The 41 Magnum: An Oddball or Sweet Spot?

  • Paul Money
Photo courtesy of szuppo

The .41 Remington Magnum has been around for a long time, but many are unfamiliar with it. Is this round a diamond in the rough, or does it deserve its place in obscurity? 

Firearms legend-of-old Elmer Keith designed the .41 Magnum in 1964, intending it to be a police cartridge. The original loading was a 210-grain semi-wadcutter leaving a 4-inch barrel at 1150fps. It was to be fired out of a heavy, large-frame revolver, giving police officers a lower recoiling revolver that would still deliver a lot of energy.

Remington also decided to offer a much hotter 210 grain soft point load that left a 4-inch barrel at 1400fps. They also decided to call the cartridge the .41 Magnum, for marketing purposes, instead of the .41 Police, as Keith had wanted.

Unfortunately, it never caught on well with police departments, and the departments who did adopt it had trouble getting their officers to successfully qualify with the big revolvers. 

Thus the .41 Magnum never took the spotlight from the more popular .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum cartridges, which brings us to the question, “Is it still relevant?” 

The answer is “yes,” but the cartridge is probably not for everyone. 

The .41 Magnum is a great option for handgun hunters who want a lot of power, but want less recoil than the .44 Magnum. It could very well be useful for defense against wild animals, such as bears or mountain lions, and a great option for reloaders–especially those who cast their own bullets.

Ruger and Smith & Wesson continue to make quality revolvers in .41 Magnum. Henry offers a Big Boy Steel lever-action rifle in this cartridge, so if you like your rifle and revolver to chamber the same round, you’ve got an option. 

The .41 Magnum will probably never be as popular as the .357 or .44 Magnums, but whether you’re a discerning handgun hunter, an Elmer Keith fan, or just someone who likes to do things a little differently, it might just be for you.

Spread the love