Firearms / Assault rifles / Zastava M70

Zastava M70

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Assault rifle

  • ORIGIN
    Yugoslavia

  • NICKNAMES
    Tabuk (Iraqi production M70B3 / M70AB3)
    Al Quds (Iraqi production M72)

  • DESIGNED
    1959 - 1968

  • DESIGNER
    Zastava

  • PRODUCTION
    1970 - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Serbia - Zastava
    Yugoslavia - Zastava

    Licensed production:
    Iraq - Al-Qadissiya

  • QUANTITY
    About 4 million produced, production continues at limited scale.

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    More rugged than AKM
    More accurate than AKM
    Ability to launch rifle grenades
    More expensive than AKM

Introduction

The M70 is a late Cold War era assault rifle of Yugoslav origin. The design is based on the Kalashnikov, but has seen an extensive period of redevelopment. The M70 is often as one of the highest quality derivatives of the AKM, even surpassing the quality of the Soviet production models.

Design

The M70 is a variant of the Kalashnikov AKM, but differs in some respects from the Soviet models. The design started the M64 with many unique features such as a milled receiver, gas cutoff device, different charging handle, ribbed barrel and bolt hold open device. This was deemed too expensive to produce and through the development of the M70 and M70B the design eventually settled on the M70B1. The M70B1 differs from the AKM in having a much thicker stamped receiver, longer handguard with 3 slots, rubber buttpad, grenade launching sight and a barrel that is not chrome lined.

Firepower

The M70 fires the 7.62x39mm Soviet round from 30 round magazines. For use with the M70 the M67 round was developed in Yugoslavia, which is more effective than the original M43 round. It is capable of semi-automatic fire and fully automatic fire at a cyclic rate of fire of about 600 rpm. The maximum effective range is about 300 meters. The M70 is deemed more accurate and reliable than the AKM and reportedly performs better during prolonged automatic fire.

Users

The M70 was the standard issue assault rifle of the Yugoslav forces. It remains in use with all former Yugoslav nations, although some are replacing it with more modern designs. Additionally the M70 has been widely exported and encountered often in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Variants

M70

M70B1 / M70AB2: The M70 is the Yugoslav version of the Kalashnikov assault rifle. After a prolonged design period the design settled on the M70B1 rifle with fixed stock and M70AB2 with folding stock. The M70 might be the only derivative in the Kalashnikov family in which the folding stock version is more common than the fixed stock model. The M70B1 and AB2 can be fitted with a Zastava muzzle loaded grenade launcher.
M70B3 / M70AB3: The M70B3 and M70AB3 are models fitted for mounting the Soviet GP-25 or GP-30 grenade launchers. Otherwise the are similar to respectively the M70B1 and M70AB2. Both models have been produced under license in Iraq as the Tabuk.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire620 rpm
Barrel length415 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 240 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity720 m/s
StockFixed
Length900 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.7 kg
SightsIron sights, post front and tangent sight rear, 100 to 1.000 m gradations
RemarksAbility for launching muzzle grenades
TypeAssault rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire620 rpm
Barrel length415 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 240 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity720 m/s
StockFoldable
Length?
Width?
Height?
Weight3.7 kg
SightsIron sights, post front and tangent sight rear, 100 to 1.000 m gradations
RemarksAbility for launching muzzle grenades

M92

M92: The M92 is a sub machine gun variant of the M70 full size assault rifle. It is the latest model of the M70 family. The M92 follows the same design principles as the Soviet AKS-74U, but retains M70 elements such as the 7.62x39mm chambering, underfolding stock and longer handguard with three slots. A special muzzle brake is fitted to reduce the muzzle flash. Instead of a leaf sight a simple flip-up sight is installed. The M92 cannot launch muzzle grenades.

  • Specifications:
  • M92
TypeSub machine gun
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire620 rpm
Barrel length254 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 240 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity678 m/s
StockFoldable
Length800 mm / 540 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.2 kg
SightsIron sights, post front and flip-up rear
Remarks-

Tabuk

Tabuk sniper rifle: For the Iraqi production line Zastava developed a special version of the M70 rifle. Based on their experience with the M76, a sniper rifle based on the Kalashnikov system rather than the Dragunov system, they developed the Tabuk sniper rifle. The Tabuk is an accurized M70B1 with a much longer barrel. It fires the 7.62x39mm round from 20 or 30 round magazines. An optical sight is fitted and most Tabuk's are fitted with a redesigned stock with cheek piece. They are not fitted with a bipod and have a maximum effective range of about 600 meters.

M72

M72: The M72 is a light support weapon based on the M70 assault rifle. It fulfills the same role as the Soviet RPK. Compared to the M70 the M72 has a longer barrel, thicker reciever, a bipod and lacks a grenade launching sight. It is normally issued with standard 30 round magazines and 75 round drum magazines. It is able to use standard 40 RPK magazines, but these are not produced in Yugoslavia.
M72B1: The M72B1 differs from the RPK in having a standard buttstock, ribbed barrel, thicker receiver and a barrel that is not chrome plated. In rare cases it is fitted with the M70AB2 folding stock.

TypeLight support weapon
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 75 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire620 rpm
Barrel length542 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 240 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity745 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.025 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight5 kg
SightsIron sights, post front and tangent sight rear, 100 to 1.000 m gradations
RemarksFixed folding bipod

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