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Evolution if any of Win 52 barrels for accuracy

2517 Views 25 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  wwace
I had an opportunity to examine a 52 pre A and 52B recently for sale. I realized how little I knew about these guns. I came back to this forum and also did a quick read a wiki pedia.

I think I have a general handle on triggers, actions, and stocks. What I have not found are reference to how the barrel making may have evolved over time.

Specifically were all 52 choke or taper bored? Or when did that start?

Logically, I would expect a lot more care into an Olympic grade E than a sporter. How does a D compare to a B? Or, exactly what models and when are the key differences in boring and chambering barrels?
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The book does feature a page outlining 200 yard accuracy over time, although it was accuracy of rifles and the contemporary Winchester ammo. Nonetheless, the acuuracy improved considerably over the time span the statistics were compiled. I'm out of town, so I can't give you the page number or the details. I'm sure someone will come along soon enough.
The statistics I mentioned were compiled from 1920 to 1937. Accuracy was for 10-shot groups at 200 yards (!). Page 112 of the House book displays this information:

1920: 3.0" average 10-shot group diameter
1924: 2.5" average 10-shot group diameter
1927: 2.25" average 10-shot group diameter
1929: 2.0" average 10-shot group diameter
1932: 1.75" average 10-shot group diameter
1934: 1.50" average 10-shot group diameter
1937: 1.25" average 10-shot group diameter

Better barrels and better ammunition contributed to the accuracy improvements. The group sizes seem too nicely rounded to the 1/2" or 1/4", but the data is what it is. Obviously, it ends in 1937, so these were just the Slow Locks, pre-As, As, and possibly some very early Bs. I've never seen any accuracy or barrel data subsequent to 1937. I have seen Bs out shoot Cs, Bs and Cs outshoot Ds, and Bs, Cs, and Ds outshoot Es, so the variation from barrel to barrel could be as great as that from model to model over time. I always cringe when I read comments like, "the later models will always outshoot the earlier ones," or, "the bull barrels will always outshoot the standard barrels"...just not so, from my experience, anyway.

I hope this helps,

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I also believe advances in ammunition likely played a large role in the improvements, and testing older rifles with modern ammunition is always interesting, but remember to not lose sight of the intimate relationship between ammunition and chamber/rifling configuration, something with which many here, particularly the BR crowd, continue to tweak and experiment.

Winchester knew what it was doing, having at its disposal the best of the best for research and development. I think we must assume Winchester designed and manufactured its rifles and ammunition to maximize accuracy and performance of its products, first and foremost. So, while most of the rifles remain in largely fine shooting condition today, the ammunition painstakingly designed and made to perform in those rifles is long gone, making it impossible to gauge performance against modern ammunition in modern rifles.

Looking at those 200-yard average groups, it doesn't seem to me there have been leaps and bounds of improvement in accuracy with more modern rifles and ammunition. Rifles shooting those 1.25" 200-yard groups would have been averaging less than .3125" at 50 yards...with 10-shot groups, no less. I'm pretty sure none of my rifles have ever done that well, even with the best Eley or Lapau ammunition...well, maybe one in the last 20 years.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, many in the BR community use a chamber made for a specific, currently produced ammunition. The vintage 52 chambers may or may not perform with ammunition made for modern chambers, so, who knows whether or not modern barrels and/or rifles are "better" than the vintage ones?

Food for thought,

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