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  #1  
Old 02-22-2021, 11:33 PM
taters613 taters613 is offline
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So: Iíve wanted a s&w m41 for years, and Iím finally feeling ready to take the leap and buy one. However, now Iím debating over whether to purchase a NIB m41 off gunbroker, or to purchase a vintage, late 70ís m41 in excellent condition from a user on my local gun forum. The two guns Iím looking at would cost almost exactly the same price.
From what Iíve been told, the older m41ís have somewhat nicer ďfit and finishĒ, but ultimately, the newer guns shoot just as well. Plus, the newer guns come with a warranty and all that good stuff. Iím a shooter more than a collector; however, Iíve had bad experiences with the quantity control of newer s&wís, and I wouldnít be surprised at all if Covid and the massive uptic in gun purchases has made those problems even worse.
Anyway, any and all advice is welcome!!

P.S. - I do realize that this question (or variants of it) have been asked countless times on this forum and others. However, I think itís worth revisiting that discussion, especially considering the effects of Covid and the firearm buying frenzy that is occurring right now.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:43 PM
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This comes up pretty often.....

Contemplating a model 41. Go new or go old?


educate me please on the Model 41, old vs new and steel challenge


Model 41... Old vs. New
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:09 AM
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I think you answered your own question. You can buy a gun with good fit finish that shoots well or one with poorer fit and finish that shoots the same. Gee, I dunno.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:35 AM
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Again, I do realize this question has been asked many times before, so maybe I’ll make an effort to narrow down the scope of my question a little bit:
1) How has the chaos over the last year impacted s&w manufacturing quality in general? My gut tells me to be wary of any production gun manufactured during 2020 (or any production ANYTHING for that matter!). What do you folks think?
2) How about steel quality? I’ve read that the quality of the steel used in older s&w revolvers was generally higher (see this for example: An Engineer's take on S&W.). Does this apply equally to the m41?
3) What’s the most desirable vintage of m41? The one I’m looking at was made in 1978, and has a serial number of the form AXXX830. Is this a desirable vintage?
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:55 PM
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Ok, more concretely:
Which should I go with: a 1978 vintage m40 in very good to excellent condition for $1100 (maybe $1000 if I can talk the seller into it), or a NIB m41 for just under $1000 (purchased from an online retailer)
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Old 02-23-2021, 03:13 PM
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I would like to make a comment, but the last time I made a comment about the new S&W guns and my experience, I got dinged for "bashing and crying about S&W". Ok administrators, I will not share my views on current production of the S&W guns. So, If I were facing this decision, I would buy the 1978 gun. There, that is as nice as I can put things.

I can make this comment, I am dispersing myself of all recent make S&Ws in my possession. And I can say that a few months ago I purchases my first and only 41 made in 1969 and I am a very, very happy camper, so happy that last week I purchased my first and only 17, a 17-4 made in 1971. I am ecstatic about the 17-4 after two trips to the range. Hey, your mileage may vary as the sticker says, but if you come on here to bash your 2020 purchase, you will not get any sympathy from me and if you produce a truthful report, you could get dinged for crying and bashing the mother ship.

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Old 02-23-2021, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleCooner View Post
I would like to make a comment, but the last time I made a comment about the new S&W guns and my experience, I got dinged for "bashing and crying about S&W". Ok administrators, I will not share my views on current production of the S&W guns. So, If I were facing this decision, I would buy the 1978 gun. There, that is as nice as I can put things.

I can make this comment, I am dispersing myself of all recent make S&Ws in my possession. And I can say that a few months ago I purchases my first and only 41 made in 1969 and I am a very, very happy camper, so happy that last week I purchased my first and only 17, a 17-4 made in 1971. I am ecstatic about the 17-4 after two trips to the range. Hey, your mileage may vary as the sticker says, but if you come on here to bash your 2020 purchase, you will not get any sympathy from me and if you produce a truthful report, you could get dinged for crying and bashing the mother ship.
Thank you sir!
I too have had some ďquestionableĒ experiences with modern s&wís, but those experiences have been related to revolvers. My general impression is that the mechanical design of a revolver doesnít lend itself to modern manufacturing techniques and automation, which might be why s&w revolver QC has taken a dive. My hope is that this might not apply to semi-auto pistols (including the m41), since their mechanical design is relatively simple compared to a revolver.
I just verified that they new m41 Iím looking at was manufactured between 2017 and 2019, but no later than that, which at least alleviates my concern about purchasing a ďCovid gunĒ.
I also confirmed that the seller of the vintage pistol is not willing to budge from $1100.
So: a NIB 2019 m41 for $980, or an excellent condition 1978 m41 for $1100??
Im meeting up with the seller of the used pistol in three hours to look it over, so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-23-2021, 03:48 PM
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To the OP: As one who read all the pros and cons and then decided to purchase a new PC M41 I feel somewhat able to respond to your questions. I bought my new pistol and began having problems before I had 20 rounds thru it. I contacted S&W and on my 3rd day of ownership the pistol was logging air miles back to the Mothership. This was all in early November 2020.

Although S&W told me 6 to 8 weeks to get the pistol back it was closer to 12 weeks. This was allegedly due to Covid, sick employees and their holiday shutdown at the Mothership. Frustrating for me yes, but it's winter outside and I didn't NEED the pistol so no real big deal. I had read countless posts stated don't buy new, buy old if you want a M41. Well I wanted a PC M41 for the Picatinny rail and ease of mounting a red dot or optic. The absolute truth is you will take a chance no matter which way you decide UNLESS you know the person selling the pistol! A used pistol is just that ....used. And it has no warranty unless the seller guarantees they will accept a return of the pistol if it doesn't function properly. Good luck finding a seller with that option. So no matter which way you go you could find yourself with a pistol that's a paperweight, but at least a new pistol has warranty.

Since my PC M41 has been returned I have shot exactly 300 rounds thru it of various brands and only had problems with Remington Sub-Sonic ammunition which is understandable. The fit and finish of my pistol is outstanding and better yet, the factory repair caused no damage to my pistol what-so-ever. No scratches, no dings, no nothing. Am I happy with S&W now? Yes and no. The gun should have been "go to go" at the start, but it wasn't. The ONLY additional cost to me in all this, was the gasoline to get it to the Fedex hub for shipment. Everything else was covered by S&W including the shipping both ways.

I have owned only one other M41 in my life and it was a Jam-A-Matic that I lost my butt on trying to fix and sold at a loss. I thought I would try one more time with a M41, but this time a new one. Granted, it was a rough start, but I am happy at this point. Let's face facts, without knowing who owned a used M41 you have no real idea how well, or not, it was taken care of. If I had to do it over, I would do the same thing.

Rick H.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:50 PM
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My opinion:

OLD!

Better (real) Bluing, better solid Walnut grips instead of Plywood, real roll marks, much better magazines, better trigger (out of the box), less expensive to purchase (generally), better fit and finish, better box (if it comes with one). Need I say more?
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Old 02-23-2021, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief38 View Post
My opinion:

OLD!

Better (real) Bluing, better solid Walnut grips instead of Plywood, real roll marks, much better magazines, better trigger (out of the box), less expensive to purchase (generally), better fit and finish, better box (if it comes with one). Need I say more?
Only points I would disagree with in my particular case is the price ($1100 for used vs $980 for NIB), and the quality of the box (the used gun comes with the original cardboard box, new gun comes with a plastic hard case).
Also, maybe I lack class, but I kinda like the look of the newer laminate grips!
Would those two points change your opinion?

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Old 02-23-2021, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taters613 View Post
Only points I would disagree with in my particular case is the price ($1100 for used vs $980 for NIB), and the quality of the box (the used gun comes with the original cardboard box, new gun comes with a plastic hard case).
Would those two points change your opinion?
Hmmm, according to the S&W website the list price of a new one is about $1,400 these days. Even if a LGS discounts it - I can't see how a new one is cheaper!! (don't forget sales tax)!

Personally I much prefer the old, sturdy cardboard boxes - but that's just me and others may not feel that way. They are more roomy for extra magazines and accessories and don't take up as much room in my safes.

Bottom line - I just thing the older guns are superior in every way.

Link Below:

Model 41 | Smith & Wesson

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Old 02-23-2021, 07:16 PM
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If you shop around a bit online, you can easily find m41’s for well under the prices listed on the manufacturers website. This is almost always true for s&w’s and Ruger’s, less so for Sigs and CZ’s.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:21 PM
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Here’s what it comes down to: If it REALLY IS just the superior bluing, solid wood grips, and collectibility factor that make the old guns so much more desirable, then Im leaning towards buying new. However, if the old pistols are FUNCTIONALLY superior, then I’m leaning towards buying old. This could mean superior metallurgy, tighter fit, better accuracy, etc.
Can anyone state with confidence that the old pistols are functionally superior?
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:16 PM
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I'm an OLD man.... Whenever my purchase decisions come down to "buy old or buy new".... I always buy OLD... no reason, just because.....!!!

IMHO as always,

J.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:48 PM
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We can round and round on this forever, but I'll toss my hat into the ring. I personally would not buy a new 41. Three fellows in the local club have bought new ones and all ended up returning the guns to S&W for adjustment. I have a 7 3/8" model, made in 1960 that I bought used and it runs perfectly. And in my opinion it looks nicer. But your opinion may differ. Bottom line: Buy what makes you happy.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:53 PM
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Iím old and so is my early 1960ís M41. Both of us are flawless.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:15 PM
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I am making this same choice in the very near future. Currently leaning towards a new PC M41. If I find one at a good price, I will buy it.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:54 PM
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I vote for the older of the two. A friend has both a new PC M41 and an older version. I have fired both and prefer the older, both are equally accurate. The new one has had some feed and extraction issues which required aftermarket parts to make it reliable to his liking. The older version has a deeper finish that looks better to me. Get the one YOU like best.

FWIW: My 2206TGT can keep up with either of his M41's at a fraction of the cost but it doesn't have the prestige of the M41.

Good luck and enjoy whichever one you pick.

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Old 02-24-2021, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief38 View Post
My opinion:

OLD!

Better (real) Bluing, better solid Walnut grips instead of Plywood, real roll marks, much better magazines, better trigger (out of the box), less expensive to purchase (generally), better fit and finish, better box (if it comes with one). Need I say more?
I have many old and new firearms, but unless the person selling the firearm will take it back if it doesn't work right you are playing Russian Roulette buying a used firearm....any used firearm. All one has to do is read some of the ads for used guns and you will see many people like to embellish the condition of whatever they are selling. Great gun, awesome condition only shot once by an old lady then put in safe, test fired only, never taken out of the box except for pictures etc., etc...

Think about this, if all we did was buy old guns what would eventually happen to the supply of old guns? Obviously they would cease to exist and then what? The truth is, like any forum, rarely do you hear from people that buy something new and have no issues with it. You mainly hear from the people having problems and they go hunting for answers to their problems. I like old firearms just as much as the next guy, but with a pistol like the M41 you could buy a nice used one, or like me, buy a used pig. And while a gun may look like a sweetheart in pictures and have a really good price, you never really know what it's like until you take it to the range and have it in your hands. Pictures can be deceiving.

Used M41 prices are relative to given areas. Old M41's in my area are bringing big dollars, almost as much as new 41's. So it becomes a financial decision as to which is the better way to go, however few if any used guns will come with a warranty that you may need at some point. Spin the wheel and buy used with no warranty, or buy new and have a fallback option if you need it. Now if all you are going to do is put your old M41 in a safe the choice is really easy.

Rick H.
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:38 PM
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Red face No class!

I will digress a bit, but it's still sort of on subject of the thread. It amuses me when I see some comments about older model real walnut grips versus laminate or "plywood" grips on newer model 41 pistols. My model 41 is 2007 vintage so it came with laminated grips. I later bought a set of like new original old model walnut grips to dress my model 41 up. Well, after trying them I actually liked the feel, and yes even the looks of the laminated grips the best.

I guess this all doesn't prove anything other than I really have no class! Lol.
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Old 02-25-2021, 01:03 PM
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OP here.
I’ve been shopping around a little more, and I happened to find a pre-A, 1960 model 41 in really excellent condition. However, it only comes with a single magazine (no box, no other extras). It’s got the 7 3/8” barrel with the cap (no comp). It’s got the cocking indicator too, of course.
So let’s throw that hat into the ring as well! Assuming the prices are all approximately equal, should I purchase:
1) brand new m41 with 7” barrel,
2) 1978 m41 with 7” barrel, original box, two mags,
3) 1960 m41 with 7 3/8” barrel, one mag and no box.

I’ve heard the “pre-A” models are even better in terms of fit and finish than the A’s, although I can’t say that I could see any difference between these two guns (although I wasn’t able to view them side by side, or even on the same day).
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Old 02-25-2021, 01:30 PM
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New or old doesn't much matter....just get one and shoot the heck out of it!!

Randy
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:40 PM
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Price is always a driving feature for me, but I do Like new things better than used ones. I have a 41 I bought last year and a 41 I got at a gun show and it was made in 1985, and I can not tell the difference in them. I like new.
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:02 PM
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Exciting update: I just won a gunbroker auction for a vintage 1968 M41 with a 5.5” barrel!!
It appears to be in fantastic condition with only one minor scratch, and a hairline crack on one side of the grips. The bluing looks fantastic with very little wear. The hairline crack in the grips is not visible in the pictures despite the fact that they are very high definition, but was called out by the seller in the description (which frankly increased my level of trust). The pistol comes with one mag and no box, but will cost me less than $1k out the door, which seems like a great deal in this market. The seller claims to have shot this pistol himself and can confirm the reliability and accuracy (obviously he could be lying, but this wouldn’t be very consistent with calling out the hairline crack in the grips, right?).
Anyway, I’m very pleased and excited with the purchase. After all the research I did, I basically decided the following:

1) I’d prefer old over new, and a pre-A vintage with cocking indicator would be most preferable,
2) I’d prefer the 5.5” over the 7”, as the 7” just seems a bit too unwieldy, whereas the 5.5” balances perfectly in my hands (I’ve shot a 5.5” but never a 7” btw).
3) I set my budget firmly at <= $1200 out-the-door.
4) I want good-to-excellent condition, but NOT a “collector grade” pistol, because then I might feel too guilty to shoot it.

As you can see, the gun I found satisfies each and every one of my conditions!
I’ll make sure to update this thread with some glamor shots once I have the pistol in my hands.
Thanks for the valuable advice y’all!
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:10 PM
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You are going to love it!!!

Now, save another $1200 for a box of ammo........

Randy
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:20 PM
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Talking Congratulations!

taters613, I had been struggling trying to give an opinion on your previous post, primarily because I have a definite preference for the 5.5 inch heavy barrel on a model 41 versus the 7 inch barrel model. And then Boom, you came up with the perfect solution, and no opinion was necessary. Congratulations on your purchase and will be looking forward to pictures and a range report!
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:35 PM
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taters613, I had been struggling trying to give an opinion on your previous post, primarily because I have a definite preference for the 5.5 inch heavy barrel on a model 41 versus the 7 inch barrel model. And then Boom, you came up with the perfect solution, and no opinion was necessary. Congratulations on your purchase and will be looking forward to pictures and a range report!
Thank you sir!
Iím hoping Iíll be taking this pistol to the range next week, where it will compete against my other 22 pistols to see which performs the best!

So hereís a fun challenge: Try to guess the ranking of the following pistols in terms of group size and accuracy (in my hands that is!):

1) Ruger Mark iv Target with VQ internals and TK trigger upgrade,
2) S&W model 41 5.5Ē (the newest addition)
3) Browning Challenger ii 6 3/4Ē barrel,
4) Belgium Browning Challenger 4 1/2Ē barrel,
5) Ruger Single Six 6Ē barrel.
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Old 02-25-2021, 05:52 PM
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I'm guessing a toss up between the Model 41 and the Ruger MKIV Target. That's for first and second of course.

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Old 02-26-2021, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wproct View Post
I'm guessing a toss up between the Model 41 and the Ruger MKIV Target. That's for first and second of course.
Good guess, thatís what Iím thinking as well...however, the mark iv has a bit of an unfair advantage because Iíve put about 2500 rounds through it in the last couple months! Itís a fantastic shooter.
Side note: I just brought home the Belgium browning challenger today, and the fit, finish and overall quality of this pistol is astounding. Itís miles beyond the American made challenger ii, and, frankly, miles beyond any other 22 pistol Iíve ever held. The trigger is absolutely incredible as well. The gun is in excellent, near mint condition (but without the original grips), and I was able to get it for only $450 out the door on gunbroker! Seems like an absolute steal for this kind of quality!
Anyway, apologies for hijacking my own thread, but Iíd highly recommend that yíall take a look at the Belgium Brownings if you havenít already done so!

Last edited by taters613; 02-26-2021 at 03:54 AM.
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  #30  
Old 02-26-2021, 10:29 AM
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Yes, quality of finish and materials of the Belgium Browning Medalist, Challenger, and Nomad pistols are in a class of their own. IMO
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  #31  
Old 02-27-2021, 01:49 AM
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I usually donít add to these 41 old vs new questions. I donít have much experience with the ďnewerĒ 41ís other than seeing and occasionally shooting a friends. It really does shoot great, but it is not anything compared to the older ones in my opinion.

I still have a couple 1969 41ís and a 1969 Challenger, I think both are equally perfect in fit, finish and as important accuracy. I really like the deep blueing of the older ones compared to what is offered now. I got my second 41 just a years ago and it was a lot cheaper than a new one then.

Edit to add, the pictured 41 was $750.00 and the other barrel was $250.00.

Jim
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Last edited by 4T5GUY; 02-27-2021 at 02:33 AM.
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  #32  
Old 03-02-2021, 09:45 AM
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I went with a '68 over a newer model a few years back. Got a Clark 5" barrel for optics when I don't feel like shooting the 7 3/8 original, but the old iron sights somehow still work better for me.
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