Yugoslavian Tokarev: A Guide – part 1

Tokarev Pistol

I went to the SAXET gunshow in Austin at the Travis County Expo Center a while back, and picked up a Yugoslavian Tokarev (the one pictured above). I had been looking for one for a while, but had been unable to find the right one. Most of the ones I’d find locally were missing accessories (i.e. holster or cleaning rod) or only came with one mag ( a deal breaker at the time). However, I finally found the perfect one. It came with the holster, 2 magazines, and cleaning rod. The finish was a little worn (as to be expected on com-bloc pistols), but the bore and chamber were in excellent shape. I picked it up for the dealer’s list price of $250 plus tax.

 Pictured here with accessories:

I had read a lot about them on the internet, and they seemed to get better reviews than the Romanian or Polish Tokarevs. Once I had the pistol in hand, I tried to look up what information I could find on it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find much. Even going through gunmark books and websites, I really wasn’t able to determine what most of the stampings mean. I’ll post what I’ve read on the internet and in books, but there really isn’t much.

Yugoslavian M57 vs  ‘Standard’ Tokarev

There are several differences (some would even say improvements) between the Yugo M57 (Yugoslavian designation for their Tokarev) and the more ‘standard’ Tokarev designs. The ‘standard’ Tokarev designs would be like the Soviets, Romanian, Chinese, and Polish designs. There are slight variations between the ‘standard’ designs, but not as major as the ones are with the Yugo M57 pistol.

Yugo M57:

  1. 9 round magazine
  2. Factory added safety that blocks the sear (added for import)
  3. Firing pin removable through rear (1911 style)
  4. Captured recoil spring assembly

Standard Tokarev:

  1. 8 round magazine
  2. Import company added safety that blocks trigger*
  3. Firing pin removable through rear after removing roll pin
  4. 1911 style recoil spring

(*I believe the Polish Tokarev’s safety is factory added, but it still only blocks the trigger)

With the ‘standard’ Tokarevs, all the magazines are compatible. You can easily use any country in any country and you should have no problems. With the Yugo M57, the ‘standard’ Tok mags won’t fit, since the grip frame was lengthened to accommodate the 9 round magazine. When I was shopping for a Yugo Tokarev, a pistol only coming with one magazine was a deal breaker because there weren’t any spare mags, unless you happened to find an individual selling their Tokarev and listed their magazines separate. However, that has recently changed, as an importer has started to import brand new M57 magazines (link will be in the link section at the end).

No pictures of the various improvements, but I will highlight them in the dis-assembly section.

Which…

Dis-assembly

I’ll walk you through the standard field strip for the Yugo M57 pistol, then walk you through a detail strip of the pistol. Make sure to read all the way through the dis-assembly process and study the pictures before you attempt it. Remember that the Yugo M57 pistol has a magazine safety, so if your pistol is assembled and you need to lower the hammer, make sure to insert an UNLOADED magazine.

WARNING: MAKE SURE YOUR PISTOL IS UNLOADED BEFORE YOU BEGIN! I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU LOSE PARTS OR DAMAGE YOUR PISTOL!

Note on nomenclature: Left and right on the pistol is determined by looking from the rear of the pistol forward as if you were holding it in your hand ready to fire. Another way to look at it, right side of the pistol has the ejection port, the left side doesn’t. If I say “to the rear”, it means towards the hammer. If I say “to the front”, it means towards the muzzle. I don’t know all the official names for the various parts on this pistol, but will try to do my best to guess what it is actually called.

Field Strip:

Remove the magazine from the pistol (if inserted), point the pistol in a safe direction, and check to make sure the chamber is empty.

Lay the pistol on it’s left side, so you can see slide stop retaining plate:

You’ll slide it to the rear of the pistol like so:

The slide stop may fall out. In the above picture, mine would’ve if it wasn’t laying on the carpet. If it doesn’t, flip the pistol onto it’s right side and slide it up and out and set it aside:

With the slide stop out, slide the slide all the way forward off the pistol:

The hammer assembly lifts up and out of the pistol. The hammer assembly is held on to the pistol by the slide. Pretty nifty if you ask me. Picture:

Take the slide and lay it on the top so you can see the bottom of the barrel and the recoil spring assembly. To take the recoil spring assembly out, use your finger to bend the guide rod up, then slide it out. This is one of the improvements on the Yugo Tokarevs. The ‘standard’ Tokarevs have a recoil spring set up like most 1911s, the spring and rod or plug is separate. Here is the sequence in pictures:

Take the barrel bushing, rotate it 180 degrees, then slide it off the front. Again, pictures in sequence:

Push the barrel link forward, then slide it out of the front, like a 1911:

Field strip is complete!

Detail strip:

The tools you’ll need are the slide stop, the cleaning rod, and a plastic ziploc bag (optional).

We’ll start by taking off the grip panels and thumb safety first. I’ll explain it, you’ll go “huh?”, then look at the pictures, and go “ohhhhhhh I get it!” The grip panels are held in place by a rotating “T” and a rotating “I”. The T holds in the left grip panel, and the I holds in the right grip panel. You have to remove the T before you can get at the I. There is a little notch in the bottom of the T, that is where you’ll use the tip of the cleaning rod to rotate it. The bottom of the T has to rotate to the rear of the pistol. Once you get it off, you’ll see the I for the other side. The thumb safety just slides up and out. If the T in the left grip panel is hard to move, grip the top of the grip panel hard to press against the thumb safety. This should make it easier to remove. Remember, you have to remove the left panel before the right one!

Here, I took off both grip panels then put the left one back on so you can see the orientation of the left grip panel, what I meant by T, and how the tip of the cleaning rod has to fit in the notch in the bottom of the T:

Now take the thumb safety off by lifting it up and out, then use the tip of the cleaning rod on one of the circles in the I to remove the right grip panel:

Here you can see where Zastava shaved the left grip panel for the thumb safety:

Next, we are going to remove the trigger and spring. Before we go ripping them out, let’s look at their relation:

Now, to remove them, it’s as simple as pressing on the spring near where the trigger makes contact, then slide the trigger down towards the bottom of the frame. The spring should then tilt forwards (towards the mag release). Slide the spring up and out of the frame. Removing the trigger:

Trigger and spring:

When I first got my Tokarev, the trigger was heavy and pretty soft. Once I figured out how to take it all the way apart, I found the culprit. Someone had used thick grease where the trigger makes contact with the spring. I used some bore cleaner to get the thick grease off and applied a little synthetic motor oil. Voila! It was smoother and very crisp. It was coated on here:

Now that we’ve got the frame completely apart, lets start on the slide.

One of the improvements to the Yugo Toks was the addition of a 1911 style firing pin removal. There is a ‘plate’ that holds the firing pin in. You can see it here:

Like the removing the grip panels, I’ll talk you how to do it, then show you the pictures.

Read all the way through the dis-assembly and reassembly of getting the firing pin assembly out and back in before you even think about doing this! It’s a pain in the ass to get the firing pin assembly back in because of the spring pressure the firing pin is under. The only time I ever take the firing pin assembly out (other than for these pictures) is to clean it after I’ve shoot corrosive ammunition. It does get easier once you get the hang of it, I will tell you that.

To remove the firing pin, you’ll take the slide stop, use the part that goes through the frame, barrel, and is held in by the slide stop plate and push on the firing pin itself. Make sure the slip stop part (that catches in the frame) is towards the top of the slide. Pushing all the way down on the firing pin, slide the plate towards the bottom of the slide. BE CAREFUL! The firing pin is under a lot of pressure, and if your not careful, the firing pin plate could easily slip out, and the firing pin, the firing pin cup, and cup spring could easily fly out and hit you in the eye or be lost forever. Personally, I like to use a plastic ziploc bag. I put the end of the slide, slide stop in the ziploc bag, and work it out that way. The few times it’s gotten away from me, the ziploc bag catches the parts.

Position the slide stop like so:

Using a ziploc bag to get the firing pin out (I have the slide stop position wrong, position it like the above picture):

 

Slide internals removed:

Left to right – firing pin spring with firing pin, firing pin cup spring, firing pin cup:

And that’s the detail strip.

Reassembly

Do it all in reverse!

Okay, it’s not quite that easy. Well, it is, once you get the firing pin assembly back in the slide.

Before you start, lets look at how the firing pin assembly needs to go back in the slide.

There this groove in the back of the slide:

On the firing pin plate, there is this little notch:

That little notch slides into that groove. Simple right? Well, you’ll have to deal with the compressed the firing pin spring assembly. I’ll show you a little trick. I always use a ziploc bag for this next bit, because I don’t to risk losing a part.

Slide the firing pin assembly into the channel like so:

Then, holding the plate like this:

Slide it on top of the firing pin assembly and compress it all the way down. This picture is from a bad angle, because the top of the firing pin plate needs to be contacting the slide:

Once you get it all the way compressed, use the slide stop to put pressure on the firing pin assembly by sliding it in the hole of the firing pin plate. The firing pin plate should then slide into the slide.

Don’t be discouraged if it takes you several tries to get it in. Once you get the hang of it, it gets easier and easier. As I said earlier, I always use a ziploc bag in case some thing gets away from me.

 

Stay tuned for part 2, covering the features of the Tokarev family, features specific to the Yugo M57, determining the rough date of your Yugo M57, and more! 

 

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15 Responses to “Yugoslavian Tokarev: A Guide – part 1”

  1. wow you really can see the browning influence, especially in the trigger. nice write-up.

  2. Nice write-up!

  3. Greetings from Falls County,
    Good post and excellent detail. I’m looking forward to the next part.

  4. Leonard Elbon Says:

    Kudo’s on a Great write up. I received my M57 today and that baggie trick sure did save me from loosing those firing pin parts. Thank you very much.

  5. Excellent! I used to have a late 50′s Tula T-33 “TriCaliber” which came with three barrels and bushings, and three magazines and two slide springs: 7.62x25mm, 9x19mm, and .38 Super Auto. (The 7.62 and .38 used the same spring)
    I bought it NIB at a Colorado gun show back in the 80′s. I must have fired a couple thousand rounds of each kind of ammo through it over the years, and only the 9mm ever jammed on me, and then only with a couple brands of SJHP ammo (It would NOT feed Black Talon for some reason).
    A couple of years ago, someone offered me $800 plus a 70 series Commander in .38SA for the complete set, and I sold it. Now I regret that. I have only ever seen one other 3-caliber Tokarev like that one, and it was Yugoslavian made.

  6. Very interesting and very helpful. So where’s Part 2?

  7. Very cool! Thanks for such a detailed review. I’ve been toying with the idea of picking up a Russian PPS-43, so a pistol chambered in the same caliber would be nice. If I pick one up maybe we’ll have to meet up and have a 7.62×25 day at the range.

  8. Very nice write up. Now I know how to remove the grips! I read somewhere that people load .224 cal bullets in 7.62 x 25 cases using sabots. Anyone tried?

  9. John Venezia Says:

    great write, up very through, excellent waiting for part 2

  10. Hi ! I happened upon this tutorial by accident , and it just so happens that I was trying to decide between a Yugo M57 and the Polish version of this pistol. Your tutorial has helped me make up my mind to buy this one. Where is “part 2″ btw?

  11. Is there a way to lighten the trigger pull after it has been cleaned of cosmo and the trigger is still hard to pull

  12. Outstanding how-to guide! Thank you for taking time to share.

  13. Jim Williams Says:

    My 57 has a glitch. It worked fine for a while, but now, for some reason, I can’t get the magazine to load–it stops about half way up the grip.

  14. Jim Williams Says:

    Would really like to see Part 2.

  15. Sorry for the almost 2 year delay, but I need to find my notes and put up part 2!

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