This is a very scarce example of an early pre-war Czechoslovakian ZH29 rifle, developed in the 1920s and 1930s. The ZH29 was a very interesting early semi-automatic military rifle. Manufactured almost entirely from finely milled and machined steel, the ZH29 shows a very high level of fit and finish. A similar example is pictured in "Hatcher's Notebook" by Julian Hatcher. A limited number of foreign contract sales are also known, with Abyssinia (later Ethiopia) and China notable among the buyers; notes supplied by the consignor suggest that this rifle was one purchased by China in 1929, which was captured by the Japanese in Manchuria. A similar version was actually built and tested by the Japanese in their 1935 Test Trials with an almost identical version shown on page 167 in the book "Military Rifles Of Japan" (2nd ed., Honeycutt). It is listed as prototype rifle that was manufactured by the Tokyo Gas and Electric (TGE) Company. The heart of the action is a novel tilting bolt assembly, which hinges left to engage the frame for locking prior to firing, powered by a hand adjustable long piston gas system, with the trigger doubling as the bolt release. Blade front and tangent rear sights, with a ribbed aluminum barrel shroud ahead of the hardwood forearm. The receiver is finely milled, with "CESKOSLOVENSKA ZBROJOVKA/AKCIOVA SPOLECNOST/BRNO". The top rear heel of the receiver is marked "10228/AUTOMATICKA PUSKA/Z.H.29" above a small lion proof. The upper and lower receivers are connected in a hinge pin arrangement, which rapidly exposes the entire trigger mechanism and the rear of the bolt for maintenance. With a smooth pistol grip buttstock with a stamped ribbed buttplate. A bayonet and scabbard, both marked "E3(lion)48" are included, the former 17 inches overall with a matte blade, the latter blued with a leather frog.
Very fine. The barrel shows 60% of the original blue finish, with mild wear on the edges and bayonet lug. The receiver finish is thinning out to a plum tone with bright edges and high points, as well as showing mild handling marks and scratches. The stock is fine, showing mild scuffs and dents. The bayonet shows light wear and spotting. Mechanically excellent. A very fine example of a scarce early semi-automatic test rifle.