HOW GOOD IS THE 41 MAG

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sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
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1,835
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soda springs, idaho
I just read on another forum about a guy using a model 57 S&W in 41 magnum & he shot 3 doe's in 3 days & lost all 3 of them! He said he made "good hits" but didn't recover the deer. His load was factory 210 gr PMC hollow points & the deer were smallish whitetails.
As usual the comments varied from the shots not being placed properly to using the wrong ammo & 2 guys stated they didn't like the 41 magnum. One stated he did like the 44 magnum, I always have to chuckle when I read these kinds of comments. But first I need to state one thing very clear.

I'm not making a stand for the 41 magnum & I'm not making a stand for cast slugs over jacketed. What I would like to know is if anyone has ever used the 41 magnum with bad results that feels like he didn't have enough gun! Two things usually happen when game is lost when using a sixgun.....or a rifle for that matter. Either the shooter didn't make a correct shot, this is a tough one because few people will come to grips with the fact that they made a bad hit. The other thing that happens is, they didn't use the right ammo for the job, now I didn't say the right caliber, I said the right ammo! There's a huge difference.
I've stated many times that I"m a cast bullet believer because I've taken so much game with them, my animals don't run & run & run until they finally bleed out, they go down fast & final. I've also stated many times that I believe a good jacketed slug to be somewhat better than cast for deer size game, I think the results are faster & for those who think they need some expansion a correct jacketed slug will give that. The fellow above probably made bad hits (guts) & the jacketed HP's expanded but didn't exit, so no blood trail. Bullets are something we all have to work out for ourselves. I'll sacrifice some expansion for an exit hole!
Again, I'm not trying to crown the 41 magnum the king of sixguns, it isn't. If I were backed into a corner I'd have to say I prefer the 44 magnum, not because its better but because I just like it better. I won't bore anyone with how much game I've taken with both calibers, I will say I've taken a bunch.
If 230 gr & 250 gr 41 slugs are giving complete penetration on large elk how can a 250 gr 44 be any better, actually there's only .019" difference, its like the 44 is magic & the 41 shoots blanks.
Some will say the 44 magnum will shoot the bigger bullets (300 grs+) & they will but if 230gr & 250 gr 41's are exiting elk size game..........well, you get the picture.
What I would really like to know, from those in the know, is, can you actually, in the field see a difference. Another caliber that gets mentioned often is the wonderful 45 Colt (not long colt) this caliber truly is a hammer, its quite a bit bigger than both the 41 & 44 & with that wide meplat it will handle, with correct loads & bullets, anything that walks the earth.
Another argument is the 44's & 45's with hot loads give you more range, this one is absolutely false, the 41 will shoot flatter than either. I'm not trying to sway anyone towards the 41 magnum & away from the great 44 or 45, just trying to get some real, in the field, blood & guts results from those who actually use the 41 as opposed to those who "think" it won't work on big game, or their uncle Jethro told them it wasn't any good!
Please speak up & give your honest opinions & results, good or bad. :D

Dick
 

BlkHawk73

Hunter
Joined
Dec 30, 1999
Messages
4,424
Location
Maine
Ever hear of anyone syaing "hey I took three shots, hit 3 deer and well, I just messed up the shot"? The cartridge is a great one for whitetail.
 

Jeff Hoover

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
919
Dick, you know as well as I do, that all three are GREAT calibers ! That's why I own all three, in several different persuasions :D. You also know I'm partial to cast, for several reasons. Cost, wear and tear on gun, personal touch as to diameter size, bullet hardness, and lastly, meplat size, or size of the bullet flat. The larger the meplat, the larger the wound diameter. A .41 cal. WFN will make a bigger wound channel, than say a .44 Keith bullet. Both bullets weigh approx. the same 250 grs., but the .41 WFN has the bigger meplat. Also, the .41, at 250 grs., will have a better sectional density, meaning flatter flight, and better penetration.

As you stated in prior conversation, bullet placement, and penetration are paramount for good performance, on game animals. You get both, with cast slugs. Gut shot, is gut shot, no matter what bullet diameter, weight, or style(cast or jacketed).

If I only had to pick one caliber, I would be happy with any of the above choices. I know it's the nut behind the gun, that is more important, than caliber. I would also want my choice in bullet molds, for any of the selected choices, as I feel confident in the performance of a good cast bullet, with a nice sized meplat.
 

bigchillymn

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
41
Location
cambridge,mn
I have shot four deer with the 41 210grn jhp, and two with a 44 with 240 grn jhp, all hand loads. I also have shot two black bear with the 41 mag, same load. All animals were average size, and shot at ranges from 25-60 yds. All were recovered with minimal effort, and I saw no real difference, in the effect it had on the animals. All animals had exit wounds.
The one thing I think needs to be addressed, is how hard did this person try to recover the animals? I have hunted deer for approx 45 years, in the brush country in northern Mn, and out of many many deer I have shot with rifle, mostly .308. I have only seen a few fall over. A heart shot deer can go fifty yards or more, a lung shot deer the same, gut shot even farther. We all like to think we make the perfect shot, but that is just not the case. If this person actually hit the deer I doubt if he tried very hard to recover them.
 

Double Maduro

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 6, 2001
Messages
193
Location
Portland, Oregon
Gotta love it, after he wounded 2 does and left them to die in agony, he shot a third and did the same thing.

If what you are using isn't working for you, use something else, or maybe even practice.

If there was no blood trail on any of the three, he probably just missed, I hope he missed. I hope he didn't do a half a$$ed 15 minute look around and went on his way.

This is not the kind of story we want our none-hunting friends to read.

A "good hit" with a .41 mag is a good hit and not much searching should be involved.

Sorry for the rant, but these kind of stories are really upsetting.

Yes, I hunt. Instead of hunting the second day, I would have been looking for the deer I wounded the first day.


DM
 

jerry b

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
19
DM is right on all counts.

Hunter or slob, you decide which.

Deer can run off for a good ways with vitals in a shambles. If he made "a good hit" with a 41 magnum (exceedingly doubtful), the deer are dead not too far away.

We are talking about handguns here. My experience is not a great as some in these parts, but I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 decades of association with the .44 magnum and .45 Colt. In that time, I've formed a couple of arrogant opinions:

A handgun hunter has to be a very, very good shot before going after real game. This is not an option for an ethical hunter. Popping paper plates at 25 yards at the bench off of sandbags is not good enough.

Extended range is a non-issue with an iron sighted revolver. This is a short range weapon and needs to be treated as such. Learning to hunt is the second requirement of the handgun hunter. Practice here during the off season (no, don't shoot stuff) in sneaking around (with a camera?) pays off.

Combine these two observations, and you have one heck of a challenge and great satisfaction when everything comes together.

Remember, though, I'm no expert or anything remotely resembling one. I am one more opinionated old fart, and nothing more.
 

sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
1,835
Location
soda springs, idaho
The guy hit deer #1, after about 100 yds he found some blood, then the blood quit & he sat down to think it over, the deer was laying close by & jumped up & ran, he lost it. Deer #2 & #3 were together, he shot the first one at 30 yds & it ran behind a tree, he shot the other one at the same distance & it ran behind a tree (his words) then the first one ran off & he shot the second one a second time, hitting it behind the ribs on an angle towards the off shoulder, it also ran off & was lost. This was in North Carolina.
He said he checked out his gun later, it had a 2X Leupold scope on top & said it shot fine, maybe it does! Shooting from the bench & shooting in the field are completely different. In the field you are excited, probably winded, you don't know the distance, you don't have a rest & everything is happening pretty fast, we've all been in this situation. The best thing we can do is gain experience, hopefully in the field but thats really not totally possible. The other way is to get into some type of competitive shooting, it ramps up the excitement & teaches us to shoot under "pressure", that deady flinch, right at the end of a trigger squeeze/jerk can be a disaster. I've always said the first part of the trigger pull is easy, that last part, just before it breaks seperates the men from the boys, for a right handed shooter that usually means shooting low & left unless its done properly.
Still hoping someone can give an experience where he was under gunned using the 41 magnum, actually I'm not hoping that because I don't believe it but maybe someone has some real world experience to share with all of us, no theory, no personal opinions, just in the field facts!
Again, I'm saying failures aren't caliber failures, they are either shooter or bullet failures, agree or disagree.

Dick
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
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Lake Lure NC USA
Well, I think you know where I stand on the issue. I own several 41's 44's & 45's myself. Undergunned?? No way. You are correct in all your points about proper bullet design, and shot placement.
I use my T/C a lot, and I've learned to be very good with it. But,, I would NOT hesitate to use any of the above calibers for whitetails & bigger game. I've seen too much to discount them as "not enough gun."
Now, jerry b above; Handguns do have a shorter range than rifles,, but I guess every hunter has to decide at what range they can effectivily shoot a deer with a handgun. I wouldn't feel bad out to 100 yards or so with the 3 listed above.
I say the bad hunter who shot 3 deer made several poor choices, but the caliber of choice wasn't one of them.
 

callshot

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 26, 2006
Messages
952
Location
Pocatello, Idaho
Hello. This is can't shoot callshot here. I enjoyed reading this. Many of you may remember the picture of the bull moose that I harvested 2 years ago. Dick posted it then and once since. We were about 65 yds. and 1 shot later there wasn't any blood trail, because the moose only went about 10 steps and was down. We never found the bullet. It was a 230 go cast slug with 19 gr. of 2400. It was clocked at 1396 fps. It took the heart, left lung, some liver and possibly exited out the top of the animal. we weren't quite sure as we were too busy getting the huge thing onto the 4 wheeler to get home. I credit sixshot with my success, He was there when all this happened. Shot placement was the thing most likely the real killer, but the 41 did it's job also. I have other pistols and you would have a real hard time getting my 41 out of my hands. I will probably be buried with it and I will still have a big grin on my face. If it will kill a bull moose and elk, it will work on deer. I would not think that the animals can tell the difference once the lead hits the hide, and I wouldn't want to get hit with either one, because I couldn't tell the difference once it hit me either. Hope this doesn't boar you-all, because I am not an expert. I do have a full tummy thanks to the 41. Steve
 

Jeff Hoover

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
919
Callshot said,
I do have a full tummy thanks to the 41. Steve

What, are you robbing the local Artic Circle, at gun point, of huckleberry milkshakes ? :D :D :shock: :lol: :lol:
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,190
Location
51st state of Jefferson
Much as I'd like to, I've never owned a .41 mag. I've read that it penetrates right along with, in some cases better than the .44 with the right bullets. I think it fills out the field of .35, .41, ".43", .45, .47 and .50 "magnums" though. Gee if we only had true ".38 magnum", we'd have it covered pretty well huh?....Dennis :wink: (OOPS! Forgot about the .375 Supermag... :oops: Guess we've got 'em all!)
 

Old Judge Creek

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 1, 2001
Messages
320
Location
1881 Ranch, Nv & Northern Ca
I started my Big Bore "career" with a 44 mag only because I couldn't find a Marlin lever gun in 41 magnum. Frankly, I don't think there's a nickle's worth of difference between the two.

As for the guy that "hit" and lost 3 deer :roll: : He was either a lousy shot, a bad tracker or needed new glasses... t'warnt the 41's fault I can tellya that.

My only objection to the 41 in favor of the 44 mag is that there're simply more 44 mag firearms to choose from, more choices availble for off the shelf ammo, and more choices of reloading components.


Yeah...... I'm an opinionated ol' goat :oops: :lol:
 

Tommy Kelly

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
1,045
Location
MISSISSIPPI
Sounds like this guy needs to learn how to hunt. A handgun is nothing like a rifle in my opinion. It's rare to kill a deer in his tracks with a handgun. I killed one last year with my 500 s&w. A picture perfect shot at 50 yds the deer ran about 50 yds and fell dead. I haven't had a deer take a step with a rifle in years. Sounds like he was pushing the deer too quickly. If he had waited 30 minutes the deer probably would have died and recovery would have been easy. My son had killed a deer from the same stand a week earlier that I shot mine from with the same results. I told him I would kill the deer in it's tracks. It didn't turn out that way. I honestly thought the 500 would do it but it didn't happen. Upon cleaning the deer We could not believe the deer ran. It was totaly destroyed in the front shoulder area. From the devistation internally I was amazed that it didn't fall at the shot. I own quite a few handguns that are adaquite for deer hunting and the 41 mag ranks high in my book for deer. Nothing makes up for bad tracking skills except for killing in the tracks. I wouldn't have given up on the first deer until I found it. I refuse to waste game.
 

Quarterbore

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
904
Location
Valley Forge PA
I can't post if the 41 is adaquite from my experience as I don't have any experience to judge it on but I will relate to the one and only time I tried hunting with a flint lock muzzle loader. It was in January with a light snow falling and I was in the perfect spot as the deer kept coming in close. The first time, click, sparks, nothing... the second time click, spark, delay, boom, missed the deer... the third time, click, sparks, nothing... I went back to the truck and got the bow and put that fing smokepole away and filled my tag an hour or so later using the bow and an arrow. I sold that muzzle loader the following summer and never looked back, it was just not for me.

There is a time where you really need to evaluate your skill and equipment and if something isn't working for you it is time to give up and use something else. I don't have a whole lot of confidence with my own revolver shooting skill but at 30-yards I certainly know I can hit where I am aiming. If I lost three deer, that revolver would be back in the truck and I would have to do some serious evaluating before I was willing to use that caliber, load, or gun to shoot at another deer! Then again, I have not lost a deer in many years of hunting. I have had to work to find a couple, but never lost one.
 

2 dogs

Buckeye
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
1,400
Location
South Texas
I hadnt owned a 41 till here recently and I really like it. I havent had time to kill anything but rocks with it, but can say 2 summers back I was shooting at a good sized rock WAY out there and was really impressed with how fast the 41 got there along with the accuracy the Ruger Bisley displayed. Recoil was mild even with a heavy load.

I had Alan Harton do up a couple for me and I gave one to my oldest son who loves it. Here is a pic of my 41 and 45 set that Harton did. Gotta still do something about the stocks!

030.jpg
 

2 dogs

Buckeye
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
1,400
Location
South Texas
I also have a 410 GNR being done by Gary Reeder. I fully expect it to be bad to the bone marrow on Whitetail and Hogs! Should look about like this one:

000_0015-7.jpg
 

Short Barrel

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
515
Location
MT
I have to agree with all.I have zero hunting experience with the .41 but would not feel undergunned hunting most North American game with one.

Personally,I have to recover my game before I can assess whether it was a good hit or not.Whitetails can be tough,especially when hit wrong.Following a marginally hit animal too soon can guarantee a loss.

If the guy was hunting in the East,it is probably thicker than a lot of country I contend with here.Pushing a deer,causing it to run several hundred yards or more can be disastrous if there is no blood trail.If he is hunting in the mountains in the Western part of the State,most of the soil would be pretty hard and in the Fall,covered with hardwood leaves which makes finding tracks very difficult.

There have been a lot of guns blamed the mistakes of unskilled or inexperienced hunters,over the las several decades.The 30/30 was once considered a very powerful rifle cartridge.Many hunters today would think you were nuts for using such an "inadequate" round.

If this guy doesn't figure it out,he will be destined to go to a larger caliber and there will be worse carnage.If you can't hit well with a moderately recoiling caliber,expect to do worse with something bigger.

The .41 Mag is a fine caliber and the 57 is a fine gun.
 

Chuckbuster

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
492
Location
Southern Michigan
It's about this good
ShadyCoveBuck2009.jpg


NM BH .41mag, 245 grain Cast, 20.5 H110. One shot through the front of the lungs, jump/kick/run about 60 yards and drop over dead. Pretty much the reaction I expect out of most any cartridge when CNS or major skeletal damage not involved.
Kevin
 

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