BRNO VZ 24 Sporter

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Apr 27, 2010
I found a Brno VZ 24 in a gun shop today. It is a very well finished sporter in .30-06. I have heard that some were sold as sporters in the 1950s. How can I tell if it is a factory sporter or if it is a sporterized military rifle? I'm not sure I want to buy a rifle that was re-barreled by an unknown person.

Also, the gun is marked $400. It seems expensive compared to the military guns I have seen. Is that price out of line?
It's not just a sporterized military rifle as the barrel has been replaced. As far as I know, there were not VZ-24s produced in military form chambered in 30-06. As for the price, it depends on what comes with it. If it's been done well, $400 is a decent price. If it has been D&T'd by a 7-year-old with a dremel, any price is probably too much. If you have some way of checking the headspace, do it. VZ-24's are one of the best actions out there, so that is a definite positive. Check the magazine and make sure that full-length 30-06 rounds will fit. I have a 1909 argentine that has been reamed out to 30-06, but I can't fit M2 ball ammo in it. All of the commercial ammo I've tried fits as do most of my reloads, but it's destiny is to become a 6mm Remington so that's not much of an issue.

So, basically, it could be anything from a bubba rebarrel to a semi-sporter to a well-done custom.

Probably not much help. :)

Hmm. That concerns me a little for 400 bucks. It does look nice but I'd hate to blow my money on a rifle that is not accurate or not safe. If it turned out bad, how difficult and expensive is it to rebarrel?
If it's marked on the receiver rail as a Vz.24, then it's not a civilian sporting rifle. Some South American Vz.24 users converted their rifles to .30-'06. If it still has the stepped barrel profile, it's probably a military conversion.
If it is well-done, $400 would seem a fine price to me. I'd talk to the shop about it. Ask if they can verify that .30-'06 ammo fits and feeds properly. Ask if they have a gunsmith that (maybe you could pay to?) give it a clean bill of health.

While buying a sporter could be a real "pig in a poke" there were wonderful 'smiths working all over the place who could turn an old military rifle into a very high quality hunting rifle. It would be a shame to miss a great one for only $400 because you didn't know what you were looking at.

It would also be a shame to waste $400 on a bad one...because you didn't know what you were looking at! :)

As with many custom things, you can make inferences about the total quality of the job by observing details. Are the screws in good condition, or stripped? Does the wood fit tight and flush to the metal? How is the bluing? How is the wood finish and checkering? A 'smith who could do a great job of inletting and fit & finish probably didn't want to do a hack job with the internals either. So a careful inspection could give you a good feel for whether the rifle is quality or crap. But I'd still want a gunsmith to do a thorough inspection.
Ask if they can verify that .30-'06 ammo fits and feeds properly. Ask if they have a gunsmith that (maybe you could pay to?) give it a clean bill of health.

+1! If the ammo fits well, and you can fully load it, then it's probably a well-done job. I made a tiny mistake in purchasing the exact same thing where the .30-06 doesn't fully fit into the 8mm Mauser internal mag. I can fit 3 into it before they jam at an odd angle. Quite frustrating... It's a MOA gun, though!

$400 is a decent price if the ammo fits well, too. If you consider what else you can get for $400 these days (Savage Axis, Remington 770, Ruger American, etc...), then I'd take a customized Mauser over just about anything else. I have seem Remington 700s, Winchester 70s, and Weatherby Vanguards for about $400 before, but that's the exception not the rule.
The gun is a a fairly large chain store. If they have an issue with me loading real cartridges in the store, would it be sufficient to load and cycle a magazine of .30-06 snap caps to test function?
Yes, as long as the snap caps simulate a full length cartridge with bullet, then sure!

Make sure you can fill the mag without it jamming.
If it's marked on the receiver rail as a Vz.24, then it's not a civilian sporting rifle
Most times that is right. I have however seen two VZ 24 stamped guns which I am sure were factory sporters, since the barrels and butt plate were marked BRNO. I doubt anyone would counterfeit the stamps on something like that, since it wouldn't really add any value.
Now I can't wait to get back to the store and check it out better. Its very tempting. If I hadn't just bought the ol' lady a deer rifle I would already have it.

Bought the rifle yesterday. It was at Cabelas. They came down to $370 and then I signed up for the Cabelas Club card which brought it down to $345. So not too bad.

It already had an aftermarket safety installed and a little Weaver k2.5 scope.

Now the issue... The employees at Cabelas said its against policy to chamber anything in the store, so I couldn't test it with snap caps. I'm not sure if they would have allowed go/no-go gauges but I didn't have any anyways. I looked down the barrel and its definitely been shot some, so I though what the heck I'll give it a try.

Got it home and tried an A-Zoom aluminum snap cap. It tries to chamber but I can only rotate the bolt about halfway down. On the verge of being seriously irritated, I tried some factory ammo. Winchester Super X 165 gr and PPU 180 gr. Both chambered fine. It took a little more force than closing the bolt on an empty chamber, but nothing excessive. While working the bolt fast it is barely noticeable. I feel like the chamber is a tad on the tight side or short side maybe, but it seems like it has been shot successfully before without blowing anyone's face off. Opinions or advice from people more knowledgeable than me would be welcomed.
Repeated chambering of the snap caps created a thin wear line represented by the red line in the image.


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Went out and shot the rifle today. It shot ~1.5 inch groups at 100 yds off a rolled up sweatshirt. Not bad for me considering it has an original military trigger and an antique 2.5 power scope with crosshairs thicker than the bullseye at 100 yards.

The only bad thing is that there is definitely something strange going on with the chamber. As you can see in the attached image, it seems like the chamber is setting back the shoulder a hair and making it a bit more abrupt. Almost like an Ackley Improved but maybe not quite as extreme. I'm fairly puzzled by the whole deal. Opinions?


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VZ-24 Chambering

Reading you comments about having issues chambering a round made me think about this....

You may or may not know this . but Mausers were designed to feed rounds from the magazine, i.e., load the magazine, then cycle the bolt to pick up a round (controlled round feeding). Close bolt, then open bolt to extract the round.

Chambering a round by dropping it in the magazine or into the chamber will damage the ejector, unless it has been modified to slip ober a chambered round.

This may not be your problem, but since you now have a Mauser, it's good info to know.

Enjoy your VZ24!
Thanks but that is not the cause of my problem. I have loaded all the rounds through the magazine.
A couple of thoughts. If you can, get a chamber cast. It almost appears that there's something else in the chamber forming the little ridge at the base of the shoulder. That, or it could be an artifact of the picture itself. Also, look around for other improved 30-06 chamberings besides Ackley. Stuff like 30 Gibbs. I know that there are more out there and I think there's one with a 28-degree shoulder angle, but I don't think yours is even that angled.

Thanks Matt, I noticed that little ring too but thought it may be from where the old shoulder was flattened out
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