Rifle: Polish wz.48 Training Rifle

Polish wz.48 tilt

Rifle wz.48 Manufacturer Łucznik
Cartridge 5.6×15mmR Overall Length 44.5″
Action Rotation Bolt Barrel Length 24.8″
Magazine Single Shot Weight 8.4 lbs

 

This fantastic single-shot training rifle can be almost unnerving to shoot if you’re expecting the recoil of a Mosin-Nagant carbine.  But its design is not entirely unique as it evolved from a prewar Mauser trainer.

In the early 1930’s the somewhat new nation of Poland was finally sitting down to sort out its arms issues.  It had spent the last decade standardizing on the 7.92mm cartridge and was now ready to further refine its armament.  This next round of updates would be to standardize on the wz.29 short rifle (similar to the Kar98K).  The 7.92mm cartridge is rather powerful and fired from a shortened rifle it can produce quite a bit of recoil and noise.  For new recruits unused to firearms this would prove intimidating and took quite a bit of range experience to improve.  The cost of this training was made worse by the use of full powered military ammo even when teaching the very basics of marksmanship.  So the Polish military sought out a complimentary training rifle and found their solution in 1931.

This wz.31 has all the appearance of the wz.29 service rifle and so had a full Mauser stock and fittings, bayonet lug, comparable but reduced sights, etc…  We have yet to encounter an example we can photograph but give it a turn in Google if you get curious.  The action of the wz.31 was unique and shared nothing in common with the Mauser.  This same action would be put to use post-war.  With the USSR seated firmly in Poland, Radom began producing the Mosin-Nagant in 7.62mm.  Now the M44 carbine was the main rifle of the armed forces.  In 1947 the need for better training had the authorities reaching for their old favorite, the wz.31.  This time it was stocked to match the Soviet Mosin and consequently greatly resembles an M38 carbine with a long barrel.Polish Rifle wz.48 action II

The training action of the wz.31 and wz.48 rifles is very simple.  Lacking a magazine, the gun is single-shot with a plain bolt and reduced range sighting.  It lacks the Mauser or Mosin cock-on-open action in favor of a very simple cock-on-close with a cocking piece nesting in the left side of the receiver.  When closed the breech is locked only by the strength of the bolt handle, bearing on the right side of the receiver.  A simple ball detent at the back of the bolt handle fits into a groove in the receiver, keeping the handle down until intentionally raised.  Compared to other military rifles this setup seems trifling but it was all that was needed for the .22 Short (wz.31) and later .22 Long Rifle (wz.48) cartridges.  The bolt lacks an extractor and instead a sliding plate makes up the lower half rear of the chamber area.  When the bolt is withdrawn it tugs this plate rearward, which extracts the spent casing.  This component will close manually with the bolt, but it is best to thumb it forward before loading another cartridge as it seems the .22lr round can become stuck between it and the chamber if dropped.  One major difference between the wz.31 and 48 is the adjustment of the firing pin.  On the wz.48 one can tighten the firing pin by adjusting a castle nut set concentrically within the bolt body.Polish Rifle wz.48 actionThe Soviet wz.48 was produced from 1948-1956 by the Łucznik Arms Factory in Radom.  The earliest models display one of two variations of an archer etched into the receiver.  This was from the company name, which translated to “archer.”  Eventually he was replaced with the familiar 11 in an oval as the Radom plant had become factory 11.  The wz.48 was used for military training and pre-service sports training in order to provide an ample base of marksmen in the population.  This would be comparable to an ROTC environment.

Polish Rifle wz.48 left

Post service, the wz.48 has been available in the collector’s market for some time and does not command the highest of prices.  I have on myself and found it to be an excellent training aid.  Its heavy weight and long barrel make it extremely quiet with recoil comparable to an inexpensive BB gun.  Definitely a good piece if found for the right price and very fun to shoot.  If you already own a Mosin, however, be prepared for the most unusual feeling as the familiar heft and stock will have you anticipating a fireball as you unleash a mere SNAP.

 

2 Responses to “Rifle: Polish wz.48 Training Rifle”

  1. Russ says:

    Your description of the extractor sounds a lot like the J M Browning design that became the Winchester 1900, 1902, 1904, 60, 67, & 68, but maybe without the sear provision.
    Does it differ, and how?

    Love your channel, Beardy

    Russ

    • Othais says:

      Similar but instead of the single vertical tab it is the entire lower half of the circle that is the inside of the receiver.

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