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-   -   Old Brno 1 year of manufacturing (https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=587817)

Someday 07-02-2015 09:08 AM

Old Brno 1 year of manufacturing
A family member just recently bought this old Brno 1 (for next to nothing I may add....). Thanks to some old posts by TOU, I was able to decipher the Z7 mark (factory location), the T mark (Quality Control Stamp) and of course the Czech Lyon mark. There are some other marks that I can"t recognize. The right side of the receiver has what appears to be a secondary serial number.
Any ideas when this rifle was made or what the other marks may stand for? Thanks in advance!

mauser22 07-02-2015 12:22 PM

That is not a secondary serial number. Your gun was proofed on three occasions. The Circle T crossed sabers and serial number place it originally made in 1948 or 49 under the then existing Communist mandated proofs or military acceptance marks. And as you note the the Property Mark Z7 for Communist Youth Group. The Commercial Czech Lion proofs likely were added later and that appears to be in July of 1961 Some of these originally military accepted were commercially proofed later for sales as political changes and cash flow dictated. Some appear to have set in storage in between those proofings. Your gun was proofed yet a third time in 1998. This is not surprising given the history and upheaval in the country at those points in time. Depending on when pulled from Government stocks for sale outside the country and what the country of destination was, the proofing requirements varied. All that makes the gun really talk if you are interested in history. Besides that you have what appears to be a really good example of the best 5 shot bolt action sporting rifle ever made, anywhere, anytime - Period.


gmd1950 07-02-2015 12:45 PM

In my humble opinion Mauser .22 nailed it, very nice rifle with a history it would seem. :bthumb:

Steve in IN 07-02-2015 12:55 PM

I agree. I almost started to answer about the three proofs right after Sometime posted, but decided to wait and hope someone with lots better information replied. Good job, Mauser.

beartrax 07-02-2015 01:30 PM

Model 1
I have owned two rifles much the same as yours. They are marked identical to the tgf guns without the tgf marking on the front receiver ring. They are exactly like the other Model ones made '48 to end except they will not have Brno Model 1 on the barrel or proof marks. I think they were made during the production run of the tgf guns and perhaps were over-runs and were in the same serial number sequence which is unique to this run of rifles. The barrel configuration makes the "parts left over from WWII" stories very suspect.

These are my opinions. I wish there was a definitive book on these fine rifles and I agree that you got a very good deal on one of the best .22 rifles ever produced.


mauser22 07-02-2015 01:34 PM

Thanks fellows. While it is not rocket science, it does take some study and historical background to sort out.

The political and economic situation in Czechoslovakia at the times these guns were produced and much later (in some cases) when they were sold from Government stocks, creates one of the most diverse and confusing group of variations in proofing of any .22 rimfire I am aware of.

Proof laws in virtually all European Countries are much more stringent than in the U.S. and armed with some back ground in that, they can be of great help in not only dating production, but determining what the intended market, user, and travels of European guns were.

I have applied considerable time to those studies.

mauser22 07-02-2015 01:55 PM


Originally Posted by beartrax (Post 5421477)
I have owned two rifles much the same as yours. They are marked identical to the tgf guns without the tgf marking on the front receiver ring. They are exactly like the other Model ones made '48 to end except they will not have Brno Model 1 on the barrel or proof marks. I think they were made during the production run of the tgf guns and perhaps were over-runs and were in the same serial number sequence which is unique to this run of rifles. The barrel configuration makes the "parts left over from WWII" stories very suspect.

These are my opinions. I wish there was a definitive book on these fine rifles and I agree that you got a very good deal on one of the best .22 rifles ever produced.


We all look forward to a reference on these and in fact a very long and serious work has been on-going by 35WCF. We must be patient as to produce a CORRECT and definitive reference on any European gun, particularly one shrouded by the Political and Geographic barriers of the Cold War is extremely difficult. Add to that the intrigues that existed right up the the beginning of this last century due to outside influences and internal conflicts resulting from NAZI, Communist, and ethnic conflicts. Don't give up on him. I know him to be serious, and a dedicated student of the gun. There is considerable mis-information and are myths unsupported by historical facts circulating.

You are correct. I am in possession of literature from Brno which states the gun was developed in late 1945 (post war) and first went into production in 1946.

This is born out by observed examples.

Those first two years they were referred to only as "Model 1" and made in a slightly different configuration with larger receiver port and sporting profile front sight. All of these bear only the standard Commercial Czech Lion proof and year date.

In 1948 the Government rolled over to Communist Control and the Gun became the ZKM451 (aka and still marked on barrel Model 1) Demands for .22 training rifles within the country and other Warsaw Pact countries resulted in the Circle T and Crossed Sabers (Military Acceptance) on most guns. With some guns also made same period alternately proofed or additionally proofed withe the Czech Lion so they could be exported (sold for cash into country). Serial numbering appears to have started over at that point with the first TGF marked guns. East Germany, Romania also used the Model 1.

Changes in the Government and Proof laws in 1950 resulted in some guns being proofed with the Star of the Prague Proof style and or the Czech Lion proof.
Again this was driven by changes in Government andintended user and or market. By the last years of production on the Model 1 only the Czech Commercial Lion proof was used.

That said, any of them from any period may have been reproofed various and sundry ways to meet the requirements of the country being exported to. Some will be seen with Post War German Proofs added, Some with British Proofs added.

Where the guns were surplus (ex trainers or from Government stocks) they would most often require reproofing with Commercial Czech Lion proofs.

And that style proofing was more universally recognized and accepted by countries the guns were being exported to.

Confusing but interesting and a great aid to sorting out any particular example's time travels.

Good Collecting!!!!

Someday 07-02-2015 02:52 PM

Thanks for the great info mauser22 and others!!!

BRNO/CZluvr 07-02-2015 03:41 PM

Someday, Great score on the model 1. You will love that rifle. It is my favorite of all rifles. It should be very accurate. What an awesome reply from mauser22. Please write more about the history of the model1. This info should at least go into a sticky.

Someday 07-02-2015 04:18 PM

Unfortunately this Brno is not mine. It was bought by a close relative and I promised him to find out as much as possible about his first 22LR via RFC.
His second 22LR he just bought from "an old grandma living in the mountains" is a German 2nd World War Gustloff-Werk trainer. He has a good taste for a young guy!

mauser22 07-02-2015 05:22 PM

I will add some other points from my perspective. I will say that some other very good people who are very passionate about the gun are not congruent with my opinions. I have learned the hard way from contributing to other gun references and mistakes made by some authors that how one states things is critical. There is great difficulty in putting into the written word the intended meaning and having it understood in the manner intended. The best references are period documents and those have been very difficult and costly to acquire in some cases. Reproduction of them can have legal considerations unless rights to publish or reproduce are secured. Another issue with publishing a gun reference and getting it right is with unquestionable evidence laid out. Also, I do not desire to detract from others work and research to publish the story.

So what I will offer are a few brief thoughts based on my study of Czech History and it's relation to the gun. With any firearm, development, sales, are always related to politics and economics of the global economy. The Model 1 (ZKM451) is no exception.

What most Americans have trouble grasping is that both CZ and BRNO were founded as Czech government owned companies (arsenals if you will). Not a situation such as Remington and Winchester in the US more like Springfield Armory and Rock Island. Primarily producers of military weapons but also engaged in sporting firearms production but to a very small degree.
The products of both in addition to arming themselves was export for national product and state income.

At the end of WW2 both government owned plants had considerable improvements in facilities, machinery, raw material and a large experienced work base. At that same moment in history the demand for Military Weapons was near zero. (the newly forming State of Israel being one exception and Brno was a prime supplier of surplus made or reconditioned German design guns to them in the immediate post war era).

At this same moment in history the renowned European sporting arms firms of Germany (Walther, Sauer, Mauser, to name a few) were laid completely idle by the outcome of the war. To that end the Czech firms had an edge in producing for a market where the demand for sporting firearms was about to explode. Particularly within Europe the Czechs recognized this as an opportunity.

The country and the state owned weapons factories were desperate to make use of those resources for cash flow and this could only be achieved by exporting sporting firearms. The genius design team of the Koucky brothers set about to develop sporting arms to that end. One of the first of which was the Brno Model One as that was correctly perceived to be a good market with so many young men from so many countries returned to peace time endeavors. WEAPONS were surplus from the defeated AXIS and wartime production of the Allies. A stream of other sporting designs emerged from BRNO in the immediate post war era to include the ZG47 Centerfire, the ZP49 Shotgun and the ZKM465 small bore centerfire. It is not coincidence that the numbers in these designations and the ZKM451 coincide with the year of development.

A central government run agency (KOVO) OMNIPOL (The foreign trade Corporation for the Export and Import of Sports and Hunting Weapons and Ammunition) controlled production, advertising, and exportation of all Czech made firearms and ammunition. Hence the marking on these guns of that era "NARODNI PODNIK" essentially "National Product".

This was a very essential and expedited endeavor to utilize the resources left in the wake of WW2 to get the factories back into production and feed the work force and aid the national coiffures.

To get a return on all that and get money flowing back into Czechoslovakia it had to be a product that would sell world wide. This was done with an emphasis on quality and playing on the already great reputation the firms had established exporting weapons in the prewar era. The documents I have clearly state that the designers had access to and studied the best .22 rimfires of that era. This included the Mauser KKW and B series, the Walther bolt action .22 of pre war design and the Winchester 52 who's influence is obvious to anyone acquainted with both designs.

To this end with one of their first efforts to produce a sporting arm for export the Czechs hit a home run. The Brno Model 1 was exported world wide and was quickly recognized as the best sporting and hunting .22 repeater available at a good cost. However, the political situation that developed impacted where and how much the gun was exported with the Communist takeover in 1948 as well as what markets were open for the gun. Here in the United States in the post war era the American gun companies were struggling with conversion from war time production and the demand for sporting guns was only being met by a trickle relative to demand until late in the 1940s. The .22 Rifles they were producing were more affordable without importing them and brands recognized by the home market. A few were imported to the U.S. in this period but could not compete with the home brands and the market in the U.S. did not develop before the Cold War spooled up.

By 1948 the Cold War was getting hot, a good part of production of the Model 1 was needed as trainers within the emerging Warsaw Pact Countries. Here in the U.S. trade embargos and taxes levied on products from Communist countries denied us the opportunity to enjoy Czech sporting arms to any degree or become familiar with their quality until the Wall came down in the early 90's and the Czechs could peddle their wares here without restriction or penalty.

That is when the flood gates opened on all these old trainers from the "other side" It was concurrent with new Czech production hitting our shores and the establishment of CZ - USA.

The old Brno plant as we know struggled ultimately taking bankruptcy having to operate in a new free economy and as a private entity. CZ succeeded and has taken the American shooting public
(hungry for affordable quality firearms) by storm.

The movement of production from Brno to CZ in it's then current form (Model 2 or ZKM452) was a simple matter under Communism as both firms were state owned and controlled. That had occurred in the late 1960's with the Cold War still raging and most U.S. rimfire shooters not exposed to the gun.

This placed CZ in an advantageous position with the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the first opportunity since WW2 to compete unrestricted in the U.S. market.

What a testimony for a design. Essentially that design and it's variations and current morphs are still globally recognized as the best affordable or otherwise .22 bolt action sporting rifle in the world.

I hope no one finds this brief as insulting. Having lived through that history I take much for granted. I have realized that there are adult shooters and gun enthusiasts now adults in their twenties who have no recollection of the Cold War Era except for what they got in school or have seen on TV. Little is taught specifically about how the Western Powers essentially abandoned Czechoslovakia on numerous occasions (1938, 1945, 1948, and again in the 60's) to their fate.

Perhaps this gives some food for thought and will motivate some to explore more the lessons of history.

Good Collecting!!!

don5 07-02-2015 09:30 PM

Well said Mauser22. I appreciate the background information on these rifles. I do not own a model 1 yet but my son has a 1950 model 1. I have a model 2 and 2E myself. I really like these rifles. I did not know anything about them nor did I even know they existed until January of last year. Yes I remember the cold war also.

Rugerem 07-03-2015 04:27 AM

Thank you very much Mauser 22, and this is a great thread, very interesting to me recently. I just learned of CZ's and BRNO in the last 9 years, not really paying much attention to the BRNO's until recently. But when you'll give that kind of praise to the Mod 1 I'm interested!

gmd1950 07-03-2015 04:24 PM

Mauser22 has provided me with a good bit of information that makes me tend to agree more with his statements above, while there is a good bit of mystery surrounding the Model 1 it is doubtful any completed arms existed before the end of the war. Never let it be said I'm not willing to listen.;)

sako 07-03-2015 07:26 PM

Excellent work mauser22.

The Brno .22's have been available here in New Zealand from the early 50's and possibly earlier. They were considered the benchmark in a quality .22LR. I have owned five and still own two, a 1950 Model 1 and a 1959 581 auto.

I well remember going to buy my first rifle the day I turned sixteen in 1968 from a local sports store. I'd had earlier noticed the second hand, perfect condition, Model 2 that was on the shelf and I had my heart set on buying it. However, to my dismay the dealer told me it was $59 and I only had $50 earned from my paper route money. He offered to put it aside until I came up with the other $9 but being the impatient type I opted to buy a new German made Voere .22 instead for $44 . A decision I always have regretted, not because there was anything wrong with the Voere as it was a fine, very accurate rifle, however it wasn't a Brno. A school classmate bought the Brno shortly after and wreaked havoc on the local rabbit population with it. He unfortunately also deliberately shot himself with it some ten years ago.

As for the Cold War, I remember my teacher in primary school in 1962 telling the class that the end of the world may be approaching as the Cuban missile crisis was not going well. I can't imagine a school teacher these days telling a class of nine year olds that they may be about to be nuked. The teacher would be unemployed pronto.

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