Tag Archives: Zastava

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 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.


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 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.


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 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.


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 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.

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 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.


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 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.


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!


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.


July 11th: Zastava Sold Out Of M91 Rifles In One Day – More Due in August

Surprisingly, Zastava has sold all of their first batch of M91 rifles. I say “surprisingly” because I thought the steep price would deter buyers. Atlantic Firearms had it listed at $3,144.99 on 7/10 and pretty much sold out the same day. I guess I should say I was alerted they were there on 7/10 and they were gone by the time I got there. [Note: This is the link to Atlantic’s listing.]

Zastava USA is posting photos of their new M70 PAP rifles and someone asked if more M91s would be coming in. They replied that there would be more in August. Click here for the thread.

I am not sure who else got the M91 besides Atlantic so there might be some others floating around. Two have popped up on Gunbroker but without photos and that always makes me suspicious. [Click here to do a search]

Sorry, but I will not be purchasing one of these rifles at this price point. I simply can’t afford it. I have the M76 (8mm Mauser), the M77 (.308) and will stick with them. I’m hoping the rumors of a FEG Dragunov being imported pan out. [Note, my M77 cost me something like $6-700 from Centerfire hence my disappointment at the price of the M91.]


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.