Czech CZ 52 has the same racy modern look that was
exhibited by the flying wing or the nuclear powered ship
Savannah, a look distinct to the 1950s. And while the CZ 52 was
largely unknown in this country until recently, it is a
fascinating shooter that many of us enjoy using.
A great plus is the fact that the pistol is dirt cheap.
Ammunition is finally available from a reliable resource, in the
form of Winchester white box ammunition. During the past
few months I have fired a recorded 1,000 rounds of the new
offering with excellent results. While an import, Winchester has
assured me the new offering is held to exacting standards. They
are correct. The loads are very consistent, very accurate, and
But I am getting ahead of myself. Lets take a hard look
at the pistol itself.
armories have an excellent reputation for producing workmanlike,
durable firearms. The Bren machinegun is one example of a
Czech design, and the well known and respected CZ 75 pistol is
After the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia after World
War Two, the Czechs were required to conform to Soviet standards
as far as ammunition went.
While some satellite nations produced their own versions
of the Tokarev, the Czechs produced something unique to
chamber the 7.62mm Tokarev cartridge. The CZ 52 is a most
interesting pistol with several good features. The pistol has an
unwieldy shape, to be certain, and has to be carefully aimed
since it has little of the feel and balance of, say, a Browning
High Power. Still, when held in a proper two hand firing
position the piece is quite manageable. But it is an astonishing
pistol in other ways. The CZ 52 is a single action design that
incorporates one of the first hammer drop safeties ever fitted.
The safety is actuated or pressed completely upward to drop the
hammer. This alleviates a concern in handling single action
pistols. The pistol was designed to allow "cocked and
locked" carry and of course it is recommended the piece be
carried chamber empty. The sights are nothing to brag about, but
as good as any from the era. The trigger is usually clean enough
for a military pistol, breaking at around five pounds.
most interesting aspect of the pistol is the delayed roller
locking action. The design was previously used by Mauser
and evolved into the CETME
rifle and then the Heckler and Koch G 3.
The lock holds the action shut until a certain point in
the pressure curve is reached, then the action releases the
barrel to recoil, and the roller cams move in troughs to allow
This is accomplished by two rollers at one end of the
barrel and a sliding cam. The cam is actuated by the recoil
spring. An ingenious, elegant action, this type of firing action
allows fine accuracy. While the pistol fires a powerful
cartridge, it is the same cartridge used by the Soviet Tokarev.
The CZ 52 is generally held to be stronger than the Tokarev,
although it would take serious high end loads to prove this.
I have fired much the same ammunition in either with good
The Tokarev seems a bit more robust and reliable than the
CZ 52 in fact, but that is an impression formed by firing only a
half dozen examples of each. The Tokarev handles more quickly
and has better combat sights, while the CZ pistol is
considerably more accurate and has better safety features. There
are those who believe the CZ 52 is the most accurate military
pistol ever built. This is a bold statement, but when we
consider the type of pistols usually adopted by the military,
this is a fair statement. The CZ 52 is probably as accurate as
even the vaunted SIG P 210. With good ammunition - a
rarity until recently - the CZ may group five shots into a group
of two inches or less at twenty five yards.
There are those who have stated the CZ 52 was designed to
handle a special ‘hot’ Czech loading. I have fired quite a
bit of Tokarev caliber ammunition, and most break 1,400 to 1,550
fps, with the current Winchester offering breaking 1545 fps and
giving this shooter a two inch twenty five yard grouping. I have
fired European surplus, sold as Bulgarian, that delivered a
whopping 1,614 fps.
This load gives scant advantage in wound potential,
however, as the same full metal jacket bullet is used in this
load. Nevertheless, this is a hot cartridge that penetrates
military web gear in a much better fashion than the 9mm Luger.
Over the years, I obtained several boxes of original Russian
ammunition, stamped 1943, from the Old
Western Scrounger. These loads were consistent and
accurate, but of course they are corrosive and required prompt
cleaning. I also fired Chinese ball because it was cheap, and
found it delivered poor accuracy and the POW bang POW POW bang
common to this ammunition, with a standard deviation of as much
as 134 fps!
have modified a number of CZ 52 pistols with the high quality
firing pins and other gear offered by Makarov.com.
It is good to have a source for replacement parts and in
some cases the action of the CZ pistol has been improved.
By the way, field stripping this pistol is simplicity
itself. There are two projections in front of the trigger guard.
Pull them downward and the slide is moved slightly forward, off
the frame. That is disassembly!
have tested a number of hand loads in this CZ, and the results
have been most interesting. It is not everyday we find a pistol
that can break 1,700 fps with a hollow point bullet of good
construction. The pistol has the accuracy and power and there is
no reason it cannot be a passing fair varmint or pest slayer.
There is even a specialized personal defense load available for
the CZ 52. I have used quite a bit of MagSafe
ammunition over the years, and I have to state that quality
control is at the highest point I have witnessed. It is
difficult to achieve good accuracy from what is basically a
handmade bullet, but the MagSafe loads have succeeded.
The 52 grain MagSafe achieves 2150 fps from the CZ 52,
measured at fifteen feet from the muzzle. Accuracy is good for
this type of load, under four inches for a five shot group at
twenty five yards. While the CZ 52 is not my first choice for
personal defense, a CZ 52 or Tokarev with this load would have
to be respected! I have tested enough of this load to confirm
that it is accurate and feeds reliably not only in my personal
CZ 52 but a Polish Tokarev as well.
CZ is a most interesting piece, well worth the modest cost as a
recreational shooter. If you are bored with standard firearms,
this is a piece that will amaze you with the velocity and
Accuracy and Velocity
|Winchester "white box"
|Handload: 85-grain FMJ / 7.0 grains
|Handload: 90-grain Hornady XTP / 11.0
|Handload: 90-grain Hornady XTP / 14.1
fine all around practice load that works the action of our
personal CZ 52
load seems safe in our pistol but let caution be your guide.
There are few established parameters for this pistol, and
pressure signs with the roller cam may be difficult to read. But
this load gives fine accuracy and the XTP bullet expands well,
although it does not fragment - a neat trick.
loading gear all of the way.
NOTE: All load data posted on this
web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor Gunblast.com
assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data.
The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under
conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the
potential user of this data. Always use data from respected loading
manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated
in the source manual.
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