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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! :smile:

My first post on this excellent board, I am very glad to come here and discuss the various aspects of the AKs, since this is a dear hobby to me. My interest is mainly focused on the East German and Yugoslavian versions.

Anyway, I am fortunate enough to have a number of friends in the former Yugoslavia [including former JNA armory/depot and technical facility workers] with a great deal of knowledge on the Zastava M70-series, and they have helped me in getting some facts straightened concerning the correct JNA military model designations on the Yugoslavian 7,62x39 rifles. Here is some of what I have come up with so far in my research, I have laid a lot of work into this and I hope that some will find it interesting; [I also posted some of this information on another forum a while ago.]


Zastava M70 designations:

AP* M64 A: fixed-stock, milled receiver with two vertical lightening cuts on the left side, threaded barrel, internal bolt-hold-open.* The term AP M64 A goes for all rifles of this configuration inventoried by the JNA before 1970.
AP M64 B: underfolder, milled receiver with two vertical lightening cuts on the left side, threaded barrel, internal bolt-hold-open.* The term AP M64 B goes for all rifles of this configuration inventoried by the JNA before 1970.

AP M70: same as AP M64 A. * These rifles were officially adopted as AP M70 [no postfix in the model designation] by the JNA [Yugoslavian People's Army] as their standard issue fixed-stock assault rifle in 1970.
AP M70 A: same as AP M64 B. * These rifles were officially adopted as AP M70 A by the JNA [Yugoslavian People's Army] as their standard issue underfolding assault rifle in 1970.

AP M70 B: fixed-stock, milled receiver with no lightening cut on the left side, pressed and pinned barrel. [a.k.a. 'milled slabside M70'.]
AP M70 AB: underfolder, milled receiver with no lightening cut on the left side, pressed and pinned barrel. [a.k.a. 'milled slabside M70 underfolder'.]

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]
AP M70 AB2: underfolder, stamped 1,6 mm receiver, RPK-style front trunnion, pressed and pinned barrel.

AP M70 B3: same as AP M70 B1 second pattern, but with a front end made to take the Russian GP-series 40 mm underbarrel grenade launcher.
AP M70 AB3: same as AP M70 AB2, but with a front end made to take the Russian GP-series 40 mm underbarrel grenade launcher.

* AP is short for 'Automatska Puška', which is Serbo-Croatian for 'Automatic Rifle'. 'Automatic' in this context refers to Fully Automatic, while semi-automatic rifles like the Zastava M59/66 SKSs etc are referred to as PAP [short for 'Poluautomatske Puška'.] The term AP is generally left out when referring to all of the full-auto rifles.

* By digging deeper into the whole M64 issue, one will find that there are also several trial and experimental models of the Yugoslavian Kalashnikovs called M64, M64 A and M64 B, and furthermore that at least one of these 'development stages' were referred to as M67. However, according to two separate Serbian gents I have been in contact with, M67 was a designation used only by the manufacturer [Zastava], as the JNA nontheless inventoried all pre-adoption rifles under the M64-series banner.



-Dan- :smile:
 

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wow very good list. i've always been intrested in yugo ak's because my dad was born in the former yugoslavia (croatia) and i collect them at the semi auto copies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
shooterdave said:
wow very good list. i've always been intrested in yugo ak's because my dad was born in the former yugoslavia (croatia) and i collect them at the semi auto copies.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I have a couple Yugos myself, and they are without doubt my favorite AKs. :smile:



-Dan-
 

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Dan, welcome aboard!

And thanks for the post on designations. It's nice to get a recent list again to go off of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm glad you found it interesting. :smile:

Regarding the chart, while some of the info is fairly common, the hardest nut to break was the M64 issue. There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the correct military designations of the Yugoslavian rifles, and a great number of the kits sold by US vendors are wrongfully designated [M70 AB1 kits being sold as 'M70 AB' etc]. Even the otherwise outstanding Iannamico book has its errors when it comes to the Zastavas.



-Dan-
 

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I have known Dan for some time now and I assure all of you this guy is an amazing collection of knowledge, this forum will certianly be better with his presence! Aaron
 

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MPIKMS-72 said:
Thanks for the kind words, Aaron my friend! :smile:


-Dan-
Maybe you should say "my friend with the computer skills of a second grader"? Sorry for the mix up and thanks for the forward. Aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
30russianshort said:
Maybe you should say "my friend with the computer skills of a second grader"?
Speaking of computer skills, I ain't exactly no genius either. I've been working on this next post [see below] for about four hours now, trying to get everything orderly with the colors and all. Not an easy job when you have ten thumbs, like I do! :wink:



-Dan- :bd:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Some more data for those who are into the Yugoslavian weapons; this time it is the 7,62x39 M72-series RPKs. I've spent quite some time and resources in assembling this data, and I hope that some of you will find it useful. These are the correct Yugoslavian People's Army [JNA] designations for the Zastava M72-series RPKs; once again I have gotten the info from some very reliable sources within the former Yugoslavia. It should however be noted that other countries who bought Zastava military weapons might have used different model designations.


Zastava M72 RPK LMG designations:

PM* M65 A: fixed-stock, milled receiver with two vertical lightening cuts on the left side, threaded barrel, internal bolt-hold-open, non-detachable bipod. Rifle receiver* counterpart: AP M64 A/AP M70-no postfix.* The term PM M65 A goes for all RPKs of this configuration inventoried by the JNA before 1972.
PM M65 B: underfolder, milled receiver with two vertical lightening cuts on the left side, threaded barrel, internal bolt-hold-open, non-detachable bipod. Rifle receiver counterpart: AP M64 B/AP M70 A.* The term PM M65 B goes for all RPKs of this configuration inventoried by the JNA before 1972.

PM M72: same as PM M65 A. Rifle receiver counterpart: AP M64 A/AP M70-no postfix.* These RPKs were officially adopted as PM M72 [no postfix in the model designation] by the JNA as their standard issue fixed-stock LMG in 1972. .
PM M72 A: same as PM M65 B. Rifle receiver counterpart: AP M64 B/AP M70 A.* These RPKs were officially adopted as PM M72 A by the JNA as their standard issue underfolding LMG in 1972.

PM M72 B: fixed-stock, milled receiver with no lightening cut on the left side, pressed and pinned barrel, non-detachable bipod. [a.k.a. 'milled slabside M72'.] Rifle receiver counterpart: AP M70 B.
PM M72 AB: underfolder, milled receiver with no lightening cut on the left side, pressed and pinned barrel, non-detachable bipod. [a.k.a. 'milled slabside M72 underfolder'.] Rifle receiver counterpart: AP M70 AB.

PM M72 B1: fixed-stock, stamped 1,6 mm receiver, typical RPK-style front trunnion, pressed and pinned barrel, non-detachable bipod. Rifle receiver counterpart: AP M70 B1 second pattern.
PM M72 AB1: underfolder, stamped 1,6 mm receiver, typical RPK-style front trunnion, pressed and pinned barrel, detachable bipod. Rifle receiver counterpart: AP M70 AB2.


Naturally, there is no Zastava RPK counterpart to the 0,9 mm stamped AKM-type AP M70 B1 first pattern and AP M70 AB1 rifles, since logically no RPKs were manufactured with a non-RPK-type front trunnion.


* PM is short for the Serbo-Croatian term 'Puškomitraljez', and can be practically translated as 'Light Machine Gun'. The term is generally left out when referring to these weapons.

* The Zastava PM M65/M72-series RPK receivers differ from their respective AP M64/M70-series rifle counterparts' receivers only in the lack of the receiver cover retaining button on the rear trunnion.

* By digging deeper into the whole M65 issue, one will find that there are also several trial and experimental models of the Yugoslavian RPKs called M65, M65 A and M65 B.



-Dan- :smile:
 

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Great info, appreciate it!

If you could do us all a big favorite; contact your friends in the former Yugoslavia and please confirm the wood that was used on their AP M70 rifles. It gets tiresome telling folks that it is Euro Elm and not Teak from the Pacific.

Thanks!
 

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Great info and resource. Maybe something worth nmoting in your designations is that model designations on the front trunnion seemed to first appear with the M70B1 second pattern and M70AB2 rifles or that conversely earlier models did not contain engraved designations.. Just a small nuance and your list alludes to it but does not statec it. Great work. :dance:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
nfafan said:
Great info, appreciate it!

If you could do us all a big favorite; contact your friends in the former Yugoslavia and please confirm the wood that was used on their AP M70 rifles. It gets tiresome telling folks that it is Euro Elm and not Teak from the Pacific.

Thanks!
That is true, a lot of people seem to believe that Teak was used on the Zastava M70. This might have to do with the fact that some of the completely different civilian market bolt-action Zastava M70 hunting rifles could be had in an 'exclusive version' with optional imported Teak stocks. This has noting to to with the Zastava Kalashnikovs though.

I've shown two different sets of Zastava M70 Kalashnikov handguards to two different custom woodworkers that I know, and both confirmed one set [from my 1983 M70 AB2] to be Beechwood. At the same time they both also agreed to the other set [don't know what year or model it comes from] was made from Elm.


-Dan-
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
AKBLUE said:
Great info and resource. Maybe something worth nmoting in your designations is that model designations on the front trunnion seemed to first appear with the M70B1 second pattern and M70AB2 rifles or that conversely earlier models did not contain engraved designations.. Just a small nuance and your list alludes to it but does not statec it. Great work. :dance:
Thank you. :smile:

I didn't know how to really incorporate that info into the designations chart, since both the M70 B1 second pattern and the M70 AB2 had been produced for some time before they started engraving the model designation on the front trunnion. There are also other differences, such as spot welded vs non-spot welded front trunnions.

I have three original stamped RPK-trunnion Yugoslavian rifles, and only one of them have a year/model designation on the front trunnion.

I would love to have something as unique as your XM66A though, I saw it on the AK Files, and it is a beauty! ;)



-Dan- :smile:
 

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MPIKMS-72 said:
nfafan said:
Great info, appreciate it!

If you could do us all a big favorite; contact your friends in the former Yugoslavia and please confirm the wood that was used on their AP M70 rifles. It gets tiresome telling folks that it is Euro Elm and not Teak from the Pacific.

Thanks!
That is true, a lot of people seem to believe that Teak was used on the Zastava M70. This might have to do with the fact that some of the completely different civilian market bolt-action Zastava M70 hunting rifles could be had in an 'exclusive version' with optional imported Teak stocks. This has noting to to with the Zastava Kalashnikovs though.

I've shown two different sets of Zastava M70 Kalashnikov handguards to two different custom woodworkers that I know, and both confirmed one set [from my 1983 M70 AB2] to be Beechwood. At the same time they both also agreed to the other set [don't know what year or model it comes from] was made from Elm.


-Dan-
Yes, you are correct about the unmarked earlier models (forgot about those) as I have a kit like that with no model designation marks but appears to be a M70B1 second pattern.

As to the Teak., the real misinformation in the USA came from Mitchell Arms in the advertising about their early pre-ban rifles they listed the stocks as being Teak. See their old ad below. This has perpetuated the Teak myth as an urban/internet legend. But I think pretty much discredited on most any knowledgeable site with an AK or SKS type forum.
Thanks for the compliment on the XM66A., fun build and unique I think. Can I get it added to your model designation list? Ha! :beer:
Great work on compiling the Yugoslavian data. :hail:

Read the Mitchell description. Excerpted from the "Grim Reaper"


 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
AKBLUE said:
As to the Teak., the real misinformation in the USA came from Mitchell Arms in the advertising about their early pre-ban rifles they listed the stocks as being Teak. See their old ad below. This has perpetuated the Teak myth as an urban/internet legend. But I think pretty much discredited on most any knowledgeable site with an AK or SKS type forum.
Thanks for the compliment on the XM66A., fun build and unique I think. Can I get it added to your model designation list? Ha! :beer:
Great work on compiling the Yugoslavian data. :hail:

Read the Mitchell description. Excerpted from the "Grim Reaper"
Thank you so much for the positive feedback on the Yugoslavian data, it is really nice of you. :smile: Your XM66A is already added to my personal Favorite Zastava Custom Build list, ranking at #1. Hope that counts! :wink:

It was really interesting to see the copy of the Mitchell ad, thanks for sharing. I don't have the Grim Reaper book yet, although I have read the Yugoslavian section of it, which is full of errors. That being said, it should be mentioned in all fairness that it also contains a good piece of correct and useful information.

Funny thing about that Mitchell ad, it shows the milled M70 ['M64 A'] and M70 A ['M64 B'] with grenade sights. Were semi-automatic milled-receiver guns ever imported? And did any of the Mitchell Zastava AKs have grenade sights? The only Mitchell Zastava standard barrel length 7,62x39 rifles that I have seen in pics, were fixed-stock stamped receiver rifles along the lines of the M70 B1 2nd pattern, and all had the ordinary gas block, not the gas cut-off type. And does anyone know if semi-automatic Mitchell Zastava 7,62x39 underfolding AKs were ever imported?

Another funny thing is the Mitchell Zastava M72 RPK; fixed-stock military full-auto 7,62x39 and 7,62x51 Zastava RPKs were never issued with the detachable bipod shown in the ad. Seems like this was a semi-only thing.



-Dan- :smile:
 

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AFAIK, Mitchell never imported the milled receiver M70/M64 rifles to the USA nor any with the grenade launching site. Dunno about the underfolder or RPK bipod. But Mitchell did put together some odd ball stuff.
I agree on the Grim Reaper in terms of errors and incorrect illustrations. But as a reference it is still great for an AK dummy like me to peruse the models, markings and such..
I notice he states in the book that the original M64 had a longer barrel than the subsequent models. Is this true?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
AKBLUE said:
I notice he states in the book that the original M64 had a longer barrel than the subsequent models. Is this true?
Several of the prototypes of the M64 had longer barrels, and at least one of these are said said to be called simply 'M64' with no postfix in the model designation, while another is said to be called 'M64 A'. Like I said above;

By digging deeper into the whole M64 issue, one will find that there are also several trial and experimental models of the Yugoslavian Kalashnikovs called M64, M64 A and M64 B.

These are weapons that never saw service with any active JNA units, although they most certainly underwent JNA testing.

Pictures of a couple of these prototypes can be seen in the Bosnian Fadil Nurkic book 'Oružje Bosanskog otpora'. I have ordered a copy of this book through a friend in Serbia, and I will try to post scans of the relevant pages when [or if] it arrives. Haven't heard anything from my friend there for a while though, so it may take some time.

Here is a picture of one version of the long-barrel experimental M64 A rifles [found this picture on a Serbian website]. Not hard to see where the Tabuk sniper has its roots;



[As a side note regarding the Tabuks, I could mention that one of the Serbs that I know, a gent with a lot of knowledge on the Zastava Kalashnikovs, told me that both the Tabuk sniper rifle and the Tabuk carbine were actually Yugoslavian patterns that just never saw mass-production, and that the Iraqis never developed any of their Tabuk Kalashnikovs on their own. This is information that needs to be verified though, but I personally don't doubt his words, since Zastava came up with a whole lot more interesting patterns than those that we know of.]

Zastava made a whole bunch of different pattern 'M64/-A/-B' weapons in the early days of development, some of the M64-series versions even had pressed and pinned barrels as early as the mid-60s. Interesting for sure, when one knows that the first military adopted rifles [under the names M70 and M70 A] had threaded barrels. Another interesting thing is that some of the M64-series experimental models borrowed features from the Finnish Kalashnikov models.

Yet another thing that could be mentioned is that it is not entirely unlikely that some of the experimental specimens saw action during the horrible Yugoslavian civil wars, since at least one of the firearms testing grounds were on Bosnian soil, and that this specific facility had its armories looted by civilians in 1991, with hundreds of Kalashnikovs disappearing into unknown hands. Some experimental models might have been among these weapons.

Thanks for clearing out the Mitchell grenade-launcher question by the way, highly appreciated. :smile:



-Dan- :smile:
 
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