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Tuning Model 52 Magazines

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orpheoet
mikemyers
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Tuning Model 52 Magazines Empty Tuning Model 52 Magazines

Post by mikemyers 5/27/2019, 2:24 pm

I have several magazines for my S&W Model 52.  I've noticed that some work better than others.  I asked at the range, and was told to tighten up the "ears" near the top.  So, I did a lot of searching, and. found some good information.  This is what I'm going to print for future reference.  It seems like good advice, and by tightening the dimension between the two "flanges" at the top, front of the magazine.  Anyway, this seems like good information:

"From:  http://smith-wessonforum.com/smith-wesson-semi-auto-pistols/204933-model-52-jams-solved.html
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Pull your slide , snap a loaded round under extractor . Give slide a good shake or two .  If loaded round stays put your extractor tension is fine . New mag springs can't hurt & very well may solve your issue. 

 
I'd also check distance between mag lips front pair should be .356 ID between lips, back ones should be .328 - .348 . It looks to me that your mag is releasing round too late & it's hitting top of chamber . 
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What I learned from my experience is there were two primary causes for failure to feed..

1) The clearance between the magazine follower pin and the sides of the gun frame is very minimal. The most problematic place is on the upper rib where the top grip screw is. If you have failure to feed between rounds 3 & 4, you will have to fix that problem. You can either shorten the pin in the magazine slightly or you can file a small chamfer on the bottom of that rib in the frame to prevent the pin from catching on it.

2) The magazines are way off on the timing of when the flange of the case is allowed to rise up out of the magazine. For me this was a problem on two new magazines. To determine it I had to cycle a lot of ammo through the gun by manually cycling it and watching the cartridge ride up and feed. The area to modify was the vertical area about 1/3 the way in from the back side of the magazine. If you push a bullet forward with your finger (just as the slide does) you can see how the bullet moves forward a certain distance then as the flange hits this area, the back end of the bullet is allowed to rise up. If this area is too far forward, the nose of the bullet rises up too high to follow the feed ramp into the chamber. I filed mine back a little at a time till it worked reliably. The same can probably be fixed by attempting to bend the magazine to change the timing a bit but I was not able to achieve good results with only bending.
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Problem Solved!   I measured the openings in my two magazines.
Mag 1 front .370,    rear .330-.338
Mag 2 front .363,    rear .227-.339

I set the front of the mags into .356 just as Andy had said in the above post, and I could immediately see where the problem was. 

I didn't have enough tension on the front of the mags and when the case moved forward to where the rim was in the open section between the front and back lips my case would pop up out of the front of the mag.  Now with enough tension it's held in line as it gets stripped from the mag.

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Post by orpheoet 5/27/2019, 6:27 pm

I have 4 or 5 with metal followers and 1 with plastic. The plastic follower mag is not reliable. New spring didnt help, changing it to a different magazine body didnt help. With my gun the metal followers with wolf springs run pretty close to 100% I've never fiddled with the lips.
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Post by mikemyers 5/27/2019, 8:52 pm

The Wolff spring kit I bought came with three springs, 8, 9, and 10 pounds.  The instructions were to "Start with the highest load rating and work down until the desired slide operation is obtained."   

I kept meaning to ask what the "desired slide operation", or the "undesired slide operation" might be?  I had several guesses (how far the ejects are thrown, how well the next round chambers, and others I can't remember.....

If I put in the 10 pound spring and all is well, what might become "not well" when I go to a lighter spring?

I suspect the spring in the gun now is rather old; I need to measure it one of these days.
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Post by CFPlinker 5/27/2019, 9:22 pm

orpheoet wrote:I have 4 or 5 with metal followers and 1 with plastic. The plastic follower mag is not reliable. New spring didnt help, changing it to a different magazine body didnt help. With my gun the metal followers with wolf springs run pretty close to 100% I've never fiddled with the lips.

I too have a magazine with the plastic follower. I used a jewelers saw to cut a thin kerf into the follower even with the top of the protrusion that picks up the slide release. Epoxied a piece of razor blade into the kerf and on tip of the protrusion. This put a metal top on the protrusion. No more problems after I filed it down so it would go back into the magazine.

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Post by orpheoet 5/27/2019, 9:35 pm

Here's the full story on my 52-2. It came to me unfired from an estate sale. I believe it is an early 70's model. I immediately put a 9lb recoil spring into it and replaced the magazine springs with the 10% Extra Power springs from Wolff. I also replaced the hammer spring with a M39 spring. I  replaced the sear spring as it was just under 2.5 lbs. The sear spring came from Numrich. Others have said the plastic followers work fine but i genuinely believe that MY gun prefers the metal. With the new springs the gun is extremely reliable with my load of 2.7 gr WST and muliple bullets. Zero, Star, and Remington. All HBWC. I havent shot it much recently but it has never had an alibi.


Last edited by orpheoet on 5/27/2019, 9:37 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Further details)
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Post by mustachio 5/28/2019, 9:01 am

I have 5 mags for my 52-2, with both the metal and plastic followers. I replaced the mag springs with Wolff 10%. My mags work 100% with my load of 2.5 gr. of Bullseye powder under 148 gr. HBWC from Precision Delta. The only failure to feed I have is when the brass has not been properly sized. That is why, when I reload I use a separate crimp die after bullet seating. Other than that, my mags are running just right.
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Post by mspingeld 4/13/2022, 7:16 am

I have 4 new mags with plastic followers. 2 work fine, the other 2 not. Dimensions seem ok but, if I manually slide a round forward, on the bad mags, it gets stuck halfway forward. The rim hits the back of the front lips. I'd rather bend than file but I'm open to suggestions. Is there a tool to bend the lips neatly? Also, the slide doesn't lock back consistently but that's not a major concern. I ordered Wolff mag springs since they couldn't hurt.

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Post by orpheoet 4/13/2022, 5:31 pm

There’s a tool for High Standard  magazines that can be found on eBay that I used for a M107 and a Hämmerli 215. I bet it would be perfect for the 52
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Post by orpheoet 4/13/2022, 5:33 pm

https://www.ebay.com/itm/231719783755?epid=1039261329&hash=item35f3934d4b:g:6ggAAOSwA4dWHU1O
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Post by bruce martindale 4/14/2022, 2:06 pm

mspingeld wrote:I have 4 new mags with plastic followers. 2 work fine, the other 2 not. Dimensions seem ok but, if I manually slide a round forward, on the bad mags, it gets stuck halfway forward. The rim hits the back of the front lips. I'd rather bend than file but I'm open to suggestions. Is there a tool to bend the lips neatly? Also, the slide doesn't lock back consistently but that's not a major concern. I ordered Wolff mag springs since they couldn't hurt.

My experience has been that the rim has to hit the front lips and ride it up to align with the chamber. This means they just barely grasp the shell body. Is that what you're saying or no? If the rim goes under the front lips, it won't finish feeding.

Good roll crinps help me too

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Post by mspingeld 4/14/2022, 2:57 pm

Bruce, I'll take another, closre look but when sliding the round by hand, when the rim hits the front portion, it stops dead. On the good mags it tilts up and continues right out of the mag.

Thanks for the tip re: lubing the inside of the 38 brass. Makes loading much easier. Still a bit slow since, with the FCD, I need to guide the round into the die but it flows. (Hornady LNL) I guess with a round nose bullet it finds its own way but with the wadcutters, it needs a little help.

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