CZ-52 vs. TT-33


May 11, 2003, 01:00 AM
A while back I shot a friends CZ-52. I liked the round, thought the gun was neeto and since they tend to be inexpensive and C&R I've thought about getting my hands on one.

However, I've read several good things about the TT-33s too. So aside from aesthetics (the TT is kinda ugly ... well so's the CZ, but the TT is uglier :p ) what are the pros and cons of each?

If given the choice which would you get (and why)



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May 11, 2003, 01:05 AM
The CZ wins on the funkiness factor and the fact that the Tokarev is possibly the least naturally-pointing handgun (for me, at least) that I've ever tried.

Covey Rise
May 11, 2003, 01:22 AM
It's built like a tank, fun to shoot, lots of flash, the accuracy is mind boggling, I can shoot it out too 100 yards with only 2 inches of drop (1800 fps). The sights are small and really lend to long range accuracy. No problem to shoot a 8 inch group at 100 yards with new good ammo off a reasonable steady rest.

I used to shoot it every range visit 16 rounds slow fire(2 clips, 8 rounders), but since I got my new Razorback 10mm I just don't get around too shooting it, since the 10mm is streaking out there nearly same speed with a heavier 135 grain bullet. I really don't use the cz much now, I have shot about 200 rounds thru it not one malfunction.

Tell you what, I will sell it too you for $150 + shipping, the gun is in like new condition except on grip has some minor scratches on it from it's police days. Anyway, if your interested I can post some photos. I have a friend who is FFL holder can send right too you if you have C&R FFL and you will know what your getting before you order it unlike the mail houses.


Mike Irwin
May 11, 2003, 02:40 AM
CZ-52 will handle much more powerful ammo than the TT-33.

It was designed around a seriously hopped up version of the 7.62 Tok. round.

Both have very neat design aspects.

The CZ the fact that it's roller locked, the TT the fact that the ammo feed lips aren't part of the magazine but are part of a detachable lockwork block.

Ergonomics on both are just simply awful.

May 11, 2003, 04:30 AM
No reason not to get them both! :p

But on paper, weighing the pros and cons of each, the CZ-52 will come out on top according to my piece of paper.

Sean Smith
May 11, 2003, 12:09 PM
CZ-52, easily.

George Hill
May 12, 2003, 05:03 PM
Who voted for the TT-33? And Why? :scrutiny:

The CZ-52 can handle firing the hotter 7.62X25MM ammunition... has a cool roller action based on the MG-42... The take down is one of the easiest ever. The grips pop off easily with the removal of a clip. The gun is even cool looking.
what is not to like?

May 12, 2003, 05:16 PM
No reason at all!! In fact, I plan on getting a CZ-52 as my next handgun!!!

May 12, 2003, 06:05 PM
There's controversy as to which gun is actually stronger. Check out the military handguns board on (where the serious milsurp guys hang out). . . a gent over there has posted that he's done a lot of experimenting and found that the CZ's action may be stronger, but the CZ-52's bbl blows before this comes into play and before the Tok blows.

Beats me, but I've definitelyi seen a few blown-up CZs posted on forums. I own a Polish Tok myself, but I've fired a few CZs and enjoyed them. They're both fun guns. I don't plan on firing any milsurps with overpowered ammo, and I would wholeheartedly recommend that everyone avoid doing anything like that.

George Hill
May 12, 2003, 06:41 PM
Hmmm... that is a good point. I have seen 3 CZ-52 barrels that were blown.
However all of them were the results of handloads pushing 2200 FPS.
I think using standard loadings or suprlus loads, the kind you usually buy at the gunshows... this "Strength Issue" isnt an issue.

May 12, 2003, 09:26 PM
The innards of the CZ-52 are just way too cool, and to be able to pick one up for under $200 is supercillious. The roller lock-up mechanism utilized in the CZ-52 is an over-engineered marvel.

The TT-33 is a brutish block of a handgun. Still cool though.

Can you tell I pretty much dig ANY type of handgun?


May 13, 2003, 04:09 AM
Both are ergonomicly strange to me, and a real Tok doesn't have a safety (yikes) and though the 52 has a stronger action it also breaks firing pins with regularity.

Still I saw a guy run a batch of Czech ammo through one that was still partially encased in cosmoline (idiot).

May 13, 2003, 12:52 PM
I voted for the TT because I like the way it shoots. It doesn't have trigger slap and the trigger pin doesn't move out during shooting. My only complaint about the TT is the too straight grip.

As for the greater strength of the CZ, I wonder if that's myth of gun writers taken as gospel by us gun nuts on the web. Do a search for threads by Clark about the comparative strength.

I've posted before that I think the CZ52 was adopted so that the Czechs could show some independence and thumb their noses at the Soviets.

May 13, 2003, 01:28 PM
i bought a cz-52 last year, its fun to look at. not very reliable, mine jams up frequently. i do need to replace as much of the innards as possible though, also some new mags and whatnot.

i was cleaning up this last weekend and went through my jar of ammo that either didnt fire or was involved in some sort of malfunction. one round of 7.62x25 was in there, and i noticed a dent in the primer, figured it was a dud. then i noticed the case had a 1/2 inch crack down the neck. it was from some old surplus bin i came across at a gun store. packaged in brown paper wrapping of 16 rounds each, for $1.95 each packet.

when my cz-52 does fire, it is a fun little package.

Captain Scarlet
May 13, 2003, 05:37 PM
because it is more reliable, you dont need to worry about your
firing pin breaking like with the Czech pistol [CZ52] the TT-33 is
based on a COLT / BROWNING design, much more conventional
for a pistol, the TT-33 has a better feeling trigger pull and the
pistol feels a little more compact / flat. The CZ52 is an interesting
piece but it is over engineered. I also like the removable hammer sear disconector assembly on TT-33's , it lifts right out for easy
maintenance and it has built in magazine feed lips. :neener:

May 13, 2003, 06:21 PM
I would take the TT-33 even though I already own a couple CZ52s and no TT-33s. Why not ? To me it looks better and to me, it is just a play toy so why not buy based on looks. Both would be a lot of fun though. I don't know what these cost now, but maybe get them both. I paid under $100 for each of my CZ52s. Is there anywhere selling nice TT-33s now ?

Captain Scarlet
May 13, 2003, 07:38 PM
the TT-33 also use to be the standard issue side arm of most
communist and Com bloc countries, it has been used in many
wars WWII - Korea - Vietnam to present day, even in Iraq.
TT-33 have seen very widespead usage, the CZ52 has only
been used in limited numbers, not as common.

I like the TT-33 because of it's rich history as a combat pistol.

Andrew Wyatt
May 14, 2003, 03:58 PM
i like the cz-52 about fifteen thousand and a half times better because IT ACTUALLY HAS A SAFETY.

also, it fits in some 1911 holsters.

May 14, 2003, 04:51 PM
CZ-52 wins on trigger pull (once the firing pin is replaced with a modern geometry/material one) and accuracy in my experience. Stronger than the Tokarev? Hardly. The strength of the roller locked action isn't doesn't do anything to stop the gun from coming apart when the thin barrel fails beneath the chamber. Look at a Tokarev barrel and the CZ. CZ's fail in a catastrophic fashion due to a poorly supported chamber. How many destroyed Tokarevs have we seen on the net? Look at Clarks post on this issue on TFL and the surplus board. Many posters may not condone his actions, but his method is scientific and the Tokarev is currently leading from a strength perspective.
Put a good sights, and a saftey that works on a TT-33 and we'll see how it ranks.

July 26, 2003, 07:12 AM
I voted Tokarev. It's fun to shoot and looks cool. I think the whole "CZ-52 is stronger" thing is a myth, I've seen several pics of blown CZ-52s, so they can't be that strong...

July 26, 2003, 03:19 PM
The CZ52 blows up at less than the 65kspi that it takes to make the primer fall out of a rimless brass case. No other pistol I am aware of that takes rimless cases is that weak.

I need to do no more CZ52 tests to convince myself.
The CZ52 is the weakest semi auto pistol I have tested.

The 25 acp pistols I have tested are stronger.
The 32 acp pistols I have tested are stronger.
The 380 pistols I have tested are stronger.
The 9x19mm pistols I have tested are stronger.
The 9x23mm pistols I have tested are stronger.
The 40 S&W pistols I have tested are stronger.
The one 10 mm pistol I have tested is stronger.
The 45 acp pistols I have tested are stronger.
The other 7.62x25mm pistols [Tokarevs] are stronger.

The CZ52 is a weak pistol, and I have proved with calculations and tests. and posted it:

It is not rocket science.
No other pistol is as thin in the chamber wall as the CZ52 is on the bottom where material is milled out to make room for the rollers.

Mike Irwin
July 26, 2003, 04:17 PM
I think "strength" is a relative thing here, Folks.

I've seen Toks that have had their barrels split and slides bulged from shooting Czech ammo meant for the CZ 52, yet the 52 digests the stuff all day long...

July 26, 2003, 04:36 PM
I TOTALLY BEG TO DIFFER with you Clark. The OEM/Factory loaded Tokerav round is around 45-50K PSI case pressure.
We have loaded them to in the mid 50's and have shot thousands of rounds with this pressure.....1700+ FPS with a 85 gr load.

The 10-52 headstamp rounds are in excess of 65K Case pressure at times and they will split the barrel if shot through the gun more than a couple of times or you have bad luck.

The fact that the OEM Tok round has the same case pressure as a FULL HOUSE 357 mag load and the CZ52 will take that case pressure forever is enough to make my point.

Shoot well

July 26, 2003, 05:31 PM
I want BOTH. Probably a Tokarev first, but then a CZ-52, too.

Both will handle lots and lots of the 7.62x25mm ammo that's new manufactured by S&B, right?

July 26, 2003, 06:23 PM
Yes the CZ52 is fine as far as I know with factory ammo.
All this talk is over some academic strength hierarchy that only matters to a few people.

I am not saying that the CZ52 can't take the 40 kpsi of 357 pressures all day.
I am saying that unlike every other pistol I have tested, it can't take the pressure that makes the primer fall out ~65kpsi.

Tell me a load you think a Tokarev can't take, but the brass can. I have a big library of powders and bullets here.

try to find some sort of source data. That is engineering talk for the lab notes or raw calculations. I think you will find as I have that there are a dozen books that talk about the CZ52s great strength, based on some assumptions about Czech ammo, that all turns out to be a house of cards. None of the authors can back any of it up with source data.

I got a Letter from Ted Curtis ballistican at Accurate Arms in March of 2000. Ted Curtis, a very old ballistican already was bald and had jowls in his 1966 photo in "Speer 7". All the typos are Ted's:

"7.62 X 25 Tokarev

Due to the large number of handguns imported into the U.S. chambered
for the 7-62 x 25 Tokarev Accurate Arms has developed the following load
data for those shooters who wish to reload the little powerhouse. In
determining the appropriate pressure limit for our load data we tested
various military ammo from China, Russia, Austria Bulgaria and the
Czech Republic. Commercial ammo produced by Sellier and Berloit was also
tested. Based on these tests we arrived at a maximum pressure for our
lad data of 42,000 C.U.P. Only the single lot of Russian ammo was
significantly below this pressure averaging 31,000 C.U.P. The consistent
pressures between all other type sand manufactures was a welcome
surprise . Indeed, the fact that CZech ammo, made for the CZ-52 pistol,
produced the same pressure as that of the other countries was perhaps
the biggest surprise of the whole project. This in spite of the "tribal
lore" regarding this particular handgun and the ammo loaded for it
claiming that shooting Czech ammo in any other firearm so chambered will
causes spontaneous disassembly. The pressure data produced by the ammo
tested certainly doesn't support this theory. ..."

July 26, 2003, 06:52 PM
I am fortunate enough to own both. Both are fun to shoot, though the (Soviet Russian) TT33 is more entertaining to field strip but easier to clean. The CZ52 is more pointable than the TT33 , but less comfortable in recoil and seems to have more muzzle lift. Mags and parts seem to be cheaper and more easily come by for the CZ52, but the TT33 is a Browning knock-off and most parts aren't all that difficult to modify or make.

I have put a fair amount of ammo thru the pair and have not had any problems, even with the TT33 showing every bit of it's 60-odd years. (I didn't vote cause I like them both about the same.)


George Hill
July 27, 2003, 02:25 AM
Hmmm... the only other pistol I know that blows up when pushed with hot handloads is the Glock. Go figure.

July 27, 2003, 12:33 PM
I have been overloading Glocks for some time.
If you count brass problems, the big stock Glocks [not 9 mm] have them in spades:
1) primer pierced
2) case bulge
3) case blows a hole
4) case head fails

These are not due to the weakness of the design [like a CZ52], but rather due to the feed ramp intrusion into the chamber causing poor case support.

My thought is that the Glock company want no jams with any ammo and any recoil spring. The worst result of this is my Stock Glock 20 [10 mm] barrel gets a case bulge with a 1% overload of LONGSHOT. Hodgdon has since withdrawn most of the 2002 Basic Handloader's Guide LONGSHOT loads.

The guy that coined the term "Kaboom" has no quotes from me about overloads, but does quote some of my measurements of the case support I made scribing on brass with a needle on his web site:

What I have found is that by TIG welding up the feed ramp on a Glock 22 [40 S&W], the most famous kaboomer pistol, I can shoot loads of
1) 98% extra Power Pistol .. primer falls out
2) 100% extra LONGSHOT .... case head separates
3) 146% extra 800X ... can hold no more powder and kicks like a mule
Can you see where the chamber supports better with new metal?

What does it all mean?
1) The CZ52 is a weak pistol, the steel of the pistol fails with wimpy overloads. No TIG welding the feed ramp will help this gun.
2) 10 mm and 40 S&W Glocks have poor case support and the brass fails with wimpy overloads.

July 27, 2003, 12:42 PM
Hey Clark,

when you shoot pistols with your thermonuclear handloads, do you have a ransom rest surrounded by an armor plated box or something? How do you shoot them without becoming part of history?

Just my .02 ( and just curious),

July 27, 2003, 01:10 PM
I used to use trigger strings [a real pain with Glock triggers that have a safety in the middle of the trigger] and the pistol strapped to a board with rubber bands. It turns out that enough rubber bands can hold down a pistol through some terrific recoil.

Once I found out how to calculate strength, how to spot a case bulge, and how to not pinch jacketed bullets, I hold guns by hand. I have not blown up any guns in years.

With the CZ52s I have blown up, the operator was not hurt [me], but anyone standing to the right could get an extractor through the head. Of course even with a strong gun, like a Tokarev, a blown case head can send pieces of the extractor to the right at lethal speeds.
The case on the right has a case bulge [least overload], the one the middle has blown a hole [more overload], and the one on the left has a case head failure [most overloaded]. These days I quit when I see the one one the right. The one on the left blew the extractor out of the gun. I would advise anyone who ever sees a case bulge like the one on the right to decrease the powder charge, not increase it.

I have always experimented alone, except once, and the guys I was with knew about my experiments and stayed where they couldn't be hit with Shrapnel.

These days with semi automatic pistols, I wear hearing protection, eye protection, a glove, and a towel over the slide to catch the empty case. I have not blown up a gun in years. It took a few years until I caught on to the wild card of pinched bullets. All I needed to know was in the Ackley book, but I had to learn it myself the hard way.

July 27, 2003, 02:44 PM

Thank you for your response. I saw in an article once the fixture that Ruger uses when they fire proof loads in their handguns. Looks like an overengineered file cabinet with a ransom rest inside. Open drawer, insert gun, fire, repeat.

Just my .02,

July 27, 2003, 02:45 PM
Did not mean to get off thread, but I guess you could fire Toks and CZ-52s in that fixture too :).

Just my .02,

George Hill
July 27, 2003, 02:46 PM
It was a joke, Clark.
Boards and Rubber Bands to test overheated cartridges? Dayum.

Interesting how all three blows cases lost the primers. I've seen that before a few times, but I've seen more blow outs that left the primer in the pocket. Your overheated loads must be seriously and extremely exessive.

What I don't understand is the drive that cats like you have in doing this sort of thing... Hopping the loads up to the point of catastrophic failures. Unless you actually work for Glock, why bother? It's an expensive venture with the potential to lose more than just a Glock. Even if your 30 feet away, some bits of metal can fly out just like shrappenell from a grenade.

All this being said, I repeat what I said before... all the CZ-52 blow outs that I have seen were the results of similar efforts to Clark's and not with factory or surplus ammunition. I seem to remember a joint selling replacement 52 barrels. I don't know if they were aftermarket or just surplus. So I am not saying it doesn't happen. But I still think the 52 is the better pistol. The one Tok blow out that I saw (only one) caused the detonations of several of the rounds in the magazine. The hand of whoever fired it must have been mangled. It was one of the most ugly KBs I have ever seen.

July 27, 2003, 04:27 PM
How did I get into overloading guns?

I was a consulting engineer who blew up switching power supplies then improved the design to make them stronger.
I designed the power supplies as best as I could and then tested them. I found the fast way was to give a 100 Watt power supply an increasing overload until something blew up at 200 Watts. Then fix that spot so it is stronger, and increase the power even higher and find the next blow up at 300 Watts. This was a serious short cut to getting a reliable design.

Get a dozen electrical engineers in a room reviewing my 100 Watt power supply design, and pretty soon they are arguing over some complicated stress analysis calculation. If I can say, "It runs all day at 400 Watts!", that really cuts through the BS.

So with all that money and little time, I would drive down to the gun show and buy a whole bunch of guns.
How was I going to enjoy all those guns?
Destructive testing!
I learned allot real fast, like not everything in the load books is true, it really cuts through the BS.

I had some help.
1) My father designed guns and showed me how to calculate stress in break top revolvers and my 45/70 handi rifle.
2) I found a gunsmith [a REAL gunsmith Randy Ketchum of Lynwood Guns] who has done allot of experimental projects with guns.
3) My brother has worked as a machinist, and he showed me how to operate my lathe and milling machine.
4) I had incentive to develop a lighter more powerful carry gun. After testing the 22 LR cartridge on chickens, I decided I wanted more power, but wanted to keep the weight down.
5) There was a retired mechanical engineering professor on rec.guns who critiqued my 45/70 handi rifle stress analysis.

Mike Irwin
July 27, 2003, 06:06 PM
try to find some sort of source data. That is engineering talk for the lab notes or raw calculations. I think you will find as I have that there are a dozen books that talk about the CZ52s great strength, based on some assumptions about Czech ammo, that all turns out to be a house of cards. None of the authors can back any of it up with source data."



With my own two eyes.

Ammo coming out of sealed boxes with Czech markings.

Velocity out of the CZ was roughly 1660 fps. across the chronograph. The owner and several other shooters, myself included, put about 150 rounds of the Czech ammo through several 52s.

Another shooter brought out his TT-30 and loaded up with the same ammo.

2 magazines later, the gun was ruined with the barrel split and bulged the slide.

Since then I've also heard of at least two other cases of the same thing happening with TTs using Czech ammo.

Marko Kloos
July 27, 2003, 06:09 PM
Personally, I'd get the CZ. Every kid needs a roller-lock delayed blowback pistol. Also, the grip angle on the Tokarev is way too straight for anything resembling natural pointability.

July 28, 2003, 11:15 AM
One of my CZ52s survived a 124 gr 9mm round fired with a 7.62x25mm barrel.
It put a hole in the target and left most of the bullet jacket in the chamber.
I must supervise grown men loading guns more carefully, and don't try this at home.

Mike Irwin
July 28, 2003, 12:14 PM
If anything was going to blow a CZ barrel, that should have, Clark. Peak pressures on such a combination could easily go 80Kpsi.

July 28, 2003, 01:23 PM
Of the two, I'd take the CZ, and that's only if someone gave it to me..

July 28, 2003, 10:02 PM
Then I could go buy handguns and do my best to destroy them.

BTW, love my CZ-52, and my 1600fps handloads. Just don't like chasing that Starline brass halfway across the range. ;)

July 28, 2003, 11:36 PM

I posted this on another board, but the thread was locked.

Could you respond to it here?

There are a couple of ways a gun can fail.

It can blow up.

It can wear out.

The stronger locking arrangement of the CZ-52 means it should last longer with hotter ammo than the Tokarev as long as one doesn't load the ammo hot enough to rupture the chamber walls.

Furthermore, there is more to safety than simply ensuring the gun doesn't blow up.

If the action opens too quickly, that can cause a dangerous situation. The CZ-52 locking arrangement should ensure that the action stays closed longer than the Tokarev with hot ammo, again assuming that the ammunition isn't loaded so hot that it actually blows the gun into pieces.

In other words, the fact that the yield strength of the CZ-52 chamber is lower than that of the Tok doesn't mean that the Tok is a better pistol. It simply means that it has a thicker chamber wall. The CZ is still safer than the Tok with hot loads (as long as the loads aren't so hot that they can rupture the chamber.)

I guess what I'm saying is that the test doesn't really provide any information that's useful in the real world unless you plan to shoot proof loads.

The pics I've seen of CZ-52 blowups,show the slides fractured at the locking roller cutouts (just what you'd expect). I've not seen a pic of a CZ with a blown out chamber (other than what Clark posted).


I'm not sure that the electronic example holds true here. What leads to electronic failure is thermal problems. All the parts get hot, if one gets too hot, it fails before the others. So, if you get them all hotter, the one that gets the hottest still probably fails first, but faster.

When you shoot a gun, it eventually wears out. However, even a heavily used gun isn't likely to blow up from normal pressure ammo. Springs relax, pivots wallow out, levers bend or break, metal wears at friction points and the fit gets sloppy. But, it's EXTREMELY rare to have a gun blow up just because it's been shot a lot.

So, when you overload a round and blow out the chamber, what are you really finding out about the gun? You certainly don't know what's going to wear out first. I think you don't really know a whole lot more about it than you did before...

Here's what you know:
1. If you overload this gun enough, the chamber will blow out. (That's any gun, and you knew that before you started.)

2. You know the pressure (or can estimate the pressure) that it takes to blow out the chamber--ok, but unless you intend to shoot ammo that approaches that pressure that's not going to be an issue.

Here's a consideration that may have been missed in all this. The Tok, when fired with hot loads, is just going to unlock faster which will beat the pistol to death and maybe cause a case blowout. The CZ locking arrangement is going to hold the action closed, preventing a case blowout, but putting extra stress on the chamber by not relieving the pressure by prematurely opening.

What do you think?


July 28, 2003, 11:56 PM
If the shear strength of lead is 250 psi and the .308 cylinder is sheared out of the bullet:

Area of lead sheared = C x L = pi x diameter x L = 3.14 x .308" x .6" = .58 sq. in

F = Shear Force / area or rear of bullet = 250 psi / .58 sq. in = 431 pounds

chamber Pressure required = F/ A = 431 pounds x pi x r squared =
431 pounds / 3.14 x [.308/2]~2 = 5790 psi

My Quikload program plots pressure vs 9 mm bullet position, and the peak in pressure is about 1" of bullet travel at 30 kpsi and falls to 5 kpsi when the bullet exits at 5"

ok, it says 400 psi under some circumstances, which would put the chamber pressure required up to nearly 10 kpsi.

The yield limit is higher than the fatigue limit, but in steel the fatigue limit is not zero. In all applications the solution must be found empirically, and involves the shape, surface finish, heat treat, alloy, etc.

In Aluminum you might be right, the gun would wear out from stress cycles, but in steel guns it is more like 100,000 cycles and it fails at 25% of yield strength.

The problem with CZ52s is that we already AT yield strength. There is no waiting for 100,00 cycles, we are there. That is the only pistol that I have tested that yield the first time.

July 29, 2003, 12:10 AM

If what you are saying is true, then:

1. CZ-52s should be blowing up left and right.

2. Virtually every CZ-52 is going to fail eventually by blowing up, not wearing out.

Clearly (1.) is not true. It doesn't seem that (2.) is true, given that these guns have been around for 50+ years.

It seems to me that there is a disconnect between your numbers and the reality of the situation.

Any ideas on how to reconcile the two? I'm at a loss...

Here's another question.

You say that normal pressures in the CZ-52 are already virtually at the yield strength of the chamber.

If that's true, then how is it possible that swaging/shearing a 9mm bullet doesn't blow out the chamber. So it doesn't take as much pressure as it might seem, it's still going to take a lot more pressure than NOT swaging/shearing a 9mm bullet. Why doesn't that extra pressure blow out the chamber if we're already virtually at the yield strength of the chamber? Your numbers seem to indicate that firing a 9mm in the 7.62x25 chamber actually generated LESS pressure than firing a 9mm in a 9mm chamber would. Is that really what you're saying???

Also, what about Mike's experience where a CZ-52 easily withstood the use of ammo that destroyed a Tok with just a few rounds.

:confused: :confused:


July 29, 2003, 12:48 AM
Sorry, I got too brief.
I mean ~65 kpsi is where the brass flows, and all other pistols can do it [that I have tested] except the CZ52.

The pressure we expect for CZ52 ammo is 42k cup, so there must be some safety margin, because none of mine have blown up with factory ammo.

The Tokarev has more safety margin, because it can go all the way to brass flowing like normal pistols.

The CZ52 does not blow up with factory 42 kcup ammo, it blows up with handloaded overloads at something less than 65 kpsi. Not a brass failure, but a steel failure. That is unusual. Especially unusual seeing how there are a dozen books out there saying how strong the CZ52 is.

This has nothing to do with your CZ52.
You are ok.
You can shoot factory ammo and book loads.
Don't worry about it.

The point I made is a complicated one having to do with inconsequential words in load books.

It has to do with some tests I do on pistols that are not important to you.

I have overloaded to see what happens:
25 acp: 20's Ruby, 1908 Colt
32 acp: Kel-Tec P32
32 S&W: Iver Johnson break top revolvers
32 Colt Long: Colt Pocket Positive, Colt Police Positive
32-20: Colt New Army
7.62x25mm: CZ52, Tokarev
380: Berretta 1934, Husq 1907
9x19mm: Kel-Tec P11, Star M43, Glock 19, Tokarev
9x23mm: Star Super B, Tokarev
38 Sp: S&W model 60, Colt Agent, Colt Police Positive, RG
357 mag: modified [S&W model 60, Colt Agent, Colt Police Positive, RG]
38 S&W: Iver Johnson break top revolvers pre and post 1898
357 Sig: Kel-Tec P357, Glock 22
40 S&W: Kel-Tec P40, GLock 22
10 mm: Glock 20
10.4mm: 1880's Revolver, cut down 44 sp brass, and 44 mag load
45 acp: Republic Patriot, Colt Commander, Para Ord P10
45 Colt: Stevens OEM .410 break action
.223: Ruger #1
.243: 1938 Turkish Mauser
257 Roberts Ackley Improved: VZ24 Mauser
7.62x54R: M91/30
7.92x57mm: 1903 Turkish Mauser
45/70: NEF Handi Rifle
.410: Stevens OEM .410 break action
452/70 Wildcat: 91/30 Action pre WW2

If you are not interested in overloading tests and strength calculations, this has nothing to do with you.

July 29, 2003, 12:55 AM

So...what, in your opinion, do the results of your testing say about the durability of the two pistols (Tok & CZ).

Can you draw any conclusions about which one is going to last longer under normal usage based on your tests?


Mike Irwin
July 29, 2003, 01:28 AM

You can't use the shear strength of lead to determine what a jacketed bullet will do in a gun barrel, especially in a situation where there are non planar (is that the right word) pressures being exerted on the object.

You damn well know that.

You also know that shear is not instantaneous, and that while the bullet is shearing the pressure can continue to rise dramatically.

If what you're saying is true, then no firearm should ever fail with an overload as the lead in the bullet would simply shear.

Blowing the nose out of a jacketed 9mm round takes an impressive amount of pressure.

Again, I would lay good money that chamber pressure in that handgun could easily have hit 80kpsi before the bullet failed.

July 29, 2003, 02:32 AM
Mike, I am pretty sure that what happened in my photo is shear force on lead. Cylindrical co ordinates are just as good as planar co ordinates for calculating shear.

This lead leaving the jacket has never happened to me before.

Like Ackley 40 years earlier, I have found that bullets are willing to swage down to a smaller diameter.

1) When I put a .452" 230 gr. FMJ in a .410 chamber, it swages down getting into the .410 barrel, and then swages again down to .385" in the choke.

2) When I put a 200 gr. .323" 8 mm FMJ in a .303 with turned neck, the bullet swages down with no increase in pressure.

Maybe if I got bonded 9 mm bullets, I could get the bullet to swage down in the 7.62x25mm chamber.

July 29, 2003, 02:40 AM
I don't know about reliability.
I know overloading is a short cut to finding out how strong things are.
When CZ52s wear out, I don't think it will be barrel fatigue.
It may be the clip that holds the grips on is the first thing to go.

I have been shooting some loads that would blow up a CZ52 in a 380. Not as hot as my Tokarevs, but more powder than a 357 mag for the same bullet. I think the M1903 looks like a Tokarev.

July 29, 2003, 02:47 AM
OKAY...So, say I get the Tokarev (I want both, but will probably get the Tok first.)

Is there any specific type of ammo to avoid? Factory ammo only, mind you.

Will primarily probably be shooting standard S&B stuff.

July 29, 2003, 06:19 PM
It's pertier...;)

July 29, 2003, 06:41 PM
Because Clark don't like them, and will attempt to blow up remaining examples to prove that blue-pill overloads can, indeed, shrapnel a gun. (Surprise!) :rolleyes:

Here's one I saved from Clark's destructive test program:

July 29, 2003, 10:25 PM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

Here is a hard chromed Chinese Tokarev that came in 7.62x25mm, but I pulled the grips to make it slimmer, and put in a 9mm barrel that has been reamed deeper to 9x23mm and throated to take a 158 gr .358" LSWC seated at 1.36".

This pistol over a long period of time has been shooting 16 gr of Power Pistol, .357" 158 gr XTP, 1.36" OAL, wspm primers, and Win9x23mmWin brass.

The perspective on this load is that the max 357 mag load for that bullet is 8 gr and 1.575" listed on the Alliant web site.

So that Tokarev, over a long period of time has been shooting 357 mag double charges with a shorter OAL. It kicks like a mule. Those loads are so loud and kick so hard, it makes factory 7.62x25mm seem like 22LR.

It certainly has graduated MY blow up program.

July 29, 2003, 11:23 PM
Clark, I gotta tell you. I enjoy reading your posts. You take these "here is my faviorite gun" threads, and make them into thought provoking, learning experiences.

I have to admit, when I first started reading your posts several years ago, I thought you were full of beans, but have since realized that you have sought out a niche in the shooting hobby that very few other people would even consider.

George Hill
July 29, 2003, 11:34 PM
"I thought you were full of beans"
No... I was thinking "This guy is NUTS!"

Clark, you will have to forgive me if I still think that. I had a friend like you when I was a kid. We were making "Golf Ball Cannons" while other kids where making spud guns. It was his idea to see if we could blow a hole through a junked car. He figured we needed to "load it hot". I aimed and ran a few yards away while he lit the fuse. Worked great. Put a hole right through the driver's side door.
He was ear-to-ear-no-eyebrow grinning.

July 30, 2003, 12:12 AM
444 and George,
Thanks for the encouragement.

I saw on cable TV and interview with a mountain climber, Reinhold Messner.
He said that when he began to climb his own way [solo, without oxygen, and with no altitude acclimating, or camps of stashed supplies], his peers said he was crazy and dangerous. The said his folly would cause closures of important mountains. Reinhold said he was not climbing to test the mountain, he was testing himself.

Although he is famous and I am nobody, I could relate. When I am about to pull the trigger on a new gun with an overload, it would be too easy if I loaded in .1 gr. increments, examined the brass with a microscope, and pulled a trigger string. I need to figure out what the gun is capable of at a minimum based on my experience. I need to move in 1 or 2 gr. increments and hold the gun in my hand. Before I pull the trigger, I ask myself, "How afraid am I?" and "Do I really know what I am doing?", "How much risk is there?" and "How much am I going to learn if I pull this trigger?"

July 30, 2003, 12:55 AM

I understand what you're doing. However, most of my points are valid.

What I was saying boils down the the following sentence.

Knowing which gun will blow up first doesn't necessarily have any impact on which gun is more durable with normal pressure loads.

Since many people will equate strength and durability, an explanation is in order when you start presenting your data.

Your modified Tok is neat, and I'll bet it DOES kick with that heavy bullet load. What do you estimate as far as chamber pressure? I'm guessing it's not as high as one might initially expect--maybe in the low 50k region?

You need a strain gauge.

Mike Irwin
July 30, 2003, 01:29 AM
"Like Ackley 40 years earlier, I have found that bullets are willing to swage down to a smaller diameter."


No one said that they wouldn't, Clark.

But given the nature of smokeless powder, that swaging process will drive chamber pressures out of sight.

I'm digging through some reference materials for just such information, such as a .358 through a .308. IIRC, the pizo pressure on that one came out to about 90Kpsi.

It takes TREMENDOUS force to ram a bullet that is so far oversized down into a smaller, and longer, bullet.

July 30, 2003, 02:01 AM
I am not aware of any Tokarevs or CZ52 wearing out, and I don't have any insight.

the big bullet in a small bore making no pressure increase is counter intuitive.
Likewise the pinched bullet making a huge pressure spike is counter intuitive.
The way I reconcile it is to think in the time domain.
If the peak pressure of powder burn is not concurrent with the increase pressure to swage, the peak pressure does not change.
And if the pinched bullet delays the start of bullet acceleration, the increased pressure makes the powder burn faster which increases pressure which makes the powder burn faster ....

This phenomena of large bullets working in a small bore without
pressure spikes is documented in P.O. Ackley 1966 "Handbook for Shooters
and Reloaders Vol 2" chapter 7
"additional pressure tests":
"..30 cal barrel pressure barrel was fitted to the test gun, but the
neck and throat was enlarged to accept the 8mm bullet, with the bore
remaining the standard 30 caliber. A Remington factory 30-06 cartridge
with the 150 gr bullet had been tested and previously gave 57,300 psi,
for a velocity of 3030 fps. The the bullets were pulled from two more
Remington 150 grain cartridges and were replaced with 8mm 150 grain
bullets. To everyone's surprise, although the velocity was rather
erratic, these loads averaged 2901 fps, with a pressure of 40,700 psi."

George Hill
July 30, 2003, 01:15 PM
Maybe it doesn't happen all the time, but most of the time over calibers do indeed cause huge increases in pressure. Just like pushing the slug deeper into the case. The results can be detonation instead of a burn.
Since there is no way of predicting the results, they are best left alone.

My old friend? He died young. I never got the whole story.

Now, if the CZ-52 barrel is so freaking weak, how in the hell can it withstand the firing of a 9MM slug through it? You don't have a pressure barrel, but I am sure that the pressure was pretty dang high. Call it an educated guess.
Just because you weld up a glock barrel, doesn't mean Glock barrels are strong. I've seen more Glock KBs than I have CZ-52 KBs. And the fact is all Glock KBs were using by the book handloads and the CZ-52 KB were results of very very excessive handloadings.

This thread is pretty much at it's end of usefulness and has from near the start... it isn't promoting responsible firearms ownership.

Cellar Dweller
July 30, 2003, 05:02 PM
Keith and Ackley were geniuses (genii?) for experimenting on their own, doing "unofficial" research trying to blow up guns...Mr. Clark does the same and is a Hazard To Firearms? :uhoh:

I don't recall Elmer Keith having a strain gauge or piezometer or a computer or any nifty doodads...P.O. Ackley either (at least not the computer, or doodads).

Powder/bullet/load manuals are being DOWNGRADED because of a change in measurement from CUP to PSI - because they are "unsafe" loads now or because they are more lawyerproof? The fact that the loads were developed meticuously by Official Lab-Coaters THEN and NOW is, somehow, irrelevant...

Back on track: I have a TT-33 and a CZ-52, like them both. Around 200 round through each, breaks down to:
100 rounds Winchester
250 rounds S&B
50 rounds Accurate #9/Speer "Plinker"/Accurate's MAX listed load

TT-33 needed a new recoil spring before day 1 round 1, CZ hasn't needed anything yet. CZ was $80 less expensive. TT-33 safety fell apart once and I almost lost the detent ball.

July 30, 2003, 08:44 PM
Celler Dweller,
I don't think much of the added on safeties that came with my Tokarevs.

I take them off, and use the half cock as the safety as originally intended.

July 11, 2004, 11:37 PM
AA has just lowered their CZ52 loads from ~45 kpsi to 35 kspi, after 4 years of publishing the high pressure 45 kpsi loads based on testing Eastern block Tokarev ammo.

Now AA joins Sierra, Lyman, Hornady, Pacific, and Vihatavouri load books in showing CZ52 loads that are markedly below the Eastern block Tokarev ammo pressure levels.

One can buy surplus and S&B ammo that is high Tokarev pressure, but there are no longer any published loads that are high.

link to AA new low pressure load for the CZ52 (

link to my rec.guns post on correcting their faq (

July 12, 2004, 01:13 PM
This type of testing is like saying that a 1972 Cadillac is a batter sports car than a 2004 corvette because it was smacked into each other at 20 MPH and the Cadillac was still driveable. What peak pressure the gun will hold up to is not realvent to shooting ammo that is within spec. The fact that many Glocks blow up with ammo that is within spec tells more about a design than using 10-50% more pressure than the ammo it was designed to use. Do you fill your car tires with 200PSI and tell people their tires suck too because at 196 PSI you had a blowout while on the freeway? For a rocket scientist I thought the idea was to make something that works, not take things that work and push them until they don't even though it is not what they were meant to be used for.

PS. I have found that Ruger revolvers make much better hammers than the Scandium revolvers. The Ruger will pound over 500% more nails that the scandium before failure.

July 12, 2004, 03:51 PM
SAAMI specifications here in the USA require proof load between 1.3 and 1.4 times maximum pressure for that type of hand gun.

It does not take much imagination to see that a CZ52 will blow up at 1.3 to 1.4 time the imported Tokarev ammo pressures.

It may be a nuance, but the CZ52 strength is between the Tokarev ammo pressure and what would be a SAAMI proof load if Tokarev ammo were to be registered with SAAMI.

I would venture that no American manufacturer could have designed and built the CZ52 for sale in the USA to shoot the 42 kcup ~ 45 kpsi Tokarev ammo.

Meanwhile the Tokarev could easily pass a SAAMI type proof test.

To use your analogy of tires, a tire that explodes with 65 psi cannot get SAE blessing to have "inflate to 45psi" embossed on the side.

To use your analogy of a car, a new car that the engine explodes if driven 95 mph, will not get a blessing from Consumer Reports in a country with a maximum speed limit of 75 mph.

Is that tire unsafe?
IS that car unsafe?
Is the CZ52 unsafe?

Not if you obey the rules, but I have the obligation to report on the irregularly narrow safety margin.

July 12, 2004, 04:01 PM
We love you Clark!!!! :D :D :D :D :D

October 23, 2007, 12:40 AM
And all this talk of them exploding is scarin' the crap out of me.
I don't intend to handload, just want to shoot surplus and new mfr. rounds.
So, I'm here thinking that I'm going to die when I buy one.
Help me out guys.
They seriosuly can't be as bad as jennings/bryco SNS zinc molded
monstrocities, can they?
I just want something that's accurate. I've spent all my time so far with rifles, and have no bias towards upper-end handguns, so the recoil will not bother me, neither will the point of aim.
But I am troubled by the idea that the little plinker is going to
shoot an extractor through my head.
I do like the look of the TT33 though.

October 23, 2007, 12:44 AM
Does it really take 65kpsi (65,000)psi, to punch a primer out of a brass case?
I mean, damn, reloading seems like more of a workout when you think of it that way.
(yes I know what mechanical advantage is)
but it's really that high?

October 23, 2007, 01:45 AM
I have the same question Nightcrawler did. I have a Polish TT-33 on the way, and now I'm a little concerned about firing even non-Czech surplus in it. Anyone care to recommend a safe load for it?


October 23, 2007, 12:22 PM
I've owned my 52 for some time now and've worked up some very accurate and reliable loads for it. I, for one, prefer to avoid concoctions that really press the envelope looking instead for the most effective I can cook up.

That said, I have yet to find any reliable load using saboted bullets. I would not repeat some of the powder charges I've tried in my gun as they boggled my mind at the time (cheap gun's the ONLY reason I attempted some of them)......Has ANYONE ever put together a load that will cycle the 52 using saboted .22s or should I just forget it and pick up a Reed BBL.???

October 23, 2007, 03:03 PM
I like the CZ-52 + it fits my CrossBreed IWB made for a 1911 pretty well too.

BTW - There's gelatin results for Wolf 7.62 JHP on brassfetcher.


October 23, 2007, 08:16 PM

Get the CZ-52. It won't blow up in your hands if you don't overload them. This thread has been an interesting exercise in "what happens when I overload the gun?"

It's a fun design, with some "issues" I won't even call them problems because they aren't really. The CZ-52 firing pin was made with some non-heat treated steel, making them "brittle" when dry fired. Solution, don't dry fire the gun without a snap cap in the chamber. The CZ-52 Decocker, people have supposedly used this and had the decocker fail causing an AD. This is a 55 year old gun. It's been in Cosmoline for years. CHECK the gun first prior to firing. This should be done with ALL of the surplus firearms on the market prior to taking them to the range after the Big Brown Truck drops them off.
Reality: It's a neat design that's inexpensive with ammo that's inexpensive right now too (well, surplus ammo). Stock up on it and blast away.

I wouldn't trust this as a CHP simply because the design really doesn't work for it. That and there are umpteen million better choices. Still, while they are available at the current prices. These are true bargains.

November 27, 2007, 10:36 PM
oops sorry duplicate post

November 27, 2007, 10:51 PM
So, if you're planning on shooting the Romanian surplus through it, cleaning it well in between, and not dry firing, are these safe to use? I was reading some posts about needing to restake pins which walk out, parts flying off, etc and that doesn't sound like my idea of fun! I haven't read anything like that about the Tokarev so far.

I dunno, so many people say they like their CZ52, but it sounds a little iffy to me.

November 27, 2007, 11:26 PM
TT-33 all the way! You can't beat the original!

November 28, 2007, 04:57 AM
I'm new to this board and the level of irresponsibility is kinda scary.
Have fun overloading whatever you want. Glad you'll NEVER shoot with me.

Want some facts?
I've owned and fired several examples of TT-33s and CZ52s for about a decade.
I use only non-Czech ammo in the TTs.
I've knocked down coyotes out to 300 yards with my CZ (I have one I prefer).
The TTs are a fun guns, but I reserve them for plinking or demonstrations. The narrow sights prevent accurate pickup and it is not a good pointer.
A lot of people find the CZ grips uncomfortable. I am not one of them. Maybe if I was I'd think the TT was a better pointer.
A few years back there was some 7.62X25 ammo on the market that was made for sub guns (surprised no one here mentioned it here). It was higher pressure than even the CZ was meant to handle. However, I heard of no reports of "dangerous" failures due to use of this ammo in the CZ. I did, however, hear of more than one report of a "dangerous" TT failure.
I live in the "wide open spaces" of the desert West. I frequently carry the CZ in lieu of a rifle because I can get 6-inch groups at 300 yards. I just place the bottom of the front sight even with the top of the rear sight and focus on AIM.
If I were to buy one or the other I'd buy a CZ, but I'd make sure it was in the original phosphate finish rather then blued. A blued finish means it has been rebuilt at, who knows what, arsenal. (Wondering why that hasn't been mentioned in this thread.) If you buy a blued gun you are counting on some unknown tech at some unknown facility to have diagnosed why it needed work and to have correctly repaired the problem. I'd pay an extra $100 for a phosphate finished gun. It didn't need to be fixed.
Also surprised the "dots" haven't been mentioned.
Aside from all that, learning to break down a CZ and put it back together will teach you a little about the history of firearms development, dating back to, um, 1938 if I recall correctly...
BTW, I've never had a failure to feed, eject or fire event with a CZ. The firing pin problem only seems to occur with folks who like to dry fire on an empty chamber to my "personal" knowledge.

As for those who like to overload: I've had more than my share of blown primers (would seem that would happen a lot more with these incredibly hot loads), backed out primers, split cases and shattered cases. The only thing that ever "blew up" on me was a Glock 19 with a Remington Golden Sabre handload. It stung a little and I had to buy a new frame and barrel, but it wasn't very dramatic.
Just kinda pissed me off.

November 28, 2007, 07:38 AM
I frequently carry the CZ in lieu of a rifle because I can get 6-inch groups at 300 yards.

Now *that* I've just got to see to believe, because the one I have could barely manage that at 300 inches.

Neither Winchester nor S&Bs published ballistics tables for that round include ranges past 100 yards, but just assume you get a 400fps falloff every 100 yards, so by the time the 85gr pill reaches 300 yards it's piddling along at about 400fps and about 30ft/lbs of energy. Even if you figure it started at some whacky number like 2000fps, that's still less than 800fps at that range, and the holdover won't even let you see your target unless it's a Mack truck . . .


November 28, 2007, 08:07 AM
Ok, I did some more research at the page.

It looks like if you purchased the hardened rollers, maybe a spare barrel, and the new springed fire pin to prevent breakage and lower the trigger pull, and shoot only the current Romanian surplus, things will be ok? I see that the prior thread was theoretical overloading, and not the question of "How durable is a well maintained, somewhat upgraded CZ-52 shooting only surplus, non-submachinegun ammo going to hold up over many thousands of rounds.

That is my question. After all, no point in selling that surplus by the 1200 rnd tin if your gun will self destruct halfway through.

November 28, 2007, 09:50 AM
Both are good as long you use factory spec ammo. get the one that shoots best for y ou.

November 28, 2007, 02:46 PM
It looks like if you purchased the hardened rollers, maybe a spare barrel, and the new springed fire pin to prevent breakage and lower the trigger pull, and shoot only the current Romanian surplus, things will be ok? I've heard of one failure of the original rollers, most of the problem with the rollers stems from an aftermarket barrel supplier who sold rollers with the barrels that were too soft.

The original barrels were fine, never heard of any complaints with them. Aftermarket barrels were also ok other than the roller problem above.

The firing pin is cast steel. It will NOT tolerate dryfiring but holds up well under normal use. If you are a cautious person you can replace it with a forged aftermarket part for around $20 or simply buy an original replacement part for around $10. I had spares for both of my 52s and never used either one.

I've shot my CZs with a variety of ammunition and never had an issue of any kind. The triggers aren't the best out there and the sights are what you'd expect on a 50-60 year old design but they're reasonably decent gun otherwise.

November 28, 2007, 05:22 PM
Thanks for the feedback. This sort of feels like the people who ask Mosin or Mauser and the answer is always "both".

Any lines on the distributor with the best CZ52s in stock? I see:

Southern Ohio Gun claims very good to excellent for $125
J&G Sales has very good plus for 139.99
Florida Gun Works says they are in "new" condition but for $229 (plus optional $15 handpick? You could almost buy two from the other sites for that price!)

Any thoughts on those dealers, or others I missed?

November 28, 2007, 05:24 PM
I'll sell you mine, and you're welcome to improve on it to your heart's content. ;)


Dain Bramage
November 29, 2007, 12:10 PM
I use Romanian surplus for my Tok, but my CZ52 does not like the hard primers. I get frequent FTFs.

The CZ is happiest with S&B and Wolf/Prvi Partisan.

November 30, 2007, 03:56 AM
"I frequently carry the CZ in lieu of a rifle because I can get 6-inch groups at 300 yards."

Now *that* I've just got to see to believe, because the one I have could barely manage that at 300 inches.

If ya gotta see it to believe it, you're welcome to come visit. If you can't throw a two-inch group at 25 yards, you have my sympathy.

Not my fault you bought a blued rebuilt piece of ****.

Win or S&B ballistics? You got to be kidding me!
I chrono my own. The closest any of them come is close to 200 fps to reality.

um, did

November 30, 2007, 03:58 AM
hit the wrong key...

November 30, 2007, 03:59 AM
that ballistics are multlplied on an exponential basis?

December 2, 2007, 12:58 PM
85 or 86 gr S&B or Polish surplus ammo comes out of a Tokarev or CZ52 at around 1450 fps

At 300 yards, that bullet is 796 fps and has dropped 131" from the line of the bore. In a cross wind of 10mph it has drifted 16". It has 120 foot pounds of energy and a pf of 67.

If the kill zone of a coyote is 8" high, then the accuracy must be +/- 4"
That requires range estimation to within 2.5 yards.
It also requires velocity consistency within 23 fps, which is the powder measuring accuracy equivancy of .06 gr.

Hitting an 8" kill zone at 300 yards would be like hitting a ping pong ball at 100 feet, if it not for the wind and trajectory.

I once sniped out the window at a coyote in my yard that was 100 feet away. He walked unharmed right through the middle of the pattern of 00 buck shot.

If I were going to pass off a story about hitting a coyote with a CZ52 at 300 yards, I would register under a new identity, to protect my credibility.

December 2, 2007, 04:03 PM
We're dealing with probabilities here. It is possible he shoot at a Coyote at 300 yards, and did hit it and killed it. Not probable though.

The proof load thing is a design/engineering staple. You over engineer something to hopefully avoid catastrophe due to an unfortunate alignment of the stars.

You get your hands on a Monday/Friday gun.
You get some ammo right at the maximum pressure
It's 105 degrees F out side.
etc. etc.

The CZ52 is especially scary if you consider the variability in the metallurgy. It isn't that well made a pistol. To top it all off , you have an internet rumor that it is an uber strong pistol. Nobody knows where this rumour came from, but it has absolutely no basis in fact, and ironically the most usually reason stated for the supposed strength is the main reason the 52 fails as it does (the roller locking mechanism).

December 2, 2007, 07:55 PM

Clark Magnuson

A) The "CZ52 is stronger than the Tokarev" myth in print
From the U. S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center's publication
titled "Small Arms Identification and Operation Guide - Eurasian
Communist Countries", (FSTC-CW-07-03-70), page 211, Table XI, Cartridge
Data and Color Codes, in reference to 7.62 x 25 mm pistol ball type P;
"Do not use Czechoslovak-made ammunition in TT-33 pistols."

rec.guns FAQ by James Bardwell (
" The CZ-52 uses a 8 round single stack mag. It utilizes a roller
locking system to safely use all sorts of Tok ammo, from less powerful
loads for the Tokarev pistol, to very powerful loads meant for this
handgun (Czech M48 round) and also for PPSh submachine guns."

"Sierra 50th Anniversary Edition Handgun Reloading Manual"
"..the Vz24 is an extremely strong pistol. Reload developed for pistols
using less robust locking systems must be reduced drastically for safety
reasons. In recoil operate pistols, such as the Tokarev, starting loads
shown should considered maximum,"

From the American Rifleman magazine, August 1995, page 44;
"The Czech version of the 7.62 x 25 mm cartridge is based on the Soviet
7.62 mm Type P pistol cartridge used in the TT-30 and TT-33 Tokarev, but
Czech ammunition is loaded considerably heavier that its Soviet
counterpart. While dimensionally similar to the 7.63 Mauser cartridge,
inter changeability is not recommended as the commercially loaded Mauser
ammunition is considered too light to reliably cycle the Model 52."

When I wrote Sierra in 2003 about this, they wrote back:

Rich wrote:

" Clark,
Thanks for the information.
We would be interested in some details if you have time to share
them. Obviously Kevin (the author) was referring to the locking
mechanisms and not the barrels but we certainly are interested in your
findings. They may save someone the experience you have had with these
Rich" [Machholz]

Ted Curtis ballistician at Accurate Arms in March of 2000:
"7.62 X 25 Tokarev ..
Due to the large number of handguns imported into the U.S. chambered
for the 7-62 x 25 Tokarev Accurate Arms has developed the following load
data for those shooters who wish to reload the little powerhouse. In
determining the appropriate pressure limit for our load data we tested
various military ammo from China, Russia, Austria Bulgaria and the
Czech Republic. Commercial ammo produced by Sellier & Bellot was also
tested. Based on these tests we arrived at a maximum pressure for our
lad data of 42,000 C.U.P. Only the single lot of Russian ammo was
significantly below this pressure averaging 31,000 C.U.P. The consistent
pressures between all other type sand manufactures was a welcome
surprise . Indeed, the fact that CZech ammo, made for the CZ-52 pistol,
produced the same pressure as that of the other countries was perhaps
the biggest surprise of the whole project. This in spite of the "tribal
lore" regarding this particular handgun and the ammo loaded for it
claiming that shooting Czech ammo in any other firearm so chambered will
causes spontaneous disassembly. The pressure data produced by the ammo
tested certainly doesn't support this theory."

AA has not returned my emails on the subject of me blowing up CZ52s with
their loads and powder.

"Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading Fifth Edition" 2000
"Automatic pistols for the 7.62mm Tokarev were essentially knock-offs of
the Browning-designed 45 Automatic Colt Pistol, though both imitation
and some original design contribute to the Soviet auto. Our CZ-52
pistol, one of many recent imports, was both strong and well made."

Gun World" May 2003, Jan Libourel writes, "Pressures with this
cartridge [7.62x25mm] tend to run high, especially with some of the very
hot Czech loads designed for the sturdy vz52."

When I wrote him, Jan wrote back:
"Thanks for the info. I have never done any shooting to speak with the
7.62x25, so I was just passing on the "conventional gunwriter wisdom" on
these matters. This is not necessarily the truth, as you point out. Thanks
for the info.
Jan Libourel"

Shotgun News Jan 1, 2007 "Tula Tokarev" by Peter G. Kokalis
"Czech M48 7.62x25mm ammunition should be avoided in Tokarev-type
pistols, as it was design for submachine guns and the very strong,
roller-locked vz52 pistol."

Shotgun News has not returned my emails on this subject.

B) The questioning of the "CZ52 is stronger than the Tokarev" myth on
the internet
1) I blew up 2 CZ52 pistols that split the barrels and took pictures.
2) Ken Marsh, long time rec.guns contributor, pointed out that the crack
propagation seemed to start from a think spot in the chamber chamber
where there was undercutting for space for the roller blocks.

1) Jaque Clarke "Uncle Jaque", a CZ52 owner, makes a drawing of this
thin spot. Here is the drawing:
2) I am unable to blow up any of my Tokarev pistols, with what blows up
CZ52s and much more.
3) I buy a broom handle 1896 Mauser 30 Mauser to compare to CZ52
strength. It blows primers, but does not blow up at the loads that blow
up CZ52s. I cannot go higher with these primers.

1) John Becrovitz, long time rec.guns contributor, buys 10 CZ52 barrels
and tests them for hardness. Measurements between RC25 and RC35 were
taken on intact 7.62x25mm barrels. A more modern 9mm CZ52 barrel tests
at RC47.

2) Accurate Arms "revised" their hot loads for the CZ52 only. This
example is for 110 gr SPR RN 1.3":
a) The hot load from 2000: 11.7 gr AA#9 41,800 c.u.p 1688 fps
b) The wimpy load from 2005 8.5 gr AA#9, 34270 psi, 1248 fps
click on "30 (7.62)"
click on "7.62x25 Tokarev"

As a result of various technical reasons, the data in the initial print
(year 2000) of the no 2 guide were not tested against a verifiable
standard or protocol.
As a result wrong conclusions and assumptions were made. The result was
that the initial loads were too high.
The recent adjustments were made in two phase’s i.e.
a) A Reduction in velocity to conform to the correct barrel length since
the initial velocities was for a 9” test barrel.
b) The adjustment of the actual charge weights to conform to the only
Specification/protocol in existence i.e. CIP “Commission International
Permanente” which is the authority, since this caliber does come from
This pressure limit is : <2400bar or 34809Psi.
The final loads as published on the website are thus inline with these
However, due to the strong design of the CZ 52 pistol, people have been
using ex submachine gun(i.e. PPsh-41) ammunition from the eastern bloc,
which obviously were loaded to a much higher levels, and some of these
will function in the CZ 52 pistol. However, there is ammunition that
will even destroy the CZ 52.
Although the CZ52 gun can handle much higher pressures than some other
weapons it has never been incorporated into an official specification.
The strength of this gun is renowned, which lead to many “estimations”
of performance and a reputation of being able to handle just about
anything out there on the market.
This is obviously not true and we deemed it necessary to conform to the
official International specifications for the cartridge.

Johan Loubser
Ballistic Lab manager
Accurate Powders"

I put John up to that.
I knew that he had free access to an RC hardness meter at JPL.
I put up most of the money for the barrels.

December 2, 2007, 08:34 PM
Very interesting. Thanks.

December 12, 2007, 08:23 AM
I have fired 2 1/4 inch groups at 50 yards with my CZ52. It the most accurate handgun I have ever seen. I REALLY wish someone would manufacture a modern gun in 7.62x25. It is an impressive round.

December 12, 2007, 06:58 PM
I think someone should make a barrel for CZ52s with a thicker chamber and out of good steel with good heat treat.

Here I made a new barrel for a Tokarev from a Parker Hale 308 Sniper trainer bull barrel:

December 22, 2007, 09:30 PM
Two hands....Two guns...get both!

June 2, 2010, 02:26 AM
My brother has a TT-33, I have a CZ52. He wishes he would have bought a CZ52 when I did. I did not have the money, at the time, to buy a TT-33, when he did. I am 6'3" tall, 175 pounds. The CZ fits my hand, and has a perfect angle, (a personal thing). The TT did not, again, (a personal thing).
For either, surplus ammo is cheap!!! Never had a problem, except a heavy cleaning job, with corrosive primers. But it's easy with such a small system.
What were most of these type of guns used for, close range, point blank assassinations, self defense, etc., etc. They are great, cheap plinkers, and can be for home defense. Use cheap, made for it ammo, and no problem. You want a hand cannon, that will cost you more, there are plenty of semi-auto choices out there. Have fun with it, play, enjoy life. I do have some soft point ammo, as opposed to (surplus ball ammo), great for small game/varmints. Original barrels, for cheap, can be purchased from, The Sportsman's Guide, while they still have them. They also have case hardened firing pins, while they last. I bought 2 spare barrels, and firing pins, just a couple of weeks ago. Have not tested them all, yet, but they all measure up, and look good. But the barrels do not come, with the roller locks, cam, and pin. But they can be found at

harmon rabb
June 2, 2010, 08:20 AM
this Clark guy is the freakin man.

Clark, how do you sit down with balls that big?

AUgie Prospector
July 14, 2010, 10:30 PM

Looks like this thread has come back to life so.... :cuss:

If your idea of fun is blowing up guns, I'm not here to talk you out of it. What I WOULD like to talk you out of, is contributing to one of the worst problems we have in the firearms business: good cartridges dying of terminal progressing wimpiness.

Manufacturers are ALWAYS looking for an excuse to load down their ammunition, for a variety of reasons. For those of us who don't handload (used to, shoot too many different cartridges, and not enough of any one to make it worthwhile), the availability of good factory loads is important. You seem to have devoted an amazing amount of effort to disparaging the CZ-52 in a way that obviously argues for reduced pressure commercial ammo. Part of the reason we see new cartidges is that old and serviceable ones are "wimped" into uselessness, effectively orphaning the weapons designed for them. Somebody designs and sells a gun that is marginal for the load, old shot-out antiques are still around, or people start fixating on the limitations of a particular gun (e.g. poor chamber support in Glocks), and we start seeing wimpy commercial loadings. For some rounds, +P loads are the answer, getting us back to or above the ballistics the cartridge was designed to produce - but the 7.62x25mm isn't going to get commercial +P loadings, even if all they would do is get back to what we have now.

Don't do this to the CZ-52 (and other guns that shoot the 7.62x25mm). These guns have been successfully shooting the commercial and military ammo generating around 40,000 CUP for a lot of years. You seem intent on getting that down to around 30,000 CUP. The lawyers will be delighted. The shooters less so.

Fortunately I have a pretty good supply of S&B ammo, which my two CZ-52's eat like candy. I'll be able to use the CZ-52 as my desert carry gun when I'm out prospecting, and shoot them a bit too (they ARE accurate!). PLEASE don't ruin it for the people who haven't got one yet or don't have a lifetime supply of ammo stored away.

Don't take this as a rejection of your interests - I enjoyed reading your experiences and learned from it. All I'm asking is, don't make destroying the reputation of the CZ-52, and the 7.62x25mm generally, into your life's work.

For anyone else reading this old thread - the CZ-52 is a fine weapon. Most examples are accurate, and the ammo is flat-shooting. It may not be the ideal carry gun, but it will do. Like loop, I find it ideal for the desert - I don't worry about it getting dirty, sweaty, or banged up when I'm digging, climbing, etc. It is accurate and flat-shooting enough for longer range shots, and over-penetration isn't the concern that it might be in town. Those bottle-neck rounds funnel into the chamber every time, and S&B ammo always goes bang. The issue sights are servicable even for old bifocal guys like me. I carry it cocked and locked in a Triple-K shoulder rig made for the 1911. Mountain lions and men are the biggest preditors we see in the desert down here, and if they don't get the drop on you, the 7.62x25 is a servicable defense against either.

Don't buy one sight-unseen unless you have to. If you don't know guns, have someone who does look over the example you're buying. These are old surplus arms, and there are going to be bad ones (the ones I've seen were fine.) Don't dry fire it, and if you use the de-cocker / hammer drop, ease the hammer down while pointed in a safe direction (and be careful re-engaging the safety!) About the only thing wrong with the CZ-52 is that you can't buy 7.62x25mm ammo at Wal-Mart...


P.S. to the short-rangers out there: handguns are FINE for longer shots. Saw my son hit a prairie dog dead center at 81 yards, first shot, with a Springfield XD in .45 ACP (we lasered the distance after the shot.) Have seen him hit all kinds of targets to out near 100 yds with various pistols, often on the first shot. I can't do that with any regularity, but some people can, including, I'm guessing, people who post here. I'll have to try the CZ-52 at 300 yards some time & see if loop's full sight hight correction is enough elevation, and whether I can get something you'd call a group, if not as small as loop did!

Okie-Dokie, grabed a CZ-52, made a quick measurement of sights and see that loop's hold-over corresponds to about 145 inches at 300 yd. Clark says you'd get 133 inches drop at 300 yards. Sounds to me like loop JUST MIGHT have been telling something disturbingly close to the truth (Clark too for that matter.) Was meaning to get the CZ-52s out to the range anyway to verify a sight tweek I've been meaning to do, to get 'em "dead on", something I'm doing for all my fixed sight pistols - I'm getting too old to remember EXACTLY where each one shoots! I'll re-spray a silhouette, or hang a paper, out at 300 yards, and see what the CZ52 can do.


October 8, 2010, 02:37 PM
The original Tokarov does have a Safety. If you half cock the hammer *which I can see alot of people taking their Tokarovs right now and trying this* you cannot move the slider back on weapon, I mean you can really pull very hard on it and it will not move without fully pulling the hammer back. Ive also tried to see if you can pull the trigger with the weapon like this and no luck.

October 8, 2010, 07:55 PM
I has a CZ-52 for a few years but never could warm up to the ergonomics regardless how hard I tried. I installed a Hogue Monogrip but it only helped so much.

I later purchased a Tokarev due to what I considered an excellent price (Yugo M57 w/2 magazines and holster for $189) and was astonished at the difference. I really don't know what the deal is since the grip angle appears similar, but the M57 feels completely different... very much night and day. I sold the CZ-52 after purchasing a 2nd M57 and was pleased with that one as well.

Mark me down solidly in the TT-33 camp.

Similar grip angle but a world of difference

Outnumbered and replaced

Shadow 7D
October 8, 2010, 07:59 PM
Holy thread Necro:cuss:

October 8, 2010, 08:06 PM
New thread: "Oh no, not this again... talk about beating a dead horse, learn to use the search function"

Old thread: "Oh no, not another necro-thread"

January 26, 2011, 07:27 PM
Just found this thread interesting reading:neener:

January 27, 2011, 03:12 AM
count me in the tokarev camp too...

April 3, 2011, 11:44 PM
Me too. I have five.

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