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Old 06-14-2022, 10:21 PM
RodJ RodJ is offline
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Hello, I am simply a sometimes lurker here and appreciate the experience and information shared.

As per the title, I have a like new Model 52-2 with a problem. It was my fatherís until recently when he went into assisted living (91!). I believe the pistol has never been fired. Thatís what I was told and I recall the original blue box. It looks like itís never been fired but itís possible it has been. Somehow over the years that disappeared along with the tools and bushing wrench.

Anyway the problem is that the hammer will not stay back when dropping the slide (carefully when no cartridge is in the magazine, and at normal slide speed when a dummy round is used - empty case). The hammer drops to half cock (safety hook?). I can thumb the hammer back and it holds against the seat but any pressure on the hammer causes it to slip off the sear and drop to the half cock hooks. Any pressure on the trigger will also cause the hammer to drop even with the magazine out. Note Iím 99% certain the magazine safety is intact.

There is a small amount of first stage take up in the trigger and just a hairís worth of travel after the sear trips.

[EDIT TO ADD: the trigger is at 30 oz which I think (?) is lower than it should be set at. And also, I gave the pistol a field strip, Kroil ďbathĒ, mineral spirit soak, then purple simple green wash, hot water rinse, and a little Hoppes gun oil. Same problem ]

Im afraid I know the answer - gunsmith and pray - but is there any way to add pressure to the sear spring or improve engagement? Iíve read but not confirmed that Smith & Wesson no longer support / work on the Model 52s. If thatís true, any recommendations for a Ďsmith? Im in Texas if that makes a difference but Iíll send it anywhere to someone who is good with this model.

Thanks in advance.
Rod

Last edited by RodJ; 06-14-2022 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:47 PM
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30 oz is out of spec for a 52 in any version. 2.5 lbs is what smith said the lower end should be. A good armorer can make the adjustment in a half hour or so. It just takes a slight adjustment to the sear/ hammer relationship with a stone.

Sorry, but I don’t know anyone in your area. Been out of the business too long.

Regards, Rick Gibbs
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Old 06-14-2022, 11:17 PM
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Sounds like you need a good S&W gunsmith.
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Old 06-14-2022, 11:41 PM
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I suspect that some very careful and slight bending of the sear spring is something you could attempt. This is a very low risk gambit that could work without professional assistance and is very unlikely to hurt.

Disassembly is required.

I’ve owned four 52’s and never experienced this problem however my buddy did with one of his and exactly this worked for him.
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Old 06-14-2022, 11:52 PM
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You have a new gun and it definitely does not need “stoned” or bending of any springs… The 52 has an adjustable trigger and you need someone that knows how to accomplish a proper adjustment. There is a guy here (don't recall his name) that was a 52 assembly factory worker and may likely walk you through it. Maybe he will see your post and chime in or one of the other guys has his name noted.
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Old 06-14-2022, 11:59 PM
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Hi,
The above posts by Ken158, Sevens and Rick Gibbs likely tell all.

But, based on other experiences, it is possible that if your 52 hasn't been fired or used much, that it may have been stored with the hammer cocked. If so, springs may have taken a set and are now under power.
Sometimes too, if the slide is dropped on an empty chamber the jarring can damage the hammer/sear engagement. Since you know to use a dummy round hopefully this is not the case.

So, those are two possible issues that can afflict an otherwise mint condition gun.

Also, Smith & Wesson at one time offered two different sear springs, one for American Bullseye trigger weight and a slightly heavier one for UIT (International) Centerfire, which called for a 1360 gr trigger pull. In any case, it is the sear spring that generally regulates trigger pull on a m52. There is no adjustment for sear engagement.
PS: The M52 doesn't have a magazine disconnect, as I recall.

Last edited by 6string; 06-15-2022 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 06-15-2022, 12:42 AM
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The 52 certainly does have a magazine disconnect safety.

But ken158 does bring up a good point that if the trigger adjustment screws are FAR out of their typical range, it can be a source of trouble for proper trigger reset, which could show itself as a sear engagement issue.

If you do a simple field strip and remove the slide, you can look top-down in to the frame of the 52 and over the trigger you will see a somewhat large headed screw and an allen wrench of the proper size will fit that screw. This is the pre-travel adjustment screw and it allows the user to take up the free travel before resistance in the trigger.

If this screw is maladjusted, it can prevent the trigger from being in the proper place to allow the sear to properly engage the hammer.
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Old 06-15-2022, 12:43 AM
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donk52 is the poster who formerly assembled S&W Model 52 pistols. He is a casual visitor to the site, he's not here daily like many of us lunatics.
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Old 06-15-2022, 01:14 AM
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RODJ, Where are you in Texas. Im in Weatherford w of FTW. I would be glad to fix it for you if your around my location. I have sear springs if thats what it needs. Fixed a few guns in my day ( 20+ years worth) so I wont bubba it up..I also own a 52-2 so am quite familiar with its workings. Hopefully it may just be the adjustment. I cant imagine any trigger work done to it if your dad didnt shoot it, so maybe a set sear spring or out of adjustment seems the most likely answer. let me know.
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Old 06-15-2022, 08:29 AM
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Wow, THANK YOU ALL. Not even 3 hours went by and tons of observations and assistance.

I had already printed the detailed disassembly / assembly instructions from a thread here (another big thank you to that author). Iíve been through a 1911 a few years back, but Iím a bit shy of bending sear springs on an unfamiliar pistol. And the instructions warned to leave the sear spring alone. Iíll start with the trigger adjustment screws.

Failing that, I may take you up on your offer CALREB. Iím in Austin, but a drive up 281 would do me some good. If it comes to that, youíll have to let me know what appropriate ďalmsĒ you accept as a humble sign of appreciation.

Will report back after Iíve tried the trigger adjustments.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-15-2022, 11:34 PM
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RodJ, No alms needed, I like to help out friends when ever possible. Makes my day to have someone visit . I built a nice shop/mancave during the first year of the pandemic. It changes between cleaned up and a mess as I am still unpacking boxes of accumulated shooting stuff from 35 years of shooting/teaching/fixing guns and competing. Needed a place I could control the heat and humidity. No basements here unfortunately.

Last buddy that came by 84 year old retired Air Force Sgt. Put some sights on a couple Staccatos for him. So I got to drive his new Lexus LC 500 convertible. Now that was some good bartering. Im retired and usually at home or range. Have plenty of wadcutters to test fire your pistol.

So just let me know a few days ahead of time. I cant imagine it taking more than an hour to figure it out. I work a bit slower these days, especially with that nice a gun.
On another note. If you are having trouble with sear issues/ hammer follow. If you test fire, load only a couple rounds in the mag to test fire. I have seen quite a few S/Ws where guys or someone they paid to lighten the trigger messed with the sear spring and the gun doubled or trippled. Dont think it would be much with a wadcutter gun but it gets exciting with a .45 acp. Take care Bob
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Old 06-16-2022, 11:25 AM
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Calreb: That is super nice of you to offer to repair the OP's Model 52. I absolutely love your Mancave/Work shop you have setup for yourself. That's something I need for sure. After a long and relatively enjoyable career in law enforcement and working as a firearms instructor and an armorer I too accumulated a ton of tools etc. for working on firearms related issues. With all my tools and reloading gear I have flat run out of room in my basement workshop, or as my wife calls it, the Hole. Hope you are enjoying life after the "job".

Rick H.
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Old 06-16-2022, 03:00 PM
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Good Lord, Bob. Those photos of your cave made me dizzy! And a bit envious.

So I tried resetting the trigger “pre-travel” screw to factory per Donk52 posts (thank you Donk! Invaluable resource to have you in the world). But no joy. I’m fact I don’t think anyone has done any work on the pistol. The “pre-travel” screw was set perfectly. A quarter turn out and the hammer fell. Reaching the other is a bit of a chore but will check it when I find a spare hex key to bend.

I went ahead and contacted Smith and Wesson to see if they would support the pistol. It dates to 1978-79 and the lady said yes, then sent me a FedEx label. I’m torn because I want to believe S&W would be good but not so sure that any of the current smiths are real familiar, and if they are, whether I would get one. Unfair of me to question them because I don’t know, but the 52 has a sentimental aspect.

Bob, I’ll look at the calendar (and calculate the gas $$!) and see if there’s a good weekend or weekday to come up. That is unless some one knowledgeable tells me that S&W will definitely do a good job without costing an arm and a leg.

So much appreciate you and the others who have weighed in!

Rod
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Old 06-16-2022, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RodJ View Post
That is unless some one knowledgeable tells me that S&W will definitely do a good job without costing an arm and a leg.
I am not knowledgeable but I am fairly quick with fingers and posting replies is something I enjoy. Plus, Lee (Handejector) has given us a fantastic forum and I cannot be stopped!

However, let me be serious:

I'm just a guy with some experience. That experience matches up well with the bulk of forum posters across the internet. That experience falls behind gunsmiths and multi-decade competition shooters. At the same time, my level of experience is probably some 95th percentile across all gun owners. Whatever. I'm either qualified or unqualified but I have my opinions.

If I were you, I would sooner send that Model 52 to ten or fifteen different places before I would ever, and I mean EVER consider sending that to Smith & Wesson today in the year 2022.

I think it's a truly bad idea and I absolutely mean that.

I believe that S&W in their current state is some level of inept and I'd love to see some hidden camera action at the succession of people who look at a 52 when it arrives and turn their head like a Labrador that heard a distant sound.

No idea what you will choose to do. If it were me, on a list of things I would never do is send THAT pistol to S&W.
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Old 06-16-2022, 09:52 PM
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Sevens, thanks but Iím a little unclear on your opinionÖ not! Lol!

Seriously though, I have read a number of your posts here and appreciate your advice. I think a drive in the country to Weatherford TX is in my future to meet my ďnew best friendĒ, CALREB. Also your reference to a Labrador tilting its head provided a vivid picture. Reminded me of Henry, my former buddy and hunting partner, a black lab. Nothing was funnier than his head cocked and a curious look on his face.

Just an observation, after searching and reading numerous threads here and on other reputable forums, the low trigger weight and hammer follow issues are fairly common. Curious.

Anyway THANK YOU for the clear, unequivocal advice!
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Old 06-16-2022, 11:43 PM
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Thanks for the nice comments on my shop. It was built out of necessity.
I would have much preferred a basement for the temp and security reason.
No such thing here or at least not many, so this was the next best choice. I dont leave guns in it and its alarmed, the grounds have cameras. So its fine. Still have the front half to decorate, small couch, fridge etc maybe this winter.

I WISH I COULD disagree with Sevens but from work I have seen and stories here I CAN'T. If Jim Rae or Paul Liebenberg, Pluff, Yost, any of those guys were still there I would say send it in. But actually I have no idea if a P/C gun gets to the P/C (if its even still there) or just sent to one of the gun plumbers on the floor. S/W repairs used to go to a group of 2-3 guys who were the best, they didnt want it coming back or any future complaint from the customer. Apparently those days are gone.
It is a long way here. You could just wait till you have business this way. I am not going anywhere hopefully. I will take a look at my 52-2 next week and see if I can figure anything out. Also I will make sure I have the proper sear spring for it. Also the mainspring. That could be an issue. Once I do that I will send you a couple. That way you will have them . Then you could call Alex Hamilton (10 ring precision) in San Antonio and see what he thinks. He has a very excellent reputation as a custom gunsmith. I am probably going to have him do a couple custom builds for me in the future. Barrel cutdowns and refit. Dont get in a hurry you have the gun its not going anywhere. You could call the P/C and ask, will my gun be going there. Do you have someone familiar with this model that hasnt been made for years. Thats not out of place. I actually have some stuff to do this week end for a change. Will get back next week. Take care.

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Old 06-17-2022, 11:26 AM
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This sounds like the trigger stops needs adjusting or the sear spring might need attention. If you can field strip the gun, slide off, stocks off, with the proper size allen wrench, turn the screw inside the frame under the trigger clockwise, maybe half a turn. The lower screw, behind the trigger should be backed off a quarter turn. We used an allen wrench bent about 15 degrees to make it easier to access through the side of the frame. Cock the hammer and fire the gun. The hammer should fall completely. Hopefully it does. If so, cock the hammer again and turn the top screw up, counter clockwise, until the hammer falls. then turn clockwise a half turn. The upper screw is now set. The bottom screw now needs to be set. Turn the screw towards the trigger until the hammer will not fall when fired. Place a .015 shim between the trigger and lower screw and with the hammer cocked and pressure on the trigger, back out the lower screw until the hammer drops. Both trigger stops are now set. Hope this works. If it's the sear that is the problem that will be another story. But it's not too bad to remedy that. I'll wait to hear from you.
If you could, at the bottom of the frame at the magazine opening there is a stamp mark. what character is it?

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Old 06-18-2022, 01:11 AM
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Wow, thanks Donk52, you can bet Im copying this down in my manual .
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Old 06-19-2022, 11:47 PM
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Hi Donk,
Thank you for weighing in. I will retry setting the trigger and find the stamp mark and report. Have been away helping on family issues. Sure wish my father could speak (heís lost that due to a strange undiagnosed neurological issue) and Iíd know more about the pistol. Then again it was good to see him and thatís what counts.

Thanks again!
Rod
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Old 06-27-2022, 11:19 PM
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Rodj, Sorry to hear about your dad. Its hard when you dont live close.

I have been kinda out of it for almost a week till a day or so ago, from a bout of salmonella. Dr thinks didnt wash berries enough or wash enough after feeding/cleaning up for my cats. Wish I had my colonoscopy scheduled for last week instead of july, I was 2/3rd there at least. If you decide you need something just pm me your address and I will get back to you. Take care.
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