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Old 05-12-2017, 10:43 AM
ontargetagain ontargetagain is offline
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Default I will need an education on Model 52

I will confess that I really enjoy revolvers but I also love shooting WC's. I have owned several very nice 9mm's but I just don't fall in love with the cartridge.
I'll admit that I like something a bit unique and the Model 52 sure seems to fit that bill However I am not educated on the variables of the model or 'dash' series benefits.

I will not be competing with it, I will be shooting indoors up to 75 feet. I will be handloading for it. Anyone with some input as to what gun to look for 52 or 52-1 or 52-2 or if there are concerns to look for please advise. Do these have a really great trigger already or do they require gunsmith tweaking or are they user adjustable?

Thanks in advance and I look forward to the info and pics if offered
Karl

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Old 05-12-2017, 11:30 AM
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Hello from the 52 Club. First off, no tweaking on trigger. Lots of shooters lean toward the 52-2. The steel follower mags work the best. Prices vary, from shooter grade with two mags to NIB. Since you reload, you can work
up your own load. When you find one, come back for advice. Straight poop will be forth coming. Best
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Old 05-12-2017, 11:53 AM
Model52guy Model52guy is offline
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Karl,
Shot my 52-1 yesterday. The biggest thing on model 52's is consistency in the ammo you feed them. Once you find a Bullet/powder/crimp your 52 cycles reliably and is accurate, use that load. Mine likes The Hornady 148 gr HBWC. I use W231 although I have loaded with Bullseye, I would rather use W231. I trimmed a bunch of brass just to use in my 52s, all the same headstamp and vintage a long time ago and still use those cases as they don't 'grow' with the light loads of the 52 and can be reused numerous times.
Other than the magazines being expensive and hard to find, its my favorite target pistol.
I have 2 52-1's and one 52-2 but shoot one of the 52-1's as I have a set of great target grips fitted.
George
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Old 05-12-2017, 12:09 PM
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The 52's trigger is fine as it is. No tweaking required.
Many of them prefer brass trimmed to minimum length and bullets seated flush with the case mouth. You may need to experiment with the crimp a little, but generally just a light roll crimp is all that's needed. My 52-1 also has a preference for W231.
They can be expensive and hard to find. But, if you get one, you'll never regret it.
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Old 05-12-2017, 12:22 PM
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I was like you six months ago. Due to the fine members of this forum I found, as advised, a really nice 52-2 at a really good price from a forum member here and three mags to boot.

I'm also a big 38 fan, that enjoys the wadcutter round a lot. And as a reloader the light bulb finally went on and I put out the search. I'm really happy I did it and I'm pretty sure you will too.
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Old 05-12-2017, 01:15 PM
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Since you haven't bought yet, try to find a gun with a minimum of 2 mags. Used magazines for this model on eBay are fetching $150+ a piece, but sellers will often throw in their magazines as a package deal and save you some cash. These magazines, like the gun, are discontinued and there are no 3rd party mags available.

The gun itself may or may not be finicky on the amount and type of powder used. IIRC, it was designed to use Bullseye, but several members have used other fast burning powders with success. I seemed to have gotten one of the finicky ones.
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Old 05-12-2017, 03:05 PM
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I will tell you from my own experience , there are some really informative threads already existing here on the model 52. It would be worth your while to use the search feature while you wait for fresh responses.
FWIW, I stumbled onto this clean 52-2 w box and 3 mags last year. It was an immediate favorite!

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Old 05-12-2017, 10:00 PM
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I sure appreciate the info, I found the other thread that is quite informative too. Some nice looking images too, I guess I better concentrate on making sure I have at least two mags or more that function correctly.

Nice to hear the triggers are just fine the way they are so one less area to be concerned with or to spend additional money.

Model52guy: That is a sweet grip!

Thanks to all regarding the sensitivity to brass length, crimp and seating depth. I use HP38 currently and Titegroup so it will be fun to find the right combo especially with some of the new powders that have come out.

Keep the info coming and or images, thank you all
Karl
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:57 AM
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Karl,
Welcome to the Model 52s. I lucked into 52 no dash, a few years ago. Some dope had used some kind of goop to build up the trigger (too cheap to buy a trigger shoe?) so the price was right. My gunsmith was able to remove the mess and now it shoots great. The original 52's had essentially the same trigger mechanism as the Model 39, with a set screw to lock out the double action feature. The -1, and -2's have single action only triggers.

For loads I found 3.0 grains of Bullseye works just fine. I usually use Berry's or Rainier 148gr plated DEWCs. I've have good results with True Blue as well. As I noted in another thread, IMR Target is not looking too good. I keep the cases trimmed as the magazine is unforgiving when it comes to COL. A lot of loads listed in the manuals are meant for revolvers and will not cycle the Model 52. I keep trying though. Purchased a case of .38 Special from MCCI on GB not long after getting the pistol. Was pleasantly surprised to find the ammo was all new with Berry's bullets. Perfect for indoor use, and it cycled the 52 without a hitch.

Magazines can be hard to come by. I've been told the 52 was popular for some form of combat shooting competitions and the shooters would modify the mags to hold 6 rounds instead of 5. Could be just a rumor as I have yet to encounter any so modified.

All that said, have a blast with the 52,
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Old 05-15-2017, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by saber58 View Post
Karl,
Welcome to the Model 52s. I lucked into 52 no dash, a few years ago. Some dope had used some kind of goop to build up the trigger (too cheap to buy a trigger shoe?) so the price was right. My gunsmith was able to remove the mess and now it shoots great. The original 52's had essentially the same trigger mechanism as the Model 39, with a set screw to lock out the double action feature. The -1, and -2's have single action only triggers.

For loads I found 3.0 grains of Bullseye works just fine. I usually use Berry's or Rainier 148gr plated DEWCs. I've have good results with True Blue as well. As I noted in another thread, IMR Target is not looking too good. I keep the cases trimmed as the magazine is unforgiving when it comes to COL. A lot of loads listed in the manuals are meant for revolvers and will not cycle the Model 52. I keep trying though. Purchased a case of .38 Special from MCCI on GB not long after getting the pistol. Was pleasantly surprised to find the ammo was all new with Berry's bullets. Perfect for indoor use, and it cycled the 52 without a hitch.

Magazines can be hard to come by. I've been told the 52 was popular for some form of combat shooting competitions and the shooters would modify the mags to hold 6 rounds instead of 5. Could be just a rumor as I have yet to encounter any so modified.

All that said, have a blast with the 52,
thanks much! Very informative, I was not aware of the -1 and -2's being SA only though that is not a problem. I saw your message on the IMR too.
So the quest to find one now begins
Karl
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:35 PM
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Hi Karl! I'm going to reply to specifics so forgive the blocked quoting!
I will confess that I really enjoy revolvers but I also love shooting WC's. I have owned several very nice 9mm's but I just don't fall in love with the cartridge.
I have a love affair with 9mm but it comes with caveats! It tool me many years (MANY!) to fall in love with 9mm and it seems to me that getting a -really- impressive 9mm pistol that does what many .38 revolvers, .45's and obviously Model 52's... well, in my experience, you have to be very choosy in your 9mm pistol to be able to hang with the above. Also, I truly believe that lighting off the 35k PSI max 9mm round has a large effect on how well it can (easily) be shot for gilt-edged accuracy. These are merely my observances & opinions. But the bottom line is that I don't think most people can shoot most 9mm pistols as well as .45's, .38 revolvers and Model 52's.

I'll admit that I like something a bit unique and the Model 52 sure seems to fit that bill However I am not educated on the variables of the model or 'dash' series benefits.
You have come to the right place! The 52 came in three groups.

52 no-dash was first, supposed 3,500 pistols made from 1961 until the 52-1 arrived. The no-dash is actually a DA/SA but most of them are adjusted such that the double action is not in use. These pistols, if found in high grade with original box & goodies can command very collectible prices. They use the old style long extractor which can be more difficult to find parts for the event of breakage. The no-dash frame is not cut for the factory optional counterweight.

The 52-1 followed and is only slightly different. Now a single action only pistol and now cut for the counterweight. This weight... well, those who use and like them are genuine fans and they believe the pistol balances better and they shoot better with it. I, myself, get a lot of enjoyment of ALL aspects of the pistol and it's "curb appeal" is part of that. I find the counterweight to be hideous in looks, and as I am not a match competitor and I shoot my 52's for enjoyment... I will not use one. The counterweight, if originally marked "Smith & Wesson" on the left side and in fine condition is typically a $150+ item. Find one that is in it's original accessory cardboard box? That price tag climbs. The 52-1 ran until 1970.

The 52-2 was the final evolution of the model and ran from 1970 to the end of production in 1993. The earliest 52-2's are A-prefix followed by six numerals. The later 52-2 pistols are three alpha prefix and the very last pistols are TZZ-prefix. (I think it was TZZ... the third letter may be different.)

The 52-2 uses the more modern thin, pivoting extractor. It seems to be "common knowledge" or perhaps a better choice of words might be "it is commonly accepted" that the 52-2 has a more robust extractor design and is the best choice for shooting a Model 52 these days. While I would certainly agree with that... I would not take it so far as to suggest that a 52-1 with the long, wide extractor is a bad gun or a problem that is soon to break or fail. This whole Model 52 extractor discussion is a conversation unto itself, but let's just say that while I own (and absolutely love) three 52-2 pistols currently... I am absolutely on the prowl for my first 52-1 and I am sure that I will love it also when I find one.

I will not be competing with it, I will be shooting indoors up to 75 feet. I will be handloading for it. Anyone with some input as to what gun to look for 52 or 52-1 or 52-2 or if there are concerns to look for please advise. Do these have a really great trigger already or do they require gunsmith tweaking or are they user adjustable?
The trigger is an absolute sweetheart but some folks that are in to very high grade guns already aren't necessarily huge fans. Unlike a 1911 which has an absolute straight-back pull, the 52 has a pivoting trigger. It has been my experience across 7 different 52's that the trigger certainly seems to vary in "feel" depending on the pistol. All of them are fine and wonderful, but I also would say that each pistol has it's own persona with trigger. As for competition -- you said that you do not intend to compete (I don't either) but the one thing I have seen from others who do compete is that for the most part... the only "problem" with a 52 in competition is that some folks find they need to work on the trigger to ADD weight because many seem to come to them lighter than is allowed in competitions for reason of safety.

You should take this to read that yes... when you find your 52, you will probably really like that trigger! It is two-way adjustable... for pre-travel, which I am not much concerned with, but also for over-travel, which... in my experience, means a LOT and helps a LOT in trigger feel.

North Central Ohio, eh? Where abouts? Tiffin? Marion? North of there?
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
Hi Karl! I'm going to reply to specifics so forgive the blocked quoting!
I will confess that I really enjoy revolvers but I also love shooting WC's. I have owned several very nice 9mm's but I just don't fall in love with the cartridge.
I have a love affair with 9mm but it comes with caveats! It tool me many years (MANY!) to fall in love with 9mm and it seems to me that getting a -really- impressive 9mm pistol that does what many .38 revolvers, .45's and obviously Model 52's... well, in my experience, you have to be very choosy in your 9mm pistol to be able to hang with the above. Also, I truly believe that lighting off the 35k PSI max 9mm round has a large effect on how well it can (easily) be shot for gilt-edged accuracy. These are merely my observances & opinions. But the bottom line is that I don't think most people can shoot most 9mm pistols as well as .45's, .38 revolvers and Model 52's.

I'll admit that I like something a bit unique and the Model 52 sure seems to fit that bill However I am not educated on the variables of the model or 'dash' series benefits.
You have come to the right place! The 52 came in three groups.

52 no-dash was first, supposed 3,500 pistols made from 1961 until the 52-1 arrived. The no-dash is actually a DA/SA but most of them are adjusted such that the double action is not in use. These pistols, if found in high grade with original box & goodies can command very collectible prices. They use the old style long extractor which can be more difficult to find parts for the event of breakage. The no-dash frame is not cut for the factory optional counterweight.

The 52-1 followed and is only slightly different. Now a single action only pistol and now cut for the counterweight. This weight... well, those who use and like them are genuine fans and they believe the pistol balances better and they shoot better with it. I, myself, get a lot of enjoyment of ALL aspects of the pistol and it's "curb appeal" is part of that. I find the counterweight to be hideous in looks, and as I am not a match competitor and I shoot my 52's for enjoyment... I will not use one. The counterweight, if originally marked "Smith & Wesson" on the left side and in fine condition is typically a $150+ item. Find one that is in it's original accessory cardboard box? That price tag climbs. The 52-1 ran until 1970.

The 52-2 was the final evolution of the model and ran from 1970 to the end of production in 1993. The earliest 52-2's are A-prefix followed by six numerals. The later 52-2 pistols are three alpha prefix and the very last pistols are TZZ-prefix. (I think it was TZZ... the third letter may be different.)

The 52-2 uses the more modern thin, pivoting extractor. It seems to be "common knowledge" or perhaps a better choice of words might be "it is commonly accepted" that the 52-2 has a more robust extractor design and is the best choice for shooting a Model 52 these days. While I would certainly agree with that... I would not take it so far as to suggest that a 52-1 with the long, wide extractor is a bad gun or a problem that is soon to break or fail. This whole Model 52 extractor discussion is a conversation unto itself, but let's just say that while I own (and absolutely love) three 52-2 pistols currently... I am absolutely on the prowl for my first 52-1 and I am sure that I will love it also when I find one.

I will not be competing with it, I will be shooting indoors up to 75 feet. I will be handloading for it. Anyone with some input as to what gun to look for 52 or 52-1 or 52-2 or if there are concerns to look for please advise. Do these have a really great trigger already or do they require gunsmith tweaking or are they user adjustable?
The trigger is an absolute sweetheart but some folks that are in to very high grade guns already aren't necessarily huge fans. Unlike a 1911 which has an absolute straight-back pull, the 52 has a pivoting trigger. It has been my experience across 7 different 52's that the trigger certainly seems to vary in "feel" depending on the pistol. All of them are fine and wonderful, but I also would say that each pistol has it's own persona with trigger. As for competition -- you said that you do not intend to compete (I don't either) but the one thing I have seen from others who do compete is that for the most part... the only "problem" with a 52 in competition is that some folks find they need to work on the trigger to ADD weight because many seem to come to them lighter than is allowed in competitions for reason of safety.

You should take this to read that yes... when you find your 52, you will probably really like that trigger! It is two-way adjustable... for pre-travel, which I am not much concerned with, but also for over-travel, which... in my experience, means a LOT and helps a LOT in trigger feel.

North Central Ohio, eh? Where abouts? Tiffin? Marion? North of there?
That is quite an education you shared! It is obvious to me now that those that own the Model 52 are pretty much in love with their guns and not likely to part with them. So the quest is underway to find something to learn with or fall in love with LOL
I can remember seeing a occasional 52 at gun shows and it always caught my eye but I never knew enough about them go the next step. Lots of good info from this thread is giving me some confidence to evaluate them now.

I am located between Cleveland and Sandusky not far from the Lake.
Karl
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:45 PM
Sevens Sevens is offline
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Some things worth adding...

We all find our own roads in handloading. This is merely my way of saying that if your methods work for YOU, I wholly endorse them for you. But it doesn't necessarily agree with what I have found.

I absolutely do not trim brass for a 52 (or any semiauto pistol) and I have a zero percent failure rate with my handloads in my 52's. I have (rarely) found some brass thick in case wall that didn't care for full wadcutter slugs, but I have found the absolute sweet spot with R-P headstamp non-nickel brass.

I have not ever tried cast double-ended or double-bevel base wadcutters, my preferred slig is the 148 grain swaged hollow-base wadcutter. I run them over 2.8 grains Bullseye and while I absolutely believe the folks who love W231 or WST, Bullseye is what I have in volume and boy does it work!

You said that your plan is 75 feet shooting. I merely wanted to mention that the swaged HBWC and Bullseye combo that I use is definitely "smoky" indoors, I know that some indoor ranges do NOT like this so please plan for this.

Because of this, I had inquired here (and elsewhere) about the possibility of using plated full wadcutter loads. Many have reported that accuracy is substandard. I did my testing anyway... and I found that I wholeheartedly agree. For plinking at physical targets (I love to shoot at empty 12ga hulls) the plated bullets work, but for precision shooting at paper, at their best they will NOT please you like the HBWC can/will... and at their worst they tend to toss flyers. Boy, I hate flyers because equipment related flyers can totally disrupt my confidence in my abilities.

Bottom line is that I took the experiences under advisement, still elected to try them myself and now I absolutely have the piece of mind & hands-on experience to know that I will NOT be using more of them in a Model 52. I will eventually gobble them up with my K-frames.

For the HBWC, I have had fine success with the Precision Delta bullet and they sell in bulk for a decent price.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:31 PM
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Dash 1's have best trigger . Extractors can be found as can mags , but they're pricey . Dash 2 has a shorter extractor , stick with an A prefix on these . Guns are muzzle light & arched rear strap / MSH don't fit everyones hand . Muzzle weights are an improvement & help to steady the gun . Difficult gun to shoot well , but no competition it's a moot point . I use R-P cases trimmed to 1.145 , seat a 148 HBWC ( swaged lead ) flush with a slight crimp . Mine doesn't shoot 2.7 , 2.8 , 2.9 or 3.0 Bullseye loads . It much prefers 3.1 - 3.2grs of W231 / HP38 , 2.7 WST , 2.9 AA#2 or VVN-320 or even 3.6 VVN-340 . Ton of info here . Search is your best friend .
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:06 AM
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Ohhhhh this will be an interesting adventure
It sounds like each gun has its own 'character' and may react differently to ammo/loads. Since I am restricted to basically indoor shooting I will have to break tradition and work with plated or HyTek coated wadcutters and see how I can do. Bullseye sure seems to be the favorite and I have some but HP38 and Titegroup have become my favorites as well as WST.

Once again all the info shared here is just terrific and gives good foundation and reinforcement. Thanks to all that have donated their thoughts, experiences and opinions so far including one form member that I had a long phone conversation with
Karl
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:03 AM
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When I had a B52 I found that the shells wouldn't feed through the magazine unless the bullets were seated completely flush with the brass. If the bullets stuck out at all, they were too long.

I have never gotten a plated bullet (Ranier, Berry's, etc.) to shoot worth a damn out of any gun.

I used to shoot mine in PPC, so modified the mags to hold 6 rounds. You do this by extending the slots on the side of the magazine 3/8" further down. The slots are angled, but the extensions need to be straight down, parallel to the front and back of the magazine. If you follow the original slot, the follower will bind up. The magazines (like most) are tempered spring steel. You will need a carbide end mill to cut them. Use a slow RPM, 300 - 500 to keep from overheating things.

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Old 05-21-2017, 07:46 PM
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Can a few of you 52 shooters please post a few pix of your finished loaded rounds for the gun. Today I picked up some cast HB WC's that have two wax rings, a nicely recessed nose and a front area that is reduced from the .3585 body to .3470 on the frontal lip which is .0765 in length, which would allow a nice roll crimp.
Here is an image of it, the macro makes it look pretty tattered!



Thanks
Karl
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:56 PM
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The model 52 is the best semi-auto ever made by S&W. If you're looking at it a a single purpose gun, you won't be disappointed. Good luck.
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:37 PM
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I think most things have been covered, Mine is a 52-2. The triggers are about the best you will ever find on a Semi Auto. One of my pleasures is letting the plastic fantastic boys run a clip through the 52-2. They can not believe that trigger.. Yes that is a Factory trigger" Other thing is they are at 7 yards and I'm at 25 yards and have tighter groups.. (Pistol for the most part not me LOL ) Rumor is the 52-2 extractor is better and does not break as often. That said I have never personally seen any with a broken extractor. Magazines are an issue. More is better. My load is 2.7g Bullseye with a Remington 148g HBWC (no longer available.) I do trim the cases down about 5 thousands on the initial loading. The brass seems to last forever, many over 10 reloads and still going. A lite roll crimp with the bullets seated to the rim.
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Old 05-21-2017, 11:35 PM
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Can a few of you 52 shooters please post a few pix of your finished loaded rounds for the gun.

Thanks
Karl
Here are some of loaded rounds. A slight taper crimp is all that is needed.





My 52-1 likes 3.0 grs of W231 with 148 gr HBWC.


Last edited by 625smith; 05-21-2017 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:23 AM
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625smith's rounds look a little different from mine, he trims his brass and I don't and we use different bullets.

Sorry I have no picture -- but if you look at mine directly from the side (no viewing angle in to case mouth) then my loaded 52 ammo looks absolutely no different then clean, empty brass. If you don't pick one up and you can't see case mouth, you would guess it was empty brass.

Nothing whatsoever sticks out from my brass.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:25 AM
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Here are some of loaded rounds. A slight taper crimp is all that is needed.





My 52-1 likes 3.0 grs of W231 with 148 gr HBWC.

Thanks, I put a few together last night to try in my revolver. Some with BE, some with HP38 and some with Titegroup. I taper crimped back to case OD size at the mouth. This is like having the 'cart before the horse' LOL Loading bullets for a gun I don't have yet LOL
Karl
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Old 05-26-2017, 04:27 PM
dgludwig dgludwig is offline
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Most pertinent things about the fine Model 52 have been covered very well in this thread. I don't know if anyone has mentioned it yet, but this pistol comes with a unique "dry-fire" feature. I used to compete in Bullseye matches (the genre the Model 52 was exclusively developed for) and, over time, settled for 2.9 grains of Bullseye as being the most accurate in my pistol.

As sort of an aside, years ago I read an account of a tester encountering a serious problem with hollow-base wadcutter bullets, when he experienced a part of the bullet getting lodged in the barrel, creating a potentially dangerous bore obstruction. I'm sure I still have this report somewhere and can recount it here should anyone be interested in it.
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