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Discussion Starter #1
The M-70B1 was the Yugo AKM with the regular 1mm AKM receiver, while the B2 was the one with the RPK type one. What years did both version begin production and for how long?
 

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I believe the M70B1 (bulged trunnion, fixed stock w/ 1.5mm receiver) was the only version of stamped fixed stock M70 until the M70B3, which is very recent. I recall conjecture that the first dated M70AB2s (bulged trunnion, UF, w/ 1.5mm receiver) appeared in 1982 and that there were three letter blocks of M70AB1 marked A, B, and C before that... if true/correct, that would put the first stamped units out in circulation 1979 and those would have been the M70AB1 (UF) and the M70B1 (fixed).
 

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I believe Dan from Norway had some pics and info on the M70B1 first pattern 1mm receiver rifles. I think health issues have slowed his posting in recent times. Dunno on the issue date for the M70B1 second pattern but I think he may have posted that and he dates above may be correct.
There are pictures of these in various countries and components on the www.

Here is an excerpt from his data>

AP M70 B1: [first pattern]: fixed-stock, stamped 0,9 mm [~1 mm] receiver, Euro-pattern AKM 'slim' front trunnion, pressed and pinned barrel. These rifles are very few and far between, and most seem to have ended up in Africa.
AP M70 AB1: underfolder, stamped 0,9 mm [~1 mm] receiver, Euro-pattern AKM 'slim' front trunnion, pressed and pinned barrel.

AP M70 B1: [second pattern]: fixed-stock, stamped 1,6 mm receiver, RPK-style front trunnion, pressed and pinned barrel. [By Zastava logic, these rifles should be called 'AP M70 B2', but, for unknown reasons, all marked examples bear the 'M70 B1' legend. The same rifle is also marketed as 'M70 B1' on Zastava's official website]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Are the trunnions of the M-70 series AKMs identical to the original Soviet AKM & RPK ones, or are there differences?
 

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Are the trunnions of the M-70 series AKMs identical to the original Soviet AKM & RPK ones, or are there differences?
The Yugoslavians followed their own path in adopting the AK. They never truly adopted a true AKM that followed the Soviet/Russian pattern. Their trunnions, barrels, gas blocks, sight bases, receiver covers, pistol grips, magazines and furniture were all different than Soviet pattern.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The Yugoslavians followed their own path in adopting the AK. They never truly adopted a true AKM that followed the Soviet/Russian pattern. Their trunnions, barrels, gas blocks, sight bases, receiver covers, pistol grips, magazines and furniture were all different than Soviet pattern.
For both versions of the M-70B1?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Did the first model (0.9mm receiver) see any real use in the JNA? Also, could it have still been manufactured after the adoption of the RPK style receiver, even just for export?
 

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Did the first model (0.9mm receiver) see any real use in the JNA? Also, could it have still been manufactured after the adoption of the RPK style receiver, even just for export?
It's not really n early vs. late design that caused the design changes with different years. Yugoslavia had plenty of milled receiver models with folding stocks when they started using stamped receivers. The lighter weight 0.9 mm receiver models were made for airborne troops. At the time that left enough milled receiver folding stock models. By the time the bulged receiver models were needed, there enough 0.9 mm models for airborne troops. That makes the production dates look like one design is earlier than the other but they were designed at the same time, only early on, fewer 1.5 mm receiver models were needed and made in smaller numbers until later. The airborne version was put into production sooner to update their rifles but other troops weren't in need of swapping milled receivers for 1.5 mm receivers. It was an effort to issue lighter weight rifles to airborne troops. The fixed stock 0.9 mm receiver models were made for export and not adopted by the JNA but may have been used by some Yugo police.
 

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Many hundreds on the M70AB1., (0.9mm) 1mm non bulged receiver kits have been imported to the USA directly from the Balkans., They show the same use and wear as the M70B1and M70AB2 imports., and were obviously issued weapons in the Balkan states..
The details and configuration of most of the M70AB1 indicate early production. The right side serial location on the receiver vs on the front trunnion, the blank front trunnion, the unmarked or etched RSB as seen on milled M70 series are common and the early milled style 3/6 underfolder assembly.
The Later heavy receiver firearms show the later features in these areas for the most part.

In the 1985 manual the M70AB1 is listed and pictured. It is noted as the same as the M70AB2 except the receiver thickness and a reference to non bulged front trunnion etc. No notation of special use that I could determine.
 

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They were made when they desired lighter rifles for airborne troops. Yugoslavia never had a large number of airborne troops. It looks like they made a large run of rifles for them and they didn't need to make them later. They had enough to last to the break up of Yugoslavia. I was in Yugoslavia from Christmas 1992 to Christmas 1997. With the previous production of milled receiver M70's there wasn't a rush to produce 1.5 mm receiver models. They already had rifles enough and the few airborne troops were the first to switch to stamped receivers. The folding stock M72 with the detachable bipod was made for shooting through firing ports in armored vehicles. There's no notation of this in manuals either.
 

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Most of the information was posted on Zastava's website. The current website has reduced the history information though. It used to say, "serialized" production of AK's started in 1967 with the M67 model. Now it just says that AK development started in the 1964 and was named the M67 in 1967. The pinned barrel milled receiver model was developed in 1969 and it was named the M70 in 1970 and the Yugoslavian military accepted the M70 in 1970.
 

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From one book, and I don't know if it is correct.

1965 - development and production of various experimental AK models begins.

1967 - serialized production of the AK begins.

1969 - development of pinned barrel models.

1970 - pinned barrel models enter production.

1972 - first year of AKM style M70.

1974 - first year of RPK style M70.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
From one book, and I don't know if it is correct.

1965 - development and production of various experimental AK models begins.

1967 - serialized production of the AK begins.

1969 - development of pinned barrel models.

1970 - pinned barrel models enter production.

1972 - first year of AKM style M70.

1974 - first year of RPK style M70.
Just out of curiosity, do you know how long the regular AKM type M70 was produced? Could it have been produced for the Territorial Defense Units?
 

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Just out of curiosity, do you know how long the regular AKM type M70 was produced? Could it have been produced for the Territorial Defense Units?
i don't know how long they were made. They could have been made to order at any time. The JNA did not issue the fixed stock AKM M70 but issued folding stock AKM M70's for airborne troops. At the time the JNA was already flush with fixed and folding stock milled receiver M70's, so they only wanted to try a lighter weight model for airborne troops. Later when they needed replacements for the milled receiver models they started using fixed and folding stock RPK M70's. Zastava offered different versions from the JNA models and at different dates for production. Even Iraq made Tabuk's in both AKM and RPK form. I think Zastava may have a bit like the Chinese and warehoused many weapons, like M70's and SKS's for export sales. Production was much higher than the JNA needs. I saw all sorts of variations there that weren't standard JNA issue but they came out during the war, with and without grenade sights, different scope rails, etc. There were some pistol grip variations and sightly different sights too. At the time I didn't pay much attention to the dates on they or try to figure out which ones were newer or older. some didn't have even have years marked that I could see.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think Zastava may have a bit like the Chinese and warehoused many weapons, like M70's and SKS's for export sales.
Or in case of a war, like if relations between Belgrade and Moscow deteriorated for some reason. Also, were all M70s made with grenade launching sights, and if so were all members of a JNA squad issued rifle grenades?
 

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Or in case of a war, like if relations between Belgrade and Moscow deteriorated for some reason. Also, were all M70s made with grenade launching sights, and if so were all members of a JNA squad issued rifle grenades?
The standard JNA M70's all had grenade sights. Years ago I did see M70's in other countries that were made without the grenade sights. So those were likely ordered export models.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
what countries did you see them? Also, were their gas blocks still the same as the standard Yugo other than the grenade sights or were they like the standard Soviet?
 

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Or in case of a war, like if relations between Belgrade and Moscow deteriorated for some reason.
Relations between Belgrade and Moscow soured shortly after the end of WWII. Yugoslavia was part of the non-aligned movement, meaning that they were not tied to the East or the West by treaties. This was the origin of the term "third world," which referred to countries that were neither NATO nor Warsaw Pact. A lot of these countries were underdeveloped compared to European standards so now the term is associated with poor, basketcase countries. However at the time this position gave Yugoslavia the ability to trade with basically any country it wished. There was a Yugo government bureau in charge of selling arms abroad; I'm sure they were involved in disposing of the 100,000s of Yugo M59/66A1s that were produced years after the M70 series was adopted... as well as any of a plethora of AK versions that clients might have desired.


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