I believe that the L frame could easily hold the .41 Police loading (.410" 210 gr Bullet at 900 fps.) but doubt that the .41 Magnum High Power load (1400 fps.) would work. I believe that S&W should have made a shorter .41 M&P cartridge when the .41 Magnum was introduced in 1964 and offered a K or beefed up K for Police use. I believe that police would have bought them. The N Frame modele 58 was too large and the M&P loading were the same size as the full power .41 Mag loading. Administrators were afraid that the street cops would use the Full power rounds on duty. The M&P loading were in short supply at times. Thus the .41 Magnum was failure as a police round.
It sounds interesting, although I believe that if the L frame was capable of handling the .41 Mag. in any configuration Smith&Wesson probaly would have tried it. I don't think it would stand up very well to the pounding and pressure generated by that cartridge.
Another case in point is the L-frame 696 in .44SPL.. I realize that that bullet is .19 larger, but it leaves the forcing cone very thin to the point that you can only use standard pressure .44SPLs and nothing hot rodded. I don't think that an extra .10 on each side is enough to handle .41 Magnums. If it could have been done feasibly, I'm sure Smith would have tried it by now.
That's an interesting question... I'd love to see an L-Frame .41 magnum.
Depending on which website you look on, the max average pressure specs for the .357 and .41 mags are seemingly not too different.... but would a 1,000 PSI difference enough of a difference to make it not at all feasible in a L-Frame?? SAAMI has lowered the pressure specs from what they were originally, probably as a liability concern, but if a particular frame was originally engineered to withstand the higher SAAMI levels... things could be "close enough".
.357 mag SAAMI is 35000 PSI (originally 47,000)
.41 mag SAAMI is 36000 PSI (originally 40,000)
Jeez... if S&W can get a Model 640 J-Frame to shoot .357 mag, you'd think it would be somewhat a walk in the park for a .41 Mag in an L-Frame.
As for S&W not trying to do it... that may be just an issue of economics, with the .41 mag cartridge considered as not being enough of a seller to warrant it... we've seen S&W drop models from their catalog over the years for the same reason.
There are a lot of gunsmiths willing to do .41 Special conversions on the Single Actions. My thought is that it would make a great conversion in a L-frame S&W...It's brass is a tenth of an inch shorter then a .41 magnum, and you would not be able to chamber a .41 magnum round. The downside would be that you cannot buy factory fodder...the upside is that you would have to reload for it... :mrgreen:
Plus, it would be on it's own level of cool.....to own such a conversion.
There have been SEVERAL L-Frames "Converted" to .41 SPECIAL over the years...I recall seeing an article about one that Jim Higginbotham in KY had done a number of years ago, I THINK in an old "Combat Handguns" mag, if my memory serves...I have a GOOD FRIEND who has a Four-inch 686 off at Alpha Precision--Jim Stroh--right now for that same "Conversion."
That having been said, and with FULL AWARENESS of the Ti-Cylindered 646, I do NOT believe I would want to PERSONALLY Fire a .41 MAG L-Frame!!! Just my OPINION, worth exactly what ya' paid fer it!!!....mikey357
I strongly suspect that the reason Smith made the J-frame .357 is because it was a good marketing trick (more power in a smaller package, etc. etc.) and they knew that no one was ever likely to shoot enough .357s through one to cause any problems. The gun can obviously handle the round (at least for a reasonable time), but most shooters can't. Same thing would apply to a .41 Magnum L-frame, except that there is no niche market for L-frames like the one that already existed for J-frames. Also, while the .357 and .44 magnums have a lower-powered alternative loading readily available there is no such commercial load existing for the .41. Various people have been trying to get a .41 Special off of the ground for years but it has never caught on, probably because it would only appeal to a vanishingly small number of shooters.
This is exactly what happened with the K frame!!! That's why they were forced to make the L frame, in the first place. Too many shooters buy a smaller, marginal revolver....then expect it to handle many full power loads. Then, they whine....when it can't!
They built it right from the start.......on an N frame!!! Bob