Tag Archives: Zastava

Adding a RS Regulate GKR-9DY Handguard To A Zastava M77

Ok, so I planned to completely redo the M77 and keep the Battleworn wood for the future just in case. The first step was to swap out the wood handguards for a RS Regulate GKR-9DY. It’s a 9″ MLOK rail for Zastava AK-type rifles – this matters because a Zastava handguard is longer and a different shape than an AKM handguard.

Scot Hoskinson owns RS Regulate and is a meticulous engineer. His products are top notch and one thing I would tell you is to always read the instructions. He puts a lot of effort into documenting what you need to do so find the instructions and follow them.

Trust me – read and follow the instructions to install a RS Regulate handguard. Note the instruction sheet is for the old part number GKR-9Y. Scot revised the part number and it is now the GKR-9DY — same handguard but different part number.
Per the instructions in steps 3 and 4, I tapped the end cap into place. Note, you do need to test fit and make sure it will fit. You aren’t beating it into place with a ton of force. Mine went in without any filing needed but I did need to tap it to get it fully seated. You want the end cap to sit in the receiver firmly – not loose.

I don’t have photos of every step Scot lists, but I do want to mention step 5 – the front retainer set screws are backed out towards the receiver with the allen heads facing the rear. Once you have the front retainer in place and screwed to the handguard in step 10, you then tighten down the set screws to make everything nice and tight.

In all of his steps, be sure to follow the torque specifications and use blue loc-tite or your favorite medium strength thread locker. If you don’t, then the screws will risk coming loose and potentially falling out.
You can see the rifle’s handguard retainer is locked in place because the cam lever is rotated backwards. Looking down past the barrel you can see one of the two front retainer set screws waiting to be snugged down.
I used a long Bondhaus ball head allen key to reach in and tighten the set screws. Let me spare you some future grief – buy quality sets of allen wrenches that properly engage your fasteners. The cheap import keys are prone to poor fitment and/or rounding over the edges and both will mess up your fasteners.
I applied Blue Loc-Tite before I snugged down the set screws. I removed the residue with a shop towel.

The Gas Tube Cover

The RS Regulate handguards are the lower-half only. It’s up to you to decide if you want to run the wood or just what. In my case, I am using one of our Yugo/Zastava gas tube covers that is made from glass-fiber reinforced high-temp urethane. A Yugo gas tube cover is significantly longer than that of an AKM and are not interchangeable.

To remove it, rotate the locking lever on the rear sight base. Zastava is one of the makers that make that lever really tight. I use a large adjustable wrench’s jaws to hold the lever while I rotate it up. You can also use a hammer with plastic heads to tap the lever up. Once it is rotated, the rear of the tube closer to the receiver can be lifted up and the unit brought back just a tad to clear the front gas block. By the way, the bolt carrier must be removed or the long gas piston will be in the tube and block removal.

I didn’t get a picture of the gas tube with the wood before I removed it so we’ll just pick up here. This is one of our high-temp Yugo/Zastava gas tube covers. The spring clip is from the wood set and pops into the our cover to help provide tension and support. If you don’t have the clip, I would recommend buying one vs. skipping it. Check Apex Gun Parts, Robert RTG, Numrich, Centerfire, etc.
The spring clip just presses into the pocket molded foir it in the cover.
I like to use a vise to hold the forged end of the gas tube. DO NOT try and clamp the thing circular end or you will crush it. The vise you see has smooth jaws and will not hurt the forging – if your vise has aggressive jaws to hold material, use something to protect the gas tube like jaw covers, pieces of wood, etc. In this photo, the cover is fully rotated into position. You may find it easier to rotate your cover to the left or to the right when it comes to installation or removal. If it will not turn, carefully inspect why and remove a bit of material as needed with a file, Don’t rush – you want a firm fit and for it to look good.
What it looks like when done.

Years ago, I did do a blog post with more instructions and links to videos. Please click here if you want to read it.

End Result

Summary

RS Regulate makes some great lower handguards for a variety of AKs including for the Yugo/Zastava M70 and M77s. It takes a little bit of effort to install and is very much worth it. You can optionally use your wood gas tube cover or buy one of our polymer units.


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.

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


The Century Zastava PAP M77 in .308 – With Battleworn Furniture

Years ago, I had a Zastava M77 and regretfully sold it back in 2014. It was one of those situations where I had to sell it to fund other projects but I didn’t even get a chance to shoot it. I also had a custom M76 (the 8mm version) for a while but I did sell that one – mainly because it was a primer popper. That is a known issue because the firing pin hole opened up out of spec due to corrosive ammo use and didn’t adequately support the primer as a result but I digress.

I had resisted buying another one until Zastava decided to release what they called the “Battleworn” model (ZR77308W) and I caved. On one hand, it comes with some really nice retro looking Europen beech wood furniture. What really got me was that it was way cheaper than their other models that had optics and/or polymer furniture at that time.

Why the M77?

So, I had wanted to get back into the Zastava designated marksman’s rifle (DMR) game for a while and was just biding my time. The reason I wanted the M77 was due to all of the quality match 7.62×51 and match .308 match ammo that is out there. In comparison, try finding affordable true match grade 8mm ammo for the M76 or match 7.62x54r for the M91. You can find it once in a while but it’s not cheap and choices are limited here in the US. On the other hand, match 7.62×51 and .308 plentiful and affordable.

So, the main reasons were the ammo and the second was the M77 Battleworn model being very affordable in the Late Summer of 2023. As I am writing this, a quick search on GunBroker shows the Battleworn model selling fro $1369 with one 20-rd magazine up to $1,499 with five 20 round mags plus the various models are a lot closer in price. I paid less last summer but you get the idea. (In 2014 I bought a M77 with a thumbhole polymer stock and polymer handguard set for $600 or 700 from Centerfire Systems but that’s the way pricing goes – any vendor will raise prices to what they think the market will bear to try and maximize profits.)

Taking a Closer Look

It’s well packed in an egg foam box. Note the CSSpecs 25 round magazine on the box cover.
Honestly, the wood is really nice. It’s very reminiscent pf the M76 wood with a few minor exceptions – the grip does not have a ferrule, the recoil pad uses allen head screws and the stock bolt is one of their modern commerical shorter ones vs. the long Yugo military 8x1x260mm (about 10.23″ long).
Like many aspects of the original designs, the Yugoslavs modfield their scope rails and how they mount The result is more to the rear and is often refered to as “rear-biased” so they need a scope mount vs. an AKM pattern rail.
Honestly, the wood is cool. It has almost rough hewn look but better finished if that makes sense. The grip reminds me of one that Matt Shuster of Ironwood Designs came up with many years ago before he passed. I think he called it the “mini fat cap” – if someone remembers, please tell me. He made the M76 Fat cap patterned after the original wierd awkward really fat but oddly short M76 grip but without a ferrule. Then he came up with a far more elegant smaller one and this Zastava design reminds me of it. Folks, Matt helped me get started years ago and was a genius with wood. God rest his soul and take care of his family.
It has the mile long 19.7″ cold hammer forged barrel. The silver disc on the gas tube is the three position gas regulator. It has a slant brake on it and 14x1mm left hand threads under it just like any other AK. A M76’s long flash hider is actually part of the front sight assembly but that is not the case with the M77 – you can install whatever you want. Also, note the cleaning rod.
Here’s a view of the rifle looking at the operating side. The chromed bolt jumps right out in contrast.
The M77 uses a bulged trunnion and the oversized AK receiver needs to accomadte it. These bigger 1.5mm thick receivers are beefy. They both hold the various component assemblies in position and the thicker receiver means more steel to compensate for any metalurgical or hardening shortcomings.
Zooming in on just the receiver. Note the notched selector/safety lever and the relatively tall selector stop. In the top right you can see the other side of the operating rod lock.

Opening it up

The locking dust cover was introduced in the M70 Yugo rifles because their doctrine made extensive use of rifle grenades. They didn’t want the cover top pop off so they added a sliding lock that holds the rear recoild spring assembly in place and, thus, the top cover in place. By the way, one of the really nice side benefits is that when you reassemble a rifle with one of these locks, you put the recol spring in front, install the dust cover without fighting the spring, push the button and the recoil rod pops out the back.
Looking at the locking assembl, the plunger button the operator pushes is at the bottom of the photo. The slightly elevated portion under the top lip of the trunnion (top in this photo – right side in real life looking down – is what slides out of the way wehn pressed so the recoil spring assembly can come forward for removal. What you don’t see is the hidden compression spring. If you ever need these parts, CNC Warrior make and sells both the whole assembly.
Looking down at the classic double hook AK trigger and double wound spring. I’ve had guys ask me why did they double these? The answer is fault tolerance. The second hook is there if the first should fail and the second spring winding is there should one of the two fail. In all of my years working on civilian AKs, I’ve never seen a hook fail but I have seen springs fail although very, very rare and usually from a surplus kit build.
Look at those hooks! They are forged and not stamped. The bevels in the front and the back help the bolt carrier pass by.
Here’s a better view of the three position gas regulator disc. Note the vent holes in the gas block itself.
One oversized bolt assembly. Despite what some may tell you, the PSLs and these M76/M77/M91 families of rifles are oversized AKs. The SVD Dragunovs use very different bolt carrier assemblies.
Longer than a normal AK gas pistol and chrome plated to improve corrosion resistance.
View from the side. Some of the machining is crude but effective in places.
Bolt extended in the carrier.
I chuckled when I saw this. There are two numbering systems on some of the parts – crisp machined ones and ones done by hand with an electropencil like you would see on some kits.
You an see the numbers of the key parts and they should all match.
Interesting – more holes to vent propellant gasses.
A better view of the upper and lower handguard assembly,
A view of the grip.
The buttstock has the distinctive grip area like you would see on the M76 military stocks. I have never had the purpose of that grip area explained to me.
It uses a classic Yugo military sized recoil pad. What’s noteworthy is that they have ditched the old slotted screws for allen/head-head screws.

Summary

This gives you an overview of the M77 battleworn model right out of the box. Nothing really surprised me and the quality looked good. Sometimes I buy stuff and regret it but not this time.

If you know me, you also know I could not going to leave it alone and the customizations will be in future posts.

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.

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Looking at a ZPAP M70 With Polymer Furniture Out Of The Box

In my last review, I provided detailed photos of a M70 with maple furniture [click here for that review]. I bought this M70 at the same time and it came with a Polymer furniture set. In taking the rifle apart, I saw the same extensive tooling marks.

In this post, I’ll provide photos and observations for this rifle. In case you are wondering about the setting, it was 15 degrees outside so I did the review in our kitchen – my shop didn’t suddenly grow appliances 🙂

The stock is a Promag Archangel OPFOR four position stock with an adjustable cheekpiece. It’s solid, well thought out and didn’t rattle when I shook it. The pistol grip is a comfortable Tango Down model. Note the recoil pad on the stock.
The stock is adjustable four positions – here it is fully extended. The stock does not fold by the way.
The cheek piece angles upwards in the front by pushiing the grey button. Note the sling swivel quick connect hole.
Top left, the dust cover doesn’t fit flush with the trunnion. The unique recoil spring assembly locking buttonm is just above the top right edge of the side mount rail. Speaking of which, I really wish someone would make and sell this side rail. Zastava USA doesn’t import it. You can see tooling marks on the back of the mag catch housing. The ZPAPs have tons of tooling marks but function well despite them.
In general, I like Hogue’s products. This handguard with the overmolded rubber feels really good in the hand.

Conclusion

I thought about doing a big blog post with a ton of photos showing all the machining marks but decided against it. The rifle and furniture are solid but the metal working lacks refinement. If you’d like to see the detailed photos from a M70 ZPAP with a maple stock bought at the same time as this one, click here.

Zastava turned out a rifle probably to hit a price point and could have done better but at a higher cost. I didn’t expect to like the polymer stock set but I do – the buttstock, grip and handguard all feel solid and feel good when you shoulder the rifle.


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.

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Looking at a ZPAP M70 with Maple Furniture Out of The Box

I had a chance to get an up close look at a couple of the new Zastava ZPAP M70 rifles recently. The subject of this post arrived wearing a maple furniture set and quite a bit of heft that one would expect from a larger M70 AK vs. an AKM.

To give a bit of background, the ZPAP rifles are based on the military M70B1 rifle with some changes.

  • A smaller commercial buttstock is used
  • No grenade launcher gas block
  • No night sights
  • A commercial wood grip was used instead of the very ergonomic traditional black polymer model
  • No bayonet mount
  • Semi-auto fire control group
  • A fire control group retaining plate vs. a retaining wire

For whatever reason, when I got “bit” by the AK bug, I really dove into Hungarian, Romanian and Yugo AKs initially. I always liked how the Yugoslavs took the Russian design, made it their own, and turned out some exceptional AK variant rifles. The fit and finish of the Yugo rifles always impressed me.

Well, let’s fast forward to today. I field stripped the rifles, wrote down some notes and took a ton of photos. If there was one general disappointment I found across the rifles it was the abundance of tooling marks. Rather than coming across as a refined AK, the ZPAPs come across as capable bruisers that are rough around the edges.

In terms of cycling, the finish is very smooth and the trigger feels like a typical AK. However, the lack of refinement was disappointing to me. I actually thought about taking it apart and redoing it but don’t have the time.

Now don’t get me entirely wrong – from everything I have read the ZPAP M70s are capable and nothing I saw or felt made me doubt that.

So, let’s get started at the rear and work our way forward on this photo heavy post:

First up is a steel buttpad on the male stock. You can see they are using Torx head screws vs. old school blade or Philips screws. This recoil pad is smaller than the military rubber model found on earlier model rifles – the stock is smaller as well.
Here’s a better view of the Torx screw. You may find it funny that I am making a big deal about their using a Torx screw but it is because I am so fed up with traditional blade and Philips screws on rifle stocks. If the wrong sized screw driver is used then the metal deforms and looks horrible. With a Torx bit, granted it needs to be the right size, but you can really torque on them without deformation.
This model has a maple stock set. Zastava USA offers a number of stock options including sets you buy and swap later. They retained the traditional M70B1 stock attachment method so this opens up a world of surplus and aftermarket stocks including M4 designs.
Here you can see the receiver, the selector lever with a notch cut in it to hold the bolt open, the wood pistol grip and a relatively traditional handguard other than it being made from a ferrule.
The rivets are all over the place in terms of shape and compression. It looks to me like the parts were finished and then assembled. I might be wrong on this but I am trying to figure out why the finish on the rivets looks worn – maybe it was just from rubbing in the box. I’m not sure.
The handguard has a nice pattern from the maple wood in it, They continued the use of a steel ferrule at the rear of the lower handguard to protect the end grain of the wood from the relatively hard and sharp sheet metal receiver.
You can see two very different rivets here. I mentioned earlier that the rivet heads are all over the place in terms of shape and you can see tooling marks even on them.
The dust cover has gaps between it and the trunnion. Ideally, those would not be there.
Peeking inside you can see they have a plate fire control group retaining plate. That’s cool. Note how they use the height of the plate to stop just short of the selector lever hole to keep things in place. That’s a simple and effective idea right there.
They are using a double hook trigger. The disconnector retains the tail from the full auto design. The double wound hammer spring is also very robust..
Interestingly, the selector lever stop is relatively tall on the ZPAP M70s and, unfortunately, you can see tooling marks on it. The selector notches in the receiver are nicely formed.
That’s the side rail for mounting optics and it is unique to Zastava. Nobody else makes this rail so it can be next to impossible to find them unless you buy a ZPAP M70 and use it as a base to build from. The problem with that is you can see all of the clean up required to get rid of the tool marks.
The bolt carrier is flattened with the serial number but there is also an electro-pencil (vibrating etcher) number on the trunnion and other parts – you’ll see them in other photos.
Here’s the electro pencilled serial number on the trunnion. To clarify, I have to assume it was a serial number at least used during assembly.
Here’s another example of the electro pencilled serial number – this time on the rear of the recoil rod assembly. By the way, you can see the operating side of the unique recoil spring assembly lock. Being able to lock the recoil spring part way forward makes installing the dust cover so simple compared to fighting the dust cover into position with the recoil spring assembly having a mind of its own. The lock was originally built in for handling the recoil of rifle grenades but sure makes re-assembly easy as well.
Not too bad. You can see a lot of tooling marks but the notch for the bolt is pretty well done.
Here’s a close up of the groove the bolt’s timing key rides in.
Here’s the bolt in the bolt carrier. The serial numbers are readily apparent on both parts showing they are matching.
Here’s the bolt. They tried to electro pencil the serial number on the hardened steel shaft in the filet shown above but boy, I sure can’t read it.
Machining/tooling marks are everywhere but at the heart is a very robust AK bolt face. You can see a bit of lacquer from the test rounds by the firing pin hole.
Here’s a good view of the chamber end of the barrel and the extractor cut out. Note the slight bevels from about 3pm to 11pm on the barrel face. They would add in reliable feeding no doubt – a cartridge off a but would follow the bevel and go into chamber all things being equal. There is still a riveted bullet guide between the magazine and the barrel.
The fit and finish of the wood overall is very good. The gas tube cover is nicely done.
I wish the metal work was as refined as the woodwork to be honest. The buttstock, grip and handguards are all very well done.
The lower looks good.
A close up of the lower handguard rear ferrule.
This is the lower handguard secured by its retainer. Note the lathe marks on the barrel. I would prefer smooth steel.
Rear sight block
Interestingly, the rear sight leaf is steel colored and the numbers are blackened.
They inscribed the serial number on the elevation adjustment slider.
Handguard retainer and gas block. Note the gas block still has the separate sling ring and no provision for a gas valve that one would see on a military M70 series.
Sling loop and gas block.

In Conclusion

This review dove into details that most AK buyers will not notice. There are tons of reviews and videos of these rifles that show how reliable they operate plus how durable they are by shooting tons of rounds [Click here for Rob’s review at AK Operators Union – he does solid reviews]. I did not have a chance to take this rifle to the range but it felt solid when I function tested it. Honestly, it cycles very smoothly – the tooling marks did not affect function.

The rifle appears solid and has the heft to go with it. While the woodwork was very well done, I honestly found the fit and finish of the metal parts pretty rough. Zastava could turn out a far higher quality weapon if they chose to – I’ve seen it in my military surplus kits. I have to assume they built these rifles with a lower price-point in mind and let the cosmetics issues happen. I hope they choose to turn out a higher end product in the future but in the mean time one of these rifles will give you a big bruiser at a reasonable price.

I hope all the photos give you some food for thought.


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.

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Trevor’s Cool Zastava ZPAP M70

Trevor sent me a photo of the Zastava M70 that he modified:


He provided the following info on it:

  • The furniture is from ironwood designs – it has a Tabuk-style buttstock with an AK-74 style handguard set
  • The recoil pad and lower handguard ferrule are from us (Ronin’s Grips)
  • The magazine is Serbian
  • The sling is Yugoslavian surplus
  • The brake is a J-Comp from Strike Industries
  • The rifle is a new Zastava ZPAP M70

It looks great Trevor!


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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Video: Ian Reviews The 8mm Yugo M76 DMR

Ian McCollum, of Forgotten Weapons fame, just did a review of a Yugo M76 designated marksman’s rife (DMR). I like the M76 and own one built for me by Two Rivers Arms so I was listening intently.

Ian’s M76 was built by Century Arms from a kit and he’s happy with it.

Two things I picked up that I didn’t know was that the odd looking muzzle brake’s ribs at the pack are actually threads for a suppressor, Huh… that’s interesting.

Those are interrupted threads at the back of the flash hider for mounting a suppressor.

Second off, I’d heard about the ATF mixup wherein they approved 2,000 M76s to be imported with the full-auto sears installed because the rifle used it as a safety and was never full-auto so it stands to reason it was never a machinegun. Well, the ATF decided later on that these rifles were indeed machineguns because they included the evil full-auto sear and mandated that all rifles had to be collected. What I didn’t realize was that they chopped up the receivers and created all the parts kits that we see today. Ahhhhh,,,, now I know.

At any rate, watch the two videos here – we have Ian’s review and his range visit. The M76s are interesting pieces of history and handle fairly well. [Click here to open a new tab with all of my past M76 related posts listed.]

Ian’s Review Video

Ian Takes The M76 To The Range

Kudos to Ian for another two very interesting videos. Be sure to visit his site to learn how you can help sponsor him.

I hope you found this interesting!


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

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


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.

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



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.

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.