Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > >

Notices

Smith & Wesson Semi-Auto Pistols Other Smith & Wesson Semi-Automatic Pistols from the 1950's to Present


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-13-2021, 08:06 PM
Rick H. Rick H. is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Muskego, WI
Posts: 94
Likes: 2
Liked 70 Times in 37 Posts
Default Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue

Hi All: This is a long story so bear with me. I have to finally break down and ask a question of those no doubt more knowledgeable about shooting lead bullets than I. I have a couple of M-52-2's and absolutely love shooting them. If you own one, you know what I am talking about. In one of my 52's whenever I shoot it, I get a ring of lead around the leade area of the chamber. This ring of lead does not normally extend into the barrel and would appear to be confined to the area just in front of where the case ends. If not cleaned out completely this ring will continue to expand and eventually work it's way into the rifling.

I am not sure why this ring of lead appears where it does, but I do know that it is an absolute bear to get rid of. The typical fixes are almost useless where this ring is located. I have tried Chore Boy strands around a brush, a Lewis Lead Remover and even some Lead Out solution from Shoot R products. Normally I would give the Lewis Lead Remover the nod for getting rid of this lead, but I think what happens is the brass "cleaner" gets lifted slightly when it comes in contact with the rifling and it doesn't scrape to the very end of the chamber. So far the only thing that removes this lead buildup is Semi-Chrome polish on a super tight patch and multiple passes in and out of the area. I am not sure what is in Semi-Chrome polish, but I believe it contains a given amount of ammonia.

So now that I have explained my problem, I would like to find a solution to eliminating this lead buildup in the first place. I normally run Hornady 148 grain HBWC bullets that have a dry lube on them. They seem to give me the best accuracy of the bullets I have tried. I tried lubing the Hornady bullets with White Label 45-45-10, but still had the same problem. Today I tried some coated bullets from Acme Bullets and still had the ring of lead. I thought the Acme bullets would help, but not so. At this point I am kind of grasping at straws.

I use Solo 1000 powder in my reloads including 9mm and .45 ACP. I am beginning to wonder if I should switch to a slightly slower powder like Winchester 231 as perhaps the Solo 1000 burns too hot? Quite some time ago I tried some plated bullets, but the pistol didn't like them much. I am open to any suggestions from the forum members as I am sure many of you have shot M-52's and may have been down this road before.

Now here is the kicker to my story. This ring of lead in the chamber is almost imperceptible to the naked eye. The only way to see it is with a bore scope. Some may say I am being too picky about this, but I have run into this problem before with another M-52 that I bought. The pistol was in terrific shape but I noticed the ring of lead when I got it home and looked at the barrel with my bore scope. When I finally got the lead out I noticed the barrel was pitted all the way around the end of the chamber and the pits had been filled in and covered by the lead and of course the gunstore I bought the gun from would not take it back. I had Clark replace the barrel in that gun and eventually sold it to a friend.

My next move is going to be trying some 231 powder to see if that makes any difference. If I am missing something please let me know. I love these pistols, but the labor intensive cleaning is killing me. Thanks in advance.

Rick H.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-13-2021, 08:29 PM
Rowlf Rowlf is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 128
Likes: 9
Liked 111 Times in 58 Posts
Default

Make sure your reloading process isn't sizing down your bullets. I like Magnus swaged 148 HBWC tumbled in White Label 45-45-10. I use a 38 Super to size the cases and an 0.358" expander that will expand the brass for the length of the bullet. I use a taper crimp because that is on my press.

The lube and not making my bullets smaller with tight brass reduced a lot of my M52 barrel leading and revolver barrel leading. Unfortunately the lube does make a mess in the dies and has to be cleaned out often.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-14-2021, 10:01 AM
Ignatz's Avatar
Ignatz Ignatz is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Birdsboro Pa.
Posts: 396
Likes: 109
Liked 136 Times in 66 Posts
Default

I'll just ramble with my Model 52 history. I got mine second hand in the mid 90's after the original owner only fired 30 rounds thru.
Mine was only fed Remington 148 HBWC bullets until they disappeared, then Speer 148's for the rest of the pistol's competitive life. Back then I used 2.7 grs of Bullseye powder and everything worked fine. Thousands of rounds.
I never had an alibi with the 52, and was always confident that I was going to the line with perfect performing 52.
Cleaning the 52.......After removing the barrel and bushing the first time (1994) in the 52, I decided to never take the barrel and bushing out again. I would carefully run a wet patch thru the bore and just follow up with dry patches.
So after looking at my Model 52 this morning, and not seeing clearly the area your talking about, I removed the bushing and took the barrel out.
Mine too has a slight buildup of lead at the end of the chamber where it goes into the rifling. I use Kroil and just wet patches followed by dry patches, and will admit it took a bit to get it clean, but that buildup never affected my shooting.
I used Solo 1000 in the older days of USPSA revolver major, and when Solo 1000 disappeared, I went to Winchester WST and have been happy since. I don't miss Solo 1000 at all. I use WST in my 1911, S&W 929, 586 and wouldn't have any problem using it in a 52. I still have Bullseye powder from the 90's, so I still load up my occasional 148 load with it and always remark about the cloud of smoke it produces.
So, I used Bullseye powder in my 52, a different bullet and still got a bit of the buildup you talked about. It never affected the performance of the pistol, and best of all, I never knew it was there.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #4  
Old 01-14-2021, 10:37 AM
Ia.redneck Ia.redneck is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: May 2012
Location: NE Iowa
Posts: 42
Likes: 2
Liked 14 Times in 9 Posts
Default

I've been shooting a M52-2 for awhile now. It also gets a build up of lead between the chamber and beginning of the rifling. I think what causes it is the abrupt transition from chamber to rifling.

There isn't a gradual 11 degree lead into the rifling like in a revolver, it's more of a square shoulder. I suspect if a gradual angle was cut into that area, the leading would stop. Been afraid to try that though because it shoots so well as is.

I've tried several brands of factory HBWC's, also cast my own. Have used several lubes, powder coating, and Hi-Tek. The ring of lead always comes back.

So basically, I'm no help.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-14-2021, 10:41 AM
Rick H. Rick H. is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Muskego, WI
Posts: 94
Likes: 2
Liked 70 Times in 37 Posts
Default

Thanks for the replies guys. Sory to have made you take your M52 apart Ignatz. I use an expander to just slightly bell the case mouth and I never see any indication of lead stripping from the bullet when it is seated. May I ask you Rowlf why you use a .38 Super die to resize your brass? And just to understand, you expand the case the entire length of the bullet not just to bell the case mouth?

Rick H.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-14-2021, 11:00 AM
colt_saa's Avatar
colt_saa colt_saa is online now
SWCA Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida
Posts: 8,929
Likes: 1,651
Liked 16,107 Times in 4,488 Posts
Default

Rick,
How does your Model 52 shoot if you do not clean out the ring?

If Ia.redneck's speculation is correct, this should be a self limiting issue. Once the transition area is full of lead, all the remaining projectiles should just slide past it

I never had a severe leading issue with my Model 52s, but I never examined them with a borescope either. They just got a normal cleaning

About once a year, I would use the old Outers Foul Out to completely remove any lead
__________________
"Acta non verba"
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-14-2021, 01:23 PM
505Gibbs's Avatar
505Gibbs 505Gibbs is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Suburban Deeeetroit
Posts: 1,626
Likes: 3
Liked 697 Times in 369 Posts
Default

With all the Model 52 posts around this forum - barrel leading is new or people have learned to deal with it & not post about it?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-14-2021, 02:16 PM
Rick H. Rick H. is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Muskego, WI
Posts: 94
Likes: 2
Liked 70 Times in 37 Posts
Default

Thanks again for the replies guys. I think Ia.redneck is spot on with his assumption. I took my other 52-2 apart and there is no sign of lead in it around the end of the chamber using the borescope. In fact the two barrels from my 52's are noticeably different in finish work near the end of the chamber. One is sort of course in appearance and the other quite well finished. One appears to have more of a transition from chamber to leade and the other quite abrupt. The one with the lack of transition is the one that creates the lead ring. So I agree with Ia.redneck that this lack of "chamfer" if you will, because it is nothing but an abrupt shoulder, catches some lead as the bullet exits the case.

So the next issue that was mentioned is how does the gun shoot. Well at 69 years old that's an interesting question. If I shoot both from a modified two hand bench rest hold they do very well almost equal. I can squeak out a ten round 1.5 inch to 2.0 inch group at 15 yards, on a really good day sometimes a bit smaller. In reality at my age I am happy with the way both guns shoot. My days of driving tacks at 25 yards one handed are long gone. I am more concerned with what causes this ring of lead to occur and how to eliminate it and make my cleaning easier and truly clean and eliminate any possibility of pitting to occur under the lead ring. I wonder if the not so well finished barrel could be throated to give it a smoother transition area? And in all honesty, unless someone looks at their barrel via a borescope I doubt they would ever know this buildup of lead exists.

As a last resort, if I can't find a cure for this issue, is to send the gun to Clark and have them install one of their new made barrels and see what happens. In the meantime I will do what I can or is suggested by you fine folks.

Rick H.

Last edited by Rick H.; 01-14-2021 at 02:23 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-14-2021, 03:48 PM
garbler garbler is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 463
Likes: 43
Liked 344 Times in 169 Posts
Default

Iíve seen this condition in a number of 52ís and discussed this with several old time Master class shooters including Don Nygord. The consensus was (1) is it affecting accuracy or gun performance and (2) does the lead deposit stay there or migrate down the barrel.

I for one gave up on cast wad cutters and shot only swaged dead soft hollow base bullets out of my mid-range guns and never had accuracy issues. Keep in mind that the little bit of free bore between chamber mouth and rifling is space where the expanding bullet base is not controlled. It is therefore possible the obturated or expanded bullet base gets wiped off entering the rifling. Also remember soft lead slow subsonic bullets donít often created leading problems so itís unlikely you will end up with a fouled barrel.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
  #10  
Old 01-14-2021, 06:04 PM
Rowlf Rowlf is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 128
Likes: 9
Liked 111 Times in 58 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick H. View Post
T May I ask you Rowlf why you use a .38 Super die to resize your brass? And just to understand, you expand the case the entire length of the bullet not just to bell the case mouth?

Rick H.
I use the 38 Super die for resizing as it is a slightly bigger case outside diameter than what a 38 Special will size the brass to. Most 38 Special sizing dies size the case for jacketed bullets. Since I shoot lead swaged bullets I want a slightly looser case. For the expander, a friend turned a powder drop for me that is like a long Lyman M style expander. This expands the brass for the length of the HBWC bullet and also give a slight flare at the end. After visually checking for powder charge, I can get about half of the bullet to sit in the case for straight bullet seating.

Wider brass keeps my 0.358 bullets from being swaged smaller in a progressive press, so with White Label 45-45-10 lube I have very little or no leading in pistols or revolvers.

Some Bullseye competitors do not size their M52 brass at all, but since the M52 chamber is large I like to be able to shoot my reloads in revolvers too.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
  #11  
Old 01-15-2021, 03:53 AM
Sevens Sevens is online now
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Ohio
Posts: 5,403
Likes: 5,565
Liked 8,593 Times in 3,197 Posts
Default

I shoot my 52’s a lot, mostly on paper of course but I also plink at empty 12ga hulls at 12-15 yards. Once each year, it goes with me on a 3-day prairie dog hunt and I’ve taken a half dozen of them.

It’s rare that I clean the bore. While I’ll pull the slide from the frame, clear out all fouling and lube and assemble, I don’t fuss over the bore and I like to keep the bushing where it is at.

I’ve used Bullseye powder exclusively. 90% or more of my bullets have been old school Star 148gr swaged HBWC, I came across a massive lot of them and I bought many thousand.

I’ve made some ammo with the Precision Delta swaged HBWC and they worked well. I’ve also tried a few of the famed Remington bullets that are recently available in 100 count bags packaged and branded by Black Hills. I found the dirty to work with, expensive and ACCURATE! But I don’t plan to buy more.

I have some old stock Hornady swaged HBWC, the ones with the powdery white lube. (mica?) I’ve only just begun to explore those.

Of the three 52’s I have, one is a safe queen and the other two get a lot of love. I haven’t noticed any drop off in accuracy and I certainly don’t own a bore scope.

I don’t do anything out of the ordinary when it comes to my handloading process for this ammo. I tend to use R-P brass because across the board, I’ve always found R-P brass to be the thinnest.

I am happy to report that I simply don’t have function failures with the two 52’s that I shoot, and I shoot ‘em a lot.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-15-2021, 10:34 AM
Ia.redneck Ia.redneck is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: May 2012
Location: NE Iowa
Posts: 42
Likes: 2
Liked 14 Times in 9 Posts
Default

I guess I didn't mention my 52-2 is VERY accurate, even when the lead ring is present. I spent most of a summer (in my spare time) testing loads from a bench at 25yds.

I have a optic mount installed and normally use a red dot for informal bullseye competition. But for load development I temporarily installed a 6x rifle scope. I have a half dozen wadcutter bullet molds, so I've tried quite a few combinations from store bought to homemade.

The best load to date in my gun is the RCBS 140 grain wadcutter over 2.7-2.8 of winchester super target. I powder coat those, and it keeps the gun noticeably cleaner too. way less smoke at the indoor range too. Believe it or not, but they outshoot the hollow base factory bullets in my gun at 25 yards.

I size them .357, because most 52's have pretty tight bores.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-15-2021, 11:16 AM
Rick H. Rick H. is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Muskego, WI
Posts: 94
Likes: 2
Liked 70 Times in 37 Posts
Default

Thanks to everyone for replying to this thread. A lot of good information here. As an aside, last night I decommissioned about 20 .38 Special wadcutters I had loaded and didn't want. I used a bullet remover hammer for this as its easiest and generally quick albeit messy. Anyway, the Hornady swaged bullets with and without 45-45-10 came out of the case in 2 to 3 strikes. The red coated Acme bullets took between 6 and 9 blows to get them out of the case using forceful blows. I was quite surprised at how difficult it was to remove the Acme bullets from the cases, but I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Rick H.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #14  
Old 01-15-2021, 11:34 AM
gwpercle's Avatar
gwpercle gwpercle is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Posts: 5,284
Likes: 4,800
Liked 5,453 Times in 2,614 Posts
Default

I would bet money the Leade (throat) is not completely smooth and polished and/or it is too tight and needs to be opened up .
It sounds as if the final finishing throat polishing wasn't done completely.
Have a gunsmith look at the throat and finish the job.
Don't do it yourself because it's easy to ruin a barrel if you don't have the correct tools and knowledge.

When pulling bullets , seat the bullet a little deeper , just enough to break the crimp ...with the hold on the bullet by the case broken it becomes much easier to pull them ...usually 3-4 firm strikes but not pile driving hard blows .
Gary
__________________
Certified Cajun
NRA Member

Last edited by gwpercle; 01-15-2021 at 11:38 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-15-2021, 07:09 PM
garbler garbler is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 463
Likes: 43
Liked 344 Times in 169 Posts
Default

If I were you I would not touch that barrel or let anybody else go in with ANY tooling. If the gun is shooting accurately and functioning properly then you donít have a real problem. As I said before Iíve seen this condition before on several guns and one of mine and they still scored well. Itís a risky business that usually fails trying to improve accuracy on these proven guns.

I might add at one time when I was competing heavily I had a 52 and a Clark 1911 midrange wad cutter gun. Both were tested strenuously off the bench and with the Ransom and both shot equally well with extruded HBWCís. I asked Mr. Clark if his barrels would improve accuracy and he said absolutely not. If your 52 shoots it will outshoot you as long as you compete. Good enough for me
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 01-15-2021, 07:53 PM
Sevens Sevens is online now
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Ohio
Posts: 5,403
Likes: 5,565
Liked 8,593 Times in 3,197 Posts
Default

Clark ended up eventually making a 52 barrel with a different twist rate, aimed at better stabilizing the HBWC. This was somewhat recent, likely after Jim Clark Sr had passed on.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #17  
Old 01-15-2021, 09:05 PM
Rick H. Rick H. is offline
Member
Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue Strange M-52 Barrel Leading Issue  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Muskego, WI
Posts: 94
Likes: 2
Liked 70 Times in 37 Posts
Default

Thank you again to all who took the time to reply to my thread. I have lots of great information here to work with and think about. I agree to some extent that I am a bit OCD about this lead buildup, but with what happened with the 52 I had the barrel replaced on, by Clark, I would like to keep it from happening again. I am going to go back to my reloads and make a batch using 3.1 grains of 231, instead of Solo 1000, using Hornady 148's with no extra lube. Depending on the results I will decide if anything further needs to be done or should be done. I will also take my "good" 52 out and run some rounds thru that one and see if it develops a lead ring too. Hopefully it won't because the barrel looks much better finished then my normal shooter. Again, many thanks to all.....

Rick H.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Forcing cone , leading issue, Model 15 Al W. S&W-Smithing 12 08-20-2019 09:11 PM
Strange barrel issue with my CS-9 Ascension Smith & Wesson Semi-Auto Pistols 4 02-24-2016 01:35 AM
S&W Model 14 leading issue. SamuelGrath S&W-Smithing 3 07-31-2015 10:22 PM
leading issue on a 686-6 not barrel rde1911 S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present 10 08-30-2014 06:40 PM
Barrel leading issue, need advice. scooter123 S&W-Smithing 12 10-14-2009 08:16 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
smith-wessonforum.com tested by Norton Internet Security smith-wessonforum.com tested by McAfee Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:32 PM.


Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO v2.0.42 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Smith-WessonForum.com is not affiliated with Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC)