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S&W Model 52 Load

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Ropate
Woofie
Foundryratjim
PBalkan
orpheoet
Russ OR
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S&W Model 52 Load Empty S&W Model 52 Load

Post by Tim:H11 Mon May 16, 2022 8:09 pm

I've been working on and off trying to find the right load for this Model 52 of mine. This is a quick summory.

I've tested the following powders and charges all using a Precision Delta 148 grain Lead HBWC bullet. 

Bullseye: 2.8, 2.9, 3.0
Accurate No. 2: 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9
WST: 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8
Factory Ammunition: Remington 148 grain Targetmaster Waddcutter 

I was prepared to test Titegroup as well but I feel I may be at a stopping point. 

Despite many of the recommendations to try this and try that, you'll never know what works best in your particular gun/barrel unless you test.

2.7 grains of WST seemed to group the best for me off of sand bags at 50 yards. I will load more of it to shoot from the hand and later test it from a machine rest. But for now I'm taking a break from testing loads to experiment with this particular one. 

I have to agree with what some others have shared about the .38 Special cartridge being picky about crimp so I want to add that I'm using a Lee factory Crimp die which I believe produces a roll crimp and not a tapper crimp or combination roll/tapper crimp. I have my die set to much more than the instructions advise I think. Lee recommend a number or amount of turning the adjustment knob. Instead, I crimped until it looked good, measured, and crimped a little more till I felt it might be tight enough. I'll adjust if necessary based off of the measurements from here on in. 

Brass after it's been full length sized: 0.372
Brass after it's been crimped: 0.365 (maybe 0.364 .. hard to measure well)

The picture below is the group I fired using the 2.7 grains of WST load. 10 shots, two hand hold, off sand bags at 50 yards. I did make a mistake in one shot. The others broke alright. 

Not bad for a production gun with no modifications besides the addition of an optic and a change in grips huh?

S&W Model 52 Load Img_6410
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Post by Wobbley Mon May 16, 2022 8:24 pm

With a “factory crimp” or roll crimp it’s real hard to measure on a loaded round using an external measurement.  But if you crimp an empty case and drop in a steel gauge pin you can tell what the inside corner of the mouth is crimped to….    Amazon has individual gauge pins available for about $5 each.  You could get them starting at .350 and drop by .002 to .341.  Run an empty case into your crimping die then drop a gauge pin in.  The one that just goes in is your crimp dimension.
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Post by Tim:H11 Mon May 16, 2022 9:10 pm

Wobbley wrote:With a “factory crimp” or roll crimp it’s real hard to measure on a loaded round using an external measurement.  But if you crimp an empty case and drop in a steel gauge pin you can tell what the inside corner of the mouth is crimped to….    Amazon has individual gauge pins available for about $5 each.  You could get them starting at .350 and drop by .002 to .341.  Run an empty case into your crimping die then drop a gauge pin in.  The one that just goes in is your crimp dimension.

My method was to crimp an empty case after it's been through a resizing die, then I'd try my best to use the knife edge portion of my caliper to get an outside diameter read. The brass when measured after the resizing die was also an outside diameter measurement. Best I can do at the moment. Thanks for the heads up on some gauge pins. Might have to try that some time.
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Post by Russ OR Mon May 16, 2022 9:52 pm

You got there the hard way.  - I can't find the old post but:
Jerry Keefer said once that, after many thousands of rounds, THE two powders for 38 mid-range (HBWCs) was #1 WST (2.7gn±) and #2 231 (3.0gn±).  -- He also commented on BE for these projectiles S&W Model 52 Load 1f612. -- I've used 2.7gn WST for 52-2 and 14-3 since. Chrono'd from the 52-2 very consistent right at 705 fps. --

As one poster said remembering Jerry: When he spoke, you knew you had to listen.     Thanks again Jerry! - Russ

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Post by Russ OR Mon May 16, 2022 10:03 pm

Excellent 50 yard group. 
I forgot to add that Jerry said he liked the Rem and Star HBWCs. It's good to know that the Precision Deltas shoot so well.

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Post by orpheoet Tue May 31, 2022 4:12 am

2.7 WST is what my 52-2 likes. My M14’s too.
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S&W Model 52 Load Empty Re: S&W Model 52 Load

Post by PBalkan Tue May 31, 2022 10:18 am

I got to the point where I was getting reliable cycling from the Model 52... but not perfect.  

I was having a similar situation with the .32 S&W Long in International Centerfire.  

Then someone told me to use the Redding Profile crimp and my problems with the .32 S&W Long disappeared.  Sometime later, I bought another one in .38 spl and used that for loading my mid-range rounds.  Same result... noticeable improvement in reliability.

If you have "nailed" your crimp... congratulations.  If you are still getting an alibi or two for 90 rounds, try that Redding die.  Of course, Brownells is saying that it's out-of-stock... but what isn't?   Mad

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Post by Foundryratjim Tue May 31, 2022 10:56 am

I'll second on the Redding Crimp die. I read about it in these forums and decided to try it. This is my first season of shooting centerfire and after using rounds loaded with that crimp die my groups got noticeably tighter. I got mine from Midway a month or so ago. I am using 2.7 gr. Of bullseye, Model 52,but I am interested in switching to wst when I use up my supply.

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Post by PBalkan Tue May 31, 2022 11:26 am

I was looking for better reliability when I went to the Redding Profile Crimp die.  I would not, in any case, use a roll-die.  

Does anyone know if the .38spl headspaces on the case mouth?  I know it's a rimmed revolver cartridge but most (nearly all) semi-autos headspace on the case mouth.    I wonder what S&W decided to do?  

For what it's worth, I also load .38 spl for revolvers and I just keep the Redding die in place.  You know what a hassle it can be to get just the right crimp adjustment and I'm too lazy to change crimp dies for a revolver round.  It seems to work fine.  I do change the seating depth, of course.

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Post by Foundryratjim Tue May 31, 2022 11:48 am

No it doesn't. Works off or the case rim. You have to taper crimp other autos .Roll crimp won't work. I use the same rounds for the 52 and my revolvers.

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Post by Woofie Wed Jun 15, 2022 7:48 pm

May I ask, is WST what used to be sold as 452AA?

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Post by Foundryratjim Wed Jun 15, 2022 7:53 pm

Woofie wrote:May I ask, is WST what used to be sold as 452AA?

I am not positive on this but i think i have read that wst is a replacement for452aa, BUT it is not the same as 452aa.

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Post by Wobbley Wed Jun 15, 2022 8:19 pm

Foundryratjim wrote:
Woofie wrote:May I ask, is WST what used to be sold as 452AA?

I am not positive on this but i think i have read that wst is a replacement for452aa, BUT it is not the same as 452aa.
That is correct. It is similar but not a replacement.  

I have some 452AA and WST they don’t even look the same.
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S&W Model 52 Load Empty 52-2 load

Post by Ropate Wed Jun 15, 2022 9:45 pm

S&W Model 52 Load Kit_gu10
Try 3.9-4.1 gn of Accurate #5.

Works great on the 52-2 or in the case of this photo, a Colt Kit gun.

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Post by jwax Thu Jun 16, 2022 3:14 pm

And at 50 yds?
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Post by Ropate Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:34 pm

I do not have a 50 yard target with the  52-2 or the Kit Gun with that load.
You bring up a good point. The #5 load is great for 25 but doesn't seem to work well at 50.
I did some testing today and was not very happy with the results.
Maybe I have to up the load.


Last edited by Ropate on Fri Jun 17, 2022 2:14 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : update)

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Post by marianigp Sun Jul 10, 2022 1:14 pm

PBalkan wrote:I got to the point where I was getting reliable cycling from the Model 52... but not perfect.  

I was having a similar situation with the .32 S&W Long in International Centerfire.  

Then someone told me to use the Redding Profile crimp and my problems with the .32 S&W Long disappeared.  Sometime later, I bought another one in .38 spl and used that for loading my mid-range rounds.  Same result... noticeable improvement in reliability.

If you have "nailed" your crimp... congratulations.  If you are still getting an alibi or two for 90 rounds, try that Redding die.  Of course, Brownells is saying that it's out-of-stock... but what isn't?   Mad

using this die, I have one, how do you seat your bullets?
Thanks.

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Post by PBalkan Sun Jul 10, 2022 5:40 pm

I shoot a 148, HBWC, very soft swaged lead.  I bought them Montana Gold Bullets.  I don't know if they are still offered.  I seated them with the bullet just a sliver above the case mouth.  I know some people seat the bullets higher in the hope that the soft lead will facilitate feeding.  I didn't find it necessary when I used the Radding Profile crimp.

Here's a picture.  

I still haven't sold my Colt 1911, Mid-Range, .38spl.  Maybe I'm asking too much for it.  I'll wait a bit, however.



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Post by noylj Sun Jul 10, 2022 6:41 pm

For total reliability, you need a slight roll crimp using Redding Profile Crimp die. You need to ensure some curve in case mouth so no lead or case mouth hits feed ramp.
Almost all commercial swaged lead bullets are 12-13 BHN, per the companies.

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Post by lalka686 Sat Jul 23, 2022 1:13 am

I also use the Redding Profile crimp die on my 38 special reloader and adjust the bullet height only. For 52 near flush, for 1911 about 1/16" sticking out and for 686 about 3/16" out of case with same 2.6gr of BE powder under Remington bullet, very reliable and super accurate in bullseye and Int'l centerfire competition. Last alibi I can remember was 3 years ago when I mistakenly grabbed 1911 38spl loaded ammo for my 52 model.
In my 45 reloader the last die is the Lee Factory crimp die, same here no alibi in 5 years.
You have a good load, just try to find better bullets (Remington or Star HBWC) and I bet your 50 yard group will see reduction in size.
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