SOLD FOR: $6775
Model: 52C Sporting, “Sporter”
Serial Number: 90808CX (X was often used to differentiate guns when duplicate serial numbers were found)
Year of Manufacture: 1956
Caliber: .22 LR
Action Type: Bolt Action Rifle, Detachable Magazine, Adjustable Trigger
Markings: The barrel is marked “WINCHESTER / TRADE MARK / MADE IN U.S.A. / MODEL 52 – 22 L. RIFLE / WINCHESTER PROOF STEEL”. The barrel and frame are stamped with the Winchester Proof mark. The frame is marked “WINCHESTER / TRADE MARK / 90808C x”. The floorplate is marked “O.T.” and “PULL”.
Barrel Length: 24”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass bead on a blade, set into the dovetail on the matted ramp/base and under a hood. The rear sight is a LYMAN 48F peep sight (Winchester standard sight for the 52C) mounted to the frame using factory holes. There are 4 holes on the top of the frame from the factory, only 1 is filled with a set screw.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The one-piece deluxe walnut stock features fine checkering, a dark nose cap, smooth steel pistol grip cap and a cheek piece for a right handed shooter. Factory deluxe quick release sling swivels are mounted to the forend and buttstock. Only the slightest evidence of use is present and minor wear is visible in the checkering. There are a couple of compressions on the left side above the trigger and scattered surface scratches elsewhere. There are no chips or cracks and about 90% of the original finish is retained. The LOP measures 13 3/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the checkered shotgun style rollover buttplate. This plate is still sharp with minor wear in the checkering and is in Fine condition. The stock rates in about Excellent overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 98% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows only light wear around the ejection port and trigger guard edges. This is a high condition rifle that shows very little evidence of use. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are crisp. Overall, this rifle rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions properly. We did not fire this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Winchester deluxe sling swivels and a vintage brown M1907 style sling are present, both are in Very Good condition. A factory magazine, “WINCHESTER…” marked, in Excellent condition is also included.
Our Assessment: “Around 1931, Major John W. Hessian, a friend of new Winchester president John M. Olin, had a private gunsmith remount his Model 52 in a custom lightweight “sporting” stock. Olin was so impressed that he ordered the development of a 52 Sporter as a production model, which made its debut in 1934.
The Sporting Model had a lightweight 24-inch barrel and an elegant gloss-finished stock of figured walnut with a slender, tapering capped forearm, pronounced pistol grip, high comb and cheekpiece, and fancy checkering. The action was identical with contemporary target models, except that the receiver top was left round rather than milled flat. Weighing only 7-1/4 pounds, it came with Lyman 48-F aperture sights standard, and retailed for the substantial sum of $88.50 (the equivalent of nearly $1520 in 2012).
The Sporter was in all respects a deluxe rifle. While Winchester already had a reputation as the Cadillac of American arms manufacturers, the 52 Sporter was produced with a degree of fit and finish appropriate to a custom gunsmith’s shop. Esquire magazine called it “the piece de resistance of all sporting rifles. It’s a diamond in a field of chipped glass– the rifle for the connoisseur.” Field & Stream named the 52 Sporter one of the “50 Best Guns Ever Made,” calling it “unrivalled in beauty and accuracy.”
Understandably the Sporter represented only a small percentage of Model 52s produced between 1934 and its discontinuation in 1959: it is today the most collectible of all 52 variants and a good Sporter will generally bring double or more the price of a comparable Target. (This market reality has unfortunately attracted forgers, and fake “Sporters” converted from target models have fooled the unwary)”
This is a far better than average example of a desirable gun, sure to find a home with a discerning collector.