A rifle that is typically paired with an ice ax, crampons, and skis, the G33/40 is a rarely encountered Mauser-style carbine with an interesting history. 

While German (J.P Sauer, Mauser Werke, Erma, BSW, Lubeck) and Belgian-made (FN) Mausers were the norm in the 1930s, hardworking engineers and craftsmen in Czechoslovakia were producing their own Mauser-pattern guns in Brno. While the Czech-made Brno Vz.24 rifle is legendary in its own right, the shorter Vz.33 carbine was something just a little different. 

Brno Vz.33
Made for the Czech border guard and national police forces, which did not require a full-sized rifle, the Brno Vz.33 was short-lived. 

Using a 19.4-inch barrel, the overall length of the Vz.33 was just 39.4 inches long. By comparison, this is about the same length as the Ruger Mini-14. This yielded a handy carbine that, with lightening cuts, tipped the scales at just over 7 pounds while keeping the same 7.92mm Mauser round, internals, nomenclature, and manual of arms as the Czech military's standard infantry rifles. 

First ordered in May 1934, just 25,311 Vz.33s were produced by early 1939, according to the Czech Military History Institute in Prague, with most of those going to the country's police forces. Just an estimated 5,300 were delivered to the border guard. 

ENTER GERMANY

 

Following the annexation of Czechoslovakia as a result of an ill-fated appeasement campaign by Britain and France, the rifle works at Brno came under new management. Dubbed Waffen Werke Brünn, or Weapons Works Brno, the factory was soon making gently modified Vz.24s and Vz.33s for the German war effort as the Vz.24(t) and G33/40, respectively, while preparing to make K98k series guns as well. 

G33/40
Meet the G33/40, which is based on the Vz.33 shown above, but was modified in 1940 to a standard for the German army. 

Seeing the shorter carbine as perfect for Gebirgsjäger alpine troops, for whom longer rifles were awkward while moving around the mountains, the G33/40 kept the same length and layout as the Vz.33 with some minor modifications. ​The changes made to the Vz.33 to convert it to the G33/40 included German-style sling hardware, a large steel buttplate, different sights, and a different bayonet lug.

Gebirgsjaumlger
Gebirgsjäger were used in alpine and arctic environments as well as in a light infantry role, such as in the airborne invasion of Crete where they were flown in after German paratroopers secured landing fields. For such tasks, a more compact rifle like the 33/40 was ideal. 
distinctive steel butt plate
Note the distinctive steel butt plate, which provided some protection to the furniture while bumping around in the mountains. The sight hood is also unique to the G33/40.

Likewise, Waffanampt factory codes "945" then later "dot" replaced the Czech lion crest on the receiver.

G33/40
The G33/40 up for grabs in the Guns.com Vault is a "dot 1941" and the serial number (2224B) is stamped on the stock, bolt, and receiver.
G33/40 hollow bolt knob
True to form, it has a characteristic hollow bolt knob, as the weight was kept to a minimum. 
K98 style bayonet with frog
It also includes an Alpine-style ice ax (spitzhacke, or eispickel), K98 style bayonet with frog, and a cartridge pouch. All that's missing is edelweiss and sauerkraut. 

While something like 11 million Mauser 98s of all stripes has been produced, numbers of G33/40s account for just a fraction of that. In all, estimates are that fewer than 120,000 of these guns were made between 1940 and 1942, when Brno was converted to the manufacture of K98ks. Issued to not only mountain troops but also to space-conscious paratrooper units, many of these carbines were lost on battlefields from Tunisia to Lapland.

Postwar, these rifles were prized for those who wanted to recycle them into light mountain carbines, leading to many of the survivors being sporterized.

G33/40 surplus ad
A G33/40 surplus ad from the 1950s. We'll take all you can get at this price!

Intact and correct G33/40s are tough to find these days. 

Interested in rare and surplus firearms with a story to tell? Be sure to Czech out our carefully curated Collector's Corner and Military Classics sections, where history is just a click away.

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