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Old 10-14-2021, 09:24 PM
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New to me 52A - vintage 1937



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I picked this up earlier this week. I wonít have a chance to shoot it for a bit, but it cleaned up nice and looks to be in very good condition over all and has a bright shiny bore with sharp rifling. It should shoot.











It has a Marbles-Goss rear sight with an adjustable aperture, but Iím not sure about the front sight.

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Old 10-14-2021, 10:09 PM
ClarenceAnderson
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Can't make out 3rd digit in ser. no., but doesn't look high enough to be '37 DOM, which begins in 44xxx ser. no. range. Number corresponds to '35 or '36, which would make it pre-A. If it's pre-A, the stock is a later replacement.
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Old 10-14-2021, 10:21 PM
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That resembles the description by C.S. Landis of his squirrel rifle.
He spent a lot of time just admiring it, and I can see why.

That looks like a rifleman's rifle. Congratulations.
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Old 10-14-2021, 10:41 PM
ClarenceAnderson
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Originally Posted by bugeye View Post
That resembles the description by C.S. Landis of his squirrel rifle.
Except that his small-game rifles were always equipped with the best scopes available at the time. And that he usually preferred heavy SS rifles with DS triggers.
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Old 10-14-2021, 10:43 PM
Model 52 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarenceAnderson View Post
Can't make out 3rd digit in ser. no., but doesn't look high enough to be '37 DOM, which begins in 44xxx ser. no. range. Number corresponds to '35 or '36, which would make it pre-A. If it's pre-A, the stock is a later replacement.
I appreciate the input but there are a couple of things you might want to consider.

First, a 39,000 serial number does fall in to the 1937 date of manuafacture for the “A” model. Per Winchester factory records 36632 was the last assigned serial number in 1936. 40419 was the last assigned in 1937. A 39000 serial places it well into the latter half of 1937.

I suspect you may have mis read the table and missed the fact that the serial numbers reflect the numbers assigned at the *end of the year*, not the *start of the year*. It’s a common mistake.

Second, the definitive way to tell an A from a Pre-A is to look at the thickness of the receiver behind the locking lug recess and compare it to the wing safety and its stud.

On the “pre-A” the stud on the safety comes up even with the front edge of the wing safety, and the locking lug shoulder in front of that stud is consequently thinner.

On the “A” the locking lug shoulder is thicker, and consequently the stud on the safety is thinner and does not come up even with the front edge of the safety lever.

——-

Below you’ll see the safety lever and stud as well as locking lug shoulder on the rifle in question. You’ll note the front edge of the stud is not even with the front edge of the safety lever. That definitively makes it an “A”.

You’ll also note the comparatively thick shoulder behind the locking lug recess. On the pre-A the shoulder stops about where the bevel starts on this one - again at a point even with the front of the wing safety.


Last edited by Model 52; 10-14-2021 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 10-14-2021, 11:10 PM
ClarenceAnderson
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Originally Posted by Model 52 View Post

I suspect you may have mis read the table and missed the fact that the serial numbers reflect the numbers assigned at the *end of the year*, not the *start of the year*. It’s a common mistake.

I referred to George Hertel's ser. no. tables in Houze, which begins 1937 (Jan. 5) with #44403. That may be an error (which should be corrected), but I didn't "misread" it. Not that I'm doubting this 52 is an A now that I see your photo of the locking-lug--I have two As. I've never, however, seen an A with a hand-stop.
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Old 10-15-2021, 09:43 AM
Seewin is online now
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Your rifle is an unmarked "A" for sure. The "A" modificating started in the early 37XXX range. If I'm reading s/n correctly 390XX, it was serial numbered in November of 1935. The accessory rail was most likely added after it left the factory. This was a common modification, and many used the Winchester rail which had always been available on the model 70 Marksman stock. The Freeland handstop is definitely non original, but a much better choice for actual shooting.
Steve
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Old 10-15-2021, 10:35 AM
carbine
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I love it. I've been looking for an A or pre-A for quite some time now and can't find one that meets my standards. If I had a chance to hold your gun it would have went directly home with me. Where did you find it?

On a side note, I also have an unmarked "A" in the sporting version, serial #37996. One web site said it was made in 1935, but another said 1937. I take it the latter is correct? I'd give my left nut for a matching unmarked "A" Target! Just sayin' in case you ever get bored with yours!
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  #9  
Old 10-15-2021, 10:44 AM
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According to Polishing Room records at Winchester, your rifle (37996) was s/n'd October of 1935. I have always considered this the "born on date", as does the ATF. As to when it was assembled, that can vary quite a bit depending on model and time frame. If s/n'd just before the outbreak of WWII, there's a good chance it was not assembled until after the war. With early B models, this is quite often the case.
Steve
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:06 AM
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Looks like you picked up a pretty sweet rig to me. I hope you enjoy it.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:20 AM
ClarenceAnderson
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Originally Posted by carbine View Post
One web site said it was made in 1935, but another said 1937.
Web site? Those fortunate folks who can afford to own a Sporting model (I can't!) ought to be able to acquire Houze's 52 book, which--though far from perfect--does contain a reliable ser. no. list.
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Old 10-15-2021, 02:44 PM
carbine
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Originally Posted by ClarenceAnderson View Post
Web site? Those fortunate folks who can afford to own a Sporting model (I can't!) ought to be able to acquire Houze's 52 book, which--though far from perfect--does contain a reliable ser. no. list.
Believe me, I can't afford the normal price on the Sporters either! I simply lucked out being in the right place at the right time at a local gun shop when they placed it on the rack next to a bunch of other cheap .22's. They only care about black guns, and this old bolt action .22 was only worth $439 plus tax to them. For the first time in my life I didn't even dicker with the price.
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Old 10-15-2021, 03:22 PM
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A very nice rifle. It shows Winchester was "all in" on the 52, and not producing to a price point. I always thought Houze's book should have been titled "The 52 Winchester: Quality at Any Cost."

FWIW, I had an unstamped "A" Sporting rifle with Serial Number 40586, and there were quite a few stamped "A"s with lower numbers than that. Some of the first "B"s were in the very low 44400 range...supposedly made in December of 1936 (!) -- if one goes by the lists of serial numbers and dates -- instead of the accepted "B" start date of May 1937, so the rifles with pre-war SN's are all over the place, depending on when they were actually assembled. Apparently, Winchester went back and stamped many of the "A" type receivers with the coveted "A" but obviously not all of them.

Again, very nice unstamped "A" rifle there.

TBR
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:24 PM
Model 52 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carbine View Post
I love it. I've been looking for an A or pre-A for quite some time now and can't find one that meets my standards. If I had a chance to hold your gun it would have went directly home with me. Where did you find it?

On a side note, I also have an unmarked "A" in the sporting version, serial #37996. One web site said it was made in 1935, but another said 1937. I take it the latter is correct? I'd give my left nut for a matching unmarked "A" Target! Just sayin' in case you ever get bored with yours!
I found it at Cabelas in Mitchell SD. I probably paid about $150 too much for it when all was said and done, but Iíve never noted them to price any deals out of their gun library. But I liked it and have been looking for a nice A model.

In my experience you never pay too much, you just buy too early. With a decent condition collectible gun paying too much just means you need to keep it a couple years to get your money back out of it. Iím not selling it anytime soon so itíll work out.

I can still recall paying $500 for an excellent condition 1978 9422 XTR and being told Ip paid way too much. They easily sell for twice that now and itís only been about 10 years

óó

As for serial numbers, my Winchester experience is mostly in pre-64 and pre WWII Winchester lever guns and gallery rifles, but the same basic issue exists for the Model 52.

A guy named George Madis salvaged some Winchester records out of a dumpster and compiled dates of manufacture for a large number of of models based on those records. Exactly what records those were isnít clear. Shipping? Sales? Something else? As far as I can tell they were not polishing room records. Since he died in the mid 1990s it will probably remain an unanswered question.

Worse, many of the records were destroyed or missing, and he apparently just estimated and or extrapolated numbers to make up the rest. Up until a couple decades ago, Winchester collectors more or less just accepted his word on all things Winchester and a lot of sources still use his dates.

Bert Hartman amd some other collectors stated researching documents in the Cody Museum basement, and discovered boxes full of microfilm containing all the Polishing Room Records and eventually transferred all that microfilm to jpeg files. Those polishing room records often do not agree with the Madis records.

The Polishing room is where the receiver got it's serial number and for ATF/legal purposes that is the actual "Date of Manufacture".

However thatís still ball park as receivers were done in production runs with serial numbers assigned but then might be shelved for months or even years until the actual firearm was assembled, completed, sold and then finally shipped.

Depending on production numbers and orders, some receivers ďmadeĒ and assigned a serial number late in a given year, may have been assembled, finished, sold and shipped in the next year. Or in the case of lower production high end arms may not have shipped for a number of years after they were made of demand was low.

In addition, when you consider things like WWII, youíll find pre-war receivers that didnít actually leave the factory as an assembled firearm until 1946 when production of civilian firearms ramped back up.

óó

So in short, you have a lot of sources that are based on well intentioned but an incomplete and potentially dubious source. Plus you have the potential for a discrepancies in the dates based on the date the serial was assigned and roll marked on the receiver, the polishing room records, the sales/order records and the shipping date records.

For post WWI stuff, I generally use the dates published on the Winchester site, since they own the successor company to the original Winchester and use that data in their customer service efforts. Is it correct? We can argue that all day long. Winchesterís cataloging doesnít help as while they started using letters to denote changes in the receiver forgings for production and assembly purposes, they didnít reference those letters in their marketing until the 1950s.

So did they start producing the A in 1935, 1936 or 1937? Good question. The answer depends on the source data used and the assumptions that go with that data,

https://www.winchesterguns.com/conte...-Documents.pdf

The problem of course with using Winchester customer service data is that Iím not real sure what the Winchester site uses for a source and I doubt they do either.

But it doesnít matter all that much as long as you use a consistent source for dating when the model changes occurred.

And, for guns like the Model 52 pre-A and A itís a little more straight forward as the receivers are distinctly different from each other and from the B and later models.

Consequently with the Model 52 you donít run into issues such as an older receiver going out the door as a later variant after sitting on a shelf for months or years before it was assembled. You see that in some Winchesters and you see that a lot in some of the Ruger firearms as they had a bad habit of letting receivers sit on shelves for years before being used, as well as other parts like barrels that were not used in the same order they were produced.
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarenceAnderson View Post
Except that his small-game rifles were always equipped with the best scopes available at the time. And that he usually preferred heavy SS rifles with DS triggers.
I have the book ďHunting with the 22 by C.S. LandisĒ and for most of his hunting stories (squirrels) his model 52 wore a peep sight.
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