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Two questions about the use of the S&W Model 41 in Bullseye Competition

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shanneba
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Post by mikemyers Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:51 pm

Over the years, a lot of people have used the S&W Model 41 for bullseye competition.  If I remember correctly, that' what it was designed for.  For those of you with good memories, I have two questions.

1 - Which barrel got the most usage, the 5 inch "bull" barrel, or the 7" barrel?

2 - A friend of mine tells me he has a barrel weight for the 7" barrel, similar to the weight used on the S&W Model 52, but apparently S&W made several styles of barrel weiighs.  What was the reason for doing so?


The photo below is my gun, with Altamont Rosewood stocks - I still have the original S&W stocks, and two "ergonomic" wrap-around stocks, neither of which fits my hand.  The slot in the barrel near the end is apparently how the barrel weight is attached.  I've also got a Clark barrel with a 1" Ultradot on top, but I wanted to try out open sights.

Two questions about the use of the S&W Model 41 in Bullseye Competition Img_6111
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Post by bruce martindale Fri Jun 24, 2022 8:50 am

Reason? Whatever will sell to who ever will buy.

Historically for use I can't say but I have seen both in competition for as long as I've been shooting. 

Personal preferences rule but in my opinion the shorter barrel may be slightly more forgiving to a new shooter due to higher inertia hence the option for weights on the 7 3/8 . I see High Masters competing with iron sights and the long barrel. Don't be afraid of the long one!

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Post by mikemyers Fri Jun 24, 2022 9:57 am

bruce martindale wrote:........I see High Masters competing with iron sights and the long barrel. Don't be afraid of the long one!
With such a long sight radius, and such great sights, at 50 yards I felt like I was "cheating".  I expected to go home, and put the Clark barrel back on, but as for the weights, if they were really helpful, I suspect they'd have been a lot more popular.  Yes, the gun feels very nicely "balanced" to me with the long barrel.

Curious - with all the new high-tech 22's, including the "space age looking" guns from overseas, for better shooters is the 41 still popular for competition?
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Post by shanneba Fri Jun 24, 2022 10:25 am

The first two years the Model 41 was only sold with a 7 3/8' barrel with a muzzle brake.
So the 7 3/8" was the most popular Smile

In 1959 they offered the first 5", it wasn't a heavy barrel so the Bullseye crowd probably still wanted the 7 3/8"

In 1965 the 5 1/2" heavy barrel was offered, with an extended front sight.

In the late 70's it seems the 5 1/2" was more sought after.

When I worked for a S&W distributor in early 80s, Model 41s were still scarce and whichever barrel length 
shipped from S&W would sell in a day or two. (I think the retail price was about $214 in 1980)

IN ABOUT 1980 they dropped the muzzle brake on the 7" barrel.

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Post by WesG Fri Jun 24, 2022 11:23 am

I'm not a 'better' shooter, but I've gone back to my 41 for the last couple matches. First time to see if the new extractor is working. So far...

Factory grips are kinda fat for me, and make a long reach to the trigger. Need to play with that a bit. A little roll in the trigger would be nice too.

I've been shooting an FWB for awhile. Awesome in many ways, but the raked grip frame makes for huge grips to make them more 1911-ish. I went thru a CMM set, and now a 3d printed set. Neither felt good to me, and bring back the issue of reach to the trigger.

Another hassle is cleaning it with a dot sight mounted. Its also not possible to use a rod from the breech, pull thru only. But man, what a trigger.

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Post by mikemyers Fri Jun 24, 2022 11:25 am

shanneba wrote:......IN ABOUT 1980 they dropped the muzzle brake on the 7" barrel.
Thanks for all the information - I guess I need to find a good source to read up on these things.

One quick question - was the "muzzle brake" a gimmick, or was it useful?  Is it designed to minimize the barrel lift when firing?

Hmm, thanks to your post, I did some searching, and found this:
http://smith-wessonforum.com/smith-wesson-semi-auto-pistols/410830-smith-wesson-model-41-muzzle-brake-factory-aftermarket.html

Apparently as a non-collector, I don't see much purpose in getting one, let alone the huge price!

I did some more searching, and found this:
https://www.gunbroker.com/item/937630160

Gee, for only $2,400.....    ouch!

But back to my real question, what is the black cylinder thing with threads at one end, at the bottom left of the image?  
Two questions about the use of the S&W Model 41 in Bullseye Competition Scree109
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Post by fc60 Fri Jun 24, 2022 12:02 pm

Greetings,

On the 7 3/8" barrels, there is a threaded muzzle weight that is installed at the front of the barrel below the muzzle.

They offered two weights. Aluminum and Steel.

If an old gun, the threads may be "stuck". So, apply a dose of good Penetrating fluid prior to removing the weight.

Also, use a screwdriver bit that correctly fits the machined slot to prevent burring the part.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by mikemyers Fri Jun 24, 2022 12:04 pm

WesG wrote:......Factory grips are kinda fat for me, and make a long reach to the trigger. Need to play with that a bit. A little roll in the trigger would be nice too......

.......Another hassle is cleaning it with a dot sight mounted. Its also not possible to use a rod from the breech, pull thru only. But man, what a trigger.
Two quick thoughts - I found lots of stocks/grips for the Model 41 last time I did a search.  I like the Altamont stocks; in my hands, they "feel" narrower.
https://www.altamontco.com/pistol-grips/smith-and-wesson/41/
Because of a gun broker mix-up, I ended up with three pair of them, one that I kept, and one that was for my brother, but which is now boxed up on its way to Dave Salyer to try.  If you make any reasonable offer, you can get my third set, but it's "brown", not "red", even though the box says Rosewood.  Their mistake.

Cleaning - I have the same issue with my Clark barrel - my solution was to use a longer cleaning rod.
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Post by WesG Fri Jun 24, 2022 2:05 pm

Let me get back to the house, and off my phone on the grips.

There's no access to the bore on the FWB from the rear. Theres a hole in the frame below the rear sight that draws you in, and then disappoints ;-)

Depending on the sight, you might have to remove it to remove the slide. And if not, you most likely had to remove the rear sight to mount it.

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Post by bruce martindale Fri Jun 24, 2022 6:47 pm

Recent production has been poor quality lm afraid, even the so called Performance Center models that l have seen. They may think highly of them but not those of us who know what the gun used to be.

That said, any made before that will hold their own. I made Master with mine. Their use of MIM fire control parts in recent times is disappointing. Clark or Cylinder & Slide should do it right

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Post by troystaten Fri Jun 24, 2022 11:35 pm

I have a mid 70's 41 that came with the 7.375 inch barrel with the muzzle break.  I have tried the heavy barrel and the field barrel.  When I bought mine I wanted one with a heavy barrel but could not find one.  I ended up using the longer barrel without the muzzle break as I did not want to get it all crudded up and I did not think it made much of a difference.  I think once you get used to which ever barrel you get with the gun you will just stick to that.

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Post by rich.tullo Sat Jun 25, 2022 10:52 am

I think the gun points better with the 7 3/8 barrel , my 2 cents.
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Post by WesG Sat Jun 25, 2022 11:36 am

Pistol Shooter's Treasury, maybe? An article about muzzle brakes. None of the pistols shot better with one. And maybe all of them worse.

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