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Discussion Starter #1
Solid frame. I have come to understand there are a bunch of solid frame DA Colt revolver models on the ".41 frame." Had always thought the "41 frame" was just a larger Smith K frame like the New Service was a larger N frame. Searched for "41 Colt" "41 DA" and several other terms. No joy. I know ammo is expensive. I reload. A neighbor had one he let me shoot and clean years ago, and I was impressed.

All I want is an honest old 41 Long Colt revolver, preferably 3" barrel, for occasional carry and even more occasional range use. Elmer Keith was a fan of the caliber, called it a very effective manstopper.

So, what should I look for and what should I avoid? Looked at the WTS forum, nothing there at all.

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Done; you've got mail. Still interested in input. I know the Lightning and Thunderer are not particularly robust; are the early swingout revolvers similarly delicate?

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The E-frame revolvers, like the Army Special, are very strong revolvers. Other than having a hammer-mounted firing pin versus a transfer bar, they have the same action as the Python.
 

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I have both an army special and bisley in 41 colt. I have been loading heeled bullets for a longer amount of time than hollow base bullets. But modern made cases from Starline and the last that Remington and Western made were long and intended for hollow base bullets. Un altered cases still work with heeled bullets in a bisley or SAA but need to be shortened to work in a army special. You should do an internet search for an article written by HarryO about his experience with 41 colt. The cheapest and most trouble free way to get into 41 colt will an army special. The earlier DA 41 will work as well but if the action is not right or something as simple as a spring breaks, it’s more difficult to fix than an army special. Please remember that the factories began loading a 200 grain bullet for the 38 special when the 41 colt was dropped. 38 special 195-200 grain bullets easily duplicate the performance of 41 colt if not better it but will not duplicate the hole size of a 40 or 41 bullet.

Bullets can be purchased or molds can be purchased for making your own ammo. If you insist on a 3” barrel, that would have to be shortened from a 4, 4 1/2, 5 or 6” barrel in the army special type. Myself personally, I would not modify an original but it’s your choice. I am not for sure how short you can make the barrel before the front sight would cut into the lettering on top of the barrel. If your at the point of loading for standard cartridges is easy, and your ready to try something a bit challenging, then 41 colt may just be the ticket. Good luck.
 

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From Wikipedia
"It was a lengthened version of the earlier centerfire .41 Short Colt, which was made to duplicate the dimensions of the even earlier .41 Short[SUP][1][/SUP] rimfire. The front of the bullet was about 0.406–0.408″ OD, the same as the case. The barrel was about 0.404–0.406″ groove diameter. The bullet lubrication was outside the case. At 0.386–0.388″ OD, The base of the bullet was smaller in diameter to fit inside the case. This is known as a "heel-base" or heeled bullet. The only modern heeled bullet is the .22 rimfire.
In the mid-1890s, Colt redesigned the cartridge. They reduced the entire diameter of the bullet to 0.386" OD and lengthened the brass case in order to put both the bullet and its lubrication inside the case. The overall length of both loaded cartridges was about the same. The barrel of the revolver was reduced slightly to match the more popular .38-40 at 0.400–0.401″ groove diameter (this was probably done for manufacturing reasons, not accuracy reasons). This meant that the outside diameter (OD) of the new bullet was smaller than the barrel's bore, let alone its groove diameter. A hollow-base bullet can be dropped down the bore by gravity alone. The newer soft lead bullet was made with a large hollow base, like Civil War Minié balls. The intent was for the base of the bullet to expand with the pressure of the burning gunpowder to grip the rifling." Not the greatest recipe for accuracy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
"The earlier DA 41 will work as well but if the action is not right or something as simple as a spring breaks, it’s more difficult to fix than an army special. "

Understand completely. That's why I said occasional use. I have an 1899 Smith and Wesson 32-20 that almost never leaves the safe for that very reason. Saw there was a New Navy model, and as a retired Navy Veteran, I thought having a Navy sixgun might be good.

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There's a current post on the 3" New Army, to which I replied to with a post on the 3" New Navy. I understand they were a few made in .41 Long Colt. I don't know which of the bore diameters they were made for (see Texmex53 post above).
The DA's are OK until you have to work on them. Then it takes 3 hands and a talented monkey to put them back together. The action isn't great, but usable.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So the only difference between the New Army and New Navy is the grip escutcheon/marking?

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... Saw there was a New Navy model, and as a retired Navy Veteran, I thought having a Navy sixgun might be good.
Just a reminder that the civilian “New Navy” had nothing to do with the Navy. The .41 was not a military issue caliber.

As for the differences between the New Army and New Navy, on the commercial model, thus including the .41, the grips are indeed the only thing relevant. On the military .38 variant, it gets a bit more complicated.
 

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Just a reminder that the civilian “New Navy” had nothing to do with the Navy. The .41 was not a military issue caliber.

As for the differences between the New Army and New Navy, on the commercial model, thus including the .41, the grips are indeed the only thing relevant. On the military .38 variant, it gets a bit more complicated.
And about 1893 the gun was redesigned with the cylinder rotating the "correct" direction, clockwise. These guns are far stronger, but are still somewhat fragile. The army special is a stronger gun.
I have a 1892 DA 41, it turns backwards like S&W. Haven't fired it yet, but will soon. Need to order dies and components. These older guns are blackpowder only. I just purchased a 1877 Thunderer in 41 Colt, which will be a shooter.
 

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The Army Special in .41 Colt is a fine revolver. Ultramax used to load a nice heeled bullet load. Olin loaded some hollow base ammo but it's in the 'collector' category unless you stumble onto a forgotten box somewhere. I second the advice about reading Everything you ever wanted to know about the 41 Long Colt. Old West Bullet Moulds used to be a good source of moulds and dies for heeled bullets. Cimarron catalogs (CA3054) a Lightning in 41 Colt with a 3.5" Barrel. From what I have read, it is a three click single action, slightly scaled down, with a frame mounted firing pin made for the by Uberti. It is intriguing. If anyone has any experience with one of them, This might be a good time to speak up.

AP_18442.jpg
 

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