A particularly unusual variant of the Vz61 Machine pistol has arrived in the Great White North. A newly manufactured (no milsurp parts) short barreled rifle from Czech Small Arms (CSA) chambered in the universally popular .22 rimfire has seen a limited release across the country.
The .22 variant uses proprietary polymer magazines done in 10 & 20 round versions by CSA using the same material as their .223 Vz58 magazines. Interestingly these rimfire magazines still include a last round bolt-hold-open device so that the manual of arms between a traditional 32ACP model and the new .22 will remain the same. The .22 model also features an adjustable front sight that allows zeroing for both windage and elevation, and the rear flip peep sight just like the military version.
MSRP is set at $760CAD ($570 USD) but it seems the initial run was limited, and this first batch is on the verge of selling out. CSA also makes a .380 auto version of the Vz61 using a straight wall polymer mag that’s been available in Canada for a few years now. But part of the reason this .22 version is so popular is the magazine capacity advantage…
CAUTION: Canadian Legal Silliness Ahead
The fact that these firearms are available in Canada is something of a miracle considering the intricacy of our gun laws. Bear with me for a minute here.
In Canada, semi-auto handguns are limited to 10 rounds. Semi-auto rifles are limited to 5 rounds. But rimfire rifles have no limit on their capacity.
Additionally, an Order in Council from 1998 prohibited the “Skorpion Auto Pistol” meaning that existing owners had to surrender their guns, and no new registration certificates would be issued.
But because all the CSA guns are newly manufactured and include a stock, they fall into the restricted rifle category instead of the prohibited pistol category. This isn’t great, they still have to be registered with the government, and have to be shot an approved range rather than the back country. But this new rifle manages to be an exceptionally small package without any effective magazine capacity. Considering in the mid-2000s most Canadians thought they’d never get access to the Vz61 platform again, it’s plenty exciting to see them coming back.
End of Legal Silliness
The finish on these .22s might benefit from a quick application of cerakote though, as owners have reported wear around the “charging tabs” (charging nubs?) after only a very limited cycling of the action. You can see some of that metal showing in the photo below:
I’ve noticed similar wear on all the variants of Skorpion I’ve ever seen, like the Zastava M84s etc. But its a little disappointing that an owner can get that kind of wear before even pulling the trigger. I may have to pick one up to see for myself. Stay tuned…
Update: This photo is from ~600 rounds fired and you can see a much more pronounced finish wear. I’d definitely be cerakoting these little guns in the interest of long term preservation. Take a look:
We’ve also seen teasing from CSA and their Canadian importer North Sylva of a modernized lower reciever with an extended segment of picatinny rail built into the frame. Considering this is still a largely cold-war concept firearm in all it’s accoutrements, a little bit of picatinny goes a long way for anyone who wants to add a light/laser or just hold the gun somewhere other than the magazine.
One final tangent while I’ve got the Skorpion bouncing around my head. Recently on a trip to Costa Rica I stumbled upon a gun-shop and their Vz61 on the shelf. Costa Rica has literally no hunting and very few firing ranges, but firearms can be bought for self defense. As a result the Vz61 was the only “rifle” in the shop. It was a converted automatic, with the 3-position safety intact. The auto sear had been snipped, and everything about it was very milsurp from what I could see. The price was $700 USD, which was not as astronomical as I might have expected for a country with 100% taxation on firearms…