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Czechoslovakia Recycles Mosins: The vz.54 Sniper

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Czechoslovakia adopted a whole new slate of small arms in the 1950s, including the vz.52 pistol vz.52 rifle, and vz.52 light machine gun. They also adopted a new sniper rifle, developed by a Moravian designed names Otakar Galaš. Galaš was a skilled competitive shooter as well as an arms designer, and seems to have been quite well suited to the job. He began with a details study of sniper weapons in 1949, and then built a number of prototypes based on both Mosin and Mauser systems. The Mosin was chosen, probably for politics reasons more than technical ones. 

In its final form, Galaš’ rifle was adopted in 1954, and produced from 1956 until 1958. It used many parts from existing 91/30 Rosins in Czechoslovakian stockpiles, but with new sights, stocks, and barrels (a heavier profile than the 91/30, and about 30mm shorter). The optic used was a 2.5x Meopta scope, fitted to a dovetail on the left side of the action. The iron sights were regulated in 50m increments out to 700m (and thence to 1200m), and the accuracy standard for the rifles was a remarkably 10-shot group in a 50cm x 50cm square at 800m – which equates to about a 1 MOA group. Impressive! The rifle handles very well, and a number of elements of Mauser influence are clearly visible in its design.

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