Model 52 S&W ??

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting Forum' started by LDBennett, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I just bought a S&W Model 52. Can someone offer a web site or the information of which version my Model 52 is and what year it was manufacturered?

    S&W Model 52 Serial Number 534xx

    I also need a web source for an instruction manual. Anyone???

    How about tips for reloading? I would prefer to use W231 or the equivalent Hodgdon HP38. The Reloading manual with a specific Model 52 reloading section (Speer #11) says 3.0 to 3.3 grs of W231 with 148 gr LHBWC bullets. Sound right? Do I just seat them flush and crimp the case over on the end to retain the bullet or is there a better approach?

    LDBennett
  2. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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  3. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

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    You might get more replies if you put this somewhere other than the "Competition Shooting Forum"

    Just a thought.
  4. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    Might be having one of 'those moments' but I always felt that the S&W 52 was a premier centerfire target semi-auto, set up and produced for the espress firing of wad cutters in competition.

    Load 'flush' and 'crimp', and have fun!
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    It is a blow back operated gun and NOT a locked breech gun, as is the S&W Model 39 family from which it was derived. Therefore, for correct operation the the force of recoil has to be exactly balanced against the recoil spring, the forces required to cock the Hammer, the friction of operation, and the mass of the slide. This is perfect only at a very small range of combinations of bullet weights and load levels. The original loads were 148 grain lead hollow base wad cutters at 770 FPS loaded to be flush with the end of the case. Anything else compromises the operation of the gun or beats it up unmercifully. So it is a very limited gun designed for bullseye competition with very specific ammo. But the results are suppose to be boringly accurate and I can't wait to see if that is really true.

    I have lots of center handguns that are amazingly versatile and can shoot anything you feed them, almost, of all the "correct" calibers and gun frame sizes but I have none that are as unique and as focused as this gun, until NOW!

    LDBennett
  6. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    LD,
    What you said, exactly.
    I think you will enjoy the hell outta that 52-2!
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I picked up the S&W Model 52 yesterday (California waiting period always delays pickups of guns).

    When I open the box I was taken back by the deep polish and the good looks of the gun. I didn't remember it looking so good. I really bought it as a shooter (because I shoot ALL my guns, no matter their collector value or what I paid for them) and based on the reputation of the Model 52 for accuracy. The trigger is absolutley superb!!

    Today I'll clean it and see if I can determine which dash number it is. I do know it is not a -0 as it is single action only so it is at least a -1. It is not a later version either as the marking script on the slide is not modern looking as was the other Model 52 the dealer displayed.

    Anyway, first thing next week I'll take it shooting. I loaded up the Speer 148 grain hollow based wad cutters flush with the end of the case and with 3.1 grains of Winchester 231 to get to the 770 FPS of the correct load level. Can't wait!

    LDBennett
  8. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    LD

    Keep us posted on how it shoots at the range. Makes me want to take a look at one too! Best regards, Kirk
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I shot the S&W 38 Master (Model 52) and was pleased with the results but with a better bench support I think the gun will shoot better yet. Got to load up the rest of the box of bullets (400 left) and go to the range again. 100 rounds with this gun for a range session is no enough! I left the range wanting more ammo to shoot.

    It is amazing to watch the rounds, with the wad cutter entirely inside the case, feed effortlessly into the chamber. How do they do that? I did roll crimp the cases over the end of the bullet and that has to help. All 100 rounds fed perfectly every time. The trigger is a joy. The weight sufficient for holding the gun still, offhand. The magazines load effortlessly but only hold five rounds each (perfect for Bullseye competition or taget practice). Two magazines are nice and I think adequate (they'll have to be at over $70 each from Numrich!). The break for reloading magazines between 10 shot strings is nice and helps my shooting with this gun.


    With some help from the S&W Forum I got a 1963 Gun Digest that had an extensive test of the Model 52, a field strip guide, and a parts schematic for my version. I also learned from sources at the S&W Forum that the gun was produced in three version:

    no dash number: single and double action trigger (which is easily lock back so DA is not available and came that way from the factory), introduced in 1961

    01 dash number: double action completely eliminated, introduced in 1963

    02 dash number: Completely different extractor, introduced in 1971

    Mine is a no dash number version made in about 1962.

    The gun's only weakness is the extractor and from the parts schematic I found the S&W part number for the original extractor, which I intend to hunt down for a spare. Cleanliness of the extractor area of the gun is most important as it will fail to eject properly if dirt gets under the extractor claw (it says here). It will perform flawlessly for at least a hundred rounds, according to the Gun Digest article, and supposedly a brushing out cleaning of the area under the extractor is suppose to be good for the next hundred rounds. Mine worked fine every round for 100 rounds.

    This gun is a blowback gun, not a locked breech gun, even though its father is the locked breech Model 39. As such, it gets dirtier quicker and the first outing proved that. But I used W231 powder which I think is a much cleaner powder than the much more commonly used Bullseye powder. I may not see the extractor problem in my gun in a hundred rounds suggested in the Gun Digest article as they used factory ammo and Bullseye powder.

    By today's standards the gun is a "Custom" as it is hand fitted to be as near to perfect as possible. The slide is even tightly fitted to the frame. This is an awesome gun that cost me a pretty penney but was worth it to me.

    I have many guns and I am getting to the point where only unique and interesting guns interest me for a gun purchase and that usually means expensive. From the first time I heard of this gun back in the 1980's, I wanted one. But at this point in my life it is no problem and it is better done today when I can still shoot rather than tommorow when I am stuck in a wheel chair, rubbing my arthritic hands, drooling, and filled with dementia.

    Thanks to all for the interest in my Model 52.

    LDBennett
  10. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    Gee thanks LD,


    With some help from the S&W Forum I got a 1963 Gun Digest that had an extensive test of the Model 52,

    I'll remeber you too. (sent him this in a PM) Kirk
  11. GBertolet

    GBertolet Member

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    I have a 52-1 and mine is a locked breach not a blowback. The plain 52 must be different in that respect. The 52's are a fine piece of equiptment. They are built solid. That's why they cost so much. As more competitors switched to 1911 45 for the centerfire stage, demand fell off. As well as I can shoot mine, I can shoot the 1911 45acp better. My 52-1 likes 2.7gr of bullseye with a cast 148 gr wc. It will blow the center out of a slowfire target. The bore diameter is sort of tight. Mine is .355 dia. Maybe they started out as 9mm barrel blanks for the mod 39. I purchased 2 spare extractors from Gun- Parts Inc as they are discontinued part. Belated congrats for your aquisition.
  12. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    GBertolet:

    The way to be sure whether the gun is blow back or locked breach is to look at how the barrel is affixed to the frame. If the barrel can move to the rear in recoil and its path follows a cam surface on the bottom of the breech end of the barrel then it is locked breach. If the barrel is held to the frame so that it can not move in recoil then it is a blowback design.

    All my info and books are in boxes throughout my refurbed house (Had a water flood and had to remove all contents of the house so it could be renovated; just moved back in yesterday) so I can't get to the gun or any data. But as I recollect, the first time I tore the gun down I realized it was blow back. I have read all the published info on the various version and nothing is said about changing the later versions to to locked breech.

    If you would be so kind as to inspect your Model 52-2 and see which type yours is. Thanks.

    LDBennett
  13. GBertolet

    GBertolet Member

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    Mr. Bennett I stand by on the statement my 52-1 has a locked breech barrel. It has a lug on the barrel and in the slide. In pulling the slide to the rear, the barrel moves with the slide for about 1/4 inch and rear drops down and stops moving, as locked breech pistols do. I have the owners manual right in front of me. It has specified under type of action--Autoloading. Locked breech with recoiling barrel. If I can figure out how to post it here, I will in the near future. Possibly you might have the S&W 52 confused with the Colt 38 Gold Cup, it had a blowback action. The chamber was often scuffed up by the factory to retard the cycling.
  14. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected.

    I don't know where I got the idea it was blow back operated????? I'll have to inspect mine when I can get to it (????).

    LDBennett
  15. Shooter's Service

    Shooter's Service New Member

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