Two Soviet PM's Compared
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Thread: Two Soviet PM's Compared

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Default Two Soviet PM's Compared

    I just recently picked up a 1974 PM and was surprised at the little differences that came to light when compared to the 1976 I have had for some years now. Both are "sneaks"; Soviet manufactured pistols that had been mixed in with Bulgarian produced imports and marked as Bulgarian by the importer. It's common knowledge that changes were made over the long production run at Izhevsk and people way more knowledgeable than me are aware of every little detail so I'm not showing anything here not already known by many collectors of these but still, I though it would be fun to document the difference in marking and manufacture just two years can make.

    Up top is the 1974 and below is the 1976:








    Inspection stamps are partial strikes as is common on Soviet firearms but they are in the same spots and most likely represent the same inspections.








    In fact, although I didn't take pictures of it, everywhere I found stamps on one, I found the same or similar stamps on the other.



    The grip screws are different but interchangeable. 1974 is shown on the bottom:





    Both of these pistols were issued to Bulgarian troops so it is entirely possible that one of the two screws is, in fact, Bulgarian. However it is also just as likely (perhaps more so as how often do you replace grip screws) that it is a production change at Izhevsk.



    The shorter head of the 1974 screw causes it to be set deeper into the grip:






    1974 safety has the last two digits of the serial number electropenciled while the 1976 is not numbered:






    The sear of the 1974 is numbered compared to the blank sear on the '76:





    More of the same on the trigger bar:








    Notice the barrel markings, while different, are in the same place on the above two pictures.


    Hammers are different. 1974 is on the left:






    Safety detents are different. 1974 has drilled round detents where 1976 has wheel cut dished ones. Notice also that the safety dot in the 74 is larger:





    Both have equally poor machine marks!



    Last picture shows the two magazines that came with it:





    Notice that they are numbered "1" and "2". Neither are serial numbered to the pistol. There is absolutely no way of knowing whether or not they were originally issued with this pistol but I believe that, whatever pistol they were issued with, they were together because the numbers are in the same place, are the same size, same font (as much as can be seen of a font), same orientation, and appear to have been struck with about the same force. They just look like they go together. While I didn't take pictures or it, it came in a Soviet holster dated 1973 with a cleaning rod and lanyard too.


    The above brings up a question that I have always wondered about and will probably never know the answer too. I wonder just how much the accessories got mixed up over the years at the in the field, at storage depots, loading for export, unloading after export and in sorting for final commercial sale. Is this the holster and magazines it came from Russia with or is it coincidence? I'll never know and, ultimately, it doesn't matter. But, thing like this are what makes collecting these old clunkers fun and interesting. Anywho, that's it for now. Thanks for your time and post some pictures of the features and marking on your Soviet PM for comparison please!
    I guarantee that you're smarter than I am.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Hello. In 1973/74 there were a few changes adopted on Soviet PM's. As you noted, the safety depressions were changed from round to oval. The ejuectio0n port was also enlarged with a corresponding narrowing of the sight rib. By 1976 you are seeing some investment cast parts such as the hammer. Both of the magazines are of the older type which may be pre-1973/74 or earlier. The '1' and '2' refer to the original two magazines issued per pistol. It is possible that these magazines have been refinished. As for the stamps after the date on the left side of the frame, the first is most likely a Cyrillic letter "P" and "S" inside a circle and I personally believe it is the definitive proof mark. The other is some sort of final inspector mark I expect. I can't document the meanings of these marks but circumstantial evidence suggests it. The short screw is an earlier style. The serial numbers on individual parts also seems to have been dropped after 1973/74. If you look under the mainspring I bet you'll find fewer inspector stamps on the 1976 piece. Nice pistols. ABTOMAT

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    California
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    Default

    Great photographic record, and great information. Thank you.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    BWilhelm thanks for the comparison and the great photos, nice pistols! ABTOMAT we always appreciate your input.
    Richard

  6. #5
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    Mar 2016
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    Switzerland
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    The change from circular to oblong detent holes was made during 1974 production, but it does not seem to be a defined change after a certain pistol. Rather, it seems to have been an experimental feature in 1974 production, then fully implemented in 1975. Here are some examples of 1974 PMs, in letter block order:

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    AU block. Oblong detents.

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    BI block, circular detents.

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    LU block. Circular detents.

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    NK block. Oblong detents.

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    PR block. Circular detents.

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    PSh block. Circular detents.

    So far, I have not seen any 1975 pistol with round detents. What a confusing change pattern...

  7. #6
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    Hi Meerkoos! Yes 1974 seems to be the year of transition, but as best I can tell, 1973 is when they began though it may have been very late in the year. From what I've seen changes in production of the Soviet PM usually took place over a 2 year period. That is not necessarily 24 months but somewhere in between the two years. The Russians were turning out a lot of Makarovs so as a consequence there would have been a lot of older parts that had to be used. Anyway, by 1975 every one I've seen is consistent. The two times that you see the most changes in the Soviet Makarovs are 1953/54 and 1973/74. The earlier changes are fairly significant. The 1973/74 changes are much more subtle and, with the exception of the enlarged ejection port, seem to be aimed at cutting production time and cost. (Think about it. What type of tooling is needed to cut the safety detent depression of either type, a end mill or rotary bit? Which would cut quicker and last longer?) Ain't Makarovs a fun hobby? ABTOMAT

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Switzerland
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    You are right, AB. I have also seen some oblong detents on some 1973 pistols. What a fun hobby!

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