Zbrojovka ZB vz. 59 / Uk vz. 59 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)
The ZB vz.59 is a further development of the vz. 52/57 system.
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The Uk vz. 59 was a derivative of the vz. 52/57 machine gun (detailed elsewhere on this site). A Czech design through and through, the vz. 59 was fitted with different iron sights throughout its early production run. The vz. 59 system can be fed from 7.62x54 rimmed cartridge 50-round detachable box magazine containing belts that can be joined to form a full 250-round ammunition belt. The ammunition box clips along the right side of the weapon and is ejected from the left. Furthermore, the vz. 59 system can be fitted to a tripod for the sustained fire role in addition to its standard bipod mounting. The tripod mounting is useful in the anti-aircraft air defense role, though some modification by the operator is necessary to fulfill this duty. A positional carrying handle is fitted to the forward part of the weapon, along the rear portion of the barrel. The bipod is positioned at the extreme barrel end. The fixed buttstock and pistol grip are of wood finish. The cocking handle is positioned along the top rear of the weapon body.
The firing action is accomplished through gas-operation with a tilting breechlock. a rate-of-fire of 700 to 800 rounds-per-minute is reported. The vz. 59 weighs in at 9.28 kilograms and an overall length of 1,215 millimeters. The barrel makes up 650 millimeters of this although the vz. 59 L fits a barrel length of 550 millimeters. The effective range is reported between 100 and 2,000 meters utilizing the folding rear leaf sight and hooded front post.
The vz. 59 is still in service with Czech forces today and a 7.62mm NATO-chambered, belt-fed variant is known to also exist. Other variants include the vz. 59 L, vz. 68, vz. 95 and vz. 98.
The vz.59 is formally known as the "Universal Machine Gun Model 1959".