The .41 Remington Magnum

This inbetween powerhouse endures.

The .41 Remington Magnum is in many ways the handgun equivalent of the .280 Remington and 16 gauge, a cartridge regarded by a relatively few True Believers as a perfect combination of ballistics and recoil. Like the .280 and 16, the .41 refuses to die, but all three rounds lag far behind the popularity of the dominant cartridges in their categories, the .44 Remington Magnum, .270 Winchester and 12 gauge.

While most 21st-century shooters remember Elmer Keith as the father of the .41 Magnum, other notable handgunners also had a part in its 1964 introduction, including Bill Jordan and Skeeter Skelton. The .41 was originally conceived as the perfect law enforcement round, more effective than the .38 Special and .357 Magnum then used by most American police departments, but more controllable than the .44 Magnum, considered the world’s most powerful handgun cartridge even nine years after its introduction in 1955.

The public’s fascination with the power of the .44 affected the success of the .41. Even the so-called “police” load produced by Remington, a 210-grain cast bullet at 1,050 feet per second, produced about twice the recoil of the typical .38 Special service load. The “hunting” load was a 210-grain bullet at 1,500 fps, developing over 1,000 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, and nearly the same recoil as the 240-grain “Hi-Speed” load of the .44 Magnum.
By John Barsness

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3 thoughts on “The .41 Remington Magnum

  1. m. sharpe

    The .41 rem. mag is a very powerful round. For typical handgun hunting range, it will penetrate very well. I hate recoil and wore a leather glove for practice, because of recoil and I would wear gloves in the woods, no matter the temp. I would practice more with the .41 with full loads, and had no complaints with this round or the 657 and the 2x Leupold package. This too is a large cal. being .410 Vs. not so much larger brother .429;one is 41 cal, the other 42 cal – not much difference when something requires a large hole.

  2. Mick

    I, too, am a fan of the .41 Mag, especially my 7.5″ barreled 657. Due to its weight and sight radius, I am able to pick off 8″ plates at 100 yards much more easily than the 629 6″ or 686 6″. For such use I load slightly under max cast loads; for deer hunting full-power 210 gr. hollow points. I do not, however, consider it a self-defense gun; I can use the “Specials” in the .44 and .38 variety in the house if the need arises; I know of no current factory load for self-defense, and at its size, I’d be better off with something more convenient. Great deer-slayer, though!

    1. Levi

      There are actually very good rounds loaded for self defense in 41 mag. I found 15 listed on popular websites. Cor-Bon 180 grain DPX solid copper hollow points are one example sitting on my shelf. But DoubleTap, Barnes, Remington, Buffalo Bore, Federal, and others make self defense ammo as well. Most revolvers come with 6 inch or longer barrels but there are still 4 inch smith and wessons out there. A 215 grain semi-wad cutter over a charge of Trail Boss powder for 800-1000 fps will work just as well as a 44 special or 45 colt. The problem with hunting bullets or max velocities is over-penetration which is bad in a crowd. It is very possible to kill 2 birds with one stone and has been documented with the 44 mag.


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