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February 4, 2023 - 6:58 pm
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I had a few questions on model 52’s.

1. were bolts ever etched with serial numbers? I have never noticed or seen it, but was told they did-so I would like to confirm which may be true

2.Were any of the early, pre a guns,not drilled for the barrel scope block mounts. I have never seen one without scope block mounts and was told they made early ones without the blocks…. Again I just want to confirm which is true… even both may be true

 

thanks

Bill

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February 4, 2023 - 7:31 pm
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Yes, bolts should be serialized, except (possibly) very earliest ones.

Very earliest ones (1920-2?) weren’t drilled for mounts either, unless specially ordered.  But soon it became standard.  Big Larry recently acquired a very nice example. 

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/winchester-22-rim-fire/1920-m52/

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February 4, 2023 - 7:51 pm
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Excellent, Thanks Clarence!

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February 4, 2023 - 8:12 pm
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Actually, the first of the M52’s were drilled and tapped. I’m talking very early rifles, but Clarence is correct. I would never have found my early M52 if it had not been for Clarence. The early rifles also had a different stock with a more rounded pistol grip. They are very hard to find as they didn’t make that many, and owners of these rifles, sometimes D&T’d them themselves. The bolt on #1225 is not numbered and the receiver, nor the bbl., are D&T’d. Rifle is not really up to my standards, but take what you can get. Very unusual is the fact that the bore is not perfect. Most owners took great care of these very expensive rifles and this is the 1st one I have ever seen with a less than stellar bore.   Big Larry

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February 4, 2023 - 9:00 pm
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Big Larry said Rifle is not really up to my standards, but take what you can get.
  

You have to, because most of these very early 52s were eventually scoped by some later owner.  Not up to Larry’s standards, but guns in “used but not abused” cond. are what I prefer; hope to find a 69A Match in similar cond, rather than a mint one such as Larry has. 

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February 4, 2023 - 9:57 pm
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The more I can learn the better. I guess I will be looking more intently at 52’s now. I enjoy putting what I learn to use.

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February 5, 2023 - 2:11 am
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Bill, here are my thoughts on your questions:

1 – All bolts with the exception of the very early rifles were s/n’d on the bottom front flat surface. The early bolts had a fully blued bolt body and if there is a number there, it is very hard to see in many cases. Early bolts had the number, were lightly scribed into the surface. Later bolts had a more pronounced electro-etch number and are much easier to see. So, if you see a very early rifle with no s/n on the bolt, it is most likely correct. At one point I had the starting point narrowed down, but cannot find my notes on the subject. 

2 – Winchester did not factory drill & tap the early barrels for scope blocks. Based on my observations, it most likely became a regular production operation sometime after  s/n 1200. You see a lot of the early rifles before that d/t’d, but all the ones I have seen and own were do-afters. Early 52’s were proof marked on the top surfaces of the barrel and the receiver. When the factory initially started adding the scope bases, they offset the barrel proofmark to the LH side at about a 45 degree angle to avoid attaching the rear base on top the barrel proof. The receiver proof remained on top until later yet, when both were moved to their more familiar location on LH side just above the stock edge. I have always assumed that if the block is on top of the proof, it was done after it left Winchester.

I have also seen on some very early examples in the double digits, barrels with no “MODEL 52” in the roll stamping. I believe these are most likely Low Wall Musket barrels that were fitted to the 52 receivers. The early standard weight 52 barrels with the forged front ramps are exactly the same dimensions as the Low Wall Musket barrels with the exception of the thread tenons. 

Also, very very early 52’s should have a 2 rib magazine with no inscriptions on the base. I have only seen 3 or 4 in my life.

Steve

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February 5, 2023 - 2:19 am
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clarence said

Big Larry said Rifle is not really up to my standards, but take what you can get.

  

You have to, because most of these very early 52s were eventually scoped by some later owner.  Not up to Larry’s standards, but guns in “used but not abused” cond. are what I prefer; hope to find a 69A Match in similar cond, rather than a mint one such as Larry has. 

  

Gone. Sold to Tom. I still have a nice Target M69-A for sale.   Big Larry

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February 5, 2023 - 2:38 am
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Steve, thank you very much. Your thought confirm the rifle I sold and the one I have are both legit four digit serial number guns with correct bolt and correct proof mark location.interestingly enough the gentleman,who bought it, was wondering if there was a serial number area in which they started the factory d&t, so I think he will be interested to here it may be in that 1200. Serial number range.

thanks again

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February 5, 2023 - 3:08 am
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Bill, actually, I think it is just a bit beyond that 1200 number, but non the less, you will be close.

Steve

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February 9, 2023 - 11:48 pm
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While searching my old Winchester catalogs and searching the net for 52 information, I saw that Winchester started advertising that they lapped their barrels in the 1960’s.  Did this start with a certain model or earlier and they just didn’t advertise it?  Also found out that some of the early D models still had C triggers.  Is There a serial number range for the D’s that include when the D triggers started showing up?

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February 10, 2023 - 12:32 am
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Don,

Winchester was drilling & tapping the barrels on the Model 75 Target way before the 1960s. Jeff (JWA) can most likely tell us precisely when Winchester began drilling & tapping the barrels on both the Model 52 and Model 75.

Bert

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High-walls-1-002-C-reduced2.jpg

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February 10, 2023 - 12:40 am
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Old-Win said
While searching my old Winchester catalogs and searching the net for 52 information, I saw that Winchester started advertising that they lapped their barrels in the 1960’s.  Did this start with a certain model or earlier and they just didn’t advertise it?  Also found out that some of the early D models still had C triggers.  Is There a serial number range for the D’s that include when the D triggers started showing up?

  

Winchester has always lapped the 52 barrels. These were hook rifled barrels and it was done to remove any residual burrs and to size the bore perfectly to their requirements. They not only lapped them but followed that up with what they referred to as a “lead test”. We now refer to that as “slugging” with an expanded lead slug to check for loose spots and barrel choke.

And, yes early D models used the same trigger as the C model. A revision was made to the lever system in 1963 which resulted in a decreased pull weight capability. They also changed the sear engagement screw to eliminate the spring loaded version and incorporate a solid head design. The physical dimensions of the trigger remained the same and to the casual eye looked just like the earlier style. This change is first noticed in the  s/n 114XXX range.

Steve

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February 11, 2023 - 4:34 pm
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Thank you Steve,

I picked up a minty 1948 52B a week ago, fully knowing about the triggers on this model but I’m very happy with it as it breaks crisply at 40 oz. I’m sure when it was designed it was designed for the game that was being played back then but as the rules changed the design of the triggers had to change to make them lighter. As I learn more about these I’m really happy with what I bought and can’t wait for the snow to melt so I can get out and shoot it. It came with a 20X Lyman Super Targetspot and neither show very much use.

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February 11, 2023 - 4:55 pm
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Old-Win said
Thank you Steve,

I picked up a minty 1948 52B a week ago, fully knowing about the triggers on this model but I’m very happy with it as it breaks crisply at 40 oz. I’m sure when it was designed it was designed for the game that was being played back then but as the rules changed the design of the triggers had to change to make them lighter. As I learn more about these I’m really happy with what I bought and can’t wait for the snow to melt so I can get out and shoot it. It came with a 20X Lyman Super Targetspot and neither show very much use.

  

Your combination is the same as I use on my M52’s. I have a very nice M52-B from 1940. It is the heavy bbl. variety. I don’t think I have ever shot it. Recently sold my M52-C BULLGUN. 10 shots under a dime at 100 yards. You will be surprised at the accuracy of a M52-B. Is yours the heavy bbl. type?  Big Larry

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February 11, 2023 - 5:35 pm
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Old-Win said
Thank you Steve,

I picked up a minty 1948 52B a week ago, fully knowing about the triggers on this model but I’m very happy with it as it breaks crisply at 40 oz. I’m sure when it was designed it was designed for the game that was being played back then but as the rules changed the design of the triggers had to change to make them lighter. As I learn more about these I’m really happy with what I bought and can’t wait for the snow to melt so I can get out and shoot it. It came with a 20X Lyman Super Targetspot and neither show very much use.

  

Absolutely nothing wrong with B trigger in my opinion. Look back at the scores shot with these back in the day. As long as it is clean, adjusted correctly, has not been modified and the shooter realizes it is not, or ever was designed to be a 2oz Benchrest trigger, it will do just fine. These rifle triggers were designed for a 3# minimum pull weight which was required and checked at registered matches. Today, these guns are primarily shot off a bench, not position, as they were originally designed, and off the bench, I see no problems whatsoever. One in decent condition can usually be adjusted down to 2# safely w/o any problems. When you start trying to minimize engagement to lower pull weight, you risk the chance of prematurely wearing the sharp corner on the engagement surfaces. 

Steve

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February 11, 2023 - 5:40 pm
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I picked up a minty 1948 52B a week ago, fully knowing about the triggers on this model but I’m very happy with it as it breaks crisply at 40 oz. Old-Win said

  

That complaint about the unpleasant “twang” of the B trigger as it released I never really noticed on the one I once had; but maybe some were more noticeable than others.  On the other hand, I hated the extra force required to compress the special sear spring found only in Bs.  Thought I could easily rectify that by clipping a coil of the spring, which did make the bolt easier to close, but prevented the trigger from setting!  So had to replace the spring to make it fire.  I much prefer the previous Speedlock trigger & bolt design.

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February 11, 2023 - 6:23 pm
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clarence said

I picked up a minty 1948 52B a week ago, fully knowing about the triggers on this model but I’m very happy with it as it breaks crisply at 40 oz. Old-Win said

  

That complaint about the unpleasant “twang” of the B trigger as it released I never really noticed on the one I once had; but maybe some were more noticeable than others.  On the other hand, I hated the extra force required to compress the special sear spring found only in Bs.  Thought I could easily rectify that by clipping a coil of the spring, which did make the bolt easier to close, but prevented the trigger from setting!  So had to replace the spring to make it fire.  I much prefer the previous Speedlock trigger & bolt design.

  

I cannot imagine the sear spring causing the bolt to close harder. You are compressing the sear plunger spring and firing pin spring when you close the bolt. The sear spring itself needs to be pretty heavy to maintain it in the up position while cocking. Look at the long lever long arm between that spring, the sear pivot point and the cocking surface of the sear. I can see that if you shorten it, it might not cock. Winchester actually reduced the length of that spring by 1 coil on the B models. Otherwise it was the same spring used in the Pre B’s. That spring is also the same spring used in the spring plunger located in the sear body. I really do not see what effect shortening it would have on the bolt cocking, while I can understand why it might make the bolt easier to close. What am I missing?

   I have noticed the vibration on the release of the trigger on some of mine, but never seemed to bother me while shooting off a bench. It might be a source of irritation if shooting position. I tend to concentrate more on conditions than the trigger vibration.

Steve

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February 11, 2023 - 7:57 pm
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seewin said

I cannot imagine the sear spring causing the bolt to close harder. You are compressing the sear plunger spring and firing pin spring when you close the bolt. The sear spring itself needs to be pretty heavy to maintain it in the up position while cocking. Look at the long lever long arm between that spring, the sear pivot point and the cocking surface of the sear. I can see that if you shorten it, it might not cock.

  

I meant the plunger spring compressed by the bolt as it first moves forward, & which isn’t a spring that Speedlock models had.  B parts diagram called it “sear spring plunger.”  Clipping one coil made a clear difference in force needed to close bolt, except it rendered trigger inoperable.

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February 11, 2023 - 8:49 pm
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Big Larry,

Yes mine has a heavy barrel and not the bull barrel and I plan on shooting it in our bench rest matches. I saw the group from yours a couple weeks go while researching 52’s and that’s one of the reasons why I bought this rifle. A friend of mine holds our club record score shot with his 52C and a Canjar trigger so I know they will shoot.

Clarence,

I have also seen comments about the vibration in the 52B triggers and when I brought this rifle home I clamped it in my padded bench vise which is very solid and put in some empties to try the trigger pull as well as listen for the vibration and I felt and heard nothing. Maybe it is something that’s particular to certain 52’s but I haven’t seen it so far in this one. I was surprised to see this one did break at 40 oz as my 1946 Winchester Wholesalers catalog advertises them as set at slightly over 3 lb so it is possible something has been done to this but I have not pulled it out of the stock yet until I find out how well it shoots.

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