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Opinions of S&W Model 41 5.5"

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Opinions of S&W Model 41 5.5" Empty Opinions of S&W Model 41 5.5"

Post by Texasref 6/5/2024, 6:11 am

As the topic states, I'm wanting to know what the collective thinks.
Interested in pros and cons of those who have them.

Thanks in advance.

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Post by chiz1180 6/5/2024, 7:51 am

I like mine, it is a lower mileage older one though. It has been my experience that if you keep the chamber clean and shoot ammo it likes, it runs well and is accurate. It is a a heavier option than some, but easy to take down and clean. 

I think most people that have issues with them are related to high mileage guns and lack of proper maintenance.
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Post by Wobbley 6/5/2024, 12:38 pm

Mine is a 5.5 inch with a Clark 5,5 inch barrel.  It’s heavy, but is accurate.  Mine likes a drop of oil on the top round, but that’s a small price to pay for reliability.
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Post by RyanAdams28 6/5/2024, 5:00 pm

I absolutely love me M41, I have the 5.5in. However it didn't start that way. I had to put in ALOT of elbow grease to get the thing cycling and 100% reliable. Polished 5/6 magazines. Recurved the magazine disconnect on 2 magazine. Polished the magazine disconnect. Polished the sides of the trigger to prevent run on frame, and reduced the recoil spring to 6.5lbs. That all being done and fixed, the thing is one of my favorite guns to shoot, and is forever more accurate than I am. Zero regurts.

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Post by Steve K 6/5/2024, 6:33 pm

I have two 41s, a 4.5 and 7 inch.  Both run well as long as you keep them clean. After each season I strip them down and sonic clean them.  Since doing that I have not had a problem.

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Post by DA/SA 6/5/2024, 7:33 pm

A friend bought a Performance Center 41 late last year. It has been back and forth to S&W until two weeks ago when they finally gave him another one.

I went the other direction and bought a 1963 as new in box 41, and took it out of the box and it has been trouble free except for one thing g. I am left handed and my hand engages the safety during rapid fire. I need to increase the spring pressure on the safety. Other than that, feed it CCI SV and it just runs. No oiling the first round needed. Don't shoot it much though, as I prefer my High Standard 107 Military, as I shoot it better as far as iron sights go.

I believe that the older 41's are far more trouble free than the new ones.

YMMV
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Post by az224 6/5/2024, 9:25 pm

I bought one new in 2020, the barrel turned out to be unserviceable, I put a Clark barrel on it and now it's a great gun, great trigger. I read a lot about the various problems some of the 41 owners had so when I found out the barrel was no good it didn't bother me that much.

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Post by rburk 6/5/2024, 11:49 pm

Not sure the exact date, but I believe my model 41 is from the early 2000's.  I bought it used about 5 years ago.  It is the first bullseye pistol I owned, and got me started in this great sport.

Pros:

  • Simple takedown to change barrels and clean the bolt/slide
  • Magazines are relatively inexpensive and readily available
  • Spare parts are available
  • It has the same grip geometry as a 1911


I can't think of any cons, it has been reliable and a good shooter for me.

I have a Clark 5.5" barrel on mine, the one without the extension, with a red dot sight.  I believe not having the extension over the ejection port helps with reliability.

I put a small drop of oil on the top round of every other magazine, and smear it on the brass.  Very little oil is needed.  I keep the chamber clean and do the "plop" test before a match.

It likes CCI SV.  I use a 6.5# wolff recoil spring.  

I also have the CMM grip adaptor for slab style grips.

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Post by Texasref 6/6/2024, 6:06 am

Thanks for all the replies and great information.
This is exactly what I was hoping for.

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Post by Slamfire Today at 11:02 pm

This is a 5.5 inch M46. Made about 1968. 
 
Opinions of S&W Model 41 5.5" HTsKjB7

First couple of matches, had function issues. Fixed that by changing the recoil spring.

Opinions of S&W Model 41 5.5" LV7Wg0a

Worked fine for a while but then stove pipes again. Called S&W for a mainspring, they were out. Ordered a couple from Numrich, what I received were all different lengths and looked as if someone cut them from coil stock with a wire cutter. Sloppy. However I put the longest one in the M46 and shot with it. I also removed the firing pin block and found the thing swimming in oil. Cleaned that out as I believe oil in the firing pin channel will reduce the energy of the firing pin. What I have done since then is blow out the firing pin channel with compressed air from the front every time I clean the M46. I have to push on the back of the firing pin, as the firing pin must have been designed as a gas block when it is at rest.  I tend to over oil, so for this pistol, I am currently very lightly oiling the thing, as I don't want oil flowing into the firing pin block.

It was not years, but it was soon that even with the Numrich mainspring, I was having stove pipes, failures to ignite, etc.

Called S&W last month, they were again out of mainsprings. Found an ebay vendor who claimed to have "factory mainsprings". Ordered a couple. They looked well made, were a couple of coils longer than the Numrich, and on installation, I could feel that it took more force to cock the hammer.

Shot around 100 rounds at an indoor range, all good. Shot about 150 rounds at the Gun Club, all good with new CCI SV, however some 1993 ammunition I have, that stuff is unreliable. Some goes bang, some don't go bang, some goes bang but does not eject. Can't blame the pistol. Shot in two matches, which is 180 rounds, the pistol is functioning well with CCI SV, no surprises. 

So a lessons learned. Change out decades old springs, primarily the recoil spring and mainspring. And blow out the firing pin block. Maybe use carb cleaner on first cleaning. That ought to dissolve old oil, then blow that out.

And, if S&W ever has mainsprings in stock, buy a few. Might need one in the future.

As for firing a 5.5 M46, since I don't have a longer one, can't tell much of a difference between models. The thing shoots fine, when I have my flinch under control. I asked the gunsmiths at Clark what their M41's would do, if my memory was correct they are looking for ten shot, 3/4 inch groups at 50 yards. Having shot a lot of rim fire ammunition through match rifles, at some accuracy level, you are lot testing ammunition. Rifle shooters have smaller ten rings, and they ammunition lot test all the time.

The gunsmith at Clark who did work for me stated that the new M41's were better built, made of better materials, but were not necessarily more accurate or more reliable. He had seen a lot, and claimed he had made M41's work that had been sent to the factory, and returned, but still had problems.  I did think was interesting the gunsmith had one well fired M41 where the slide was bowed like a banana. Maybe not as much as a banana, but bowed. I can see that as the load on the slide from the cartridge base is offset, so given time, I can see a slide bowing.

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