CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 13

This is it…the final post in this series. I know what you’re thinking: “About D@#$ Time!” Sorry it’s taken so long to get this done.

In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6, we covered the basic trigger job.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 7, we reinstalled the hammer strut, hammer, sear, auto safety, ejector, and disconnector.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 8, we reinstalled the trigger, trigger bar and trigger spring.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 9, we reinstalled the mainspring and plug and the safety assembly.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 10, we reinstalled the slide stop and trigger guard latch pin.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 11, we reassembled the magazine catch and reinstalled the trigger guard.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 12, we reassembled the slide and installed it on the frame.

In this edition, we’re going to install and review the fancy new grips I got from Marschalgrips and then discuss how I feel about the corrections I made and how it all turned out.

As a reminder, the reason I decided to replace the grips was because the original plastic grips had a tendency to move on the frame making it hard to be consistent. A commenter drew my attention to the fact that overtightening the grip screws can cause tiny cracks in the grips making them impossible to ever get tight again. With that in mind, and with an eye toward making the pistol a bit prettier, I ordered new grips from marschalgrips.com.

Marshalgrips has a very good selection of grip styles for the CZ, but I wasn’t looking for anything too custom. One problem is that I’m left handed, but my wife and kids like shooting my guns too, so if I got custom, finger groove/thumb rest grips made for me, they wouldn’t be able to shoot it comfortably. With that in mind, I went with the standard ambidextrous grips in checkered walnut, grey finish. The cost was $45 plus shipping.

I wasn’t expecting the turnaround time to be speedy and I wasn’t disappointed, it took over a month to get them after placing the order, but that is expected with a craftsman who makes each set individually.

When I did get the package, I took a picture because I’ve never gotten any mail from Budapest Hungary before and I thought it was interesting.

At any rate, I was very happy with the initial look. The craftsmanship is very good, the lines clean, the finish smooth and even and the screw holes were reinforced with recessed metal rings.

So far so good.

They installed easily enough, but I immediately ran into a problem: The magazine fit was now tight to the point that I couldn’t even insert the mag all the way without forcing it. I’m pretty picky about mags dropping free on their own after the mag release is pressed so that wasn’t going to do at all.

The problem was easy enough to identify. The magazine well inside the grip was just barely too small.

Not a problem, a bit of 600 grit emery cloth and some fitting took care of the problem with alacrity.

I had to remove a little from the front of both grips.

After fitting them a bit better, the mags inserted and dropped free perfectly.

But then I ran into another minor problem.

The safety on the left side was a little to close to the frame and the new grip was interfering with its operation.

This is a more significant problem because it required fitting on the outside of the grip…where the finish is.

I removed as little as possible from the corner to allow the safety to operate and didn’t mar the finish too badly.

Unfortunately, over time, the safety has caused some marring of the finish since I installed the grips. which I’m a little disappointed about.

I can try touching up the finish, but I’m afraid I won’t pick exactly the right color and it won’t blend well. It’s really not that noticeable and this is a working gun, not a wall-hanger, so I can live with it.

The only other thing I’m disappointed about is that I could still feel a slight bit of movement of the grips on the frame. I don’t think this is a hit on the grips themselves, I think it is a flaw in the design of the pistol. There is basically nothing holding the grips in place except the single mount screw and it is simply impossible to get the screws tight enough to stop the movement without damaging the grips. The Marschal grips were significantly better in this regard than the originals, but there was still some movement.

I did find a solution however. What I ended up doing is trimming a piece of double sided scotch tape for each side and placing it between the grip and frame at the rear over the mainspring well. Then I used locktite on the screw threads when I installed them.

After a couple of hours, the glue on the tape adhered well enough that I can’t feel the movement any more, but I still should be able to get the grips off with no problem when the time comes.

At any rate, here’s what the finished product looks like.

I am very pleased with the looks of the pistol with these grips and I am impressed with the workmanship and quality of the grips. The minor fitting problems I had did not surprise me overly considering that the grips were made some 4500 miles away from the frame that they were supposed to fit on. I wasn’t expecting a perfect, drop-in fit.

They get my recommendation.

I’ve now had this pistol for some time and have been carrying it regularly as my discreet carry piece. I’ve also used it to shoot in a couple of bowling pin matches and a steel plate match as well as many trips to the range.

To recap the issues that I had with it when I first got it: The trigger was creepy and rough, the magazine release was too tight making it difficult to release the magazine, the grips moved on the frame, the trigger bit my finger, and it was shooting a bit low and left.

I am very happy with the results of my trigger job. By judicious use of a stone, I reduced the creep dramatically and smoothed it up at the same time. The trigger pull is now light, smooth and crisp.

By replacing the grips and using the double sided tape, I got the grips to stop moving around so that is no longer a problem.

When I reassembled the slide, I did adjust the rear sight a little to the right, which fixed the “shooting to the left” problem. It still shoots just slightly low, but I repainted the front sight and left the paint strip a little below the top of the sight, which encourages me to use more sight when aiming and brings the shots up where they should be.

One thing I forgot to mention is, before reinstalling the trigger, I did use a jewelers file to smooth and round off the edges of the trigger. Then I used 600 grit emery paper to smooth it and touched it up with cold blue. That cured the trigger bite problem. I didn’t have to take much off, just enough to round the edges of the trigger a little more.

One thing about the finish. As noted in the first post of this series, this gun did have some pretty significant holster wear, to the point where the finish was completely gone in a couple of areas. I did clean the finish up with cold blue, but I have to say that the bluing didn’t take as well as I’d have liked and isn’t proving to be very durable.

Finally, I’m VERY happy with the results of weakening the magazine catch spring. The mags are held securely when in use, but I can easily release them with one finger from either side of the mag release.

This little gun is slightly underpowered for a defensive firearm in my opinion, but it is a little hotter than the .380 which is the minimum I’d consider for defensive use. Because of the double stacked mag, it isn’t quite as concealable as it’s single stack cousins like the Makarov, but because of its relatively weak cartridge, I like the idea of having 13 rounds to work with.

The recoil is a little snappy, but not unmanageable and it is very accurate. I have been consistently pleased with its performance and have never had a failure to feed, fire, eject etc.

It is not too heavy (of course this is very subjective…my standard carry piece is a full sized 1911 that I carry openly so I’m used to a relatively heavy gun) and I am able to carry it with an IWB holster, even under a tucked shirt, without printing.

As far as disadvantages: it is hard to find parts for them because they’ve never been sold at retail in the US. This is alleviated by the fact that most CZ-83 parts (which are sold here) are identical and will work on the 82. Also, it does not have a decocker, so if you are inclined to carry condition 2 (round in the chamber, hammer down) and fire the first shot in double action, this is not a very safe firearm for that. The only way to decock with a round in the chamber is to use your thumb to lower the hammer while pulling the trigger; which is, in my humble opinion, a recipe for a negligent discharge. This is alleviated by the auto safety which ensures that the hammer cannot contact the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. In my opinion, this gun is safe to carry in condition 1 (cocked and locked) and that is how I carry it. I WOULD NOT carry it that way loose in a purse or pocket. It would be too easy for the safety to be inadvertently switched off and have something get caught in the trigger. I would only carry this firearm in condition one using a holster that covers the trigger completely.

In a nutshell, I like it. Especially for lefties, I think this is an excellent choice for discreet carry as long as you understand the limitations of the design and keep in mind that these are surplus, used pistols and may require some work to get them into shape.

In fact, I like this gun so much that I bought a couple more to play with. One thing I’m definitely going to do is try a complete refinish on them. I’m thinking Parkerizing. At any rate, when I get to that, I’ll be sure to post the step-by-step and we’ll see how it turns out together.

Thank you again for your patience in waiting for me to get this series finished. I hope you weren’t disappointed.

18 thoughts on “CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 13

  1. Wow. I have been thinking of getting one of these. In this process I found you. I am very greatful for all this quality info. Thank You!

    • It is sometimes harder to talk than do. I am thinking about duracoat for my piece. I have a little trigger travel (normal) before the hammer drops but all else is fine. Mine does not like the serrated jacketed hollow points, they always jam it. Also for reloading
      a c.o.l. of 1.070 is what is neede for proper chambering rather than the 0.98 as suggested in manuals. Thanks for all the great info!
      Cheers,

      Dan

  2. My father and I bought VZ-82s at the same time and what we received were different animals. On my specimen the finish was great but the sites do not have dots or even the grooves for dots. by fathers showd the same finish wear as your pistol but his sites have working tritium dots that are beautiful. Also, my pistol has a great trigger and his is mediocre. Neither of our pistols have the grip problems that you have had, however, although my father purchased wood grips identical to the ones you did. they were a perfect drop-in fit. this makes me wonder if you got the Friday-closing time grip frame option from the factory.

  3. I went with the 18 pound spring after having it recommended by another reader and it really does reduce muzzle flip.

    Where did you get the hogue grips?

  4. Sailor,
    One idea for the loose wood grips is to replace the hammer spring pin with a longer one, long enough that it protrudes from each side of the frame. Then, when you seat the grips, it will make a mark (small dent) on the inside of the grips. Simply drill a small indentation where the pin left its mark and that will help secure the grips from twisting.

    I've read another review about the safety rubbing on the Marschel grips but nothing about the mag clearance being tight. I'm awaiting my CZ grips (ash, grey stain, standard) and will definitely check for that.

    Thanks for the informative and detailed disassembly/reassembly instructions. Couldn't have done it without you (nor would I have even tried). After DuraCoating my CZ in Stainless Steel with Matte Black trim, it looks like a new pistol and shoots like a dream!

  5. That's a great idea on the grips. You could even use it for plastic grips, but would have to use some other method for marking the pin position.

    Thanks for the advice.

  6. SAILORCURT

    What a great post series. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience in such detail. I for one enjoyed each segment.
    Now I must buy an 82.. Oh well.

    Dave

  7. is there anyway i can email you i am having a hard time getting the auto safety back together. please help me.

  8. I found your posts both interesting and informative. Thanks for taking the time and effort to share your experience.

    You mentioned manually de-cocking the vz. 82 using your thumb, presumably of the strong hand, so I feel the need to add my two cents regarding safety. On a pistol like the vz. 82 with such a wide hammer spur, it seems much safer to de-cock the hammer by grasping it firmly on each side using the thumb and fore-finger of the weak hand; while carefully releasing the trigger with the strong hand. (Now, admittedly, on a pistol such as an unmodified Model 1911, this technique would be less useful, since the sides of the 1911 hammer are harder to grasp firmly.) Like you, I don’t recommend using the thumb of the strong hand to lower the hammer because it is just too awkward to manage properly (awkward = perilous).

    • grasping the hammer from the sides just seems very dangerous as the hammer can slip from your grip…

      the way to de-cock that i was shown (and that i use for my CZ82) is the following:

      1) strong thumb holding back hammer spur
      2) weak thumb BETWEEN the hammer and firing pin, this way the hammer can’t strike the firing pin… because your thumb is in the way…
      3) squeeze trigger back (with your strong thumb riding the spur and weak thumb still blocking the firing pin)
      4) let the hammer come forward a bit, release trigger fully, remove weak thumb from blocking the pin, strong thumb lets hammer come fully forward.

    • Take a break. Put it down, sleep on it and take a fresh look tomorrow. Frustration will lead you astray.

      Just be patient, work slowly and deliberately and double check everything you do as you do it. I’m confident you can get it.

      And if all else fails, bag it up, take it to a gunsmith, dump it on the counter and say “help”.

  9. Carrying ČZ vz.82 cocked and locked is highly unsafe! Hammer down in double action always, it was designed for that. Or 2nd option is to carry without round in chamber.

    Decocking this gun is easy. Aim in secure direction. Hammer is big and you can easily cover it all securely with your thumb. Then pull hammer back a bit, press trigger (goes lighter if hammer is pulled), go like 3-5 mm forward with hammer and then let the trigger be free, finger out the trigger guard.. auto-safety will engage and you can put the hammer down easily then. It will not hit the firing pin. There is no need to put other fingers there.
    If somebody is not able to perform this easy thing, then he might not have a hammer fired gun or even any gun at all :)

    Safety lever on ČZ 82/83 is only meant to be used when you are somewhere on range and you want to put the gun on table to have free hands when you need fix the target or load another magazines etc. That safety lever will drop if you hit bottom of your gun even mildly with your hand, then there is only very light SA trigger and gun can fire easily.

    Also some vz.82 had/have problems with drop-safety, which was later partly fixed by modifications to firing pin length. The problem is, when gun drops on tail, whole slide goes a bit back while hitting hammer with firing pin, which CAN ignite round. It all depends on hitting force(drop height and angle), firing pin length, firing pin spring and main (recoil) spring strength. So use good secure holster which won’t let your gun drop while running, climbing etc..

    Magazine button is tough, but Im used to press it not by thumb, but by index finger. It is much easier and you don’t need to change your hand grip to doo that. Also some oil between those parts helps a lot.
    Ambidextrous magazine catch is great…all guns should have it.

    btw.. mine
    http://www.xmeda.wz.cz/SKLAD/Vz82/xMeda_Vz82.jpg

    • Very nice pistol.

      You have to forgive me for not just taking the word of a stranger on the internet. Based on my knowledge of how the CZ-82 works, I see no reason why it can’t be safely carried cocked and locked.

      I’m no expert so I’m always open to being convinced. If you can give me a convincing reason that it is unsafe, I’ll listen, but based on what I know about it, I don’t see how. The auto safety doesn’t move out of the way unless the trigger is pulled, so even if the sear slips and the hammer falls, it will not go “bang” unless the trigger is being pulled. Is that evaluation wrong? If so, how?

      Not to mention that I tested mine extensively before carrying it and was not able to get the hammer to fall without pulling the trigger, no matter where I hit it or how hard, and I’ve been carrying mine cocked and locked for over 4 years now with nary a problem.

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