I've done some searching and have not been able to find an exact match for what I saw yesterday, so here goes. Sorry if I've overlooked the answer to this, but would appreciate any thoughts on the matter.
Yesterday, I was at one of my favorite honey holes and spotted a Vz.24 hanging in the dimly lit storage room at the back of the building. Having known the owner for some 25 years, I asked I could go back there and check it out. He obliged and I found this rifle with the typical three line crest and simple "Vz.24" mark on the left side of the receiver. I also noticed that it had a circular cartouche on the right side of the butt, containing what appeared to be some Chinese characters (possibly Japanese, but I have a little exposure to kanji, so I'm leaning towards Chinese). Now, I know that there were some "contract" rifles sent to China and have read about some of the Japanese contract rifles ending up there, as well. This one did not have a P prefix (or any prefix, for that matter) and would be earlier production than most other examples I've seen. It did not have any Czech acceptance stamps that I could see. I'm assuming that it would be mid/late '20s production, but maybe you gentlemen can confirm/deny that. The serial number (no prefix, as stated) was four or five numerical digits, followed by "C2". Condition of the rifle was probably "fair". Counterbored and a fair amount of crud in the bore, so hard to say what's underneath it all. Stock and metal were typical surplus Vz.24 condition; plenty beat up, but not cracked or any huge holes, and probably 20% blue left, if that. I'm fairly certain it was an 8mm and the owner was clueless as to what it was, or what it may be worth. From our discussion, I'm thinking I could get this for under $200, easily, if not $150. Not like I NEED a Chinese Vz., but it would be an interesting addition to the collection, especially if the price is right. I did not think to check for import marks and, IIRC, the bolt was a mismatch, if not a total mismatch (like I said, it was dark and I didn't get as good of a look as I should have).
Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.
A C2 serial number suffix would have been made in 1927 or 1928. Although nothing is impossible, it would be next to impossible for that one to be sent to China. Most likely a Chinese stock was put on the VZ24 barreled action. Look closely at the stock and bands. It is probably not even a VZ24 stock, although it might be. If is is a VZ24 stock it should have a serial number on the left butt and should have a hole for the rear band screw.
I'm pretty sure it was the correct stock. IIRC, it had all the usual Vz.24 bands/sling swivels and I know for certain that there was a number on the left side (or, what was left of it. It was very faint) in the usual spot.
As for the C2 suffix, is it unusual to find one with this suffix and also without Czech acceptance marks?
I have seen ex-Chinese Vz24's with P prefix (1937's), C prefix (1937's), and regular early Czech serials like yours. The C prefix 1937 samples show the C prefix only on the stock, numerals only show on the receiver.
I'm guessing that this rifle was among those which John mentioned, above. The features seem to fit that timeframe best. Anybody have an idea on value? Let's assume that it's "fair to good" condition, at best.
The first shipment of vz.24's to China was for the South China Government in February of 1928 and involved 40,000 rifles. Many more orders followed for a variety of customers and end users.
John, you always come up with the most amazing information! With that, it is very possible that a C2 suffix went to China.
There have also been reported an E2 suffix with a Persian crest and an F2 suffix with an Iraqi jeem marking. Neither had a Czech. acceptance marking and both would be 1927 or 1928 manufacture. Without photos or more information, it is possible the jeem was applied in later years. Also reported is a G2 prefix with jeem and E(lion)28 with right receiver marked 7.92mm. I have an X prefix with jeem and E(lion)25 with right receiver marked 7.92mm. Mine looks to me like the jeem probably was applied in later years.
I would say fair to good condition would be $150-$200. Chinese VZ24 rifles in typical condition don't usually sell for much.
The "Bullet to Muzzle" test is a Nonsense when applied to Chinese Rifles. Most have been worn out by Corrosive priming, and over-enthusiastic cleaning and also Use. As well a lot of the Czech-made Mauser rifles were counter-bored, being "Trade-in" rifles before being sent to China.
By and Large, China used (in Imported Mausers) 7,9mm ( NOT "8mm": -----Get the #$%&#*# name right, will you all!!!) which was their standard Calibre, whether in the J type, or the JS Type.
Other rifles varied from 6,5 Arisaka and 6,5 Italian, to 7,62x54R and 8x50R...numbers relatively smaller than 7,9mm Mausers.
A few small orders (for local Police units, etc) were in 7x57 ( 1930s, in a Mauser Standard Modell...10K or so rifles) but these are like HobbyHorse Droppings ( one seen on this Board, two years ago, and confirmed)
Did they use barrels bigger than 8mm? I looked through it and it appeared to be 8mm. Possibly 7mm, but I doubt it. Impossible to tell from just the crown, or the "bullet test", as it was counterbored.
The Chinese standard rifle caliber was 7.92X57, aka 8mm. Most Chinese rifles have barrels so badly worn that it is a common joke that you can drop a 7.92mm bullet down the barrel without it touching the metal in the bore.