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.41 Long Colt

The 41 Long Colt cartridge was created in 1877 for Colt's double action "Thunderer" revolver. The front of the bullet was about 0.406"-0.408"OD. The barrel was about 0.404"-0.406" groove diameter. The case was short at 0.932"-0.937" long and the bullet lubrication was outside of the case. The base of the bullet was smaller in diameter at 0.386"-0.388"OD to fit inside the case. This is known as a "heel-base" bullet.

In the mid-1890's, Colt redesigned the cartridge. They reduced the entire diameter of the bullet to 0.386"OD and lengthened the brass case to 1.130"-0.138" in order to put both the bullet and its lubrication inside the case. The bore of the revolver was also reduced slightly to match the more popular 38-40 at 0.400"-0.401" groove diameter.

The newer soft lead bullet was made with a large hollow-base like Civil War Minie' balls. The base of the bullet expands with the pressure of the burning gunpowder to grip the rifling. It works surprisingly well, but by the beginning of WWI the 41LC was in decline and by WWII it was gone.

Starline has started making cases for this caliber and it can now be reloaded. Hollow-base bullets (Rapine 386185 or Lyman 386178) are the easiest to load and the easiest to get reasonable accuracy from. Black powder works best with all bullets. Heel-base bullets are harder to load, difficult to crimp, and hard to get good accuracy from, however, they are marginally more accurate than hollow-base when everything is just right. Remember, ALL bullets must be cast from 40:1 (soft) lead or there is no accuracy at all.

The only smokeless powders that work at all are small amounts of the fastest pistol powders (such as Bullseye or WW231), however, they are not as accurate as BP. Slower powders (such as Unique) give even worse accuracy.

This text is based on information from “Cartridges of the World”, Hodgdon reloading manual, the cartridge designer and/or own resources.

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    Bullet weight: Bullet name: Powder:    
185 grs
188 grs
Alliant Bullseye
Swiss Black Powder

  Not yet verified user loads
ID: Bullet weight: Bullet name: Powder:
622 184 grs
Rapine 386185 Hollow Base Alliant Unique
702 184 grs
Rapine 386185 Hollow Base Ramshot True Blue
1624 204 grs
Old West Hollow Base Titegroup
1625 200 grs
Lyman 386178 Hollow Base Bullseye
1657 183 grs
Buffalo 386185 Hollow Base such as 386185 Rapine Vectan Ba10
1668 184 grs
Buffalo 386185 Hollow Base Ba10
24353 200 grs
Montana hardcast round nose hill bullets Trail boss
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