Sunday, May 2, 2010

Smith of the Week: Model 57 .41 Magnum DA N-Frame Revolver

Once again it is time for, drumroll please, the Smith of the Week, in my continuing self-education program on the many and varied flavors of Smith & Wesson handguns.

This week I have a sampling of a Smith I don't own and may never own unless a rich uncle dies, the S&W Model 57 .41 Magnum N-frame double-action/single-action 6-shot revolver.
- .41 Mag. cal., N-Target frame, 6 shot, 4 (disc. 1991), 6 or 8 3/8 (disc. 1991) in. barrel, blue or nickel finish, micrometer rear sight, special oversize Goncalo Alves grips, shrouded extractor rod, "S" ser. no. prefix 1964-68, changed to "N" prefix during 1969, 44-52 oz. Mfg. 1964-1993.
The Model 57 is the upscale version of .41 Magnum by S&W with adjustable target sights, versus the Model 58 with fixed sights. And the three 57 samples I am showing, blue and nickel 4" barrel models and a blue 8-3/8" barrel one, are all "No Dash" models meaning they are among the first Model 57s made before any engineering changes.

Note that one has smooth target grips, the other checkered target grips. I have no idea which one is the "special oversize Goncalo Alves grips" referred to by BlueBook, the checkered grips or the smooth grips. I am fairly certain the Pachmayr rubber grips on the 8-3/8" barrel model are not factory grips. But seriously, I have some Pachmayr Decelerator grips I bought for my S&W 29-3 and they sure make shooting .44 Magnums a lot more fun than the factory target checkered walnut grips.

And the last one shown in a S&W 57-5 Mountain Gun, which is different from the other Model 57s by a skinnier barrel, making it lighter and easier to tote on mountain hikes where you might encounter a four-legged or two-legged creature with murderous intent.

The three "No Dash" 57s all share pinned barrels and recessed chambers which are highly prized by Smith collectors.

Exactly why someone would want a handgun which has no engineering changes, which are presumably done by the engineers to make a handgun safer and more effective, I ain't got a clue. Maybe it's the famed Winchester Model 70 syndrome, wherein after 1964 engineering changes were made to lower production costs.

Never mind that level-headed gun writers who have tested and hunted with post-'64 Model 70s all acclaim it as a more accurate shooter than the pre-'64 models.

So on that basis, and the basis of a very skinny wallet, I shall stay away from "No Dash" Smiths and purchase the less-expensive dash models, as funds allow.

Let me sum up with some numbers.

The S&W 57(No Dash) Nickel 4" barrel can be yours for a mere $995.95. The S&W 57(No Dash) Blue 4" barrel can be yours for a mere $950. The S&W 57-5 Mountain Gun 4" barrel can be yours for a mere $800. And the S&W 57(No Dash) 8-3/8" barrel can be yours for a mere $900.

On the other hand, which has five fingers, I purchased my S&W Model 29-3 .44 Magnum for a mere $450. No pinned barrel, no recessed chambers, but she shoots like a dream. Plus I can shoot .44 Specials a lot cheaper than .44 Magnum, not to mention a lot more fun.

If I should find a S&W 57 I can afford, I'd still have the problem of ammo. The cost of .41 Magnum is even higher than .44 Magnum and not as available. And there is no such thing to my knowledge of factory .41 Special ammo. I'd have to become a handloader to do that and quite frankly Scarlett, I have neither the time nor the inclination to venture into that arena, not to mention the scariest words in the English language to me being "Some Assembly Required."

I'm a tool klutz and I know it so I very seriously doubt I'll ever be a handloader. I'm not sure I want to trust somebody else's handloads but I know for sure I wouldn't trust my own life to my own handloads. One absent-minded second and Boom! Whatever happened to that Myers guy?

And even if all that's aside, I already have way too many pistol calibers I'm trying to feed, .22LR, 32 Short and Long, .32 H&R Magnum, .327 Magnum, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .357 Sig., 9mm, 10mm, .44 Special, .44 Magnum and .45 ACP. I need another pistol caliber like I need another hole in my head.


Anonymous said...

Try the Georgia Arms .41 Mag 210 gr. that hits the end of the muzzle at 800 fps or Winchester 175 gr. Silvertips at just over 1000fps... controllable accurate, pleasant to shoot...the Georgia arms stuff is about $23 for 50 rounds...a little dirty but good stuff!

Anonymous said...

I won one of the mountain guns in a raffle. For my own cash, I was hankerin' for a .44mag Smith, but...I buy my ammo from Georgia Arms, and they have so far supplied quality ammo, always goes boom first time. The .41 is well balanced, shoots well, and I have to say that I love it. I carry it with me in the woods, and the only time I have ever had the need to even point it at another person, the sheer size of the revolver ended the "situation" quickly, and in my favor. Again, were I to spend my own bucks, it would have been the .44 mag due to more easily available ammo, but all in all, I really like my Model 57