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Old 09-29-2009, 10:31 PM
mikeyv mikeyv is offline
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Default Model 52 loads

Anyone here reloading for the S&W52-2. I have been loading 148gr hbwc with 2.7gr of Bullseye.

This load has worked well for me until recently. I am having trouble with the empty cases extracting from the barrel.

The brass I am using has been shot in revolvers. Someone mentioned that there is a special resizing die for use with autloading pistols. Does anyone use such a die?

My extractor looks fine even under a magnifying glass. I think it has to be a ammo problem, actually showed up just after finishing a box.

I am trying to locate some factory loads to try but any reloading suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:13 AM
socal s&w socal s&w is offline
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Yes, I load for a 52-2 and am having somewhat the same issues as you describe. The extractor looks fine under magnification as well.

I also believe that possibly it's not necessarily the sizing, but how the bullet 'expands' the brass after loading.

I have noted that the brass seems to have a slight bulge where the bullet is seated. (At least I can see something looking like a bulge if the lighting is right.)

I think that the issue lies there, since the 52's seem to be notoriously tight, it wouldn't take much of a bulge to be offensive.

I use Winchester brass and primers with a Hornady 148gr LHBWC.....now, and the issue has subsided, but is still there on perhaps 10% of the rounds fired. I was loading with 148gr LDEWC and had more than that, around 20%. (The bulge was more visible with those LDEWC bullets....maybe they are slightly over-sized, like .357, not .356?)

I clean my brass every time out with a vibratory, using NuFinish wax, which I think helps in the ease of running through the dies.

In talking with some of my co-shooters, they also shoot the same loading, 2.7gr BE, only with differing head stamps, without issue. I can't figure it out.

I tried bumping the powder charge from 2.7 to 3.0, thinking that may be the issue, but chickened out using them in the 52 because of the horror stories of leaving the HB skirt lodged in the barrel. (I did shoot them from my revolver and they were extremely accurate by the way.)

I have three different mags that I tried as well with no apparent issues there, they all failed at some point within that 10%.

Lubrication is done at intervals while shooting a mere 100 rounds, no difference....not limp-wristing.

I am very interested in some of the answers and look for enlightenment. It's very frustrating to own a nice gun like the 52 and not be able to enjoy to it's full potential.
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Old 09-30-2009, 01:21 AM
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You need to use a taper crimping die as your last function when loading semi-autos for proper seating and extraction. Are you, that may be your problem.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:44 AM
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I don't have a 52, but do have a 1911 in .38 special. I ran into feeding problems once using some (at least) once fired brass given to me. My own brass worked fine. I used up that ammo in my revolver and threw the brass away when I was done. I would suspect the brass.

I disagree that .38 WC ammo must be taper crimped for proper feeding. Before I started reloading, I shot a lot of Federal .38 WC ammo, it was all roll crimped and it worked fine.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:52 AM
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I agree with the comment about the use of a roll crimp for the HBWC round. You want a small radius at the opening of the case mouth to assist in the feeding of the cartridge.
One additional thought, have you 'scrubbed' the chamber with a slightly oversized brass brush on occasion to remove any carbon build up that might impact case extraction?
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:54 AM
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I shoot a 52-1 using 2.8 gr. Bullseye behind the 148 gr. Remington LHBWC seated flush and with a very slight roll crimp. The brass is from Remington 148 gr. WC factory loads and I have not experienced any feeding or extraction problems.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:48 AM
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Taper crimp is necessary for reliability. When I reloaded for the 52-2 I trimmed the brass to minimum length, and left the bullet lead about .0010 exposed. Be sure to full length re-size as a portion of the rear of the case is not supported in a semi-auto, and a slight bulge can develop in fired cases. If not fully re-sized, this may cause sticking in the chamber or occasionally a round not going fully into battery.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socal s&w View Post
Yes, I load for a 52-2 and am having somewhat the same issues as you describe. The extractor looks fine under magnification as well.

I also believe that possibly it's not necessarily the sizing, but how the bullet 'expands' the brass after loading.

I have noted that the brass seems to have a slight bulge where the bullet is seated. (At least I can see something looking like a bulge if the lighting is right.)

I think that the issue lies there, since the 52's seem to be notoriously tight, it wouldn't take much of a bulge to be offensive.

I use Winchester brass and primers with a Hornady 148gr LHBWC.....now, and the issue has subsided, but is still there on perhaps 10% of the rounds fired. I was loading with 148gr LDEWC and had more than that, around 20%. (The bulge was more visible with those LDEWC bullets....maybe they are slightly over-sized, like .357, not .356?)
.
Get a Lee Factory Crimp Die: Lee Precision, Inc. Reloading Tools and Equipment: Lee Crimping Dies
Scroll to the pistol section in the middle of the page. Use it last and I think it will eliminate all your bluge problems. It "post sizes" the loaded cartridge and will put a slight roll crimp over the top of the bullet. I seat in the next to last step/stage and then use the FCD to "post size" and crimp. I have been using 2.7 gr of Bullseye, 148 gr DEWC's seated flush and the Lee FCD and have not had an ejection problem since I got the FCD. (More than 2 years)

Jeff

Last edited by Jeff423; 09-30-2009 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:57 PM
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Get a Lee Factory CARBIDE Crimp Die: Lee Precision, Inc. Reloading Tools and Equipment: Lee Crimping Dies
Scroll to the pistol section in the middle of the page. Use it last and I think it will eliminate all your bluge problems. It "post sizes" the loaded cartridge and will put a slight roll crimp over the top of the bullet. I seat in the next to last step/stage and then use the FCD to "post size" and crimp.


This will solve your extraction problems if you trim your cases to a common length. I fired 30,000 rounds in a 52-2 and used military brass that was trimmed once and lasted forever. Commercial brass reloaded 3 or 4 times and then split length wise in the middle of the case. The split never started at the mouth. My loads were brisk enough to eject the empty case 12" to 18" to my right -- about 1/3 as far as factory wad cutters.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:42 PM
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Years ago I bought about 50 boxes of commercial reloads in 148 gr LWC for my 52-2. I do not know what the load is, they are mixed headstamps, nickel and brass, but they all shoot flawlessly.
I stopped shooting for a few years but have started again, problem is I am running out of wadcutters. Now I am casting as well as reloading, I am having good luck with 158 Gr LSWC in my revolvers, but now I have to start loading 148 Gr wadcutters.
Has anyone slugged their barrel? Also, is anyone using Clays Powder?
I have been using Clays for .38 Spl and it's clean and consistent, the other plus is that I have it on the bench for 12 gauge.
Thanks
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:30 PM
socal s&w socal s&w is offline
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Dang....I'm gonna be out of luck with a taper die, Dillon's SDB does not have a die like that available.

My range-mates use Dillon 550's, maybe that's the difference?

I do have a decent roll crimp on my loads as is and fully re-size.

The chamber looks like a mirror inside, as does the feed ramp.

I will try trimming all to a common length and see if that repairs any issues. Any suggestion on the trim length?
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:29 AM
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socals&w;
I no longer have an S&W Model 52. However, I loaded for one for many years. They are a FINE auto.

Factory Wadcutter cases are different inside. They have less taper inside to handle the deeper seating of a HBWC (HBWC's are longer than DEWC's and seat deeper than SWC and Round nose bullets, also {I know that you can't use those in your auto}). When you use some brands of cases, the deeper seating causes a bulge in the case interfering with case feeding and possibly ejection.

The Lee Factory Crimp die should solve the problem for you. If you had the factory target cases, that would probably do it also. I just use the Lee Factory Crimp die. However, THAT will be a problem with the Dillon SDB. You do NOT need a heavy crimp with wad cutters. They should just be tight enough to iron out the flare. I would also suggest upping the powder charge to 3.0 grs of Bullseye.

Good luck!
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Last edited by Dale53; 10-01-2009 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:35 AM
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I loaded for a 52 for about a year on a Square Deal B, and as I recall it worked fine. I remember having some problems with S&B brass but I think it was primer pocket issues.

If you had or could use/borrow a single stage press you could try the LEE FCD on it after loading. It would be an extra step but might give you some answers.

Jeff

Last edited by Jeff423; 10-01-2009 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:59 AM
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I have loaded for my 52 with a SDB. I havent had any trouble. I was making them in the 2.8 to 3 grain of bullseye. I kinda was going back and forth with the load. I also just gave it a light crimp. Id back off the crimp till a round came to the station then with the handle down. Id adjust the crimp station till it got snug then just about 1/8 turn more. I was loading Speer HBWC.

Ive since moved on to a XL650 and still make good rounds for the 52 using Dillon dies.

I cant say what I am doing exactly right or wrong but it works for me...



I just stuck the ammo box in the picture, its really my reloads.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:52 PM
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I have a Mod 52-2 and never had a problem with FTE. Do your cases just stay in the chamber with the ejector pulling over the case rim or your gun just isn't throwing the cases out far enough to eject cleanly?

Having said that I use Rem brass bought from Cabela's, Midway, ect. and I have used Rem. 148 gr. HBWC and self cast 148 gr. H&G # 50 with 2.7 of BE. I also keep this brass for the 52 separate from all my other 38 brass and never use it in any other guns.

I trim ALL my cases to .010 under max lenght and have never had a problem but my friend did with his 52-2. Once he trimed his cases back to .010 under max his problems of FTE stopped.

The 38 special is a tight fit on that mod 39 style frame and your cases if not trimed properly may be hitting on the case mouth upon ejection.

I have had problems with FTF because of bad springs in the magazines but that's a different issue.

Kirmdog
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:16 PM
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I have had no feed problems, just failure to remove the empty from the barrel. Most of my brass has been fired in a revolver before. I have an RCBS carbide resizing die that is supposed to be full length. The case goes in entirely but I have notice a little bulge at the bottom just above the rim. I have not measured or trimmed the cases. This may be something to check in to. I did notice the last time I was shooting that the casing is pulled back about 2mm, so it would seem the extractor is just slipping around the rim. It always removes the casing when I close the slide and pull it back by hand. I would like to try the lee die, I use a single stage press so an extra step is no big deal. I do use a taper crimp.

Anyone live in the Northern Virginia/Manassas area, maybe we can compare loads.

Thanks for the suggestions
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:09 PM
socal s&w socal s&w is offline
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mikeyv

I am not trying to steal your thread, it just seems that we have the same issues with the 52. Just wanted to make that clear so if there is something that I can glean from these answers, I will. However, if you feel that I am overstepping in any way, please let me know and I will stop communicating in this thread. I do not want to step in anyone's toes!

FTE sometimes happens with me and the next round has nowhere to go, thus a jam. Also, and this happens most of the time, the empty case does not clear the port and will get caught as the slide moves forward damaging the mouth of the empty brass when it gets captured by the returning slide. That's what led me to believe that I should try 3.0 gr of BE, but chickened out.

Since the SDB can't accomodate the proper die, I will try trimming, and I do have cases from Winchester Mid-Range ammo, first along with a lighter crimp and see if that improves the output.

If that doesn't seem to work, then I think I will try bumping the load to 2.8, 2.9, and 3.0 to see if that helps.

mikeyv and the rest of you, thank you for the topic/thread, it's very helpful.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:58 PM
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No worries, I don't think your stealing the thread. We both have model 52's that we love and want to work right.

We may have slightly different problems but I am open to all the information I can get.

It is starting to sound like I have casings that are sticking in the chamber.

As for you trying 3.0gr of bullseye, I don't know it sounds like most folks are using 2.7-2.8gr and your gun should function with that load also. I think there are two separate parts, the extractor pulls the casing from the chamber and the ejector tips the casing out of the slide.

Since from what I have read elsewhere sending these guns back to S&W for repairs is useless. I guess they no longer have any parts and have no interest in servicing them. So friendly help from this forum is the last resort before searching out a gunsmith that hopefully has at least seen one before.

I hope we both find simple and inexpensive answers to our malfunctions.
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:14 AM
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In my 52-2 I can feel the difference between 2.7 and 2.8 gr of BE. 2.8 hits a little too hard for me, and I have a red dot mounted on the slide. I have standardized on 2.7 gr. I would really be concerned about 3.0 gr. - unless you heavier spring than stock.

Jeff
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:38 AM
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Update........

Well, I started with trimming all of my cases, while I was trimming, I noted that most of the brass had a 'flat' spot at the mouth. Not a true flat spot, more of an out of round area that looked flattened toward the center.

I'm not sure what, if anything, is the significance of this tid-bit, but I figure that I would throw it out there to see who might know.

I have not fired my 52 yet as I am still in the process of doing what was suggested here, starting with the trimming.

Next job, load up some with less crimp and then test fire.

I will report findings when that happens.
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Old 10-11-2009, 01:45 AM
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52s are very finicky about case length. Trim cases to minimum length, seat bullets flush with a light roll crimp.
A friend of mine has had a 52 for years. When I got mine he told me to load ammo this way and I've never had a problem with my handloads. I have one batch of brass that I bought brand new, trimmed to minimum and only used in the 52. Works like a charm.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socal s&w View Post
Update........

Well, I started with trimming all of my cases, while I was trimming, I noted that most of the brass had a 'flat' spot at the mouth. Not a true flat spot, more of an out of round area that looked flattened toward the center.

I'm not sure what, if anything, is the significance of this tid-bit, but I figure that I would throw it out there to see who might know.


Is this flat spot befpre or after sizing? If before sizing it's from your case lenght being to long and the case mouth is hitting the slide/barrel while being ejected. This could very well be your problem as I and Gray Fox have stated, 52's are very finicky about case lenght.

If the flat spot is after sizing, throw away your old dies and get a new set. You stated that you were thinking on trying Lee dies. For the price Lee's are a good die that should work well for single stage presses.

Kirmdog
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:26 PM
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The flat spot is before sizing, as it came out of the gun, so the die would have zero to do with the issue.

The longest cases are about 1.145", which is well below the recommended max length. I have trimmed 100 rounds to 1.1415", (I could find nothing stating to what length to trim). Max length is 1.155 in the Lyman book so my trim is well below that now. I didn't want to trim too much and have pressure problems due to deeper bullet seating. All of the trimming is before any sizing, only cleaning has been performed.

Does the trim length seem okay?

I did note that some of the cases were below 1.40" and some had a smaller diameter base than the average so I kicked those out. I am using the WW brass cases that were originally loaded for the 52, they have a single cannalure ring on them.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socal s&w View Post
The flat spot is before sizing, as it came out of the gun, so the die would have zero to do with the issue.

The longest cases are about 1.145", which is well below the recommended max length. I have trimmed 100 rounds to 1.1415", (I could find nothing stating to what length to trim). Max length is 1.155 in the Lyman book so my trim is well below that now. I didn't want to trim too much and have pressure problems due to deeper bullet seating. All of the trimming is before any sizing, only cleaning has been performed.

Does the trim length seem okay?

I did note that some of the cases were below 1.40" and some had a smaller diameter base than the average so I kicked those out. I am using the WW brass cases that were originally loaded for the 52, they have a single cannalure ring on them.

Your lenght seems fine. When I buy brass for my 52 I trim all that I purchase at the same time and mine run from 1.143 to 1.145.

You said that you loaded some 148 gr HBWC's over 3.0 gr of BE but chickened out shooting them in your 52 because of the stories of blowm skirts lodging in the barrel. You did however say that you fired them in a revolver. Did you have any blown skirts? I'm guessing no. Don't be afraid to bump up the charges of BE to a max of 3 grains under a 148 gr HBWC one grain at a time to see if your ejection problems stop. Many guys I shoot bullseye matches with use the 3 grain charge with the HBWC and have had zero problems with it in their 52's. After talking with some of them they said that their guns would not function with a lesser charge than 3 grains of BE. My own 52 works fine with the 2.7 gr charge but yours may need a bit more.


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Old 10-12-2009, 11:57 AM
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Default Model 52 loads

If the extractor looks OK and the brass are trim to the proper length, then the only thing I can think of is the thickness and the diameter of the rim. thier size vary from bactch to batch and makes. Are you guys using mixed brass?

From my experience, I prefer Win. brass they seems to be thicker compare with Rem. Fed. OK too, but the FTE I've also experienced mostly are from using Rem. brass, this problem largly goes away once I stick to using one batch of Win. brass.

Around here, I can't get Rem. 148 gr. HBWC, dealers just don't stock them, so I mostly shoot Hornady 148 gr. HBWC which are easier to get, I've load 3.0 gr. BE with them without problem, usually I'd load 2.8 gr. BE or 3.2 gr. W 231. works well in my 52-2.

Tony
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:51 PM
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Yes I did shoot the loads through a revolver, no issues.

When I load, I will load sime 2.8, 9 and 3.0 rounds to see if there is a difference.

All of my brass is brass, not plated, Winchester. I did check some of the bases and yes, some are smaller, those are the ones that I put to the side to use in a revolver.

I also use the Honady 148 HBWC, I really like them for accuracy.

Thank you for all of your valuable input. I will keep you posted on the progress.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:21 AM
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Default My load data

In my model 52-2 I am pushing a Remington 148 grain Hollow Base Wadcutter using one of two loads, both with very good results.

2.5 grains of Clays
2.7 grains of Bullseye

Both loads are very accurate but the Clays powder is cleaner.

I also tried 2.8 grains of Bullseye and felt it to be a bit much for the 52.

My press is a Dillion XL650

I recently aquired a 52 (no dash) and a 52-1 to complete my set....have not shot either of these as of yet.

3D
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:22 PM
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Default My results with W231 in my 52-1.

5 shots @ 10 yards. 148 gr HBWC, 3.0 gr W231, Winchester WSP primer. I also trimmed the cases to 1.145".


Last edited by 625smith; 10-19-2010 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:51 PM
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I reload for the Model 52 and have for about 15 years. I was told the secret of the gun years ago after a struggle to get it right led me to contact a fellow at Smith who built the guns. He said the gun was based on the Model 39 which is a 9mm and to forget that it was supposedly a .38 Spl. He told me to slug the bore and if my gun had a .356 bore, sell it and look for a .355. They made both. I actually had purchased a second one at the time and it had the tighter bore. He also said to use a 9mm taper crimp and to buy HBWCs that were sized at .356. 2.7 of bullseye in a nickel Federal case and you are good to go. Mine will shoot 1.5" at 50yds all day long out of Ransom rest as long as you don't have a side wind over 10mph. If you do, leave it in the box.
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  #30  
Old 05-31-2010, 10:51 AM
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mstuhr mstuhr is offline
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Default what I have learned

Howdy,
I have been struggling with one that extracted cases but left them in the gun and I seem to have it worked out.
Here is what I found and things you might check.
The ejector pops up from a depressed posistion between shots and if dragging can miss the case being pulled from the chamber. I dressed mine with a stone and replaced the spring.
Build up under the extractor can be a problem. It was not mine, but I watched a fellow shooter's reliable 52 melt down and stay unreliable untill he pulled the extractor and removed debris.
Mine boiled down to a weak extractor spring. I would slow cycle the gun and it would work but cases bounced or dribbled over the ejection port. If I would cycle it fast I would encounter the condition thats shows when shooting it. I replaced the spring behind the extrator and the gun runs and can be cycled by hand and the brass flies out like it should.
These things wont cure everyone's ills but I hope they can help someone.
Thanks and good luck

Mike
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  #31  
Old 05-31-2010, 02:21 PM
boatbum101 boatbum101 is offline
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Default RE: 52 Loads

I can only state what I do & loads I use . Just about any hand fitted semi-auto target pistol runs better if kept clean & lubed . Springs do weaken over time , mag lips might drag on bottom of slide , extractor hooks wear or break . A model 39 extractor can be fitted to work in a 52-2 with some file work . 52 barrels have tight chambers & bores and are designed to work with factory HBWC ammo . I prefer R-P cases , but have used Win & Fed cases too . I trim & debur to 1.145 also I keep them for use in only my 52 . Remington , Zero & Precision Delta all make fine 148 HBWC bullets , again I've not noticed any accuracy difference . Bullets are seated flush with case mouth & lightly crimped . I taper crimp to .370 - .369 & have known others who use a roll crimp . I don't think it makes that much difference as long as crimp is consistant . That's why I trim cases & insure that ammo will feed thru mags too . I must confess I'm not a fan of Bullseye in the 38 special . I know it's been used for eons . I believe there are other powders that work better . If I lived in a colder climate I'd probably stick with Bullseye . With it's high nitro content it is less temp sensitive for sure . As a 2700 shooter I'm looking for a load that consistantly functions & delivers best accuracy @ 50yds outdoors . My gun prefers W231 , 3.1 - 3.2grs depending on speed of particular powder lot . 2.8 - 2.9 VVN 320 runs a close second , 3.6 VVN 340 is also a tie for second place . 2.7 - 2.8 WST & 2.8 Bullseye are my 3rd place , again both loads are very close in performance . BTW I use Fed 100 primers , but Win or CCI work too . I also have revolvers so I stick with Fed . My gun is setup with a 1'' UD in a BME mount , 7lb recoil spring & 130 gram barrel weight , Herrett Custom Target stocks . Attached target shot offhand @ 50yds with 3.1 W231 , R-P brass , Fed 100 primer , Rem 148 HBWC , Oal 1.145 , .369 taper crimp .
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  #32  
Old 06-28-2010, 10:15 PM
HighExpert HighExpert is offline
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2.8gr of Bullseye, Federal nickel cases and Star 148grHBWC, WSP.
Seat flush and use a 9mm taper crimp die. I load on a Dillon 550B and shoot bullseye. My gun is also equipped with an UltraDot sight which requires a little more pop. No sight, use 2.7. 1.5" or less at 50yds out of a Ransom Rest consistently.
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  #33  
Old 04-29-2015, 10:58 AM
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I load on an SDB with a roll crimp I use a similar loading of WST powder I trimmed the brass. I also shoot it in my revolver. It's really old brass. The main difference i guess, is I use a double end wadcutter and allow it to project a tiny bit above the case mouth. I am not smart enough to know how the crimp could affect extraction. I've not had any failures to extract.
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1911, 340, bullseye, cartridge, commercial, crimp, ejector, extractor, gunsmith, herrett, hornady, military, model 39, model 52, primer, rcbs, remington, sig arms, ultradot, wadcutter, winchester

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