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S&W 52 vs. SIG Hämmerli P240

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Kabal, May 8, 2014.

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  1. Kabal

    Kabal Member

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    I would like to buy a target pistol in either .32 S&W Long WC or .38 Special WC.

    I've narrowed down my choice to the S&W 52 and the SIG Hämmerli P240.
    Which of both guns would you prefer?
    Price should be about the same, but it might be a little easier to get spare parts for the SIG here in Europe.


    As for the S&W 52:
    Which version is the one to get? Is the extractor on the 52-2 less likely to break than the one on the 52 or 52-1?


    As for the P240:
    Which version would you recommend – the one in .32, or the one in .38?

    I've read that the gun was discontinued in .38 WC because certain kinds of ammo – even some factory loads - could damage the barrel. Do you think I would be fine with modern factory ammo?

    Is there a noticeable difference in recoil between the .32 and the .38?
    (I might shoot matches that include "quick shooting" sequences. The less recoil, the better.)
     
  2. Got_Lead?

    Got_Lead? Member

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    I haven't owned a Hammereli, but I like my 52. I have heard that the dash 2 ejector is much sturdier than the original. I bought mine for something like $899 about 3 years ago.

    I'm lobing some 148's at about 650 fps here.

    PICT0023c.jpg
     
  3. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    Just to throw another option in the mix for bullseye pistols, the Benelli MP3S is outstanding. :cool:


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  4. pendennis

    pendennis Member

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    The Model 52-2 extractor was re-designed to eliminate breakage problems in the 52 and 52-1 models.

    I have about 3k rounds through my 52-1 without any mechanical problems. However, I'd opt for a 52-2 if looking for one. There are no replacement parts available for the 52 and 52-1 models.

    I run a 148gr HBWC, and about 2.7gr of Bullseye, and it shreds the 10 ring @ 25 yards.

    Don't have any experience with the Hammerli.

    However, another consideration, if you can find one, would be the Colt 1911 Government model chambered in .38 Special. They're not cheap, but are fantastic guns. I believe that Clark also did (does) conversions. Just another couple of options.
     
  5. Kabal

    Kabal Member

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    Thanks for your input. That's some very good shooting, Got_Lead!

    A 1911 in .38 Special would be great, but they seem to be very rare here in Europe. I don't think I've ever seen one.
    The Benelli looks good, too - but I'm pretty much set on the SIG or the S&W 52-2.
    I guess I can't go wrong with either of these two guns, as long as it's in good condition.

    What's your opinion on .32 WC vs. .38 WC for target shooting?
    .38 punches bigger holes, which might be an advantage.
    Is there any difference in recoil between both calibers?
    Out of my Colt Python, .38 WC feels like it has no recoil at all, but I don't know about these lighter autoloaders.

    Edit: BTW, shooting distance will be 25 meters.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  6. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    The 52-2 is outstanding...


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  7. Got_Lead?

    Got_Lead? Member

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    I found the best accuracy from my 52 is at 2.3 grains of bullseye with the 148 boolit I'm shooting. This gives very low recoil, in fact if it were much less, there wouldn't be enough impulse to function the gun. I'm really not so concerned with recoil, but rather tuning the load to the gun, and this is just where I wound up. Velocity is low, which does have a disadvantage, it doesn't cut clean wadcutter style holes in the target. 700 fps and up seem to do much better.

    I am also experimenting with lighter boolits, 120 grain TC's and RNF's. I think there is some potential from the 52 here. The recoil seems even less with the lighter boolits. I would like to mill down a 148 WC mold 1/8" or so and see how 120 grain WC's work.

    A few things I might mention in favor of .38 caliber, are that components such as brass, boolits and molds are going to be much easier to find. I assuming you are going to load your own, powder measures may not throw consistently below 2 grains, and finally if you are target shooting in competition, the larger boolit has a greater chance of cutting the higher scoring ring.

    I don't think you will go wrong in either case. Enjoy
     
  8. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Member

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    I've had two S&W M52-2 38C pistols. Both shot their very best with ful-lcharge 38WC loads, NOT the popular mid-range 38WC loads. It was not even close actually.
     
  9. Kabal

    Kabal Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I'd like to start loading my own ammo in the future, but haven't had the time to get into it so far. Over here, you need to take classes and get a permit if you want to reload ammo.

    That's why I'd like to use factory loads for the time being. Do they work reliably in a 52 and can I expect reasonable accuracy?
    I've got some Geco and Magtech .38 WC (148 gr.) that I use in my Python.
     
  10. pendennis

    pendennis Member

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    Just insure that the wad cutters are completely flush-seated. I don't think you'd have problems with Winchester, Remington, or Federal, but I can't speak to Foreign made ammunition. The crimp in the round is more critical than for a revolver.
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Agreed. I have no idea about those two, but one to consider if you like .32 Long is the Benelli MP3-S. They come up for sale from time to time. I reload for mine. Light recoil, very accurate.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    Yeah, its been a while since I saw one for sale. Benelli didn't build many of them. Less than 1000 for sure.

    Beautiful gun, but rare...
     
  13. Got_Lead?

    Got_Lead? Member

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    That Benelli is a pretty sexy looking piece.
     
  14. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    I don't think you can do better than Model 52-2 for accurate target shooting endeavors. Mine has performed well in countless Bullseye matches. The Model 52 can be picky in terms of reliability with reloads (keep them flush-seated as pendennis advocated) but a little experimentation will result in reliable and superbly accurate results. The Model 52 has about the best trigger pull attainable in a semi-auto pistol, in my experience.
     
  15. Kabal

    Kabal Member

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    I know I'm dabbling in necromancy here, but just to let you know which gun I finally got:

    SIGP240_zpsdddec155.jpg

    SIG Hämmerli P240 in .32 S&W Long WC. It's very accurate and has been perfectly reliable, so far.


    One question concerning ammo/cleaning:
    Is leading an issue with these guns?

    I use 100 gr factory ammo (Geco and Fiocchi). I shoot the P240 about twice per month, maybe 50 rounds per session. I wonder if I should brush the bore everytime I've shot the gun or if I can treat it like any other autoloader and clean it thoroughly every few hundred rounds.
     
  16. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    32

    How is the 32 doing at 50 yards? That would be my concern along with reliability.
    Pete
     
  17. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I'd clean the gun after shooting , moisture loves to get into fouled bores if set away for days after a session, I believe the residues are hygroscopic and that is what forms corrosion in my experience.
     
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Very nice pick up! Sweet looking pistol.
     
  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I think you made the right choice, the .32 wadcutter seems to have been pretty well the standard for 25 metre ISU shooting for some years.
    I like the conventional styling of the P240 vs the assorted forward magazine pistols.

    As for leading, only you can tell. Look down the barrel every once in a while.
     
  20. Kabal

    Kabal Member

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    @Pete: I only shoot it at 25 meters, so I don't know about its performance at 50 yards.
    It seems to be very reliable. I've tried three brands of factory ammo, and the gun fed and fired them all without any noticable difference in accuracy (although I stopped shooting Magtech 98 gr because it produces huge fireballs).

    @Walkalong: Thanks!

    @Jim Watson: I agree. Many shooters would probably favor the Walther GSP or the Hämmerli P280, but those don't look like "real" pistols to me.

    I replaced the standard grips on the P240 with Nill Grips to get an even more "conventional" handgun look (and - for me - a better grip).


    As for cleaning: Thanks for your tips, guys. So far, I've cleaned it meticulously after every session, but during reassembly, I always wished I had three hands.
    I think I'll switch to cleaning it once per month or so. Of course, I'll still run an oiled patch through the bore after shooting. I'll also check the barrel occasionally to make sure there's no leading.
     
  21. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    The .32 Long has low recoil, which is why it has had success in Europe as a non-military center-fire target round. But it was never very popular in the U.S., (where .38 got off to a good start as a military and police caliber) and the only target revolver in that caliber, the S&W K-32, was ultimately discontinued for lack of interest.

    Jim
     
  22. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Is the P240 .32 recoil operated or blowback like the Pardinis et al?
     
  23. Kabal

    Kabal Member

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    As far as I know, the P240 was initially designed for .38 Special. This version was recoil-operated and resembled the P210 more closely.

    The .32 and .22 versions are blowback guns, though.

    Here are some instructions on disassembly/reassembly that let you see the difference:
    http://www.pilkguns.com/tenp/spshp240.htm
     
  24. Saleen322

    Saleen322 Member

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    They do well at 50 yards with the right load. The 32 is very accurate but is tricky to load for and there are more bad bullets out there for them than good ones IMHO.

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