View Full Version : Tokarevs

October 8, 2009, 08:48 PM
I'm looking for a semi-inexpensive shooter with a cool bit of history behind it (I guess historical guns are my beef). I've noticed that J&G has a Romanian TTC for about $200 (before shipping) and Simpson recently sold a Chinese copy for a bit over $150. I've also noticed that surplus Tok ammo is about $8 for 72 rounds. Which makes this a great substitute for a .22 plinker (in my mind). I was wondering 3 things:

If I were to try and pick up a Tok at a gun show (in Il, so everything's a dealer sale) how much should I expect to pay?

and if the surplus ammo is suitable for use in a Tokarev handgun. I talked to Mike at Darnall's here in central Il (which is honestly THE greatest shop I've ever been to) says that a lot of Tok ammo on the market is actually intended for subguns and fires too hot for TT-33 style pistols.

If I pick up a Tok pistol, how much are 9mm conversion barrels? I've seen them chambered in 9mm luger and I suspect that 9mm mak barrels exist for them, as well. Any info would be awesome on this.

I also think I should explain this: I was thinking of picking up a Ruger MkIII Bull barrel for around $250-275 as well, but I think that the historical significance of the Tokarev would be more worth spending the money on than a Ruger MkIII.

James K
October 8, 2009, 09:21 PM
I don't know of any 9mm Mak barrels for the Tokarev, and I don't think the 9mm Mak will operate a Toke. The conversion to 9mm P (9x19 or 9mm Luger) is perfectly feasible and requires only a barrel change (the Germans converted thousands of them).

I wouldn't worry overmuch about surplus 7.62 ammo and AFAIK, the story of super hot ammo is pretty much a myth. The figures often quoted for the "SMG ammo" are identical to that of the original 7.63 Mauser of 1896, so I doubt it has been a problem. The origin might have been the result of the appearance on the market of some proof loads that did give trouble in pistols, but if you avoid those, you should be OK. The ammo seller should know what he is selling. If you trust that dealer you mentioned, why not buy ammo from him and you should be able to lay your concerns to rest.

One facet of the ammo story is that the 7.62 Russian/East Bloc uses a light bullet at high velocity. Most shooters today have not encountered that type of round and the flash and blast are much more impressive than standard 9x19, leading to the idea that the ammo is super hot, when in fact the pressure is identical to the 9x19.

(One point, though. Even though the C96 Mauser was chambered for that round, and the C93 Borchardt will fire it, I strongly recommend it not be used in those old guns. The Borchardt will definitely be damaged if not destroyed, and the C96 guns are old and getting too valuable to take a chance.)


October 9, 2009, 08:09 AM
The only thing I can add to Jim's informational post is that the cheap (72 @ $8) milsurp ammo that makes the TT-33 so attractive is not going to be the alleged "hot" ammo.

October 9, 2009, 12:36 PM
Jim, that was what I was thinking was the story behind the ammo. Tok ammo is about the size of 9mm luger, but has a smaller bullet, so I imagine that the muzzle blast and muzzle velocity would be insane. I thought it would be odd that the Russians would produce ammo for pistols and SMG's, even though the rounds are the same.

October 9, 2009, 09:32 PM
the cheapest tok i saw at a gun show was a yugo m57? for 270 in ok condition

October 10, 2009, 01:37 AM
really? that's considerably more than used prices out there...

October 10, 2009, 01:56 AM
For a Yugo Tokarev, $270 is not a bad price, I don't think. If any Tokarev will do, then it's not a good price.

October 10, 2009, 04:51 AM
I have a Romanian TTC, and have no complaints with it besides the hackjob "safety" on it. Feels good in my hand, great trigger, and I consistently shoot better with it than my CZ-52.

Also, don't buy your Tok ammo by the box. That kills half your cost savings. Just buy one of the 1260 round cases for $125 and be done with it (well, for a while).

What did you mean by "everything's a dealer sale" in IL? Private party transfers are legal just like in the rest of the country, and if you get your C&R you can buy yours from whomever you choose out of state.

Some power hungry Crook County prosecutors apparently send out scare tactic letters in the 90s that convinced people they couldn't send firearms (or ammo, depending on which version they heard) to Crook County, but that's not the case and few places still believe it.

October 10, 2009, 01:16 PM
I know that within Chicago city limits, you can't ship ammo and handguns are completely illegal (I would have thought that was knocked down years ago, but it's only now just going to court).

I was also under the impression that at Il gunshows, private transfers are illegal and everything has to go through an FFL dealer at gun shows, due to the FOID card and mandatory background checks. It's not completely illegal to do FTF transfers in Il, I know that, but I thought that the mode of business of a gun show forced everything to go through FFL's in Il. I don't know, this state has some WEIRD laws.

Mike Irwin
October 11, 2009, 06:41 AM
Some years ago I saw a TT-30 totally trashed by Czech surplus military ammo.

Across the chronograph it was running about (IIRC) 300 fps hotter than the surplus East German stuff the guy had been using earlier.

Turned a nice TT-30, a WW II bring back, into a piece of scrap metal.

There's been a LOT of debate one way or another about the existence of the hot Czech 7.62 subgun ammo. I'd say that 1,600 round pack if not proving its existence, at least went a long way towards confirming it.

Every report I have ever heard of hot ammo has been Czech ammo, ONLY.

At the time the ammo was supposedly produced, the Czech were exercising considerable autonomy from the Soviets in the firearms development field and paying only the barest lipservice to the Soviet lead.

And, as originally produced, 7.62 Tokarev ammunition should be perfectly fine to fire in a 7.63 Mauser-chambered C96. The Tokarev round was a manufacturing variation of the 7.63 Mauser and grew out of efforts to both supply the many thousands of C96 pistols that the Soviets had purchased from Germany in the 1920s, and develop a round that could be easily manufactured to Soviet specifications on Soviet machinery, and was, evidently, slightly LESS powerful than the German ammunition.

October 11, 2009, 09:25 AM
Save your money, get a 03 FLL, and then buy at dealer prices. The gun shows right now still have stupid prices. I saw a Mosin 91/30 priced at $300 this weekend, same one at AIM will cost $79. SOG has nice Tokarovs for $199, hand pick $209, :) I'm very happy with mine.

October 11, 2009, 03:46 PM
Any one have a 7.62x25 barrel they want to get rid of? I bought the 9mm version from a friend and am in need of a 7.62x25 barrel. Does anyone know if there are any other caliber's for these guns, where have ya'll found the best price for mags?

October 11, 2009, 05:00 PM
Here's one a Numrich. They are out there.



James K
October 11, 2009, 08:30 PM
There was a batch of 7.62x25 proof ammo sold on the US market a while back. It was clearly marked as proof loads (in Czech) but for some reason most folks couldn't read it and took it for standard ammo. I am NOT sure that was the only hot ammo made, but with Russia's rigid requirements for ammunition interchangeability, I doubt very much that a Soviet ally would have been allowed to produce 7.62x25 ammo that would wreck East Bloc pistols. (I will note that for years, there was a myth that German 9mm Tropical pack ammo was for SMGs and would blow up pistols. I fired a fair amount of it; it was quite normal and my handguns stayed intact.)

Mike, true that the Czechs were not noted for total subservience, but if you recall when they went their own way on an assault rifle caliber (7.62x45), the Russians reined them in pretty fast and forced them to convert to the Bloc standard 7.62x39. Even so, that is a far cry from deliberately making ammo that would destroy their allies' pistols.


October 11, 2009, 11:55 PM
I was also under the impression that at Il gunshows, private transfers are illegal and everything has to go through an FFL dealer at gun shows, due to the FOID card and mandatory background checks. It's not completely illegal to do FTF transfers in Il, I know that, but I thought that the mode of business of a gun show forced everything to go through FFL's in Il.

You're mixing a couple of separate ideas here. It may well be that private transfers at shows are banned in IL, if so it's not something I'm familiar with (haven't been to a show here).

But the FOID card wouldn't be what made that the case, it would have to be a separate law. In private transfers you check that your buyer has a FOID card. There's no "mandatory background check"; if you buy through an FFL you go through the same Brady check everyone else in the country is forced to submit to.

I don't know how it would be "completely" illegal versus partially illegal to do FTF transfers. Private transfers are legal in IL, period.

Mike Irwin
October 12, 2009, 01:17 AM
This was not the proof ammo.

Proof ammo didn't come in 1600 round cans.

If by quickly reigned in you mean 5 years after the VZ 52 was entered into service (the modified rifle was the VZ 52/57).

The primary reason for the conversion was, of course, to maintain ammunition uniformity throughout the Warsaw Pact.

Prior to that (and even after that), Czechoslovakia maintained a rather high degree of autonomy in the development of arms and ammunition given the long history of weapons development in that nation, stretching back to when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Take, for example, the VZ 58 assault rifle. Very AK-47ish looking, but VERY different internally from the AK family of firearms.

And let's not forget the VZ 75 pistol, which even Jeff Cooper came to recognize as the finest combat handgun in the world.

Back to ammunition. Corresponding with their autonomy in firearms develop, the Czechs also maintained significant autonomy in both developing new cartridge concepts and looking to the west for cartridges for the weapons, such as the 9mm Luger round, which the Czechs paired with the VZ 75 pistol and adopted into at least limited Czech military service when the rest of the Warsaw Pact was still using the 9mm Makarov.

I'll also note this from Ed Ezell's Small Arms of the World (11th edition, 1977), page 217: "The Soviet and Czechoslovak cartridges are interchangeable with the 7.63mm Mauser, but are considerably hotter loadings than are the United states commercial loadings of this cartridge.... The Czechoslovak cartridge has a particularly heavy loading, being about 20% heavier than the Soviet."

I also wouldn't worry too much about the concept that the Czechs might well have created ammunition, externally identical to Soviet ammo, that was designed specifically for weapons developed in its nation and arming its troops.

Warsaw Pack nations were supposed to be completely autonomous in their production of small arms and ammunition for their own troops, and were not expected to supply outside of their own troops.

October 12, 2009, 01:25 AM
I thought that there was something extra in Il law that made it mandatory for all transactions at a Gun show to require a BG Check.

James K
October 12, 2009, 03:08 PM
Mike, even if the Czachs did have a high degree of autonomy, why would they deliberately manufacture ammo that would blow up their allies' guns? Why would the U.S., for example, knowingly turn out 7.62 NATO ammo that would blow up British FAL's? Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.


October 12, 2009, 07:14 PM
A lot of Eastern Bloc weapons weren't exact duplicates of Soviet weapons. Another example would be the Yugo SKS, which featured a somewhat different gas system and the grenade launcher. Or the Yugo Tokarevs with the one extra round capacity (but thus lacking mag interchangeability). It seems then the Soviets had a lot of faith in their own ability to supply their soldiers during the post-war period with weapons and ammo that they allowed their satellite nations to produce modified/upgraded weapons that may not be interchangeable with Soviet ones. Another example would be the Pa-63 and P-64 type pistols, which have no interchangeable parts with the Makarov.

Although, it is may be important to note, than when the Soviets adopted the 9x18 Makarov round (in the 1950's), the Czechs eventually did too, without making it a different load.

Mike Irwin
October 13, 2009, 12:23 AM
First off, as I noted, each member of the Warsaw pact was expected to supply its own internal arms and ammunition needs, often from factories either established by the Soviet Union. That same pattern largely existed in NATO, as well; i.e., Czechoslovakia wasn't expected to supply Romania with ammunition or arms.

In other words, there was little expectation that Czechoslovakian ammunition would end up in the hands of its allies.

Second, there's no clear indication of just how long that 7.62 ammunition was produced. The loading parameters could easily have been changed after 1955-1957, leaving the uploaded ammunition to be consumed in training by the Czech military.

Finally, and most importantly, the Tokarev was being replaced by the Makarov in the Soviet Union by 1951-1952, prior to establishment of the Warsaw Pact. The Czechs, however, maintained the CZ 52 as their standard service weapon until well into the 1960s. As far as I know, the Czechs never fully adopted the 9x18 Makarov round, nor did they ever fully replace the CZ 52 in service until into the 1980s.

In other words, the Czechs maintained autonomy in their service handgun and cartridge WELL after their entry into the Warsaw Pact.

Given that most of the rest of the pact was using 9mm Makarov, and the only other Communist nations maintaining large front line stocks of 7.62 pistols were in Asia (North Korea and China), the issue of Czech ammo "blowing up their allies pistols" fades even farther into the background to the point where it's hardly a serious consideration.

As far as the Makarov round being adopted without modification, a couple of things could explain that...

First, the round really isn't (unlike the 7.62) capable of being uploaded to a much greater degree.

Second, indications are that the uploaded 7.62 round was to be used in both the CZ 52 and Czech submachine guns. The Makarov was only a handgun round.

Third, two words may more fully explain why... Prague Spring.

October 13, 2009, 01:17 AM
Actually, it seems that under Il law, all purchases made a gun show are subject to the waiting period and the background check, private or not. This makes it seem like any private party purchase at an Il gunshow must, legally, go through an FFL dealer.

November 1, 2009, 04:25 PM
If a pistol with an interesting history is part of what you want, don't over look the CZ 52. Very interesting engineering, roller locked action like the German MG 34 machinegun. Also the Russian 1895 Nagant revolver, Laterally moving cylinder to seal the cartridge mouth against the barrel. The original ammo for the Nagant is expensive, but 32 S&W works just fine. Goes bang OK, but accuracy with any ammo suffers because of a very heavy trigger pull. Still fun to own and shoot. I have all 3 mentioned plus a E. German Makarov and a CZ 82. Thoroughly enjoy owning and shooting all of them.

November 1, 2009, 05:59 PM
I know I want a couple tok's and a 52