• WTB / WTS / WTT ADS
    All Advertisements, including Want to Buy, Want to Sell, Want to Trade, Belong in the MARKETPLACE ONLY. Any new threads posted offering an item for sale, looking to trade or buy an item which are posted outside of Marketplace will be deleted without notice or warning. Existing threads will be moved to marketplace.
  • Marketplace Feedback Ratings
    The Marketplace feedback ratings system is now back. You can now leave feedback for your Buy / Sell / Trade transactions. Instructions on how to leave feedback ratings can be found HERE

Finally Picked Up a Polish PM63-C

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
It's one of the new Pioneer Arms imports.



After a years long hiatus because the early ones had serious issues, Pioneer is now importing what they are unofficially calling the Gen 2 version. Where the early ones were parked, the new ones are blued just as the original PM-63 was. There is very little information about this new version out there so I plan on doing a detailed write-up about it soon. I bought this as a collectible so I don't plan on shooting it. That means I won't be able to tell you about accuracy, reliability or durability, but what I will provide is an in-depth look at the one pictured above compared to the original parts kit also shown above. While the parts kit is just that, a cut up machine pistol, it's complete so I can show you what's been done to remanufacture the Pioneer Arms offering as a legal semi-auto. As always, we'll disassemble the thing and get up close and personal with it, describing what does what, what I like, what concerns me, and my overall thoughts. I've been chasing after this "pistol" for almost ten years now so I'm eager to get into it. I think it's going to be fun and I hope you'll join me!
 

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
Time to get going on this. Tonight we'll take a brief look at what's in the box when you pick your pistol up from your FFL and then move on to the finish. But first, a little background about this product is in order.

I'm not going to focus on the History behind the PM-63 machine pistol; that's amply covered on the internet. Instead, we're interested in the history of this semi-auto only version which Pioneer Arms interchangeably calls the "PM63-C" or "PM-63C". I'm not privy to all the details but what I do know is that Pioneer started advertising these about 10 years ago. No, that's not a typo.....that's a decade. Stories of them "coming soon" came and went for 6 years until, about 5 years ago, Centerfire advertised them at $1399 but they never got any in. Fast forward another year and a very few showed up out of the blue at Classic Firearms, with an advertised price of $799 and they sold out immediately. But would be buyers were almost immediately disappointed when they got an email from Classic saying they had screwed up on the advertising and the actual price was $1299. Yeahhhhhhhhh.........oooooookay.

Well, I missed the boat but I quickly discovered that was a blessing in disguise. First off, the pistol had a rough parkerised finish instead of the nice Polish bluing they originally had. Second, it seems many people had problems with reliability and durability. The pistols often wouldn't go into battery without tapping the back of the slide, parts, especially the hammer, were not properly hardened and deformed, field stripping was so hard you almost had to beat it apart with a hammer, and probably other things I've not heard about. No, thank you.

Then, a second small batch showed up some time later that I didn't even hear about until recently. Those had a blued finish and were supposed to have had the bugs worked out. I don't know exactly when they were imported nor do I know the cost. However, one person has stated in this post on another forum that theirs works fine and they are happy with it.

Finally, in late April of this year, an FFL posted on a forum I frequent that he had just gotten 22 in an "early release" of pistols in a deal he worked out with Pioneer Arms and that Classic Firearms would have some within a week. Better still, he posted some pictures. I figured I'd take a roll of the dice and checked Classic every morning. Sure enough, about a week later, there they were, early in the morning at $899. I jumped on it and managed to snag one. They were sold out within about 15-20 minutes. Since then, they have come and gone and come and gone again. As of this typing, both Classic Firearms and Atlantic Firearms sell them. Stock seems to be hit or miss but more hit than miss. I have a hunch this will be another one of those firearms that is available for a short while before disappearing forever. If you're going to get one, now is the time and that's why I'm writing this, so that you, the reader, can decide if you want one or not before they are no more.

There's one last thing I want to say before we get into the pictures. Personally, I bought this as a collectible, nothing more. I collect military firearms and I especially love Combloc jobbers. While I may take it to the range at some point, I'll be just as happy if I never do. What I do know is that someone on another forum whom I trust has bought one and he says he's close to 1000 rounds now with no issues other than "one finicky mag" and he's posted pictures to prove that, at least, the semi-auto parts are not deforming. Pioneer is unofficially calling these newest examples "Gen2" with changes to both the fire control group and frame, although they do not specify what those changes are. So, as I type this, I'm cautiously optimistic that they've worked out the bugs and I'm proceeding from the standpoint of assuming the parts durability and reliability problems have been corrected. Maybe I'm naive, I don't know.

Let's begin.


When your new buddy arrives, it'll most likely be in a cardboard box just like mine:





When you open it, you'll probably wonder why they used such a large box. It just seems inefficient to me:


This is the scene once you're unpacked:

At the top left, we have a Pioneer Arms sticker with the owner's manual below. Moving right, we have a four piece cleaning kit, a 15 round magazine, a chamber flag, and a 25 round magazine. I'll let you figure out where the firearm is in the photo.

We're not going to go over every page in the manual but I do want to look at a few.
First it the cover page:

They make it clear you're not supposed to use reloaded ammo. Does anyone even reload 9mm Makarov??

Inside is a little about the History of the PM-63 and some technical specifications:


I got a chuckle when I noticed that the disassembled view shows the select fire version:

The giveaway is the sear catch hanging down from the front of the slide. That's removed on the semi-auto version.

Most of the rest of the manual, explains that you'll shoot your eye out if you're not careful, you'll get lead poisoning if you eat the ammo, disassembly, reassembly, corrective action in the event of a stoppage, more don't shoot your eye out stuff, storage, yada, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The only two exploded drawings supplied cover the semi-auto conversion parts.
The first one shows the parts in the frame:


And the second, the parts in the slide:



The cleaning kit:

Starting from the left, we have a bore/chamber brush which looks like a little tree in fall, a cleaning jag, a multitool, plastic screw top for oil bottle, and finally, the empty plastic oil bottle.
Surprisingly, the brush and jag will not screw onto the cleaning rod of my 1983 Polish AKM; it's a different thread pitch.

In addition to serving as a cleaning rod with a folding "T" handle, the tip of the rod acts as a pin punch:


One end of the handle is a screwdriver:


The other end has several tools built into it but I've only figured out one of them (another form of screwdriver):

I've been trying to find a vintage Polish military PM-63 manual. If I could scare one up, I'm certain all would be revealed.

I discovered something really neato. If you disassemble a magazine and remove the follower, you can pair the follower up with the brush and make a miniature house with adjacent tree. If you look carefully, you can see that the house even has windows and a little chimney:






Were you to get a bunch of magazine followers and brushes, you could build a tiny village underneath your tree at Christmas. Neato!!
 
Last edited:

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
In this post, we're only going to look at the outside of the pistol. Lots of people, myself included were very disappointed when the first batch came in with the rough parkerized finish. It was originally blued, it looks better blued, we want it blued! Well, now it is. BUT, my worry was that they'd muck it up and polish a bunch of the edges and details off. Fortunately, that worry was unfounded as these pictures will show.

If you look along the slide in this first picture, you'll notice it has a high gloss, deep black finish:

No, it's not pre-war Walther PPK Quality but it's pretty darn nice. Later, once we have this thing disassembled, we'll compare this bluing to a slide still sporting the original finish. Although a different color, they compare favorably. We'll break out a 99% condition P64 pistol for comparison purposes too.


I'm happy to report that they didn't polish any of the edges or details off either. I don't know what method they used to reblue but whatever they did, it looks great. Check out how crisp the antiglare strip is on top of the slide:




And the shark fin front sight is as sharp as it ever was:


The grasping grooves are still sharp too:


Everywhere on the slide, the bluing is rich and the edges crisp. They've really preserved the Craftsmanship these older Polish military firearms were known for. I can find absolutely nothing to complain about with regards to finish.
Rear of the slide:


Bottom of trigger guard:


Bottom of compensator/fingerguard and recoil spring socket:


Top of compensator/finger guard:


Stock latch:

We'll talk about the inoperable stock later.

Tack weld rendering stock inoperable:

We'll discuss that later too.

Butt plate folded into rear of frame:
 

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
This last post for tonight will look at most of the exterior markings.


The "2023" appears to be laser etched but I'm no expert. I'll just say it's uniform and very shallow. When you rub your thumb across it, you can feel it but very little. This batch is the first I've seen marked with a year.

The importer mark at the top rear of the slide feels about the same as the year mark:

The logo behind it is so finely applied that i can't feel it save for a slight drag when I rub my finger across it. It's a modified version of the logo used by Interarms, also based in Radom. I looked up their website:
The PM-63C appears to be a joint venture between Interarms and Pioneer. It's only a guess but I suspect that Interarms manufacturing the new part of the frame (more on that later) and the semi-auto parts while Pioneer is taking care of metal finish and final assembly. Again, that's only a guess. Whatever the case, it's clear this pistol is a joint venture between the two.

The manufacturer's mark on the right side of the slide feels about the same as the importer mark and the year mark:



On the right rear of the slide is the original Circle 11 mark, year of manufacture, and original serial number. Pioneer added a "P" prefix to create a new serial number for legal purposes. As with the rest of the slide, the stamps seem to be as crisp as they were in 1974:

I've already been asked several times if this is considered a 49 year old firearm and if those dated 1973 and before are C&R. Nope. These are considered newly manufactured firearms even though the vast majority of the parts were made decades ago.


Next, we'll look at some of the original inspection marks placed there when this was originally manufactured during the height of the Cold War. To do that, we'll bring in an old parts kit for comparison.
First up are some marks on the right side of the frame behind the pistol grip. These are from the new pistol:

Now, these examples have been mostly obliterated during remanufacture. I've seen some where they are more intact but not on this one. You can faintly see a couple partial diamond marks that are so common on Polish firearms of this era.

For comparison, here is the same area on the parts kit:

Partial stamps like this are VERY common on Warsaw Pact equipment. These look A-OK to Ivanski.

Most of this stamp was erased when Pioneer refinished the trigger but there is no question this is original.


The same area from the parts kit:

There is also another stamp on the other side of the parts kit trigger that has been erased completely on the PM-63C. Further scrutiny of the above pictures will reveal that, where a solid pin was used and peened in place at the bottom of the parts kit trigger, Pioneer has opted to use a cheaper roll pin. If I were running the show, that'd still be a solid pin.

Another inspection stamp seen at the front of the recoil spring socket on the PM63-C:


Similarly, we find a partial stamp in the same area on the parts kit slide:

Although we'll note other stamps here and there, we aren't going to cover every single little stamp as we go. Warsaw Pact equipment is generally replete with inspection stamps and this example is no exception. I only point these out to illustrate that the PM-63C has not been so reworked that it's been "sanitized" of stamps. We Combloc collectors like to inspect and ponder all the little marks and this offering still has PLENTY of them to discover.


The last two pictures for tonight are the left and right sides of the pistol grip. Remanufactured or not, ultimately these are surplus firearms and the furniture is no exception. So, while the furniture it came with is pretty nice for being so old and used, it still has its fair share of scratches. This is compounded by the fact that it's neither Bakelite nor hard plastic but rather a soft, almost rubbery plastic. It feels just like that used on a Mauser manufactured P38 I have that was made right at the end of the war when plastic as we know it was just coming into use. It scratches and dents fairly easily so it's going to show wear if you use it. Anywho, I managed to find and install a NOS grip so it's going to look better than what you are most likely going to get on your pistol. DON'T EXPECT yours to look new. So, here are the left and right sides of the grip it came with compared to the NOS grip that I've since installed:





That's it for the moment. I can't work on this every evening because I have lots of balls in the air at the moment. BUT, I will continue to work on it on a regular basis and it will get done. I have a lot to cover. We're going to look at the innards, compare it to an original, look at what you can expect when you buy accessories, compare it to some other PDW's size wise and discuss anything else that crosses my mind. So, check back from time to time. You might find something that interests you.
 

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
Before we start looking at components, we need to disassemble the thing. There are some videos online but they involve early import examples which were problematic to say the least. One guy I watched said it took him "30-40 pounds of pressure" to push the slide forward during disassembly. Another guy said it took him "over an hour" to get his apart. Consequently, they don't show how to properly field strip the pistol very well (or at all). Well, as I said earlier, these new pistols are the "Gen 2" version and those problems have apparently been corrected. I'm happy to report that mine comes apart very easily and I'll now walk you through it step by step.

The PM-63C has a typical European heel release magazine and we start by removing it from the pistol. Disassembly is impossible otherwise:


Next, we need to take a look at the left side of the pistol. Left of frame is forward:

The safety is the little lever behind the pistol grip. Currently, it's pointing down and is in the "OFF" position as indicated by the visible red dot. Above and just ahead of the safety lever is a vertical line on the frame. We're going to need that line in just a moment. There are also two vertical marks on the slide just below and forward of "2023". We're going to need those in a moment too.

Okiedokie. Make sure the safety is in the "OFF" position. Pull the slide to the rear until the mark on the frame is between the two marks on the slide and hold it there:


While keeping the marks lined up, rotate the safety lever to the rear and up into the "ON" position. This will lock the slide in place:

NOTE : You may have to move the slide forward or back a hair while rotating the safety lever but rest assured, the lever will rotate into the "ON" position with the mark on the frame somewhere between the two marks on the slide. Once you've done it once or twice, you'll get the feel for it lickety-split.

Now, we move to the front of the pistol. With the slide now locked partially to the rear, we can see the exposed barrel:

You will notice a long longitudinal notch at the 12 o'clock position. This is telling us the barrel is locked to the frame. All the other short notches are there so that you can grip the barrel with your finger tips.

Turn the barrel clockwise about 90° until it stops. It will now be at about the 3 o'clock position:

The barrel is now unlocked from the frame.

Moving back to the safety lever, hold the slide in place and rotate the safety back down to the "OFF" position:

The slide is now free to move again.

Ease it forward until it stops. It will be at this position:

There is still some slight spring tension but the slide has stopped because it has encountered the internal hammer.

While grasping the pistol grip with both hands, reach up with a thumb and push on the rear of the slide until pops forward and over the hammer. It won't take much pressure, maybe 7-10 pounds. Continue moving the slide forward until the front guide rails on the slide just clear the corresponding guide rails at the front of the frame, no more. The slide will be in this position when that point is reached:


Here's a closeup of the left front guide rail in the proper position:


Now, tip the slide down and pull it away from the frame. You can either remove the drive spring with the slide or leave it in place in the frame, it matters not:




Set the frame and drive spring with its guide rod aside; we're finished with those.

Place the slide and barrel assembly in front of you bottom up:


Now we need to remove the barrel. Notice that the barrel is rotated in the slide such that the five lugs which lock it to the frame prevent it from moving forward or back:


While holding the slide with one hand grasp the muzzle of the barrel with your other hand and turn the barrel approximately 90° until the locking lugs on the barrel point upwards:

The barrel is now unlocked from the slide.

Move the barrel forward until the rearmost locking lug just clears the bearing surface machined inside the slide:


Turn the slide on its side and tilt the rear of the barrel down:


Pull it to the rear and away from the slide:



The pistol is now field stripped for inspection and cleaning:



DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT pull the trigger while the pistol is disassembled and let the hammer fly forward so that it bangs into stuff (we'll cover what that stuff actually is later). Just like an AR15, the hammer is intended to strike the firing pin and only the firing pin. Letting it fly into anything else is GOING TO BREAK SOMETHING sooner rather than later. You can lower the hammer gently but there really is no need to ever do this except for an occasional cleaning underneath it when it gets gunky in there from shooting. Don't abuse your little buddy.


DO NOT ATTEMPT REASSEMBLY UNTIL YOU READ THE NEXT POST!!!
.
 
Last edited:

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
Reassembly is the exact opposite of disassembly. However, there are a couple things to take note of or you're going to get frustrated. Go slow and deliberately and you'll be fine and dandy.

First, when you're installing the slide on the frame, you're going to get to this point where the rear of the slide encounters the hammer.........STOP AT THIS POINT AND THINK:



If you just keep pushing the slide to the rear, the hammer is going to lift the rear of the slide so high that the rear guide rails on the slide, instead or engaging the rear guide rails on the frame, will ride OVER them in instead. Meanwhile the front guide rails on the slide and frame are already engaged. At this point, you've got everything all bound up and it all comes to a screeching halt. It looks like this:

if you go gorilla and just keep pushing it's just going to bind up tighter. Eventually, something IS going to give, probably the front guide rails on the frame. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.

Here's how you prevent it. Again, the rear of the slide has just encountered the hammer. STOP PUSHING!:


At this point, wrap one hand around the rear of the slide and frame and firmly squeeze. Once you have a good squeeze going on, use your other hand to continue pushing the slide to the rear and over the hammer:


Once you've cleared the hammer, you can relax your squeeze and you're home free. Here, we see the slide pushed far enough to the rear that the hammer has been pressed down and the rear guide rails are engaged:

Continue with reassembly to completion.


As with any firearm, it's probably not a good idea to store it with the hammer in the cocked position. Now, if this were an all military grade firearm, I'd say you're fine do dry fire it. But, this is NOT an all military grade firearm and you need to treat it as such. DON'T DRY FIRE IT. Instead, decock it. Let me show you how.

DECOCKING THE PM-63C MUST ONLY BE DONE WITH THE PISTOL UNLOADED. THERE CAN BE NO ROUND IN THE CHAMBER. DECOCKING WITH A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER IS ASKING TO DIE!!!

Is that clear enough?

OK, you've just finished putting you pistol back together and you are going to put it away. The chamber is empty and you don't want to store it cocked. Pull the slide to the rear until the disassembly mark on the frame approximately lines up with the rear of the bulge in the slide as shown here:

While holding the slide in this position, pull the trigger and gently ease the slide forward. Your pistol should now be decocked. You might have to try it a few times until you find the sweet spot but you will.


Now that we've covered how to properly disassemble the PM-63, we can get to the really fun part and start perusing all the bits! We'll start with that in the next post
 
Last edited:

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
Tonight we'll start looking at components now that it's apart.

First up is the barrel:

Chrome lined, it's chambered in 9x18mm Makarov and measures just a hair under 5 15/16ths inches from breech face to muzzle.

The number you see at about the midpoint was applied by Pioneer:

If I understand EU law correctly, every major component is required to have a unique identifying number. Why they chose to use a number other than the pistol's serial number is a mystery to me but that's the direction they went. My assumption is that this is the 35th barrel they "converted" in 2023.

When I say "converted", I mean that Pioneer took original, communist era barrels and removed the original serial number before rebluing them and applying the new number. Here, we see the reworked barrel that came with my pistol compared to one I bought elsewhere still showing its original serial number:

You can clearly see where the original number was ground off. Interestingly, even the original barrel appears to have been refinished at some point in the past by applying the classic Warsaw Pact black paint over the original bluing. I'd like to point out here that barrels are not necessarily interchangeable from pistol to pistol and are probably hand fitted. The barrel with the original serial number will fit into neither the Pioneer slide nor the parts kit slide. However, the Pioneer marked barrel fits into both. But the painted barrel is serial numbered so it clearly fit into the slide of PM-63 serial nr. AM00924.

The left rear of each barrel is where you'll find all inspection marks:

Also clearly visible are the five Browning style lugs that lock the barrel to the frame when the pistol is assembled. As should be obvious by now, the PM-63 is a blowback design.

Breech end:

That's not bluing wear you're seeing but rather chrome plating. The extractor notch is visible as is a little projection that fits into a cutout on the slide when the action is closed. I've seen this before on other pistols but I'm unsure of its purpose. Maybe it enhances reliability? Maybe is serves a safety function as it would stop the slide from closing unless the barrel is properly rotated into the fully locked to the frame position? I simply don't know but I'm sure one of you folks does so PLEASE enlighten me. I'd appreciate it.

The muzzle end showing more traces of the chrome plating:


Even though Pioneer is reusing original barrels, the rifling is as new:

I actually prefer an original barrel as it's probably better made than a new one would be.
 

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
Magazines were produced in both 15 round and 25 round capacities and were generally serial numbered to the weapon with an electro pencil. Each original PM-63 appears to have been issued with one 15rd and three 25 rd magazines. Pioneer includes one of each variety but didn't bother to reserialize them so the ones you get will have random numbers. Both that came with mine were in excellent used condition. I also bought a few extra 25 round jobbers and the parts kit I bought came with one 15 rounder.

Here is an assortment of 25 round magazines:

I've placed these in order of finish condition with the best on the left and the worst on the right. All appear to be perfectly functional but you are buying decades old surplus so you have to understand that you're most likely NOT going to get unissued stuff. Having said that, the one on the extreme left has no serial number and appears NOS so that means there ARE still unissued examples out there but they are probably scarce. The next one in is the one that came with my pistol. The only one that showed any corrosion at all it the one on the extreme right and it's minimal freckling:



Earlier I said the magazines were "generally serial numbered to the weapon" but as always, there are going to be exceptions. One of the magazines I bought has clearly seen a fair amount of use yet has no serial number. Others show evidence of an earlier number being blued over and a new one applied. All I've seen have the number applied on the right front side but....well, I'm sure there are exceptions to this as well.

This picture shows you what I'm talking about:

The NOS is on the left. Next is "08612" but you can see an old number underneath ending in a "9". The one on the right is faintly marked "103290" and doesn't appear to have ever been renumbered.

Another on numbered "7938" but you can still see the stylus marks in front of the "7" from an old number which has been blued over:

The point here is that you're going to see the gamut on these things. Numbered, not numbered, renumbered, new, worn, a little rusty, you're going to see it all. BUT they are cheap at the moment. Buy a bunch and you're covered.

I currently have two 15rd magazines. The one that came with the pistol is on the right:


Notice that these have a little tab sticking out the front that's missing on the 25rd jobbers. This is to assist in removal as the 15 round examples fit almost flush with the bottom of the grip:

If you look closely, you'll see that the front of the pistol grip has a scallop machined into it so your finger can get a better purchase on the tab. Tab or no tab, all come out very easily. If they were any more loose, they would rattle.

The base plate on the magazine that came with the parts kit has seen better days but I'm sure it'll be an easy thing to straighten it out:



The vast majority of magazines you'll find are going to have the later style floor plate with the almost ubiquitous hole in the center that's locked in place by an inner plate with a protruding boss. But occasionally, you may run across a magazine with the earlier style floor plate which has a sprung finger that you have to pry up to remove:

Notice the serial number on the earlier style. Perhaps earlier magazines were only numbered on the floor plate? Or maybe they were numbered in addition to the body? I don't know. What I do know is that this one does not match the serial number on the magazine body so they didn't leave the factory together. I've not seen a later style floor plate with a serial number.

The only inspection marks I've found on magazines are at the lower front and they vary from magazine to magazine. Sometime though, you'll see the same mark on different magazines. This leads me to believe that you could trace a stamp back to an individual inspector. In other words, not only could you tell that the required inspection was made, but you could tell exactly which person did the inspection. Here are a few:




All seem to have a "KT/number" stamp at a minimum but others have additional stamps. Perhaps random magazines underwent additional inspections. We'll probably never know but it's fun to ponder these things. Someone else out there as weirdo as I am is probably already researching the topic.
 

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
A disassembled magazine:

Getting it apart should be pretty obvious so I'm not going into that.

The follower is the craziest I've ever seen. To me, it looks like a miniature ultramodern house complete with a chimney:


The little window to the right of the chimney is where the bathroom would be.

In reality, the "chimney" is the bit that actuates the slide stop and it protrudes from a slot at the rear left top of the magazine:

We'll discuss the slide stop and how it works when we look at the frame.

Here's the same area pictured above but we've removed the follower so the slot is more obvious:

Notice also that the rear of the left feed lip has a little flat protrusion sticking up. That's the empty casing ejector. When we look at the frame, you'll see it's pretty tight in there and what with the safety/disassembly mechanism and the slide stop, space was at a real premium. So, they moved the ejector to the magazine. For this reason, you may find that your PM-63C is going to be magazine sensitive.

The floorplate:

This fits only one way and will not lock in place if installed backwards. The more pronounced and rounded protrusion at the right of frame faces to the front when installed.


And that's it for tonight.
 

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
Tonight, we're going to look at the forward grip. We'll discuss what comes on the PM-63C, how it's been modified to be legal for importation, how it originally worked, how it's built, and whether or not it can be made to work again.

We'll start with a comparison picture between the parts kit and the pistol:

At bottom is the PM-63C. It's semi-automatic only and has been "permanently" altered to be a pistol. It can only legally be fired as shown; it's just a pistol. At top is the cut up parts kit of what was once a select fire PM-63 machine pistol with it's stock extended and the front grip deployed. Prior to destruction, it could be fired in both semi-auto and full-auto in either configuration shown. Of course, it also could have been used with the stock extended and the front grip folded or vice versa, thus giving you a total of four options in use. We'll look at the stock later. Right now, we're just looking at the front grip.

The first thing we need to do is remove it from the frame. Whether we're looking at the Pioneer pistol or a fully functional PM-63, removal is the same.

It's held on by two screws. The first screw is underneath. On the PM-63C, that screw is a phillips head that passes through both the locked in the horizontal position folding grip and the grip base before terminating in the frame. To remove it, turn it counterclockwise until it falls out:


On the machine pistol, it's in the same location but it's much shorter and is hidden under the folding front grip. First, press the button at the front of the grip base and rotate the grip downward until it locks:


Now we see a slotted screw that passe through the grip base only and terminates in the frame:

Remove it by unscrewing counterclockwise.

Here are both lower screws after removal with the Pioneer screw on the left:

Both are the same diameter and thread pitch.

The second screw is at the rear of the base on both models:

The screw itself is a simple slotted affair but, as you can see, the nut requires a special type of screwdriver. Fortunately, one was included with the pistol; it's at one end of the "T" handle on the cleaning rod:


It fits perfectly in the nut:

Remove by turning counterclockwise.

Screw, nut, and lock washer after removal:

Note the position of the lock washer for reinstallation and be careful not to lose it as it's pretty small.

Once both screws have been removed, the front grip assembly is ready for removal. If the stock is extended, you simply pull it downward and away from the frame. If the stock is stowed, the grip assembly must be first be slid forward until the steel lugs at the front of the base are clear of the stock arms as shown below:

After you've slid it forward, it simply pulls down and away from the frame.

A detail shot showing one of the steel lugs on the grip base clear of the corresponding cutout on one of the stock arms. The other side is identical:

It's a sort of French cleat arrangement that keeps the stock arms from flopping around when the stock is stowed.

Once thee grip assembly has been removed, take a look at the bottom of the frame where it was mounted:

The parts kit is at top. We can see where the front of the frame was torch cut and there appears to be a rectangular bar of some sort laying across the bottom of the frame. This is the sear. When you pull the trigger this part moves and releases the slide so that it can run forward under power of the drive spring, firing the shot. We'll look at it closer when we examine the frame. Notice that the sear has been entirely eliminated from the PM-63C. That's because it's now fired via an internal hammer.
In the same position on both examples, we see the screw hole for mounting the front grip assembly. On the original machine pistol, this hole is machined in steel because the entire frame is steel. On the PM-63C, the frame is a mixture of an original steel core mated to a newly manufactured aluminum component and this hole is machined in that aluminum component. It's also machined a little sloppily in the clearance department, meaning either screw (new, long Pioneer or original short) will wobble a little when screwed into the hole. Because there is a second screw holding the grip assembly in place at its rear, it's not a big deal when everything is assembled; the grip assembly doesn't move around. However, be VERY careful not to overtighten this screw on the Pioneer pistol when reassembling because I have a pretty good hunch it'll be easy to strip this hole out. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that it's in aluminum, making it even easier to strip. Pioneer could have done better here. They should have placed a steel insert into the aluminum and more precisely threaded it.


Alrighty both front grip assemblies are off, now what?

We'll continue in the next post and I'll tell you now, the Pioneer grip can be made to work again as long as you do it legally.
 
Last edited:

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
UNLESS YOU WANT TO LAND YOURSELF IN ALL KINDS OF TROUBLE WITH OUR ETERNAL FRIENDS, THE ATF, READ THIS ENTIRE POST BEFORE MESSING WITH YOUR FRONT GRIP ASSEMBLY AND FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, DON'T INSTALL ONE ON YOUR PM63-C WHICH HAS A DEPLOYABLE FRONT GRIP BEFORE READING THE ENTIRE POST.

REPEAT, UNLESS YOU WANT TO LAND YOURSELF IN ALL KINDS OF TROUBLE WITH OUR ETERNAL FRIENDS, THE ATF, READ THIS ENTIRE POST BEFORE MESSING WITH YOUR FRONT GRIP ASSEMBLY AND FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, DON'T INSTALL ONE ON YOUR PM63-C WHICH HAS A DEPLOYABLE FRONT GRIP BEFORE READING THE ENTIRE POST.


Annnnnnnd, we're back. We left off with the front grip assemblies removed. Now, we're going to disassemble them, see whether or not the one that came with the Pioneer pistol can be made to work again, and just talk about the parts are built in general. We'll start with the unmolested one that came with the parts kit:



The front grip assembly is comprised of five parts. They are the base, the grip, the locking bar, the locking bar spring, and the locking bar nut. To start disassembly, we again break out the specialized screwdriver on the end of the cleaning rod "T" handle:


Turn the nut counterclockwise to remove it. If it's a little tight, you can position the cleaning rod at a 90° angle to the "T" handle and use it for leverage. Just be careful the screwdriver doesn't slip out of the nut and bung it up:



Then the locking bar spring will just lift out:


Next, press the threaded end of the locking bar with your thumb and it will just fall out the right side of the front grip base:


To finish disassembly, the front grip simply pulls away from the base:

The whole mechanism is a dead simple push button design. If it's not already obvious to you how it works, it'll sink in when we look at the individual parts.


Now, can we disassemble the front grip assembly on the Pioneer pistol and, more importantly, make it functional again? Regardless of what you might have read or heard elsewhere, the answer is yes, we can.
As before, we start with the assembly removed from the pistol:

If you push on the button (locking bar nut), nothing happens. It won't budge.

Break out your trusty screwdriver again:


And remove the nut as on the unmolested grip assembly:


This time, you won't find a spring inside but rater, a steel sleeve. You may have to shake it out of the grip base but it's in there and it'll come out:

This sleeve is why you can't press the button. On the other grip, when you press the button (which is screwed to the locking bar and thus rigidly affixed to it), you compress the spring and push the locking bar out of engagement with the grip, allowing it to rotate down. With this sleeve replacing the spring, you can't disengage the locking bar from the grip so you can't unfold it.

As with the other grip assembly, the locking bar will now easily press out of the base:


And finally, the grip will pull away from the base, completing disassembly:



Now, using the steel sleeve, you can reassemble the Pioneer grip to the base in the deployed position. Of course, it'll be locked in this position because you can't press the button. Alternately, you can replace the steel sleeve with the spring out of the other unit and enable the push button again. Or, if you don't have an unmolested grip assembly to rob parts from, you can always head to your local hardware store and buy a spring that properly fits into the hole in the grip base. It should be just a tiny bit smaller than the diameter of the hole in the base and it should extend just a bit past the opening when at rest. Use the picture above for reference. If the diameter of the spring is too small, it won't catch on the internal shoulder and be pointless. In that case, the locking bar would have no tension on it and it would just slide back and forth in the base. If the spring diameter is too large, well, it obviously won't fit into the base. If it's too long or too short it won't work either. When you're looking for your spring at the store, just be thinking about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It doesn't have to be a super strong spring either. It only takes about 7 or 8 pounds of pressure to fully compress the original spring.
Anyway, when you're done, you'll have a functional front grip:


It'll have an unsightly hole in the grip but beggars can't be choosers pal:



NOW..........READ THIS NEXT PART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS PART IS IMPORTANT. YOU CANNOT, REPEAT CANNOT, INSTALL THE FOREGRIP ASSEMBLY IN EITHER THE LOCKED OPEN POSITION OR WITH AN OPERATING PUSH BUTTON ON YOUR PIONEER PM-63C UNLESS YOU HAVE FIRST REGISTERED YOUR FIREARM WITH THE ATF AS AN NFA ITEM. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, TALK TO AN FFL YOU TRUST, PREFERABLY ONE WHO IS LICENSED BY THE ATF IN THE SALES AND/OR MANUFACTURE OF NFA ITEMS. IF YOU INSTALL THE GRIP ON YOUR PIONEER PM63-C IN EITHER THE LOCKED OPEN POSITION OR WITH AN OPERATING PUSH BUTTON WITHOUT FIRST REGISTERING IT WITH THE ATF AS AN NFA ITEM, YOU ARE COMMITING A FELONY WHICH, AT A MINIMUM, WILL BAR YOU FROM EVER OWNING A FIREARM FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. AT A MAXIMUM, IT WILL ALSO LAND YOU IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR UP TO TEN (10) YEARS WITH A SIZEABLE MONETARY FINE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


IN CASE YOU DIDN'T CATCH IT THE FIRST TIME....

YOU CANNOT, REPEAT CANNOT, INSTALL THE FOREGRIP ASSEMBLY IN EITHER THE LOCKED OPEN POSITION OR WITH AN OPERATING PUSH BUTTON ON YOUR PIONEER PM-63C UNLESS YOU HAVE FIRST REGISTERED YOUR FIREARM WITH THE ATF AS AN NFA ITEM. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, TALK TO AN FFL YOU TRUST, PREFERABLY ONE WHO IS LICENSED BY THE ATF IN THE SALES AND/OR MANUFACTURE OF NFA ITEMS. IF YOU INSTALL THE GRIP ON YOUR PIONEER PM63-C IN EITHER THE LOCKED OPEN POSITION OR WITH AN OPERATING PUSH BUTTON WITHOUT FIRST REGISTERING IT WITH THE ATF AS AN NFA ITEM, YOU ARE COMMITING A FELONY WHICH, AT A MINIMUM, WILL BAR YOU FROM EVER OWNING A FIREARM FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. AT A MAXIMUM, IT WILL ALSO LAND YOU IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR UP TO TEN (10) YEARS WITH A SIZEABLE MONETARY FINE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.





That's it for this post. In the next one, we'll look at the various components which make up the front grip assembly. If you've studied the PM-63 at all online, you've been told by reviewers that the front grip is fragile and prone to becoming sloppy loose or worse, breaking off. Welllllll, we'll talk about that.


THIS LAST SENTENCE OF THIS POST IS A CYA STATEMENT. READ THIS ENTIRE POST BEFORE YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT BEMOVING THE FRONT GRIP ASSEMBLY THAT CAME FROM THE MANUFACTURER INTALLED ON YOUR PM-63C.
 

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
Thank you!


Now, we are going to take a closer look at the front grip assembly. Like you, I've seen a number of videos, all in English and all done buy guys who never served in the Polish military with a PM-63 that was issued to them. The general statement about the front grip is that it's "just plastic", "fragile", and "gets loose with use". I'm to believe that it's clearly almost an afterthought and is of dubious use. Well, I think that sometimes, one person makes a judgement call about this or that and everyone else in the crowd just pig piles on. Am I saying those folks are wrong? I am not. I'm also not saying they are correct. I am saying that Warsaw Pact Poland was known for producing Quality small arms for their troops. That leaves me wondering......if the front grip was really so fragile and prone to wear, would the Poles have used it for decades unchanged and wouldn't all of these parts kits coming in have floppy, or outright broken grips?

The first thing you need to know is that both the base and grip aren't just molded plastic. Like MANY very successful designs by MANY very successful manufacturers, the plastic is molded around a steel armature. This method of manufacture allows parts to inexpensively sport a complex shape while also being rigid, robust, and lightweight. It's simply the norm in today's military small arms manufacturing but it was still pretty new and bold when the PM-63 was accepted for service.

In the pictures that follow, we'll mostly be looking at the parts that came with the parts kit because the bluing wear makes it easier to spot where steel ends and plastic begins. But there might be some shots of the assembly that came with the PM-63C mixed in there too. Which one we are looking at in any particular picture is generally irrelevant. We'll start with the base. The most obvious use of steel in that part is the locking bar slot:

Notice the "Y" inspection mark. The right side of the steel locking bar slides back and forth in this slot when you press the button to unfold the grip. The slot also takes some of the torsional forces when the grip is deployed and being used, such as during firing or running. In other words, when you're torquing on the grip, you're doing so through a steel bar anchored in a steel insert molded into a plastic form.

We also find steel on both sides of the base at its top front. At these places, we have a steel half dovetail molded into the plastic to act as front anchor points for the stock arms when it's stowed:


Stock on parts kit here slid partially to the rear for clarity:


Front view of right side steel insert:


Detail of left side illustrating how plastic has flowed through two holes machined into the insert:


Inside view showing reinforcement of where front mounting screw passes through the base:

However, a magnet does not show attraction in this area so I doubt any steel is present here.

Moving on to the grip proper, here we see the inside/rear (depending on whether it's stowed or deployed) of the grip that came with the Pioneer pistol

Notice all the metal shavings. These came from pioneer drilling a hole through it for the front mounting screw. They went lazy and didn't even bother to clean them out. You can be sure I did but I wanted to take a picture of it the way it came so that you know what to expect should you disassemble yours. Anyway, with the exception of the extreme bottom of it, a magnet sticks to this thing just about anywhere I check. Were you to melt the plastic off of the grip, it would look like a miniature two rung ladder. Steel runs all the way down both sides of it, forming the rails.
We can see the top "rung" here to the right of frame just in front of the round ejector pin mark:


And in this picture, the bottom "rung" is just to the right of and being touched by the tip of the screwdriver:


Screwdriver removed revealing another ejector pin mark:


The majority of the steel side rails in the grip are invisible to your eye, being buried in the grip's plastic envelope. However, they become visible when they emerge from the top of the grip and form the attachment points for mounting the grip to the base. At this point, another layer of steel is spot welded on, for added strength. In this shot, we can clearly see the two layers of steel:

This area, and the corresponding steel insert in the base we looked at earlier is where the vast majority of stress occurs when the grip is in use. Laminating it like this makes it stronger than if it were solid, which, if I understand things correctly, would be more prone to cracking.

The left side attachment point showing four spot welds and another inspection mark:

The inside diameter of the hole is filled by the locking bar nut when assembled ensuring that we have steel on steel contact at all times.


The right side attachment point is pierced by two slots forming a cruciform shape:

Again, note the four spot welds. When the grip is stowed, the locking bar passes through the vertical slot and terminates in the steel insert molded into the grip assembly base. When the grip is deployed, the locking bar passes through the other slot and again, terminates in the steel insert embedded in the base. It's important to note that the locking bar at no time rotates; it only slides back and forth in the base under tension of the locking bar spring. When you press the grip actuating button (locking bar nut), the locking bar slides to the right and out of engagement with right side grip attachment point, allowing the grip to rotate around the locking bar.

Detail of the locking bars from both the PM-63C (bottom) and the PM-63 (top) with relevant parts assembled to them:

Inside the grip base where we can't see them well enough to get a good picture with old photographic equipment, we have a left shoulder and a right shoulder. Regarding the operable pushbutton on the PM-63, the left shoulder comes into play when you press the button/locking bar nut to actuate the grip. You can only press the button and compress the spring so far before being stopped by the left shoulder; just far enough to disengage the locking bar from the grip's right attachment point, thus allowing it to rotate into either the deployed or stowed position. Similarly, when the button is released, the right shoulder in the base comes into contact with the inside flattened part on the right side of the locking bar, stopping it from moving too far to the left, just far enough that the extreme right edge of locking bar will be flush with the right side of the base when the grip is properly stowed or deployed. WoW!! That's a LOT of explaining there!! Hopefully all of it makes sense because that's the best I can do.
Regarding the PM-63C, the steel sleeve in place of the spring locks everything up in the base so that the pushbutton is deactivated.

After looking at all of that, I'll give you my personal thoughts on the durability of the front grip. You have to have a bit of tolerance built into the moving parts of the grip. If it were made to tight tolerances, you'd have reliability issues. This means a little bit of movement both when the grip is stowed and when it's deployed. My parts kit is all numbers matching and the furniture that came with it has a matching patina so I think it's fair to say that both the parts kit and it's forward grip have seen a lot of use over the past 52 years. The front grip assembly the came with my Pioneer pistol looks to be new old stock. However, when removed from the pistol and restored to working condition, it exhibits EXACTLY the same amount of play as the same assembly that came with the parts kit. This leads me to believe that the rumors of fragile grips that won't hold up with use are greatly exaggerated.

Now, could I go gorilla and twist on a deployed grip to the point that it would break? Yes, I'm sure I could but that would constitute abuse, not use. Could I run with scissors, er, I mean machine pistol, take a tumble, and break the thing in the process? Absolutely I could. I could also do the same thing with the stock on my Czech VZ-61. You can break ANYTHING with enough abuse or during an accident.

So, in the end, here's my verdict. Is the front grip assembly as durable as the folding stock on my Chicom 56S-1? Nope. Does that mean it's prone to breakage? I don't get the impression it is under normal use. Will it get more and more loose with use? Probably. I'm sure the stock on my trusty 56S-1 isn't as tight as it was 35+ years ago either but it's so insignificant I don't notice it. So in Polish, here's what I think about it all.

Działa dobrze w obecnej formie.

Your milage may vary. Next time, we'll discuss the stock.
 
Last edited:

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
Post some picture please! I'd love to see it.



Next up is the stock. I'll show you how it works, what's been done to the PM-63C to make it inoperable, and whether or not it can be made to work again if you register your firearm with the alphabet boys as an SBR.

For reference, the picture below shows the parts kit up top with the handgrip and stock deployed and the Pioneer pistol below:


Since the stock doesn't work on the PM-63C, we'll have to use the parts kit to show you how one actually works on an original PM-63 machine pistol.
We start with the stock release lever at the right rear of the frame.

This is the later version of the stock release. On earlier versions, it was mechanically different being more of a push button but regardless of which version you encounter, they do the same job. That job is to keep the stock stowed until you want to use it.

When we turn the pistol upside down to look at the release lever from the bottom, it becomes obvious how it works:

The lever is stamped steel with a little spring inside and it rotates on the visible axle pin. Press on the rear of the lever and the front of it disengages from the divot machined into the right side stock rail, allowing you to pull the stock to the rear.

Ok. To deploy the stock, you begin by pressing the rear of the stock release lever shown above. While keeping the lever depressed with one hand, use the thumb and forefinger of your other hand to grasp the splined area at the rear of both stock rails and pull to the rear. Once you've reached the position where the butt plate is clear of the frame, you can relax pressure on the stock release lever:


Press up on the butt plate and it will begin rotating freely around a pin connecting the rear of the stock arms. Here, it has been rotated 90°:


Keep going. we've rotated it 180°:


Once you're rotated it 270°, it'll encounter built in stops and will rotate no farther:

Note: there are no detents locking the butt plate in any position. It will freely rotate through 270° of arc.

Now, pull the stock fully to the rear:

You'll hear an audible "click" at this point, letting you know the stock is locked in the open position.

Finally, rotate the stock downwards until the stock arms contact stops machined into the frame. The stock is now fully deployed and ready for use:

Note: Although the stock locks open, it does not lock in the slightly depressed position shown above. It will freely rotate between the horizontal and slightly depressed positions in use.

With the stock deployed, we can see the area on the bottom rear of the frame that was previously covered by the butt plate:

Notice all the milling marks. I guess they figured there was no point in cleaning this area up because it's normally not seen. But that's not what we're here to look at. The main reason we're here is to look at the button we need to press to stow the stock. That button is the little square with most of its bluing missing just to the left of the center of the picture. That's what we need to press. When we do so, we are, in fact, pressing on the entire locking piece that holds the stock open. We'll see how that works in the next post when we disassemble the stock assembly.

So, to stow the stock, rotate it up to the horizontal position:


Press the button on the locking piece located at the bottom rear of the frame:


While holding the button on the locking piece depressed with one hand, use the thumb and forefinger of your other hand to grasp the splined area at the rear of both stock rails and begin pushing the stock forward. After about a half inch of travel, you can relax pressure on the locking piece button. When the stock is approximately 3" from the closed position, rotate the butt plate 270° to the horizontal position:


Continue pushing the stock forward until the stock release lever engages the divot milled out of the right side stock rail. You will hear an audible "click":

The stock is now stowed and locked in the closed position.


That's enough pictures for one post. We'll disassemble the stock in the next post and see how it works.
 
Last edited:

fal762

Well-known member
FALaholic #
66358
Joined
May 19, 2012
Posts
2,592
Location
Pacific, Missouri
Feedback: 1 / 0 / 0
Per a Classic Firearms email I received today. $949.99
 

Combloc

Well-known member
FALaholic #
55596
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
1,622
Location
United States
Feedback: 26 / 0 / 0
That'll be covered in the post after next but I'll skip ahead now and tell you I don't think it's a good long term candidate for that because the Pioneer doesn't have enough stock support. I'll go into detail in the next post. AOW, yes. SBR, no.
 
Last edited:
Top