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Old 04-22-2017, 11:37 AM
MangoBango MangoBango is offline
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Default Model 41 New vs Old Accuracy

Looking for insight on the new vs old model 41's, specifically regarding accuracy.

I bought a new one recently (not PC) because of the 'original owner' warranty and the tapped barrel, but am kind of kicking myself now wondering if I should have bought an old one instead. The new one I bought came dinged up and is out for repair, have not even shot it yet. I don't want to shoot it unless I am going to stick with the new.

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Old 04-22-2017, 01:39 PM
sceva sceva is offline
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I don't think you have anything to worry about in regard to the accuracy of your pistol. While the older ones may have a nicer polish / finish and better looking roll markings they are not necessarily more accurate.
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Old 04-22-2017, 01:48 PM
MangoBango MangoBango is offline
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Originally Posted by sceva View Post
I don't think you have anything to worry about in regard to the accuracy of your pistol. While the older ones may have a nicer polish / finish and better looking roll markings they are not necessarily more accurate.
Thank you. I actually like the looks of the newer models just fine. Looks are scondary to me though vs. accuracy & performance

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Old 04-22-2017, 02:47 PM
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These are a blow back action so . . it depends on (IMO) the tightness of the lock up, the chamber cut(new vs. worn tooling), the rifling AND, most importantly, the person on end of the trigger!!
I doubt that the average shooter could tell the difference.
They ARE great pistols - PERIOD.
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Old 04-22-2017, 04:52 PM
Barrie Barrie is offline
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I would strongly suspect the Brand New ones are just as accurate as my 1958 year model M41 or my M46 from 1963. Either one will outshoot most of us on here. They are in a class of their own.
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Old 04-22-2017, 07:10 PM
Homie Homie is offline
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Without shooting each one in a machine rest with some theoretically "good" ammo you will probably never know the answer to that question unless something is drastically wrong with one of them. It's not something I would personally worry about!
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Old 04-22-2017, 07:32 PM
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When the S&W 41 first came out, they used to test each individual barrel out of a test fixture on an indoor range. At 50 yards it had to shoot 10 shots inside 1". If the barrel failed, it was scrapped!

They sure don't do anything like that at S&W today, even at the "Performance" Center.

But, back then the majority of 41s were bought and used by active bullseye competitors. S&W, High Standard and Colt, not to mention that scrappy newcomer Ruger, were all fighting it out for match wins at places like Camp Perry. Colt dropped the Woodsman Match Target decades ago, High Standard is pretty much off the radar too.
These companies were also duking it out for contracts with the various U.S. service teams, like the AMU. The gunsmith/armorers would put every single new gun through the ringer. If they got "duds" people would quickly hear about it!
S&W could have never gotten away with selling the current inconsistent quality of 41s back in the 50s or 60s (jams, misfeeds, spotty accuracy, etc.).

Today, the few serious bullseye shooters who use a 41 will install an aftermarket barrel, like the Clark, or have the barrel relined by 10-X Precision, Falcon Machining etc. with a Lothar Walther match liner. Nobody did that back then because they didn't need to!!

Jim

Last edited by 6string; 04-22-2017 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:57 AM
MangoBango MangoBango is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6string View Post
When the S&W 41 first came out, they used to test each individual barrel out of a test fixture on an indoor range. At 50 yards it had to shoot 10 shots inside 1". If the barrel failed, it was scrapped!

Jim
Very interesting, thank you for the insight. Do you have any idea what year they did this until?

Also, your input on this market being less competitive for the 41 now vs. back on the day completely fits my perception. Seems like since the others dropped out, S&W can keep running with less QC. My new 41 didn't even come with a factory target which I thought weird for a target gun.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:19 AM
Joe Hohmann Joe Hohmann is offline
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Back in the "old days", many Olympic shooters used the 41. The gun is more accurate than most of the people shooting it (including me). The brand of ammo can affect degree of accuracy. My 41 is 20 years old.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:34 AM
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I'm not sure when S&W stopped doing barrel tests of the 41. But, I have a friend who shot on one of the Navy teams back in the late 60s. He visited the factory and actually saw the test range.
Until the NRA changed the match rules, bullseye pistol was an iron sight only event. This made it much more practical for top American shooters to transition to international events. If you've ever seen one of the rare aluminum slide 41s chambered for 22 short, you may be aware that this model was intended specifically for the international Rapid Fire event. Bill McMillan won the Olympic Gold medal in 1960 for rapid fire.... using a High Standard! (By the way, High Standard was much more committed to Olympic event pistols than S&W.)
Bob Ross, another American competitor who shot internationally, used a specially set up S&W 41 in free pistol. Normally, one would shoot a super accurate Hämmerli for that event, but Bob's 41 was set up with a custom full wrap-around fitted grip and trigger tuned to under 1 lb. He never made it to the Olympics with that rig, but he did win a Silver medal somewhere in Europe.

Today, American pistol shooters can't even make the finals, let alone win an Olympic medal. So, there's not much incentive for companies like S&W to cater to that small niche.

By the 1980s, the AMU and even a lot of National Guard teams had given up on guns like the 41 and were buying the Hämmerli 208/208S. That gun was discontinued in the late 1990s, and now the Feinwerkbau AW93 is one of the favorite choices for the top service team shooters.

Jim
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:59 AM
Wise_A Wise_A is offline
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Tastes have changed. People with want a 1911/22 to match their centerfire/.45 gun, or they want an ultralight like the AW93.

The 41 is heavy--very heavy at the muzzle--and increasingly expensive compared to the competition. The AW93 isn't that much more, and a .22 conversion with a dedicated lower built by a pistolsmith can be had for the 41's MSRP. So it's a niche option--if you don't want the 1911/22, and don't want to deal with the FWB's rarified dietary requirements, then the 41's for you. But that's an awful narrow window.

I think it's an excellent gun at $1000, new. I do not think that it's worth the prices I've seen many pay these last few years.
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Old 04-30-2017, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MangoBango View Post
Looking for insight on the new vs old model 41's, specifically regarding accuracy.

I bought a new one recently (not PC) because of the 'original owner' warranty and the tapped barrel, but am kind of kicking myself now wondering if I should have bought an old one instead. The new one I bought came dinged up and is out for repair, have not even shot it yet. I don't want to shoot it unless I am going to stick with the new.
Welcome to the club. I had 2 brand new unfired ones that were bad. Both were recent models. One was machined wrong and the replacement was dinged up and the bluing was all screwed up.
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Old 05-03-2017, 03:58 PM
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Model 41 extractors & barrels have always been a crapshoot . Dimensionally the 41 barrels were never really "match grade " . As I compete I had mine relined with a Lothar Walther liner . Alex Hamilton in San Antonio does an excellent job for a reasonable price , cheaper than you can buy a new factory barrel . Back in the day the Hamden produced High Standards had the best production barrels on a American made pistol . Generally speaking fit , finish & machining was better on the older pre A s/n 41's .
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Old 05-07-2017, 02:04 PM
wraco wraco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann View Post
Back in the "old days", many Olympic shooters used the 41. The gun is more accurate than most of the people shooting it (including me). The brand of ammo can affect degree of accuracy. My 41 is 20 years old.
My 41 is from the mid 1960's and will out shoot me and is a tad fussy on ammo. . I stay away from hollow points, not only with my 41, but my Winchester semi-autos and pump action rifles as well. .

Rod
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Old 05-07-2017, 02:12 PM
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My 41 dates from 1971, and the accuracy is on a par with a Ruger Government Target and a High Standard slant-grip Citation. In other words, very good indeed!

John

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Old 05-07-2017, 04:34 PM
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I like your fitted case Palidin where did it come from
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:51 PM
Rowlf Rowlf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatbum101 View Post
Model 41 extractors & barrels have always been a crapshoot . Dimensionally the 41 barrels were never really "match grade " . As I compete I had mine relined with a Lothar Walther liner . Alex Hamilton in San Antonio does an excellent job for a reasonable price , cheaper than you can buy a new factory barrel . Back in the day the Hamden produced High Standards had the best production barrels on a American made pistol . Generally speaking fit , finish & machining was better on the older pre A s/n 41's .
I compete with a retired AMU shooter who has mentioned the AMU armorers during his time with the team (late '70s to mid '90s) only allowed the M41 longer barrels as the short barrels did not meet accuracy requirements. He ended up using an issued High Standard for 22.

I can also highly recommend Alex Hamilton for barrel relines. KC Crawford, a retired USMC marksmanship team armorer is very good at putting an M41 through charm school. The services of both of these gentlemen turned my jam-o-matic into a reliable Bullseye competition pistol.

BTW, I still get better scores shooting a Hammerli than a M41, Ruger or NCG conversion.

Last edited by Rowlf; 05-07-2017 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:58 AM
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I like your fitted case Palidin where did it come from
It was made in Okinawa by an unknown craftsman. I bought it at a gun show many years ago.

John
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:45 PM
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[QUOTE]I don't think you have anything to worry about in regard to the accuracy of your pistol. While the older ones may have a nicer polish / finish and better looking roll markings they are not necessarily more accurate.

In terms of the date of manufacture, what and when differentiates (and approximates) the "older" models from the "newer" ones?
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:22 PM
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[quote=dgludwig;139591418]
Quote:
In terms of the date of manufacture, what and when differentiates (and approximates) the "older" models from the "newer" ones?
The earlier guns (1957-1977) were offered with 7 3/8" barrels, and could accommodate an aluminum muzzle brake. These had a cocking indicator pin which protruded from the rear when the gun was cocked. If the muzzle brake was not used, a muzzle cap was provided which could substitute for it. It could accept internal weights, and a set of external weights was offered for a time. In 1963, a 5 1/2" barrel was offered as an option. In 1965, this barrel was offered with an extended front sight, giving it a sight radius similar to the original barrel. Muzzle brakes, muzzle caps and weights were discontinued as options in the late 1970s.

In 1978, the 7 3/8" barrel was replaced by a 7" non-muzzle brake version, and the cocking indicator pin was deleted. In the late 1980s, production was moved from Springfield to a newer plant in Holton, Maine. Around 2000, S&W began drilling and tapping the barrel extension for scope mounting.

The earlier guns with long barrels, cocking indicators and muzzle brakes will bring a premium on the collector market today.

John
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:29 PM
dgludwig dgludwig is offline
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Thanks for the information, John. My Model 41 has the 5 1/2" barrel, no extendable front sight (I always liked the idea though) and no cocking indicator. I think it was made around 1987 (serial no. TB2 34xx) but, though I've heard that the finish quality on newer Model 41s lessened), the factory blue job on mine is superb.
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