I picked up a P VZ.24 rifle this afternoon from a local shop. It is in pretty good shape for a VZ.24, unfortunately there is rust int he bore and on the buttplate from neglect and some dings/scratches on the wood and fittings from rough handling with tools. Hard to really knock it though, most VZ.24's are pretty beat up or redone by the Soviets. Also, it appears to be original matching minus the front sight protector and the cleaning rod, which are missing.
I assume this was most likely one of the ones acquired by the IJN rather than one used in China or Europe, both places where hard use would be difficult for a rifle like this to avoid. Unfortunately the rifle doesn't, to my eye anyway, have any identifying features as to its history other than the good condition it is in.
Very nice rifle! I've got one in the three thousand serial range that's in about the same exterior condition as yours. The person I bought it from said his Marine uncle had brought it back from Korea though he wasn't sure if his uncle was in WW2 or the KW.
The P series was intended for export. Some went to Japan, a lot went to China, and some were taken for the Czech. army and later sold to Romania. P series serial numbers were mixed between China and Japan, they were not consecutive. Japanese numbers painted on the sling or bringback papers are the only way to ID the Japanese ones, but chances are good that any VG-E condition P series with no import marks came from Japan.
The rebuilt VZ24 rifles on the market are not Soviet rebuilt but rather Romanian.
Every post I make is made with a request for corrections. I'm here to learn.
So, I had the rifle out again today and I noticed this mark on the safety. It doesn't seem Czech to me, and I couldn't find any other identifying marks on it. Could it be a clue as the the rifle's history?