October 25th, 2010

Sam Moore’s 3000-Bullseye Winchester Model 52

by Lars Dalseide, courtesy the NRA Blog.
A Model 52 rimfire target rifle with a storied history was recently added to the NRA National Museum Collection. With this rifle, one of America’s great marksmanship feats was accomplished.

Sam Moore Historic Model 52The 3000 Bullseye Rifle
Back in 1926, an 18-year-old Massachusetts shooter named Sam Moore took his Winchester Model 52 rifle in hand and began shooting. By the end of the day, he had set an amazing record in competitive shooting, totaling 3,000 consecutive bullseyes with his trusty Winchester.

The amazing feat received national attention, with Moore being presented with a gold medal by President Calvin Coolidge on behalf of the NRA. The engraving on the back reads:

Presented to L.S. Moore by the President of the United States in behalf of the National Rifle Association Junior Rifle Corps World Record — 3000 — consecutive bullseyes.

Moore went on to graduate from the US Naval Academy in 1931, helped develop the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, served in WWII as a USMC aviator and maintained his interest in shooting until his passing in 1982.

Moore’s rifle and engraved gold medal arrived at the National Firearms Museum earlier this week, donated by his son David. While unwrapping the bolt-action in the museum, I remember thinking that there is a lot of shooting history tied up in these two pieces. This suspicion was confirmed when one of the provenance documents received with the rifle revealed that Moore ceased shooting on the 3,000 bulls-eye day only because the heat of the rifle finally made it impossible to handle.

Moore rifle history provided by NRA Museum Curator Doug Wicklund.

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