Can anyone tell me about the CZ 52 pistol? They seem really neat--especially the modus operandi. I'd also really like to know where I could get one (after I get certain other guns ) other than a gun show or online auction site.
The CZ-52 is NOT made by the same company that makes the CZ-75 series of pistols, but it's still a high quality piece. It's a single action only with a decocker. There is no external slide lock, but you can bump the bar up to engage it with a bit of practice.
It's famous for using a roller bearing locking system similar to some Heckler and Koch rifles. The system works quite well, although there were some issues with high round count rollers going flat. There was a company making hardened rollers in addition to repalcement firing pins. Factory firing pins were known to break in mid round count area. The replacement pins also lowered and smoothed trigger pull, but some models disengaged the decocker function.
As to supply, check the surplus importers. Most will sell to you thru a local FFL transfer. It runs in batches however, and a quick check doesn't show any of my usual folks having them in stock presently.
I've had my CZ52 for about 12 years now, and it's an interesting and fun pistol to shoot. The 7.62x25mm cartridge is quite impressive in an autoloader. It's easy to get ballistics quite comparable to the new, highly regarded .327 Magnum. When I first started handloading for it, components were hard to come by, but now Starline makes brass, Sierra makes bullets, and Fiocchi makes .30 Mauser ammo that works great. (7.62x25mm and .30Mauser are virtually identical, save for a slight difference in case length.)
For years it's been written and repeated that the CZ52 is stronger than the Soviet Tokarev pistol in the same chambering. However, nowadays some gunsmiths think this is not the case, due to chamber wall thickness. I frankly don't know, but I do know that the CZ52 routinely digested some very powerful Czech military ammo. If you can find one, it's worth adding to a pistol collection.
There seem to be at least 3 different 'grades' of 7.62x25 ammo.
Normal commercial stuff.
and Military surplus designed for the sub-machine carbine (PPSh-41 and similar). This stuff is supposedly VERY hot and more than even the CZ-52 can regularly handle. It's rare, but something to keep an eye out for.
Another confirmed note, the surplus stuff is almost always corrosive. Make sure windex/ammonia out the barrel immediately post-shooting.
I completely agree that different lots of foreign military surplus 7.62x25mm can be loaded to differing pressure levels. And it is Berdan primed, and very corrosive if not properly cleaned for. Here's some chrono data I've collected from my CZ52:
Fiocchi factory 88gr 30 Mauser vel=1330 fps; OAL=1.350" (this case length is too long for CZ52 as neck impringes on throat, however pressure seems mild. If reloading "hot", then cases need to be trimmed)
Czech military surplus ball w/ 85gr FMJ-RN vel=1534; OAL=1.370"
Norinco military surplus ball vel=1488; OAL=1.370"; case length=.970"
Handload: Hornady 85gr HP-XTP (32 Mag bullet sized .308"), CCI500, AA#7 10.0gr; Fiocchi cases trimmed to .970"; OAL=1.244" (to cannelure); crimped for safety; vel=1535 fps; good accuracy; feeds reliably; I consider a maximum load
If you choose to use .223 cases to form brass, 2 cautions are worth mentioning. First, the case heads are too small for the chamber, so the once fired cases will bulge a bit, and can rupture with hot loads. Second, the head and case walls are thicker, so internal powder capacity is reduced. Now that factory brass is so readily available, it's probably not worth the trouble to form cases. I used to form cases from some 9mm Magnum brass that I found at a gun show. That stuff fits the chamber very well, and is very strong brass.
I also have a Thompson Center Contender barrel in .30 Mauser, and velocities really increase with that.