By Bob Walsh
GUN OF THE WEEK
The Gun of the Week this time around is the rather interesting Smith and Wesson Model 58 .41 magnum military and police revolver.
This gun had an interesting history, it came into being at an inconvenient time. Production began in 1964, at about the time many larger police departments were beginning to hire significant numbers of women and smaller men as uniform officers. This weapon is a large frame six-shot revolver. It is heavy to lug around and kicks more than a little. It was only adopted by a handful of police departments and production ceased in 1977. This sample is one of the few guns I have bought at gun shows. I wanted one and that’s where it was available. I leave the rubber grips on it for actual shooting, it has a very nice set of wood that goes with it that I paid a couple of bucks to have repaired and refinished.
This pistol weighs 42 ounces unloaded, compared to a similar Model 10 at 34 ounces. That extra half-pound becomes significant when it is hanging on your hip all day.
The original police load was a 210 grain lead semi-wadcutter traveling at about 1,000 fps. It had a lot of punch, was accurate and controllable.
Smith and Wesson also produced a Model 57, a premium grade revolver with adjustable sights. The load developed for it was a 210 grain semi-jacketed hollow point moving out at 1,300 fps. The Model 57 is still in production. I often think about getting one and having it cut back to about 2 ¾” to match some of my other big bore snubbies. Someday.
This is a really nice revolver. A buddy of mine, who does a fair bit of back woods travel in Alaska and in the U. S. north, carries one with heavy solids for his bear gun, just in case. In most cases it is actually more efficient than a .44 magnum, it shoots flatter and hits a LOT harder than a .357. As an anti-personnel weapon if you are limited to a revolver or just plain like them it is hard to find a better cartridge and a better (if somewhat large) weapon to carry the load in.