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What is the big deal with the Vz. 58?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Hammerhead6814, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. Hammerhead6814

    Hammerhead6814 Well-Known Member

    Shotgun news, about a million blogs, and topic's on web-forums everywhere are teeming with information and praise for the Vz. 58 right now. The thing is I can't figure out why.

    It has no parts interchangeable with it's Soviet-Bloc buddy, it also cannot swap magazines with the AK. From what shotgun news has stated, it's no more accurate than a regular AK-clone, no more reliable, and if my experiences in finding them has taught me anything, they're actually more expensive.

    The only thing the Vz. 58 has on the Kalashnikov is weight, 3.1 kg compared to 3.4. But really, for .3 kilograms a Vz?

    Am I missing something? What is so great about these rifles? Is it the same euphoria felt when eating "I can't believe it's not butter?"
  2. John Parker

    John Parker Well-Known Member

    They are a novelty, I guess.

    And, 'I can't believe it's not butter' is disgusting!
  3. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Well-Known Member

    Okay, I'll bite. The comparison to the AK is a red herring due to the fact that Vz.58 looks a lot like it. But if you want to compare them, the Vz. is also a better rifle.

    It is lighter, yes. But realize that the comparison you describe is between the milled Vz and a stamped AKM. Quality is excellent. The Czech gun handles much better in my hands and is much more comfortable to shoot. The Vz seems to handle recoil better, for whatever reason (stock design?) It has a bolt hold open and a safety that can be reached by human fingers. Mag changes are a lot less clumsy. You can switch between a fixed and folding stock with no tool other than a coin. The charging handle is more lefty-accessible. I've also found it to be much easier to shoot accurately.

    I'm not knocking the AK, but I prefer the Czech design.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
  4. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Well-Known Member

    Everything he said.

    The AK is a good platform, but it's always been an abysmal failure in terms of ergonomics. The VZ-58 rectifies that problem quite well-though not perfectly-and improves on the AK in several other areas as well. It's easier to disassemble and reassemble, balances considerably better, and seems to be just as reliable, if not more reliable than an AK. I've seen plenty of Kalashnikov clones that simply would not function properly due to poor construction..this seems far less common with the VZ-58 clones.

    Overall, clone to clone, it would seem that the VZs are more accurate, quite possibly more reliable, and not all that much different in price. AKs start at about $500, VZ-58s at $600. You can spend well over a grand on a collector's variant, or an Arsenal. Or you can spend $800-1200 for a top-of-the-line VZ-58, which is almost identical pricing to that of an Arsenal.

    Because the parts kits have been available for years, but up until the past year or two, there haven't been any commercial VZ-58s available to speak of. Suddenly, several different sources have begun making/importing receivers, and the parts kits are getting built-up into rifles en masse. Which means they're becoming increasingly common on the civilian market, and as a result people are starting to become interested in the design. Because fundamentally it's an alternate-universe AK, just designed much better.
  5. Hammerhead6814

    Hammerhead6814 Well-Known Member

    Can you modify these to take AK magazines?
  6. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it could be done, but with Vz mags running about $13-14 it's probably not worth the effort.
  7. Hammerhead6814

    Hammerhead6814 Well-Known Member

    Where are you finding them for $13? I've got four for twenty dollars a piece from Centerfire Systems. J&G and AIM didn't have any.
  8. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Well-Known Member

  9. Grey Morel

    Grey Morel Well-Known Member

    The VZ58 is a better rifle in every respect. Even when compared to milled receiver AK's it comes out ahead.

    * Its receiver is always milled, and i believe they thicker than a milled AK; this results in a potentially longer service life than even the venerable AK

    * Its open bolt design drastically reduces the chance of the most common malfunction seen with the AK; a stovepipe caused by empty brass.

    * It has a better reputation for accuracy. This could be because the sights are better than those found on most AKs, but the guns themselves are manufactured with more attention to detail, so I'm sure that helps out too.

    The VZ-58 is a better all around gun; I will rag on it for one thing though: the way the magazines latch is a little awkward, and while the latching system is probably pretty tough, I personally doubt it's as strong as an AK (no Spetznas push ups with the VZ-58).

    Other than that, If I was willing to part with twice the money, I would take the VZ over an AK any day.
  10. Isher

    Isher Well-Known Member

    All -

    Herewith is a pretty good comparison of VZ and AK:


    +1 on other's comments about quality and ergonomics and reliability.

    I did not put optics on mine, and it is definitely a tack driver,

    Iron sights and all.

    It is my go-to ranch/truck/HD carbine.

    And not a fad, either.

    It has been around for a number of years, and certain people,

    Like me, immediately swapped out AK's or Mini 14's or whatever

    For this superior weapon.

  11. Leadhead

    Leadhead Well-Known Member

    In Canada the big deal with the VZ58 is that according to the Govt. it is not as evil as the AK and we are allowed to own and shoot them...:)
  12. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    It's all in the design.

    For one thing, there's twin springs:

    Another thing is the way the bolt locks up:

    Just to clarify (so nobody jumps to conclusions), the Vz58 is not an "open bolt design".

    What Grey Morel meant to say was that the bolt carrier is the 'top of the gun', so there is nothing in the way of ejected brass . .
    As seen here with a cut receiver:
  13. fugi

    fugi Well-Known Member

    I'm glad someone is getting some good use out of my comparison.

    the VZ should prove to be more accurate for a number of reasons. the lockup of the tilting locking breech block means the bolt doesn't rotate or tilt like the AK or FAL machined with a little extra space in mind for reliability, so it will always lock in the same position that would otherwise require precise machining and multiple lugs like those on the AR.

    the short stroke gas system, while regrettably isn't adjustable, provides for a cleaner action unlike a long-stroke or direct impingement where dirty gas either leaks or is injected more directly.

    the dual springs aren't really dual springs as with the AR-180, one is a much weaker striker spring which doesn't to much to soften recoil or slow the bolt down. which brings us to the striker design. I don't really see an advantage here directly, but it greatly simplifies construction, as does the disconnect function being a nub on the trigger bar instead of like the AK, having a disconnector, spring, and having to pivot around the trigger axis pin. this also makes the trigger spring a multi-purpose component of being the trigger and disconnect spring. which isn't a concept unfamiliar to CZ as the sear spring also acts on the top cover detent pin and the detent for the selector switch.

    it may take more than a handful more operations to machine a VZ receiver and isn't what I'd choose to equip a great many people with if cost and time of manufacture was my primary concern, as it was with Kalashnikov's requirements, but it is a more accurate and at the least an equally reliable rifle.
  14. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking about buying a Vz.58 and your comparison with the AK was extremely informative, interesting and helpful. The way the carrier pivots the breech block up and clear allowing the bolt to unlock (no rotation, no tilt) is elegant. Now I really want one.

  15. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    I have had several AKM clones in the past, including a nice Hungarian years ago, and my wife's WASR-10. I have a SA vZ-58, and am very happy with it. It is lighter, more accurate, less percieved recoil, (like there really was a problem there.), and just as reliable and sturdy. Magazines are lighter due to aluminum construction, though admittedly a bit more fragile for the same reason. I am very happy with my D-Technic SA vZ-58 from CZ-USA. Here it is with the gee gaws I have attached.

  16. outerlimit

    outerlimit Well-Known Member

    I was interested in these many years ago, when they weren't very popular or available.

    It looks like they are the current flavor of the month now.
  17. fugi

    fugi Well-Known Member

    That's a nice looking VZ, you know if you can remove the barrel extension that's on there and replace it with a flash hider? I don't know how those are attached..
  18. Isher

    Isher Well-Known Member

    Vz 58

    Here's the country mouse version.......
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
  19. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    I like to know how names of weapons came about or what the abbreviations stand for. The SA Vz.58 is interesting and may be a misnomer .... according to Wikipedia. :)

    Vz.58 is an abbreviation for Vzor 58, meaning "Model 58". Vzor is the Czech word for model and it was introduced in 1958.

    SA as in SA Vz. 58 means submachine gun since "Samopal" means submachine gun in Czech. So if a submachine gun is defined as "a firearm that combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol", wouldn't SA be inaccurate here? Is there such a thing as a 7.62 x 39mm pistol?

    One last "fact" in case anyone is wondering ... Česká Zbrojovka Uherský Brod is the full name of CZ as in CZ SA Vz.58.

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
  20. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    The Czechs have always been a little different when it comes to weapons. They have a long history of quality firearms and they weren't going to just make a licensed copy of anything.

    Take for example the vz52 handgun in comparison to the TT-33, the vz52 carbine in comparison to the SKS, the vz82 handgun in comparison to the Makarov. The vz58 is just their version of the AK. And in typical Czech fashion, they felt they could do it better.

    That may not be a literal translation. It may be their way of saying that it isn't a full power rifle round.

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