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Poland’s WW2 Battle Rifle: the Maroszek wz.38M

Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to
another video on I’m Ian McCollum, and I’m here today at the James D Julia auction house up in Maine taking a look at some of the guns that they’re going to be selling in their upcoming Spring, or April, of 2017 Auction. They have some really interesting things here, and in particular this Polish unicorn rifle, This is a [wz.38M]. And it is the result of some Polish Army semi-auto
rifle trials that took place just before World War Two. Which of course were, not surprisingly, cut short
by the dual invasion from Russia and Germany. Now, to break this down a little bit, wz stands for “wzor”, or model, 38 is of course the year, 1938, and M
stands for the designer who is named Maroszek. His full name was actually Josef Maroszek, and he enrolled in 1923 in the Warsaw Technical University, studied arms design and finally graduated with a thesis in 1930 on modernising and updating the
Polish Mauser, the wz.29 bolt action rifle. He was then employed by the military,
basically, and various arms factories. They decided they were interested in
his version of the updated Mauser, and so he was hired to build some
prototypes and start testing them. And that project didn’t really go
anywhere, and ultimately his rifle, they weren’t quite able to finalise
it and get it working just right. However, right about the time that … that project
finally ended, the Polish Army announced a competitive trial for self-loading rifles, semi-auto rifles.
And there weren’t really actually all that many criteria. Some pretty basic stuff, had to have a
600mm barrel – same as the Mauser, had to weigh no more than
4.5 kilos – or basically 10 pounds, had to have a 10 round magazine
firing 8×57 Mauser ammunition – because that was what was
standard for the Polish military at the time. And then it had to … basically it had do
what everyone wanted semi-auto rifles to do. It had to be cheap and easy to produce, simple to operate, not that many parts, basic stuff. … In the end when they announced these trials in early 1934, and rifles had to be submitted by December 1st 1934.
When they were, they got, like, nine different entries. Unfortunately Polish archives are
pretty sparse on material about this, largely because the Polish
military archives were ransacked, like, 18 different times during the course of
World War Two by pretty much everybody. So unfortunately we don’t even know
much about the other competitive guns. They were all identified by basically
abbreviations or code names, so in many cases it’s not even known who designed them. But of all of these guns, three were chosen to continue onward, and Maroszek was one of them. Now this wasn’t … at this point this was an early Maroszek rifle design and it actually was third place of the three that went on. It wasn’t all that great, it still
had some functional problems to it. And in the meantime, Maroszek had
also started working on an anti-tank rifle, which would become adopted as the wz.35Ur for Uruguay … that’s a different issue, we’ll get into one of those later on. But Maroszek didn’t have a whole lot of
time on hand to fix his semi-auto rifle, the anti-tank rifle was
kind of taking up most of his attention. But then, like right at the end of
the trials period in ’35, he kind of had this sudden inspiration for a great way
to redesign the rifle and make it better. And his proposal was was looked at and they
went, “Seems like a pretty reasonable set of ideas, We’ll give you six weeks to redesign
the rifle from scratch and resubmit it.” Which is like no time whatsoever. I mean six weeks is like the design timeframe of the Sten gun. But Maroszek and a couple of teammates
were able to actually go through and do this, and they produced a new prototype which used this – it was a prototype of this rifle. And this is really a remarkably fantastic gun, and the military recognised that as well. Ultimately by 1937 five prototypes were taken for testing. That went quite well, and in ’38 they ordered
55 of them to be manufactured for troop trials. Those were supposed to be delivered by January 1st 1939. Now, they were delivered. This is serial number 1048. All the known guns fall into the serial
number range of 1001 through 1055. There is no further paper trail in the Polish archives after that order and delivery date, so we don’t know what happened there.
But we do know of course in September World War Two started with the invasion of Poland,
and you can understand why no further development took place. That also explains why the
Germans didn’t produce this gun, to make it, because at that point this thing was only still a troop trials gun. It wasn’t actually in mass production anywhere. So there are only a couple of markings on this rifle and the main one is right here on
top of the receiver, it’s Zbr.2 and 1938. 1938 is the date of course, Zbr.2
was for a long time kind of a mystery. Turns out it’s the name of the arsenal
where the rifle is manufactured, “Zbrojownia 2”. Which literally translates in Polish as Arsenal
Number 2, this is where Maroszek was working in Warsaw. There’s also this. This is a very small marking that you
will see repeated on the inside the gun in a number of places. It looks like a “Z” in a circle, which is potentially going
to cause some confusion as that is a Czech proof mark. However, this is not actually a “Z”, it’s actually a 2, reference Zbr.2, it’s a 2 in a circle. So you’ll actually find this same mark on Maroszek’s anti-tank rifles which were also manufactured by Arsenal Number 2 in Warsaw. Lastly, we have a serial number on the left side of the receiver.
This is number 1048, they started at 1001 and went to 1055. You’ll find that 48 repeated in a number of places,
here for example on the lower assembly of the gun, and lots of places on the inside which you’ll see in a minute. Lastly we have selector markings here, it’s a two
position selector – this rifle was semi-automatic only. A little counter-intuitively to us
[non-Poles], the zero is actually the fire position and ‘Z’ is the safe position. [“O”=Odblokowany
=unlocked, “Z”=Zablokowany=locked ?] Now when we take a closer look at this thing,
you’ll start to see elements from other guns in it. Czech, Polish – a variety of interesting influences.
And the first one is right here in the disassembly lever, this is extremely reminiscent of the Polish BAR,
well BARs in general. And that makes sense because the Poles were actively manufacturing and
using their own version, the wz.28 version, of the BAR. So for Maroszek to have copied that
takedown lever makes perfect sense. And, of course, the beginning of takedown is to rotate this 90 degrees down, and then it is a keyed lever. There’s a little nub right there. It comes out,
and then we can continue with disassembly. Next up, I’m going to remove the trigger group and that’s super easy. We pull the pin out, this simply rotates down and out of the gun. The magazine is fixed in place, the fire control mechanism is back here.
We’ll take a closer look at that in just a moment. But first, our next disassembly step is to
remove the gas piston and handguard. It is dovetailed in here and another very, very reminiscent tie-in to some other guns.
So we’re just going to slide this forward, And then this is actually going
to lift out with the operating rod. That comes out. We just pull the operating rod out, and then you’ve got those two assemblies right there. Last but not least, we can take
the bolt out and once the op rod is out, the bolt just slides right out of the
receiver. Kind of like a BAR there as well. Now when you look at the hooks on the bolt here, this is very reminiscent of the zb.26 and the zh.29 rifles. So some Czech gun influence there. And that’s it. This is a really impressive gun in
that it is extremely quick and simple to take apart. It disassembles into a number of large, discrete pieces. The closest thing you have to a small,
easily lost component is this takedown pin. But even that’s not too bad,
one pin holds the whole thing together. This is a really slick design by Maroszek, and had the war
not continued on I think it really would have gone somewhere. So the locking system on this rifle
is really kind of a hybrid between the zb.26, and some other guns like it, and the Petter model
1935, a French pistol and some other pistols like it, in that the bolt tilts up and down. So this is the
unlocked position and then when the carrier goes forward, these sloped surfaces at the back lift the back of
the bolt up like that. And then this surface right here, right there – that shiny bit at the top of the
bolt – that locks into the top of the receiver, right here in this cut-out. Now, in Petter pistols that was
the barrel locking into the slide. In this case it’s the bolt locking into the
receiver, but the principle is the same. The recoil spring is held here inside the operating
rod assembly so it cycles in and out like that. The guide rod for the spring runs inside the gas piston, and then we have a little cross pin here that
locks it in place. I’m not going to pull that off, there’s no need, but it’s a really slick captive recoil spring. And it drops into and out of the receiver
extremely easily, no chance of losing it. The handguard here has this pin that locks it into the receiver. So this locks the upper receiver, the trigger group, and the
handguard (which is also the gas tube) all together with one pin. That’s efficient and effective.
And then we have a gas tube up here, (that’s the back), the gas
piston is going to ride inside that, just like so, All the way forward, cycles backward. And then, what’s kind of interesting, is we
actually have an adjustable gas system. So the front here is just a threaded plug, and it’s
only finger tight, which I’ll explain why in a moment. So there’s a hole in the barrel right there, vents gas into that, and then there’s just a slightly tapered plug
that is going to control the amount of gas that comes from this hole through into the gas tube. And it’s … (actually let me show
you here, if we can zoom in on this…). The gas plug is actually numbered on three
facets, number 1, number 2 and number 3. Now I’m not sure exactly why that was, because in changing from 1 to 2 to 3 you’re getting … you’re closing this tapered plug by an
increment of one eighth of its thread pitch. So you’re getting really just this
miniscule amount of change. And … that’s not enough change to, for example, tune the rifle to different bullet
weights, or different types of ammunition. This was still a troop trials gun at this point, so it might just be in an effort to
get the rifle running just right on the specific ammunition that they were using for the trials. There’s this score mark on the front of the gas tube, and that’s what allows you to line up the 1 the 2 or the 3. And then what’s cool, it doesn’t have to be tightened down into place because once you put this onto the gun that prevents … these flats can’t turn against the barrel. The rear sight on the Maroszek is basically identical to
that of a Mauser bolt-action carbine, or bolt-action rifle. Which isn’t surprising, because that’s what
the Poles were using and clearly they liked it. The front sight is also basically
identical to what they had on the Mausers. And it’s also interesting to note that there is a simplistic muzzle brake cut into the front of the barrel right there. Now some other rifles of this period
had that. The SVTs, the Russian SVTs, had muzzle brakes actually kind of similar to this, but most other self-loading rifles
of the period, military ones, did not. Looking at this you’ll notice some more 48s.
So it’s marked 48 on the upper handguard, here, there, it’s marked 48 on the face of the bolt handle there. The magazine here is not removable. This is
permanently fixed into the base of the rifle, so there’s a stripper clip guide on the top of the receiver, right there. It’s actually, … the stripper clip guide is the same surface, or the rear of it is the same surface, that is the locking surface. This of course holds 10 rounds of 8[mm] Mauser. In fact you can kind of see this optical illusion at the
back, you’d think that this is one solid piece of metal. But it’s actually not, it’s slightly deeper
here than it is down at the bottom. Fire control group is pretty simple. Interestingly this is one of those rifles that locks open on an empty magazine and you actually pull the trigger to close the bolt. So you have to load the magazine via stripper clip, then pull the trigger, and it will close the bolt
and … your next trigger pull will fire the rifle. So … that was something that a number of different people did at this time period, that was seen as a simplistic, convenient, and efficient type of control for a rifle. And the bolt handle is non reciprocating. So, bolt handle is very reminiscent of a BAR, slides open, like this. But it does not cycle when you fire the rifle.
So it just acts as a lever with which you can push the bolt backwards. You can
see this little nub, right there. The other interesting thing you’ll
notice there’s a little cutout right here. And the bolt handle actually rotates slightly, that
allows you to use this to manually lock the bolt open. There’s a tab connected to the bolt handle
and so if this were under spring pressure and I wanted to lock the rifle open
without the magazine being empty, I can pull the bolt handle back rotate it
down, and it will hold it in place like that. With the gun now reassembled you can see that locking system working when I pull the bolt handle back. The bolt drops down right there, out of its locked position, and then it will cycle backwards. Now I’m not going to actually demonstrate
dropping the bolt by pulling the trigger because it’s meant to be done when you reload the magazine, and if you … have the magazine
empty and you want to do this, you have to hold the follower down while
pulling the trigger and … you then also have to hold the bolt handle when you
do that, or it’ll drop onto your finger that’s holding the follower down. So it’s kind of a three
handed, tricky manoeuver that isn’t easily done on film. But that is how the thing functions. So to me the Maroszek really is
one of these interesting rifles that didn’t get taken into service, but not
actually for any real fault of its own. It didn’t get into service because
German and Soviet invasions of Poland interrupted its development cycle. Usually when you see a cool looking trials
gun like this, if it didn’t go into service it … there’s usually a good reason,
it had some huge, terrible flaw. The Maroszek, as far as I can tell, is a
really nice rifle. The reports I’ve seen from people who have shot them (because, by the way, apparently there is a gunsmith in Poland who has made just a couple of hand-built reproductions of these), apparently, they’re a very nice cycling rifle. I’m really impressed by the simplicity
and the ease of field stripping, and the major components that you
end up with once the gun is stripped. Compared to … the other guns available at the time in
the 1930s, it’s really ahead of its time, it’s really well done. You know, taking this apart makes an M1 look like a jigsaw puzzle, really. So had it not been for World War Two, Poland might have ended up with a really nice … semi-auto service rifle by the end of the 1930s. Of course, that’s a, you know, a “could
have been” that we can’t change now. So, as I had mentioned, there are five of these still known
to exist today, with rumours, I believe, about two others. Two of those are in Poland, two of them are
in the United States, one of them is in Germany. So if you’re interested in having a Maroszek rifle in your own collection, you’re not going to have too many opportunities at this one, and this particular rifle is a
magnificent example, it’s in fantastic condition. I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t be shootable. Although simply because of the scarcity
I’m not going to go out and shoot this one. But if you’d like to yourself, make sure to
check the description text below for a link to the James Julia auction … catalogue page, on this rifle It is coming up for sale in their April Spring of
2017 Auction, and if you’d like it, place a bid on it. Take a look at their high-res pictures
on Julia’s website if you’re interested. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Poland’s WW2 Battle Rifle: the Maroszek wz.38M

  1. Katyn forest
    I like the Poles
    But I dont live there
    I Like the Czechs
    Thank you Ian
    And I enjoy hearing people's comments

  2. Mogę dostać papiery konstrukcyjne do tego karabinu? (construction manual for gun making)(?) If you have them of course or if you know where i can get them 🙂

  3. Whoever the dick owner in Germany is should be the one selling theirs. Not like they can load up the mag & walk on down to the shooting range with the severity of the gun laws. Only improvement I might suggest is slimming down the grip, you don't need that huge full auto BAR grip on what's basically a polish gewehr.

  4. Really should've had a captive pin and a detachable mag. I wish someone in Poland would put this into production because I want one really bad.

  5. Diese BAR M18-Kopie ist ja ein Quantensprung moderner Waffentechnik. Damit hätte Polen die ganze Welt erobern können . Man kann wirklich jeden Dreck schön reden.

  6. I don't think it's a zero for fire. It is probably the letter 'O' standing for 'Ognia' or 'fire' in polish, or it could mean 'odbezpieczone' meaning 'un-safe'. the Z must stand for 'zabezpieczone' meaning 'safe'.

  7. Wow! This looks like a fantastic weapon for late 1930’s technology. I’m sure if this had been further along in production, I’m sure the Germans would have continued to produce this beauty. Crazy to think about, but in mass quantities it could have been a game changer if implemented early enough. Thanks for another informative video 👍

  8. So Poland did a land grab in 1920s (and tries hard to colonize it), and USSR took those lands back – now it is called INVASION. Sure, you should stick to guns, not Cold War propaganda.

  9. I realize this was a rifle that was still being tested and I am not familiar with them at all but do you think it's possible that the gas adjusting screw could have been meant to make one full turn and then stop on the 1 and two full turns and then stop on the 2, same with the 3? Since you have been fortunate enough to handle the rifle I wonder what you or anyone else may think of that idea.?.? Just a guess. Thanks for a fantastic video. Poland is one of the few countries that are still protecting Europe. Niech Bóg błogosławi Polskę

  10. I wanted to put forth the theory about the gas mechanism on this one- the 1, 2 and 3 adjustable settings are actually meant to be stopped at after a full turn or even two full turns of the lug, so they're actually there to help you keep accurate track of the mechanism instead of trying to remember which face of the bolt you should stop at. I believe that would allow enough change in gas to be relevant. So tightened down to 1 is normal, loosened once or twice and stop at 2 is slight adversity and another time around to the three is extreme conditions. At least thats what I'm going to postulate.

    Hopefully this is something that is relevant to say and not just a waste of your time.

  11. It actually makes me quite happy that the Polish government saw value in preserving this historical piece and went to the effort to buy it

  12. The Polish government bought this? Nifty! Given the take down lever is the only small piece I can really lose in the field… I feel like carrying 2 or 3 extra someplace on you would be a smart move. Obviously that point is moot now though.

  13. thank god forgotten weapons exists, Saw this rifle in Battlefield V, and figured if there was going to be a video on it, I'd be able to find it here. Thankyou gun jesus!

  14. So I wonder what the differences between this and the Karabin 38 are? They seem pretty similar. Unless of course… they're not.

  15. Be careful you now a days you will have 1000s of Russians disliking and hating this videos because you stated that the Russian and Germans both invaded Poland through a pact ahahah

  16. Why does YouTube recommend this to me just in the week where this weapon comes out in Battlefield V? How much range does the algorithm have?

  17. In selector markings "0" and "Z", I think it does not actualy mean "zero and z", but "zero" most probably stands for "O" – "Ogień" – fire, or "Otwarty" – open. "Z" is "zamknięty" – closed. That is my conclusion.

  18. Z for "zamknięty" (eng. closed), O for "otwarty" (eng. open) – so basically open safety – ready to fire, closed safety – cannot fire. Dont know for sure but im from Poland so

    it is obvious to me based on what the security/safe means and does

  19. po 45 sowiecki okupant ograbil do reszty Polske i wymordowal ludzi rozumnych ,Wieczna Pamiec Zolnierzom Armi Polskiej walczacym z niemieckim okupantem

  20. "Z" – Zamknięty (closed)
    "O" (not zero) – Otwarty (opened)
    Regards from Poland and thanks for interesting video.

  21. I always feel sorry for Poland whenever I hear stories like this, so much has been destroyed and never redeemed

  22. W kwietniu 2017 r. egzemplarz nr 1048 został kupiony na aukcji przez Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej za 69 tys. dolarów[6].
    Has been bought by National Defense Department for 69'000 US$ at April, 2017

  23. There is only one known example of military usage of this rifle in action which, almost uniquely, was by Maroszek himself. While personnel were evacuating from Instytut Techniki Uzbrojenia (Weaponry Technology Institute) the train they were traveling in was attacked near the city of Zdołbunow by two German warplanes flying at low altitude. As he states in his memoirs, Maroszek kept shooting through the window, eventually killing the gunner and wounding the pilot of one of the planes, forcing it to land. This event was also confirmed by other passengers.[5]
    – source-

  24. Сука этот дибилоид 20 мин читал инструкцию и даже не пострелял

  25. Na stronie muzeum powstania warszawskiego jest napisane o ich egzemplarzu, że: Karabin samopowtarzalny wz. 38M kal. 7,92 mm o numerze seryjnym 1019 jest jednym z pięciu znanych dziś egzemplarzy tej broni i jednym z najlepiej zachowanych. W mojej ocenie egzemplarz z aukcji ma jaśniejsze kolbę i okładki.

  26. A am also impressed by the very professional way of the authors presentation and knowledge of the history! By the way: nazi Slovakia which was a friend of Adalf Hiltler, invaded from the southeast Poland, too- don't forget this. Now Poland has a very good government now and new amazing inventions are already comming up! Thanx for the nice blog

  27. Polish rifle Maroszek wz.38M is a good example of the fact that Poland was technologically equal to the Germans in the most areas. Even superior on some! In some areas, Poland was also inferior, e.g. in rocketry. But the rocket technology was not relevant in 1939! Anyway, the deciding factor was the money that was available for the armament program! The Germans funded their military superiority to Poland with completely indebtedness of Germany! The Germans financed their rearmament program above all on debt. The Germans could not afford that rearmament program and were therefore bankrupt in 1939. Just incidentally, Poland was not bankrupt in 1939 like Germany it was. The Germans, like all other states, also got their money on the international financial market! The Germans have prepared for the war and the war should finance the war for the Germans! Economy of Nazi Germany – Wikipedia The enormous military buildup was financed to a large extent through deficit spending, including Mefo bills. Between 1933 and 1939 the total revenue of the German government amounted to 62 billion Reichsmarks, whereas government expenditure (up to 60% of which consisted of rearmament costs) exceeded 101 billion, thus causing a huge deficit and rising national debt (reaching 38 billion marks in 1939). Joseph Goebbels, who otherwise mocked the government’s financial experts as narrow-minded misers, expressed concern in his diary about the exploding deficit. Hitler and his economic team expected that the upcoming territorial expansion would provide the means of repaying the soaring national debt, by using the wealth and manpower of conquered nations.

    If Poland had prepared the same and financed their armament program on debt, the Germans would not have won in 1939! Poland would have thousands of 7TP ( 9PT) tanks instead of hundreds of TK tankettes! The Polish 7TP tanks were on the same technological level as the best German tanks! All a question of money! Poland had quite the ability to win against the Germans! The Blitzkrieg was not possible against Poland because Poland itself led a war of mobile warfare. If both opponents lead a war of mobile warfare, it will lead to a war of old method! Wikipedia Blitzkrieg! Historians Matthew Cooper and J. P. Harris have written that German operations during it were consistent with traditional methods. The term Blitzkrieg was first used in 1935 in an article in the military magazine Deutsche Wehr. The opinion that the word 'blitzkrieg' was widely circulated in 1939 is obviously wrong. Only after the western campaign against France was it used in German propaganda journalism almost inflationary and taken up by Western journalists! Janusz Piekalkiewicz writes in the epilogue of his book "Polenfeldzug": The fact that German motorized formations could not proceed as quickly in September 1939 as in France in 1940, and especially in the Soviet Union in 1941, is best demonstrated by the tenacity of the Polish resistance. The defeat of a Polish division also required three times what was needed to destroy an Allied division on the Western Front in 1940. Franz Halder Chief of the German General Staff of the Army documents this fact in his war diary. "The Wehrmacht had been on the verge of a military logistical catastrophe in the Polish campaign. The happy ending after a few weeks saved her from having to stop the fight because of insufficient ammunition." Poland had also the technology to build aircraft that were equivalent and even superior to German aircraft. Such as the bomber PZL.37 Łoś! In almost all technical parameters (top speed, peak height, range, bomb load), it was also the German types Heinkel He 111 P-4 and Dornier Do 17 Z-2, which in attacking Poland in 1939, the backbone of the German bombers associations, superior. All a question of money. Poland could have developed and built equivalent aircraft with sufficient funding in 1939. This video shows the Polish ability to build modern aircraft until 1939! Polish Projects and Prototypes of Aircrafts before WW2! That applies to all weapons systems! Except rocket technology, but that technology was insignificant in that war!
    In addition, Poland could have bought the German superior weapons from the Western allies. Poland could so have financed the purchase of French tanks with debt. They were superior to all German tanks. French tank Renault R35 / R40 and Char tank! All a question of money! Radar technology was also well-known in Poland and with enough financial resources Poland would have a radar system in 1939. But with this armament program Poland would also be broke in 1939 like Germany! If Poles had known what “good”allies they have, they would have attacked the Germans in 1933, the 500 polisch tanketts and the absolute air superiority in 1933 would have been enough for a victory! Also in 1935 the Germans would have no chance! But unfortunately, the Poles have relied on the contractually promised help of the French and British! That was a fault because the French and British have betrayed Poland in 1939! It is also a myth that the Germans were superior to the British, French and Poles in 1939! This is a useful myth tor British and French that the Germans were so strong that Poland with French and British had no chance to win. So it is lied that help for the Poles was not possible. In reality the Germans were not at all prepared for a two-front war 1939.

  28. Na prawdę nie wiedziałem, że mieliśmy taki świetny karabin jeśli chodzi o obsługę (bo o celności i trwałości nic mi nie wiadomo)

  29. I love the Polish people with all my heart but they should stick to making some of the most beautiful women in the world and stay away from making guns because everyone knows the Germans do it the best

  30. That has to be the quickest takedown I have ever seen you do. I dont think I'll be making any more polish jokes. History would have been a lot different if this was in mainstream service sooner.

  31. Becouse Poland was sold ,and A Hitler have stolen everything our libraries every our historii and also our Gods and Slavic Alfabet en Symbols like symbol of happines….and kill a lot of people.Lechistan-today Poland.

  32. I know you said someone made a few hand built reproductions but I would love to see a company take on a full build of this rifle. Looks like an interesting design and I think even at a price for 2019 of $1,00 to $1,500 this rifle would sell. Congrats to the Polish Government for bringing this classic home as well!

  33. Huh.. The poles had a California compliant rifle in 1938. How progressive. But they better watch that muzzle brake!

  34. Its a good thing Germany didn't just copy this gun after occupying Poland. Otherwise Germany would've had an effective battle rifle in conjunction to their other automatic weapons.

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