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Zastava M72



Overview


Zastava M72B1

Right side view of Zastava M72B1 light machine gun.
Source: Zastava Arms - © Copyright lies with original owner

Origin
Yugoslavia
Type
Light machine gun
Entered service
1973
Status
In service
Development
Late 1960's - 1972
Developer
Yugoslavia - Zastava
Production
1973 - present
Producer
Yugoslavia - Zastava
Serbia - Zastava
Iraq - Al-Qadissiya (1978 - 1990's)
Designations
Al Quds (Iraqi service and production)

Description


Introduction

The M72 is a Cold War era light machine gun of Yugoslav origin. It was derived from the M70 assault rifle in a similar fashion as the Soviet RPK was derived from the AKM. Early development models featured a quick change barrel, but the final design was made simpler.

Design

The M72 is a light machine gun variant of the M70. It features the same operating mechanism with long stroke gas piston. The overal design is very similar to the Soviet RPK. The M72 features a longer barrel and folding bipod than the M70 assault rifle. Unlike the M70 the M72 doesn't have a longer handguard with three slots, nor the ability to fire rifle grenades. A distinguishing feature is the ribbed barrel section in front of the gas block for improved cooling.

Firepower

The M72 fires the 7.62x39mm Soviet cartridge from a 30 round box magazine. The 40 round box and 75 round drum developed for the Soviet RPK can also be used, but are less common. The rate of fire is rather low at about 620 rpm. The effective range is about 400 meters against point targets and 600 meters against area targets.

Users

The M72 light machine gun is in widespread use, although it is less common than its Soviet counterpart. Many nations that have adopted the M70 assault rifle also use the M72. It was produced under license in Iraq as the Al Quds.

Details


Al Quds

Iraqi soldier taking aim with Iraqi produced Al Quds variant of the Zastava M72B1 light machine gun. Note the wooden grip as found on Iraqi contract and local production models.
Source: US Marine Corps (LCpl J.A. Chaverri) - © Public domain

Variants of the M72 light machine gun

M72: Original production model with milled receiver, similar to the early M70 assault rifles. This was soon replaced in production with the B1 and AB1.

M72B1: Improved production model with simpler to produced stamped receiver. This is the most common version of the M72 light machine gun. It has a fixed wooden stock.

M72AB1: Folding stock variant of the M72B1. This model is rather unique since it features an underfolding stock similar to the M70AB2 and AKMS. It is the only Kalashnikov light machine gun variant to feature this type of folding stock.

Facts M72B1
General
Origin
Yugoslavia
Type
Light machine gun
Caliber
Caliber
7.62x39mm Soviet
Feed system
30 round box
Barrel length
542 mm
Rifling
4 grooves, 240 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity
745 m/s
Operation
Action
Gas operated, long stroke gas piston
Locking
Rotating bolt
Fire selector
0 - 1 - F
Rate of fire
620 rpm
Dimensions
Stock type
Fixed
Length
1.025 mm
Weight
5.0 kg empty
Sights
Mechanical
Iron sights, post front and tangent sight rear
Range adjustment
100 to 1.000 m gradations
Accessories
Bipod
Fixed folding bipod

Media


Related articles


Zastava M70

The M72 is the light machine gun variant of the M70 assault rifle.