Can I shorten my .41 mag cases

Can I shorten my .41 mag cases

This is a discussion on Can I shorten my .41 mag cases within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Is this possible, practical, safe? My thought is to shorten the .41 mag case, kind of like the .44 Special. They had the .41 Action ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Rightwing's Avatar
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    Can I shorten my .41 mag cases

    Is this possible, practical, safe? My thought is to shorten the .41 mag case, kind of like the .44 Special. They had the .41 Action Express which never took off, but was efficient and potent... I could probably trim the cases down on my .41 mag and make a great, and yet sedate 175 gr load, I am thinking 1/8 to 1/4".. Like a modern .41 Long Colt. Be nice to spark new interest in a classic, and well balanced cartridge. Hunting and defense/offence...
    I am going to give it a try, I will give you a report when I do, I am sure it has been done already..
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    S&W .41 Mag - Colt DS - Ruger Single Six - Ruger Security Six - Buckmark-Beretta 21A - S&W 351PD 22 Mag- Spfld XD 9mm -- Plenty Of Long Guns--- Dry Powder and RCBS.


  2. #2
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    Whats the point? If you want a nice sedate,easy shooting load, just download it.
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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Its an idea that actually already exists. Its called the .41 Special. Right now its only available as a custom coversion, but they are out there. I have seen pictures of a 5-shot Single Six in .41 Special as well as many other revolvers. I think its a fantastic idea, I'd love something like a SP101 in .41 Special for carry, but in this day of the plastic bottomless magazine automatic, new revolver cartridges are something of a gamble for manufacturers.

    At any rate, Starline has done some runs of .41 Special brass in the past and Midway has some (very expensive) .41 Special brass in stock from another manufacturer.
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    Member Array Rightwing's Avatar
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    "Whats the point? If you want a nice sedate,easy shooting load, just download it."

    1. Because it would be fun

    2. Wont I get more efficient powder burn and better pressures with less case capacity?

    .41 Special! Thanks I thought so, why couldnt I make my own cases?? I have resized 30.06 to 25.06, this would be simpler I think. I gotta look up the spec's on the special. Thanks Gents
    "You don't have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body." CS Lewis

    S&W .41 Mag - Colt DS - Ruger Single Six - Ruger Security Six - Buckmark-Beretta 21A - S&W 351PD 22 Mag- Spfld XD 9mm -- Plenty Of Long Guns--- Dry Powder and RCBS.

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    If the only difference in cases is length, yes, trim away. Many cases are based on another (.38/.357 mag) and lengthen only to avoid misloadings. I make 9mm Makarovs from 9mm Luger cases by shortening 1mm..
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    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    No you can't trim back 1/4" the wall thickness will be too great and you will not be able to expand/seat and/or get a correct crimp, an 1/8" would be Iffy. Even if you were able to expand/seat/crimp without damage to the case "I" doubt it would chamber as the OD at the bullet base will be too great with the added wall thickness @ 1/4" IMO.

    You can decide on the length you want, trim a case to that length and send it to one of the die makers and they will make you a set of dies that includes an "inside" reamer to bring the wall thickness back to normal at the case mouth for proper expansion and crimping.

    Experimentation is fun but unless you are going to have a .41 "special" or .41 Long Colt cylinder made for the revolver you have to deal with the carbon ring created the same as shooting .38's in a .357 mag. but in this case, at 1/4" it could be quite a problem where the ring occurs as to cambering full length .41 mags.
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    I never had a carbon ring in my .357 mag after shooting .38s. At least not after I cleaned the cylinder.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I never had a carbon ring in my .357 mag after shooting .38s. At least not after I cleaned the cylinder.
    Agreed as long as you brush out the cylinder well after the shooting session. But that round is .135 shorter and extensive use of .38's will erode the chambers short of the .357 length, just a fact that may well cause cambering problems later. The OP however wants to shorten the round by .250 moving the erosion ring further back the cylinder.
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    Member Array Rightwing's Avatar
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    Thanks for the useful information. I actually should have researched the topic more before I started the thread, and I could have answered a lot of my own questions. Interesting about the carbon ring, I had never heard of or considered that. Case wall thickness Is something I hadnt considered either... That would be the clincher I imagine for trimming the length down significantly, and making them work with std dies.
    Again, live and learn, now I know why shooters are paying big bucks for that Starline brass.
    "You don't have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body." CS Lewis

    S&W .41 Mag - Colt DS - Ruger Single Six - Ruger Security Six - Buckmark-Beretta 21A - S&W 351PD 22 Mag- Spfld XD 9mm -- Plenty Of Long Guns--- Dry Powder and RCBS.

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    Senior Member Array flintlock62's Avatar
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    When a case is shortened, it of course decreases the volume of the case. The 40 S&W is a shortened 10 mm., which makes it a high pressure round. If you don't know about ballistics, which you obviously don't, hence asking the question, I would stay the heck away from it. You could create a very dangerous or deadly situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rightwing View Post
    Is this possible, practical, safe? My thought is to shorten the .41 mag case, kind of like the .44 Special. They had the .41 Action Express which never took off, but was efficient and potent... I could probably trim the cases down on my .41 mag and make a great, and yet sedate 175 gr load, I am thinking 1/8 to 1/4".. Like a modern .41 Long Colt. Be nice to spark new interest in a classic, and well balanced cartridge. Hunting and defense/offence...
    I am going to give it a try, I will give you a report when I do, I am sure it has been done already..
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  11. #11
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    Elmer Keith blew up quite a few guns while developing new cartridges....
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I can't believe some of the answers you got here bud.

    Of course you can trim the cases, or as one knowledgable responder noted, by 41 spl cases that have been made.

    The 41 magnum is the only magnum cartridge not based on a special. However it's not difficult to reverse it. Many noted people have done this, most noted is John Taffin.

    What does a special give you over a down loaded magnum? More consistent powder burn and standard deviation from shot to shot for starters. This can give better overall accuracy.

    Talks of leaving burnt powder rings in the cylinder is almost laughable. Clean it, problem solved.
    Over pressure? That's BS.
    Just do a google search on the 41 special. You will enjoy it.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flintlock62 View Post
    When a case is shortened, it of course decreases the volume of the case. The 40 S&W is a shortened 10 mm., which makes it a high pressure round. If you don't know about ballistics, which you obviously don't, hence asking the question, I would stay the heck away from it. You could create a very dangerous or deadly situation.
    Not trying to be rude, but I think it is you who doesn't know what your talking about. Especially in relationship to what the soap is actually talking about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jem102 View Post
    Agreed as long as you brush out the cylinder well after the shooting session. But that round is .135 shorter and extensive use of .38's will erode the chambers short of the .357 length, just a fact that may well cause cambering problems later. The OP however wants to shorten the round by .250 moving the erosion ring further back the cylinder.
    Long time in replying, but if shooting .38s is causing "erosion" in your .357, you need to get rid of that junker and get something not made from pot metal. What erosion would a .38 cause that the .357 hadn't already started? I've never--ever--seen cylinder erosion in a quality handgun that received even minimal care. Grunge buildup possibly, but not erosion.

    As for converting any case to another, standard reloading precautions apply--start low; work up.
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  15. #15
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    I would love to have commercially available .41 special cartridges.
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