Vintage Saturday: Type 53

Chinese Type 53 Goryunov machine gun
Yes, I know the carbine is also called the Type 53, but this Type 53 is a machine gun, okay? (photo from Max Popenker)

Unrelated to this photo…the Zhejiang Iron Works in China made everything from machine guns to grenades to field glasses – and called everything “Type 77” in commemoration of the Marco Polo Bridge incident of July 7, 1937.


  1. I know this sounds terribly irreverant, but one could have a lot of fun placing thought and speech balloons in this photograph. For example, the unit leader on the right could be saying something like “Well, lads, there I was, with my pants around my ankles and her husband coming through the front door…” ; the slightly bored-looking soldier in the middle could be thinking “Oh God, not again…” :).

  2. Gotta admit, I assumed this was going to be the carbine. (Which I’ve owned 2 of.) Nice piece, klunkier than a Russian type 44, but quite serviceable.

    • Turk, it would be great if you could tell the rest of us (based on your personal ownership and experiences) what differentiates the Type 53 from its parent M44. It sounds as if this is a matter of apparently small detail but, as we all know, small differences in detail can add up to a larger overall difference in utility on the battlefield.

  3. Well obveous copy of Russian Goryunov machine gun..
    China and North Korea was copied majority of Russian firearms science after WW2 they didnt had anything on their own until modern days…

    Now technology in China get revolutionised and they actualy build good guns,so first what you do study something from other countries than you build your own technology..

    There is possibilities to build or develop my own firearms but it recquires factories,metal melting plants and a lot of working personall…

    Ironicly but fact thats any first prototype produced is better than followed models..

    • While we’re at it, let’s not forget that copies are often used as an opportunity to actually improve on the original — the fit and finish on a Norinco Type 56-1 version of the AK-47/AKM is generally acknowledged to be better than the latter weapon without sacrificing the AK’s strongest points, especially battlefield functionality.

  4. The PLA is very open to requests from serious inquiries about their weaponry.Since most of the early stuff was made on Russian tooling it is not really unknown. But the Chinese have both improved the Russian designs and made some of their own. One thing you can say of the MG you pictured is that it works.

  5. re. Type 77 related to 1937 incident – i strongly doubt that
    Post-empire Chinese dates started from 1911 (year of revolution) as year 1, so year of 1937 was 27th year of the “new” Chinese calendar
    Type 77 in this system would mean anything adopted in 1988, but this ‘new’ calendar was dropped in Mainland China once Communists came into power in 1947.

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