M53 Production numbers

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planejack777
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M53 Production numbers

Post by planejack777 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:30 pm

Well, since we’re seeing more people ask about M53 Receiver sections, I’m curious as to whether anyone might have an idea of the production figures on these? Their designation of M53 denotes that they first came to manufacture sometime around 1953, but did the production proceed until the end of 1957? Also, any ideas on the serial numbers assigned relative to years produced? I have been quick to disregard these, as they’re not MG42’s....but I have to admit, they are almost exact copies, and I feel might deserve some further investigative research as to their history. Maybe it’s just me....but with the scarcity of the MG42 produced parts and receivers, they are a welcome addition to a greatly dwindling supply of the fore mentioned items. Who knows, perhaps several years from now....we may be looking back on the good Ol’days when the then bastard M53’s were around to help us with our builds?

Jack

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by Abominog » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:04 pm

I’ve not seen production number but clearly Yugoslavia would not need the 700,000 units produced by Germany during WW2

These are mg42 in all but name and a couple minor details. They were made on German MG42 machinery provided following the war. The AA sight base, missing on the M53, is useless against aircraft by that point in time.

Given that mg42 kits with all receiver pieces have topped $4000, the $1500 for the same in an m53 is a good deal
FNG

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by planejack777 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:44 am

Yes, I agree. As to whether they were made on German machines, or presses, that I’m not too sure. It’s my opinion...that the Receivers were not, but the remaining parts may, or could have been.... I’d love to be able to find out more info on these. I have taken many pictures over the years of receiver sections that show the serial number. They all have letter prefixes, but am not sure as to whether they followed the German 10K allotment prior to making a prefix (Suffix in German case) change. I’ll reference what I noted as the lowest to highest serial numbers found, and see if anyone else can add what they’ve seen...or know to be true.

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by planejack777 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:35 pm

Of further interest, you stated that you didn’t think the Yugoslavs made near the number (700,000) that the Germans did. However, the M53’s that I’ve seen all have five digit numerical sequences...as low as the 10,000 range and as high as nearly the 61,000 range. I’ve seen the letter prefixes beginning with the letter “A”, and as high as the letter “T”. So, might I make a supposition that they started with “A-10001”, then went up to “A-60999” prior to changing to the letter “B” serial number range to repeat in number. That would leave 50,998 per Letter Block production....and as far as I’ve recorded, they would have produced over 1,000,000....exceeding the German production figures?

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by Abominog » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:08 pm

That the Serbian factory used the German production machinery is documented. They did make some changes to reduce production costs in the M53, case in point the useless AA front sight mount. That they changed the buffer makes no sense minus the assumption that the drawings or equipment was damaged, and thus arose the Yugo buffer and stock; to my mind, the change arose from using whatever equipment was available in lieu of the likely missing or damaged german equipment.

You raise a good question about the apparent high volume based on serial number. But the gross need and available kit volume don't support it. A million units would have been well beyond useful capacity. The USSR produced surplus guns for the sake of false economy, that's a given. However, if the Serbs followed the same communist production mentality there would be 900,000 NOS kits, and there are not...few than 1% are NOS or near NOS.

I don't know how many "front end" kits were imported, but clearly it was substantial. Most are beat. There were some few hundred kits imported with complete receiver, and in pretty good condition. "Few hundred" translates to, again, a miniscule amount if one presumes a million guns produced- or even if 100,000 produced.

Still, it all comes down to demand (I know, most folks hate economics). The Yugo army could not possibly have needed a million guns, even with throw-e'm-away-and-replace mentality. IMHO 10,000 in service would be a high number.

Maybe in some warehouse there are a bililloion M53s waiting for export.....
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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by Chuck42 » Wed May 01, 2019 12:08 am

I am curious where are we getting the 700,000 figure? According to the highest" known" serial numbers made by the four factories there were 467,665 MG42's built in WW2. I know these are just the known serial numbers and there were more built but where is the extra 200,000 coming from?

WW2 production

MAGET, Berlin (subsidiary of Rheinmetall Borsig which im sure also means a subsidiary to DWM Borsigwald)
178,093 units from 1942-1945 Highest serial# 8093p

GUSTLOFF WERKE, Suhl
120,555 units from 1943-1945 Highest serial# 555k

Mauser Werke, Borsigwalde Berlin aka (DWM)
66,007 units from 1943-1945 Highest serial# 6007e

Waffenfabrik Steyr, Austria ( Steyr also occupied Radom Poland factory)
103,010 units from 1942-1945 Highest serial# 3110

I am almost certain there have had to be way more Yugo m53s built because of how much more plentiful they are unless someone is hording all the WW2 stuff..... Im sure once the sarac plant got their machinery in order they started dumping them out. Probably getting foreign contracts which would be a good reason for building over 700,000. It would also be cool to know how many MG3's Rheinmetall has kicked out.

I believe the yugos used German machinery but the yugo receivers specifically the stamping
in the upper part of the shroud is very different from ww2 receivers. They did away with the sight step entirely and are nearly flat. The yugos receivers are also slightley thinner as well. The lower part of the yugo shroud is Very similar to WW2 though. Maybe they rebuilt parts of the ww2 stamping molds? Because they were wore out? Or they copied them..The ww2 upper shroud that seems to be the most similar to the Yugo is the late war steyr but its like they didn't stamp the top of the shroud as deep as the germans did.

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by Abominog » Wed May 01, 2019 5:28 pm

Most of the early MG42s are in the ground around Stalingrad and the route back to Berlin. Same with mg34s. Anything before 1944 is less common.

Iirc folke put the Sarac production at 170,000 or so. Export was very limited, probably only surreptitious events.

I believe Rheinmatall numbers are comprehensive starting with the mg2 and sequential. So just find the highest number gun.
FNG

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by Chuck42 » Wed May 01, 2019 11:24 pm

Abominog wrote:Most of the early MG42s are in the ground around Stalingrad and the route back to Berlin. Same with mg34s. Anything before 1944 is less common.

Iirc folke put the Sarac production at 170,000 or so. Export was very limited, probably only surreptitious events.

I believe Rheinmatall numbers are comprehensive starting with the mg2 and sequential. So just find the highest number gun.
I agree that there are a lot of 42s in the ground, but if there were only 170,000 guns built by sarac and considering how much they seem to outnumber ww2's that would mean that there would only be a little over 100k original 42s in existence today??? I had a sarac m53 with a date of 79 so from 1953 to 79 they built 170,000? And when did they stop? And as far as the Rheinmetall Mg3's just being counted to the highest serial number, they did have letter prefix. Example: 12/1970 serial 76606 then 3/1976 serial 108,178 up to 11/90 serial U-19901 they did a great job of dating them down to the month. I guess all I need to know is how many units the letter prefix represents. WW2 was 10k so whats the mg3 100k per letter prefix? A million? Did they change the way they serialized in the 1980's to start using letter prefix??

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by joe6167 » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:12 am

I started compiling a list of M53 serial numbers, here:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=14062

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by octopus » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:27 am

The total number of produced M53 - 49764
Years of production - 1954-1971

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by joe6167 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:20 pm

Now that I have a nice list of numbers I thought it would interesting to plug in the lowest and highest numbers I have for each letter block into a graph and see what I get.
M53 Production Numbers.png

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by joe6167 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:48 pm

octopus wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:27 am
The total number of produced M53 - 49764
Years of production - 1954-1971
Going off the number of letter prefixes, assuming 1 letter per year, those dates seem solid (plus or minus a year, that is if the letter "K" was used, which I have assumed that it was, though I haven't seen any examples yet), though the highest number example I've seen is 60167, so assuming that they started numbering at A-10,000, I would infer production of at least 50167 units, unless a few number sequences were skipped during production (maybe starting off a new year's production at a round number or something).

Crunching the numbers seems to suggest an average production of roughly 2,700 units per year (though the E-block serial numbers that I have seem to suggest a production of at least 2950 units, the highest per block (year?) I could detect in my quick analysis), and the chart I made seems to suggest a fairly steady level of production (but I'm not an analyst, so don't quote me on that).

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by 42rocker » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:11 pm

Interesting numbers. Thanks for sharing this.

Later 42rocker

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Re: M53 Production numbers

Post by octopus » Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:32 pm

1954-1956 - 3986 machine guns
1956-1960 - 13869 machine guns
1960-1965 - 16000 machine guns
1965-1971 - 10659 machine guns

In addition, from 1956 to 1958, 5250 machine guns with a thin bipod (I find it difficult to say what this means) were produced .

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