Early Czechoslovak Mausers
VZ98, VZ98/22, VZ23, VZ23a, and early VZ24 Rifle Production
No prefix block: 10,000 VZ98 long rifles (with Lange sight), produced in 1923, VZ23 Short bayonet (250mm blade).
A, B, C, D blocks: 40,000 VZ98/22 long rifles produced in 1923, VZ23 Short bayonet.
E block: 10,000 VZ98/22 long rifles made for Turkey in 1927, VZ23 Short bayonet
D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L blocks: 80,000 VZ23 short rifles produced in 1923, VZ23 Long bayonet (400mm blade). Both D block VZ98/22 and VZ23 rifles are reported, suggesting the changeover between models may have occurred midway through the D block. I block was skipped.
M block: 10,000 VZ23a short rifles produced in 1924 with removable rear sight bed, VZ24 bayonet (300mm blade). My M block VZ23a rifle has a removable rear sight bed. The type bayonet information comes from the three Czech websites but I have a VZ24 bayonet marked E(lion)24. Made in 1924, the lion is in a circle like the 1923 rifles and bayonets.
N, O, P, R blocks: 40,000 VZ24 short rifles produced in 1924. VZ24 bayonet (300mm blade). Q block was skipped. First VZ24 rifles.
S, T, U, V, X, Y, Z blocks: 70,000 VZ24 short rifles produced in 1924-1925. W block was skipped. S block VZ24 rifle reported marked E(lion)24. My X block VZ24 rifle is marked E(lion)25.
Somewhere around here the change occurred to interchangeable parts with few numbered parts. Andy said "I believe in late 1925 was changed to 90% of changeability".
The Q and W blocks were skipped because those letters do not exist in the Czech alphabet. The I block was skipped, possibly because of the similarity to the number 1.
The second series of VZ24 serial numbers were xxxxA, xxxxB, xxxxC, xxxxD1, xxxxE1, etc. If it were xxxxA through xxxxZ and xxxxA1 through xxxxZ1, that would be a lot of rifles for 1926. Andy reports a D1 suffix rifle. We know from the website that both 5005A and 1140K1 are marked E(lion)26. 3966U1 is marked E(lion)27. That would mean if 1926 production were 5005A-9999Z and 0001A1-1140K1 would be at least 335,136 rifles.
After the initial letter prefix batch was completed, serial numbers ran:
xxxxA through xxxxC
xxxxD1 through xxxxZ1
xxxxA2 through xxxxZ2
xxxxA3 through xxxxZ3
xxxxA4 through xxxxZ4
A5xxxx through H5xxxx
In January 1926 Yugoslavia bought 42,000 VZ24 rifles. In 1929 Yugoslavia bought 50,000 more VZ24 for an overall total of 92,000 VZ24 rifles.
In 1937-38 there was also a no prefix series, a C prefix, D, E, and P. I have a Japanese VZ24 P61600 and a Chinese VZ24 P49939 (bolt P17616). Of this grouping, the P series was by far the largest. A P67008 has been reported. These were intended for export but some were taken for the Czech Army and so marked. They were later sold to Romania along with other unused VZ24 rifles in the Czech Army inventory. Japanese rifles have been reported with a C prefix.
Serbian and Yugoslav Mauser Rifles by Branko Bogdanovic
John Wall (Sada and Franek)
AndyB in Slovakia (Sada and Franek)
VZ24 Romanian Contract Dates
Romanian contract, 1940. ARxxxx, BRxxxx, CRxxxx . . . YRxxxx. 25,000 per block. No QR or WR blocks. It seems that most, if not all, of the AR-YR Romanian contract rifles were made in 1940.
A. I have a BR bayonet in a CR scabbard, both dated Slovak 1940. There are far too many Slovak marked bayonets mixed in with Romanian contract bayonets for them to have been Romanian bayonets taken for Slovak use. They have to have first been Slovak accepted in 1940 and later taken for use with Romanian contract rifles - and serial matched with those rifles.
B. King Michael replaced King Carol on September 6, 1940. The King Michael crest replaced the King Carol crest on the rifles late in the AR-YR series. My King Michael crest VZ24 is a TR block. The crests would not have changed before King Michael took over.
Facts A and B bracket the Romanian contract within 1940 or nearly so. A small number may have overlapped into 1939 and/or 1941.
It seems that a large quantity of unused Czechoslovak Army VZ24 rifles were sold to Romania at the beginning of the Romanian contract. Used Czechoslovak Army VZ24 rifles (or mostly used and some unused) went to Germany.