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Thread: Alaska and the 41mag

  1. #1
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Default Alaska and the 41mag

    The first big bore pistol I brought to Alaska was the 41mag. It was a 4 5/8" RBH liberty model and I put a stainless RSBH grip frame on it what a wonderfull handling pistol. Didn't handload at the time and a friend talked me out of it for a Redhawk in 45colt. If you didn't handload in the 80's the 41mag was a hotter round for sure and great for hunting so I fell back a bit at first. The up side another friend bought a 454 Freedom Arms and while comparing the rounds 45colt to 454 I slipped one in the RH to see the difference and suprize there was none but the lead was right at the end of the chamber with the 260gr FA ammo and I took a big leap in power.Shortly later Ruger stopped the old Redhawk in 45colt.
    The 41mag is a fine round for handloader and you can now buy good factory hunting ammo for the non reloader. If the 41mag is what you have today there is no real need to go bigger.I would still be with it if I had not got that dang 45colt and learned its secrets but that another post. Hopefully Mr. Fields well add some goodies on the 41mag.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I've only taken a few deer with the 41, and a borrowed on at that while working up loads for a bud. And I regret it. The regret is in not owning a 41 of my own, because I sure would have used it more. Just didn't happen with my 44's and 357's already in the house. I doubt I'd have any qualms about using the 41 for anything I've been doing with a 44. As for the 40 cal semi's? Not in my house.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    I've never drawn blood with 41 ether, like you guys I jumped right by it befor knowing much about it. I have loaded and shot a lot of 41s, I like them a lot. It's the sleeper, everyone brags up Elmer's ole 44mag but here is the little 41 not a thin whisker behind in real power . . . A real sleeper and I think maybe the best thing Elmer ever dreamed up.
    Andy
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    The 41Mag in a 6" Ruger BH was my first bigger handgun and is still my favorite. For a long time my load was a 225gr cast at 1480 with Blue Dot. I have now started making my own 270gr jacketed bullets out of 40 S&W cases filled with lead. A case full of 296 and 1200 fps and I think I have enough power for most anything.

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    I have a Smith & Wesson 657 w/ a 6" barrel. I picked it up at an auction in Anchorage for $300....seems there was no one there that day that wanted a .41....all of the .44s that day went for more money. It is a great shooting gun and I can shoot it as well as any of my handguns. I kept it as a bed side gun for a few years and finally got a chance to use it on game when a black bear that had been raiding my neighborhood made the mistake of coming onto my second story deck. My 1 year old was on the other side of the French doors as this guy started working on my grill. I grabbed her and took her to my bedroom where her mom was sleeping. Picked up the .41 and called the dog. Amazing how a black bear can jump when a German Shepherd starts barking at him. He jumped off of the deck into a spruce tree and climbed up about 10'. I walked over to the edge and took aim on his head. One shot with a 210 gr hard cast and he fell out of that tree like a ton of bricks.....he did not so much as twitch when he hit the ground. He was about 225lbs...nothing huge but I was sufficiently impressed with the performance of the 'little' .41 that I still keep it handy.

  6. #6
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    Iíve just started loading for a .41. I ended up with a 210 grain Lee tumble lube mold and 200 Starline cases. I cast about 250 bullets, and lubed them with liquid Alox. I loaded 50 of them with 13.1 grains of AA-7. I blasted them off and had a great time. I then had a hell of a time cleaning the lead out of the barrel.
    I then proceeded to slug my barrel, measure my bullets and try to make some intelligent choices of the reloads I want to feed my gun. My bullets measure .409ish. My barrel slugs out to .4103. Iíll need to hone my mold out some. Iíll also switch to IMR 4227. Iíll get about 200fps less velocity, but the pressure will drop from 37000cup to only 28100 cup.(according to book numbers) I think this should work out well with a lead bullet and no gas check. If it doesnít, I have about 20 other powders to choose from. Iíll most likely end up with another mold, maybe a heavy with a gas check.
    In the mean time I loaded up 50 of the small bullets with 17 grains of IMR 4227, just because a guy shouldnít have a gun with nothing to shoot out of it.
    I like the way the .41 shoots and handles, but it wasnít the caliber I was hoping for. Like most everyone else I thought I needed a .44. I have dies, bullets, and cases, been picking them up for the last 5 or 6 years for that fateful day when I found that .44 at a price my wife couldnít pass up. Then this .41 RedHawk showed up. Couldnít pass it up, even if to just trade or sell it. I think unless something really bad turns up, it will stay with me for a very long time. Almost everybody that has one seems to love the .41 mag, and people that used to have them seem to regret parting with them. The only negative comments seem to come from people that have never owned one and have the BIG .44 mag.
    Iím excited, there a lot of directions to go, bear loads, hunting loads, plinking loads, heavies, light and fast, and max. Iíll have to get a nice boot and use the leather and make a holster, and then after a while make a second one that fits better with the bugs worked out. Thatís how it usually is when I make a holster, unless I lose interest in the gun, and then the first try is good enough.
    Iím not ready to part with all of the .44 supplies, but this .41 looks like it will keep me satisfied and happy for a good long time.

    Bob

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    Lee-ment your mold up to .411 or so and check your barrel for a tight spot where the barrel screws into the frame. You should be able to shoot bare bottom bullets up to 1200 or so with out leading if everything is right. A gas check mold will make life easier though.

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    I got one hole up to .411 X .412, egged wide at the seam. I didn't sized it, and it seems to shoot well with a medium hard lead, 18 gr. IMR 4227, Alox tumble lube, showing no decernable leading. This will work for now, but something heavier with a gas check is in the future. What is the proper procedure for checking for a tight spot. If a guy finds a tight spot, how do you deal with it? Thanks, Bob

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    You can size them round if you want, but I wouldn't. They should be larger than your bore and will easily size down in the forcing cone. There is a possible problem with overly tight barrel threads causing a restriction at that point which can size the bullets down even more making them a bit small past that point in the barrel. To check, oil the barrel and drive a soft lead fishing weight ( one of the egg shaped ones ) down the barrel an inch or so. Then push it with a wood dowel by hand through the rest of the barrel. It should go through with a fairly even force unless you have a tight spot. If you notice a tight spot at about where the barrel screws into the frame you can fire lap the barrel. Google the procedure for fire lapping. It will also help to smooth the entire barrel making it less likely to lead and easier to clean.

  10. #10
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    rbuck351 Thanks for the help. I'll check the barrel one of these days. I've never really felt the need to do a lot of sizing unless I put a gas check on. Like I said, it shoots good with the egged boolits, with minimal leading. I don't usually shoot more than 50 or 60 rounds at a time, and there is really no noticeable leading. I'm really enjoying this gun. Bob

  11. #11
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    I'm a big fan of the 41 mag as a hunting revolver. I sold off several guns over the past few years. (retirement income, sort of a Second Amendment Roth) but kept three 41 Mag revolvers. I have an old style RBH with 4 5/8" barrel a slightly newer new style RBH with 6 1/2" barrel and a very nice 4" S&W M58. The Rugers like a particular hard cast 250 grain CP WFN style bullet. Loaded with Vihta N110 to about 1250 from the 4 5/8" gun it will shoot thru an oak tree and make a large hole through any cud chewer of the field. I do not feel under gunned in bear country. The fixed sight S&W is sighted with the standard 220 grain load and I still have some of those funny looking Speer half jacket SWC and loaded to about 1200 fps from the old Smith, it is quite the Armadillo slayer. I consider the 41 mag a hybrid of the 357 and the 44 in that it does tend to lead up a bit but still packs enough bullet weight to take on heavier critters. I still like the caliber and have owned at least one since back in the early 70's when I bought the old style RBH for, I think, $60 used.
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    Member Scorpion8's Avatar
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    I just bought a RBH in .41 Mag for woods carry and look forward to getting out in the woods with it. Does Alaska Backpacker make hard cast loads for this round? Those are my go-to rounds in the .357 Mag RBH and .44 Mag RBH's.

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    My favorite is the 41 mag N frame 657 S&W with a round butt conversion.

    You can also use 30-30 cases to make shotshell rounds for the 41.

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    Shot shells from 30-30's. I'm sure I could figure them out, but I would like to hear more. With what powder, and how much do you start with?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Secondhand Bob View Post
    Shot shells from 30-30's. I'm sure I could figure them out, but I would like to hear more. With what powder, and how much do you start with?
    Gosh--it was decades ago. Basically, I used somewhat reduced 44 shotshell loads with gas checks to hold the shot. We never worried about leading or anything like that.

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