I am interested in obtaining a FA revolver 41 Mag caliber but sure could use some help in choosing model 83 or 97. Those of you with experience please chime in.
Question...what is going to be the main function and how hot a load do you want to run?
I have four...
83 6" square butt
83 4.75" round butt (at the factory now having the barrel cut from 6" to 4.75)
97 4.25" round butt
97 5.5" square butt
Have had the 83 (really a 654) since about 2002...have put tons of heavy cast reloads through it. Have both hunted with it and shot some very long range targets (780 yards). It is a sweetheart to shoot. Everything so far has been 250-300 grain bullets with 19-22 grains of H110 depending on the bullet. Recoil is pleasant to most everything else I've shot.
Just bought the other 83 round butt earlier in the month specifically to send back to FA to have the barrel shortened as it was a round butt. Shot it as a 6" before shipping and the trigger is almost too light. Bought it used and got a good price.
97 round butt...a little sweetheart...wonderful gun to carry. Have had it over 10 years. It is NOT friendly to shoot with full charge 250 grain loads but most everything else from 165 to 220 runs just fine. I've standardized on a MP mold that throws a 180 FP and 165 HP. Run them in the 1300s and just fine to shoot.
97 square butt...very nice all-around gun. Have been shooting Accurate 41-215V and 250F which are the same bullet in different weights. With 8-9 grains of Unique it has plenty of power that isn't overpowering to the shooter.
Only drawback to the 97 is the shorter than most everything else (except the no longer made Tarus Tracker) cylinder... 99% of all factory loads will fit till you get beyond 250 grain LBTs or Keith bullets...they are a no go unless deep seated.
If you cast your own you just have to choose your weight and nose design carefully.
The 97 also makes a GREAT .41 Special. Use Starline brass and now any bullet can be used. Can't quite get the same velocity as using Magnum brass but in the small frame 97 who really cares.