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Old 04-06-2017, 02:56 PM
Marine24 Marine24 is offline
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Default S&W Model 41 - Things to look for

I have a growing affinity for target/match 22 LR pistols. I have a Marvel Unit 1 mounted on a Colt Series 80 frame, which has given me a greater appreciation for match 22 pistols.

The Model 41 is at the top of my list. I'm not looking for a collector piece, but a shooter. Condition is still important, as I appreciate a good looking pistol.

I read in previous threads about older models being better than newer ones and "A" prefix serial numbers are the ones to be on the lookout for.

Any words of wisdom?
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Old 04-06-2017, 03:40 PM
laytonj1 laytonj1 is offline
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I have a 41 from the late 50's and one from 2001. Other than the much nicer finish on the older one they are both well fit excellent shooters.
Brief history:
Production started in 1957 at about SN. 3000. In 1970 the A prefix SN. started. In 1978 they dropped the muzzle brake on the 7" barrel guns and eliminated the cocking indicator. Around 1983 they went to a three letter prefix SN. From what I've read here, somewhere around the early 1990's they got away from the high polish finish. Otherwise, it's still the same gun.

Jim
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Old 04-06-2017, 03:55 PM
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A lot of people like the old ones better, but buy the gun. Skeeter Skelton wrote almost 50 years ago that people tend to think things were made better 20 years or more from whatever time period they're currently in.

I read on this forum about how good S&W's were in the early 70's, and then read in Gun Digests published at that time about quality problems from Colt and S&W.

Sorry to be so long-winded. Some 41's, from all eras's, do seem to have some feeding problems, so if you can try before you buy, that's a plus. However the ones I've bought from stores and online have been great.

You can usually buy a good Hamden CT made High Standard for less than a 41, and it will shoot with anything made; but, it's hard to find magazines for them.
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:06 PM
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Thanks Gents.

Good info. For a shooter, sounds like it is a wash and there really isn't any particular model that is inherently more reliable than another, but more about the individual pistol. Just like any used firearm, buyer beware.

Bob: I have a Hamden High Standard on my list as well. I've got my eye out for a Supermatic Citation or Victor, along with a Colt Woodsman Match target. High Standard will definitely be easier on the wallet.
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullet Bob View Post
A lot of people like the old ones better, but buy the gun. Skeeter Skelton wrote almost 50 years ago that people tend to think things were made better 20 years or more from whatever time period they're currently in.

I read on this forum about how good S&W's were in the early 70's, and then read in Gun Digests published at that time about quality problems from Colt and S&W.

Sorry to be so long-winded. Some 41's, from all eras's, do seem to have some feeding problems, so if you can try before you buy, that's a plus. However the ones I've bought from stores and online have been great.

You can usually buy a good Hamden CT made High Standard for less than a 41, and it will shoot with anything made; but, it's hard to find magazines for them.
Have an old High Standard citation military model 107. High Standard moved to Texas but you can buy magazines from them direct by going to heir web page. Magazines for the citation ran me $50 each.
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Old 04-06-2017, 05:50 PM
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Any year or model of the M41 or the M46 will serve you fine as long as you only use CCI-SV ammo in them. They can be a wee bit picky on what food they eat. but overall they are a great gun. Mine was produced in 1958 and is shooting as good as a brand new one.
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Old 04-06-2017, 05:52 PM
Marine24 Marine24 is offline
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Thanks Barrie. I read that was particularly true for the M46 given its thinner rails, but good to know that it applies equally to the M41 as well.

Mike
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Old 04-06-2017, 07:18 PM
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I have a PC version that I bought new last year. I'd put it up against my older model, or any other older model any day for accuracy, plus with the rail, mounting optics or dots is a snap.
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Old 04-06-2017, 09:45 PM
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Tom: thanks was hoping someone would chime in on their current model. I'm not a fan of the front sight but in some cases the new ones are a cheaper option that an older model.


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Old 04-06-2017, 11:15 PM
nutsforsmiths nutsforsmiths is offline
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I bought this one some 10 years ago. It's made in 1969. Came with after market adjustable target stocks on it, but also had the original grips. Also came with 2 muzzle caps (I've since sold one on the forum) and 2 mags. It took me awhile to find out that it only likes CCI Standard Velocity ammo, but shoots great. I have also shot a Model 46 and a 41 made in 1987. All were wonderful.

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Old 04-07-2017, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine24 View Post
Tom: thanks was hoping someone would chime in on their current model. I'm not a fan of the front sight but in some cases the new ones are a cheaper option that an older model.


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If you are considering mounting a scope or dot, the front sight is removable - it takes about 3 seconds once you know how. Another alternative though if you plan on mounting something other than regular sights is to buy one of the models that comes with a barrel that is already drilled and tapped for mounts. I'm not sure when the factory started offering these, but hopefully someone will chime in with an approximate time. I mounted Leupold variable power hand gun scopes on a couple of my barrels, and they are amazing for pin point accuracy. For normal plinking and target work, one of the numerous red dots are a good option, especially if you have 'old eyes'.
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:31 AM
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I qualify for the old eyes category. Cataract surgery helped but lenses they give you either give you great near or distance vision.

Looks like any post 1994 version comes from the factory drilled and tapped, but like the rail already on the PC model. Finding one is the challenge.
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Old 04-08-2017, 12:08 PM
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Default model 41 locked up

I recently acquired a used model 41 in good shape, took it to the range, tried several brands of ammo, functioned OK, decided to give it good cleaning. That is when this problem occurred, it reassembled easily, dropped the slide, dry fired it for function, and when I tried to cock it again it the slide was locked up tight as a drum. What now? I cannot cock the slide for disassembly to see what happened, any ideas? Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2017, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gunworx View Post
I recently acquired a used model 41 in good shape, took it to the range, tried several brands of ammo, functioned OK, decided to give it good cleaning. That is when this problem occurred, it reassembled easily, dropped the slide, dry fired it for function, and when I tried to cock it again it the slide was locked up tight as a drum. What now? I cannot cock the slide for disassembly to see what happened, any ideas? Thanks.
Using the search function is helpful: model 41 slide locked & jammed closed
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:20 PM
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Gunworx have you removed the magazine from the gun as that can be a cause for it to stick closed?
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:26 PM
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magazine is out
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Old 04-09-2017, 02:56 PM
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To Barrie (as well as any other M-41 owners) regarding M-41 ammunition selection:
I picked up a used M-41 in great shape from Cabela's Gun Library, and discovered the previous owner did not follow the standard velocity restriction--the small price from the S&W Performance Center to replace some of the 'innards' to allow it to properly field strip was a minor inconvenience compared to the two weeks' wait to get it back!
I am seeing three different CCI SV 40gr bullets (standard, pistol match, and Green Tag), as well as a number of comparable products from other manufacturers. What's the concensus as which ammo wrings out ALL or at least most of the accuracy these pistols are designed to deliver?
When I bought my Ruger Government Target 678, I learned the factory verifies accuracy standards using CCI Green Tag ammo, and the enclosed target had one jagged hole for the 10 rounds at the factory range.
Echo47
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Old 04-10-2017, 10:29 PM
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WE mostly use the CCI-SV ammo which comes in the Dark Blue box. Both of mine just love to shoot that stuff with virtually NO problems at all The only problem I seem to ever have is with New mags as the paint is too thick in certain area's of the mag. After pulling them out a no. of times the wear marks will be quite visible and they wear in much nicer as well. I have 10 mags at this time that I rotate thru them weekly.
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Old 04-10-2017, 10:56 PM
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Not the prettiest one at the dance, but it is coming home with me. Should make for a good shooter.


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Old 04-10-2017, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
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Not the prettiest one at the dance, but it is coming home with me. Should make for a good shooter.


Mine was bought new in the 70's, looks much like yours - sorta pale grips. I envy the guys who have all the dark rosewood grips appearing in these pages.
Anyhow, I see something on your barrel that mine has too, a tiny slot midway up the barrel flute into the lower slab side of the barrel. Does anybody know what this is for? I thought mine was a machining error for the longest time.
Enjoy your find when you get it. You're going to love it.
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Old 04-10-2017, 11:42 PM
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Default Smith & Wesson Model 41

I have a brand new one. I've shot older models, they're great, no complaints. The thing is, my new one is super accurate, came from the factory with a 2 pound 8 ounce trigger, and so far has functioned flawlessly.

Negatives? It is a little more difficult to take down than the older versions, but I expect that will work itself out given time.
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Old 04-10-2017, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ameridaddy View Post
Anyhow, I see something on your barrel that mine has too, a tiny slot midway up the barrel flute into the lower slab side of the barrel. Does anybody know what this is for? I thought mine was a machining error for the longest time.
Alignment mark for the accessory barrel weights.

Jim
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Old 04-11-2017, 01:18 AM
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The new Performance Center guns are superb. All are hand-fitted and assembled one at a time. Try Eley Tenex or RWS R50. The Army team guns all used Eley Tenex (red box) when 41s were still issued to Army shooters.
Bob

Top pistol is a 41PC; bottom an AMU-customized heavy barrel from 1980

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Old 04-11-2017, 07:06 AM
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Marine24, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it looks great to me! Besides, beauty has nothing to do with accuracy.

BTW: I noticed the same person I got my 5.5" barrel from has two more listed on GB for under $300, which is a great price for a new in the box barrel.
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Old 04-11-2017, 07:51 AM
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Thanks Tom. I'm pleased with the purchase and looking forward to getting it out to the range.

Appreciate the info on the barrels on GB. Actually was thinking about purchasing one or possibly send the 41 off to Clark Custom for one of his barrels.

We'll see how she shoots first and adjust from there.
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:47 AM
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Don't forget, you still owe us a report on your Model 52 too.
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:48 AM
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Roger that. Should have the ammo shortly and then off to the range.
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:16 PM
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Layton 11 is 100% correct in that the line on the left side is for the alignment of the barrel weights. Some of the better gun parts sites have them For Sale on occasion.
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nutsforsmiths View Post
I bought this one some 10 years ago. It's made in 1969. Came with after market adjustable target stocks on it, but also had the original grips. Also came with 2 muzzle caps (I've since sold one on the forum) and 2 mags. It took me awhile to find out that it only likes CCI Standard Velocity ammo, but shoots great. I have also shot a Model 46 and a 41 made in 1987. All were wonderful.

DAAAAAMMMMN that's a beautiful lookin gun !!! 😳😍.....sorry....I'll wipe up my drool now.
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:49 PM
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I own several Model 41's including the PC model purchased in 2016. I found that it took nearly 1000 rounds of CCI SV to "loosen" the pistol. Call it break-in or whatever, after that it was smooth sailing. I purchased a dozen new mags and a couple still must be coaxed out. I discovered the Clark barrels and my groups have improved considerably at 50 yds. Partly caused by sights. Only broke in the Clark bbl,500 rnds. more or less, but I think the Clark bbl. is easier to clean. Using the 20-20concepts weed eater pull thru buttons, it's taking fewer passes to clean than the factory bbl. Go figure.
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Old 04-18-2017, 03:29 PM
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Okay, now I understand what all the fuss is about. Just picked up my Model 41. Serial number indicates it is a 1983 year of manufacture.

Despite the 7 1/2" barrel the balance is exceptional and weight give it a very comfortable heft as a target pistol.

Trigger reminds me a lot of the Model 52 trigger. Light with a very clean break.

Range report forthcoming (yes one on the Model 52 as well).
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:36 PM
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Default some info on a model 41 please

Hi, I'm a newbe here and new to shooting again after 36 years. I recently purchased a model 41 serial number 16629. I have the original box and instructions. The box has the date 15 April 1955 and the parts, instructions, price list has SW 55 on the bottom corner. I'm hearing that they were introduced in 1957. Why do i find the date from 1955?
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:40 PM
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Dating S&W autoloaders with only numeric serial numbers is tough. They started in 1954 with a serial number of 1001 and ran through serial number 115000 in 1970. This applies to the Model 39, 41, 44, 46 and 52 according to the Standard Catalog. I have a Model 52-1 that I'm swagging to be an 1963 manufacturer given its 570XX serial number.

If you want the specific date, getting a letter from S&W is the best way.
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:57 PM
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Hi, I'm a newbe here and new to shooting again after 36 years. I recently purchased a model 41 serial number 16629. I have the original box and instructions. The box has the date 15 April 1955 and the parts, instructions, price list has SW 55 on the bottom corner. I'm hearing that they were introduced in 1957. Why do i find the date from 1955?
If the box doesn't have the serial number written on it, it may not be the gun's original box. Otherwise, Marine24 pretty much explained it. S&W had (has) a habit of making a bunch of frames, then finishing guns by grabbing frames at random. Makes for some troublesome date guessing unless you spend the money for a factory letter. Regardless, you have one of the best shooting 22 guns ever made for the price. Give it a good cleaning, then go sling some lead!
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  #35  
Old 04-18-2017, 06:26 PM
brentgiffin brentgiffin is offline
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Default some info on a model 41 please

Hi, I'm a newbe here and new to shooting again after 36 years. I recently purchased a model 41 serial number 16629. I have the original box and instructions. The box has the date 15 April 1955 and the parts, instructions, price list has SW 55 on the bottom corner. I'm hearing that they were introduced in 1957. Why do i find the date from 1955?
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  #36  
Old 04-18-2017, 06:32 PM
brentgiffin brentgiffin is offline
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This helps, the box has the serial number on it written is what appears to be white greese pencil along with "ok". There is some other writing to however not able to read it as parts are rubbed off. After running about 300 rounds through it and dialing in the sights, put 20 out of 20 on the paper at 25 yds. Super excited how this performs
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  #37  
Old 04-18-2017, 06:56 PM
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A bit of practice and you'll be putting 20 out of 20 in the black. Then you start shrinking the size of the black.
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  #38  
Old 04-18-2017, 07:33 PM
Barrie Barrie is offline
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Marine24 your barrel if being the long barrel is actually 7-3/8th" long not 7.5. Mine is as well and I really like the longer site radius from that length. Just came home from the range after a good shooting session with it. Happiness is cutting a line right across the 10 ring on the target to me.
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  #39  
Old 04-18-2017, 08:41 PM
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Default Ammo preference

I'm on my third 5,000 round case of CCI Blazer. My first M41 was bought new in 1982, the second one used in 1995. The serial number of #2 is 10,000 more than #1. My guns do not appear to be abused or suffer from 'hammering' from NOT using standard velocity ammo.

My experience with the CCI Blazer is muzzle velocity from a rifle is about 1175 fps to 1200 fps. From my M41 or Ruger Mk II pistols, mv is 1025 fps. I have six 22 LR handguns and four 22 LR rifles that shoot Blazers more accurately than any other ammo including several types of "EXPENSIVE" Match. I guess target shooters have to pay a 50% premium for ammo to get good accuracy.

I shot ammo comparisons with clean guns, dirty guns, and 50 round 'conditioned barrel' tests / groups. CCI Blazer was consistently more accurate. Enjoy your $7 per 50 rounds match ammo.
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  #40  
Old 04-18-2017, 09:41 PM
Barrie Barrie is offline
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Blazer is made by CCI-SV company as well. I shoot it myself on occasion but my M41 and M46 seem to like the CCI SV a wee bit better is all. Now my Anschutz sport rifle just loves the blazer. I think the longer Barrel makes a lot of difference.
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