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Federal .41 magnum cartridges.

Some 20 years after its introduction, the .41 Magnum is coming to be recognized as the excellent caliber that it is. Although it has tended to languish in the shadow of the .44 Magnum, it is very nearly as powerful as the larger cartridge; the .41 may well be, on the average, more accurate and flexible than the .44, and not as abusive to the revolvers that chamber it.

Ruger has recently started chambering the popular Redhawk in this caliber, and Dan Wesson has done the same with their large frame double-action. The Smith & wesson Model 57 and the Ruger Blackhawk have been chambered for it since its introduction, and the big Astra double action is also made for it.

When the cartridge was introduced, it was loaded to two power levels-with a 210-grain lead semi-wadcutter loaded to about 950 feet per second (fps) from a four-inch barrel for law enforcement use, and with a 210-grain jacketed soft point at about 1,300 fps for handgun hunting or police work when extreme power and penetration were wanted.

Recently Federal Cartridge Corporation introduced a new loading in this caliber. Its principal difference with the high velocity loadings offered by other firms is that it uses a 210-grain jacketed hollow point bullet in place of the jacketed soft points hitherto standard in this caliber. The Federal hollow point bullet design should give more spectacular expansion than the soft point styles and should be well-suited for varmints and game animals up to the size of deer.

The new Federal loading was tested in two Smith & Wesson Model 57 revolvers--a four-inch and a six-inch. As is typical of Federal products, performance was excellent. Groups at 25 yards averaged about two inches from the benchrested four-inch barreled revolver, somewhat smaller than that with the six-incher. One remarkable group from the six-inch clustered four shots into 0.65 inch with a "flyer" (probably the tester's fault) opening total group size to 1.6 inches.

Instrumental velocities taken with the guns' muzzles five feet from the Oehler Chronotach showed an average velocity of 1,265 fps with the six-inch barrel. From the four-inch barrel velocities, predictably, were slightly lower, averaging 1,191 fps.

A bullet fired into Duxseal expanded to almost double its initial size--to 0.81 inch--with no breakup or shedding its jacket.

Recoil and blast seemed quite moderate for a load of this power. The new Federal .41 Magnum should be a superb hunting load for those who need a fast expanding hollow point, and it would be a formidable defense load for a skilled shooter.

Information on the new .41 Magnum loads and the complete Federal line is available from Federal Cartridge Corporation, Dept. GA, 2700 Foshay Tower, Minneapolis, MN 55402.
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Title Annotation:evaluation
Author:Libourel, Jan
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Jun 1, 1984
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