Tag Archives: Yugo

What Is The Best Optic For A Yugo M76 Rifle?

I did a series of posts back in the Fall of 2019 about a custom Yugo M76 that I had Two Rivers Arms build for me that I then added my own optic to [click here for the series]. A fellow recently contacted me about what optic he ought to get for his rifle, I replied and it also occurred to me that more explanation would make for a good blog post.

What is a Yugo M76?

It is a smei-automatic 10-round Designated Marksman’s Rifle (DMR) designed and built by Zastava for the Yugoslav military chambered in 8mm Mauser (7.92x57mm with an IS or JS designator at the end of the size). The 8mm Mauser round is in the same ballpark class as the American .30-06 round to give you a rough equivalent.

Let me revisit the “DMR” designation – because that is what the M76 is. The M76 was designed for a designated marksman in a squad to have much further reach than the rest of the team would have. It was not a surgical weapon and instead stressed reliability and good enough accuracy with an effective range of about 800 meters with 1.5-2 minutes of angle (MOA).

This photo is from Wikipedia and it lets you see the ZRAK optic on the M76. By the way, Wikipedia does have a nice summary write up on the M76.

What does that tell us?

That short intro starts hinting at the type of scope you might want to consider. It’s firing a relatively powerful cartridge but isn’t the most precise rifle on the planet. I can also tell you that while there is recoil, it’s not bad at all.

Choice #1 – Mounting Styles

The very first thing to consider is what type of mount you wish to use. The M76 inherits the robust side-mount rail but with some unique dimensions. The rifle was originally paired with an offset 4x ZRAK scope that slid onto that rail and clamped into place. This offset design isn’t for all folks but it definitely works for people familiar with it.

Here you can see the optic side mount rail. It sits securely in a groove in the milled receiver and is riveted in place.

The second route is to get a mount that clamps on the above rail but then centers the optic over the centerline of the bore. Call me an old school American but that is definitely my preference.

You can get mounts this way that directly hold the optic directly with the scope rings being built directly into the mount or you can get mounts that have a Picatinny rail on top that you can then secure whatever optic you want. This is my preference just so you know because it gives me more flexibility down the road.

RS Regulate mounts are the way to go!!

The best side mounts I have found that enable a ton of flexibility and adjustment are the RS Regulate brand mounts designed by Scot Hoskinson. He offers a number of different options so you need to stop by his site and take a look.

This is the RS Regulate AK-303M lower paired with the AKR upper rail.

Note, RS Regulate mounts are being counterfeited in China. I’d recommend only buying direct or from a reputable dealer below:

What optic to use?

On one hand, you could stick with the communist block styling . You can hunt around and buy 4x ZRAK optics still. There are also a lot of different offset mount optics that you can look into that are side mounted for example 8x and variable power. Just confirm the clamp on a particular model has enough adjustment to fasten onto the M76’s rail.

As of my writing this, there aren’t any ZRAK scopes on eBay but Apex Gun Parts does have some in fair to good condition (meaning very worn) and they are a good firm to deal with. Kalinka Optics has a variety of offset mount optics and is also reputable. If you really want an offset scope, I’d recommend Kalinka and go with something new.

With that said, you may be wondering “but what size scope?” The 8mm round definitely has some reach and you have to ask yourself what do you really plan on doing? This “what am I going to use it for” question is known as the “use case”.

When the Yugoslavs designed the M76, they needed a middle of the road simple optic that would allow the shooter to hit something man sized out to 800 meters. Four power magnification fits that bill because it gives you a wide field of view (meaning what you can see left to right and up and down in he scope – the more you see, the wider the field of view). They weren’t looking for precision by any means – just good enough to extend the reach of the shooter.

I’m 53 and while I grew up shooting a lot with iron sights, I can’t see very well at 100 yards and I sure can’t shoot precisely. Now remember, the M76 you have will likely be shooting1-4 MOA (1-4″ at about 100 yards, 2-8″ at 200 yards and so forth). It all depends on the condition of the rifle and the type of ammo you are shooting not to mention your own abilities. Spending a fortune on a giant quality surgical scope, like a 6-24x, is overkill…. unless that is what you really want.

What I would recommend is a variable power and I tend to favor 4-16x because I have the nice bright field of view at 4x and can zoom in if needed. Most of my shooting is within 200 yards so this works just fine for me on my DMR rifles.

Now you may be wondering “But I saw the photo of that giant scope you are running – what’s up with that?” Good question and let me explain.

That’s a Vortex Crossfire II 3-12×56 scope known as the “hog hunter” and my buddy shooting it during a range visit this summer.

My “use case” when I was planning for the optics was for hog hunting. I wanted a really big objective to suck in light for shooting at dusk and an illuminated recticle. I also happened to already have it left over from another project. It is quite affordable by the way.

So, the Hog Hunter seemed like a great match – 3-12x for fast shooting in close to having a 12x for distance shots. The big 56mm objective does pull in a lot of light. The lit recticle is only bright enough to make a difference at night and isn’t as bright as what you would see on a tactical scope.

Having used it for a while now, I’ll tell you that it delivers on the above with a couple of caveats that may make you stay away from it unless thye don’t bother you:

First, it is a big scope – far bigger than what you may think in terms of dimensions and weight due to the big objective. It’s almost 13.5″ long and 21.1 ounches.

Second. it is a giant objective and you will need to plan for. I had to carefully calculate the rings needed for it to clear the front handguard and I needed them to be quick release because the scope mount could not slide backwards due to the big objective hitting the rear sight block (RSB) of the rifle. I am still using the AD-RECON-SL mount and it is solid!

For a lot of folks, starting with an objective around 40mm tends to give you a nice bright image. I tend to use 44-50mm objectives scopes the most. Think of it this way – the bigger the objective, the more light it can pull in all other things being equal.

So where am I at today and what scope would I recommend?

I still am running the Hog Hunter and like it. If I had it to do over,I would get a 4-16x magnification and a 44-50mm objective. Recticle-wise, I’m fine with just about anything for what I plan to use it for but if I were to specify one, I’d get one with Mil-Rad (Mil-Dot) graduations because that is what I am familiar with.

There are also other variable zoom scopes out there as well such as 2.5-10x, 3-9x, 1-6x, 1-8x, etc. These are all options if you still have good eyes and want an even wider field of view on the low end. I run all of those combinations on rifles where I plan to be relatively close and not so much for long distance. Point being it is up to you – I wanted a higher power scope for shots starting often at 100 yards.

Vortex makes really good optics and I would move with whatever I could afford at the time. What you will notice is that as you move up their product line , the bigger price tag also comes with clearer and brighter optics *but* they all have Vortex’s no nonsense warranty.

Vortex Optics Offerings

I am going to present their various offerings that I would recommend and am able to show the scopes listed at various merchants as well so you can shop around:

Let’s start with their entry-level Crossfire II scopes:


Next, let’s look at the Diamondback and Diamondback Tactical series scopes:


The following are Strike Eagle scopes and the designs are focusing more on tactical versatility.


Even higher end are the various Viper HS scopes. I have a number of these and find them to be bright, clear and rugged:


My favorite Vortex scopes that I afford is the Viper PST Gen III series. Yeah, budget does have a role and have not been able to afford a Razor but the PSTs excellent. When I can afford a really exceptional optic, I look at the PSTs. A number of vendors still carry Gen II scopes and they work great also. I’ve had several Gen IIs and only one Gen III so far.


In Conclusion

I hope this helps give you some ideas of what optic to put on your M76 rifle. I really like Vortex Optics and am a user – I’m happy with the Hog Hunter but it is big. I think you’d be very happy with just about any of their scopes depending on what you want to do.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

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PSA Had Both Yugo M70B1 and M70AB2 Parts Kits – But Are Sold Out Now

11/28/2020 – This is an old post. Please note that both kits are sold out at PSA. I would be highly surprised if they get more in but who knows.

Hi folks, I’m a fan of Yugo AKs and have been for some time. I wanted to do a quick post to let you know that both fixed stock (M70B1) and underfolder (M70AB2) kits have hit the market at a good price. You will need to build/buy a receiver, barrel and 922r parts to complete them.

Here’s a photo from PSA of one of the M70B1 kits. Click on the image to go to the order page.
This is a photo of one of the PSA M70AB2 underfolder kits.

If you are interested in building a Yugo AK, you might want to consider snagging one of these. I suspect they will sell pretty quick.


As a reminder, PSA has their own line of AK rifles and accessories in case you want to check them out.

4/24/2020 Update: I received my M70B1 and it was in pretty good shape and the numbers matched. In other words – it’s not all rusted together. All the parts are in one bag and the wood is dinged up but it’s buildable. I hope to get some photos later — let me put it this way, I’m debating whether to buy a second or not.

PSA AK Webstore Links

Interested in an American made AK? Consider Palmetto State Armory (PSA) as a source. Click on the following links for the associated webstore categories for AK-related rifles, pistols and parts at PSA:


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Video: Commercial Zastava M91 Range Time Video

In the previous video, Ian at Forgotten Weapons does his bench top review. In this one, we get to see the rifle perform at the range. Ian was at 100 yards and he’s firing PPU match 182 gr 7.62x54r ammo and the group opened up as the barrel warmed up.

Group one – relatively cool barrel
Group 2 opened up a lot – Ian did not the barrel was hot
Group 3 – disappointing. Ian wonders if the scope had problems.

The Range Video

My Conclusion

It really does come across as a Serb copy of the PSL and not worth the fortune it is selling for unless you are a true collector. Whether it was the rifle or the scope, the results are not impressive. Personally, I thought about buying one and decided to pass. when they first came out and this cements it.


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.

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Video: Commercial Zastava M91 Review Video

Ian, over at Forgotten Weapons, did a review of the new Zastava M91. In the end, you do wind up with a over-sized 7.62x54r AK variant filling a designated marksman role (DMR). As always, Ian does a provides a great commentary as he looks at and then disassembles the M91.

Stamped receiver with a unique extension at the rear to accommodate the longer cartridge. Note the POSP 4×24 optic.
The M91’s unique handguard
Skeleton stock
A quick look down in the receiver – you can see the extension is riveted in place.

The Review Video

Conclusion

Well, it looks pretty cool, but how does it perform? In the next video, Ian will show how the rifle performs at the range so click here to open that next.



Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.

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Paul’s Slick M72 Carbine

Paul sent me in a photo of his custom M72 carbine with our handguards. It sure turned out cool. Here’s the info he shared about it:

  • M72 Unissued mint kit
  • AK Builder 16″ barrel
  • POSP 4×24 scope on AKM rail
  • 4.5mm rear folder
  • JMac customs RRD 4C brake
  • Built by Mod Outfitters

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James’ Sweet M92 SBR WIth Our Handguards

I think James’ M92 SBR looks pretty wicked!! That’s our handguard set on the front. It looks great James!


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Why Does the Color of Grips and Handguards From Ronin’s Grips Fade And What To Do About It?

I’ve had guys ask why the color of my grips or handguards seem to fade with time. The short answer is that it has to do with the liquid wax finish oxidizing and not the plastic – the color is actually in the plastic. You see, we sand every grip and handguard to get rid of mold imperfections and then we blast each with abrasive media (currently it’s Black Beauty or Black Magic depending in the store I go to) and that turns the plastic almost white as you can see in the photo above. We blast the surface to create a very sure grip when you grab hold – your hand doesn’t slide easily. The polished finish we used to do resulted in a surface that is slick when wet due to sweat, water, blood, etc.

So, the blasting abrades the surface and messes up the colors being reflected back to your eyes. To solve this problem, I tried a ton of different oils and waxes and the best was Atsko Sno-Seal. It really brought out the color and it did not fade – or at least I never saw it fade. The problem is that Sno-Seal is a paste wax and I have carpal tunnel. Rubbing it into grips and handguards every day over and over was killing by wrists so I had to stop it.

This pushed me back to the drawing board and this time I looked at liquid waxes. Some of them really smelled as the liquids evaporated and the best option I could find find was the various butcher’s block finishes that combine mineral oil and a wax – often a bee’s wax. This stuff goes on like a dream but does fade with time. There’s nothing wrong with the color – it’s just the finish oxidizing and drying out.

What to do about the fading?

As mentioned above, the finish I apply will fade. The good news is that the owner with a number of options and I’ll shorten it down to the four I recommend:

  1. Buy Sno-Seal and apply it. This stuff is awesome for boots and I actually had it for my boots when I tested it. It’s my #1 recommendation and what I do for furniture I make for myself.
  2. Shoe polish holds up really well and you can nudge the colors/hues one direction or another depending on the color of the wax. This goes on pretty easy and seems to last. Just buff it well so you don’t get any color on your hand. I’ve had very good luck with Kiwi products.
  3. Any fine wax for boots, leather, wood or preservation ought to work. Just follow the directions. Absolutely do not use super thick floor wax or it will be a disaster as one customer found out.
  4. Put another coat of butcher’s block conditioner on it. Easy to apply but it will not last.
Atsko Sno-Seal is my #1 choice. Kiwi shoe polish works great. Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner is what I use in production and is also what fades with time.

How to Apply Sno-Seal

My first recommendation to customers is always Sno-Seal. It takes just a little it to polish a grip or handguard plus you can use it to waterproof your boots.

I did this corner at room temperature and you can tell it takes a bit more effort to rub it in and buff it off.

You can either warm it up on your hand and then rub it in or you can use a heat source to warm up the grip or handguard just a bit – meaning warm to the touch not hot – and it goes on even easier. When I did the M72 hanguard set shown, for example, it was warm after about a minute and 20 seconds in our microwave. You rub the wax in and buff it off – done.

Hello Mr. Microwave! You can optionally warm your piece of furniture up with a microwave, oven turned on at 150F or less, hair dryer, etc. You want it to be warm, not hot. If you can’t pick it up, it’s way too hot. The plastic will not begin to deflect until around 250F and there’s no way you can pick that up hence the rule of thumb. [Click here if you want to read about a heat test we did]
So here’s the finished handguard set after I buffed off the remaining wax.

Again, if you ask me what I do for my own grips and handguards, it’s Sno-Seal and I rarely use extra heat – usually just I just warm it up with my hands and rub it in. Sno-Seal lasts the best of anything I have found.

I hope this helps you out.


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Add Length of Pull to a Yugo M70, M72 or M76 Wood Buttstock WIth A Limbsaver Recoil Pad

Normally, I like the length of the Yugo M70 and M72 buttstocks. They’re shorter than many Western fixed stock designs but I’ve just grown accustomed to the length of pull (LOP). Recently, I had Two Rivers Arms build me a M76 designated marksman’s rifle (DMR) and found the stock to be a tad shorter than what I wanted to get in position behind the big Vortex Hog Hunter scope I had bought for it.

Two Rivers Arms custom built Yugo M76 rifle with a RS!Regulate scope mount and Vortex Hog Hunter scope. The UTG rings have been replaced with an American Defense mount and the cheek piece will be replaced but you can get an idea that this is a big rifle and a big optic.

I realized that to make the LOP longer, I had two options. My normal route with an AK is to install a stock adapter and either go to some form of modular stock. In the case of the M76, I really wanted to stick with the original wood. The brought be to my second option – to add a recoil pad.

There are a ton of recoil pads on the market but as far as I know, nobody makes a direct replacement recoil pad for the Yugo military rifles other than me and my pad is a copy of the original. This gives you two options also – either cut the stock and install a “grind to fit” pad that would ruin the original stock or to go with a slip on pad.

Slip on recoil pads are designed to fit a certain range of buttstock sizes based on the height and width. They may not be the best looking of options but they get the job done and don’t require any modifications to the underlying stock — plus for folks who don’t like messing with tools – they can be slid on and off usually very easily.

End of Buttstock Size for Yugo M70B1, M72B1, and M76 Rifles

Zastava made the Yugo rifles but is now in Serbia and makes both commercial and military rifles. The dimensions I am about to give so you can get the proper pad only apply to he military rifles. If you have a Zastava N-PAP for example, your stock is much smaller and I don’t know the dimensions.

If you do have a military sized Yugo M70B1, M72B1 or M76 then the following should sizes should be approximately right:

  • Top to bottom of the buttstock overall: 4.48″ so just under 4-1/2″
  • Left to right at the widest point: 1.29″ so just under 1-1/3″

So that means a slip on buttpad needs to accomodate those dimensions and will slide right over the original recoil pad as well.

Limbsaver by Sims Vibration Labs

Years ago, I happened across Limbsaver recoil pads and started using them more than Pachmayr, which is another leading brand. I’ve had very good luck with Limbsaver so they were my go-to when it came to the M76.

They have a new Air-Tech series that adds 1″ to the LOP and is also remarkably spongy to absorb the recoil. The M76 really doesn’t have a ton of recoil so my decision was more based on the 1″ LOP.

The AirTech slip on pad comes in four sizes:

  • “Small” fits stocks measuring 4-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches to 4-13/16 x 1-5/8 inches
  • “Small/Medium” fits stocks measuring 4-5/8 x 1-9/16 inches to 5-1/8 x 1-3/4 inches
  • “Medium” fits stocks measuring 4-13/16 x 1-5/8 inches to 5-1/8″ x 1-3/4 inches
  • “Large” fits stocks measuring 5-1/8 x 1-3/4 inches to 5-3/8 x 1-7/8 inches

Given those dimensions, I opted to buy the “small” size and it fit beautifully.

The small-sized pad slid right on and fits nice and snug.

I actually wish they had a pad that added about 1/2-3/4″ of pull as that would be perfect. The end result is just a tad longer than what I would dial in with an adjustable Magpul PRS stock but it definitely feels better when I start lining up behind the scope. It’s staying on the rifle!


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.