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  1. #1
    MGO Member Tom S.'s Avatar
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    S&W Model 41 Target Pistol

    S&W have been manufacturing the Model 41 .22 rimfire target pistol for well over 50 years. Why I waited until after retirement to buy one, I'm not sure. Probably because I was happy with my original Browning Challenger, purchased back in the mid 70's. After buying a Model 41, I will state that as nice as my Browning shoots, it's no Model 41.

    Here are some specifics on the 41:
    .22 Long Rifle (Standard velocity recommended)
    10 Shot Magazine (Some old magazines will hold 12 rounds but they command a premium)
    Weight 46.6 ounces with 5.5" barrel
    Trigger Pull: Adjustable between 2.75 to 3.25Lbs
    Barrel: 5.5" and 7"
    Patridge front sight, adjustable rear.

    These specs are for the standard version. There is also a Performance Center version ($$$) that has an integral sight/scope rail.

    As mentioned above, this model has been in existence for over 50 years, so used guns are fairly common. Some of the earliest versions came with a compensator, which with a .22 is pretty useless. The earlier versions also have a cocked indicator on the rear of the slide. Used pistols start of around $900 (for a decent one) and new ones list from $1369 to $1619 (PC version). Yes, they are not cheap. However it's a lifetime purchase that you can pass down through the family, or since they hold their value, eventually resell and for a profit or at least recoup your investment.

    If you read on line, you will see some posts about feeding issues. This is a target gun, machined to target tolerances, so a few things need to be kept in mind. First off, keep it clean. The rails tend to pick up dirt because .22's cartridges reknown for being clean burning. So every few hundred rounds, clean the rails and add a few drops of oil. Second is the ammo itself. A large contingency claims you should use nothing but standard velocity ammo. Standard velocity is 1080fps or less. High velocity is a couple hundred fps faster, which means more recoil. If you insist on using HV ammo, consider adding heavier springs to mitigate the additional recoil. Otherwise, you will be subjecting an expensive gun to forces it was not originally designed to handle. One last thing on this topic: springs do wear out from use. If you are having issues with a used Model 41 functioning, and a good cleaning doesn't solve the problem, try replacing the recoil spring, available from Wolffe Co.

    For cheap target practice, CCI standard velocity is a favorite of nearly all Model 41 owners. It's cheaper than target ammo and performs very well. For match competition, you might try one or more brands, but I've had good results with Eley Match Ammo, Black Box (around $10 a box IIRC). I recently picked up some Eley Yellow box at Williams for $7 something a box but haven't tried it out yet.

    So what do you get for your money? The Model 41 won't win any Olympic Medals, but then again, it doesn't cost north of $2,000. It will however win pretty much any local shooting match you enter, provided you can do your part. In other words, if you are good shot, the pistol will show that. If you're a poor shot, it will show that too.

    The picture below is a ten shot group, fired at 25 yards from a rest using Eley Black Box.



    The picture below was fired in the same manner using CCI SV.



    Hope this reviews helps anyone considering buying one of these pistols. If you mount a scope to it, consider the Leupold 2.5-8x long eye relief. It makes shooting this gun at it's optimal performance a piece of cake.
    Last edited by Tom S.; 10-11-2017 at 11:19 AM.

  2. #2
    I am a Forum User
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    I enjoyed your post immensely and agree with everything you have said.

    While I do not own a model 41, I have shot quite a number of model 41s over the years. Beautiful guns!

    I will say that with a good trigger or a good trigger job by a competent gunsmith, Model 41's will shoot with the best of them.

    Personally, I shoot a Pardini in my bullseye league. The only improvement on the 41 is that it has the weighted recoil reduction system, a fully adjustable trigger that can be simply adjusted with a couple of allen wrenches, a more muzzle heavy design, and more versatility with the grips.

    While I am a pretty good competitor, I have been bested numerous times by shooters shooting a 41. If I would not have been able to afford the Pardini, I would have selected the 41 and my scores would not have suffered.

    If you really want to have some fun with the 41, head on down to the local bullseye team. If you are in the Lansing area, we are just getting ready to start up our weekly indoor bullseye competition. PM me for details.

    Sincerely,
    Crankster

  3. #3
    I can't post links yet! Forum User
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    Bought my first Model 41 in 1971 at Super City in Flint. Still have the receipt & box it came in. I paid $141.00 for it and a couple boxes of ammo. It was the 7 3/8" barrel with compensator. I bought a 5.5" model, off Gunbrokers in mint condition that was manufactured in 1969, in 2014. That one cost me almost $900.
    But it was worth the price to have both the 7 3/8" and 5.5" guns in my collection. I own a lot of other 22s but none compare to the 41s for accuracy and smoothness.

  4. #4
    Great thread! I love my Model 41, especially with the Ultradot for Bullseye.

    The Aguila standard velocity seems to leave the gun cleaner for me.
    Does anyone use Federal Premium Gold Metal Match (in the red box, not the white box) ammunition in theirs? I'd like to hear your results and opinions.

    It is definitely one of those fine guns for a discerning collector, something you keep and pass down.

  5. #5
    I am a Forum User
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    Great report & interesting bits of history. Thanks for posting this.

    I had wanted a Model 41 for about 30 yrs., before I found & bought mine, (used) on consignment, @ a small shop in Troy.
    Belonged to a old timer who had competed in the Olympics, many yrs. ago,(I was told), & when he passed, his widow put his pistols on consignment @ the shop.

    The OP had ordered the pistol (when new) with all the factory accessories, 2 sets of target stocks, (1 lg & 1 small), a 7" barrel,
    with removable muzzle break, & removable counterweight, which attaches to the frame, beneath the muzzle, with some allen screws.
    Came with 4 or 5 mags (nice) but no box or paperwork. Haven't experimented that much with it, but it is easy to see
    it's more accurate than any of the other .22 rimfire pistols I own(ed), revolver or semi auto.

    Knew when I bought it I'd never sell it..and wanted the other 5.5" assembly, just because.
    It took almost 2 yrs. for S&W to finally send me the 5.5" conversion that I had to special order..gave me every excuse you could imagine why it was taking so long..
    was even told,: "we're moving the machinery used to make that part, to another location, & it will be some time before it's available "
    to.."we don't stock that part in inventory, as all the parts manufactured are used in the construction of new pistols"

    Really ? .. Then, why do you advertise the parts are available on special order ?

    After almost 2 yrs of phone calls & waiting, the part eventually arrived.

    Maybe it's time I took it to the range..it's been awhile.

  6. #6
    I have one with both barrels and box. It was purchased used in the 70's.
    I started out looking for a Hi Standard target at a gun show with a bunch a guys I shot with. The show was busy, elbow to elbow.
    One of the guys was Russ Carniak for those that may recognize the name. Russ always had a cigar and was a lot taller than me. All of a sudden he's blowing smoke moving people out of the
    way. I was trying to follow, next thing I know he's asking for money as he handing back the S&W box saying you'll like this.
    When I use it always think of Russ.
    "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." Albert Einstein - Physicist (1879 - 1955)

  7. #7
    I am a Forum User
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    Quote Originally Posted by joepistol View Post
    Great report & interesting bits of history. Thanks for posting this.

    I had wanted a Model 41 for about 30 yrs., before I found & bought mine, (used) on consignment, @ a small shop in Troy.
    Belonged to a old timer who had competed in the Olympics, many yrs. ago,(I was told), & when he passed, his widow put his pistols on consignment @ the shop.

    The OP had ordered the pistol (when new) with all the factory accessories, 2 sets of target stocks, (1 lg & 1 small), a 7" barrel,
    with removable muzzle break, & removable counterweight, which attaches to the frame, beneath the muzzle, with some allen screws.
    Came with 4 or 5 mags (nice) but no box or paperwork. Haven't experimented that much with it, but it is easy to see
    it's more accurate than any of the other .22 rimfire pistols I own(ed), revolver or semi auto.

    Knew when I bought it I'd never sell it..and wanted the other 5.5" assembly, just because.
    It took almost 2 yrs. for S&W to finally send me the 5.5" conversion that I had to special order..gave me every excuse you could imagine why it was taking so long..
    was even told,: "we're moving the machinery used to make that part, to another location, & it will be some time before it's available "
    to.."we don't stock that part in inventory, as all the parts manufactured are used in the construction of new pistols"

    Really ? .. Then, why do you advertise the parts are available on special order ?

    After almost 2 yrs of phone calls & waiting, the part eventually arrived.

    Maybe it's time I took it to the range..it's been awhile.
    Smith & Wesson progressively moved target pistol production from Springfield, Massachusetts to Houlton, Maine. This was a low priority due to limited sales and was finally completed in 2012. This alleviated overcrowding at Springfield which developed when they transferred Thompson Center production from Rochester, New Hampshire to Springfield in 2010.

    Industrial planning is not a Smith & Wesson specialty.

  8. #8
    MGO Member
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    I bought a Mark III in about 2005. Jays staff tried to sell me a 41 instead of the Ruger.. Maybe I shodda bit. Never shot one.

    The OP said used are common-not around here.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by langenc View Post
    I bought a Mark III in about 2005. Jays staff tried to sell me a 41 instead of the Ruger.. Maybe I shodda bit. Never shot one.

    The OP said used are common-not around here.
    Cant go wrong messing around with either, but if money is no option 41 is the better gun. Again, I never shot it, but all the 22 snobs say this, I believe, whether its worth the price premium to mess around .... maybe not.

    If you have the coin burning a hole in your pocket I would put it high on my list, I want one, and a couple old highstandard target 22s.

  10. #10
    I am a Forum User
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    Comparing a Ruger Mark III to a S&W 41 would be about like comparing a Chevy Impala to a ZR-1 Corvette,
    both will do the same task.. but a difference between how well they do it.

    & as far as finding USED model 41's.. just watch the ads & see how often you find a S&W 41 for sale.
    Took me many years ('cause I didn't want to purchase a new one) to find a used one FS.

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