From behind the iron curtain

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Aug 11, 2005
Elbert County, CO
So I went to the Tanner gun show this weekend, knowing that I couldn't afford anything and told myself that I would not buy anything that could be found later. Well, that logic seldom works, as you're bound to run into some oddball or rare stuff. However, that stuff is usually pretty spendy. So I almost made it through the entire show, when on the second to last aisle I found this little critter.


The whole gun was slathered in black paint and there was quite a bit of new rust (soft and bright orange), but otherwise it seemed in pretty good condition. The bore is dark and a bit pitted, but it is my understanding that the original ball ammo for these things is some of the most corrosive stuff around. So I talked them down to $350 and it came home with me. I spent about 5 hourse cleaning it and stripping off that paint, but it turned out OK. Ordered 2 extra mags from and picked up 300 rounds of ammo from one of our local treasure-trove gun shops (you know the kind; not much of the new fangled stuff, but if it's weird and you need it, they've got it). I've kinda had my eye out for a VZ-52, but they just don't turn up that often. Supposedly these things are more accurate than the later VZ52/57 7.62x39mm version. We'll find out this weekend.

PS-If anyone knows where one could find a replacement barrel, I'm all ears.
Good eye. I collect mil-surp rifles and I have been wanting one of those for a long time. I haven't been as lucky as you. Hope she shoots well.
See Ya
They are neat old rifles. Every one of them I've seen has a pitted barrel, including mine. I don't shoot mine much any more because ammo is a little hard to find. I bought a thousand rounds way back when it was a dime a round; wish I'd have bought more.

It seems like I saw some replacement barrels in the Numrich catalog at one time, but I sure can't find any on their web site. A good gunsmith could make one without too much trouble, I would think, but it would be a lot more machine work than for the average bolt-action, with the gas port and extra threads. It would likely cost more than it would be worth. I sure wish I could afford a metal lathe and make one myself.

Does anyone know where you can find replacement stocks for one of these?
A caution about the VZ-52 rifles..

I thought this would be a good occasion to mention that there is a known and acknowledged problem with these rifles. I myself experienced this, later read the warning in the "American Rifleman" and had a good friend who wasn't so lucky with his VZ-52 rifle.
The thing to check for is this, the firing pins stick inside the bolt.
The pin is tapered and so is the hole. So, the pin will seize with the
tip protruding out of the bolt face. My friend had a round go off "out
of battery". He wasn't injured, and mainly the gun was badly jammed up.
Upon hearing this I checked my rifle (selected from about 40 guns
delivered from Century, it was in excellent shape, matched and looked to have been used little). I had not shot it (fortunately) and discovered my firing pin was stuck also. The very next month I read the "warning" in the "American Rifleman" magazine.
I store my guns with the tension off the firing mechanisms (hammer or striker forward). I suspect that assisted the pin in wedging itself in.
I polished that VZ-52's firing pin and coated it with graphite, but lost all confidence in the firearm. It left my collection many years ago (along with this caution to the new owner).
I know of other folks I warned who later reported to me that they too found the firing pin stuck in their rifles, not all, but some.
BOTTOM LINE>>>Always check a VZ-52 rifle bolt face before shooting it. Make sure the firing pin is free to move!
Always check a VZ-52 rifle bolt face before shooting it. Make sure the firing pin is free to move!

I completely tore this rifle down, and the pin was not lodged. Appreciate the tip, though-something to check before each range trip. I did find it interesting that these things actually have a rebiounding firing pin. Not typical of the era, especially for com bloc stuff.

Cool truck too. Got more pics of it?



nice VZ. i was going to get one ( actualy a barreled reciever) until i found out you cant find stocks anywhere!

congrats on your good find

i dont know about the quality of the barrels. but both Don at Omega and some place else has barreled recievers( i want to say the words, "texas" "alamo" and "post" have something to do with it)
I love these guns. i have been wanthing to get my hands on one to own for myself for a long time. I see a few on gunbroker, how are they in terms of reliability compaired to an SKS? How is the replacement parts scene? Not good i take it? not as bad as the Hakims i hope...

Also how similar are the ones in 7.62x39 vs 7.62x45? Exactly how does the action function? i have only shot one of a friends quite a long time ago when i was not into the scene of collecting and such.

Thanks in advance for any info anyone provides. -Matt
how are they in terms of reliability compaired to an SKS?

Well, I only had one range session with it, and the cases kept getting stuck in the chamber, ANd I mean STUCK. I had to get a piece of 1/4" round stok to drive them out. Only thing I can think is that the laquer on the case has deteriorated over the last 50 years. I'll get back to you on the reliability once I load up some brass cased stuff.

Accuracy, however, was excellent. Recoil is a little more than the SKS. I didn't chrono the rounds, but COTW shows a 130 grain pill at 2,440 FPS.

How is the replacement parts scene?

Pretty bleak.

Also how similar are the ones in 7.62x39 vs 7.62x45?

Same rifle, different barrel and mag.

Exactly how does the action function?

As far as the gas system, it most closely resembles a Remington autoloading shotgun; piston goes around the barrel with piece of sheet steel that partially encirles the barrel and has two protrusions at the rear that go through the front of the reciever and drive the bolt carrier. It is a short stroke system, like the SKS. The bolt is a tilting block type, with a really gnarly extractor that comes down from the top and grabs about 1/3 of the rim.
Was the extractor pulling on the case head hard enough to leave any signs that it was in fact yannking on the cases that got stuck? Ive seen something like this on Hakims and FN49's that pulled on the case head to the point of total case rim failure. (ripping an extractor sized chunk out)

If i knew more about the action and how they functioned id jump on one of the ones on gunbroker for $300 or so. I would shoot it so the reliability would be my major concern. I would be able to fabricate parts. But not if i didnt completely understand the action and its function, which at this point, i do not.
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