Strange Guns: CZ 52 “Police Carbine” In 7.62×39

The Vz. 52 rifle is a favorite of mine; it hits all the right notes for being “weird”: It shoots a weird caliber – 7.62x45 (nope, that’s not a typo!), uses a weird operating mechanism (a forward-tilting bolt), and has a great big integral side-folding bayonet that looks a bit like a Roman gladius. So when I saw this conversion of a Vz. 52 on GunLab, I had a mixed reaction:

On the one hand, they’ve gotten rid of two of the things that makes the Vz. 52 so wonderfully weird to me… On the other, though, they’ve made the gun look fascinatingly historically plausible. The rear half of the Vz. 52 – it turns out – pretty closely mimics that  of a PPSh or Suomi, and the addition of a barrel shroud highly reminiscent of those guns really brings this out. But still, the receiver is different enough looking that you can tell it’s not either of those from a distance, and the insertion of a clearly intermediate-caliber “goat’s horn” curved magazine makes it… Well, even though it’s something that wasn’t (in the historical sense; it’s a modern modification most likely), it looks like it could have been, and that’s cool!

According to Chuck* of GunLab, in the comments:

I am working on the parts and will know a cost soon.

I can’t help but think a Vz. 52 converted in this way would be a pretty good seller!


*who never saw a weird or obscure gun of which he didn’t want to make a copy.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • mosinman

    how do you find ammo?
    i could have bought one a while back for a real good price, but i read up on it and the ammo is scarce

    • The “police carbine” shoots 7.62×39, so that’s not a problem.

      The original Vz. 52 shoots 7.62×45, which, IIRC, you can form from 7.35 Carcano brass. Factory ammo is virtually nonexistent in that caliber.

      • mosinman

        interesting! shame that the 7.62×45 is so rare

        • Anonymoose

          The Soviets forced them to change to 7.62×39, even though the 7.62×45 was ballistically superior.

          • Well, it wasn’t ballistically superior by a lot. IMO, the 7.62×39 was the better round, anyway.

          • mosinman

            Can’t go against the Rodina’s wishes forever!

      • Tassiebush

        Haha that’s pretty obscure when you have to use hard to source obscure brass just to make brass for it!

  • Scorpy

    What’s the story on that PPSh-style barrel shroud? I can see the Vz.52 features otherwise (backwards from the chamber area), but that front bit looks weird.

    A friend of mine bought a 52/57 last summer, and I also got to shoot it a few times. A very nice competition rifle since the weight keeps it extremely steady, and the classic stock points very easily and naturally. 10 round magazines, and only having 2 of them does sort of limit the performance, esp. when some have ARs with larger-than-usual mags…

    • andrey kireev

      Barrel shroud… is that an evil shoulder thing that goes up ?

    • Zachary marrs

      Oohh, that makes zack feel funny

    • 1911a145acp

      Oh my! That changes EVERYTHING!

  • mikenz

    I wish someone would offer an MP44 in 7.62x39mm using AK mags

    • Ken

      That would require a complete redesign since the 7.62×39 is too long for the mag and for the mag well.

      • mikenz

        No i mean built from scratch

        • Ken

          Yeah, it would be more expensive to redesign it than to simply reverse engineer it which has been done.

  • iksnilol

    Kinda off topic but what kind of performance could you expect from 7.62×45 if made with modern metallurgy and powders? Especially if necked down to 6.5mm or 6mm.

    • The metallurgy’s not so different than in the fifties. Powder chemistry is maybe a generation or two ahead, but it hasn’t gotten any more energetic, just more consistent and stable.

      Having said that, you could probably raise the pressure, which would come with a corresponding increase in muzzle energy.

      • iksnilol

        INCREASE THE PRESSURE! Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t be a reloader? Still, seems like a decent idea.

        • For what it’s worth, the 7.62×45 Czech is the parent for 7x46mm Murray. That’s… 130gr at 2,650? IIRC. You wouldn’t get as much out of a 6.5 or 6mm, but it could still be an interesting mid-level hunting round.

  • Nicholas Chen

    Not to be confused with the CZ 52 pistol.

  • roguetechie

    That is the one mod I like more than the bm-59 side folder I’m working on scrounging up to graft to mine….

    Also while I’m a huge fan of czechnology, I’m not a fan of their numbering system hah. For example there are actually 3 not 2 vz. 52’s!

    There’s the pistol (got one)

    The rifle (got one of them too)

    And there is the belt or magazine fed light machine gun also chambered for 7.62×45
    (Don’t got one want one would trade left testicle, but not my wife for one)

    Seriously it’s like a mini belt fed bren! Also even If I could just get a few mags to make work in my 52 that would be nice.

    As to the superiority of 7.62×45 or not. It seems to me at the very least it had potential to be something very very good. But as it is, its just one more missed opportunity.

  • Good point! I did forget to mention it.

  • UCSPanther

    The VZ 52/57 (The 7.62×39 version) is one of my favorite rifles. It is well made, sturdy and just plain fun to shoot.

    It has the very nice garand-style safety, a much nicer trigger pull than the SKS, and seems to be more accurate.

  • Hyok Kim

    I read that it used striker instead of hammer. I prefer hammer.