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Old 04-28-2020, 10:56 PM
Salmon68 Salmon68 is online now
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Default Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52

Hi folks, I recently purchased a Model 52-2 and want to create some rounds. I have plenty of once fired 38 spl cases and a buddy is going to teach me how to reload using his equipment. He has some 148 grain lead bullets and standard primers but he is not sure what amt of powder to use and what type, fast or slow burning. Does anyone have some loads they have perfected that you would share? I plan on using the rounds in my newly acquired Model 52 although I do enjoy shooting wadcutters in my 38 revolvers. I like the big holes in the targets! Thanks for any insight.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:07 PM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Congratulations on the new firearm

For best accuracy in the Model 52s you want to be shooting soft swagged HBWCs and not hard cast DEWCs

The traditional load is 2.7-3.0 grans of bullseye

However Winchester 231/HP38 is also a common powder for this handgun. Unique is another powder choice but a little dirtier

I load 3.4 grains of 231 for my Model 52
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:19 PM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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You'll have good luck with any of the fast burners:
Bullseye
IMR 700x
Red Dot
WW231
HP 38
VV N310
Vectan BA-10

It's a good idea to sort your brass by headstamp. Mixed brass in the 38 Special, especially with deep seated wadcutters, is a recipe for poor accuracy.
Seat bullets flush.
The amount of crimp will have some bearing on feeding reliability.
The M52 has a good reputation for functioning well with loads on the lighter end of the scale.

Enjoy your nice M52!
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:58 PM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Default You can get load info.....

Everybody ought to have a few loading manuals, but you can get load data on the powder company websites.

I use alliant.com for Bullseye, Unique, Red Dot and other Alliant powders and Hodgdon.com for HP38, Titegroup.

Note that some Winchester powders are an exact match of Hodgdon. i.e. HP 38 and Win 231. Hodgdon explains this by maintaining brand loyalties, however baseless they are.

Keep hollow base wadcutters on the light side. Start low, work up, always.
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Old 04-29-2020, 07:50 AM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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3.0g of Winchester W231
or
2.7g of Winchester WST
Both easy shooting and extremely accurate in my Model 52-2
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Old 04-29-2020, 09:38 AM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Iíve been seeing on other websites and forums that Hornady has discontinued HP 38 and WW 231. Is there any truth to that? Is there a current powder that can be used as an exact substitute for them to avoid having to start over on load development?

Froggie
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:01 AM
Salmon68 Salmon68 is online now
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Thanks a bunch folks. Good advice on starting low and working up, which I am sure my buddy David subscribes to. He has been reloading for 30 plus years and is very exact and cautious by nature. This will be a new experience for me and I am excited to open a new chapter in the "book of shooting". Of course if I like it I'll have something else to spend money on! Thanks again.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:29 AM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
Iíve been seeing on other websites and forums that Hornady has discontinued HP 38 and WW 231. Is there any truth to that? Is there a current powder that can be used as an exact substitute for them to avoid having to start over on load development?

Froggie
Hornady may not list loads for HP 38 and WW 231 in their manual but the powders are still available and not made by Hornady. Check the Winchester or Hodgdon on-line data for loads or check some of the other loading manuals.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:19 AM
boatbum101 boatbum101 is offline
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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If you will search my past posts you'll find a thread I started on 38 special wadcutter loads with data , targets etc. For best results use a quality swaged not cast HBWC . Best is the Remington 148 HBWC , Zero or Magnus 148 HBWC , Hornady 148 HBWC . Speers are the worst as are Precision Delta . Any mild SP primer will work . Powders that'll work nothing faster than Bullseye ( ie Clays , N310 , N100 etc. ) nothing slower than VVN 340 . Once cases have been fired in your 52 instead of FL sizing , deprime them & take a Lee FCD . Take the guts out & leave the carbide ring . Use it to size cases . It'll work cases less & not reduce them down . Bell case mouths just enough to start bullets without cocking . Seat flush with case mouth & crimp . I use a light taper crimp to .369 . I prefer Remington cases as walls are thinner & easier to seat a HBWC without reducing them down in size . Mine prefers 3.1 - 3.2 W231 with Rem 148 HBWC , Fed 100 primer . 2.7 - 2.9 WST , 2.7 - 2.9 Bullseye or Acc #2 have been used by others . Velocity envelope is 700 - 800fps . Do not exceed 800fps or 3.0grs of Bullseye or you'll blow the skirt of a bullet . If that happens & you pull the trigger again you just bulged your barrel . If you don't see a hole in the target , noticable change in report or recoil check & make dang sure there's no barrel obstruction before you pull trigger again . Wonderful guns but fincky about ammo & technique . Some trim all their cases to 1.145" which allows a smidgen of lead to be proud of case mouth & claim it helps with feeding . 25yds & shorter with a load it likes & shooter does their part a 52 is hard to beat . At 50yds a 38 special will hurt your scores much more than help .
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:18 PM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Default Wadcutter loads

Decades ago, conventional wisdom for the .38 wadcutter was 2.7 grains of Bullseye for accuracy and 3.5 grains for maximum load. I believe the gun was built to handle factory wadcutters, meaning that the bullet was seated flush with the case mouth. Of course, there are lots of newer powders available now that weren't available back when I was reloading wadcutters.
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:08 PM
Sclays Sclays is offline
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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3.6 231, 148 DEWC from Bayou.
Have not done extensive accuracy testing.
This load was adapted from what is used in a 1911 Mid-range.
Excellent gun.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:11 PM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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I've been loading 2.7 of Bullseye for decades. Never found a better load. With a Hornaday 148 hollow base wadcutter that is.
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:22 PM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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As much as I liked Bullseye when I started loading with it, I like Hodgdon Clays that much more. I found light loads of Clays to be a bit more accurate and a whole lot cleaner burning than light loads Bullseye. 2.3gn Clays behind a Speer 148gn wad-cutter was scary accurate and at well under 600fps from a 4" barrel was fun to actually watch it pass through the target.

Last edited by Funflyer; 04-29-2020 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:58 PM
38SPL HV 38SPL HV is offline
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Go with the time honored and match winning 2.7 grs Bullseye and 148 gr HBWC.
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:33 PM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sclays View Post
3.6 231, 148 DEWC from Bayou.
Have not done extensive accuracy testing.
This load was adapted from what is used in a 1911 Mid-range.
Excellent gun.
Do you mean 2.6 of 231? 3.6 of 231 with a dewc is fine in a revolver. A Colt NM 1911 38 special shoots the same load as a S$W 52 which is a lot lower. In a converted 1911 to shoot 38 special the case is not supported at the rear bottom and anything over 3.1 of 231 there is a good chance of blowing the grips off or the magazine down when the case ruptures.

Last edited by 4barrel; 04-29-2020 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:46 AM
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Stay with the 2.7 grains of Alliant Bullseye load or something similar with HP-38 or Winchester 231. Anything much hotter will blow off the skirt of a wadcutter. The S&W model 52 is a precision target pistol (one of the best factory produced pistols). Treat it with the respect it is due. You are looking for velocities in the 760 fps, or slightly less, range.
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Old 05-02-2020, 12:04 AM
Salmon68 Salmon68 is online now
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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Hey folks, thanks for the additional input. I have all my brass sorted and will be seeing my buddy this weekend. Not sure exactly how this is going to work given social distancing but I am sure we'll work things out. Ill let you know what we try and how the M 52 shoots. Thanks again. Good night.
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Old 05-04-2020, 12:00 AM
Qc Pistolero Qc Pistolero is offline
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Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52 Reload Suggestions for 38 wadcutter Model 52  
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The 52 will feed flawlessly empty .38 hulls so I seat my wc cast bullets(sized .358 alox lubed)flush.The cases are WW brass with the 2 crimp canelures,the lower one done so as to remove some of the taper inside the the brass,making it straighter where the bullet fits in.
If you shoot at 25yds,any good quality cast 148 to 152 cast WC bullet will do the job.If you shoot at 50,the HBWC will better it but only if you qualify as an expert or master shooter.I've got a press to swage my HBWC and must tell you that I don't bother to swage my own as I don't shoot in comp anymore.
Old standbys will work fine in the 52.2.7 to 2.9 Bullseye,same with 700X,2.3 to 2.5 Nitro 100,3.2 of 231 and/or HP 38,3.0 Red Dot or 3.2 Green Dot...Experiment with your gun but I bet you'll soon be bored with the experiments since the machine is so accurate!
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Old 05-04-2020, 03:58 PM
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A pistol smith I know uses 700X with a 148 grain HBWC in his 38 special conversions. Uses a roll crimp.
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