Chinese Stripper Mystery


#1

This came up on one of my gun sites.
Lots of Chinese TT pistols came out of the Vietnam War, and they were often captured with the accompanying holster and belt ammo pouch. A TT magazine will not fit the pouch, and it has been believed that they were holdovers for use with 7.63 Mauser stripper clips. Now, Chinese 7.63 strippers are very rare and I have not heard of any that came out of Vietnam. To complicate the issue more, 8 round Czech strippers seem to fit the pouches well, but 10 round Mauser strippers are a very tight fit and don’t really seem to be correct. Filling those long thin pockets with loose 7.62x25 rounds doesn’t seem like a good option, and I don’t know of any 16 round PRC packets made for the task.
So, what did PLA/VC/NVA troops put in those TT ammo pouches?


#2

Jon - I have a T-54 Pistol complete with belt, holster, shoulder strap, cleaning rod, spare magazine, double ammo pouch and another square pouch that I think may have been for a compass. It was captured in VN in 1968, and I also have the capture papers for it. The double pouch holds Mauser stripper clips perfectly. I also have a Chinese double-magazine pouch for the T-54 magazines, quite a bit bigger than the pouch you are referring too, and also a double- mag pouch for the Type 59 Magazines (Makarov) that is somewhat different than the other two in construction (snap buttons on the lid instead of studs through a hole in each lid as the closure).

I still believe the one pouch is a leftover from Mauser days they used to carry extra ammunition for the T-54. It is a silly solution to that problem, since it must be taken of the clip, loaded into the magazines, and then you have two loose rounds left, but offers a solution of what to do with brand new obsolescent material. I don’t think that China throws much away. The pounch on my set is well used, and has what looks like a .223 bullet hit (at an angle) on one lid. However, these pouches in brand new condition were all over gun shows some time back, and I have at least one like that. The Makarov pouch is fairly rare.

I have seen pictures of VC with the Czech vz 52 SMG, so it is not impossible that they had those clips, and used them too, if they fit in that pouch. However, I am pretty sure the pouches were originally made for two Mauser-type clips.

Later, if anyone cares, I will try a couple of loaded clips in my new-condition pouch, to see if they are tight when the pouches are new. I don’t recall ever putting any in it before. The one on the belt set is “loaded.”

John Moss


#3

I found I had three extra of those double pouches for stripper clips. All fit Mauser stripper clips with ten rounds of 7.62 Tok in them with no problem at all. They are about as perfect a fit as they could be. I found that two of them were marked, with one of those fairly legible markings. Oddly, at manufacture, it was marked with the usual data rectangle, stamped on the leather inside in ink, and it clear reads that it is intended for the Type 54 7.62 pistol. This really threw me. It seems like they were not a left-over surplus item at all, but actually made specifically to be issued with the 7.62 Tokarev pistol. I am sure earlier ones were made to use with Mausers, and I probably have one of those, as one of mine is darker leather, much used, and has riveted-at-the-bottom belt loops instead of sewn. I can’t see the rationale for such a pouch used with the type 54 pistol, once the theory that they were left-over items of conenience is clearly disproven. They may have started out like that, but again, at least two of my pouches were made specifically for use with the Type 54.

I learn something new every day, even from stuff I have had for years. Never bothered to try to read the markings before.

John Moss


#4

John: Using a ten round charger as a holder for cartridges eventually to be loaded into an eight-round box magazine is a bit quirky, but not necessarily a bad idea. It does serve to keep them from falling out of a pouch into the muck or jungle foliage. When you need them you can pull each off in turn and load it into the magazine. That two are left over is a small problem, but those can be put in one’s pants pocket. I recall that there were 6.35 m/m European pocket revolvers made once upon a time which had traps in the grip to hold clips of extra cartridges for just such a purpose. Jack


#5

Jack - true enough. I think you could probably have loaded loose rounds in the pouch with some success as well. The pockets are sized close enough that the cartridges couldn’t turn side to side, and each pocket has a “draw strap” like the strap in the Luger and Makarov holsters, to pull the clip (or loose rounds" up out of the pocket. Of course, with loose rounds, it would be a two-hand operation taking them out, so the all didn’t fall on the ground. I guess the big surprise to me was when I interpreted the markings on the one pouch and found it marked specifically for the Chicom T-54 7.62 mm.

Oddly, the true double magazine pounch, exactly the same construction (and probably manufacturer) as the clip pouch, doesn’t seem to be marked anywhere on it, and mine is essentially new condition, so they haven’t worn off.

John Moss


#6

John, will a TT magazine fit into your T54 pouch? Also, have you ever seen or heard of T54s being found with ammo on 10 round strippers?


#7

Jon - The T-54 Magazines will fit into my double magazine pounch for that pistol; T-59 mags will fit into the double pouch represented as being for it, and neither will fit into the pouches for the stripper clips. The Mak mags are too long and the Tok mag is simply too big all the way around. That’s why I was surprised to find the markings on my extra pouch indicating the “clip” pouch (NOT the magazine pouch, which is unmarked) was made specifically for the T-54. The only T-54 I know of captured with even one of these pouches with it is mine, and it has two clips in it, both unmarked. One of the clips actually looks Italian to me, but if supplied by China, they could be any clips made anywhere in Europe or Asia. So much of the Mauser production was sold in China that I am sure you could find just about any accessory from any country in China, which means you could find it anywhere the Chinese hase sent aid.

One of the clips is empty and one has a mixture of brass and CWS ammo on it, all arsenal 11 and all dated 64 or 65, as I recall. I think there may have been one loose round down in the bottom of the the second pocket, probably came off the bottom of the empty clip when it was taken out of the pouch. Have no idea where the other rounds went. The gun was captured in Saigon in 1968. The pouch that I believe may have been a compass pouch was empty by that time, and one of the magazines for the pistol was missing. The pistol is in excellent condition, well protected by the holster which is quite “used” as are the belt and pouches. The mag in the pistol is matching. I completed the rig with an unnumbered spare Chinese Magazine, but am quick to point out when showing the gun that it was not there when I got the rig. I don’t know what happened to it, either.


#8

I’ve often wondered if this one’s real or not.

Anyone got any ideas?

Happy collecting, Peter


#9

I hope someone will confirm, but I believe those were made for commercial sale in the 1990s.


#10

That stripper is really from China, but my remembrance is that it was made only between five and ten years ago to fill an order for clips from an American dealer.

I do not think it is old - that is, even from the VN War days. China probably made stripper clips for Mausers though, and I suspect they would probably be unmarked, since it stems from the days when most stuff like that was made in very small shops in China.

I wish I could be sure if my clips were made in China, but I am almost sure they were not. I can’t even honestly say, thinking of it, that they were with the gun in VN. I first saw my gun without any of the accessories not long after it came out of VN -probably about 1969 or 1970. I saw it again with accessories about five years after that, just to help my casual friend and customer who got it identify everything and give him an approximate value. It was at least another five years when I got the who package from him, maybe more. Needless to say, I don’t remember everything about it. The ammo was in a paper bag - eleven rounds, with my name on it, because he forgot it when I got the gun, and he left it off at the store for me. The clips may have been in the holster when I got it, or in that bag. My memory is so vague on them, I will retract my positive statement that they were with the gun in the pouch in VN, because in truth, thinking about it, I cannot really say that. He could have picked them up separately. I know he got the rounds there, because I asked him. He had taken them out before he got his Capture papers, because ammo was prohibited. He just shoved those in his kit when he came home. I don’t recall any conversation about the strippers, except I am sure I would have told him what that pouch was for, or the “common wisdom” of what it is for. The clips fit so perfectly I am sure that’s what the pouches were made for. Loose ammo, which might work, would be very awkward to get out of the pouch under field circumstances. I should have written everything down at the time I firest saw all the bits and pieces, but then, I didn’t know I was going to end up with it, and at that time, the gun was of primary interest to me. The pouches, plenty of which I had seen at gun shows by then, were of little interest to me at all.

John Moss


#11

The only stripper clips specifically made for 7,62x25 Tokarev cartridge after 1945 are the very common ones made in Czechoslovakia for the Sa24 and 26 series of machine pistols. These have two little legs at each end that engage with a very nifty little magazine loader incorporated in the right-hand side of the gun’s furniture.


The only mention made in Bolotin about a Russian stripper clip loaded pistol is for a very early (about 1929) design derived from a machine-pistol with an extended barrel and a 22 round magazine. The pistol was essentially a shortened version retaining even the aberrant looking forward facing grip. I wonder if this is the source of the 7,62x25 Tokarev stripper clip designation? I suppose it’s asking too much that one of these early clips has survived somewhere?

The Czechs sold off as surplus most of their earlier 9x19 sub-machine guns and by the end of the 1950s they were doing the same with the 7,62 chambered ones. As John said, it’s very likely that some of these would have gravitated East and into the hands of the Communist Vietnamese. I suppose a lot of the field kit, such as pouches and clips, would have followed them.

Happy collecting, Peter

PS Despite appearances both of the clips above ARE the same size in real life. I’m not sure why they’ve appeared here looking as if one is smaller.


#12

enfield56 - I want to clarify what I said regarding two statements in your posting. You mentioned that a stripper-clip pistol was made in Russia, and that you “wonder if this was the source of the 7.62 x 25 Tokarev
stripper clip designation.” I have never seen anything designating the Mauser-type clip as having anything to do with the Tokarev 7.62 x 25. It is the Chinese-made pouch that holds two of these clips that is designated
to the the Type 54 7.62 x 25 mm pistol, not the clip itself. That marking is only on some of the clip pouches. It is probably not possible that it is on all of them, as there are pictures of Chinese Soldiers in WWII wearing a similar pouch - usually several of them - carrying various C-96 Mauser pistols. The second point is that while your statement about various equipment including pouches following Czech-type 8-shot stripper clips into SE Asia is possibly correct, the pouches discussed here are absolutely of Chinese manufacture, not Czech.

You probably are well aware of both of these points, but your text sounded to me like you thought I had said the clips were designated Type 54, when it was the pouches, and that you felt the pouches came from Eastern Europe.

John Moss


#13

Going back to the stripper clip that is marked with the caliber and two Chinese Characters, the Characters say “Box Cannon” which was the Chinese nick-name for the C-96 Mauser. I knew who the dealer was, but did not want to name him without his permission. He has emailed me though, so it is o.k. The dealer was IAA Member Stephen Fuller, of Santa Clara, California. He ordered a quantity of Mauser stripper clips at a time when the supplies, mostly British made (BP) ones from our store, the San Francisco Gun Exchange, were running very low and generally, the clips were getting hard to get again. The Chinese source, a Hong Kong Gun Dealer, wanted to mark them “DWM” in an attempt to represent them as such, but Steve refused that suggestion and told him to mark them with the caliber and the pistol designation. This was in the year 2000. When they arrived, Steve was not particularly happy with the quality and did not reorder.

Regarding the clips from the Gun Exchange in San Francisco, that is its own story. We received a telegram from our Agent, Len Brown of W. Richards Ltd., in Liverpool, that Kynoch was selling all remaining stocks of their Mauser clips, and that there were “several hundred.” We told him that if the price was fair to buy all of them. He wired us back that there were a lot more than he was told, but that they could be had for US 8 cents apiece FOB England. We told him to buy them all regardless of the amount. They came packed in wood cases with the stripper clips loose in the case, 1,000 each. There were 32 cases - yes, 32,000 stripper clips. We had cornered the market on a good quality, original Mauser clip. Needless to say, we did not expect that quantity, but over the years, they turned into a great deal from both profit and “recognition” stand points. We sold them in the store first for 25 cents apiece. This was, of course, years ago, as we had not yet moved our premises from Fourth Street to Second Street in San Francisco, as I recall, which means it was before about 1971 or 1972. We gave dealers a discount, and as I recall, or best two customers for them was SARCO in New Jersey, and Martin B. Retting, in Culver City, California. At the time we shut down the store around the turn of this century, we were down to less than 1,000 of the clips, and they were going for about $2.50 apiece, as I recall. To complete the story of them, I should say that the Owner of the Gun Exchange at the time was Nathan Posner, a well known figure in the retail gun industry and a strong supporter of the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups, as well as one of the only non-makers ever admitted to the Knife Makers Guild as a “sponsor of the Art.” Later, his son and daughter, Robert and Elizabeth Posner, would take over Ownership. At the time we bought the clips, I was a clerk there, and I think we only had four people working in the store. When we closed, I was Manager and we had about 16 employees including the Posners.
I am prejudiced, of course, but I think it was a great shop, and it was a privilage to work for the Posner Family
for 36 years.

Well, I hope this was not a bore for everyone. Just thought that while I still could remember the facts, prompted by Steve’s recounting of his Chinese purchase, I could put a face to the American part of the history of that Chinese Clip and of the BP stripper clips. I dare say that most (certainly not all) of the BP clips encountered in the United States came out of our store.