The 52 Cont........
WINCRESTER NEW MODEL 52 TARGET RIFLE
Still manufactured 1938
When Winchester brought this arm out they should have changed the designation of it. This arm is entirely different from the preceding Model 52 and in no way can be compared with it.
Shortly before this new model came out the author was discussing it with vice president Pugsley as he sat in his office looking over a sample. The author criticized Winchester severely for calling the new model a “52” when it was absolutely different in every respect, no particular similarity remaining with the possible exception of the bolt handle.
Mr. Pugsley summed the matter up with characteristic common sense.
“The Winchester Model 52 is firmly established in the small-bore shooting of the American rifleman,” he explained. “We have worked for 17 years to build up this popularity and the model number of 52 is worth a great deal to us. Accordingly, we do not feel it wise to rename this new gun under any other designation, as we do with entirely revised versions of other rifles.”
This author had to agree with Ed and they very frequently disagree on many minor points. The truth of the matter is that the particular name “Winchester 52” means about the finest thing in small-bore rifle shooting. Rifles have been made to equal this but no group of manufactured arms have ever been so consistently excellent. There is bound to be a certain amount of advertising value in calling the new rifle the “Improved 52” and that particular designation is the way it is marketed.
It should be borne in mind that Winchester neglected to mark the barrels—at least any that this author has seen—with the designation “improved.” This is a mistake. It might have been wise to call it “Model 52—Improved Type” and they may yet designate this rifle in this fashion. Serial numbers of the improved model carry a “B” after them, and the experienced rifleman would have not the slightest difficulty in observing the difference in models.
In this new model all of the desirable features of the old Model 52 were brought up to the minute and yet the action was entirely re designed. Many new designs and important parts were incorporated. This is the most up-to-date small-bore rifle ever developed, and immediately clicked with the very exacting clan of shooters known as small-bore riflemen.
This action is held in the stock only at the breech by one screw located just forward of the bullet seat. This together with a flexible front band allows the action to align itself properly in the wood thereby relieving it of all unnecessary error-causing strain.
Particular attention has been paid to the trigger mechanism also completely redesigned and fully protected by patent. This gives a snappy quick pull not subject to change and is in the front end of the speed at which the bolt is closed. This is a very important feature.
The precision rifleman is inclined to close his bolt extremely gently and in some types of action this may cause only partial engagement of the sear.
The match shooter knows that careless handling of his bolt may in some way affect the cartridge as it is seated into the throat of the rifling either by loosening the bullet in the shell or damaging the crimp in some way. Hence he prefers to use the greatest of care in this important action—incidentally, the military rifleman shooting center fire cartridges never worries about this particular problem—non-existent for him.
The trigger pull is adjusted at the factory to 3% pounds, and while this can readily be altered by the rifleman it is recommended by the factory that this be left as issued, as this gives the smoothest and best performance in all- around match target shooting.
The light-weight moving parts of the firing mechanism have been retained, which causes a minimum upset in the barrel due to barrel vibration at the instant of firing. This is important from an engineering standpoint as it affects the practical accuracy of the super-accurate little small bore cartridge.
A new design of safety lock secures the bolt at the same time that the firing pin is retracted from the sear thus making this action 100 per cent safe. Winchester has continued their dummy magazine, which can be used in place of their regular magazine for those shooters who desire to single-load their guns rather than feed from a clip. In addition, they introduced a sling-strap positioner in the form of an adjustable bakelite block against which the left hand can be placed to secure support without being pinched by the sling strap. This is of extreme importance in firing a long string as it prevents the hand con trolling the forearm from becoming numb due to heavy sling tension.
This particular unit can be located at different positions to suit the individual requirements of the shooter particularly when firing from various positions from offhand to prone. It has the unique advantage of allowing the length of the sling strap to remain the same regardless of the position of this hand guide.
At the present time no further changes are contemplated in the Model 52 to this author’s knowledge. Very minor improvements in the form of the floating barrel band and other de tails which are best understood only by the advance rifleman have been made but these are not major changes. Matches have been won and will continue to be won with the Model 52 for several decades as it seems that the major improvement today beyond existing standards will lie in ammunition rather than in the gun.
This Winchester 52 is available in such a wide range of sights and accessory equipment that it is rather complicated to go into detail here. In 1938 the price list includes the Winchester 93 front sight, Lyman 17A, Redfield 6 Lyman I7AG, Lyman 77, Redfield 63, Wittek-Vaver 6, and barrel band 35 and Lyman I7AG for front sights; and for rear sights, the Winchester 82A, or none. For receiver sights they offer none, Lyman 5 Lyman 4 Redfield 100F, Redfield 9 Wittek-Vaver 52 LT extension, Marbie-Goss ex tension, Lyman 5 extension, Lyman 4 Wittek-Vaver 35 MIELT extension, Marble Goss extension high base, Marble-Goss extension low base, and anything else which may be out. It can be obtained with various combinations of both of these front and rear sights or entirely free of any sights and fitted with telescope blocks.
Standard-weight barrel model is available to include 12 different rifles plus the combinations.
In the heavy-barrel line, 10 different rifles for combination of sights are available. These variations in rifle include only the weight of barrel and the form of target stock including the heavy weight barrel having a somewhat heavier and better-shaped stock than the standard weight.
Thus you have the Model 52 with its various modifications; one of the most accurate small- bore rifles ever constructed.