From the Vault: The .41 Magnum Cartridge
Brownells Gun Tech™ Steve Ostrem takes us on a little detour from our usual FTV fare of historic / classic firearms and instead discusses the "middle child" of magnum revolver cartridges - the .41 Magnum. It was developed in the early 1960s by two famous gun writers and great cartridge developers, Elmer Keith and Bill Jordan. Jordan wanted a medium-power load with a bigger bullet than the .357 Magnum for law enforcement use, a ".41 Special" that lobbed a 200 grain bullet at 900 fps. Keith envisioned a more powerful .41 caliber hunting load. When Smith & Wesson and Remington got hold of the idea, however, they decided to go full magnum with a cartridge that rockets a 210 grain bullet at a blistering 1,500 fps. That much oomph requires a big, robust revolver, so S&W's resulting N-frame revolver was just too big and heavy for a patrol officer to carry all day. There was a silver lining: the .41 Magnum is an outstanding hunting round, though its bullet weight is nearly that of a standard .44 Magnum and the velocity is the same. You can handload .41 Magnum ammo with even heavier bullets, up to 265 grain - that's a big bullet with a LOT of penetration! So if you're a handloader and you come across at .41 Magnum revolver at a good price, go for it!
WARNING: Never attempt to disassemble or reassemble a firearm unless you are absolutely certain that it is empty and unloaded. Visually inspect the chamber, the magazine and firing mechanism to be absolutely certain that no ammunition remains in the firearm. Disassembly and reassembly should follow the manufacturer’s instructions.