CZ-52 Review


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dev_null
June 21, 2004, 11:54 PM
I ordered a CZ-52 from J&G in Arizona, and it was received within a week of mailing off a copy of my C&R license. The purchase began on somewhat shaky grounds, but the story has a happy ending (so far).

The package was sent FedEx Air, and had "must be signed for" stamps on it, but was left on my doorstep. Not J&G's fault, but a bit of an eye-opener nonetheless. The pistol was sold as VG+, and although I'm not an expert on grading, I would have rated it at the low end of that. Finish was good, barring a bit of wear at some of the corners, but there were heavy machining marks and the bakelite grips were quite scratched, though there were no chips or gouges. The issue leather flap holster was well-worn and dark, and, like most of this type, thin (the leather itself, I mean) and butt-ugly. The gun was also bone-dry: not a bit of cosmoline or even gun oil.

My first act was, naturally, to ensure the gun was in safe condition, so I attempted to remove the mag and check the chamber and barrel. The mag would not come out. Like many European pistols, the release is in the butt, next to the lanyard, and the mags must be pulled out -- they do not drop free. This one, however, would not come out. Thinking that perhaps there was some esoteric Balkan alchemical formula that must be followed, I thought I'd lock the slide back and try again. The slide would not lock back. I decided to skip that part for the time being, and after working the slide a few times to ensure no ammo was present, tried again to remove the mag, holding the release with one hand and pulling hard on the lip of the mag with my other. The lip/bottom plate of the mag came out in my hand and the follower spring landed on my feet. And still the mag would not come out. I then used the takedown to remove the slide and barrel assembly, and tried to remove the mag by pushing down from the top while holding the release with my other hand. No dice. I also noticed at this time that the hingepin for the slide lock lever was broken: I could see nothing in the hole on the right side, and the pin had backed out about 2mm on the left. At this point I packed it all back up and resolved to call for a Return Authorization in the morning.

After a couple of attempts -- time difference between VA and AZ conspired to have me call when the person I needed to speak with, a gentleman I know only as Andrew, was out -- I got hold of the correct person. Andrew was pleasant, prompt, and attentive. I got my R.A. number and he was able to work with me to set up a timeframe for the FedEx pickup so I wouldn't have to hang around the house all day. I also went ahead and ordered an extra firing pin (I hear the stock pins tend to break if the gun is dry-fired, and even though I will be avoiding that sin, I figured better safe than sorry -- who knows what kind of abuse it's been through before coming to me), a spare mag, and some new Hogue Pau Ferro grips.

Two business days later, I received a new package (signed for it, this time). I'm not sure, but I suspect Andrew may have hand-selected this one, because the new pistol was as nice as the first one was not. This time I'd assess the gun as being at the upper range of VG+: the grips, though still bearing a few scratches (not much you can do to avoid that with bakelite), were much sharper looking; and though there's still a tad holster wear to the blueing (or Parking, I guess), the gun hardly appears to have seen use. In fact, if it weren't for the holster wear, I'd swear it was brand new. The holster, though still cheap cowhide a fuggly design (looking like someone's Tandy kit), looks as if it hasn't seen use since it was issued (or inspected?), in 1962 according to the still legible stamp on the inside.

There were no problems in locking the slide, pulling the mag, and removing the slide assembly for cleaning (other than nearly taking my own thumb off with the screwdriver I was using to remove the barrel and recoil spring from the slide). There was a light coat of oil on all the appropriate surfaces, but everything looked clean and new. I suspect the previous owner only took it out of the holster for his annual qualifications, assuming they have such things over there. A few squirts of Gunblaster and a couple of swipes with a cloth took care of the oil, and a light coat of CLP went on the working bits. The barrel was pristine, though the grooves don't seem as deep as I'm used to with my various imperialistic capitalist pig weapons (Ruger, Kimber, Browning, etc.).

Taking the grips off to complete the cleaning revealed the name "Marcor" hand etched (scratched) into the underside of the RH grip -- not sure if that's a company or a person. No "Property of Uncle Tito" or similar million-dollar find, unfortunately.

Reassembly was a cinch (once I figured out what I was doing -- had to try it without the recoil spring first, to see how things work). I didn't replace the firing pin, but I did put the Hogues on in place of the bakelite. The Hogues went on without any fiddling, the left one a perfect snug fit and the right just a tad loose. No complaints there. Man, what a difference a decent set of grips makes! I should see if Hakan makes some nice grips for this thing.

So all in all, I'm more than pleased with my purchase. J&G made things right for me, right away, and it's hard to find service like that these days. Major props to Andrew. Now, if only S&B would deliver that ammo shipment to them so I can try this bad boy out!

- 0 -

Markings:

Left Frame: Y3497 (s/n), followed by "rid"
Left Slide: none
Right Frame: VOZ 81 above trigger, crossed cannons (swords?) and 54 above takedown
Right Slide: C.A.I.'s import markings
Top of Slide: Y3497
Bbl (visible through ejection port): Y3497
Inside of Right Grip: "MARCOR" (hand etched)
Under flap of holster: Ink stamp, only partly legible:
________________
|aaaaaa|bbbb|ccccc|
|aaaaaa|bbbb|ccccc|
|aaaaaa|dd|ee|ffffff|
|aaaaaa|dd|ee|ffffff|
|________________|

a: Crossed Swords
b: OTN? QTN?
c: Illegible -- looks almost like backwards C - dash - forwards C?
d: 4?
e: K.V.
f: 1962

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Shane333
June 22, 2004, 11:03 AM
Dev_null,

I'm glad for your purchase. BTW, what does it take to purchase one? Process? Cost? I like the looks of the CZ5 and so far I've only been able to admire them from pictures. I've heard you can convert them to 9mm fairly easily.

dev_null
June 22, 2004, 11:16 AM
I sent a copy of my C&R and paid $100 for the pistol. Got here in a few days. The aftermarket grips were another $45, I think?

In original trim, they won't win any beauty contests (to my eyes, anyway -- chacun a son gout), but with the Hogue grips she starts looking better.

Don't know about caliber conversion, the main reason I bought this was for the 7.62x25 round. Seems to me that going to 9mm would not only be a big step back in power, it would take major surgery. But I'm no 'smith, so don't really know.

- 0 -

mfree
June 22, 2004, 01:07 PM
To make a CZ52 into a 9x19 gun, all you've got to do is change the barrel AFAIK. the 7.62x25 case is pretty much identical to a 9x19 case except for the neck and .30cal bullet tacked on to the front.

P95Carry
June 22, 2004, 01:27 PM
Thx for the review. I have enjoyed mine immensely . and am gonna load for it - when time!

I did add a 16.5# recoil spring . seems a good move .... and obtained a spare firing pin .... dry fire can bust the cast ones. You can get spare originals or machined ones .. the latter IIRC change the safety operation a bit. I got the parts from makarov.com I think.

dev_null
June 22, 2004, 02:13 PM
P95, do you happen to know the weight of the stock recoil spring?

- 0 -

P95Carry
June 22, 2004, 02:17 PM
P95, do you happen to know the weight of the stock recoil spring? dev .. afraid to say this aging cerebral cortex does not remember! I should!

I am sure someone will be able to post on that, but IIRC this 16.5# is a tad stronger rated. Sorry to be so useless!



Hey .. could just be this is referred to over on http://www.makarov.com/

Mikul
June 22, 2004, 02:23 PM
P95, do you happen to know the weight of the stock recoil spring?

14.5#

Treylis
June 22, 2004, 02:56 PM
I sent a copy of my C&R and paid $100 for the pistol. Got here in a few days. The aftermarket grips were another $45, I think?

Heh, I like how the grips cost half as much as the gun itself.

dev_null
June 22, 2004, 02:59 PM
Yeah, ain't that something? However, that's not an unreasonable price.

Thanks for the info, Mikul.

- 0 -

Barry in IN
June 23, 2004, 07:43 PM
I got one a year or two ago.
I'm still not sure why, but it is kinda neat. JUST DON'T DRY FIRE IT!
The firing pin is kinda weak. Luckily, I was forewarned.

There is/was a Makarov website out there with a CZ 52 section that had a TON of info on them. I think it's www.makarov.com and there is a link to the CZ52 part. If that's not it, do a search for "Makarov", and see if there is a website with a link.

They sell all kinds of stuff for them also, like wood grips, a slide release that you can actually use, etc.

Also, there was an American Handgunner article on them a couple of years ago by David Fortier. I don't remember which issue, but it had (I think) a Walther P99 and P22 on the cover.

DMK
June 23, 2004, 08:30 PM
These and the Yugo SKS are the greatest and funnest deals you'll come across with your C&R.

http://www.gunsnet.net/album/data/500/17971CZ-52s.JPG

DMK
June 23, 2004, 08:31 PM
Do not trust the decocker on these guns!!

Take a pencil and drop it down the barrel of the *unloaded* pistol. Now point the muzzle up (and in a safe direction) and decock it by pushing the safety all the way up until the hammer drops. The pencil should not move.

See that grey '52 in the pic up there? The pencil jumps when I try this test. That's because the firing pin is hitting it.

The black one had an improved safety/decocker installed at the time of refurb. There's a little "Z" stamped on the left side of the trigger guard to indicate that. Plus, it passes the pencil test.

Personally, I don't understand the utility of a decocker on an SA only pistol anyway. If there's a round in the chamber, it should be cocked and locked IMO. Otherwise unload it.

Justin
June 24, 2004, 01:06 AM
DMK's advice for the pencil test is spot on.

The instruction manual (if you received one) will show the magazine being used to leverage the barrel out of the slide. Don't do this if you want your magazine floorplates to stay in any sort of decent condition.

Also, do not skimp. Get thee to http://www.makarov.com or to the website for Wolff Gunsprings and order a 16.5 lb. recoil spring.

The ones that are in the gun are old and chincy, and if you shoot high-velocity ammo out of the pistol the springs won't be able to absorb the recoil.

As a result, the roller locking mechanism will batter itself along the inside of the slide, peening away the material that holds the roller in place. Once that happens, every time you field strip the pistol, the roller will have a tendency to pop out on its own. This will make a pistol that is difficult to field strip into a pistol that is mind-crushingly frustrating to field strip and reassemble.

Also, since the rollers are small and round they can easily be lost.

Trust me on this, with a CZ52 a new recoil spring is an absolute must-have, along with a new firing pin.

Dennie Suman
June 24, 2004, 11:27 PM
I recently bought my CZ52 from aimsurpluscom. It is in very good condition.
Cleaned it up, but as was mentioned, there was almost no oil or lube on it. Passed the pencil test and ready to go. OOPS, cannot find ammo for it! Seems everyone is out of ammo.
Anyway, finally ran across some ammo at a place near Cincinnati called Afield. Very nice folks. Bought 8 packs of ammo with 16 rounds wrapped in paper and tied with a string! Have no clue who makes this stuff, but wow is it fun to shoot! Kinda expensive at $3.79 for 16 rounds, but, oh well. Shot a couple mags to try it out. Shot one mag thru it after dark last night. What a blast! Blast is the correct word, for there was a huge fireball with each round!
Seems to shoot about 6 inches low and 3 inches to the left at about 5 yards. Hope to figure out how to correct this soon.
Now thinking of getting another like her, along with better grips, springs, firing pins, holsters.....wait, this is supposed to be cheap fun!
New AIM flyer came yesterday, says they now have ammo. Gotta get there soon.

WonderNine
June 24, 2004, 11:43 PM
Take a pencil and drop it down the barrel of the *unloaded* pistol. Now point the muzzle up (and in a safe direction) and decock it by pushing the safety all the way up until the hammer drops. The pencil should not move.

See that grey '52 in the pic up there? The pencil jumps when I try this test. That's because the firing pin is hitting it.

The black one had an improved safety/decocker installed at the time of refurb. There's a little "Z" stamped on the left side of the trigger guard to indicate that. Plus, it passes the pencil test.

I have two 53' unissued CZ52's I bought from AIM surplus. The decocker works fine on both of them, the hammer stops before it hits the firing pin unless the trigger is depressed. Neither have a "Z" marked on them.

Trust me on this, with a CZ52 a new recoil spring is an absolute must-have, along with a new firing pin.

Mine have both been dryfired about a dozen times apiece now without any problems. The only reason is because the slide does not lock back on the last round with 6 of the 8 mags that came with it. I use the original recoil springs, but I've only use the S&B ammo so far. If I bought some of the hot stuff I'd probably invest in a couple of heavier recoil springs.

Barry in IN
June 25, 2004, 05:45 PM
Just by chance, I found an American Rifleman article on the CZ52 last night.
I was digging through a box of old issues looking for some other article, and there it was. I had never noticed it before.

If interested, it's the May, 1990 issue, and has an Eagle Arms EA15 (AR-15) on the cover.

It's a pretty good article. He thinks it's the most accurate service pistol and cartridge ever. I don't think I'd say that.
What I found interesting was the references to it being so unavailable at the time. The author closed with something like: but since you'll never see one........

Little did he (or I) know at the time that $100 would bring home a CZ52, holster, two magazines, and a cleaning rod someday.

Also, I've seen here that some people are having trouble finding ammo. Of course it's been a while since I got my CZ52, or any ammo, but S&B and Winchester (under the USA brand) made it. Anybody who needs some might check with a source that they've ordered S&B or USA from. Cheaper Than Dirt, and ammoman.com comes to mind.

Drakejake
June 25, 2004, 05:55 PM
I have enjoyed my unissued, original CZ-52 from CDNN. It is fun to shoot but I cannot shoot it accurately. I would like to get a scope or new sights that I could adjust to get on target. Having a 52 I could shoot well would be even more fun. These are great values IOM.

Drakejake

WonderNine
June 25, 2004, 07:46 PM
Drake, one of my CZ-52's that I actually target shot with shot a nice 2" group in the upper left of a square (10" by 10" or close to that) Shoot n' See target with 8 rounds at about 15 yards. So the sites are off a bit. At 25 yards it misses the target.

The backstrap already has some rust on it from me carrying it all day in the heat. Some of the finish on that one was missing when I got it. I plan on refinishing that one someday and getting some nice sights for it if I can figure out how to tweak the mags so they hold slidelock on the last round.

DMK
June 25, 2004, 09:33 PM
I have two 53' unissued CZ52's I bought from AIM surplus. The decocker works fine on both of them, the hammer stops before it hits the firing pin unless the trigger is depressed. Neither have a "Z" marked on them. Oh yea, I'm not saying that all non-refurbed '52s will have defective decockers. It's just that a large number of them did/do and the Czechs aparently had a program in place to upgrade the offending parts when the guns got refurbed, then marked them with a "Z" when they did.

Barry in IN
June 26, 2004, 05:56 PM
Does anybody know how hard their slides are?
I've got a spare set of Novaks laying around that I could throw on mine- if a file will cut it.

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