Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Maker/Manufacturer:HOLEK, VACLAV
Date of Manufacture:
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 3633
Measurements:OL:114.3CM 45" BL: 21.5"

Object Description:

CZECH RIFLE ZH29 7.92MM SN# 0053
Manufactured by - Semi-auto, gas-operated with a side moving claw and block action. Fed by detachable box magazine of 5, 10 or 20 rounds. Has aluminum radiator mounted around the barrel and gas cylinder tube just forward of handguard. No magazine. Except for nicks and scratches on wood weapon in good condition.

Stock: 0053 carved into.
Handguard: 332 taped on.

Weapon transferred to the Museum on 26 September 1960.

Notes: Submitted to U.S. for tests in .276 caliber.

- "ZH29 rifle. Emanuel Holek is said to have developed this gas-operated gun, locked by displacing the bolt into the receiver wall, in response to a request made by China in the late 1920s for an autoloading rifle. A .276 version was submitted to U.S. Army trials, but did not perform well enough to challenge the Pedersen and Garand patterns.
The earliest ZH29 rifles had their conventional wooden forends and handguards retained by a single band. Some were semi-automatic, but others could also fire automatically. Later rifles had a distinctive ribbed aluminum forend to dissipate the additional heat generated on firing.
The ZH29 was always beautifully made by Ceshosolovenska Zbrojovka of Brno, Czechoslovakia, but was not suited to mass production, the locking mechanism, particularly, was difficult to machine accurately and prone to jamming in adverse conditions. Most rifles also had a unique hold-open system, when the magazine had been replenished, pressing the trigger allowed the breech to close and chamber a fresh round. A second pull on the trigger then fired the gun. However, this attracted unfavorable comment.
Offered in .276, 7x57, .30-06, 7.92x57 and other chamberings, the ZH29 was tested enthusiastically in South America, Europe and the Far East in 1930-2, but only the Chinese acquired large numbers (beginning with 150 7.92mm rifles purchased in 1929.) Limited sales were also made to Ethiopia and, allegedly, Siam. A typical 7.92mm gun was 45.3in overall, weighed 9.88 lb. empty, and had a 21.45in barrel. The capacity of the detachable box magazine could be 5, 10 or 25 rounds; the tangent-leaf rear sight was graduated to 1400m (1530yd); and a bayonet could be attached beneath the muzzle." - Walter

Schwing, Ned. STANDARD CATALOG OF MILITARY FIREARMS. Krause Publications. Iola, Wi. 2001.
Walter, John. RIFLES OF THE WORLD. 3rd Edition. Krause Publications. Iola, Wi. 2006

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