September 11, 2019 100

ZB26: The Best of the Light Machine Guns

ZB26: The Best of the Light Machine Guns

every once in a while someone manages to put together a military firearm that’s just massively popular the remington rolling block was for single-shot rifles the Mauser 98 was for bolt actions that PK was for belt-fed Universal machine guns and the zb-26 is that gun for the magazine-fed light machine gun thanks for tuning in to another video on forgotten weapons calm I’m Ian McCallum and I’m here today at the James Giulia auction house taking a look at some of the guns they’re going to be selling in their upcoming fall of 2017 firearms auction and I’m really excited today to get a chance to actually take a look at a ZB 26 this really is the granddaddy of magazine-fed light machine guns after World War one this is the kind of gun that everyone was looking for for about 20 years and the checks just really knocked it out of the park with this one so the story of this thing dates originally back to 1921 when the checklist lavake on government or military started looking for a light machine gun and they did a bunch of trials they tried out pretty much everything that was available on the market the VAR the Hotchkiss 1914 the darn machine gun the Bethy a machine gun basically everything that was around and including a couple of domestic Czech production or Czech developed guns including one developed by a pair of brothers Emmanuel and Vaclav hullick of Czechoslovakia and what those guys came up with was actually initially a belt-fed gun they ditched the belt feed they went to a magazine feed and the Czechs decided to go ahead and adopt it that was the i-23 made by a little factory called praha pra h a it’s probably pronounced some other way a little bit of back and forth and sued the factory wasn’t really big enough to supply the Czech military with guns and so eventually this ended up being produced by the ZB Factory and at that point it became commercially known as the zb-26 in the Czech military it was the LH Azure v0r 26 the light machine gun model of 1926 now between 1926 and 1939 the ZB factory would manage to sell no less than or at least 120 thousand of these guns to no fewer than 24 different countries if you didn’t make your own light machine gun this was the one to get this would additionally be extremely influential in to Colonel Nambu designing the type 96 and 99 Nambu light machineguns they’re heavily based on this it was directly responsible for the Bren gun the the ZB Factory entered an updated version of this the zgb 33 in British machine gun trials and it ended up winning and becoming the brand gun and the reason that it was so successful is it just did a great job of blending all the requirements for a military light machine gun I had an excellent magazine that was reliable and durable the gun itself was reliable durable it was not overly expensive to manufacture wasn’t a cheap gun you know this isn’t stamped sheet metal but it wasn’t so expensive that small countries couldn’t afford to buy them it is super quick and easy to take apart it’s a very simple gun in operation it’s accurate its controllable in full auto it is fireball in both semi and full fully automatic it was chambered primarily for the eight millimeter Mauser cartridge but it was offered in a couple other cartridges seven millimeter Mauser and a couple others that don’t come to mind offhand at any rate twenty four different countries really can’t all be wrong so this particular one is an interesting example in that it actually has a Spanish military crest on it but it was manufactured or completed during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and used by the German military a rather German not paramilitaries the the ver mocks never formally adopted the zb-26 because they had their own guns basically the mg34 took it to place however groups like the vafan SS and a lot of police and security organizations in Germany at the time unit organizations that didn’t have access to the varimax own direct stream of armaments a lot of those guys use guns like the zb-26 so let me show you that that crest is pretty cool and I’ll show you the other markings and how this all comes apart all right so markings we have this really cool intricate Eagle crest here that is a Spanish military crest and remember that ZB was making these guns commercially for all sorts of different customers so the member hero 534 is going to be the serial number for a specific contract this is number 534 for that Spanish order not number 534 overall to go along with that on the right side of the receiver is the designation since this is a commercial gun it is marked zb-26 and the serial number is repeated however on the left side of the receiver is marked vafan vaca Brune AG this was the german name for the Brno the ZB Factory and this name was adopted when the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia so what we have here is a receiver that was in progress they had marked the put the crest in the serial number on it but they hadn’t actually finished the guns off to be sent out to the Spanish and when the Germans showed up they decided that these were pretty cool guns and well they just assumed keep them themselves so guns like this that were in progress were completed and then they were actually sent to Heinrich Creek off or they were overseen by Heinrich Creek off for final assembly and proofing and you can see evidence of that here on the very back end of the receiver with of a phenom and an eagle crest we can also see that on some of the small parts like the bolt in there we have an eagle crest and then an HK stamp and that HK is Heinrich Creek off the controls for the zb-26 are really quite straightforward we have a 20 round standard magazine that is top fed so that allows you to get a little bit lower in prone and it’s also easier to change especially for an assistant gunner to change for you when you’re shooting magazine catches it back that’s just a nose in and rock back magazine and by the way this is an excellent magazine design these are strong and reliable and really good there is a fire selector above the trigger with options for 20 which is full auto zero which is safe and one which is semi-auto this gun does fire from an open bolt pretty typical of light machine guns we have a magazine well cover that slides into place there it’s actually missing it’s a little detent it should be held in place there but you can close off that you also have a quick Beryl this is of course very similar to the Bren because the Bren was developed from this so there’s a little button on the back here and I just lift that lever up and the barrel slides right out this barrel by the way is another really good example of the occupation the redirected occupation production of these guns by the Germans so we have a Z in a circle which is a ZB factory mark but then we have of off an op and a German Eagle firing proof this barrel was originally serial number 33 660 – 42 that has been crossed off because the Germans decided to allocate it to gun 534 which is the gun we’re looking at here and it is barrel number one if you had a spare barrel it would be marked – field stripping is very simple there are two pins here and here that hold the lower assembly and the buttstock on and kind of like an ar-15 you can remove one and just swing this out of the way or you can remove both and take it off entirely I am going to just remove this pin push it through it is a captive pin and once it’s out the lower assembly pivots down this is the guide rod for the recoil spring which is located here in the bot stock with this out of the way I can pull out the operating rod gas piston bolt carrier and bolt the gas piston on this thing is really long because the gas port is located all the way out at the muzzle and one of the things that would be changed when the Bren was developed from this is they would move the gas port back to about the midway point of the barrel and have a much shorter gas piston as part of it anyway this is our bolt carrier and this is the bolt and this is going to sit like so this is the unlocked position all the way back here is the locked position when it is locked this surface right here lifts up again a locking shoulder in the back of the receiver and that’s what locks the action when it fires again exactly like a Bren gun so when this is cycling this is the unlock position it will go forward it’s going to catch these two tabs here are going to catch a cartridge from the magazine and strip it down this will eventually the bolt will stop because the cartridge will be fully chambered and this surface here will hit the barrel face and stop the bolt carrier beneath it is going to continue moving which forces the bolt to cam upwards like this once it cams up it then comes into contact with this surface right here that is going to hit the firing pin right back here which is spring loaded and protrudes when it gets hit so it’s an open bolt firing gun and that’s what causes it to fire so it’s like this unlocked locked and then under spring tension right there fires and then it extracts on unlocks then extracts and then ejects the cartridge and continues the cycle it does eject downward which is why there’s this opening in the Opera empty cases are going to go down through that and out the bottom of the gun there’s the whole thing disassembled like I said really very simple to take apart and that was part of what made it such a popular gun because the magazine is located right in the center on the top of the gun the sights have to be offset to the left and we have a rear notch sight here and it is connected to this big drum for changing your elevation note that there’s a little window here with a range in hundreds of meters and that goes from 200 all the way out to 1500 and just raises this rear sight notch as it goes the front sight is a hooded Barleycorn to match also offset to the left the same amount so it’s the sights are parallel to the barrel just about an inch off to the left one other neat thing to point out here is this carry handle which does a couple of things you can pivot it up like that to carry the gun just at your side this of course works as a handle for removing and replacing hot barrels and then you can fold it down to get it out of the way and you can actually pull it back like this and rotate it down and it will lock under this lug that by the way is the lug for anti-aircraft sights to be mounted on and in this position it locks down and it acts as a basically a sort of horizontal front grip that allows you to hold the thing and basically in in an assault fire sort of stance to fire from the hip while moving these are fantastic guns and they just really don’t get the press or the attention because well they’re not made by one of the really big countries so if you’d like to add this on this one to your own collection and have a really sweet shooter yourself take a look at the description text below you’ll find a link there to the Julia catalog page on this gun and you can look at their pictures in their description and if you’re interested place a bid here live at the auction or over the phone or through the web thanks for watching

100 Replies to “ZB26: The Best of the Light Machine Guns”

  • Jan Jordán says:

    VZOR translation : pattern, design, model,type etc.

  • Gert Madsen says:

    What about the Madsen? Surely with a name like that it must have been the best …

  • Tomas T says:

    in hidden and dangerous pc game this was the best gun for sniping lol 😀

  • marksman axis says:

    Hope make compare between Bren and ZB26

  • John Smith says:

    Best machine gun

  • Pablo Astini says:

    If somebody could answer me… Did the british pay a liscence, stole this design or what… Seems to me that the bren gun is no less than a freaking copy of the zb vz 26…

  • Wajid Ali says:

    I am Pakistani I have a zb26 …..

  • Alex Cheremisin says:

    How would it compare to a Bren?

  • Jay Felsberg says:

    Hmmmmm the section armed with M1s and a 30-06 ZB-26/30/33….I remember Ian Hogg noting this possibility in his small arms book in the Ballentine series. A proper light machine gun would have been a serious upgrade over the BAR

  • Ajax ___27 says:

    České titulky!!! 😀

  • David Fawkes says:

    Hello Jesus and others,

    Do you Know where I can find a specific book discribing this magnificent weapon in detail ?

    Thanks a lot to you and the community 🙂

  • __ says:

    Listen mate…I am Czech and I have one of those things home. When I saw video from american I was thinking " Ohhh my god, lets see this guy and gues how many things he say wrong". But….you are really profesional. Thank you. Thumbs up!

  • Nam Minh says:

    I thought the best LMG was the Ultimax 100?

  • интересная личность says:

    Your pronounciation of Praha is pretty good!

  • Retarior says:

    Man its not Vaclav…. you should read it as (Vaaatslav) – Václav, the long á stands for long sound of aaa, and also C in our language is not equal to K as in yours, but you are supposed to pronounce it more like: TS… but the T at the beginning should be almost unheard.

  • Erebus66 says:

    I'm sure I'll be eaten alive for this but doesn't the top-fed mag block a massive portion of the shooter's peripheral vision while shooting?

  • Koro Plays says:

    Looks like an upside down BAR

  • Morgan says:

    This definitely Czechs out

  • SilverDax says:

    It puts the "Br" in Bren

  • MyMatK says:

    Licence of this gun was sold to England to Enfield factory. They made after that BREN which is BRno ENfield. So BREN is actualy upgraded ZB26

  • haRd8106 says:

    Great video, great comment, lots of historical and technical information, great machine gun, great work! Thanks!

  • Elijah Miller says:

    Why are the Czechs so good at guns

  • UCSPanther20 says:

    Probably one of the more influential LMGs, where its legacy was carried onto the Bren and STG 44, and still lives on in weapons like the VZ 58, VZ 52 LMG and the UK 59.

    I'd love to have one of these in my collection.

  • you_the __drink says:

    That kind of looks like a Madsen mg

  • Anders Axmark says:

    This is hands down the best channel on the interwebs.

  • Jonathan Allen says:

    This and many of the chech weapons became the most sought after as soon as ww2 ended and the focus went to Israel

  • Jonathan Allen says:

    There is a nice old video of a GI throwing one out a window. He had to sneak up on the German who killed and wounded many Americans as they were trying to cross a bridge. He threw the gun out the window to signal that they could continue to cross.

  • Al Codie says:

    OK so between the ZB26 and a Bren Gun which one is better ?

  • Felice Graziano says:

    Beautiful gun but too fancily machined for a nation VS the entire planet

  • _ VesBraun says:

    I think if a large magazine BARs (50-70 rounds) would have been developed and implemented, they might still be in operation today… in modern furniture.

  • colinmoriarty says:

    Will this be easier to get when it becomes C&R age?

  • Mischa Nester says:

    Does the distance of uninterrupted barrel before the gas port compared to the Bren gun make a noticeable difference to muzzle velocity?

  • Bernd Felsche says:

    Downward eject, as with Bren, means that the hot brass piles up under the hand and sometimes finds its way up the gunner's sleeve. More of a problem in times when gloves were not standard issue… Like when I was in the Australian Army Cadets in the early 1970's

  • GodILoveAlcohol says:

    *Spandau memes intensifies

  • Kwony_TeK says:

    It reminds me of an upside-down BAR

  • Nipps Welmactt says:

    When the gun is quality, cost effective, AND aesthetic <3

  • Martin Šach says:

    Czechoslowaks, not czechs. The split of Czechoslowakia occured at 1991, wich was a few years after 1926… ZB= Zbrojovka Brno (The arms factory of Brno city)

    The fact, that Germany was practicaly given Czechoslowak weapons, tanks, aircrafts and defensive forts (not to mention its whole economics, wich was one of the 5 top economics of the world at that time – even when compared with US, Soviet union, or other gargantuan countries), when Britain and France (with other countries, like the Italy) signed a treaty, wich commited the czechoslowakia to surround its (freshly fortified everywhere around the borders with germany, and PREPARED for hard defence against more than 10 times bigger German army) border regions (based on a false notion, that german minority – in that regions somewhere major in numbers, is threatned by czechoslowaks) to germany.
    Czechoslowak allies, bussiness partners and "friends" of France and Great Britain, seem somewhat surprised, when the wehrmacht marched a few months after the Threaty of Munich, into Czechoslowak main city of Prague and occupied whole of czechoslowakia, when its best and most costly defence was practicaly GIVEN to nazi germany. Not to mention actions of Poland, Hungary and Soviet Union, who saw in that situation a possibility to get a bite of Czechoslowak land for themselves. The reason, why Germany swooped the rest of the Europe (aside of military genious of Blitzkrieg doctrine in its time and fact, Germany prepared war from the end of the first one), is, it did have a Czechoslowakias economics, resources and in numerous cases even PEOPLE (BTW czechoslowaks were on the "Final solution" scale of the biggest duche on the same level as jews, only were ment for extermination LATER, not simply to be shot on sight – as the poor jew neigbours was. It is funny, as Americans sometimes know about attack and occupation of Poland as a "start of the war", but do not count ARMED OCCUPATION OF SOVREIGN COUNTRY of Czechoslowakia as the start…

  • Hiromuz says:

    For whoever made czech subtitles: good job man, i would never expect such quality at this kinda niche yt channel, very nice!

  • Brian Coley says:

    Thought it was a BREN gun?

  • Leonard Maus says:

    The better BREN

  • Aumann04 says:

    The Germans called it MG 30 (t).

  • Captain Picard says:

    Your videos are top notch Ian.

  • LampOfExperience says:

    Großdeutschland used them, so it wasnt just non-wehrmacht units. It was also frontline wehrmscht units.

  • emp96ElminD says:

    Sexy, simple, effective. Gotta love Czech weapons, in many ways quality like a German and simplicity of a Russian gun.

  • Rebius says:

    A few details from a czech guy 🙂 btw you have pronounced Praha really good 😉

    Czechoslovak and not Czechoclovak
    LK vzor 26 and not LK vizor 26

    otherwise good video 😉

  • walt7500 says:

    I have a 1/6 model.

  • faunbudweis says:

    BREN stands for Brno+Enfield

  • Stinks says:


  • planescaped says:

    Is the chauchaut behind Ian's head the one he won?

  • John Wang says:

    China adopted ZB26 (probably domestically made though) before fighting against Japanese invasion back in WW2. My grandfather can't appreciate ZB26 more for saving his squad countless times.

  • Ali Eid says:

    How could they aim?

  • General William T. Sherman says:

    We now see where Shitmeisser copied the design for his Shitgewher from smh!

  • Machine Gun Mike says:

    Shockingly great condition for a transferable! I just bought a Bren, and the similarities are definitely easy to spot. Great video as always!

  • 01Bouwhuis says:

    Police and security services in ww2 is still the ss

  • Fábio says:

    ZB26 vs MG-34? Which was more competent at LMG role??

  • Dan Haynes says:

    >see some post about how a relic mag for one of these was found on the former eastern front, used by the Germans presumably
    >immediately think “That looks cool and somewhat obscure, I bet there’s a forgotten weapons video on it”
    Godamn ian you really have done everything

  • Todesnuss says:

    Praha is Prague. Why's that the name of a 'little factory'?

  • PalookaD says:

    Haha 41 people bought a BAR

  • jameskbarron says:

    Not a fan of top loading magazines. And I really can't see the need for an AG on a magazine fed weapon. For its time, I'm sure it was very impressive, but I don't see any major improvements over a BAR, which I would also not want to carry into battle as a SAW or LMG.

  • bretnmannn says:

    Between the T99, the ZB26, the Bren and the BAR, I would go with the Bren in real combat.
    The quick change barrel feature of the Bren makes it the best bet in by book.
    As far as magazine fed squad type LMG's goes; I own and shoot three T99's, a T96 and a BAR.
    I have fired a T11, a ZB26, and a Bren.
    Still, the T96/T99's are a real sweet shooters, and I have found no need to oil or wax the cartridges.
    Finally, all but one of the dozen or so T99 barrels I own have chrome plated bores, but all three T96 barrels I have do not.

  • Matthew Bailey says:

    Rex seems neat.

  • King One says:

    This is the main machine gun used by Chinese forces in ww2.

  • Shadow747 says:

    I thought it was british

  • HRÁČ 555 says:

    Jsem hrdý čech
    I am a proud czech

  • Blu CZ says:

    Shame that in Czech Republic we must have permit to own full auto and police do not like giving it. This gun its so cheap in Full Auto, but we are civilians and we suck so only thing we can own its semi auto that is 2 times more expensive. Btw I HATE EU.

  • OGAR35 says:

    When I first saw the FN FAL disassembled, I was really surprised. And having shot vz. 26, MG 34 and 42, I would always take vz. 26.

  • Excurrahee says:

    served into the 80s as the BREN L4

  • _jeff _ says:

    czechs made very good weapons but never had the opportunity to fire it themselves

  • _jeff _ says:


  • Angel Comrade says:

    My country (yugoslavia) used this in ww2.My grandfather used this and he said that when he shooted standing was fucked but on the legs (pods or whatever) its too much easier

  • soumyajyoti mukherjee says:

    So which is better? Bren? Or this?

  • theKaisersose101 says:

    i think in pre-WW2 weapons manufacturing there is kind of a holy trinity, the Czechs, the Belgians, and the Fins

  • ProEngine says:

    ZB26 is the only reliable heavy fire of the Chinese army in World War II. There were no tanks, no guns, no mortars. Only ZB26 blocked the Japanese army. In addition, the Japanese mortars will soon retaliate if the shooting points are to be changed quickly. The Japanese army also has poison gas and germ weapons. So they played for eight years without winning.HAHAHA~

  • yuval beery says:

    Praha is pronounced Prague

  • Yuri Moon says:

    “24 countries can’t really be wrong”, F-104 Starfighter: (•-• ) ( •-•)

  • Huge Bartlett says:

    So at last,I now know what that side wheel is for! Adjusting the rear sight,very clever. Altogether,an extremely ingenious LMG. Also,I thank the Powers that be,that our people had the good sense to adopt it as the Bren,just in time!

  • MrSniperdude01 says:

    And yet the Nazis still took over… weird

  • wazza33racer says:

    Ive shot the Bren, its very controllable for the power of the cartridge……….a credit to its designers.

  • John Doe says:

    Anyone remember this gun from Hidden & Dangerous 2? This was the Germans' only infantry machine gun for some reason lol

  • Floyddog22 says:

    I’m crying because I love my country (I’m only 50% but I love the country)

  • the Beatles help says:

    Nice mechanics in this gun

  • Ruzuchi says:

    Czech guns, yayy! Best there are. One of the few things im proud for being Czech. 😀

  • Zakk Zero says:

    Anybody know the model of the gun in the center in the background?

  • Deniz Metinoğlu T. says:

    Didn't know this gun existed until just now. So, the British Bren gun was basically an updated version of this Czech light machine gun.

  • varun009 says:

    Europe makes the best stuff. God I love stuff.

  • Red Tsar says:

    The daddy of the Brno-Enfield.(Bren)

  • Pck Kaboo says:

    Once upon a time.. top feed magazine are popular with rifles, Lmg

  • abel p p says:

    Spanish FAO

  • AstrraTV says:

    Still I think that MG 42 is better.

  • Florian Hug says:

    What's the thing that a lot of lmgs/guns from that period have their magazine on the top?

  • 孫鈺 says:

    Oh the weapon my great grandfather used to fight Japanese.

  • José Manuel LACLETA says:

    I’ve got pictures of my father firing such a gun during is military service at the end of the forties (1947 or 1948) in Spain. As a brilliant Law student went through the NCO and then sub-lieutenant or junior lieutenant (“Alférez”) courses offered to students, which would serve two periods in apring and summer of their third and fourth year in University. He then left active service as a sub-lieutenant ant of “Milicias Universitarias” (which would later be called IMEC for Instruccion Militar de complemento. As an officer in the reserve, if mobilized he would have been a junior Lieutenant. This was the standard squad light machine gun in these late forties early fifties in Spain. Our army would later use the MG42 (or MG3).

  • Nifty Schnifty says:

    ….And when the germans showed up, they decided that these were pretty cool guns, and ,well , they just ???????? keep them theyselfes………

  • Sam Nukic says:

    Looks like a BREN FAL love child

  • Jim Yao says:

    That is my favourite machine gun

  • Marek Zakravsky says:

    Yeah we did it well

  • John Wilson says:

    Nice design. And hopefully in the relatively near future you'll get a chance to shoot one.?

  • Tom says:

    It was called praha cause that's the Czech name for Prague in

  • Jakub Staníček says:

    Its a shame that ZB factory didnt have the idea of using intermediate cartridge… Im coming straight from Stg44 video, and it struck me how easy it would have been to adopt this gun into hammer fired closed bolt assault rifle, the action is quite similar to Stg44 except that its open bolt.

  • spapanek1 says:

    You pronounce it correctly – Praha:) You have great channel and I enjoy every one of your videos. And Czech gun of course is great thing to see. Keep going great job. Thank you Ian.

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