Winchester Model 52D: The King Of The 22’s

| January 10, 2016 | 1 Comments

One of the finest and most accurate small bore rimfire rifles ever produced in America, the Winchester Model 52 was Winchester’s first bolt action rifle with a detachable 5 or 10 round box magazine. Since its debut in 1919 the Winchester Model 52 has set many records and has gone through many revisions. Having been discontinued in 1980 when the Olin Corporation sold the brand to US Repeating Arms, the Winchester Model 52 even today is considered to be highly capable of competing and winning. When speaking with a friend of mine about the attraction to the Winchester Model 52, he simply stated it is not something many can put words to. So when he offered to let borrow his it was an offer I could not refuse.


As with most things I believe 22lr ammunition has got better over time and I was eager to see if the King of 22’s or as Herbet Houze referred to as the “Perfect Design” still could pull off a few good groups. Upon handling this rifle for the first time in my life. The first thing I noticed was the quality of the build and its weight. It was immediately obvious this rifle belonged in the benchrest class but the classic style of the stock makes it comfortable in the prone position. Early on the Winchester Model 52’s were only produced with metalic/iron sights. In and around about 1924 Winchester started drilling and tapping the barrel for mounting scopes. The 36 power Unertl is at home on this rifle and keeps the retro look of that era.

Pictures speak a thousand words and these are no different. With today’s medium priced 22lr ammunition the King Of 22’s is very capable especially if you do your part behind the trigger. I would love to test this rifle with Eley Tenex or Lapua Midas+ at 100 yards. A shootout of the Winchester Model 52D and Kimber 82G could make for a fun day on the range.

If you ever get the chance to fire a Winchester Model 52D accept the offer it truly is an experience. My time with this legend was unlike any other and I have shot many 22lr rimfire rifles in my day.

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1 Comment on "Winchester Model 52D: The King Of The 22’s"

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  1. CRAIG says:

    I have a 52 pre-A dating 1934. It has been a prize in my collection for many years. It is topped by a 10X Lyman Super Target scope. I can not agree more with the above article calling it “The King”. With good ammo, it will shoot 3/4″ groups at 100 yards consistantly.

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