Elbonian M52/57/61 Paratrooper Carbine

In 1960, Elbonia set out an RFP for a new carbine for a fledgling paratroop brigade. They wanted a rifle to provide a higher volume of firepower for these troops, rather like the intention of the FG42 in German WW2 service. What they got was actually based on surplus Czech vz52 rifles, adapted to use AK mags and drums, chambered for 7.62x39mm, and fitted with a flashy-looking ventilated barrel shroud.

The true story behind this rifle is still a bit of a mystery to me. As I said in the video, I have seen 5 or 6 of these in the US, some in person and some in photos. They do not appear to be a legitimate military or police configuration, and I have been able to find nothing to substantiate the rumor that the were used by Czech police. I suspect they were a fun project by someone her win the US in the wake of the early importation of vz.52 rifles. Since the 7.62x45mm ammunition those rifles used was effectively unavailable, rechambering them for 7.62×39 was a popular idea. I have not found any indication of who actually did these, though. Note that they lack import marks because those were marked under the muzzle of the vz.52s, and that part of the barrel was removed.


  1. “(…)fitted with a flashy-looking ventilated barrel shroud”
    For me it made it similar in appearance to early PPD, especially PPD-38 with it single-piece furniture and drum magazine, see upper half of 2nd image from top:

    “(…)actually based on surplus Czech vz52 rifles(…)”
    This mean annular gas system and thus make it akin in this respect to experimental avtomat by Korovin from 1944 year. See 1st photo from top: https://raigap.livejournal.com/360579.html
    It is gas-operated(tilt) weapon, accept 30-round banana magazine and it is full-auto only.

  2. After it became clear that there was no place for two almost identical cartridges in the army, the production of carbines chambered for 45mm was discontinued.
    And after it became clear that there was no room in the army for two carbines, with almost the same ballistics, the carbines already produced were converted for the M43 and sent to Cuba, Africa and other bandustans.
    Actually, that’s why they are so rare, despite the significant volume of issue.

  3. I remember when those started to com into the US and, as you say, there wasn’t any ammo to go with. I found a M52/57 soon after that and wanted to see about fitting an AK mag. I found that not possible because of the different shape of the magazines in the area where they are narrowed in the front……unless you wanted to open up that area of the mag well. I have not modified my rifle in that way.

  4. As a former Elbonian paratrooper I can clarify that we did go one several missions in foreign countries with that rifle. Lacking an air force to transport us we used commercial airlines. With tight budgets we had to fly economy class and double up on the seats. That was frowned upon as well as filling all of the overhead compartments with weapons and parachutes. Opening the emergency doors and jumping out over our destination usually ended any chance to use a particular airline after the mission. We would get taxis to take us back to base.

    Was the shooting scene filmed in Elbonia? I thought that only Elbonia had Saguaro cacti and creosote bush.

  5. When you want to deceive the observer into thinking you have “only PPsh41” but you are capable to return fire on longer range, get those !

  6. The front sight of the Elbonian Hakim LMG is bent to the right, just as the paratrooper carbine’s sight is bent to the left. These sights were obviously engineered for purposes of rapid zeroing, an elegant solution that does credit to that great nation’s inventiveness.

  7. This design has promise. Just change the barrel and caliber to 5,56, make the stock more in-line, ditch the shroud and the sight and you have gold. Maybe a different gas system, but that’s it. A rotating bolt would be nice. Yeah the Elbonians rule!

  8. Elbonia, the world’s biggest ‘micro-nation’! A blast from the past, in the early 1960’s it was constantly used as the major player in British Army TEWTS (Tactical Exercises Without Troops). A freedom looking country within the Eastern European, on a very high plateau abutting the Baltic States. The map we used to use was a combination of the Salisbury Plain Training Area, and Thetford Training Area (in Norfolk), some 95,000 acres in size. The actual maps of the area were printed upside down, with the various towns and villages shown, retitled such as ‘Mucktown’. These maps actually reflected the actual map scales.

  9. The conversion does look to have been done relatively competent for a bubba job, but am I the only one who is appalled by the bedliner painted woodstock on that other vz.52?

    • It looks like it’s been done by a someone that’s into WW2 Soviet or German reenactment. They were a cheap conversion that also ran cheap and available blanks back when they were offered on the surplus market in the late 90s. I knew a person that made one. It’s much cheaper than a NFA PPSH41 and makes you look cooler that the guys at the reenactment armed with 91/30s or M44s.

    • Bedliner finishes were common in the 80’s & 90’s, have a sporterized Mosin w/ a bedliner finish.

      It looks like a very clever conversion to something that looks like a PPSh-41 w/ available ammo & magazines. Consider when the Czechs were surplussing these that 7.62x45mm & vz 52 magazines were not readily available, a conversion to AK mags & ammo makes perfect sense.

  10. According to my late granduncle’s diary, the Elbonians believed barrel shrouds and drum mags would increase a weapon’s rate of fire. I could loan the diary to you Ian if Headstamp does a book on Elbonian weapons.

  11. As luck would have it, I am watching this video while wearing my Elbonia T-shirt…proudly.
    Thanks for these videos. A great bit of fun. Btw, I have worn my T-shirt in public and received a few compliments and rather more odd looks. It is pretty bedazzling.

  12. Okay, trying my best not to invite flak or create click-bait, but given the following, which would be the best way to get out of a stereotypical desert valley high-noon cowboy shootout against a horde of bandits (with lots of stampeding cattle or something else getting in the way)?

    1. Elbonian paratrooper carbine
    2. Elbonian Hakim LMG
    3. Winchester 1873 “Musket” in .44-40
    4. Mannlicher M1888/90
    5. Burgess folding shotgun
    6. Stevens Model 520-30 trench gun with bayonet fixed
    7. Thompson M1921 with drum magazine
    8. Reihenfeuer 08 (a full-auto artillery Luger with drum magazine)
    9. MG-08/15
    10. Get something else!

  13. Elbonian paratroopers?

    Weren’t they a post 1992 thing?

    Pre 1992, it was the Elbonian strategic ICBC and ICBB

    Intercontinental ballistic catapult and ballista, respectively.

    At least three catapult troops and their arms could be delivered, anywhere on the planet, within…

    Actually, with western sanctions and blockades, knicker elastic was in very short supply, and the socialist ersatz never really worked

    1980s and 90s Elbonian “lycra” leggings became a retro fashion craze, post 2008, with those ladies who weighed over 560 pounds, in both kitchen curtain and leopard skin print patterns. The Elbonian ersatz “flexothane” was also internationally popular, indeed, JC Penny (in Britain, they traded as “Primark”) had a line of unisex leopard skin print, Elbonian [ersatz] flexothane thongs, for many years. I’m unrelibly informed that they now sell for unbelievable prices in the darker reaches of intetwebz asphixia fetish sites (no idea what they might be, enlightenmentwouldabsolutelynot be gladly recieved).

    The failure of the catapult propulsion system, and, post 1968, the theft of the contents of the weight boxes of the ballistas (in their turn, variously stolen from agricultural dry stone walls and church roofs)

    Left Elbonia dependent upon the home guard and militias for defence against illegal incursions for seasonal grazing of upland sheep.

    This necessitated the adoption of a gun that combined the attributes of, all of the features listed as feightening sh!tless any and all American politicians who hold dual citizenship

    Together with being simple enough to be used by the average Elbonian’s sister, half sister, step sister, auntie, mother and grandmother, oh, and cousins up to three times removed, and the family milk sheep as well).

    (For those who are unfamiliar with traditional Elbonian culture, the previous paragraph described one single individual)

    Hence the combination of scary curved ak stick mags and drums, ventilated hand guard, placing the fires weak hand over the gas system, fire control that accepted a hand with either clover hooves and (or) six fingers.

    Along with a low enough price that it didn’t really matter how many got lost, stolen or broken.

    Or all three.

    • Rocket dropped paras; bit of Elbonism creeping in? Elbonists… They’d fire six out of a converted Nebelwerfer, who would then “drop” over the enemy accordingly.

      The only failure in the policy was not to implement it more. Without parachutes, 6 Elbonians opening up on you falling from the sky like a directed “claymore” at about 50ft. They’d get pensions, it was a winning strategy that was never developed.

      • A twelve stone man in a leopard skin mankini hitting you from around 50ft… After falling a bit more; the rocket fired man shells, opening varied somewhat, even after they expended there ammo. They deserved the pension and rightfull honour as a Spartan like fighting force.

        • My ear thing cleared up out of interest; “Rona” or otherwise caused, squirting alcohol gel in your ears though… May. Work’ish. With possible side affects. Soooo… Not for anyone under 18, type thing. Who like hearing popular music. Disclaimer. What?

  14. Ian created an internet legend of its own.

    As it appears, everyone in Elbonia lets everyone else down.
    Therefore the motto on their coat of arms is:
    “Da tuis pessimus, et pessimus vestra”
    Roughly translating into:
    Give your worst, do your worst.

  15. I had a vz52 with, as often happens with these, and inspired by the Gunlab writeup cited above, I made one. I kept the original magazine and used a solid tube. I fabricated on a collar so the jacket screwed on, and a cap screwed in at the muzzle. It worked fine and it’s floating around out there someplace.

  16. Thank you Ian…I have one of these and always wondered where they came from…Thanks ..I’ll do a story with pictures on Gun Boards and AK Forum…Thank you so much, .Judi

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