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Old December 6, 2007, 02:15 PM   #1
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What crimp for S&W Model 52?

just bought a S&W Model 52-2, made in 1976. It was designed to shoot 148 gr wadcutters in .38 Special. Question is, I have a Lee turret press and dies, including the bullet seating and crimping die plus the factory crimp die. My understanding is that for the Model 52, the wadcutter must be seated flush with the end of the case in order to fit in the magazine, then crimp is critical for accuracy. Are the Lee crimp dies OK for this, or should I find a taper crimp die since this pistol is a semi-auto? I'm also interested in any other reloading wisdom particular to the Model 52! I'm excited about shooting this pistol in the Fairbanks bullseye league!
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Old December 6, 2007, 05:53 PM   #2
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You may want a different set of dies entirely to load for your M52. I recommend RCBS 38 SWC/WC dies with a carbide sizer die, and an extra seat/crimp die so you can seat and crimp in 2 different steps for the ultimate in uniformity and accuracy. Crimping while seating puts extra pressure and stress on the soft lead wadcutters detracting from the potential of the reload. Try 2.8 of Bullseye with a 148 hollowbase wc, and be sure to seat the bullet flush with the case mouth and crimp just over the front driving band. Don't use too heavy a charge with hollowbased bullets as the skirt may blow off in the barrel creating a plugged barrel type obstruction and a ringed or bulged barrel. Not good. I used 3.0 of Bullseye and the Lyman 35891 BBWC for years. CB.
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Old December 6, 2007, 08:27 PM   #3
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Do not buy another set of dies yours will work perfectly. Just make sure your seat and crimp die is set to only seat then use your factory crimp die in a separate step to do the crimping.

Finding the right crimp is part of the fun in reloading. I have found some loads with certain powders burn cleaner and more consistency with tighter crimps. Others don't do so well with tight crimps. You have surely come to the right place to ask your question these guys are more than capable of helping you out but I think a little more info is needed for a good answer on the question. If you are going to use the load above which a lot of people use including me I have found that a light to moderate crimp to make sure that the bullet does not jump during recoil works best.
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Old December 7, 2007, 06:02 PM   #4
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Ditto Mr RG.
All die snobs aside--Lee dies are made to as close or closer tolerances than any other standard die. You will want to wipe them down with a silicone rag when you put them away though, they will tend to rust if you're not careful.
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal
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Old December 7, 2007, 09:16 PM   #5
Jim Watson
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MY M-52 requires a roll crimp over the leading edge of its flush seated wadcutter for reliable feeding. A taper crimp stubs out against the base of the ramp.
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Old December 8, 2007, 12:13 AM   #6
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Pistol arrived!

The M52 arrived today, 1500 wadcutters too. So, tomorrow I load some shells and Sunday visit the shooting range! I have Bullseye, W231 and HS6 to experiment with. The pistol looks good, but won't know for sure until I visit the range. The moment of truth approaches...
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