 mag has .41 in its name.

a brief article on the round here:

http://www.chuckhawks.com/41_LC.htm
 
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