Uncle Jaque's Soap-Box

Introduction to the Czech CZ-52 Pistol:

Posted in Firearms: Curios and Relics. by Uncle Jaque on 11/15/2009

RANGE REPORT: CZ-52 – 11/30/02

This Morning broke with blue sky and moderate temperatures; Thanksgiving hubbub is at last behind us and there is nothing serious on the household agenda. At last; a chance to repair to the range and see if this new (to me) CZ-52 actually works!


Czech CZ-52 Pistol; 7.62 X 25mm

A Neighbor took me up on my offer to take him and his two kids (about 8 and 14) out shooting. He had a .22 rifle and an old shotgun he had not broken out in years, and the kids had never fired a “real” gun. Like most of us, I relish an opportunity to pass along what is left of the torch of our fine American heritage of ”Shooting Sports” to the next generation.
Just on a hunch, I packed along an old Savage .22 and a box of LR.

It was indeed gratifying to see the sheer fun these youngsters were having busting clay pigeons at 50 yards with the .22 rifles after a short time of practice under my coaching. They didn’t stop until about 4 boxes of .22s were expended, and were sorry we hadn’t brought more.
The torch, methinks, is passed!

Of course, once the young ones were squared away in the fine art of riflery, out came the CZ-52 and that box of Yugoslavian (?) ‘bxn” ammo.


7.62 X 25mm Ammo

The first shot established that despite reports of the CZ being a “fire-breathing dragon”, it is not an unpleasant pistol to shoot at all. I do not think that recoil is any more or less pronounced than with a standard service ball load in the M-1911A1 .45ACP. Spectators did not report any “fireball” muzzle blast, and although the report is indeed sharp, I don’t think that it was much more than a .357 Magnum.

The trigger pull is, as we are warned, horrible; long, gritty, creepy and hard. Combined with the small, fine sights and long grip (which I think contributes to arc of movement or “shake”), I was unable to keep 5 shots on a foot square target at 50 yards, even 2-handed. I only hit it once. Even at 25 yards I was all over a foot and a half, and I don’t think that it is the pistol’s fault.

Such empties as we did find were a good 40 to 50 feet away from where I was shooting, to the right rear. Observers did not see the empties being ejected as I fired due to their high exit velocity, and I am glad that I had instructed all observers to stand to my left. One of those things would have hurt, I suspect, had one struck a bystander in the face or other exposed part.

Only one round FTF (failed to fire) on the first hit, and went off on the second. This ammo is loaded on the 8-round stripper clips for SMG, and I had expected more hard-fires.

Recovered brass, much to my surprise, has one central flash-hole in the base – Boxer priming in a Yugoslavian military round?

(Not really; later discovered that this was merely a dimple where the central anvil for the Berdan primer was punched back from the inside)

They should be quite reloadable if so…. at least those which we are able to chase down! Only 5 casings were recovered out of about 25 fired.

Immediately after firing, the bore was swabbed with Ballistol (an excellent corrosive priming neutralizer) and the breech face and “works” scrubbed with same on a toothbrush. When I got home the CZ was field-stripped and thoroughly cleaned. Much to my surprise, a lot of the oil oozing back out from the pistol’s workings was brown with dissolved rust – especially between the barrel and recoil spring and locking mechanism. I hadn’t seen any rust at all on exposed surfaces, and I can’t find any indication of pitting or finish damage – but rust there was.
Fortunately, I think we caught it in time before any real damage was done.

I scrounged up a 5” length of 3/16” dia. brass rod stock, which fit perfectly into the hole in the camming link, and found that it works well to hold the slide upside down, muzzle facing me, insert the end of the rod into the hole, and pull it towards me to dismount it. This way, if the rod should slip out of the hole after the locking block has cleared the slide, the barrel would sail off away from me, instead of smacking me betwixt the eyes or taking some teeth (such as remain) out. Fortunately, this theory remains untested as the brass rod secures the barrel very well.
I like cycling the action back and forth to watch how it works – what a fascinating piece of machinery!


Underside of CZ-52 Slide showing roller locking mechanism.

It looks as if to remove the camming link and locking rollers, one would have to drive out the transverse pin going through the cam block. I did not take things this far, however, and managed to get the mechanism fairly clean with the toothbrush.

It is a bit of a trick to get the firing pin back in the right way after having removed it to clean. I scoured out the FP channel with a doubled-over and twisted pipe cleaner, and there was quite a bit of rust in there as well.

On the basis of the violent and excessive ejection, it seems that a beefed-up recoil spring is indicated. I’m going to go whole hog and get the 18# one – it’s a lot easier to reduce a spring by a coil or two than it is to add on to it, and since I intend to reload on the “warm” side, it seems like a good idea to install a stalwart spring.

An extended slide release is also being ordered from Makarov.com, as well as a heavy-duty modified firing pin, rebound spring, and retainer.
We understand that this modification eliminates the “safe” de-cock feature on the CZ, which I never trusted to begin with. Should I ever have a need to lower the hammer on a live round, I would de-cock with one thumb while gently lowering the hammer with the other, the same as with a 1911-A1 (using the trigger to lower the hammer, which in itself can be a dicey deal, best avoided.

This “upgrade” order is already up to $91+, and by the time I buy reloading dies and brass for it, I’m going to have around $300 in this pistol!

Still a “bargain”? Hey; I’m not complaining yet; the darned thing is sort of growing on me!

You should have seen that young fellow light up like a Christmas tree when we gave him a magazine with one round in it and let him (after sufficient inservice training) touch off the old CZ! I don’t think that he was missing his video-games at all for a while there!


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