Czechoslovakia Recycles Mosins: The vz.54 Sniper

Czechoslovakia adopted a whole new slate of small arms in the 1950s, including the vz.52 pistol vz.52 rifle, and vz.52 light machine gun. They also adopted a new sniper rifle, developed by a Moravian designed names Otakar Galaš. Galaš was a skilled competitive shooter as well as an arms designer, and seems to have been quite well suited to the job. He began with a details study of sniper weapons in 1949, and then built a number of prototypes based on both Mosin and Mauser systems. The Mosin was chosen, probably for politics reasons more than technical ones. 

In its final form, Galaš’ rifle was adopted in 1954, and produced from 1956 until 1958. It used many parts from existing 91/30 Rosins in Czechoslovakian stockpiles, but with new sights, stocks, and barrels (a heavier profile than the 91/30, and about 30mm shorter). The optic used was a 2.5x Meopta scope, fitted to a dovetail on the left side of the action. The iron sights were regulated in 50m increments out to 700m (and thence to 1200m), and the accuracy standard for the rifles was a remarkably 10-shot group in a 50cm x 50cm square at 800m – which equates to about a 1 MOA group. Impressive! The rifle handles very well, and a number of elements of Mauser influence are clearly visible in its design.

56 Comments

  1. This actually looks pretty cool. I like the idea of the 1 moa Mosin. I feel like the optic is still behind in tech though.

    • Sure, but when your overlords run 7.62x54R, do you really want to convert Mauser actions to rimmed cartridges?

      Ian, you ok? You’re not having a stroke, are you?

    • after the WWII, Czechoslovakia fell into the “soviet sphere of interest”, after the change of government in 1948 to the comunistic one there were soviet “advisors” on each ministry and these had significatn influence on decisions taken. this is the reason, why mosin 7.62×54 cartridge was chosen. similarly, vz. 52 pistol uses 7.62×25 tokarev russian pistol cartridge, despite the fact, that originaly it was being developed in 9×19 parabellum. SA 23 and 24 in 9×19 were reconstructed into SA 25 and 26 using 7.62×25. of course, there were plenty of ex-german firearms available, but, development of new firearms was directed to unification with soviets and warsaw pact.

      • “Djanosik” you might be interested to know; when I was school kid spending part of my summer vacations near DDR border, the soldiers carrier vz.52 rifles, still in original chambering. The sentries walking along the fence with barbed wire on top were two men: one carried Sa.vz.23 and another one vz.52 rifle.

        Since the young and horny conscript soldiers were after our female leaders, we boys had good time with their (properly unloaded) guns without having a clue 🙂

      • To confirm what you say those “soviet advisors” – they were in all important ministries and right next the com-party top leadership. You are absolutely correct in that regard. But then, we came out of that relatively easy compared with other ‘socialist’ countries (e.g. Poland or Hungary).

        Having said that, I believe we should not have adopted vz.52/57 rifle and vz.52 pistol. The SKS and TT-33 with minor changes would have been better choice. I own those weapons and can compare them piece to piece. The sa.vz.58 is a different story; that one is an excellent weapon to this day.

  2. My first springfield was a 4 moa rifle.
    My first M1A was a 4 Moa rifle. My first Mosin was a 1 Moa rifle. The mosin shoots better than it will ever look, but it shoots! In 1891 it was state of the art.
    In my opinion the Gun designer knew his business.

    • I would like to see a video of your Mosin shooting a 1 moa group. If it does then plate it in gold because it is one of a kind.

      • Plenty of the Finnish Mosins are 1 moa rifles. The Garbage Rod got that name mainly thanks to Russian wartime rifles. I’m vastly partial to Mausers, but a Mosin can perform with enough love.

    • I agree with you, they were as good as Mausers and Germans had healthy respect before them. Actually, we can see lately number of east front videos. What strikes me that at least from the German side it does not look as “chaos of battle”. The actions of troops generally seem to be well controlled or professional, if you will. No mad yelling, except when one receives a hit.

  3. “(…)built a number of prototypes based on both Mosin and Mauser systems”
    Mauser-based 7,92 x 64 mm prototype is known as ZG 49 Sn which spawned ZG 51 Sn chambered for 7,62 mm Mosin cartridge, which was directly compared with Mosin-based one. For photos of ZG 51 Sn see http://www.vhu.cz/exhibit/pokusna-odstrelovacska-puska-zg-51-sn/

    “(…)Galaš was a skilled competitive shooter as well as an arms designer(…)”
    This in effect mean that closest Soviet counterpart was МС-74 developed by E.F.Dragunov around 1949 (74 in name stands for factory number), also being improved Mosin rifle, destined for military usage. It was produced but in extremely limited numbers, see https://army-news.org/2019/02/istoriya-oruzhiya-neizvestnaya-vintovka-ms-74-obrazca-1948-goda/

  4. Would, in theory a blank… 7.62×54 R say, chambered under the barrel of this; forward of the stock… “Hear me out” right, so said blank is in a suitable chamber which had a port through to the barrel at that point “midway in the barrel” say… if you enlarged that bit of the barrel, right… And you linked the fire mech I.e. The rear of the bolt had an extension “swivel thing sitting in a lip” on it… When you fired normally; bullet rapidly leaves, but say… The blank fired behind it. Could that not give it a boost, without making a new giant cartridge of similar power, see?

      • The bullet is going fair quick clearly. But the extension may need to act as a hammer on another striker, in order to fire before the bullet leaves the barrel; same trigger pull, can’t be far off.

        Point being thats surely easier than making a whole new round/gun.

    • Sure. That’s pretty much how multiple-chamber artillery pieces work. Additional chambers containing propellent staged along the length of the bore, ignited by the passage of the projectile and expanding gases. I don’t know if anyone ever made it practical, though.

        • Aim: 7.62 Nato lark going up to Laupa .338 thingi, what we need is a pencil… The gun must be lighter than the .338 lark mind, more pencils the better he he.

          • I have the bipod sorted “has a hair net, yes… You can pop a rock in; I know.” Sooo. Pencils…

          • Could fire the blank towards you etc, even. Fiddle around reckon it would work, Titanium bits etc, why? Alaska. 30-06 upgrade lark. Er… Think Hi-point. With a few Ti if needed “increasing mass is out” bits. Quite.

          • One last addition as to, why? Well. Most of the time you, won’t need the “boost” so… Etc.

        • Very basically, I mean this Nagant, with a swivel breech forward of the stock, some ports thus, and obviously the striker extension. The breech is just a block, you move out to insert a shell… Probably need a cut off, which could be like a pellet loader thing; tappet.

          • Yes its very much, this rifle. But, usless… Depending on the positon of the bullet upon the second charge firing.

        • Hunting. Might work, if… The 2nd charge can go bang, in time.

          Before the 1st leaves…. Wasn’t trying to be profound there; Good job he he.
          Bang!!bang! Could.

      • “(…)Additional chambers containing propellent staged along the length of the bore, ignited by the passage of the projectile and expanding gases. I don’t know if anyone ever made it practical, though.”
        Development of such cannons were generally ill-fated due to problem with ignition of each charge in correct time https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-3_cannon#Background
        You would need way to very time-accurately detonated your second charge.

        • Still… I have a wee hacksaw. The Mosin “I had a chinese de-act one; 1954… So very historical. Really; no really it was great, and had a great history, or a very interesting one etc.

          Point being, I know we can make an attachment to the bolt, which will fire the blank; now! Will it be to late. I don’t know?

          • Lethal that, big fan of them to this day; doesn’t look much. But I am sure one would think; shit, when being stabbed by one, force of the holder/weight of rifle etc. Death.

          • In comparison to say a big bowie type bayonet with a saw back blade etc. I looked at that cruciform screwdriver thing; and rapidly came to the conclusion, in war we are all dead.

  5. So, does it have a detachable magazine or do you have to individually load rounds from the top of the action? With the scope on, I can’t see chargers being usable.

    • “…I can’t see chargers being usable…”(С)

      This is because it is not there.
      Mosins with optics were always loaded without a clip.

  6. You should not mix the Soviet model 1930 and the Finnish rifles that were manufactured in Tsarist Russia (and some of them in the USA). Completely different workmanship.
    Just like the Czech Mosins, which, if crafted with due care, are most likely quite a decent instrument.
    Let’s not forget that until the 70s, sporting rifles were built on the basis of Mosin, with which not the worst results were obtained.
    True, for the Olympic team, they developed a completely different rifle. 😉
    Some maniacs, after long dances with shamanic tambourines, also get something similar to a target rifle from Mosin. Although this is a terrible hemorrhoids…

    In the case of a bolt-action rifle, it’s more about the quality of the work than the design.

    And the design elements of the Mauser are not surprising. The Czechs are quite experienced in their construction.

  7. And regarding the adoption by the Czechs of Mosin’s design, this is not surprising.
    Rifle 98, if at all can be adapted to a cartridge with a rim, it is not worth it.

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