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Silver Bullet member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried to re-post my popular "Shop Notes" illustrated dis and re-assembly article for the CZ-52 pistol - but carachter and image restrictions on this new board really preclude my posting of such an extended article.

Some day if a work-around is discovered for these restrictions, I might post my notes yet. In the meantime, you'll have to remember it from the "old" board, I guess.

Silver Bullet member
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Now there's a thought!

I like the idea of hosting it - but alas; I have narry a clue as to how to do that!

If you are quick, you might be able to download the HTML of the topic at:

The photos are on line at my photobucket account - I suppose that I could link them, but even then I would exceed the character limit of oh, about 1200 I think it is.

That topic needs to be cleaned up a bit; a couple of people posted with a full "quote" which re-posted my whole rather extensive article in their posting, which made it pretty redundant and excessively long.

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Jaque-the limit has been reset-it will work now. Post away.

Silver Bullet member
1,030 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jolly Good, Then!

Thanks, Vic - you're a daisy!

I still have a bit of editing to do on the text & HTML file, changing the picture links from the old board to my photobucket account and such - but I'll try to put it up sometime over the next week or so.

Can't seem to connect to the site linked by Phoenix79 for some reason.

DirkD - I don't recall right off the top of my head what size punch you use for that camming block retaining pin, but I think it's around 1/16".

I'm sure that Brownell's carries them, and most auto parts / tool shops like NAPA ought to as well.

In a pinch I've been known to rummage around for a finishing nail of the right diameter, grind or file off the point, and drift a pin out with that.
It's a little soft, will bend easily and might not last a lifetime... but they're cheap and more often than not will get the job done!

Be careful not to lose the pin and rollers, as teenie little parts like that can hide amazingly well amidst furniture, carpets, shop floor litter etc. once dropped.

Once you get the camming block off, the rollers fall right out and are a cinch to replace. If one end of your new rollers looks a little different than the other, try to install them both the same way up.


The G-3 and CETME rifles that use a similar semi locked roller delay action use different sized rollers to adjust head space, but as far as I know the CZ-52 rollers are pretty uniform. At least they should be.

Periodically check for signs of rubbing or chafing along the inside walls of the slide or any burrs or eccentricity (out of round) on the rollers.

We had one Czechophile on the old boards whose slide mysteriously split open like a well cooked hot dog, and as near as I could figure it was because of a worn out roller locked up causing the slide to "jump" over it, splitting out the side.


Silver Bullet member
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
"Soft" Rollers...

The old 9mm conversion barrels (prior to this last batch that has been putting out ( I think that's who it is...) had notoriously soft rollers, but we seldom hear of issue rollers being that way.

One of the "issues" with the Czech-O-Matic that I've long speculated about has been the inconsistent heat treatment & hardness of it's parts. So far a few owners have run Rockwell testing on their pistols and the results thus far, although being far too small a sample to represent a scientifically significant study, strongly suggest that my hypothesis may be well founded.

If you caught a pair of soft original rollers, then all the more reason for ALL Czechophiles to check their system for signs of deformation or excessive wear regularly.

It would be interesting to note whether any other Czech military pistols manifest this heat treatment issue as well, of if it is specific to the CZ-52.

A couple of the fortunately rare kablooies of COMs have been suspected to have been a function of overhardened / embrittled barrels or other critical components such as slides or frames as much as any ammo issues.

Here we have a couple of illustrations which I've thoughtfully pirated off of the old board. Thanks to original contributors, wherever you are!



Cracked Chamber (KragDude): ....

Here's a slide that may have been overhardened:

We have had instances of barrels bulging over the chamber area as well, suggesting that they were not hardened enough.

If anyone out there has access to a hardness tester, please feel free to check out the hardness of the critical components on your Czech pistol and submit here for comparison. I don't know what industry standards are, but I'll bet we could find out. If continuing experiments continue to demonstrate the legitimacy of my thesis, then it would be something that all of us would well be made aware of.

Just to be on the safe side, it might be wise for new owners of the increasingly popular (I'm gonna have to get one!) CZ-83s to keep a close eye on things as well.

Silver Bullet member
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Jury Still Out...

It well could be that some of the old milsurp ammo is as much if not more of a factor in the CZ-52 failures than material or design faults; we really don't know for sure at this point.

What does seem to be general tendencies though, is that most of these structural failures seem to happen with milsurp ammo, which can suffer from potentially dangerous deterioration over time in unknown conditions of storage and transportation. It has also been speculated that under the old Soviet regime, arsenal workers, who were essentially slave laborers, may have intentionally sabotaged some rounds to take revenge on their communist taskmasters.

There was a batch of Bulgarian ammo that was notorious for blowing up COMs; it was speculated that it was a lot of proof test ammo and was eventually weeded out of the market and we have heard no more about it for a couple of years now.

Bad Bulgarian: (Pink paper wrapper) ------>

Of course about 90% of the shooting with these 7.62X25mm arms is done with relatively cheap milsurp ammo, so this apparent connection could be deceptive as well.

One thing that I have noticed is that we seldom if ever hear of a Tokarev - even the rather shoddy Chinese versions - having any problem with old milsurp ammo - or any ammo, for that matter.
That, to me anyway, presents a strong suggestion that there is more going on than just old milsurp ammo.

When people complained about every 5th round or so misfiring in a Czech-O-Matic using milsurp, it struck me as rather odd that I was not having this issue in my Polish Tokarev.

Sure enough; when a couple of Gunboarders came up with a way to shim up and strengthen the mainspring of their CZ-52s, all of a sudden they got a whole lot more reliable.

Imagine that!

I wouldn't be afraid to keep shooting your '52, as long as you check it over carefully on a regular basis for signs of excessive wear, parts deformation or cracking. Look for signs of excessive pressure on your case heads and primers, such as excessive flattening, "cratering", or perforation.

It might not hurt to run the "Perry Spin Test" (About which I recently re-posted) on new lots of ammo, just to be on the safe side, and if you know how to slug your bore and cast the chamber that would be advised as well.

Keep up on regular maintenance and always practice safe shooting fundamentals and wear appropriate hearing and eye protection.

KBs with CZ-52s are quite rare, and I have yet to hear of anyone being seriously injured when they did.

Only one shooter that I've read about received even minor cuts and burns when his pistol let go - and was no doubt emotionally traumatized somewhat as well.
But as far as I know it was handled effectively with band aids and ointment... perhaps a change of skivvies too - but who could fault the poor bloke for that?!

They usually just split out and seize up, and only one departure of a part as shrapnel has been reported, and that was an extractor during an intentional proof test blowup (I didn't do it!). Even if the barrel bursts completely open, the slide and frame usually contain the pieces, and I have never heard of one completely "blowing up" like a grenade or even the slide coming off of the frame.

Have fun with your Czech-O-Matic, but don't push your luck with it.

For the price (especially a couple of years ago) they are still one heck of a pistol, as well as a very unique and interesting contraption!

Silver Bullet member
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
One of the Earlier "Shop Notes" Postings:

Just dug this up and blew the cyber-dust off of it!

More to follow...


The CZ-52; LOTS OF FUN to Take Apart... And a doozey to put back together! :)

Having received my tune-up kit from Monday, (Dec. of 2002) I decided it was time to get serious about finding out what makes this old dragon tick... or go "bang".

By this time we all know how to "Field-Strip" the pistol; it's a pretty basic operation, and not a big challenge to anyone who can do it with a 1911 type system.
Beyond that, however, there seems to be precious little direction as to how to go about getting at, taking out, and putting back together all of those mysterious little bitty-parts inside of the lockwork. There was a web site, but upon checking it, it seems that the owner had put so much time and effort into the work that he'd put it on a CD and stopped giving it away in hopes of getting some return on his investment - which I can't fault a bit, and hope he's generously compensated for his work. Were I not such a cheap old Yankee and tenaciously prone to doing things the hard way whenever possible, I'dve bought one of those CDs already and learned how to go about this properly from the start.

Another has some tips on doing a trigger-job, which are helpful - but there are lots more parts than that in there!
(Have you noticed yet?)

My old standby, the NRA book of Handgun Assembly (There is a separate one for Rifles & Shotguns) let me down; there is no CZ-52 in there at all.

As I often end up doing, I just studied how things go together, where all the pins and screws are, and go at it intuitively. Unfortunately, as is the case in military tactics where the most carefully laid out strategy tends to go all to muck as soon as the first shot is fired, so too do firearms come apart... or I should say "fall or fly" apart - all too often in a manner quite unexpected.

In this case I did all right, I suppose, in that I seem to have captured / retrieved/ collected all of the parts and have at least a vague clue as how to put them back together again.

One of my tricks to facilitate that eventuality is to make notes and sketches as I go along to refer to in putting it back together, and to file for future reference.

I keep a file-folder or 3-ring binder on all of my guns for such technical notes, as well as reloading data, fired & annotated targets, clipped articles from gun magazines, documentation of purchase etc.. When & if I sell a gun, the file goes with it (if the buyer is at all interested). Apparently not to many shooters do this, but it's one of those obsessive-compulsive habits I picked up from my Engineer Father, and it does come in handy at times.

It occurred to me that some fellow CZ-52 owners out there might like to check out my notes as well, if for no other reason than to chide me for having done it all wrong and to stop being such an idiot before I wreck my pistol... but who knows; perhaps someone might find them helpful.

(Update ed.; It seems that at least a few indeed have over the year since this article was originally posted)

Most of my sketches are in pencil on graph paper, which do not seem to scan all that well - at least with the equipment at our disposal.
I took a couple and inked them in to reproduce better and annotated them on the graphics program, and will post them here for you examination. They are by no means complete or comprehensive, but sort of a random sampling. I will do the same during re-assembly, and may well be in here pleading for advice should things not go back together as well as they come apart - as is all too often the case, don't we know!?

I'm glad I took the works down, though. One of the first things I did after opening the box was to liberally anoint the CZ-52 with Ballistol - a good penetrant and solvent as well as preservative and lubricant.
When I got the sideplate off (do NOT try to pry it off in the front, as it is retained by an underlocking lip which fits into a corresponding mortice in the frame) all of the works were covered in a thick, reddish-brown sludge. Apparently the Ballistol had encountered significant rust in there, and had dissolved it... but it was a mess.

(Update ed.; Later investigation and discussion indicated that Ballistol is such an effective solvent that it was probably dissolving the re-arsenalled "black" phosphate finish on this and other re-arsed CZ-52s, producing this harmless but unsightly brown residue.
There apparantly was, however, light rust inside this particular pistol when recieved)

Each part had to be wiped off as well as each hole, nook and cranny in the frame. Some residual reddish spots had to be scrubbed briskly with a stiff toothbrush, and some of the little holes chased with .22 or .30 cal. bore brushes - the tinier ones with pipe-cleaners.

I don't know if all of Century's imports are rusty inside (although I have not found any actual damage yet from corrosion) but since they are the primary importer I would suspect as much. Have any of you had rust in the works of your CZ-52?
The outside was primo, as is the bore; I only have rust where it does not show, and that a light surface coat - but I'm glad I caught it when I did!

So I'll ATT one of my sketches - more to follow. Let me know if you find them helpful, and I'll keep it up as we go along.

Uncle Jaque up heah in Maine.

******** Originally Posted 17 December, 2002. ************
*********** Edited 08 Dec., 2003. ***********

********* And More (From Dec. 26, 2005) ..... *********

It's good to see this bobbing back to the surface every now and then - suggesting that it's still found by some to be useful.

As to it's ever becoming a "sticky" though, I don't see that happening any time soon. Some of you might want to bookmark it for future reference, I suppose.

Some additional images:

Mag Catch / Slide Latch Dismount:

Main Spring Dismount #1:


Main Spring Dismount 3:

Main Spring Dismount 4:

Main Spring Dismount 5:


Magazine Catch Dismount:

Magazine Catch Re-Mount:

489 Posts
Cz-52 Hammer Spring

Uncle Jaque. I recently tried replacing my hammer spring and ran into some trouble. I know how it goes back but the new spring is a little longer then the original and can't seem to get back in. Do you have any pointers for this? Tool used, easy way to do this. I am having a heck of a time with it. Any help would be apreciated. John

Silver Bullet member
1,030 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Works For Me... spring is a little longer then the original and can't seem to get back in. ...
Like... How much longer?

In order to beef up the original mainspring I initially used a brass spacer of about 1/4"...

...and had a heck of a time getting that back in, even using my table top technique (illustrated previously) where you can lean right into it and use your body weight to compress the spring.

This made the hammer and slide retraction too stiff - as you can see the coils are stacked up right on top of each other in the compressed (cocked) position. So I cut my shim down to 3/16", which cured the misfiring milsurp ammo issue.
Even that was a wrestling match to get back in the pistol!

Anything over 1/4" longer than the original issue spring is probably not going to fit in there no matter how hard you try!
And even if you do get it in, after the coils get stacked that's as far as your hammer is going to cock, Amigo!

Some guys just scronch their Czech-O-Matic in the vise and muckle on to the magazine release tab, which also serves to anchor the bottom of the mainspring strut, with a pair of vice grips - but that would tend to mar the finish if not mangle the steel and I wouldn't recommend it.
Make sure that you pad whatever surface that you use to push the mag release tab down on (if it's anything that you particularly care about anyway) really well with something that isn't apt to slide around on you too much in order to protect both the surface and the tab, as well as the lanyard ring and mag well if the tab slips.

Make sure that as soon as you get the little round part at the top of your strut engaged into it's slot in the hammer root, that you put the hammer in the DOWN position before trying to replace the spring.

One of the hardest parts is to get the bottom (narrow) end of the strut all the way down through the bottom of the spring and started through the little hole in the mag release tab.
But once you get that you can support the tab against the rear wall of the mag well while you lean down on the pistol to compress the spring until you can snap the short leg of the tab back into it's notch at the bottom of the back strap.

If I knew how, I'd post a video for ya.
Let me know how that works - here's hoping that it does!

Silver Bullet member
1,030 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·

I've copy/pasted the text from my saved HTML file of the original thread to my WP and edited out the multi quote posts and other superfluous or outdated stuff.

Currently plugging in photos and scannings of my old notes, many of which I should have, but never got around to transcribing. Saved what Ive got to a *.doc file, and if I knew how to send it in so it could be re-posted in it's entirety I would.


If you want me to email it as ATT, drop me a line at [email protected]
but you'd better have a high speed internet connection, as it's a pretty massive file!
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