com bloc

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vz.52

Semi-automatic rifle that was produced in the former Czechoslovakia. It bears some resemblance to the SKS, and even features an integrated bayonet, although side-folding instead of under-folding. Chambered in 7.62x45mm, some rifles were converted to 7.62x39 as the Com-Bloc nations began to standardize calibers. The easiest way to tell a 7.62x45mm from a 7.62x39mm vz rifle is the angle of the magazines floor plate. The latter has a very steep angle to accommodate the 7.62x39 cartridge. The other trick is to check the receiver under the rear sight for a cross pin. This particular rifle is a 7.62x45mm model but the seller is advertising it as a 7.62x39mm. He’s going to have an angry buyer. (GRH)

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The Soviet DP-28 Light Machine Gun,

First appearing in 1926, the Degtyaryov was the Soviet Union’s most common light machine gun, comparable in doctrine and usage to the American Browning Automatic Rifle, British Bren Gun, or Italian Breda 30.  Firing the 7.62x54mmR cartridge, it was invented by Vasily Degtyaryov and first appeared in the form of the DP-26, which was simplified for mass production purposes and adopted as the DP-28.  The DP-28 was known as a highly reliable machine gun, even going through a torture test where it was buried in sand, afterwards firing 500 rounds before jamming. Firing 550 rounds per minute, it also had few problems with overheating. 

While the gun itself was mechanically sound, the accessories that went with it were not.  The biggest complaint was that the bipod it was often equipped with was fragile and cheaply produced, commonly bending or breaking in battle.  In addition, its 47 round pan magazine was likewise fragile. Despite these flaws the DP-28 was an effective light machine gun.  Most importantly, they were very plentiful, with around 795,000 being produced, mostly during World War II.

The DP-28 was used in the Winter War against Finland, with many being captured and used by the Finnish Army.  After World War II it continued to be issued, supplemented by the RPD machine gun in the 1950’s, finally being phased out and replaced by the PK machine gun in the 1960’s.  Numerous thousands were also exported to com bloc nations.  Many were used in the Korean War and Vietnam.  Today, it is not uncommon for them to be found on modern battlefields in Ukraine, Syria, and parts of Africa.

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M59/66A1

Yugoslavian SKS variant that differs from other former Com-Bloc models with it’s distinct grenade launcher attachment. The difference between a regular 59/66 and a 59/66A1 is the inclusion of night sights. The Yugo SKS is quite desirable for aftermarket modifications because many were imported in excellent or even unissued condition. (GRH)

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G1

The German variant of the FN FAL. Often called the “right arm of the free world, it was viewed as the antithesis to the AK platform that many Com-Bloc nations were fielding. The Germans would later replace the G1 with the equally famous G3 when they were denied the licensing right to produce the G1. (GRH)

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M44

Mosin Nagant M44 still in use in Afghanistan, alongside AK’s and other Com-Bloc firearms. The M44 is the carbine version of the M91/30 but it has an integrated side-folding spike bayonet. Since it uses the 7.62x54R cartridge, there really isn’t a logistical ammo issue since the PKM is widespread and commonly seen in the Middle East. (GRH)

4

SSG 82

This mundane looking rifle has a mysterious history because no one really knows what it was designed for. Made in East Germany, it’s chambered in 5.45x39mm, the same cartridge as the AK-74 and RPK-74. Speculation as to its purpose have ranged from competition rifle, hunting rifle and even a sniper rifle to be used against people trying to escape over the Berlin Wall. Very rare in the U.S, exact production numbers are unknown but about 500 to 600 were imported in. Considered an obscure but very sought after Com Bloc collectable rifle. (GRH)

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Arsenal SLR-107

Bulgarian AK variant available on the U.S market, it is chambered in 7.62x39mm. Note the side folding stock and lack of the classic Com-Bloc style side-optic mounting rail. Overall it’s a top quality AK option, although Arsenal caught some flak when a video of their finish bubbling after the barrel heated up was posted on Youtube. I’m not digging the color choice here, but to each their own. (GRH)

3

Vz. 24

A Mauser patterned rifle built in Czechoslovakia, this one has an interesting modification. It uses a specially made side rail for mounting Com-Bloc optics. Some would call this a field expedient sniper rifle from a war in the Balkans; note the crude wolf’s head trench art. You can buy the side rail mount off of eBay, so it’s not difficult to make your own copy. It actually sold for a decent amount, which I attribute to that carving giving it some character value. I was actually going to bid but it went out of my reasonable price range. (GRH)

5

RPD

The example in the photos has a very rare Polish swing-away optic mount. It allows for the use of any standard Com-Bloc scope but it can swing to the side when you need to open the top cover to load another belt. I’ve seen the mounts before by themselves but this is the first time I’ve seen one installed. Interesting concept but it doesn’t seem like the idea caught on since few if any RPD’s were ever equipped with them. (GRH)

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M38

The shortened version of the Mosin Nagant 91/30. It’s overall length is 8 inches shorter than it’s full sized big brother, making it very compact. They’re considered slightly more collectable than the 91/30. As far as I know the Russians and other Com-Bloc nations did not install or issue any sort of optics on the Mosin carbine family (M38, M44, M91/59). If you do see a scoped carbine, chances are its a modern day fake. (GRH)

FAL

7.62x51mm chambered main battle rifle that has it’s origins in Belgium but was also produced under license in Brazil, Israel, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia to name a few. Often referred to as the “Right Arm of the Free World”, a nickname established by non-Com Bloc nations. The FAL and it’s variants can still be found in service today within South America, Africa and the Middle East. (GRH)

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Saiganov

Not an official term but rather a nickname often given to Saiga rifles that are converted into some sort of sniper rifle configuration. It obviously gets the latter half of its name because of the Dragunov silhouette. Black Horse Arsenal, a now defunct company, used to make SVD stocks for the PSL and Saiga rifles. I don’t know if they ever got their SVD handguard adapter on the market before they went out of business, but an AKFiles forum member did sell a small run of his custom made adapters. Most Com-Bloc weapons enthusiasts can’t afford an NDM-86, Tigr or the real SVD’s, so making a PSL, Vepr or Saiga look like one is the closest option. (GRH)