View Full Version : CZ-52 + SMG ammo

07-21-2007, 1:57 PM
Hey guys, looking at buying a CZ-52 here soon. My question is in regards to buying ammo. I have read that the SMG ammo is not safe to use in the CZ-52. But, how does one know what is loaded for the SMG, and what ammo is safe for the pistols? The romanian ammo is dirt cheap, but is it safe to use?

07-21-2007, 5:34 PM
From what I've read it is the Bulgarian ammo that you are supposed to stay away from. And with that only a certain headstamp. The CZ-52 is a fairly stout gun and should be able to handle a pretty hot load. I think it is actually the hard primers of SMG rounds that make them problematic. Of course with any surplus ammo there is a risk of problems.

07-21-2007, 5:51 PM
Actually, the tale of the "sturdy CZ52 design" is an urban legend. They're fairly weak where the barrels are milled for the rollers, and have been shown to fail there before the brass fails with overloads.

That said, I've shot an awful lot of surplus stuff from all around through mine with no problems except double-strikes and the occasional split case. I'll admit I don't shoot mine much anymore, as I have guns I prefer to shoot more.

In any case, avoid the bad headstamp Bulgarian ammo, just to be sure:


There is one type of surplus ammunition that should be avoided in all 7.62 x 25 mm caliber weapons. Bulgarian surplus ammunition with a headstamp as follows: star at 12 o'clock, the number 10 at 3 o'clock, the number 52 at 6 o'clock, and the number 9 at 9 O'clock. Not all Bulgarian ammunition is bad, just certain lots with this headstamp. There is an overpressure issue with this lot of ammunition.

Best bet for ammo is to go over to the CZ52 forum at www.czforum.com and see what they have to say.

07-21-2007, 6:00 PM
Ahh ok. Thanks!

07-21-2007, 6:06 PM
IIRC the bad batch of ammo was problamatic because it was physically out of spec and caused pressure spikes as a result, it wasn't that it was to hot, just poorly sized for the cz52's chamber.

07-21-2007, 11:30 PM

Dunno if you can read this without an account there, but it's a thread about some guy's CZ-52 that had catastrophic failure. kB!

07-22-2007, 3:06 PM
Nope, gota be a member :(

Could you copy and paste a bit?

07-22-2007, 3:49 PM
I finally got a CZ-52 last Wednesday, shipped from Southern Ohio Gun.
Of course there was the Century billboard import mark, but overall it was in very nice shape and felt good in my hands.
Come Sunday my father and I took both (we got 2, one for each of us) of our new CZ-52s out to the range. We divided up the single box of Winchester Metrics 7.62 Tokarev we had, and started shooting.
My first shot was literally almost dead-center of the little bullseye stickup I had put on the paper, and I continued to shoot really well, as did my father. The kick was negligible, and the pistol shot really nicely for me.

I put 20 rounds through it, and inserted the last magazine of the day. Chambered a round, took aim, and fired.


'Oh ****', was the first thing that crossed my mind, as I felt a blast of hot air and tiny bits of shattered metal wash over my right hand.
I turned the pistol on its left side to see the entire right side of the slide had split off like a banana peel. The cartridge case was still stuck partway in the chamber, mangled like nobodies business, and the barrel was split along the bottom for three quarters of its length from the chamber.

Hopefully I'll have pictures soon, the rangemaster took some with her camera phone, but we'll probably take some more on Monday in proper light. Should be awesome macro fodder.

I've never even heard of a CZ-52 catastrophically failing like that, everything I had heard painted them as rugged bricks. As it was, I was very lucky I didn't get severely hurt by the failure; all the debris and gas shot straight out to the right, just sort of grazing my hand. Yes, I did go out and buy some lottery tickets this evening.

Anyway, what do you guys think happened? I'm skeptical about the issue being the ammo, but it is entirely possible. I'm thinking about tearing down a couple leftover rounds to see if there's enough space for a double-charge to have occurred.
A barrel blockage is unlikely, but not out of the question- I haven't counted bullet holes in the target yet.
I sort of suspect that the barrel just plain gave up, but it makes no sense to me that it would do so suddenly, presumably after years of use in the military; from its condition it may have been a carry piece only, but I simply don't know.

I'll be giving SOG a call Monday morning to see if they'll refund me or send me a new one. I suppose it could go either way, the pistol being a used item, but I'd like to hope they'll help me out here. I reeeally like these pistols now, in spite of what happened.
Oh yeah, we checked over my dad's after we finished shooting, and it was perfectly fine.

There are pictures, too.

07-22-2007, 3:54 PM
Images attached! FYI, he sent it back and got a new one.

07-22-2007, 4:51 PM
wow. Thats certainly a catastrophic failure. Thanks for posting.

07-22-2007, 7:25 PM
There have been a good number of CZ52s blow up. It was investigated extensively over at czforum, and they made some interesting conclusions regarding the leade being the key contributor, without ever admitting the chamber weakness issues.

(essentially, the leade is the distance from the end of the case to the beginning of the rifling - http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_9_51/ai_n14816186).

There have been concerns about double-charges of the S&B ammo, but that's a really hard thing to prove after the fact.

The worrisome part is the tests that usenet regular Clark Magnuson did that show the CZ52 chamber fails before the brass, so you lose that important safety margin where your brass lets excess pressure go before the gun flies to pieces.

FWIW, that Winchester Metric is the same ammo as S&B 7.62x25, sometimes without the sealant at the neck. Made in the same plant, etc.

07-22-2007, 10:37 PM
I read in some destructive tests where the Tokarev design was proven to be much sturdier than the CZ52. That was a surprise to me- owning both, the Tok feels light and flimsy by comparison :)

Recoil feels lighter in the Tok too- go figure.