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Silver Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I bought this several years ago from Dennis at Empire Arms - Just curious about its origins. It is VZ 24,serial number CR 14XXX, scrubbed reciever which is well polished - I cannot see any ghost images of former numbers or crests. Stock is stamped with the matching number and the bolt is ep'd with the same number. On the left side of the reciever is the typcial text for Czech rifles - ending in ..."ASBrno" over VZ 24. The stock is pretty much new. Where these rebuilt in Czechoslosvakia? If so, for export or for their own armories? The finish is excellent - much more so than my RC K98k. Rifling is excellent, lands shinning and grooves are dark but it shoots as well as any of my other 8 mm's. Overall a very nice rifle.
 

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Diamond Member with Oak Leaves and Swords
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Hi Coalgeo,
The serial number indicates that it was manufactured for Germany's ally Romania, who had hundreds of thousands of troops serving alongside the Wehrmacht in Russia. The EP's serial number and new stock suggest that this rifle was one of the many Romanian-contract Vz.24's captured by the Red Army, refurbished and reblued after WW II, and recently sold to dealers for sale in Western Europe and North America.
Best Regards,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the information, John. Russian re-do somewhat surprised me because the quality of the workmanship is so much better than my RC K98. Is the CR serial number original or was it likely completely scrubbed and then re-numbered?
Greg
 

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I also have two of these that were purchased from Empire Arms in 2004, an ER and an XR. I was surfing the web to find more information on them a year or two ago and came across the following information. I can't remember what the website was, but I copied the text into a word document to keep for my own reference. Here is the text.

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The VZ24 is another rifle that is based on Mauser's Gewehr 98. The Mauser is considered to be one of the best military bolt action rifles of all time. The first was Gewehr 98 (gewehr meaning rifle) introduced April 5, 1898 and was designed by Paul Mauser. The Mauser action is still used in tons of bolt actions today. There are an estimated 102 million bolt actions with the model 98 action produced world wide.

Czechoslovakian Arms Factory, Inc. , or CESKOSLOVENSKA ZBROJOVKA, A.S as listed on the receiver of my rifle, made the VZ24's in it's factory in the city of Brno. Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka was founded in 1918 and was the sole supplier of rifles for the Czech military. When the Nazis took Czechoslovakia during the early years of WWII they also took control of Czech's small arms factories and used them to build arms for the war. Brno under Nazi control made VZ24's to be used by Romania's army on the Eastern front. These Romanian contract rifles were manufactured in blocks of 25,000 and each block was a serial number with a 2 letter prefix. The second letter of the prefix is always R and the blocks range from AR to YR, ZR's have yet to be seen. The RR block of rifles, such as mine, was manufactured in 1940. Many of these rifles originally had King Carol's crest in the top of the receiver, but when he was over thrown for Antonescu's dictatorship the crests were ground off the rifles in Romanian arsenals. The CM marking seen on alot of these rifles ( and on mine) stands for Copsa Mica, the arms factory in the city of Cugir, which was established and owned by Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka Brno. This is just an acceptance marking on their part. The manufacture of these rifles stopped sometime in the 1940's. The Czech mausers are supposed to be one of the best in quality.

Its a romanian contract VZ24. The C is the Letter block code, 25,000 rifles per "block", mine is CR 15xxx, I believe that the C blocks were mfg. in 1939. Mine has whats left of the Crest of King Carol II of Romania, IMHO the Romanian VZ24's have a very intresting history as they were used by Romanian troops on the eastern front against Soviet forces till 25 August 1944 when Romania left the axis side and declared war on germany. Look around on the receiver ring for a small stamp of a M inside a C , thats the Czech export mark for Romanian VZ24's also if theres a circle with a z in it its pre-1940, a double ring circle with a z is post 1940. Rifles made in 1940-1941 had no crests at all. Romanian VZ24's were mfg. at BRNO until around late 1941- 1942 ,then production was switched to mod. 98k rifles. Receiver ring crests were scrubbed around 1947 by Romania. If yours has a Century Arms Int. import stamp it was probably imported directly from Romania..

The primary source of information on Romanian Vz.24 production and the production facility established and owned by CZ Brno at Copsa Mica in the City of Cugir in Romania, is Otakar Franek's four volume history of CZ Brno, and in particular the volume on arms exports entitled "Zbrane Pro Cely Svet" (English "Arms for the Whole World") published in Brno in 1970 in the Czech language. Franek is the source of information on Copsa Mica and the CZ Brno purchase of the old armory at that site, as well as a rich abundance of business and governmental detail on Romanian and CZ arms production. However, he does not discuss the "CM" mark itself.

The attribution of the "CM" mark to Copsa Mica and the Romanian VZ.24 contract is mine. Here is the rationale I used when I produced the Brno production charts for Bob Ball:

1. Copsa Mica was (and still is) a Romanian arms production facility. In the mid-1930's, it was one of a number of businesses purchased by CZ Brno in Romania, all of which contributed resources or products which enabled the development of a native arms production industry.

2. According to Franek, CZ Brno received several large orders for Vz.24 rifles and ZB.26 LMG's in the 1937-1939 time frame, and intended to produce these weapons at Copsa Mica-Cugir.

3. The "CM" mark appears on the receivers and bolts of all Romanian Vz.24's bearing the royal coat of arms crest of Kings Carol and Micheal. The largest of the "CM" marks and the one most frequently seen (see below) is a variation of circular registered trade mark which CZ used to brand-identify all its commercial arms. (See Olson's chapter on CZB.)

4. The same mark is also found on CZ Brno Vz.24's which bear large "1939" and "1940" date crests.

5. The second major source which I used in the MMRotW charts was Rob Lukes' excellent database of hundreds of VZ.24 serial numbers, acquired over a 5-6 year period through his website and Gunboards.com.

6. Rob's data conclusively shows several important things:
a) that the serial numbering sequence used on Romanian Vz.24's is characterized by the use of a dual letter prefix being produced in blocks of 24,999 rifles. Known letter blocks account for around 400,000 rifles IIRC.
b) The second letter of each dual letter prefix is always "R".
c) And most imporantly, the serial number sequence flows synchronously no matter if the rifle has the King carol Crest, the King Micheal crest, or is year dated, as in the 1939 and 1940 cases, or is blank, as are a few in the XR series.

7. Each Romanian Vz.24 receiver type has its own serial number run, which to date, appears to have been well controlled, without overlapping, with each rifle bearing a "CM" mark on its receiver. (Bolts too were "CM" marked, see below, but most have been mismatched and some defaced.)

8. No other Vz.24 outside this production run bears the "CM" mark, although some Romanian "CM" marked stocks and bayonets were absorbed into the Slovak national army when the Slovak Republic was formed in 1939-40.

9. The conclusion is therefore that the two variations of the "CM" mark are uniquely Romanian.

10. Franek's disussion on the Romanian contract mentions no organizations or people with the initials "CM". The conlusion is that most likely, "CM" stands for "Copsa Mica", the town or plant name near Cugir. Importantly, CZ Brno literature and the literature associated with the Hermann Goering cartel, which acquired CZ Brno lock, stock and barrel (pardon the pun) after 1939, all refer to this facility consistantly by the same name, "Copsa Mica-Cugir"
 

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Diamond Member with Oak Leaves and Swords
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Looks familiar!!

Hi Craig,
I knew that sounded familiar. I wrote that (at least the lower two thirds) several years ago and posted it here or on Parallax's Czech Forum. Interesting the way these old posts reappear! Thanks for saving it.
Regards,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, if I have it correct then it was made by Brno for Romania. Likely in 1939, likely had the King Carol crest which was later scrubbed. Interesting. Any idea why the finish of these rifles is so much better than the Russian capture K98's? This rifle appears to have been completely cleaned/sand blasted, the re-blued over metal in the white. My K98, and many that I have seen, look to have been hot dipped right over what ever finish was on the rifle. Also, the stock has been finished with oil, not shellac. Any chance the re-stock was done after import?
 

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Well, thanks for the info John! I kinda figured I might have found it here...

Coalgeo - As for the Russians refinishing these, I'm not sure they ever did, but I could be wrong. I believe the Romanians refinished them - therefore that's probably why they don't have the rough finish on the blueing. The I have ER has no markings to indicate Copsa Mica (there is small 'M' in square box on the stock), but the XR has a small CM in a circle on the bolt knob, reciever, and the bottom of the handgrip round of the stock.

I have 3 K98's, and one looks like it was never touched at all, with great blueing and no marks save for the electropenciled S/N on the bolt. The other 2 have the flat finish blueing which still looks OK - they all shoot great.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
craig61a
On the right side of the reciever is what looks like a capital M, which is overstruck with a large lowecase e - It is to small to get a decent pic ( I tried). Is that the mark for CM? Under the bolt is a small z in a circle, a capital M, and what may be a "1", but I am not sure.
Greg
 
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