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Yugoslavia Items

 

This Yugoslavian Model-57 Tokarev was manufactured by the Crvena(red) Zastava factory in Kragujevac, Yugoslavia. On April 5, 2005 the factory changed its name to Zastava oruzje(arms) AD, and is still located in Kragujevac, but the country is now known as Serbia. The M-57 sidearm was adopted in 1957 and was the standard sidearm of the Yugoslavian army. Going by the Yugoslavian emblem that is stamped on the top of the slide, I place the date of manufacturer for this sidearm to be some time after 1963. The M-57 is a self-loading, semi-automatic pistol that operates using a short recoil, locked breech design with a swinging under barrel link, much like the one seen on the Colt 1911.

The M-57 is chambered for the 7.62 x 25mm Tokarev round. The pistol has been designed to operate as a single action firearm that utilizes an external hammer. After the first round has been fired, it then functions as a double action. The steel frame has the usual blackish finish that is commonly seen on Eastern bloc firearms. The sight system includes a square blade front sight that is dovetailed onto the slide and a U-notch rear sight that is drift adjustable for windage only. The pistol is fed by a single column 9 round detachable box magazine. Although the M-57 is very similar to the Soviet TT(Tula, Tokarev)-33, it will not accept the TT-33 magazine which is a tad shorter and holds only 8 rounds. The M-57 utilizes a push button magazine release that is located at the bottom rear corner of the trigger guard. An empty magazine will easily eject from the pistol under its own weight. The pistol has an overall length is 7.87 inches,  a barrel length of 4.6 inches with 4 grooves, and an unloaded weight of 32 ounces. This weapon does employ a slide hold open mechanism to inform the operator that the last round has been fired. The black grip panels are made from plastic. 

The pistol incorporates a thumb safety which is located above the left grip at the rear of the frame. Early examples of the M-57 did not include a manual thumb safety. On the example displayed on this page, the safety lever requires the use of both hands to engage it, but can be switched to the fire position quite easily with the use of one hand. The reader should be made aware that there is debate among collectors as to when the thumb safety was installed. Was it at the Zastava factory, or was it added later so that the M-57 would comply with U.S. import laws? As of this writing, I do not know the answer to that question. The hammer half cock safety, more like a quarter cock, locks in place both the trigger and the slide. The M-57 also incorporates a magazine safety that will not allow the hammer to be dropped if the magazine has been removed.

  

7.62x25mm Tokarev round

The 7.62x25mm Tokarev pistol cartridge has a bottle-necked shape and at one time was widely used in the former Soviet Union and Soviet satellite states. The actual caliber of the bullet is 7.85 mm or .309 inches. When fired from a pistol, this cartridge has an unusually loud report and bright muzzle flash that can surprise any onlookers, a loud flame thrower might be a better description. On average, this 90 grain FMJ(full metal jacket) bullet leaves the muzzle at a velocity of 1340 FPS(feet per second) which produces 380 foot pounds of energy. The Czechoslovakian M48 version of this round traveling at 1600 fps has excellent penetration and can easily defeat lighter ballistic vests such as class I, II and IIA. Today, there are some police and special forces units in Russia and in China that still use this cartridge rather than the more popular 9 mm Makarov ammunition.  

The photographs on the left are of the front and back of the M-57, while the pictures on the right show the top and bottom of the pistol. The pistol is shown with the magazine installed in each of these photographs. The serial number is found on the frame directly above the right grip, on the slide directly above the trigger, and on the barrel in such a way as to be viewed through the ejection port on the slide. Additionally, several different numbers, possibly part numbers, have been etched onto the interior surfaces through out the firearm.

  

Yugoslavian emblem  

In the upper photograph on the right, directly ahead of the rear sight is the Yugoslavian crest or emblem. Several different styles of this emblem are known to exist on the M-57, with some styles dependent on the date of manufacturer. All of the crests that I have examined have the date of November 29, 1943 on them. The emblem was created by Dorde Andrejevic-Kun, an artist from the capital city of Belgrade in 1943. The emblem for socialist Yugoslavia consisted of five torches that were burning together as a single flame being surrounded by wheat. This represented the unity and brotherhood of the five nations of Yugoslavia which included, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia,and Slovenia, but left out the ethnic Muslims. Then in 1963, the name of the country was changed to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the crest was redesigned with six torches to represent the six Yugoslavian federal republics, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

The November 29, 1943 date is a reference to a conference that took place in the city of Jajce and is now known as the Jajce conference. During WWII when the Nazi's occupied Yugoslavia, Communists from around the region gathered at what is known as the Antifascist Assembly of Yugoslavia's People's Liberation(AVNOJ). These Communists proclaimed that their assembly was the only legitimate government of Yugoslavia, and it was most certainly not the fascist Nazi invaders. At their second meeting, this assembly drew up a single page document that contained only two signatures yet it formed the basis for the post-war organization of the country(in effect, Tito's own communist party). This national parliament designated Tito as the Marshall of Yugoslavia. The monarchy was not officially abolished, and the communist state declared, until late in 1945. The emblem was adopted about a year later. The November 29, 1943 date seems to backdate the new regime by around 3 years, in so doing, gives the regime an air of established solidity. This proclamation established a new federal state which lasted until 1991.  

The photograph on the left is of the markings that are found on the left side of the slide. The first group of markings reads as follows: "PW ARMS REDMOND WA 7.62 X 25 MM ZASTAVA YUGOSLAVIA". This is a stamp that no collector wants to see on a historic firearm that is in their collection. This is an importers stamp that is now required to be placed on firearms that have entered the U.S. after the late 1980's. On the plus side, every marking on a firearm will help to tell us its history and this importers mark is no different. With this importers mark, we now know that this M-57 pistol came in to the U.S. some time after the late 1980's. This marking is exactly what the law calls for except it would have been nice if the importer would have hid this stamp under the grips rather then placing it on the left side of the slide. This stamp identifies the importer and where the firearm was manufactured. The top line tells us that the firearm was imported by PW Arms and that this importer is located in Redmond, Washington. The second line identifies the caliber of the weapon. The third line tells us that this pistol was manufactured at the Zastava factory. The fourth and last line identifies which country this pistol was built in which was Yugoslavia. The import law that is mentioned above can be referenced by viewing the gun control Act of 1968, Public Law 90-618 and under Subpart F-Conduct of Business sub-section 178.92 (a)(1) Firearms.

The next set of markings on the slide are from the factory and read as follows: "7.62mm M57". The marking tells us that the caliber of the pistol is 7.62mm and that the model of the weapon is M57. On the right side of the slide and directly in front of the serial number(not the letter prefix of the serial number which is a P on this example), the letter "T" has been stamped. I do not as of yet know what the meaning of this "T" stamp indicates.

  

The photograph on the right is of a disassembled magazine. Often, as it was in this case, these old weapons are packed in what is known as cosmoline, a heavy weight petroleum product that helps to preserved the item for long term storage. The cosmoline gets into every nook and cranny. It is a practice of mine to completely disassemble every piece of an item that has been smothered with cosmoline. While I have the item broken down for cleaning, I use this opportunity to throughly document every marking on the item. I found individual part numbers on every part of the magazine assembly except for the spring.  

The photograph on the left is a close up of the emblem that is found in the center of each of the plastic grips. Around the middle to the upper section of the five pointed star is found the letters "SFRJ". These letters are an abbreviation for "Socialist Federal Republic of Jugoslavia". The five pointed star is meant to represent a Red star. The five-pointed red star, is a symbol of socialism and communism. This star was one of the most prominent symbols of the Soviet Union, adorning all official buildings, awards and insignia. Even the Russian military newspaper was called the Red Star(Krasnaya Zvezda). In 1930, the Order of the Red Star medal was established to be awarded to the Soviet army and navy personnel for exceptional service in the cause of the defense of the Soviet Union in both war and peace.

The red star symbol is understood by some to represent the five fingers of the worker's hand, as well as the five continents. Others claim that the five points on the star were intended to represent the five social groups that would lead Russia to glorious communism: youth, military, industrial laborers, agricultural workers or peasantry, and the intelligentsia. An interesting side note is that after the fall of the Soviet bloc, the red star has been banned in some countries.

The photograph on the right is of the underside of the grip panels. The grips are not attached to the pistol by screws, but rather by a unique latching or locking system. The left grip panel is shown on the left, and it is this grip panel that must be removed first. Notice the notch that is located at the bottom of the grey "T" shaped latch. To remove the left grip panel, a screwdriver is inserted into the magazine well so that it can move the "T" shaped latch into the position that is shown in the picture. After this is done the grip panel can easily be removed from the frame. To remove the right grip panel, the same screwdriver is now inserted into the opening that was created by removing the left grip panel and moving the grip retaining latch to the position shown above.  

The picture on the left is of the disassembled receiver. Many times these old weapons are found packed in what is known as cosmoline, a heavy weight petroleum product that helps to preserved the item for long term storage. The cosmoline gets into every nook and cranny. It is a practice of mine to completely disassemble an item that has been smothered with cosmoline. Then, while I have the item broken down for cleaning, I use this opportunity to throughly document every marking on it.

The  photograph on the right shows not only the M-57, but all of the accessories that came with it. The accessories include two 9 round magazines, cleaning rod, and a leather holster. The holster has a pocket for the spare magazine and the cleaning rod.

This Yugo M-57 was purchased from SOG and I paid the extra $10 to receive a handpicked item. For those that might not be familiar with "handpicked" status, it applies when an individual places a buy order from one of the firearm distributors(usually not a manufacturer). Instead of getting the next gun to be sent out, what ever the condition may be, the employees at the distributor are "supposed" to pick you out a nicer example. Since the buyer is not at the distributors place of business and is often located in a another state, the buyer places his trust in the distributor and its employees. Some folks say that the employees will pick the best example out of five. Others claim that when the distributor gets in a batch of weapons, they sort through them and place the nicer examples in a different pile. While still other folks claim that it is a big waste of money and that you'll get what ever was the next pistol in line to go out. Many get that impression thanks to the Internet which allows them to do a close examination of the items that other buyers are receiving when these buyers post pictures of their items online. I personally would not pay the extra for a handpicked item if the distributor is advertising the item as being in excellent condition. What would one be hoping for in such a situation? An item in better then excellent condition? I can say from personal experience that some of the handpicked items I have ordered were in worse condition then what the item was advertised as. I have also learned when I was placing an order with SOG that they did not have any more of that particular item available in handpicked condition.

 

How to field strip the pistol.

FIRST MAKE SURE THE PISTOL IS UNLOADED!!

1. Remove the magazine.

2. Use a non-marring tool to exert a rearward pressure on the flange of the retainer clip that is located on the right side of the frame and directly above the trigger. Snap the forward arms of the retainer clip off of the tip of the slide-latch cross shaft.

3. Restrain the slide as you remove the slide-latch from the pistol toward the left.

4. Remove the slide assembly by pulling it toward the front of the pistol.

5. Remove the recoil spring assembly from the slide.

6. Turn the barrel bushing that is located at the front of the slide and remove it.

7. The barrel can now be removed from the front of the slide.

8. Pull the hammer assembly upward and out of the receiver.

 The pistol is now field stripped.

For instructions on how to remove the grips, please see the last paragraph of text under the grip pictures above.

  

Resource:

Instruction manual

Cartridges of the world by Frank C. Barnes

The standard directory of proof marks by Gerhard Wirnsberger

Official guide to gunmarks by Robert Balderson

The Mosin Nagant rifle by Terence W. Lapin

Wikipedia website located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zastava_M57  

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