U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Classic Firearms has historically been one of those companies that I often saw named on my monthly credit card bill. Fresh back in the United States and with a Curio and Relic FFL hanging on my wall I made orders from them as frequently as I could get away with. Over the past decade military surplus firearms seem to have become more and more scarce and so had my acquisitions. At some point the household debate of if that really is another gun in the safe becomes dangerous. Classic Firearms themselves have also greatly expanded to include modern and US-produced arms. Of course they hadn't stopped bringing in interesting military surplus finds and their recent import of the Vz 52 in 7.62x45mm is evident of that.
That's right, 7.62x45mm. This cartridge splits the dimensional difference between the AK/SKS 7.62x39mm and American 7.62x51mm. During the post-war and early-Soviet era search for an intermediate cartridge Czechoslovakia decided they wanted a little more punch than the SKS and a different operating system to shoot it from. This rebellion of sorts was short lived and the Vz 52 was only produced for about five years before pseudo-conformity to Soviet block military regulations. Pacific Northwest weather prevented us from chronographing out 1954-loaded surplus ammunition, but the round is said to generate about 200 fps more than 7.62x39mm and hurls a 131gr projectile. Interestingly enough recoil on this rifle is considerably less than an SKS or AK. Weight I'm sure plays a role, but the operating system seems to do a great job of prolonging the recoil impulse enough to make it more of a shove than a snap in the shoulder. A closer look at the Vz52 can be seen in the tabletop video below:
Classic Firearms has a limited supply of these and I hope that by the time you read this article it's not too late to pick one up. It's a very interesting piece of history and machine. Ours came fairly clean to the touch, but needed a good evening's worth of cleaning before I felt safe firing it. Preservative grease was everywhere once we opened up the rifle. We made good use of paper towels, gentle solvents, and Swab-its for all of the nooks and crannies. Also of particular use were the tear-to-fit wipes from Podavach. Once everything was safe and clean we hit the range with some 60+ year old ammunition for our shooting impressions seen below. It's worth noting that we had not a single malfunction or ammunition failure during our outing. If you'd like to see how the action functions in slow motion, this is the video you'll want to see.
Information is somewhat limited on a firearm that had such a short production run, but Classic Firearms offers the following on their product page:
|Country of Manufacture||Czech Republic|
|License Requirement||Curio and Relic|
|Mfg. Part Number||Czech VZ-52|
|Condition||Surplus / Used|
A big thank you to Classic Firearms for making this review possible. The Vz 52 satisfies both the history and mechanical nerd in me and makes for a fun afternoon at the range. If you decide to snatch one of these up be on the lookout for ammunition. It's far from common, but at the moment still affordable.
About Graham Baates
“Graham Baates” is a pen name used by a 15-year active Army veteran who spent most of his time in the tactical side of the Intelligence community including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Post-Army Graham spent some time in the local 3-Gun circuit before becoming a full-time NRA Certified defensive handgun instructor and now works as an industry writer while curating a YouTube channel on the side. Visit Graham on Youtube .