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The S&W Model 52

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The S&W Model 52 Empty The S&W Model 52

Post by Tim:H11 on Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:20 pm

I’m curious, having never held or fired one before, how accurate is a stock out of the box S&W Model 52? I know nothing about them really but I’m curious. Those of you that are more acquainted with such a shooting iron, please share your opinions on its quality good or bad and shooting capabilities and characteristics please.
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Post by SmokinNJokin on Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:25 pm

I have had 4 of them, very nice trigger if you like crisp, ergonomic grip but they are slippery. Sights are good, balance is good. Recoil feels... weird to me. The slide movement always seemed sluggish, and my sight picture recovery slow compared to a 1911 in any caliber. Nice guns, cool to have and fun to shoot but not really my cup of tea. I was never terribly impressed with the accuracy either. YRMV.

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Post by lakemurrayman on Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:39 pm

The model 52 was designed for the bullseye shooter.Out of the box,trigger pull is 21/4 pounds.The 52 shoots a 148 grain wadcutter bullet.2.7 grains of bullseye is almost a universal load.The thing about the 52 is you have to follow through on the shot.All in all an extremely wonderful,accurate gun.I have 2 of the original model 52's which can be adjusted to shoot double action also.The 52-1 took this adjusting screw out.

John Harvey

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Post by Wobbley on Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:39 am

This is from my 52.  Shot while it had iron sights.The S&W Model 52 31890610
The S&W Model 52 C354a410
This is shot with a reflex dot (so I don’t have to re-spring the gun) anything outside of the 8 ring was a bad shot.  All at 25 yards.  I have been told that not all 52s are this accurate.  

As for their “feel”, it is different than a 1911.  It is softer.  They do require a excellent shot process and only crisp triggers are advised.
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Post by MarkF45 on Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:23 am

The best target I ever shot at 25 yards, 100-7X, was with a 52 with iron sights. However, I never broke 90 with it at 50 yards. I have shot 90's many times with 22, 32, and 45.

So what's up with the 52? I have heard people say that the 148gr WC bullet itself just isn't stable out to 50 yards. I have seen minor keyholing at 50. 

So after 30 years, it got relegated to second fiddle behind a Pardini 32acp. I took the 52 out yesterday, for the first time in years, to shoot a 25yd short course. Didn't do so well. Maybe someday, I'll get to shoot it in a Ransom rest.

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Post by Dcforman on Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:14 am

Box stock, they were designed to be at worst 10 ring guns at 50, at least according to Gil Hebard's article "The Smith and Wesson 52". Quote: "S&W asserts all of their 52's are averaging 2 to 2 3/4 at 50 yards."

Dave

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Post by BE Mike on Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:10 am

This timed fire was shot at a match in Jacksonville. I was using my S&W 52-1 with open sights and factory match .38 SPL ammo. To me the gun seemed to be unforgiving of poor follow through. 

The S&W Model 52 6YDxMba
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Post by rkittine on Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:16 am

I love my 52s and shoot them well.
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Post by weber1b on Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:12 am

I like shooting my 52. If you do everything right, it will reward you. If not, it will punish you (score wise) But they are fun to shoot. interestingly (to me anyway) is that I was told shooting one would ruin your 1911 shooting. I found it to be the opposite. The discipline it requires helped me with my other shooting. They are not for everybody. Perhaps you know someone who has one who would let you try it out. (That's what got me started on one)

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Post by oldsalt444 on Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:40 am

As stated above, these are accurate guns but not forgiving.  Your fundamentals have to be spot on.  Some people attribute this to the low velocity of the 38 wadcutter, but I'm not so sure.  The factory barrels have a 1-18 twist and are .355 bore.  I put in a Clark barrel which is a 1-10 twist and .356 bore.  That stopped the keyholing and improved accuracy just a bit.
This is an expert's gun, not a beginner's gun.
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Post by rkittine on Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:41 am

Where do you shoot in Naperville? I built a house on Cascade Court off Bailey in Winding Creek. Live in 7 Lakes Apartments in Lyle while it was being built. Daughter went to Lincoln Middle School and Naperville North High School. Then I got divorced and moved downtown where I built a town house on Maude, off Sheffield. Left and lived in LA and TN and then moved back and Joined and build a house in Stone Bridge Country Club.

Enjoyed 11 years in and around the Chicago Land Area - Was a part time flight instructor at Clow Airport for all of those years.

Bob
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Post by weber1b on Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:46 am

rkittine wrote:Where do you shoot in Naperville? I built a house on Cascade Court off Bailey in Winding Creek. Live in 7 Lakes Apartments in Lyle while it was being built. Daughter went to Lincoln Middle School and Naperville North High School. Then I got divorced and moved downtown where I built a town house on Maude, off Sheffield. Left and lived in LA and TN and then moved back and Joined and build a house in Stone Bridge Country Club.

Enjoyed 11 years in and around the Chicago Land Area - Was a part time flight instructor at Clow Airport for all of those years.

Bob
I shoot in various place, none actually in Naperville. There are active Bullseye leagues in Chicago area both indoor and outdoor. I am in Maplebrook II, right next to Winding Creek.

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Post by Kp321 on Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:15 pm

I have two 52’s and love to shoot them. The need for good follow through has made me a better shooter overall.

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Post by Jon Eulette on Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:05 pm

99% of the 52 targets I see at 50 yards have tipped bullets. In my experience shooting them, I've never gotten them to shoot a good 50 yard target. I think they need a different twist rate to come close to what a 1911 will group. Unless your willing to rebarrel your chasing your tail.
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Post by bruce martindale on Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:21 pm

They are a rabbit hole. I had one,  tested and used it like mad,sold it to focus on 45. Bought one again, back down the hole.

Jerry Keefer did a lot of study to develop Amira's gun. Lots of stuff isn't right with them bore and twist being only one issue.

Go faster at low pressure for one thing, reswage your bullets for another.

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Post by Bmitch996 on Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:24 am

The S&W Model 52 Fullsi19

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Post by SmokinNJokin on Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:07 pm

Am I reading that date right, 1966!

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Post by jwax on Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:13 pm

Love mine, but only a novice with it. Great fun to master though!

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Post by Bmitch996 on Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:47 pm

SmokinNJokin wrote:Am I reading that date right, 1966!


Yes.

That's my father.   I have the 52 he was shooting.

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Post by Tim:H11 on Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:40 pm

Thanks for all the input so far guys.

So someone please chime in if you know about this one: Earlier production 52s are better or “more accurate” than later production 52s... ?? True or false..??
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Post by DVidrine on Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:17 pm

I don't know about one version being more accurate than another.  I have the 52-2.  It shoots quite well.  If a shot is not in the ten ring its on me.  I read somewhere that the 52-2 has an improved extractor over the earlier versions.

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Post by Wobbley on Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:07 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:Thanks for all the input so far guys.

So someone please chime in if you know about this one: Earlier production 52s are better or “more accurate” than later production 52s... ?? True or false..??
From what I’ve read about them they were each assembled by hand.  So there was very likely some fitting involved.  Then they were tested and had to “hold the ten ring at 50 yards”, which was 3.39 inches.  Most held 2 to 2-1/2 inches.  But some assemblers were better than others.  Whether standards were held throughout the production run were held, I can’t say.  And just because the craftsman is old doesn’t make him better than the youngster, but they were different.  The reason the 52 went out of production was the tooling wore out.  When they re-introduced it as the 952, the gun was produced at the Performance Center and seemed accurate.  Us 52 shooters were hoping the 52 would be returning but that wasn’t to be.  So the upshot is that the early “A” prefix guns were LIKELY slightly better, but you can’t guarantee it.  

Jason, you’re at a level where you might find the 52 fun but not a serious gun for matches.  I’d bet you that even with A “good” one your “X” count at 25 would suffer and you might lose a few points at 50 that you wouldn’t have with a 45.  But if a 52 floats your boat, who am I to stand in your way.
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Post by saread on Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:27 pm

From the Ransom rest, 10 ring at 50, X-ring at 25.  Par for the course.

The S&W Model 52 20200610

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Post by rkittine on Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:31 pm

I also understand that the No Dash 52 did not have the slotting for a barrel weight and only some of the 52-1 did. Also understand that there is an extractor issue with the 52-1 as compared to the 52-2, so I just found some extractors to keep on hand. I have one dash 1 and one dash 2. Both have the groves for the barrel weight, which I also have.

Bob
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Post by Bmitch996 on Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:04 pm

The 52 was indeed "hard" fitted by hand and has a fitters stamp to identify the fitter on the  on the mag well opening.  If it didn't pass the accuracy test it went back to the fitter for rework until it passed.  It was basically a custom built gun and very labor intensive.  My father was the first and only fitter building them when they went into production, his fitters stamp was the #2.  The 52 production was under his supervision until he retired in 1988.  It was discontinued a few years later mainly because S&W lost money on every 52 they made because of all of the hand fitting.  According to my father not more than 10 fitters in total built the 52's throughout the product lifecycle.  I have a printed copy of the fitters operations that explains how they were made.  If I can find I'd post it up if anyone is interested.

The S&W Model 52 Img_7710

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