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Old 04-13-2018, 12:31 PM
mikemyers mikemyers is online now
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I hope this isn’t too long to post here…

I was reading again last night in the various threads in the S&W forum discussing the Model 52. So many threads described how difficult this gun is to master. They went on and on about the gun shooting highly accurate one minute, and then suddenly becoming just as highly inaccurate. To me, this means there is something wrong with the gun, or with the shooter.

Later, before going to bed, I started dry-firing my gun, but I wasn’t trying to control anything, just watching what the gun did as I fired. I held it different ways, and put my trigger finger in many different positions. Most of the time I could see the sights move as I fired, no matter how carefully I pressed the trigger. I did find one grip, with one specific part of my trigger finger resting on the trigger, that didn’t seem to disturb the sights.

I had a similar issue months before with my 1911s, but it was much easier to position my hand so the sights (and later the red dot) stayed put when I fired. Probably because of the weight, and the weight distribution, the 1911 was easier to stabilize as I fired.

Again to Cecil in the Buillseye Forum, I think I have found a way to block the anticipation, so the targets I’m shooting now are limited by ability to control the gun.

If I’m right about what I just wrote, what’s next is a lot of dry-firing, paying complete attention to not disturbing the sights. This includes how to grip the gun, where and how to position my trigger finger, and not disturbing the sights as I apply pressure to the trigger.


Nothing up above is “new”. I think most of you guys now do all this without thinking much about it. I’m learning.


One more thing though. If I’m correct, and the reason I find it easier to shoot a 1911 than the M-52 is because of weight (or the lack of), then I figured last week I might be able to make the M-52 like the 1911 by buying one of the “barrel weights” for $60 from D J Precision. So I ordered it last week, and it just arrived this morning.

As a test, to see if this is a good idea. I picked up a broom, first by the heavy end, and then by the handle, and pointed it in front of me. When the heavy end was towards me, with the light handle sticking out, it had a tendency to wobble. When I reversed it, so I was gripping the handle, and the heavy end was away from me, it had a “slower” wobble. Adding weight to the end of the gun away from me gave it more “inertia”. With a ten pound weight at the end of the handle, I doubt it would have any noticeable wobble. So in that sense, adding weight towards the front end of the gun might make it easier to keep it steady.

I put the weight on an hour or so ago. By taking measurements first, the locking set screw should be right on top of the “dimple” on the gun, so nothing gets scratched. In dry-firing, I don’t yet know how it may or may not improve my shots when I do things correctly, but deliberately gripping the gun incorrectly, or using many different “wrong” parts of my trigger finger barely makes a difference. Last night, doing things wrong made the front sight close the gap on one side of it. Doing the same thing now barely makes a change.

I’m hoping this helps with my grouping.
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Old 04-13-2018, 12:38 PM
mikemyers mikemyers is online now
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Just to show my current (lack of) ability...
All at 25 yards, my reloaded ammo, yesterday.

Target 1 (top left) was holding the gun normally.
Target 2 (top right) was gripping the gun better, "clamping" the top of the gun between my hands.
Target 3 was the same as #2
Target 4 was using up my remaining 9 shots, one of which was attracted to something in outer space.

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Old 04-13-2018, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemyers View Post
...one of which was attracted to something in outer space.
Mike, the curse of the Model 52 trigger, as far as I am concerned.

Until now I had not understood that when that happens the 52 is changing into temporary “anti-Martian mode!”
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:27 PM
mikemyers mikemyers is online now
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Actually, it was me, not the gun. Weeks ago, it happened frequently. Now, as long as I'm concentrating on the sights, it doesn't happen. But I can't relax - if so, my old habit shows up again. The trigger on the M-52 is so light, the least pressure on the trigger causes the {BANG}, so I've got to maintain concentration.
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:41 PM
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It has been decades since I fired the Model 52 while attached to the USAMTU. Since all my prior training and practice had been with Colt Govt Models, my hand wasn't 'used' to the grip shape, so I stuck with those weapons, but I would not describe the M52 as 'difficult to master.' I recall it being very accurate and pleasant to shoot. As you are aware, at 25 yards the M52 is capable of putting all its shots in the 10 ring.

As for a weapon suddenly becoming 'highly inaccurate,' mechanical reasons are usually apparent, and far less likely than the many human errors. The procedure you describe makes sense as a logical way to find what technique makes this weapon work best for you.

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Old 04-13-2018, 01:56 PM
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I have and shoot a Model 52 and I can promise the targets shown are not the fault of the gun. Are you shooting one-handed or two? I am too old to be accurate with one-hand any more even though that's what I did in the Army Bullseye matches. Two hands lessens inadvertent twitches and can help you gain confidence in the gun. I've never heard anyone complain the trigger is too light.
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Old 04-13-2018, 02:33 PM
mikemyers mikemyers is online now
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I'm sure the targets are completely "me"; in a rest, the gun did far better than what you saw here. Age - I'm 74, but I'm sure I can do better than this - I'm still trying to figure out how to improve. I'm shooting two handed, and trying to get to be able to shoot one handed, which may never happen.

The grip shape didn't fit my hands at all. While the 1911 felt steady, comfortable, and easy to control, I never once had the feeling with the standard 52 grips. There is a long thread in these forums where the person switched to Pachmayr grips, which made a big difference for him. I've done the same. I guess I should post a photo.

In a rough rest, my group size was about an inch and a half with Winchester ammo, and I had been more careful, it would have been less. So what's shown in the targets up above is my fault, not the gun's.
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Old 04-13-2018, 02:45 PM
mikemyers mikemyers is online now
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M-52 with the barrel weight and Pachmayr grips

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Old 04-13-2018, 03:15 PM
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I was going to ask the "one or two hand" question myself.

Rhetorical question: Why do most people shoot two hands?
Answer: To conceal poor trigger control.
Poor trigger control is often deeply rooted in the psychological impact caused by the motion of the gun during the hold/aim. You got to learn about and understand the concept of natural arc of movement.
There's lots of exercises to help. Check out targettalk.org.

The M52 is a bullseye gun. The grip angle was chosen as an improvement over the 1911. That's debatable, perhaps, but it certainly is usable.
The trigger began as an adoption of the M39 DA trigger. With the linkage and pivot point, it can be problematic. But, dry fire should help. I'd stay off the 1911 a while and see if you can adapt to the M52. Lots of folks have the opposite problem, finding the 1911 a pain in the butt to get used to.
The weight, or lack thereof, is also a non-issue. Either use the weight or don't. I suggest train/dry fire with the weight.
I suspect that most bullseye shooters using the M52 would use the weight primarily for shot to shot recovery purposes during the rapid - timed fire stages.

Anyhow, just a few thoughts.

Best Regards,
Jim
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Old 04-13-2018, 08:00 PM
mikemyers mikemyers is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6string View Post
......Rhetorical question: Why do most people shoot two hands?
Answer: To conceal poor trigger control.......
Not sure about others, but while I was getting involved in target shooting, "everyone" used two hands. At the range I shot at, I don't think I ever noticed someone shooting one handed. Back then, I didn't know what "trigger control" meant.
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:30 PM
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Although these days I shoot two handed, it never occurred to me anyone shot the M52 that way--I pictured it as a centerfire weapon for the national match course, one hand only allowed. My naivety comes of being old enough to recall when competitive shooters didn't wear
spandex costumes with sponsor's names. I agree with those who found the grip odd, but a good shot with a M52 using both hands should be able to chew the center out of the target.
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:04 PM
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It can take me a bit to "remember" my 52-2 if I have not shot it in awhile. I hold it different than a 1911 or a revolver with target grips. I roll my hand back a bit so I get the tip of my finger on the trigger. XXXL hands. It has a much lighter trigger than other pistols I shoot. I also use a "lighter" grip, not a death grip. I now shoot two hands, getting older I guess. A few rounds usually a magazine full I am back in the zone. I figure out the figure 8 wobble and trigger control again. These things are very rewarding as well as very frustrating. It's not the 52-2, it's the nut behind the handle.. I have the same issue with a High Standard Citation when it has not been shot for awhile.
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:21 PM
mikemyers mikemyers is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Biblioitecario View Post
.......but a good shot with a M52 using both hands should be able to chew the center out of the target.
For better or worse, those of us with "old eyes" are limited in how well they can shoot, by how well they can see the sights. I'm pretty sure I'll eventually be satisfied with how well I can get to shoot with it, but the only solution for "old eyes" is optics, which I don't want to do right now. I did for my 1911, and it helped a lot, but I want to see how well I can eventually do with the M-52 using the steel sights.

It's a beautiful gun, probably as fine as anything that has ever been sold. It is finished beautifully, and everything was hand fitted by gunsmiths who did everything "by hand", no computers, no electronics. It looks great, and when people read what it is inside, they find it hard to believe anything like it even exists.

So many people have said it is a challenge to shoot well (and they've said it in words that are a lot stronger). For me, doing well is simple - I only have to do better than I did "last time". The more I get used to it, the better results I get. It still hasn't changed from "fun" to "frustrating" for me.


I will add that the M-52 is VERY picky about ammunition. For someone who isn't careful about reloading, the "best" group size obtainable at 25 yards can be seven inches or so, just due to the ammo. For me the choice is to buy factory ammo (harder to find all the time, with prices going up accordingly) or to load my own.

LOTS of good information on the Model 52 in the book "The Pistol Shooter's Treasury", but that book is getting harder to find....
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:39 PM
mikemyers mikemyers is online now
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.....I roll my hand back a bit so I get the tip of my finger on the trigger.......I now shoot two hands......
Curious - do you use the tip of your trigger finger when you're shooting two handed? I just tried that for dry-fire, expecting it not to work, but it felt fine and using the tip of my finger didn't upset the sights. Interesting....
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:16 AM
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Mikemyers, Admittedly I don’t have a 52 but I found your adding weight to the barrel to damp the barrel’s movement interesting. I learned to shoot with black powder guns back in the 1970s and heavy barrels are used on BP guns for exactly the reason you added the weight to your 52-to damp barrel movement during ignition. A BP gun’s ignition process is decidedly slower than a centerfire gun, even with the fastest BP lock-time, so a heavy barrel is more likely to stay on the point of aim longer during the ignition process due to inertia. Frankly, to this day I prefer heavy barreled handguns like 10-8s, GP100s, and 686s to pencil or taper barreled handguns like 10-5s. The same with rifles.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:29 AM
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Yes, two handed as well as one hand. In the 1911A1's and the revolvers I am at the first joint. With the 52-2 and the High Standard, the tip of the finger. I don't have a weight for 52-2, but do use a 2 ounce on the High Standard with a 7 1/4' fluted barrel. Reloads for the 52-2 are Winchester nickeled brass trimmed back .005" (for consistent crimp) with 2.7g Bullseye 148g Remington HBWC and a slight roll crimp, just enough to see the crimp roll over with a flush seated bullet.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:02 AM
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Maybe you're ready for this:

MantisX - High-tech firearms training system

I bought one last weekend and have been enjoying the heck out of it.
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Old 04-14-2018, 10:50 AM
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I'm shooting the 52 one handed as thats the way its used it Bullseye competition.
Its a cool gun and by far the most accurate gun I own.
I'm 66 and am trying to stick to steel sights and one handed shooting until that becomes ridiculous . Just for the challenge and it is a challenge.
If I were shooting 2 handed I would resist the weight although I must admit, my HS Trophy shoots better with a 2 oz weight.
Happy to read any M52 thread.
Some of the folks at my range get a kick out of us guys with our obsolete firearms. The people still competing consider it to be more of a nostalgia driven activity.
To each his own.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:10 PM
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.......Some of the folks at my range get a kick out of us guys with our obsolete firearms. The people still competing consider it to be more of a nostalgia driven activity.
To each his own.
Well, the 1911 is over 100 years old, and I can't see any reason to replace it with something made from plastic. For that matter, given a choice between a 1950 Chevy, and today's version, ain't no choice for me.

Maybe what you wrote is why people nowadays say you can shoot well because all your holes are someplace on the target. People near me tell me how great I'm doing, while I'm standing there completely frustrated. Maybe many of today's computer made guns are incapable of doing what typical guns did years ago. Maybe customers no longer care....


'smithrjd' wrote "In the 1911A1's and the revolvers I am at the first joint. With the 52-2 and the High Standard, the tip of the finger. " ......of course, that goes against everyone's advice, but I tried it last night dry-firing the 52. I thought this is an excellent idea. Maybe on a different gun that takes more force to activate the trigger, having a finger bone right over the trigger gives one more control - but on the 52, the trigger is so smooth, light, and effortless, that using my fingertip seemed to give me MORE control.


Also, in a link someone here sent me to, there was a thread about dry firing, and suggested doing it while sitting down, not standing facing the wall. As the write-up suggested, there is a limit to how long you're willing to stand facing a wall (maybe 50 times?), but you can do it endlessly, for hundreds of times, if you're sitting there with the gun between your legs. If you watch the sights, any movement is obvious - and so far it seems to me like a good way to build the habit of pressing the trigger in a way that has the least disturbance on the sights.

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Old 04-14-2018, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemyers View Post
Just to show my current (lack of) ability...
All at 25 yards, my reloaded ammo, yesterday.

Target 1 (top left) was holding the gun normally.
Target 2 (top right) was gripping the gun better, "clamping" the top of the gun between my hands.
Target 3 was the same as #2
Target 4 was using up my remaining 9 shots, one of which was attracted to something in outer space.

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I don't know why you're griping, Mike. Three targets with 10-shot strings, yielding a 92 and two 95s. Those are solid Expert level scores. Many guys would kill to be able to shoot three 90+ targets in a row at 25 yards.

If you want to make Master keep working on fundamentals and consistency. That's the secret, and it ain't no secret! Stance, grip, breath control, sight picture, trigger control, follow through.



The Model 52 was designed to be fired one-handed, duello style.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-14-2018, 01:11 PM
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I don't know why you're griping, Mike. Three targets with 10-shot strings, yielding a 92 and two 95s. Those are solid Expert level scores. Many guys would kill to be able to shoot three 90+ targets in a row at 25 yards..........If you want to make Master keep working on fundamentals and consistency. That's the secret, and it ain't no secret! Stance, grip, breath control, sight picture, trigger control, follow through.
Hope this helps.
Hello again!!!! You have all kinds of great information about the M-52! ....and Thank You!

First, I hope to shoot a 3", maybe 3 1/2" group at 25 yards. Not sure if I'll ever get there, but I think it's within reach. Of course, every time I meet one of my goals, I want more!

About the M-52, I would also like to learn how to shoot one handed, but I still am lousy at it. I guess I should start working at that goal as well. I will never make "master" until my left hand stays in my pocket.


Not sure where that chart came from, but it has something in it I never realized. Yet one more thing I should have known, but didn't. I thought that you fire the gun, and keep your trigger finger all the way "in" for a couple of seconds. Now I see I'm wrong. From your chart, you continue to apply pressure to the trigger, the gun fires, but you still continue to apply additional pressure in one un-interrupted motion. The shot happens while the trigger is still moving inward, not after!! After seeing your illustration, it's now obvious to me, but I never even considered that before. You are the first person who showed this so clearly.

I now have a whole new way to think about shooting, and the real meaning of "follow-through".

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Old 04-14-2018, 07:55 PM
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I have fond memories and hateful memories of my 52-2. I had many high 90 scores in bullseye with it, but could just as easy have disaster. When I was "on", I could hold fine, but when I was off, any little problem could make a 10 into a 7. I would seldom get a 9, but I would blow one into the 7. Whenever I had one of those days, I would get out the sandbags, and prove it wasn't the gun it was me. Eventually I found the 1911 more forgiving, and my miscues could often be 9's and not 7's. That's when I parted company with the 52.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:17 PM
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The only difference between the above targets and the following ones is that I am now using the "barrel weight".

I tried using the tip of my trigger finger, but that did not work for me.

What I did before, and with the weight mounted, the targets got slightly better.

I do better when I load the magazine with five rounds, rather than loading one at a time for a single shot.

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Old 04-15-2018, 09:09 PM
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[QUOTE=mikemyers;140000482]Well, the 1911 is over 100 years old, and I can't see any reason to replace it with something made from plastic. For that matter, given a choice between a 1950 Chevy, and today's version, ain't no choice for me.

I guess these guys are driving at the point that you can not source parts for a 52. S&W doesn't produce the barrel any longer so you have to scrounge around.
Guys shoot out the barrel and then they have a paper weight , so if they have a clean 52 with complete boxes and etc. they don't shoot them.
They feel that time has passed the 52 by, but that it still scores high on the "cool gun" points list.
With a 1911 parts are not a problem , unless you are using an antique.
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:45 PM
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Clark Custom is making M52 barrels now, I think.
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:45 PM
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Yep, most likely true, but can the other guns do this?

I will never do it, but I can dream......



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Show off your target .38s!!
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:26 AM
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That's interesting! He did that with a no-dash 52 (not a surprise) but if his recording is accurate... his load was a 148gr wadcutter over 2.3gr Bullseye?!

Most use 2.7 or 2.8. I've never heard of trying a wadcutter with 2.3 grains Bullseye. In fact, I'll say that in a revolver with a flash gap (that bleeds much needed pressure), I would not try that load. In a 52 with a sealed chamber/barrel, I would imagine that it's fails to function the pistol, but it would be interesting to try.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:52 PM
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Back in the day when I was using my S&W model 52-1 for the centerfire match (with iron sights) I shot these targets in the timed fire stage of an outdoor "1800" (25 yards). The key to shooting the model 52 is consistent grip and follow-through. You have to do this every shot. If you let down in any fundamental, you'll get a wider shot than expected from a 1911 or .22 auto. If you can get your level of proficiency up, it is a great gun to use for bullseye pistol matches. If you can't, it'll teach you better fundamentals, which will help your 1911 bullseye shooting.

Last edited by BE Mike; 04-16-2018 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:27 PM
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Gorgeous targets! Pictures like that make me smile. I was 11 years old when you laid down those 100's. Those targets are inspiring.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:26 PM
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Beautiful targets! Something to aim for... er, no pun intended, well, yes.

"The key to shooting the model 52 is consistent grip and follow-through. You have to do this every shot. If you let down in any fundamental, you'll get a wider shot than expected from a 1911 or .22 auto."

That's my problem, and maybe the solution, if I practice enough. It is so much easier for me to do better with a 1911 wad gun.

I've been printing my own targets. My club uses B-8 for everything, so that's what I copied. I think I'll revise what I'm printing, so the 8 ring is white. Not that it should matter - I am trying to ONLY concentrate on the front sight, but who knows. Gee, I wish I had bought the M-52 long, long ago. Consistency, and follow-through....


Those targets you posted -- SO nice!!!!!
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:31 PM
Al W. Al W. is offline
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Quote:
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Clark Custom is making M52 barrels now, I think.
Yes they are, but with a different twist rate on the rifling than the original barrel.
So its not the same.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:22 PM
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Yes they are, but with a different twist rate on the rifling than the original barrel.
So its not the same.
I heard that Clark Custom was going to make model 52 barrels over a year ago and even had a price in mind of $259.95, but I haven't seen anything since then. They don't have the barrels on their website, that I can find.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:49 PM
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For the M-52, is it better to have your right elbow locked, or not?
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:57 PM
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While I own and shot my M 52-2 from time yo time, just not able to shoot it as well as my 1911, trigger; grip angle; slow cycle time...etc, all seems to make it a much difficult gun to shoot well.

However, all is not lost, here are a couple of links I think will be helpful to all bullseye shooters:




These video feature Brain Zins, a 12 time NRA pistol champion.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:23 PM
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Thanks - the first two I am (trying) to do now. The third video is new to me. From what Brian says, I'm doing it wrong. Back to the drawing board, er, dry-fire room.

So, as the front sight settles within the rear sight at the proper height, I should be firing.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:34 PM
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Encyclopedia of Bullseye Pistol
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BE Mike View Post
I heard that Clark Custom was going to make model 52 barrels over a year ago and even had a price in mind of $259.95, but I haven't seen anything since then. They don't have the barrels on their website, that I can find.
One of the range guys had them on the phone. Different twist rate so he wasn't interested. His thought was why change perfection.
I sort of agree.
If they are going to do it , do it.
That $259.95 price point is pretty high.
If they want that number they have to make the correct replacement part.
Meanwhile my 52 doesn't need a barrel , so what do I know...
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:58 AM
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You might be interested in what Jerry Keefer wrote about this eight years ago, here in this forum:

PPC .38Spl Barrel Twist Rate? 1:12 or 1:14?

From this, and what I read long ago about the Model 52, the twist rate is not critical - having a high quality barrel is.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemyers View Post
You might be interested in what Jerry Keefer wrote about this eight years ago, here in this forum:

PPC .38Spl Barrel Twist Rate? 1:12 or 1:14?

From this, and what I read long ago about the Model 52, the twist rate is not critical - having a high quality barrel is.
Always happy to consider new information !
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:23 PM
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I spent a few hours at the range this morning. The advice helped, again, as each time I go things are (a little) better. When I finished with the M-52, I decided I'd shoot a few targets with my Salyer 1911. First impression - something is wrong. By comparison, it's as if my 1911 is made from plastic. I couldn't believe how light it felt! Then, as "BE Mike" posted up above, I found that working with the Model 52 improved my targets from the 1911.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:37 PM
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Jerry Keefer (RIP) apparently wasn't a fan of the 1:18 3/4" twist rate of the S&W model 52 stock barrel. He said that PPC revolvers generally used a twist rate of 1:10- 1:14 and those faster twist rates showed sub 1" groups at 50 yards with no bullet tipping. Looks like Clark might have decided that the faster twist rate might be better for the 52.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S&WIowegan View Post
... I've never heard anyone complain the trigger is too light.
S&W M52s will lose trigger weight over time. I have had to bend my sear spring to get trigger weight up to competition limits for NRA Center Fire rules. (ISSF CF rules are more lenient due to 22/32 conversions)
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