Coming Home. As millions of American servicemen returned from Europe after WWI, the interest in recreational and competitive rifle shooting boomed. The Winchester Model 52 bolt-action was designed as a top-quality smallbore target rifle and it soon became the benchmark against which all other rifles were measured. Constantly refined and improved, the Model 52 was produced under the Winchester until 1980.
In 1923 a handsome bronze statuette of “The Plainsman” was donated by Winchester Repeating Arms to the NRA. A list of past winners of this award reads like a who’s who of world-class marksmen and includes numerous U.S. Olympians including Walter Walsh, Art Jackson, Tommy Pool, Gary Anderson, Lones Wigger, Jack Writer, Lanny Bassham, Edward Etzel, Bob Foth, Jean Foster and Jamie Beyerle Gray.
A milestone for highpower riflemen came in 1935 when Ben Comfort of Saint Louis, Missouri, won the 1000 yard Wimbledon Cup at Camp Perry, Ohio. Comfort used a custom rifle fitted with a Winchester barrel, a Winchester 5-power scope and off-the-shelf Winchester-Western 300 H&H Magnum ammunition; a combo that netted him a clean score of 100-14V. The following year the winner, and 9 of the top 10 long-range shooters were using the 300 H&H, and the “magnum rifle cartridge” craze began to sweep into the American shooting culture.