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 Hudson vz61 Skorpion, full metal

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smootik
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PostSubject: Hudson vz61 Skorpion, full metal   Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:24 pm

History
Skorpion vz61 (Scorpion model 61) is a Czechoslovak machine pistol (or a submachine gun, depending on how you classify it) and a small one while we are at it. It was designed in 1950s and entered service in 1961, used where small size was an advantage: by drivers, and also special forces.
Nickname comes from a characteristic shape of a wire stock, with a "sting", and the way it folds over the pistol like a scorpion's tail.

Wikipedia information about Skorpion vz61:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%A0korpion_vz._61

More information:
http://world.guns.ru/smg/smg26-e.htm

A page about Skorpion modelgun (partially in Japanese):
http://homepage3.nifty.com/nkoinuma/Cz.htm


Modelgun
The only company that released a Skorpion modelgun was Hudson. Like many Hudson models, also Skorpion is a full metal construction.

Hudson started producing Vz61 Scorpion in 1981. The first production was a gold-coated model like other zinc-alloy handgun modelguns, but soon it became a blued(black) model. Later Hudson released a silver-coated version temporarily, but since then they have been making the black model only.

Not much choice, you could say, but at least you can choose to get it :-)


Box
Box is just a plain cardboard, stapled together at corners. The only marking is "Vz61 SCORPION" and "HUDSON" on top, plus "SMG" and price labels at the sides. Box that you see at the photos has been opened for inspection by Customs. When it was put back inside the shipping box, Customs used a sticky tape to hold both parts together, so it does not look so good anymore. Bubble sheet inside the box is my addition, originally I don't think there is anything like that in original. Handles of the bolt and front sight work their way through the box quite quickly.
if you are interested - the tape says "Polish Post, WER Warsaw International Shipping" and features Post logo





Inside you will find the replica itself, plus a few sheets of paper: registration card, exploded diagram and safety instructions. Safety page is very interesting - printed on pink paper, it features a cat and a soldier explaining correct handling of a modelguns in a series of pictures. It's just cute, you don't need to understand Japanese :-)








Modelgun comes with one magazine and six cartridges.


Modelgun
It's lovely :-)

This modelgun is impressive! Full metal, wooden grips, heavy and compact. Quality is very good, there is no wobbly parts or bad finish.

Wire stock folds over the top of the model. You do not need to open it before firing. Stock is actually a hazard, as you will most likely move hand in front of barrel to open it.







Left side features mag release catch and fire selector. Selector is interesting, as it has three positions: "0" for safe, "1" for single fire and "20" for auto fire. Why "20", not "auto"? Simple - this is capacity of a magazine, so 20 is more truthfull than than "full auto" ;-) Selector works very good, much better than most such levers in modelguns. It moves easily, with a perceptible click. Fire selector actually blocks the trigger when safety is engaged.



The right side of the modelgun is without any controls.

Top features open sights. The front sight is also a friction catch for the wire stock in closed position. Rear sight has a flip for two ranges, though in a modelgun it does not serve anything. There is a single marking behind the sight: "SMG Hudson".

Top of the receiver features three slots: one at the top is where spent cartridges will fly out from. Two slots at the sides have protruding circular/triangular parts that can be pulled back to cock the bolt.




At the bottom of the grip there is a provision to attach a leash.



Hudson model is externally pretty close to the real one, though of course details (such as screw sizes) differ. Quality is probably the best of all Hudson models I have seen so far. I am not sure what metal it is made of, but under the paint it looks like aluminium, not the pot metal used in other models (Sten or parts of MadMax). Maybe it's just an older piece, unlike the very latest releases?





There is just one problem: trigger guard has a sharp edge. When you grab the pistol, it will hurt your middle finger!

Magazine
Magazine is more like an MP5 magazine, than a pistol one - it is curved. You should be able to put 20 cartridges inside (don't have as many, can't verify).



While it is easy to take the magazine out, it is not as easy to put it back in. Being curved does not help, you need to find a correct angle - top part should be vertical. Pressing mag latch button helps, as the magazine does not really want to lock by itself without putting more force than usually.

Mag sits quite loose in the socket, contributing to feeding problems :-/ You can tilt it back and forth, changing the way bolt interacts with cartridges. Since Skorpion is an open bolt design, this means carts get a lot of chance to get mangled.




It is made of two sheets of metal welded in front and at the back. Inside there is a shiny gray follower, a spring and two tabs at the bottom that lock everything inside. Easy to disassemble: push in inside tab, slide off outside tab, making sure spring does not fly out ;-)

Real magazines do not fit a modelgun - they are wider (and thicker). They would require extensive modifications to be used with a modelgun


Cartridges
Hudson uses in this model cartridges that are a cross between MGC CP and Marushin PFC. Cartridge unscrews, but very close to the base. Detonator pin goes inside the top part, cap inside the bottom part. My cartridges have o-rings that are supposed to seal them and use cap force for blowback, even if instruction leaflet shows a different internal design - with a metal disk (similar to one in Marushin PFCs) instead of an o-ring. Pins are made of steel, and they rust...

Quite surprisingly the top part features a small hole in it's side. This is one of Hudson "trademark" features, seen also in other types of their carts.





Firing
Load cartridges with caps, then push cartridges into the mag. That is quite easy (unlike most other mags), you can just push carts in from the top. Putting mag in the model takes some fiddling.

Skorpion fires from open bolt, so when you pull back the slide it should stay in that position. Pressing the trigger in single-fire mode should release bolt, make model fire once and lock the bolt back again. Full auto will release the bolt as long as the trigger is pressed.

Unfortunately I was not able to verify how good this model fires :-/

The first problem was feeding. Very often cartridges do not enter chamber correctly - they block diagonally between bolt face and chamber.

Ejection works quite well - most of the time cartridge will just fly up. In some cases I got stovepipes. When cycling the model manually ejection works pretty bad, quite often cartridges fall away from bolt face and stay inside the model.

Blowback is not without problems - even if the fired cartridge gest ejected, bolt quite often does not move back enough to lock for the next shot. My first suspect is the o-ring: they do not fit snugly inside the cart, this must cause loss of power. When I get replacement ones, I will see if there is any progress.

Due to not having enough good 5mm caps (most that I have are duds) I did not really find out if Skorpion is such a bad shoote as everyone says.

While firing it is not easy to find a comfortable holding position. Right hand is on the grip, but it has to be shifted to avoid hurting by trigger guard. Left hand cannot hold front of the gun due to proximity of the barrel, and moving bolt handles. You also shouldn't hold magazine, as it is not very stable. I guess holding magazine so it feeds correctly is the best option here.

Of course after the shooting remember to clean your replica and cartridges.


Problems
Most problems have already been mentioned:
  • trigger guard has rough edges
  • magazine sits loose in magwell
  • it takes a bit of trialing to put the magazine into the model
  • cartridge feeding is very inconsistent
  • due to cartridges construction o-rings get exposed to hot gases and likely deteriorate quickly
  • the screw at the bottom of the grip that holds it together gets loose by itself


Basic disassembly
Disassembly pictures will be taken when I have an opportunity to take it apart.

Disassembly process is very easy, but requires screwdriver.
  • remove magazine
  • make sure chamber is empty
  • unfold the stock
  • unscrew two small screws at the top, behind the rear sight. Keep top and botom pressed together, or things will fly out!
  • hold magazine catch pressed inside, and carefully swing top part upwards. Bolt springs will probably launch bolt buffer out ;-)
  • remove bolt buffer and two bolt springs by sliding them backwards out of the top
  • slide bolt backwards, so that two bolt "handles" are now inside cutouts.
  • remove "handles" by simply pulling them out. They were held inside because slot is thinner in the front part.
  • slide bolt out of the top
  • use long thin screwdriver to unscrew the firing pin and take it out for cleaning


That completes the first stage.
You can clean the firing pin, bolt face and its sides now. Also if extractor claw is dirty or rusty, hold it to the bolt (so the spring does not launch it, push out the pin that holds claw, then carefully remove claw and its spring from the bolt for cleaning. Interestingly enough there is what seems to be a fake firing pin in the face of the bolt.

The next part you can take apart is the chamber.
  • unscrew the screw/hinge that holds top and bottom receiver together
  • unscrew the screw that is at the bottom of the barrel, close to the front
  • unscrew four screws, two on each side of the model


Now you should be able to take the chamber out of the model, just slide the whole part that you just unscrewed slightly backwards (to clear two parts that lock), and then pull it down from the top part.

You can then unscrew the larger screw that holds together actual chamber and the outer part. Clean chamber as needed. Remember to dry everything after cleaning!

I have not disassembled the bottom receiver, so no details here. It did look easy though ;-)


It is fairly easy to put everything back together. Just make sure to put bolt handles in before installing bolt springs.
And to push mag release inside, and then keep together top/bottom before you screw together these parts.


Overall
I am glad that Hudson release a vz61 Skorpion as a modelgun, and in metal! Build quality is very good, it is a much nicer Skorpion than Maruzen airsoft one. If you are looking to have such a machine pistol in your collection, you will not be disappointed.

Firing it is another story. I can't quite confirm the performance due to cap issues, but it what I've seen so far seems to suggest that the cartridge and blowback mechanism design are not as good as in MGC models.

Still, it's a VERY nice model to have in your collection.


Last edited by smootik on Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:51 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added start date of production)
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smootik
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PostSubject: Re: Hudson vz61 Skorpion, full metal   Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:10 pm

Updated review with pictures of box and model.

I will take and update disassembly pictures at the next such opportunity - do not want to fatigue screws/threads without a good reason.
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PostSubject: Re: Hudson vz61 Skorpion, full metal   Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:10 pm

Very, very nice review!

The Skorpion is one of the coolest machine pistols ever in my opinion.
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jim
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PostSubject: Re: Hudson vz61 Skorpion, full metal   Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:47 pm

I just want to screw Polish Post up when I saw them having their sticker on the box devaluing it (and you have to leave it there smootik otherwise...even though it's only a plain cardboard box)

Even though the metal of the lower receiver discoloured as well as some rust around - but I strongly believes this Skorpion is of earlier production (before year 2000?) as the surface of the top receiver is smoother by the looks of it - says so because a couple of it still hangs around HK shops but the top receiver is so rough as if they're made of pot metal - the folding stock as well, they seemed to have used steel earlier but with rough pot metal (alloy) for late productions...

Some unofficial history about this particular modelgun from me again - shortly after the release of this gun (some 20~30 years ago) the Japanese government had second thoughts on this gun - should the "metal pistol regulation" applied to this metal machine pistol as well? As usual Hudson didn't want to challenge the authorities so for some time this gun was sold "gold-plated" (I saw a couple for auction some years ago)...later due to the consideration that this gun have the magazines in front of the trigger instead of inside the pistol grip so this gun finally considered as a "longarm"...

Oh and did I mentioned that I reckon this is a review with heart Very Happy ?
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PostSubject: Re: Hudson vz61 Skorpion, full metal   Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:55 pm

Superb review yet again smootik Really excellent, all the information an owner could ask for too, thanks very much for this

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also member of Living History Reenactment Groups.
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smootik
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PostSubject: Re: Hudson vz61 Skorpion, full metal   Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:28 pm

Yeah, sticker was a bummer :-/
This is the first time it happened, usually even if Customs inspect the content they just don't interfere with it and use tape only for external box. I guess the cardboard appearance made them think it's just an ordinary packaging.

Stock is definitely steel - it was rusted when I got it. I think I removed most of the rust, but not sure how long it will last. Upper and lower are made of much better quality material than recent production runs. The only part that has slightly worse finish is the part near hinge, under chamber, held by screws to the top.
As you wrote - the surface is smooth, and raw metal you see under the paint (near bolt slot) has more healthy look to them than recent Sten or MadMax examples posted on forum.

Thank you for the history part, it is very interesting!
Indeed, I wondered why this model is black, while Japanese law requires gold colour for all pistols (long arms are exempted and can be black - see Shoei or CAW models). You solved that mystery :-)

Lucifer7992 published a diary of his Skorpion modifications, available here (in Japanese):
Episode 01
Episode 02
Episode 03
Episode 04
Episode 05
Episode 06 (New Cartridge part 1)
Episode 07 (New Cartridge part 2)
Episode 08
Episode 09
Episode 10
Episode 11
Episode 12
Episode 13 (The Last)
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PostSubject: Re: Hudson vz61 Skorpion, full metal   Sun May 02, 2010 11:21 pm

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