View Full Version : I Call it the ZBeast.....(Lots of Pics)....

02-03-2016, 12:23 AM
....as it goes by a few names. ZB-37 is common and will get you to the right places when googling. To save time describing it, click here. http://world.guns.ru/machine/chex/zb-53-vz37-e.html

Now, as this is a 'gun' forum and there have been the odd comment that guns are not front and forward, I have brought my pride and joy out of hiding and would like to introduce it to all who might be interested. A short pictorial to show its inner beauty. This is a Venezuelan contract ZB. It is chambered in their standard cartridge used in the '30's, 7mm Mauser. It has some dings,scratches and wear and the top cover is not the original. Non the less, it is still an attractive piece of work.

I have lots of time so I decided to give it a good cleaning while stripping it down to the basics. There is little information on 'how to do' most anything with this gun. A few online machine gun forums and a basic translated booklet were my guiding lights.
Lots of photos as I wanted a visual guide for reference in case I forgot where I was coming from or heading to. In time I will be getting my nephew to help with a video in the near future.

It has been cleared and is safe to strip.

It`s on the folded tripod as the firing mechanism has to be decocked after the barrel is removed. It has to be on something sturdy and the ZB-37 tripod is as sturdy as they come.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20058_zps51zvl9jq.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20058_zps51zvl9jq.jpg.html)

With some fanagling with the locking handle and a hammer, the barrel should come off. The weapon MUST BE COCKED before the barrel will disengage from the receiver lugs.

http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20054_zpsj2jyed5c.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20054_zpsj2jyed5c.jpg.html)

Barrel locking lugs and lock handle.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20055_zpslcn9foyc.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20055_zpslcn9foyc.jpg.html)

Gas takeoff and adjustment assembly.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20056_zpsxe7koaa1.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20056_zpsxe7koaa1.jpg.html)

Charging handles and trigger group.There is a couple of tricks to getting this off. First the firearm has to be uncocked, then the right side handle has to be in a 45 degree upwards position then the trigger is pushed in and everything slides out the back end. (unless some idjit sprayed frog juice in it and then everything goes to rattchit)
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20047_zpsmh2pyczt.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast

Not the best shot but this is the 'fun switch',safety and trigger button.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20045_zpstrgdtaqh.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20045_zpstrgdtaqh.jpg.html)

Top cover with sight in raised position.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20053_zpsxpm7zflp.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20053_zpsxpm7zflp.jpg.html)

Sight folded down. It is marked for 200 meters in this position
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20050_zpsbxjcehdo.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20050_zpsbxjcehdo.jpg.html)

Pin/knob at top right is then pulled out to the stop detent.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20043_zps6htjc4is.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20043_zps6htjc4is.jpg.html)

And it flips up, over and off.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20040_zpsnfitosap.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20040_zpsnfitosap.jpg.html)

This is the buffer. The 'fun switch' for the 'fun switch'. When in this position the rate of fire is in the 700-800 rounds per minute
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20037_zps0jg8qj83.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20037_zps0jg8qj83.jpg.html)

When flipped up the buffer is out of the way and cyclic rate drops to 500 rpm.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20039_zpstfgot1mz.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20039_zpstfgot1mz.jpg.html)

Simple spring loaded device which I will not attempt to take apart.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20035_zpshzi3ls3n.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20035_zpshzi3ls3n.jpg.html)

Left side belt guide. This is where the empty linked belt exits.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20034_zpsqchzejmz.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20034_zpsqchzejmz.jpg.html)

It just slides up and off.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20030_zps14qzplg3.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20030_zps14qzplg3.jpg.html)

Right side feed tray. It has a pawl to hold the belt in place and to pull the next round into position.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20029_zpsqdydzwak.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20029_zpsqdydzwak.jpg.html)

It also slides up and off but does need some persuasion. The lever allows the belt to be removed without opening the top cover.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20022_zpstmyjumky.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20022_zpstmyjumky.jpg.html)

The feed lever is now removed.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20013_zpscmvxbf3a.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20013_zpscmvxbf3a.jpg.html)

The receiver is almost empty, just a few more parts.

Push the recoil spring forward using the abutment/spring guide. Lift up and carefully allow the spring to extend and pull it out of the breech housing.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20027_zpskwfnhile.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20027_zpskwfnhile.jpg.html)

The bolt is now removed. Here it is after disassembly.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20017_zpsoy4szdju.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20017_zpsoy4szdju.jpg.html)

The breech housing and bolt carrier are removed together. They should just lift up and out but once again, that idjit and his froglube had me prying out the parts. This is the glide piece/bolt carrier. About 14 inches long, it could be used as a weapon itself.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20014_zpsde8voj65.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20014_zpsde8voj65.jpg.html)

The breech housing is what holds things together in the receiver. It sits in a cutout, allows the bolt carrier to slide in its rails and has another set of lugs for the barrel to fit into. Like the rest of the gun, it has an obscene amount of fine machining and finishing.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20010_zpscc4hk74q.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20010_zpscc4hk74q.jpg.html)

When all is done we are left with the empty receiver. It is much lighter now and if you can imagine it starting off as a rough casting, it is a wondrous thing to behold.
http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/falover57/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20004_zps1diyhpsf.jpg (http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/falover57/media/next%20project/ZBeast/ZB-37%20Takedown%20004_zps1diyhpsf.jpg.html)

It goes back together in a reverse manner. The trigger group took a bit of prodding as certain bits needed to be pushed into place with a small screwdriver. When one spends the time to figure this all out it is easy to see why I consider this to be mechanical art. Considering this example is almost 80 years old, it is darn great shape and a fine example of craftsmanship of years gone by.

Rory McCanuck
02-03-2016, 12:34 AM
Mechanical art indeed, that is a thing of beauty!
That's a heck of a picture show you put together, too, well done!
I imagine there isn't a lot of info easily available on these, disassembly must have been a tad stressful ;)

02-03-2016, 05:55 AM
Wow! What's its history with you? i.e. when did you get it, was it expensive at the time, how much have you fired it (before the evil that fell upon this land) etc.

02-03-2016, 07:53 AM
Did someone actually put froglube on it?

02-03-2016, 08:41 AM
Wow! What's its history with you? i.e. when did you get it, was it expensive at the time, how much have you fired it (before the evil that fell upon this land) etc.

The "history" has been mentioned in bits and bites on other threads/posts but to keep with the general theme and scheme of things I will oblige.

It is a 12.3 class firearm. It has not been fired by myself as I have owned it for a mere 3 years. I picked it up at a local sportsman's auction. It was listed in the catalogue quite early and I did some research on it. It is well known in the EU and most of my info was gleaned from hours of web surfing. Any example I found was either a dewat, on the 'cheap' bunker tripod and usually missing parts. I was interested in what it was worth and what it might sell for. As it is a 'prohibited' firearm, they sell those first. Bidding started at $2,000. ,down to $1,500.....$1,000......$500. First bid was offered, I thought "it has to go for more than that?" and bid $550. BANG! SOLD! WTF!! I was one of two in the room with a 12.3 license and I was the one who 'won' the auction. It came with the tripod,one ammo can, two 100 round belts, and the anti-aircraft sights,shoulder brace and tripod extension. The accessories can be sold for more than the gun. Add the buyers premium and HST it was six and change. As much as it looks expensive, the grandfathering of prohibited firearms has decimated any value. Confiscation by attrition is still confiscation. Sad to say it would be worth far,far more if was 'neutered'. Deactivated ones are selling for thousands of dollars if you can find one. The ultimate in 'man cave' decor, I can't bring myself to do that as it would be like defacing a classic painting or other work of art. My heirs will have to decide what happens with it. ( I think a funeral pyre with my earthly possessions should be considered!)(there may be zombies in the afterlife). Until that time it will remain locked away,unseen, but not unappreciated.

02-03-2016, 08:43 AM
Did someone actually put froglube on it?

:red: I am the guilty idjit. :Bang head:

02-03-2016, 10:18 AM
That is one nice piece of machinery for sure. Thank you for doing such a great write up FAL. Well done sir !!!

02-03-2016, 11:16 AM
How strong is that recoil spring? I remember the springs on the old GPMG's were something to be aware of...

02-03-2016, 11:37 AM
What a crazy looking finned barrel. I'm sure it's useful for cooling, but still.

02-03-2016, 01:19 PM
What a crazy looking finned barrel. I'm sure it's useful for cooling, but still.

Well dont need to worry about it over heating..

02-03-2016, 02:54 PM
How strong is that recoil spring? I remember the springs on the old GPMG's were something to be aware of...

The spring is quite tame as far as springs go. I would compare it to the compression needed to seat a Garand recoil spring. The bulky guide rod helps to install it with little patience.

02-03-2016, 03:01 PM
What a crazy looking finned barrel. I'm sure it's useful for cooling, but still.

Other variations have a solid slab shroud. Bunker mounted and some British tank models were heavier. The Brits called their version the BESA and it had the more traditional pistol grip/trigger group.


02-03-2016, 04:53 PM
;D haha

02-03-2016, 05:10 PM
I love firing machine guns, esp when you fire soo much they sound like a M2 50 at half rate..

road kill
02-03-2016, 05:31 PM
You have had this beauty for 3 years and still haven't shot it.:argh What is the hold up?

02-03-2016, 05:54 PM
You have had this beauty for 3 years and still haven't shot it.:argh What is the hold up?

Probably not allowed like most prohibs :( They stopped issuing Special ATT for prohibs like 10 years ago.

02-04-2016, 01:32 AM
Sweet Jesus!
On the one hand it's hideous. On the other it's beautiful.
Interesting how the bolt looks like that of the VZ-58.

02-04-2016, 08:06 AM
You have had this beauty for 3 years and still haven't shot it.:argh What is the hold up?

IIRC the only place it's still possible to fire these things is at a military range, where the CFO has little to no control. There aren't any 12(x) approved civilian ranges, other than for prohibited handguns. And ATT's to transport to the military ranges aren't as easy to come by as they once were.
There were a couple business owners (businesses with permission to possess 12(x)) with an attached range that we're offering prohibited rifle shooting, since no ATT was required, the gun didn't have to leave the premises. But I'm not sure if they can do full auto shooting....it was mainly FAL's and the like I thought....

04-02-2016, 08:04 PM
Awesome piece of kit. Such a shame it will not see a round again

04-02-2016, 08:29 PM
There aren't any 12(x) approved civilian ranges, other than for prohibited handguns.

I think the Burlington Rifle And Revolver Club (Ontario) is approved for all prohibited, including full auto.
Of course the CFOs don't issue SAPs for full auto any more.

For example, when Swiss Arms and CZ858s were temporarily prohibited a couple years ago, there were no ranges in Quebec that were certified by the Quebec CFO for prohibited, but there were a couple of ranges in Ontario that were certified for prohibited, and thus Swiss Arms and CZ858's could be transported and fired there due to the amnesty.