I've been a .41 fan for awhile, owning a S&W model 57 and 58 in .41 magnum as well as a Marlin 1894FG in .41 magnum as well. I had every intention of loading .41 special for these guns but unfortunately never got around to it. So while not speaking from actual experience, the appeal for me of the .41 Special was comparable to that of the .44 Special and Magnum. The Special rounds, .41 or .44 are still big bores but they can be loaded down to levels more manageable to shoot than their magnum brothers. Bottom line is I like the big bores but don't like to them to be punishing to shoot. I know that the magnums can be downloaded to special pressures but I'm not a fan of all that empty space in the case. I found the .41 magnum easy to load and very accurate, I don't imagine the .41 Special would be any different. I considered converting two Old Model Ruger Blackhawks while I still owned them to .41 Specials. Wouldn't this have made a nice custom .41 Special?
First of all I have to confess to being a 41 fan. I have 41 Specials, 41 Mags and 414 Supermag guns. No real reason except I first shot a Blackhawk 3 screw 41 years ago and fell in love with the round. Also, I guess I like the path less trodden in my firearms selections. Any of the benefits of the 44 Special are the same for the 41 Special. It can be built on the mid framed guns like a Colt or USFA and while it is very mild with 5 grains of Unique and a 210 grain cast slug, it also sits right up and goes to work with a load of A-9 and 265 grain Oregon Trail LFN cast slugs. The shorter brass also lets a person use some of the heavy weight and longer cast bullets if one so chooses. I found several of my TLA 41 mag guns are going to require trimmed 41 mag brass but with the 265 grain bullet in the Special case you wold be hard pressed to know you were not shooting full house 41 mags. If anyone wants to try the round, let me k ow and I'll send you 15-20 rounds of new Starline 41 Special brass so you don't have to cut down 41 Mag brass.
Myself, my first centerfire revolver was a 41, and so was my second.. both were 41colt (Colt) guns and my third was a Blackhawk 41mag to go along with 'em. I guess along the way as time went for whatever reason the 41caliber just struck a nerve in me and I took great interest in it.
One of those first Colts I bought also just happened to have a barrel that slugged out to .410" vs the standard .401/.403" diameter that the old timer 41colts normally were rifled like, so it dawned on me to do a build on one while reading old articles about Boser & others who wildcatted 41specials on 41colts similarily in the 20's. I read later how Colt R&D in cahoots with remington DEVELOPED a 41colt-special with ammunition n all during the 30's prior to the .357's unveiling only to have the Colt exec's backbench their colt-special! I figured it very fitting to get one of my own in a Colt like those-ones meant to be so long ago, which never actually hit production..
I got ahold of a gunsmith from there, ordered a reamer and my original 41special was dawned ... I have 44's too, and they're great without reason for knocking at all, BUT the odd minimal-diameter spec cylinder has been noted to be bulged by Keith level loads in 44special; Taffin wrote of one, and I bought one bulged myself unknowingly in the past too. So.. 41special & 19-thou extra for cylinder steel it is! I don't strictly shoot heavy 1200fps loads in mine, but I surely have those on hand for certain occasion, and with that extra steel in my cylinder shooting 250gr bullets the 41 rivals the best 44special with no concern whatsoever about my cylinder walls ever being a problem. None. It's been actually repeated to me by several smiths on both sides of the 49th that 41MAGNUM would be about the cieling for total safety in a Colt.. so even hot stepping 41specials nipping at 41mag performance aren't hindering things in the SAA frames & cylinders... let alone in a flattop
On top of all this, my old 41colt cylinder drops right in and makes for a pretty cool dual cylinder rig for plinking short-ranges on Sundays and just old-time's sake fun. I even used that 41colt cylinder in mine as a dispatch rig while trapping before my Ruger Bearcat was approved, and the 41colt load worked fine for it.. not much for penetration in those old antique loads and they never damaged hides at all. Worked slick.
So those are the reasons to why & whatnot for me.. an admitted .41 connoisseur in every respect
Thank you gentlemen. I have .44s and bought a "new" .44 Special myself with bulged cylinder. I just assumed it was a bad cylinder from the factory but thinking back on it I'm wondering now what the real story was.
I bought the 44s I have because I was just beginning to realize how fragile a Colt .45 cylinder really is. Even the Uberti size cylinders are little help for a errant hot load in .45.
So cylinders are easy...make them from a 38 cylinder. But what about a barrel? Are they rebores? If not a 41 mag barrel or just custom .41 barrels? In particular RB? What barrel did you/Allen use on your USFA conversion.
Alan used a new piece of either Douglas or Shilen barrel material for the barrel. You can use new material like on mine or get a 6 1/2" Ruger barrel and cut it down as long as you can deal with the ERH screw or stud. I think I have a 4 5/8 41 Ruger barrel that has the stud missing if you want to try one. I'll give it to you if it is still in the parts box. Or you could send a 38 barrel to Al Siegriest (sp) and have it rebored to 41.
Thanks Robb. I do appreciate the offer. I have a few spare USFA barrels so I'll see if I can get one them rebored and rechamber a cylinder. Any pitfalls you want to pass along?
Got some info here, care to share any more loading info?
mild with 5 grains of Unique and a 210 grain cast slug, it also sits right up and goes to work with a load of A-9 and 265 grain Oregon Trail LFN cast slugs. The shorter brass also lets a person use some of the heavy weight and longer cast bullets if one so chooses."
heavy 1200fps loads in mine, but I surely have those on hand for certain occasion, and with that extra steel in my cylinder shooting 250gr bullets the 41 rivals the best 44special with no concern whatsoever about my cylinder walls ever being a problem. None."
6.5grains Unique is a superb load with almost any bullet in 41 special brass, gives anywhere between 900 & 1010fps through 4 3/4 barrels with weights from 215gr. to 255's or so. And it mimics the 44 special skeeter level loading basically identically.
Vihatviori n110 & 2400, a9 pretty similar too, those are what to use working up that 1200-load. And in my Colts with hammer mounted firing pins I've found WLP primers to have the toughest cup material & be best for resisting primer flow at the recoil plate hole ... I'd say start about 14.0/14.5 grains with those powders, then depending what bullet & how much case capacity it's using up, work someplace toward 16.0gr.. but gauge it as you go. 16 VvN110 is an accurate load & very consist too, it's a favourite, but you have to watch how much bullet-shank is seated into your case to get that powder charge. There are some excellent bullets out there that suit the special case perfectly without eating up case capacity & overdoing pressures.. but bullet choice is key to these powders & charges to make the most of them safely.
There's an NOE bullet true to Keith's old designs that weighs out at 230-240 (depending on the alloy used) which has a relatively short shank below the crimping groove that works excellent in the 41special ... just as his 44 bullet did in the 44spl.. he designed that one for max case capacity for all the above mentioned reasons, and that mentality rolls right over into his 41 bullet too. Top pick in my opinion as an all arounder bullet whether loaded for paper or for trail.