New poster here … just joined on the recommendation of Bert H. Thanks Bert!
I appear to have a late ‘B’ model circa 1937, and yet a speed-lok model (determined by s/n) with a flat-top receiver, the 82A-type ladder rear sight, and the buttplate with the roll-over ‘pointy’ part at the top of the comb. The most interesting thing is the stock! It appears to be a sporter wearing an Oberndorf Mauser-type schnabel forend. These were VERY common in pre-war Mausers, so the timing fits. I took it apart and can find no ID numbers inside and I am told Rheinhart-Fajen replacement stocks would likely have a code in them.
The checkering matches original Win patterns exactly (well, less the ‘dimpled’ diamond area) as seen in the bible pictures in the Houze book. There was no other history or provenance to be had with the rifle, but I bought it off a widow and she claims her husband bought it "before WWII as is … ". [color=red:423aedb2c2]Is it possible this was a special factory order?[/color:423aedb2c2]
What say you experts? I tried the Cody Museum and they have no records for this s/n. For all purposes, it appears either original … or at least is an example of some darn good stock makers workmanship after the fact! From my research, Win put schnabel forends of other rifles, e.g., the model 56 and single-shot model 1904, as both were produced with a schnabel forend stock similar to very early Savage Model 99 rifles – which also look identical to the Oberndorf-type as shown.
The barrel is original, and from what we can tell, it has not been re-blued as the patina matches the rest of the rifle, so it does not look like it was a target model conversion (no patina ‘scars’ from the barrel band). So what could it be … ?????
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Regardless of what it is … she only was asking $475 and the local GS she consigned it to apparently had ZERO idea of Win 52 values apparently, or what it could be worth. It is accurate to boot, 1-ragged hole groups @ 25-yards using CCI std velocity 22LRs, using the stock sights from the bench.
Your rifle is actually a "Speedlock" made prior to the B model. The B model bolt handle did not have the retainer plate as does yours. Also, the safety was moved to RH side of the receiver on the B models. Your rifle appears to be a custom stocked standard target rifle. Stock appears to be from the late 40’s to mid 50’s vintage. I base this on the fact it has monte carlo comb, reminiscent of the early 50’s rifles, such as the model 70 that were designed with the high comb for better positioning of head when using a scope. Checkering although similar to the special order factory style is not identical. Notice the inset extending forward from the included angle of the patern top and bottom. Also, the bolt handle cut out was never finished after fitting. You do not mention what buttplate or grip cap it has, and I cannot make them out from photo. Winchester used a hard rubber cap w/Winchester lettering molded into circumference on their grip caps from that era. Yours appears to be a stamped steep cap similar to what was used on the mid 50’s model 70 Super Grades. The buttplate on your rifle look’s like "Niedner" style, but I would need better pictures to determine for certain.
As far as the maker, it is anyone’s guess. There were literally thousands of these rifles converted into more or less sporter configuration. If you provide me with s/n, and some better pictures, I can tell you exactly what model and pin down the manufacturing date a little closer also. All B models will have a "B" suffix on serial number. Yours is prior to that revision.
Never the less, for what you paid, you got one heck of a great little shooter.
The buttplate on your rifle look’s like "Niedner" style, but I would need better pictures to determine for certain.
If you provide me with s/n, and some better pictures, I can tell you exactly what model and pin down the manufacturing date a little closer also.
The s/n is 3978x without the B suffix and the buttplate is the steel sporting type, with the tip the rolls into the top of the comb on the top of the butt, as shown in Houze’s book on a 1935 A model. The rifle is currently in storage and it will be a few weeks before I can get more photos. Is there any particular area you’d like to see?
Your 52 was serial numbered in January of 1936. It is actually an unstamped "A" revision rifle. The first 52’s with the "A" revision receivers were not stamped as such. Later examples actually had an "A" suffix. The "A" marked rifles were manufactured up to about 44500. The B model was put into production after that point.
The "A" model revision incorporated a thicker left bolt locking lug in receiver. Prior to this, Winchester had a problem with the thinner receiver bolt locking lug cracking when pressure was put on it while lifting the LH mounted safety.
As far as pictures, any good close ups that show checkering pattern and overall views of stock. Some overall views of rifle as well. Many times the barrel contour was changed on these early attempts at sporterizing.
Your rifle still has the original countour standard target weight barrel. I am certain stock is aftermarket for previously mentioned reasons as well as the fact the checkering is not Winchester. Also, the buttplate is a "Niedner" style which Winchester never used on their rifles. Grip cap is not Winchester either.
Still a great little rifle, and I’m sure very accurate as well.
Thanks Steve! I really appreciate your insight and information. I pulled off the buttplate and grip cap (both metal, with the butt checkered steel) and no makers marks were on the wood. I can’t find any marking anywhere.
Regardless, she’s a 1-hole shooter provided the ‘nut’ behind the trigger works well, so she’s a keeper for sure.
Cheers and tight groups!
October 27, 2012