Questions on getting a S&W Model 52 working properly

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Post by mikemyers on 3/13/2019, 2:32 pm

First topic message reminder :

One of my friends from my shooting club had a Model 52 that most of the time refused to fire.  The primers looked like they were hit fine by the firing pin, but the rounds didn't get off.  After sending it to S&W twice, and getting advice from everyone at the club, he found the fastest way to resolve this - he bought another M-52 that works perfectly with any ammo he feeds it.

I asked him if he was going to sell the old gun, but he didn't want to sell it to someone who would be as frustrated as he was.  I told him I'd like to buy it, if for no other reason than to have a gun to learn how to work on, as I hate the idea of doing anything to my own M-52.  We agreed on a price, and I took it home.  I spent much of the rest of the day cleaning and examining it.  It looked like it was packed with old oil/grease, the recoil spring was backwards, and the barrel had lead in it which eventually came off with Hoppe's.  

If I can't get it to fire reliably, I'll come back here and ask for advice.  For now, I have a question about the slide.  Comparing this gun with my own, there are three holes on the top of the slide on this gun, that don't exist on mine.  Would anyone here recognize if they might be for a rail, and if so, who might sell the rail?  I will measure the hole spacing. (I sort of gave up on steel sights because of my eyes, but who knows, maybe they will work better now than years ago, since I had the cataracts repaired.)

Also, are there any books that were written on how to work on the Model 52?  I have books on 1911's, and revolvers, but this gun is very unique.  I certainly don't want to do something wrong unintentionally, that I could have avoided.


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Post by Virgil Kane on 3/27/2019, 12:16 pm

Lots of ideas to try and here are a few more.
You can check the firing pin by locking the slide back and pushing on the firing pin with a screwdriver  It should move freely in and out without any binding of any sorts and protrude about 1/8 inch when pushed full forward , no need to take the slide apart to check.  Also check to make sure the firing pin isn't touching on the safety where it goes through the safety.
If you cock the 52 with the safety off ( empty chamber), put your finger/thumb on the safety while the safety is dis-engaged and pull the trigger to let the hammer fall.  Did you feel anything with your finger/thumb on the safety???? You shouldn't feel anything. If you did then the hammer is hitting the safety and not the firing pin fully and squarely.
When you say that the other owner had to do some filing on the safety to get it to work sets off alarm bells in my head and I think that should point you in the direction as to why your having this problem.

Just some thoughts

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Post by PhotoEscape on 3/27/2019, 12:19 pm

Mike,
Do you like BabyBells? Even if you don't get some. You can throw away cheese if you don't like it, but keep that reddish beeswax. Deprime few cases, and fill primer pockets with beeswax (you might want to squeeze it few times so it is easy moldable). Now you can test fire as many rounds as you want. Under normal circumstances firing pin will leave noticeable imprint of the wax, and you can reuse cases as many times as you want.
AP
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Post by mikemyers on 3/27/2019, 12:43 pm

On a whim, I removed the magazine and tried.  Everything was perfect, firing pin moves in/out as if it's on bearings.  Re-insert magazine, and the roughness re-appears.  That points to the "magazine disconnect".

Don suggested I do the following:
lay the slide down flat, sights side down, safety off, 
push the firing pin in, it should move freely.  
Push in ejector depressor plunger, it should move with no hangups/grinding.  
Hold ejector depressor plunger in and push pin in still should move freely.

It passes all the tests.

What is bizarre, is that as long as the slide is off the gun, the firing pin moves freely.
Put slide on gun, still free.
Put magazine in gun, and it gets rough.

I will try this with a brand new Model 52 magazine tomorrow.........
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Post by Aprilian on 3/27/2019, 2:27 pm

Mike,  Don't lose track of a piece of data you found.   I'm guessing that the time it fired fine for some rounds and then stopped is a key piece.   

You can test your theory on the magazine at the range.   If the pin is not hitting the primer load a round, drop the magazine and then see if it fires.
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Post by mikemyers on 3/27/2019, 2:38 pm

Aprilian wrote:Mike,  Don't lose track of a piece of data you found.   I'm guessing that the time it fired fine for some rounds and then stopped is a key piece.   

You can test your theory on the magazine at the range.   If the pin is not hitting the primer load a round, drop the magazine and then see if it fires.
I'd love to do what you suggest, but it's impossible.  Load a round, drop the magazine, and fire >>. nothing.  
It's a safety interlock.
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Post by mikemyers on 3/27/2019, 2:38 pm

Aprilian wrote:Mike,  Don't lose track of a piece of data you found.   I'm guessing that the time it fired fine for some rounds and then stopped is a key piece.   

You can test your theory on the magazine at the range.   If the pin is not hitting the primer load a round, drop the magazine and then see if it fires.
I'd love to do what you suggest, but it's impossible.  Load a round, drop the magazine, and fire >>. nothing.  
It's a safety interlock.
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Post by mikemyers on 3/27/2019, 2:40 pm

Oops, sorry for double-double.

PhotoEscape, what are "BabyBells"?  Candy?
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Post by PhotoEscape on 3/27/2019, 3:10 pm

https://www.babybel.com/en-us?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Brand%20Core%20-%20Exact&utm_term=baby%20bells%20cheese&utm_content=Products#

Costco!
AP
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Post by Wobbley on 3/27/2019, 3:13 pm

Baby bells are small (Gouda?) cheeses sold as snack items.  You’ll usually find them in the specialty cheeses.
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Post by Aprilian on 3/27/2019, 3:24 pm

So what on the magazine releases the safety?  Is there a chance that the comment that the previous owner "filed the safety" means the interlock is not being pushed far enough?   Can you shim where the magazine releases the safety?  That seems like an easy way to test whether a bit more material stops the "dragging" you are feeling.
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Post by mikemyers on 3/27/2019, 4:35 pm

Aprilian wrote:So what on the magazine releases the safety?  Is there a chance that the comment that the previous owner "filed the safety" means the interlock is not being pushed far enough?   Can you shim where the magazine releases the safety?  That seems like an easy way to test whether a bit more material stops the "dragging" you are feeling.
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Post by spursnguns on 3/28/2019, 10:18 am

Hello mikemyers,

How about this....

   Strip the slide and remove the rear sight
   Reassemble without the disconnector parts (previously held in by the rear sight)
   Test

They may not be lifting completely out of the way and impinging on the firing pin.

Jim
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Post by vmax606 on 3/29/2019, 8:19 am

spursnguns wrote:

How about this....

   Strip the slide and remove the rear sight
   Reassemble without the disconnector parts (previously held in by the rear sight)
   Test


I suggested this procedure where he posted in the 1911 forum, but I guess he's not brave enough to try. I know that some people don't feel very comfortable messing with expensive guns.

From his previous posts, you can feel very certain that where the problem is :

1) The firing pin feels gritty when pushing the plunger in.

2) The firing pin feels sluggish with the mag inserted (because the mag pushes the ejector up, and in turn it pushes the plunger up).

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Post by spursnguns on 3/29/2019, 9:41 am

Hello vmax606,

Stripping the slide is an easy task to do on a M52.  Even the rear sight is held in by a set screw and rarely has to be driven out/in.

The added benefit is that you get rid of the magazine disconnector!

Jim
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Post by vmax606 on 3/29/2019, 10:12 am

To Mikemyers:

Here is a little info that may help you in understanding how things work in that area.

This gun has a magazine disconnector feature, when the mag is out of the gun, the spring loaded plunger pushes the ejector down => the ejector pushes the trigger bow down below the sear => trigger is disabled.

With the mag inserted, it pushes the ejector up against the plunger => the trigger bow goes up to the sear => trigger now works.

The problem you have right now : (at least very likely)

The plunger is contacting the FP when it is pushed in or too much junk is built up in the FP channel under the rear sight (where the plunger is located).

BTW, I removed the plungers in all my guns so they can be fired (or dry fired) without the mags .

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Post by mikemyers on 3/29/2019, 12:17 pm

vmax606 wrote:....... but I guess he's not brave enough to try....


From his previous posts, you can feel very certain that where the problem is :

1) The firing pin feels gritty when pushing the plunger in.

2) The firing pin feels sluggish with the mag inserted (because the mag pushes the ejector up, and in turn it pushes the plunger up).

It's a little different than that, and yeah, I'm not very brave doing things that might get me into more trouble.

THANK YOU ALL, as if I can't fix this problem, II think you're suggesting that if I remove the plunger and spring from beneath the rear sight, the gun will fire with or without the magazine being pin the gun.
I'd like to fix it properly, but it's nice to know I always have that option.


I stripped the gun again this morning and did some testing.  I put the slide on the gun, no barrel, or spring, or slide lock, and everything is free.  
I was pressing on the firing pin with a small punch, and it moved freely.

I put the magazine in without changing anything, and pushed on the firing pin with my punch.
The firing pin moved in a small amount, then "hit" something.  Pushing a little harder, I could push the firing pin in/out, but it was rough.
Remove the magazine and everything was free.

I then held the gun in my left hand and just tried to move the slide forward.
Without the magazine in place, everything was fine.  The slide moved forward and  backwards freely.
I thin pushed the magazine in, and tried again.   This time as the slide moved to the front, it tried to actuate the safety!  


Top photo, everything at rest, slide mounted on frame, no barrel, no recoil spring, no magazine.  I could push the slide forward and back easily.
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For this photo, I pushed in the magazine, and tried to push the slide slowly forwards.  Look at the safety lever.  Check the rear of the slide, to see how little I moved it.
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I have new parts coming from Numrich.  I bought a new safety, and the disconnect parts - plunger and spring.  I'll move the rear sight out of the way, and replace the disconnect parts, and will then replace the safety.

I'm still puzzled about why the safety would attempt to turn to the "safe" position without my pressing on the lever to change it.

(I also bought the Wolff recoil spring pack, with 3 different strength recoil springs, and three "extra power" firing pin springs.

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Post by vmax606 on 3/29/2019, 1:34 pm

The reason the safety trying to turn to safe because the top of the ejector pushing on the underside of the safety block when you push the slide forward, the ejector can not drop down as when you disassemble the gun because the mag is in place.

You are looking at something that has nothing to do with your problem.

Right now, just remove the rear sight, take the plunger assembly out, clean under there and put everything back, very likely your problem will go away, unless the plunger (a piece of white plastic) is deformed and contacts the FP physically.

When you think about it, the only time the FP acts up is when The PLUNGER is pushed in (up) when the slide is off the gun, or when the mag is inserted when the gun is assembled.

And what happens when the mag is inserted ? It pushes the ejector up , then the ejector pushes The PLUNGER in (up)

SO, what do you think is causing the problem ?

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Post by spursnguns on 3/29/2019, 5:51 pm

vmax606 wrote:The reason the safety trying to turn to safe because the top of the ejector pushing on the underside of the safety block when you push the slide forward, the ejector can not drop down as when you disassemble the gun because the mag is in place.

You are looking at something that has nothing to do with your problem.

Right now, just remove the rear sight, take the plunger assembly out, clean under there and put everything back, very likely your problem will go away, unless the plunger (a piece of white plastic) is deformed and contacts the FP physically.

When you think about it, the only time the FP acts up is when The PLUNGER is pushed in (up) when the slide is off the gun, or when the mag is inserted when the gun is assembled.

And what happens when the mag is inserted ? It pushes the ejector up , then the ejector pushes The PLUNGER in (up)

SO, what do you think is causing the problem ?

+1

Jim
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Post by spursnguns on 3/29/2019, 6:05 pm

Hello mikemyers,

Maybe it's too much Starbucks for me this afternoon but I have to say....just buying parts and swapping them out, not fitting them properly or understanding their relationship, is not necessarily a good (safe) way to proceed (repair/learn).

Good luck.

Jim
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Post by fc60 on 3/29/2019, 6:59 pm

Greetings,

Personally, I applaud Mr. Meyers for his slow and deliberate troubleshooting.

When the problem is finally resolved, Mr. Meyers may be the new "go to" guy for Model 52 repairs.

Watch out for Numrich. They sell you what they "think" is the correct part. I have had some erroneous parts sent to me and they did take them back with an apology.

So, compare the "new" parts carefully side-by-side with the ones you are replacing. You may need the aid of a magnifying glass.

I also have a small stash of parts if you run in to the need.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by mikemyers on 3/29/2019, 9:28 pm

vmax606 wrote:The reason the safety trying to turn to safe because the top of the ejector pushing on the underside of the safety block when you push the slide forward, the ejector can not drop down as when you disassemble the gun because the mag is in place.

You are looking at something that has nothing to do with your problem.

Right now, just remove the rear sight, take the plunger assembly out, clean under there and put everything back, very likely your problem will go away, unless the plunger (a piece of white plastic) is deformed and contacts the FP physically.

When you think about it, the only time the FP acts up is when The PLUNGER is pushed in (up) when the slide is off the gun, or when the mag is inserted when the gun is assembled.

And what happens when the mag is inserted ? It pushes the ejector up , then the ejector pushes The PLUNGER in (up)

SO, what do you think is causing the problem ?
Understood - in trying to do anything I could to get the firing pin to stop moving smoothly, I set it up the way the photos show.  Completely irrelevant.  As you said, nothing to do with the problem.
 
I like the line I used bold font. on - removing, cleaning/lube, and replacing the plunger and spring.
As soon as I can, need to load up more ammo, I will also see if it will shoot 25 rounds non-stop with the plunger and spring removed, as suggested earlier.

Lots of this is my ignorance - until the past few days, I didn't know there was a plunger up above to begin with.  Everything else checked out, and that's what was next.
Now I know what the plunger looks like, that it has a flat side, and something to prevent it from turning while in the hole.

"SO, what do you think is causing the problem?"    ...........today's answer is the plunger....... but I've gone through a lot of incorrect answers.

I have never yet disassembled a 1911 or M52 beyond basic cleaning.  If you read the very, very, very long discussion on the S&W Forum, you'll see Don trying to explain to me how to do this, step by step.  When I was lost, like in how to remove the safety, he made a video to show me.  

It's good to have both threads going on, and the suggestions up above sound like a logical next step.

(I have a new plunger arriving in a few days - maybe I will wait on tearing the gun down, and compare my plunger with the new one.  If it's the correct part, and mine is damaged, that would be good to know.)
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Post by mikemyers on 3/29/2019, 9:31 pm

spursnguns wrote:Hello mikemyers,

...just buying parts and swapping them out, not fitting them properly or understanding their relationship, is not necessarily a good (safe) way to proceed (repair/learn)...........
Boy, do I ever agree with you!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not sure what you would suggest I do - no reason to send it back to S&W, as it has already been sent back there, twice, and they couldn't fix it.
I'm just now learning about the relationship between parts, by working with them.  Not the trigger though, just "regular" stuff.

I guess it's "learning on the job".
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Post by mikemyers on 3/29/2019, 9:39 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

Personally, I applaud Mr. Meyers for his slow and deliberate troubleshooting.

When the problem is finally resolved, Mr. Meyers may be the new "go to" guy for Model 52 repairs.

Watch out for Numrich. They sell you what they "think" is the correct part. I have had some erroneous parts sent to me and they did take them back with an apology.

So, compare the "new" parts carefully side-by-side with the ones you are replacing. You may need the aid of a magnifying glass.

I also have a small stash of parts if you run in to the need.

Cheers,

Dave
Dave, thanks for the compliment, but while I've learned a lot, there is SO much yet to learn.

On the other hand, when I was searching for YouTube videos, the first one I found had things in it I refused to do.  They wanted me to take it apart, starting with screwing out the barrel bushing.  I saw that as a great way to damage those fine threads.  I kept looking, and found better training articles and a video saying to take the slide stop out first, after which everything is easy.  

Thanks for the warning - there are three main parts on the way, a new safety, the plunger, and a spring.
I'll compare with the old parts before using.
.......but if I had ammo loaded right now, I'd just do what was suggested up above, and remove the plunger under the rear sight.

Thanks also for the potential of your having parts I can't find.  IF Numrich sends me the wrong plunger, and IF the gun works well with no plunger, then I'll ask you if you have one.  
I'm not too worried about the gun being able to fire with no magazine - in Bullseye, that will never happen.
But I believe I should fix it "right" if at all possible......


I do have my own Model 52 that works fine.  I took this gun on as a challenge, something to learn from/with.  By now, I've gotten more than I bargained for!!
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Post by mikemyers on 3/31/2019, 3:24 pm

Update....    everything now points to the magazine disconnect, and a plunger which we are pretty sure is interfering with the recoil spring.  I move the sight to the right, and removed the plunger and spring.  I took a series of photos of the plunger, but never having seen a good one, I can't tell what might be wrong.  Anyone see something in these nine photos that look damaged or worn?

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Post by mikemyers on 3/31/2019, 3:43 pm

I guess only 3 images upload at a time?
Here's the next three...

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Questions on getting a S&W Model 52 working properly - Page 3 Img_0321
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