I've been tempted by this pistol on numerous occasions over the years. And I've been oh-so-close to finalizing the quest on a few of those instances. But something always kept me from following through. Another gun I desired more. Needed parts for a project car. A new washing machine. A root canal and crown. You know, typical life stuff. Some excuse that kept it just out of reach.
At one of the local gun shops I used to frequent in the past, as I perused their used pistol section I happened across quite a few Glocks, an 'unfired' PDP F, one clean looking P220 Scorpion, a stainless PPK that I mentioned in mom n pop LGS thread and an interesting High Standard .22 with a very custom target grip and a seemingly out-of-place 4" barrel (seemed rather short for the expense of grip to me).
But the one I FIXATED on was a pristine-looking blued beauty of a handgun. My Holy Grail of a .22: a gorgeous 5.5" Smith & Wesson Model 41, with flawless walnut stocks to match the superb blued finish of the metalwork. And best of all, put to the display case at a fair and reasonable price. Right there and then, the gun gods were telling me...no...yelling at me, "Don't be a dumb ass again and let THIS ONE get away!"
It appeared to be just as lightly used as the P220 and the PPK. Only light smudges left from most likely giddy fingers handling this beautiful icon of a firearm. Otherwise the bluing was as good as it gets, at least as I imagine it to be. Not a minute nick or scratch on the wood. This gun is painfully CLEAN, with virtually none of the customary smidgeons and hints of carbon left over from a fastidious but not-quite-perfect cleaning effort. The gods were right; I'm not letting this beauty escape, so I bought it.
However having said all that blubbering about how 'perfect' this M41 appears, I do sort of feel pretty confident that this M41 has been used at some point in its past even if the gun's current physical appearance doesn't seem to support that idea. The action of this S&W is absolutely buttery smooth and the recoil spring feels a bit too soft (note to self: new springs to order); it's rather unlike the stiffer action of the brand new M41 our shop currently has in our own display case. There are zero 'dots' of exposed steel due to flaws in the finish or assembly, whereas the 'new' M41 has a bit of obvious silver about a 1/32" of inch or so long peeking through on the bottom right edge of the slide, right smack dab in the middle of that part where it's damn near impossible to disguise its obviousness. This gun was well taken care of.
It took a few moments to gather in all of data from what I was seeing. Then came the processing. Once my gray matter did its evaluation computations, I'm pretty sure I formed that blank stare of mine as I went into auto mode and blurted out, "Let's do the paperwork on this." The bucket list strikes again. It's been doing it a lot lately; it's been a rather expensive year...
So now the waiting begins; in a week the background check should be back and this beaut of a M41 should be home. Can't Hardly Wait.
Customary stock photo (I must've been too giddy to have remembered to take a pic of the actual gun):
I suppose that this pic will just have to hold me over. I will say that the pistol I bought came with different grips, ones with no thumb rest.
I really, really need me a M41…
Just found out that dad sold a 1950s 41 when I came along and Mom said something about “getting those guns out of the house now that we got a family”
I mean geeze…. Happy to be here and all, but a nice early S&W 41? Did nobody teach guys in the late sixties how to hide gun purchases from the wife?
At least I got the handmade Mexican Mauser he built and the Colt SAA. And the Winchester .22 I learned to shoot on.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
I got to play with a 41 for a bit at the range a few weeks ago. One of our Bullseye guys has one, and a .22 Short upper to go with it. What an awesome shooting gun that is! I like my MkII, but that 41 is just a masterpiece. I'd say you found a good one!
I have two of them. I replaced the grips with some Herrett grips and then sent them off to Alex Hamilton at Ten-Ring precision to be accurized and tuned.
That was probably fifteen years ago. I haven't cared to look at a new 22lr pistol since then. I'm set.
Congratulations to the OP on the purchase.
The M41s are a class act to be sure.
|Each post crafted from |
rich Corinthian leather
That is excellent - truly a classic and iconic pistol. Congratulations!
"The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli." - George Costanza
First, congratulations on obtaining a bucket list pistol. Although the sense of satisfaction that results from dong so is reward enough.
Second, if you had the chance of purchasing the 7" Model 41, would you have chosen it over the 5" Model 41, and why or why not?
And last, would you have preferred the Performance Center Model 41 over either of the aforementioned two models?
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.” ― Albert Einstein
|My other Sig|
is a Steyr.
Very nice, I’ve only ever shot one, like you it’s one of my must haves someday
Interesting questions. If the shop had all three pistols in their case as used guns in the same condition as the 5.5" that I bought, I would've bought both 5.5" and 7" and left the PC variant. Even though the top rail on the PC41 easily allows for an optic, it just looks so wrong to me on a M41.
Over the years I've liked long barreled rimfire handguns. I'm typically better with my Buck Mark Hunter than with the shorter Brownings. Same can be said about my 6" SIG Trailside over my 4.5" version. I suspect I would be the same with the 7" M41, so if I only had money for one the 7" would be my preference. However if that shop had had both the 5.5" and 7" at the same time in the same condition, like I said above I more than likely would've done my darndest to buy both.
|His Royal Hiney|
I looked at the title and thought how would this guy's ultimate .22LR pistol stack up against my dream .22LR pistol.
We match. Congratulations on the buy.
"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, 1946.
I love 41's. fantastic pistols in their own right, but the best part? it says Houlton ME right there on them I have a bunch of them just for that.
In any case me not being some super duper bullseye wizard the 7" is certainly less enjoyable than the 5.5. The only ugly one I've met is the last one I bought with a rail on it. Enjoy...
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
|Frangas non Flectes|
Congrats, and welcome to the club. The 41 is a fantastic pistol. The old ones are a whole different animal than the new ones. About the only gun I inherited from my father that I decided to keep was his old Model 41. I need to date the serial some time, but he bought it some time in the early 70’s, and it was used when he got it. I have the 5.5” and 7” barrel with the weights and comps. It truly is shot to shoot. You’re gonna love yours.
I believe in the 25th amendment.
|To Do What is |
Right and Just
Congrats. Finest 22 pistol made in the us in my opinion. I still kick myself (didn't know any better at the time) for passing on a 41 that was unfired, had the original box, and was a 5.5 inch barrel with the extended front sight. I passed at 750 and it sold for like 900 at the shop I worked at a few years back.
Wonderful target pistols they are. You'll need to try various brands of ammo to see what it shoots best. I always enjoyed the CCI standard velocity. You can buy the 7" barrel but, I will advise you stay with the patridge blade front sight as it is correct for target shooting. S&W also made red ramp front sights more for field use. Never owned one. A carbide smoker should be on your list to keep those sights black as night fir target shooting. I've owned 3 Model 41s and its earlier sibling the Model 46. My 46 was 7" and as new. I was truely blessed to find a perfect 46 as most for sale were rode hard by shooters of Air Force pistol teams. Enjoy your fine target gun.
Good for you! I’ve had the good fortune to have owned 4 of them, and currently still have 2. I prefer the older ones for purely esthetic reasons. That said, a late 80’s copy I had was the most user friendly of them all and made me look quite competent! Standard velocity ammo is the rule of the day, with many people endorsing the CCI SV. I have one that prefers the Eley stuff (CMP bulk).
I usually just replace the recoil spring when I get them as a matter of course to avoid / eliminate any potential problems.
The Wolff springs are fine, and I just stick with the factory standard weight. Surprisingly enough, getting factory weight springs directly from Smith and Wesson can be cheaper!
I have both barrel lengths but I shoot the short one better. I am sure you’ll find it both a pleasure to own and use.
Never bought a 41 but have always been tempted. I get cold feet when everyone emphasizes the need for standard and target velocity loads. Is this because high velocity (Mini Mags, etc.) rounds are inherently inaccurate, or is the worry about mechanical problems? I've heard the same advice for the Trailside and other high-end rimfires. All of my shooting is informal and I only stockpile high speed ammo for recreational shooting.
|A man's got to know |
Right around $1000 less tax. A more than fair price given the superb condition the gun was in, though in truth for a little over a couple hundred more I could've gotten a new one off of guns.com (the one in our shop is priced at around $1400). But no guarantees on how good the finish will be (see my above post). Sad to say imperfect finish work on new guns is too often a thing with S&W product these days, particularly on Performance Center guns. Our shop has now had 3 or 4 M41s that someone could easily pick apart the quality of the finish work, which makes this 'used' one I bought seem even more remarkable.
|A man's got to know |
^^^^ That's a good price for one in that condition, I agree you are better off with a good used one compared to new.
"But, as luck would have it, he stood up. He caught that chunk of lead." Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock
I love the "...don't be a.. and let this one get away!" I have this disease as bad as it gets, couldn't imagine it any worse. I have often lusted after an early pristine Colt New Service Target in .45 Colt. I found one about 15 years ago for sale for $4500! I looked at the pictures and called the shop and had a wonderful conversation about it, etc. A day or two after said conversation, I couldn't get it out of my mind. I tossed and turned all night thinking about it. I finally said to myself, "okay, you are getting it." I got up a few hours later, checked the website and it was gone! It was just there the night before! I called the store owner first thing, and he told me that another collector had been eyeing it and secured right before close of business that very night. I was sick for a week. I could stand to look at the reloading press, all set for some light .45 Colt loads.
Good for you for just going for it!!! I have had a couple of them over the years, one that was boxed with all the doo-dads, two barrels, the works. I sold that one, ugh, because I just had to have something else. I have one now that is a 60's vintage, no box, no goodies, near perfect shape and shoots better than mortal man could shoot. You will love it. Shoot it! Enjoy!
Now, if you ever run across a model 52-2 .38 special wadcutter only, should you dare to venture there, beware!, you will never be the same. oooooaaaaahhhhh!
“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.”
-Robert A Heinlein Nov. 1959
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