Article Published Date: 05/04/2008
THE WINCHESTER MODEL 52
Perfection in Design
|Review by Mark Trope|
THE WINCHESTER MODEL 52
By: Herbert G. Houze
kp books, K+W Publications, Inc.
700 E. State St.
Iola, WI 54990-0001
Item No. #WINSC
Softcover, 8 1/2 X 11, 192 pages, 190 pictures and illustrations.
The quest for rimfire accuracy may begin with one gun. A fellow may upgrade to a higher quality scope, adjust the trigger, or play with bedding etc. Eventually, a fellow goes as far as he can with that one rifle. Then he wants to go further. He either realizes, or is advised that another, intrinsically more accurate rifle will have to be acquired.
Soon after I began shooting in .22 rimfire matches, an old timer took me aside after a match. He had been watching me shoot. He gently told me I had the temperament & skill to win, but: “You’re totally under gunned”; and would need something better if: “You want to get in the money”. I took that advice to heart.
I acquired a ‘gently used’ Winchester 52 D that had been custom built for a fellow back in the 1970’s. I got it on Monday, and won a .22-rimfire match that next Sunday. Not surprisingly, I wanted to know more about the rifle that was the basis for my gun. Getting history on the Winchester 52 took me to several books. Each one filled in part of the puzzle, but none gave the complete story.
Enter Herbert G. Houze. Author Houze begins with Winchester’s reasoning and concept of the Winchester 52. Then he follows the chronological life of the 52 from pre-production models of 1919 to the end of the run in 1980.
This work is replete with pictures and original blue print drawings of the various versions of the 52. There are also copies of original Winchester letters and inter-departmental memo’s concerning development of the Model 52. Houze takes great pains to explain the development of the famous Winchester ‘Micro Motion” trigger introduced in the Winchester 52 C. The story of how the special single-shot 52’s developed for the Olympics became the 52 D is also there. Houze also includes 7 appendixes’ that catalog the various model numbers, specifications, and sales figures, serial number ranges and Model 52 brochures.
The only fault I can find with this work is in the final chapter. Houze states “… the Type E was given a separate serial number range from E 123,000 to E 125,000 and the thirty-seven examples shipped between 1975 and 1980 will be found with numbers scattered throughout that range.”
This oft quoted figure mistakenly implies there were only 37 Type E guns ever built. The actual figure of Type E gun production, which includes all Type E versions, was actually about 3000 guns. The “37 Type E guns produced” figure applies to the International Prone Match Rifle version only.
The picture Houze shows and captions, as an ‘International Prone Match Rifle’ is actually a Marksman stocked version. The Marksman version is the most common version of the Type E. Other then these two errors, Houze has done a fine job of relating the history of the Winchester 52 series.
THE WINCHESTER MODEL 52 is an excellent book. Much research went into its preparation. The appendices introduce information and data that has never been published anywhere before. For the shooter wanting to explore the history of the most accurate .22 rifle commercially produced by a large arms corporation, this book is the one to get.
The included chapters are:
The Birth of the Model 52
The Model 52’s Debut at Caldwell
The Initial Production of the Model 52
The ‘Speed Lock’ Model 52 Rifles
The Model 52 Type A Series of ‘Speed Lock’ Rifles
The Model 52 Type B Rifle
The Model 52 Type C
The Model 52 Type D and E