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41 Remington Magnum

41_mag

Introduced in 1963, the 41 Remington Magnum was the result of work done by Elmer Keith, Bill Jordan, and Skeeter Skelton toward encouraging the development of a revolver cartridge with more power and usability than the 357 Magnum but easier for most shooters when compared to the 44 Magnum.

Keith and others petitioned for a Police loading that would launch a 200-grain bullet at about 900 fps, making it effective both as a fight stopper and controllable for less-skilled and less-practiced shooters. In the revolver era of law-enforcement, this idea was sound. The promoters also petitioned for a more powerful load that would split the difference between the 357 and 44 Magnums and launch a bullet of about 210 grains at about 1350 fps.

However, Remington realized the case and bore size would allow a full-pressure loading to launch bullets of about 210 grains at about 1500 fps, thereby generating performance very close to what the hot factory loads of the 44 Magnum of that era did.

 


 

When 41-Magnum factory loads and revolvers came to fruition, Remington had managed to bastardize both intended loads. The mid-range load launched a 210-grain bullet at about 1150 fps and the full-power load launched a 210-grain bullet at 1500 fps. As such, the mid-range load was far more powerful than needed and most shooters simply could not or would not learn to use it well; the full-power load was so hot few shooters could see any significant difference between it and full-power 44 Magnum loads, because no such difference existed.

As such, the 41 Magnum found extremely limited acceptance. It was considered useless by law enforcement and an also-ran option by hunters and other sports-shooters who could just as well buy a 44 Magnum.

Nevertheless, the 41 Magnum is a fine cartridge that does have something to offer. For example, in the large-frame S&W revolver, full-power 41 Magnum loads with bullets near 200 grains do not hammer the gun and shooter nearly as hard as 44 Magnum loads at similar pressure do when launching 240-grain bullets.

Many serious hunters prefer the 41. In the S&W they can load the 41 to full pressure and not worry about damaging the gun with long, continued use. In the Ruger and S&W, they can handle the recoil better. With bullets of similar design and length, penetration is indistinguishable. Given the right load and well-placed shots, if the 41 won’t do it, the 44 won’t do it.

As my friend, Terry Brewer, correctly observed: “There is no replacement for shot placement.”

As with any revolver round, best practice is to apply a roll-crimp after seating the bullet. A roll-crimp eases loading of rounds into the cylinder and can help limit bullet pull under recoil if only modestly. I cannot too-strongly recommend getting a second seating-and-crimping die so you can have one adjusted to seat the bullet and the second adjusted to only crimp the case mouth. Generally, attempting to do both operations in one step is a recipe for damaged and destroyed cases.


The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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