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Model 41 S&W Slide Stop Failure Rate

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Model 41 S&W Slide Stop Failure Rate Empty Model 41 S&W Slide Stop Failure Rate

Post by REConley Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:38 pm

I have two model 41's and both have had their slide stop fail with in the last 3 months. I have owned them for about the same length of time and in that time I have fired between 36-37K rounds through them combined. I guess the split on ammo fired is 45 to 55%. Is the failure rate at about 18K rounds an expected, or should I say, not an unexpected event? 

Not a big deal if that is the norm. A $48 part and 15 minutes with a screw driver and repair is made.

Just curious but I thought it wise to have a spare after the first, hence the 15 minute comment and I have already ordered another spare.
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Post by spursnguns Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:32 pm

Hello REConley,

Apparently, I've been very lucky.  I have a couple of M41s and a M46.  Round count?  I don't know, well into the six figures.  The net net, I never had a slide stop failure.

Jim


Last edited by spursnguns on Mon Jul 11, 2022 10:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Slamfire Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:53 pm

REConley wrote:I have two model 41's and both have had their slide stop fail with in the last 3 months. I have owned them for about the same length of time and in that time I have fired between 36-37K rounds through them combined. I guess the split on ammo fired is 45 to 55%. Is the failure rate at about 18K rounds an expected, or should I say, not an unexpected event? 

Not a big deal if that is the norm. A $48 part and 15 minutes with a screw driver and repair is made.

Just curious but I thought it wise to have a spare after the first, hence the 15 minute comment and I have already ordered another spare.


How often do you change recoil springs?  I will bet that given a weak recoil spring, the slide goes back hard, and that is transmitted to your slide stop.

I do not have that many rounds on my M41 and hope my slide stop lasts longer.

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Post by bruce martindale Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:43 pm

Hmmm, I've never had one fail. What year gun? Rough serial No.? 
ie Tbj, A series, or just numbers? 

What happened? Front half break off where it sticks up? If so, is there a sharp corner that acts as a stress riser? My guess. Weak springs would reduce the impact.

If it's a corner, get in there with a small round file and smooth out the notch

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Post by REConley Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:07 am

2018 or 2019 built pistols and the break was in the same spot on both. A millimeter in front of the slide stop face before the radius coming off of the  pivot point arm.  I am a bit surprised that the second one did not break half way down the arm as there is a metal void on both sides at the same point. The more I look at these the less I am surprised that they failed.
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Post by brdrgrd Sun Jul 10, 2022 7:54 pm

Less than 9 months ago I purchased a new "Performance Center" model 41 and had to send it back to S&W twice, both times for the same problem. (failure to fire because of the safety getting in the way). When the problem returned I shipped the gun off to Clark Custom for their reliability package. Since the return the gun has performed flawlessly, until today.

During a league match my slide stop broke. This gun has less than 2500 rounds through it!!!

I wrote S&W and will await word on how they want to fix the problem.

Friends don't let friends buy NEW Smith and Wessons!!!!

Tim S
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Post by Pinetree Sun Jul 10, 2022 10:00 pm

My 2017 PC M41 went back to Smith & Wesson under warranty for the same issue of the safety flopping around causing a FTF. It wasn't any better when it came back, and KC Crawford was kind enough to tell me the secret, which is to just put a little more bend in the spring steel part that applies pressure on the safety.

Been working great ever since.
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Post by Rick H. Sun Jul 10, 2022 11:00 pm

brdrgrd wrote:Less than 9 months ago I purchased a new "Performance Center" model 41 and had to send it back to S&W twice, both times for the same problem. (failure to fire because of the safety getting in the way). When the problem returned I shipped the gun off to Clark Custom for their reliability package. Since the return the gun has performed flawlessly, until today.

During a league match my slide stop broke. This gun has less than 2500 rounds through it!!!

I wrote S&W and will await word on how they want to fix the problem.

Friends don't let friends buy NEW Smith and Wessons!!!!

Tim S

Don't kid yourself for a second on this.  The old S&W Model 41's have multiple issues too.  Simply put, it's the nature of the beast and sometimes luck, good or bad comes into the mix.  The Mothership may send you a new part, or ask you to return the pistol to them.  Either way I would get it fixed and sell it so your problems are over.  Oh, I forgot to mention, I have a newer PC Model 41 and it went back to S&W too for replacement of the slide stop and it's been working great.  If it broke tomorrow I would get it repaired and keep on shooting it.

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Post by mikemyers Mon Jul 11, 2022 7:39 pm

Rick H. wrote:
.......Don't kid yourself for a second on this.  The old S&W Model 41's have multiple issues too.  Simply put, it's the nature of the beast and sometimes luck, good or bad comes into the mix........
I know that there was a sharp corner in the slide of the original guns, that could cause the slide to crack.  That was rounded off, which as far as I know put an end to the cracking.

Excluding user-caused problems, such a putting the recoil spring in backwards, with the open end facing forward, what other issues have people been having with the older 41 guns?

My opinion doesn't count for much, but were I to want to buy another 41, there is zero chance it would be one of the newer guns.  Even the finish on the older guns blows the new guns out of the water.  That's a bad habit - the only "new" gun I have bought in ages is/was the Springfield High Power clone, and it made two trips back to Springfield and is still there.  Eventually they will send me a replacement.  I almost bought one of the Dan Wesson PM9 guns, but backed out of that too.  I've watched Hickok45 go through comparisons of the older S&W guns, and their newer replacement, and in every instance he prefers the original model.  Colt brought out the new Python, but everything I've read says that the original was better.

My opinion - they can't afford to "make them like they used to", so the newer versions lack the quality of when they were hand built.

OK, back to the 41.  Please describe some of those "multiple issues" that I'm apparently unaware of, when you get time.
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Post by Rick H. Tue Jul 12, 2022 4:47 pm

mikemyers wrote:
Rick H. wrote:
.......Don't kid yourself for a second on this.  The old S&W Model 41's have multiple issues too.  Simply put, it's the nature of the beast and sometimes luck, good or bad comes into the mix........
I know that there was a sharp corner in the slide of the original guns, that could cause the slide to crack.  That was rounded off, which as far as I know put an end to the cracking.

Excluding user-caused problems, such a putting the recoil spring in backwards, with the open end facing forward, what other issues have people been having with the older 41 guns?

My opinion doesn't count for much, but were I to want to buy another 41, there is zero chance it would be one of the newer guns.  Even the finish on the older guns blows the new guns out of the water.  That's a bad habit - the only "new" gun I have bought in ages is/was the Springfield High Power clone, and it made two trips back to Springfield and is still there.  Eventually they will send me a replacement.  I almost bought one of the Dan Wesson PM9 guns, but backed out of that too.  I've watched Hickok45 go through comparisons of the older S&W guns, and their newer replacement, and in every instance he prefers the original model.  Colt brought out the new Python, but everything I've read says that the original was better.

My opinion - they can't afford to "make them like they used to", so the newer versions lack the quality of when they were hand built.

OK, back to the 41.  Please describe some of those "multiple issues" that I'm apparently unaware of, when you get time.

The Model 41 is an old design that has been plagued by problems throughout its existence.  Were the older ones better made?  Perhaps, but I drank the Kool Aid and bought an older one and let's just say it was an utter dog of a pistol.  I spent quite a bit of money on it trying to get it to reliably function, but it was an exercise in futility.  Eventually I just cut bait and sold it for a loss.  That gun had several new parts put in it all to no good end.  It sure did look nice though with the pretty deep blue finish of the time.  At that point I swore off ever buying another Model 41 right up until I laid my eyes on a PC M41.  Just had to have it, not that it's any different than a regular M41 except for the top of the barrel.  Well I spent my money going against my common sense and sure enough my brand new PC M41 stopped working after about 20 rounds.  I had an idea what was wrong, but I also had warranty.  Warranty won out and the pistol went back to the Mothership.  This was at the height of Covid and just before Christmas so it took S&W about 6 weeks to get the gun back to me.  They did something to the barrel/chamber, I couldn't tell which from the note sent with the pistol and they replaced the slide lock which is more than just a slide lock.  In any event the pistol has been pretty much flawless since its return save for a few misfires that I attribute to CCI standard velocity cheapo ammunition.

If you look at the overall history of the M41 you will see a familiar trait regarding problems and that would be the fragile slide lock lever that serves multiple purposes.  Sometimes chambers are an issue which can usually be repaired with a good cleaning on polishing if needed.  Recently there were a couple of bad barrels that came up, but I only think I can recall two such incidents.  Clearly from what I have read S&W should have caught these problems BEFORE they left the factory and it is a shame they weren't.  So do we throw the baby out with the bath water or cut your nose off to spite your face?  If you have a problem with a NEW M41 get it to the Mothership and let them fix it.  If you are lucky like I was it may only require one trip back, but I assure you if mine wasn't right after I got it back it would have made another engagement at S&W.  I will add that if I were experincing problems with my M41 besides making sure it was good and clean, I would look at replacing the recoil spring, which is one of the most neglected items in any semi-automatic pistol.  Even if it's a new semi-auto doesn't automatically eliminate the recoil spring from consideration as a potential problem.

Let's see, oh yeah, safety levers are complained on a lot on the new M41's, but this has been a consistent issue for a long time.  They are too stiff, or they move if you inadvertently bump them.  Again, this is something that can easily be repaired many times by the owner, or send the pistol back to Smith and Wesson.  Another complainant is the trigger guard is too stiff to pull down for disassembly.  Again, many times this can be corrected through use.  Mine was stiff when I first received the pistol, but it's just about right now and I would rather have more tension on the trigger guard lock up than too little tension.  Lastly let's mention the beautiful bluing that these pistols once had.  Unfortunately I think it's unfair to lay all the blame on Smith and Wesson for this.  You rarely see any really deep beautiful bluing on any mass produced firearms today.  Truth be told I think a lot of the blame goes to the EPA and others that want to see caustic chemicals used in industry done away with.  There isn't much that we can do about that issue and I doubt Smith and Wesson can either.   The Colt Python you mentioned is another subject for another time, but closely floows along the path of the Model 41.

So there you have it Mike, my 2 cents worth on this issue.  Hope it helps.

Rick H.

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Post by mikemyers Tue Jul 12, 2022 4:54 pm

Quick question - I know the slide stop can be pulled down to release the slide, but I've gotten into the habit of pulling back on the slide, then releasing it.  Do either of these improve the chances of keeping the slide stop from having problems?
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Post by brdrgrd Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:05 pm

Smith sent me a return label and it is off to FedEx. My issues with Smith and Wesson go beyond my model 41. I also had a new Shield that I had to send back twice.

Mike I also slingshot my slide close all the time. I do this on all my handguns. This is the first time in over 30 years of shooting I had a slide stop break.

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Post by Stewboy Wed Jul 20, 2022 10:16 am

New member here. I just purchased a M41 new, and have had to send it back to S&W. After experiencing various feed and ejection problems its first time out (four different mags, 4 different brands of ammo) I disassembled it for cleaning, and the trigger guard froze completely in the open position. I'd disassembled the gun twice before taking it to the range, and though very stiff, the guard would snap into place with pressure. No go this time--completely stuck.

I'm confused by the economics of S&W at this point. Someone said that they can't afford to make them the way they used to, but surely it's still more expensive to pay for shipping both ways, and have a smith do the job that should have been done first time out. Not to mention the bad press they're getting. I just don't understand why a pistol with feed and ejection problems (75% of the time) and a  way-too-stiff trigger guard would leave the factory.

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Post by Bladboy Thu Jul 21, 2022 10:39 pm

A lot of the old timers are retiring and like in many industries, there aren't experienced people to take their place.

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Post by brdrgrd Fri Dec 01, 2023 9:48 am

My slide stop broke again last night.... The leaf spring snapped, I wrote S&W requesting a new part.

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Post by Sg1911 Fri Dec 01, 2023 10:51 am

The spring on my mod 41’s slide stop also just broke.  Seems to be a common problem.  Is that a computer code or what in the top photo?

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Post by brdrgrd Sat Dec 02, 2023 6:42 pm

S&W won't send me a new slide stop. They say it has to be fitted, and I have to send my gun to them. I am not a gunsmith but to me this appears to be a drop in part? If not, what do I have to look for to ensure proper functioning?

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Post by Jack H Sat Dec 02, 2023 7:24 pm

I fit one from Gil Hebard long ago.  It needed fitting to go into the round pivot spot.  And to go up the right amount and down the right amount.  
The spring is what broke on mine.  I know the springs have been replaced, but I don't know what it takes to open and then close the slot the spring attaches in.
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Post by Stewboy Sun Dec 03, 2023 2:46 pm

I've replaced one on one of my 41s; purchased on Ebay. It was an easy repair, but that may be due to the fact that it had already been fitted into a pivot slot on a previous pistol (the slide was used). Keep in mind that when they come from the factory, there's no spring, which has to be purchased separately. Fitting that can be a little dicey. The ebay slide stops typically have the spring already installed.

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Post by inthebeech Sun Dec 03, 2023 3:07 pm

Looks like they're skimping on the temper cycle time; probably to save electricity ($).  Thanks Biden!
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Post by REConley Mon Dec 04, 2023 9:06 am

inthebeech wrote:Looks like they're skimping on the temper cycle time; probably to save electricity ($).  Thanks Biden!

The two failures were during the term of a different President. Are we to blame him or could it possibly be the old issue of piss poor QC work by S&W?
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Post by brdrgrd Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:21 am

Well after sending my 41 for replacement of the slide stop again, S&W sent it back and now it won't reliably eject the spent case. I never had this problem before I sent it back to be "fixed".

The spent case will get caught be the new round attempting to go into the chamber.

I did throughly clean the gun, and it reduced the failure rate, but it still fails. 

S&W did replace the slide stop and spring. Is there some adjustment I can do? I don't want to send it back AGAIN.

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Post by Jack H Sun Jan 07, 2024 1:49 am

You should have it go down only enough so it wont interfere under the slide.  And go high enough to amount to a high ejector point.  At least that is what I did.
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Post by -TT- Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:32 pm

brdrgrd wrote:Well after sending my 41 for replacement of the slide stop again, S&W sent it back and now it won't reliably eject the spent case. I never had this problem before I sent it back to be "fixed".

The spent case will get caught be the new round attempting to go into the chamber.

I did throughly clean the gun, and it reduced the failure rate, but it still fails. 

S&W did replace the slide stop and spring. Is there some adjustment I can do? I don't want to send it back AGAIN.

I bet they replaced the recoil spring, and being new it's changed the timing. Leave the slide locked back for a few days and see if it improves the behavior. Hotter ammo might help too, until things bed back in.
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Post by SonofaGunsmith Wed Jan 17, 2024 12:42 pm

inthebeech wrote:Looks like they're skimping on the temper cycle time; probably to save electricity ($).  Thanks Biden!
Hi inthebeech,

I got jumped on in a different forum when mentioning heat treatment out of control. It is a high carbon sheet metal that is heat treated.

Thanks,
Mark

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