Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 490: Smith & Wesson 41 Pistol 22 LR

Auction Date: September 11, 2015

Excellent Bob Loveless Custom Smith & Wesson Model 41 "Field Gun" Semi-Automatic Pistol

Price Realized:

Excellent Bob Loveless Custom Smith & Wesson Model 41 "Field Gun" Semi-Automatic Pistol

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: 41
Type: Pistol
Guage: 22 LR
Barrel: 4 1/4 inch vent rib
Finish: chrome
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 3293
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 163
Class: Modern Handgun
Rating Definition:

Excellent, with over 98% of the Loveless applied chrome finish, showing minimal handling marks overall. Most of the slide markings are obscured by the alterations, though the original factory barrel and frame marks are crisp and clear. The grips are excellent, with a few minor handling marks. Mechanically, the pistol is superb, clearly the work of an expert. A scarce weapon in any condition, the brainchild and hand-work of one of the top names in American weaponry, and one of the most uncommon variations of Smith & Wesson's small caliber pistols.


Introduced in 1957, this Model 41 has been extensively modified in the workshop of Bob Loveless. Known as one of the leading lights of 20th century American knifemaking, Loveless was also an avid shooter, and particularly fond of the 22 Long Rifle-chambered semi-automatic pistol for plinking in the field or taking small woodland game. He was unsatisfied with the products on the market; to quote the man himself from an article in March 1975 issue of Gun World (photocopy included) "the ones capable of the accuracy I expected and demanded were all too big, bulky… If they were small, light and handy, they just wouldn't deliver the slugs to the place I had in mind.". Loveless started with a factory issue Model 41, and when it was done it was almost 5 inches shorter, including nearly an inch off the back end of the pistol to convert it into an open hammer gun. A half-cock notch was added for safety, the original target grips thinned and reduced to be more suitable for carry, a custom gold anodized aluminum back strap installed, a tang extension added to the bottom of the front strap, and the upper edges of the shortened barrel cut down and milled through to create a vent rib, in addition to a general hand polishing and fitting of the components. This example measures 7 1/4 inches in overall length, and weighs only 1 pound 13.4 ounces. By Loveless' accounting, the Field Gun represented about 75 to 100 hours of hand work, and due to other demands on his time the turnaround period for a stock Model 41 arriving at his shop and leaving as a Field Gun was about 4 years. One magazine, hand-fitted to the pistol and numbered to match, is included.

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