Birth Of A Legend

Smith & Wesson was the first company, naturally, to market a .41 Mag. sixgun, and Elmer Keith had much to do with it. “While we were attending the NRA convention in Washington, D.C., Bill Jordan, the old border patrolman, came to me and says, ‘Elmer, you’ve got the .44 Mag. How about getting a .41 Mag. for the police and sheriff’s departments over the country that don’t care for the recoil of the big .44?’ I told him, ‘Bill, there never was a better time. All the arms company heads are here as well as ammunition company heads. So if you side me, we’ll get them all together and get the job done right now.’

I asked them for a .41 Mag., case length to be the same as the .44 Mag., bullet diameter to be .410 so that no old .38-40s or .41 Long Colts could ever be revamped to handle the larger bullet as they go around .403. I wanted a 220-gr. bullet. Doug Hellstrom also insisted on the .410 diameter to preclude the possibility of a cartridge ever being used in the old .41 guns which would not take its pressures. Earl Larsen of Remington could make the ammunition if the other boys would make the guns. Doug Hellstrom and Bill Gunn of Smith & Wesson agreed to bring out the gun ... .”