Does Anyone own a Cooper Model 52?


Coal Dragger
September 23, 2010, 10:00 PM
As the thread title asks does anyone on here own a Cooper Model 52?

If so, how do you feel about the rifles build quality, performance, reliability, and accuracy?

I am seriously considering buying one and hunting it this fall in South Dakota (where I live) and in northern Minnesota for deer. Luckily I live only 50 miles away from a dealer in Rapid City that stock a whole bunch of Coopers so getting my paws on one hasn't been a problem. However for those that own one, any input beyond my pawing at the gun shop would be appreciated.

I would also respectfully ask that no one clog up this thread with comments about the politics of the founder of the company and the 2008 elections. First of all I don't care, and secondly a man is entitled to his opinion but that doesn't mean I will punish an entire organization or business (with employees) because of that. Furthermore as I understand it the company is under new ownership.

Caliber would be .30-06 (boring but there's a reason it's been around for 104 years)


.280 AI.

Looking into a Jackson Hunter or Excalibur.

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Coal Dragger
September 28, 2010, 03:56 PM

September 28, 2010, 07:43 PM
Well just to keep the thread alive...I have a Cooper 57 in 22lr. Fit and finish above what I expected. Accuracy is WAY better than what I can do, even using the same ammo as the test target. I really want a 52 in 30-06 and I am just saving a little cash up for it. I feel they are worth every penny. I believe the action is of the Remington style with a Sako style extractor. I haven't seen one up close yet, but what ever it is wouldn't matter to me much.

Coal Dragger
September 28, 2010, 07:55 PM
I've handled several of them at First Stop Guns in Rapid City, SD. The action is a tubular billet machined, three locking lug affair with a Sako style extractor, and recoil lug sandwiched between barrel and action. Seemed tighter and more precisely machined than any of the Remington 700's in stock (of course Remington quality doesn't seem to be what it used to). The factory test targets were all disgustingly tight even if they were only fired at 50 yards.

I wish they offered a rifle in .300 Winchester Magnum, but realistically a .30-06 or that .280 AI will do anything I need it to do even in the open country we have out here.

September 28, 2010, 08:06 PM
I can't speak first-hand but I know two hunter/shooters who own Coopers and I respect, very much, their opinion and knowledge. They both are extremely happy and would make the purchase over again in the same position.

One fella does have the 52/30-06 and claims he can cover a 3 shot group with a dime (100 yds). He does handload.

If there's one last thing I can do to drag that money straight out of your wallet, it's to remind you of a fantastic resale value if somehow you were unhappy or remorseful.

Coal Dragger
September 28, 2010, 08:24 PM
Hand loading is a given for me so that is why I am also considering the .280 AI. At this point the Ackley round is probably more appealing to me. A 7mm bullet has plenty of sectional density and will take down pretty much anything I will likely ever hunt in North America and it offers a flatter trajectory than the .30-06. In fact the AI is pushing 7mm Remington Magnum velocity, so that is something to think about.

The advantages of the .30-06 are wide component and ammo availability, and the fact that I already reload for a .308 so I already have some bullets around that the rifle might like.

Coal Dragger
October 1, 2010, 02:39 AM
Decision is made, now own a Model 52 Jackson Hunter in .280 AI.

October 1, 2010, 08:06 AM
So, how is it ?

Coal Dragger
October 1, 2010, 02:54 PM
We'll find out when ammo and dies show up. Workmanship looks great, the barrel cleaned up easily, and the rifle appears well designed. Nice even looking contact on the locking lugs.

My only gripe is the blade ejector gets into a cleaning rod when you are swabbing the barrel and will scratch up a coated rod. The ejector pivots and is spring loaded, so a cleaning rod guide inserted into the receiver will cure this, but it was a bit annoying.

Coal Dragger
October 1, 2010, 03:36 PM
Oh one other interesting tidbit, the owners manual supplied is for the Cooper Arms models: 52 (standard action), 54 (short action), and 56........ what is a model 56 I wonder, and when will we be seeing it on the market?

October 2, 2010, 11:55 AM
How much do these rifles run?

Coal Dragger
October 3, 2010, 02:17 PM
Around $1600 for the entry level rifles, give or take a few hundred depending on options like barrel or bolt fluting or upgraded wood on wood stocked models.

Add even more money for presentation grade wood, engraving, color case hardened receivers, high polish bluing etc.

October 3, 2010, 05:50 PM
Maybe its a magazine version of the M21?

Coal Dragger
October 3, 2010, 10:13 PM
Maybe, my other though was it could be a magazine fed rifle with a magnum bolt face. Time will hopefully tell.

Coal Dragger
October 6, 2010, 06:10 PM
Well finally got the new rifle out to sight in and shoot an initial group today. Still impressed with the overall handling and workmanship of the rifle. The magazine loads easily and feeds ammunition slicker than snot into the chamber. Bolt actuation is smooth and positive, with a slightly high effort bolt lift on a released sear for recocking the rifle.

Sighting in went fairly smoothly considering I was not shooting off of a proper benchrest, and now the rifle is zeroed. Ammuniton used was Nosler Trophy Grade 140gr Accubond at a nominal 3150 feet per second, didn't have a chronograph today so I can't confirm. I had time to shoot one group after sight in, and cleaning the barrel. After the fouling shot (I was in a hurry so probably didn't get all the solvent out of the barrel...) I put three rounds into .6" even with the fouling shot the group was just a hair over 1". Can't complain, about that and fact is I'm not a good enough shot to shoot to the rifle's potential anyway.

October 6, 2010, 06:14 PM
I've got a Model 21 and 22 with all the won't be sorry that you bought that gun.

Coal Dragger
October 6, 2010, 06:56 PM
So far I am quite pleased. I had two other groups that I fired while fine tuning the scope adjustments. One two shot cluster that also went into .6", and another that went around .8" after I put one click of elevation on.

With a heavy bench, a proper rest, and a higher magnification optic I can probably cut that down to an honest 1/2" or smaller, but I don't know if it is worth bothering with. I'll shoot it again maybe next week to confirm my zero and shoot another group, if it goes well under 1" for 3 shots again then I may just try to duplicate this factory load and be done with it.

I am also curious about trying the 150gr Swift Scirocco given the good reviews I have seen on that bullet.

Coal Dragger
October 7, 2010, 04:02 PM
Well not so good news on the Cooper. Upon cleaning the barrel the other day after zeroing the rifle, and inspecting the muzzle area for fouling and giving the barrel a check for how much copper fouling it accumulates; I noticed a defect in the barrel near the muzzle.

It seems that when the barrel was bead blasted the rubber bore plug that protects the inside of the bore was either loose or worn out. A small portion of the rifling and bore are bead blasted and do not contact the bullet in any way when it passes through the barrel. This is very disappointing to me.

I spoke with a customer service rep/gunsmith at Cooper this morning and was informed they will re-barrel the rifle, but that there is no way they can get it done and back to me in time for deer season in Minnesota or South Dakota. I guess they must have a large back log of work. I am less than impressed.

The rifle still shoots pretty well by most any standard, but I have no doubt it would perform better with a pristine bore and crown which it currently doesn't have. So now I have less confidence in the rifle, and need to decide whether or not to hunt it anyway (the suggestion of Cooper Firearms) and send it in after season, or send it in now and plan on hunting with my heavy and bulky Steyr SSG 69 with the Nightforce on top of it.

Coal Dragger
October 7, 2010, 08:28 PM
Well the thought of a bead blasted bore interior, acceptable accuracy or not gnawed away at me so I ran another few rounds through the rifle. It still shoots better than most hunting rifles I have seen, but not nearly as well as it should according to Cooper's accuracy guarantee. So I packaged it up and sent it back to Cooper for repair, which entailed a 100 mile round trip on my part.

So thus far I am out the cost of the rifle, the scope rings, one box of ammunition, 100 miles worth of gasoline, several hours of my time (which isn't cheap), and some $31.90 in shipping fees. This thing better come back shooting like all of our houses are on fire, or I am going to remain pretty well ticked off.

I will post more as the situation develops.

October 13, 2010, 02:12 PM
The way I see it, no one should ever have to return a firearm that costs as much as yours did for the reason you cited-though I understand, stuff happens in the real world; even to the best of companies. I think, minimally, Cooper should reimburse you for all shipping costs. Do keep us informed as to how the rifle turns out. And the best of luck to you.

Coal Dragger
October 13, 2010, 02:25 PM
Thanks for the good wishes. We'll see what Cooper does to rectify this situation, and how long it takes them. I can eat the shipping charges grudgingly if the turn around time is fast and the work performed is good. The rifle was delivered to them on Monday 10/11/10, so the clock is ticking.

What really pisses me off is the 15 rounds of hard to find factory ammo I wasted, I still have another box of the stuff on hand (and another 3 boxes on order) but dammit..... at $40/box that stuff is expensive. I tried to find Nosler brass in .280 AI and it is out of stock everywhere so that will have to wait. When all is said and done and all my ammo shows up I'll have 85 loaded rounds, and 100 total pieces of brass. I already secured a set of Redding dies in .280 AI 40 degree shoulder.

I guess I could do it the old fashioned way and fire form regular .280 Remington though.

October 13, 2010, 02:36 PM
While we're waiting on the gun to come back, did you ever hear the story about the man who bought a used Cooper and discovered that it shot really terrible groups? He posted it on a forum years ago.

Cooper rebarreled it for free.

I only have a Custom Classic .22 LR. People who own Coopers shouldn't be complaining about a few bucks here and a few bucks there because nobody is going to believe we need the money all that badly. :D :D

October 13, 2010, 02:48 PM
Did you buy a single shot or a repeater? I don't think I could spend $1,500 on a single shot with a blind magazine.

Coal Dragger
October 13, 2010, 09:32 PM
The model 52 is a magazine fed rifle. Three round single stack detachable magazine to be specific.


Just because I am willing to cough up the money for a satisfactory rifle that isn't made up of ugly castings, injection molded plastics, and other cost cutting measures; doesn't mean that I don't value my money. Ten years ago I wouldn't be complaining, because ammo was pretty reasonable, not anymore though.

A person buys a premium product to avoid shoddy workmanship, and attain a certain level of guaranteed performance without the need to have the product further modified or tweaked to achieve it. At least that is what I thought, we'll see if the old axiom about getting what you pay for also applies to customer service.

October 14, 2010, 08:52 AM
I didn't say I'd be happy about having to send one back, just that I wouldn't expect much pity from the folks who don't own a Cooper.

Otoh, good customer service still exists. It's amazing to call a company these days and the customer service rep turns out to be the owner/president. It happened when I called Cooper the first time years ago with a couple of silly curiosity questions and Dan Cooper answered. And then it happened when I called Guerini in Maryland about getting ejectors changed to extractors on a 28 ga.

Coal Dragger
November 1, 2010, 03:18 PM
Well it's been one month since I bought my M52 Jackson Hunter, and Cooper Arms or UPS have now had it for a bit over 75% of that time. No word on getting it back.

If the rifle is not returned to me by one week prior to the start or South Dakota rifle deer season, I will call and ask to speak with the highest authority figure at Cooper that I can and demand a full refund for the purchase price of the rifle. This is ridiculous and I will not accept anymore delays, just thinking about this situation is infuriating me beyond reason.

November 1, 2010, 05:04 PM
I don't think you're negative feelings are "beyond reason". Hi-Point treats their customers better than this for crying out loud and their products cost not much more than the shipping fees you'll pay to get your Cooper back. I might love their rifles but shame on Cooper for not making customer service a priority.

November 1, 2010, 05:19 PM
"75% of that time"

They've had it 3 weeks? And it's not fixed yet? A whole 3 weeks? Maybe they're waiting on a new batch of barrels or something. Or maybe the barrel guy went on a hunting trip.

The last time I called them about having a rifle built, they said it would be at least 9 months before they could get to it. I don't think they're goofing off.


November 1, 2010, 05:39 PM
Oops-I guess I didn't do the math. JohnBT has a point; three weeks doesn't seem out of line to me either (unless Cooper led you to believe that the rifle would be returned sooner). Perhaps a little bit of communication on Cooper's part in terms of an update(s) might go a long way in assuaging the customer's understandable angst over the absence of a rifle he was counting on for an upcoming deer hunt.

Coal Dragger
November 1, 2010, 08:42 PM
They're not out of barrels, in fact the shop I bought my rifle from just received several rifles from Cooper chambered in .280 AI within the last week or so. What it boils down to is that they are more concerned with filling orders to get paid, than they are correcting problem rifles they have already sold/been paid for.

Now I realize they have a back log of work in the form of new rifles to be shipped (so they can make money), and repairs on existing rifles that have come in. However their priorities seem a bit off to me. If I had put 6,000 rounds through the rifle and burned the barrel out and sent it in for re-barreling I would understand a long wait time, seeing as how it was normal wear and tear caused by the owner. I can also understand having a backlog of work in the form of new orders, and the motivation to get them built shipped, and receive payment. What I can't understand is not giving absolute top priority to a brand new rifle, that the customer has owned for a bit less than a week, with a manufacturing defect!

If this were say an automobile and you or I bought it, drove it once, and then it had to go into the shop immediately.... in most states we could just walk away from the vehicle and void the purchase contract.

I will also try to contact First Stop Guns where I bought the rifle since they have been very helpful so far, and see if something can be worked out through them.

Coal Dragger
November 2, 2010, 05:32 PM
Well I made a phone call to First Stop Guns today, since they sold me the rifle and I spoke with one of the owners who was very helpful. He called Cooper for me, and they allegedly have the rifle re-barreled and it should ship tomorrow. Unless they next day air the damn thing, it will arrive while I am out of state (on a hunting trip that I intended to use the rifle on), which will be a real treat since I'll have to make yet another trip out of my way to collect it once I get back home. With any luck UPS or FedEx will hold on to it for a week or so and not ship it back to Cooper.

Even if it does show up before I leave I will have virtually no time to remount optics, and sight in since my schedule is tight. I am lucky to even be able to get time away to go hunting out of state.

Ugh..... this experience has been very frustrating so far. This rifle better shoot phenomenally well or I am going to remain perpetually mad about this. I suppose if it shows up in time, and shoots Nosler factory ammo in 140gr Accubonds, and 160gr Partitions really really really well I'll grudgingly be satisfied.

November 2, 2010, 09:43 PM
Another perspective.......

So you call Cooper after finding a flaw and you get this response....

I spoke with a customer service rep/gunsmith at Cooper this morning and was informed they will re-barrel the rifle, but that there is no way they can get it done and back to me in time for deer season in Minnesota or South Dakota. I guess they must have a large back log of work. I am less than impressed.

By your own admission you disregard the conversation with Cooper's CS and send the rifle back. Now this.....

If the rifle is not returned to me by one week prior to the start or South Dakota rifle deer season, I will call and ask to speak with the highest authority figure at Cooper that I can and demand a full refund for the purchase price of the rifle. This is ridiculous and I will not accept anymore delays, just thinking about this situation is infuriating me beyond reason.

Where are the additional delays? You were told by CS that it could'nt be done and you sent the rifle back anyways and now you are infuriated?

I can understand being dissapointed in a new product that has a flaw but to expect them to drop everything they have going on and repair your rifle above everything else is a bit much. I come from a manufacturing background and if you are not a huge customer you are just another work order number.

If it were me after being told the repair could not be done with my time parameters, I would have kept the rifle, used it for the 2010 deer season(s) and then sent it back to Cooper to have the problem fixed. Having dealt with Cooper a few times I am pretty sure they asked you to do this.

With that said, I own several Cooper rifles and have nary a problem with any of them. I did send a M22 back to them for re-stocking, while in transit the muzzle/crown was damaged and they repaired it for no charge. The last Cooper I had built took 8 months from the time I ordered it. I didnt expect them to drop everything and build my rifle before other things.

November 2, 2010, 09:52 PM
if you got the money, a Stevens 200 for $300 will outshoot it.

Coal Dragger
November 4, 2010, 03:28 AM

Maybe to you poor service is acceptable, but in my previous career (selling high end cars) we would just about jump through our own butts to fix a problem with a car the customer had owned for less than one week. If it meant getting them a completely new automobile the manufacturer would do it in some cases. I have personally witnessed a customer experience a defective BMW 7 Series (never ever buy a 2002-2003 7 series for any reason!) within a few days of delivery, reject the car and have a replacement spec'd out, built, shipped, and delivered in the time it took for Cooper to allegedly (since I haven't heard a damn thing from them) re-barrel this rifle that I owned for less than one week. Now this was a very good customer, and it is a very rare example, but if it is possible to build a car in Dingolfing freakin' Germany and have it delivered in roughly three weeks time I think Cooper probably could have fixed a brand new rifle right away.

I absolutely expect them to give priority to a newly delivered product with a manufacturing defect. It's called customer service.

I suppose in retrospect I should have maybe considered buying a firearm from a company that actually has quality control standards and inspections in place.

Could I have kept the rifle for season? Sure I could have used it. Would it have performed adequately? Maybe. Would it have ticked me off every time I laid eyes on the rifle? Absolutely. Would I have had any confidence at all in the rifle? Absolutely not. Will I have any confidence in it once it is returned? Maybe, only time will tell. Right now I am pretty angry about the whole experience.

Coal Dragger
November 4, 2010, 03:33 AM

We'll see whenever the rifle shows up. I will say that the last time I shot the rifle it gave a cold bore 3 shot group off of bags of around 1.3-1.5 inches at 100 yards (I threw the target away so I can't measure it now) with 140gr Nosler Accubond factory ammo. I am guessing the one good group I got out of it was a fluke. Hopefully the new barrel is an improvement.

Either way I will be hunting with my trust worthy Steyr SSG 69 in .308, which reliably groups well under 1" even with hunting ammo it likes. I just really didn't want to have to lug it around, it get old toting a 13lb rig around and that is about what it weights with the 3.5-15X50 Nightforce it is wearing.

November 4, 2010, 01:21 PM
I somewhat agree with Coal Dragger. We are talking about a semi-custom gun maker (more custom than not) and we are talking about a $1,600 rifle. I don't think a turnaround of less a month is too much to ask.

Coal Dragger
November 11, 2010, 09:36 PM
Well it seems that the Cooper not being present for the northern Minnesota hunt was not such a bad thing. While it was fun to consistently not get any good shots through the alder thickets and look at lots of fleeing whitetail butts, I don't think the rifle missed much.

On the plus side I got to play hooky from work for about a week, spend time in the north woods, watch eagles and ravens pester each other, and observe two different species of wood peckers. Plus I got to watch the red squirrels scamper around (should have got a small game license!). Also manged to find lots of wolf scat all over the place.

According to UPS the Cooper shows up tomorrow. With any luck I'll be around. Will report on the resolution of this issue ASAP. Hope it turns out well and I can have nothing but praise for Cooper on this in the end.

Coal Dragger
November 14, 2010, 08:03 PM
Well UPS dropped off the rifle the other day and I just got home and have inspected their work. It looks excellent. The crown area of the muzzle is as good as any I have ever seen on any rifle. The gunsmith who did the work also wisely avoided the blasting cabinet altogether where the crown was concerned (unlike the old barrel) and finished it off with a nicely polished recessed target crown. Not that it will make it shoot any better but the high polish crown/muzzle looks great surrounded by the matte finished stainless barrel. They also included a new test target displaying their typical tight three shot groups.

Will hopefully be ready to shoot with glass back on and sight in/test fire later in the week. Looking forward to a positive resolution to this despite my kvetching and whining...

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