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

| January 10, 2016 | 5 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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5 Comments 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.

  2. Lee G. says:

    I shoot several Winchesters 52s both B and C Models, all are tack drivers at 100 yards. I don’t even consider shooting them at 50 yards. The challenge simply is not there.
    I am presently shooting Eley Match Ammo and Swage and Rim Check all my rounds when I shoot for accuracy.
    Have you made any videos after swaging a box of ammo? I use a Neil Waltz swaging tool and Raven Eye rim checker with a digital gauge.
    Lets see more 100 yard competition challenges. I enjoy your videos very much and do like your honesty even when you have a bad day. No one is perfect.

  3. Have not seen where those dies have been available for a while though I have seen some of them used that were asking a kings ransom for. Wow would that be a video I have already been run out of town about sorting I got bombarded with emails how I wasted mine and everyone’s time with sorting as it makes no difference.

  4. Lee G. says:

    People have their opinions, but I do sort for accuracy, and my mind cannot be changed. The biggest difference I find is with swaging. With the Waltz die you get a more consistent bullet diameter. Everyone checks out to .225 very consistently meaning constant velocity, and with my 28 in. barrel on my Winchester 52 bench rifles it carries down range. You also must find the best Ammunition your rifle likes. Most SK works well for me but stay below high velocity. Pistol Match Special, Log Range Match are very good. Few fliers with Long Range. Best ammo for my and every 52 I have come across is Eley Match. It is very consistent in rim thickness and has the least fliers I have ever found in .22 L R ammo. Maybe because of rim thickness?? I have been interested in SK high velocity but haven’t checked if velocity carries out to 100 yards and does not go subsonic. Maybe you could do that test for me in your next video. Thanks again for responding I do look forward to all your video’s even those at 50 yards.

  5. Lee I probably have done to many sorting 22LR video’s and written reviews including rim thickness.

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