Winchester 52 questions

Stringer

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I recently acquired a 1956 52C heavy barrel which, judging by the dusty crud in the bolt assembly, probably hasn't been used in decades. I want to get it going again and fit some aperture sights. Here's what I'm starting with:

It has a marksman stock that appears aftermarket, because the bottom metal holes and the stock holes don't line up well. It was inletted at the bottom forend for an accessory rail, and the barrel band was replaced with a Freeland bedding device. (This device is a click-adjusting "tripod" installed midway down the barrel. I removed it to use for another project.)
The action is in great condition, but the receiver was D/T'd with one hole behind the ejection port, 5-40 or smaller thread. I assume it had been used as part of a sight mount. Receiver blueing is perfect except on the bolt handle, which is one of many factors leading me to believe this rifle was heavily used once upon a time. Trigger seems to work perfect.
Three holes have been drilled in the bottom metal. Two holes are to access the trigger adjustments, and there's one hole in front of the magwell that I can find no purpose for.
The barrel has been cut to 26" and recrowned flat. The blueing is damaged where the barrel bedding device was fastened, and also under the front sight mounts. The bore is mirror bright, yet the rifling doesn't look particularly sharp.

I have some questions:

1. There's enough old crud in this bolt that a spritz of CLP won't work. What is the best approach to bolt disassembly/reassembly? Do I need to put together a tool to compress the firing spring, or can reassembly be done by hand?

2. Is it worth it to order a Lucas bore guide, or are the Dewey or Possum Hollow/Sinclair products sufficient?

3. I want to fit aperture sights. I am new to this; the extent of my peep sight experience is with a G3 and various M1s. Those were rugged sights, but I want this set up to be for paper punching, so I don't mind screw adjustments sticking out all over. Of course I don't want to spend and arm and a leg, but if the Lyman and Williams stuff really sucks--which is what I've heard and read, but I don't want to believe--then I'll look for something better. What mounts and sights work for you?

4. I'm considering milling new bottom metal from aluminum, and setting it up to pillar bed the action. I can see that I might have a problem in the grip area, since extending the rear action screw into the bottom metal might require the bottom metal to be really long. Has anyone tried this? Any things to look out for? Am I stupid for trying?

5. Where do you find mags and other parts?

Thank You!
 

our gang

Gunny Sergeant
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Re: Winchester 52 questions

Congrats on a fine classic. I can give you ideas on your questions:
#1 Use an ultrasonic cleaner on the bolt. Any good jeweler should have one.
#2 Any bore guide that protects the leade is fine.
#3 Back when I shot a 52 in competition (1960s) ours were equipped with Redfield Olympic sights. There is a guy named Gary Fellers in the DFW area who advertises from time to time in the Gun Digest (Gun List) who would probably have them...big bucks!
http://www.garyfellers.com/
I just looked at his site and he has them all.
#4 If it is a good 52 stock, messing with it is probably a waste of time. You really have to shoot it with several brand of match ammo to see what it is capable of.
#5 Magazines...hmmm, perhaps the 52 repro sporter browning made will work, think it's the same as a 69 winchester too, try Gun Parts Ltd (ex Numrich) in W. Hurley NY.

BUT don't spend a dime on it until you machine rest test it. A lot of fine 22 target rifles have been ruined by too much cleaning rod time !
Good shooting!
 

donws2

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

Stringer your barrel could be orignal. The C and D came with a flat face and in the white.

Brownells and Midway have after market mags that work. Their about 12 bucks and marked with just a W on the bottom. I've never been sure who makes them but they do work.

I clean mine with Acetone in a glass jar and lid. Acetone will eat through plastic. Also you'll most likely have to clean the trigger to. The old oils harden up after time and cause things to stick. Soak both for awhile and blow out with compressed air or use one of the cans of air for cleaning computers. Lightly oil with a good gun oil.

Your rifle would have had Redfield Olympic front and rear when new. Later International or Palmas could have been added. All are 1/4 MOA except for the rare MK 8 International. It's 1/8 MOA. CMP has cheep prices on Plama's and Olympic fronts. I'd get them quick because you never know when they'll sell out. Stay away from Lymans and Williams. The new stuff is poorly made from castings. Redfields are milled steel.

Congrats on your rifle, You'll love it. Donald
 

donws2

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

This is a factory muzzle. There's more bevel on the outside edge than on some I've seen. Many don't appear to have any bevel. There is just a hint of bevel at the bore. It's so light that one might thing it's just wear from cleaning. Anyway the photo sucks but I'm not very good at pictures. Donald

DSC03760.jpg
 

boltgunner

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

Been there done that. I'm no expert but all 52C I have seen were single shot. You may have a very early gun that was magazine feed. For the 52's I have worked with, where I used the original stock, I made an ecussion for the rear screw which I epoxy-ed in the stock. Remember this is a 22lr not a 50 Cal. I just finished a C where I used this for the rear screw. I did install a recoil lug on this gun and bedded the entire action and first 3" of barrel. This bedding of the first 3" of the barrel makes a tremendous improvement in accuracy. I have first bedded guns without this 3" of barrel bedding. After shooting them I have gone back and bedded the barrel, which produced a noticeable increase in accuracy, in all cases. It always pays to purchase the best sights you can afford. The new Lyman and Williams are made of Aluminum. The older Redfields are very good sights if they were well maintained. Many of these older sights have dear spots where the knob and screw move but not the sight. This can be very frustrating when making adjustments. I just purchased a Centra rear sight which I like very much, excellent workmanship. if you go on line there a number of new rear sight being manufactured. For a front sight I use an adjustable height front sight from Sinclair. This allows you to adjust your front sight so you can maintain a comfortable rear sight height. This is important since you do not have an adjustable cheek piece. If you deal with Gary Fellers be sure to have your sight in your hand before you let go of your money. The last deal I had with him took over 3 months to get a sight that he supposedly had. The only reason I got it was because I confronted him at a Gun Show. Ken Bean is the most reliable source for these sights. They were once every where but with the renewed interest, in rimfire shooting, can be hard to find. The 2 holes in the rear of your bottom metal were put there by the factory as the trigger on your gun was the first externally adjustable trigger. Parts are extremely difficult to find. I was fortunate enough to purchase a small amount of parts, and I do mean small. On line auctions are about the only place where they ever show up any more. These guns had very few problems or part failures so the amount of spare parts were few. Most parts you encounter are from guns that were stripped for some reason. My suggestion for the bolt is don't take it apart unless you have to, just soak it in Krol Oil.
 

donws2

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

Boltgunner all 52C's are magazine feed. The same rifle that's a single shot is a 52D. The reciever, barrel and trigger are the same except for the magazine extension. The stocks are about the same in appearence but the tension device, bottom rail and mag cut out and trigger guards are a give away from each other. Just for your info. Donald
 

boltgunner

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

Please excuse my Senior moment, as I'm legally allowed to have one. He was talking about 52C I was thinking 52D. Just not paying attention, gets harder as you get older. Yes you are absolutely right about 52C.
 

Stringer

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

smile.gif
This is great advice!

I went and took pics of the crown and bottom metal, but I can't find my adapter to download the pics! Here is the GB pic of the bottom metal:

pix3918445390.jpg


I can't provide a pic of the crown. So here's about 1000 words...

boltgunner: The bottom metal has the two factory holes, but there are three additional holes drilled in this one. The pull and OT screws line up with the factory holes. The three extra holes drilled are tapped, 10-40 by eyeball. The hole right behind the mag lines up with the most forward screw on the trigger assebly--what does that screw do? The other two holes appear to line up with nothing. The fact that the holes are tapped seems bubba'd, unless I'm missing something. I have no idea what anyone would want to screw in there.

Don: There is no bevel on my barrel. There are parallel (and some not-so-parallel) scratches on the "white" surface, as if someone tried to polish it with coarse steel wool. The crown at the bore, however, looks to have no damage. I think you may be right that this is a factory crown.

Mr. Humble: The stock isn't TF'd, but it has been modified and damaged past the point of collectability. One long-term dream for this rifle is to put it in a new stock, and retire the old one. I would be very interested to know if there was a stock maker who could take a customer-fabricated aluminum bedding block/bottom metal and lay up a stock around it?

Thank you for the great information. Keep it coming
smile.gif
 

donws2

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

Stringer

I've seen crowns that looked like they were cut off with a chop saw. And they were factory jobs not some Bubba. It sounds to me yours is correct. The lenght should be close to 26". There could be two things mounted to the bottom of your rifle. One was a rail so a palm support could be installed and the rifle used in standing position, most likely. The other is I seen these with blocked mag wells to meet some sort of rule that a rifle has to be single shot in a type of competetion. I'm not sure what the type of shooting was but I seen several and all were home jobs and what was done is a piece of material was inserted into the mag well and a metal plate screwed on the bottom to hold it. Really a shame either way. I may have a trigger guard that's not been Bubba'd for a C. PM me and I'll check. Donald
 

boltgunner

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

Could be all extra holes were for Palm Rests. People change there offhand shooting position. Many shooters had little money to spend for the adjustable Palm Rest. You see Palm Rests made from old tool parts to screws with blocks of wood attached. Remember these were tools for the shooters not collect ables. You will find many alteration that will make you scratch your head as to what they accomplished. Will get back to you on that screw, have to look at mine.
 

Stringer

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

I cleaned the bolt with an ultrasonic cleaner and soaked it in CLP. The sonic cleaner worked amazingly--there was so much crud that came out I can't see how it all fit in there.

Now I'd like to get the gunk out of the trigger. I'd like to take the ultrasonic approach, since it worked so well on the bolt. Removing the trigger seems to involve:
1. removing the screw at the bolt recess in the top of the receiver
2. punching out the crosspin behind the mag.

Am I missing anything? What should I look out for?
 

DHDeal

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Re: Winchester 52 questions

A good half can of Kroil, like Boltgunner suggested, should get everything washed out of that trigger. I don't doubt that Boltgunner and Don have taken triggers off of a 52 before, but I sure as hell don't plan to. Soak her down, let sit, and repeat. Just for the heck of it do this over a catch pan of some sort so you can see how much gunk comes out.