A Zastava M70AB2
|Place of origin||Yugoslavia|
|Used by||See Users|
|Wars||Gulf War, Yugoslav Wars, Kosovo War, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Libyan civil war, Syrian civil war|
|Number built||3,000,000+|
|Weight||3.70 kg (8.16 lb)|
|Barrel length||415 mm|
|Action||Gas-operated (rotating bolt)|
|Rate of fire||620 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||720 m/s (2,362 ft/s)|
|Effective range||410 m (448.4 yd)|
|Feed system||30-round detachable box magazine|
The Zastava M70 is an assault rifle developed and produced in Yugoslavia, nowadays Kragujevac, Serbia by Zastava Arms company. The M70 is actually a modified copy of the Soviet AKM assault rifle and it became the standard issue weapon in the Yugoslav People's Army in 1970. The M70 is an air-cooled, magazine-fed, selective fire rifle.
Initial development of a domestic AK variant began c.a 1959, and the first models submitted by Zastava for military field trials were with the early M64 series of rifles with milled receivers, threaded barrels, familiar Yugo handguards, gas cutoffs for grenade launching, and several other diversities from the mainstay AK design, such as a bolt hold open device on the right side of the receiver, and a charging handle that appeared different from other AK models. Though performances were satisfactory, the Yugoslav military did not adopt the rifle as the standard infantry armament.
In 1970, a second opportunity emerged, and Zastava was given the go ahead to begin with army funded mass production of the AP M70 and M70A series (Serbo-Croatian language: Automatska Puška M70, M70 Automatic Rifle) of which the M70A was the folding stock version.
Before the larger models of these rifles were made, cost-cutting measures in production resulted in the removal of the internal bolt hold open, and relocation to the magazine follower. In addition, the usual placement of the barrel through threading into the receiver was replaced by the cheaper method of pressing and pinning the barrel into the receiver. Rifles produced with these new features were known as models AP M70B (fixed stock version), and M70AB (folding stock version).
As with the M-70 series of automatic rifles, these models failed to be produced in larger quantities before further cost-efficiency production measures gave way to yet another model. This time the milled receiver was replaced by a stamped receiver of 0.9mm thickness, a firing rate reducer was added to the trigger group, and the muzzle brake replaced the muzzle nut that originally came on the two prior models. Yugoslavian AKs produced with these features were named models AP M70B1 (fixed stock) and M70AB1 (folding stock).
These models eventually failed to mass-produce as well, before final alterations to the M70 rifle design resulted with the AP M70B2 (fixed stock) and M70AB2 (folding stock) models. These last two models featured a thicker 1.5mm stamped receiver and bulged front trunnion, which was intended to strengthen the rifle in order to make it more suitable for frequent grenade launching. These two models would become the most widely produced of the M70 series, and in turn the most widely used model used by the YPA, as well as the various armed groups fighting in the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Parts kits imported into the U.S. however, show markings that appear to contradict the final fixed stock model name. On these kits the bulged, thicker stamped receiver model is actually the M70B1 model.
All of the M70 models share the grenade launching ability with gas cutoff, the lengthened wooden handguard with 3 cooling slots, iron sights with flip-up illuminating elements, initially filled with phosphorus and later with tritium (Which is used on the current production M70's), to improve aiming at night; the plunger that keeps the receiver cover in place during grenade launching, and a non-chrome lined barrel. Fire selectors have R markings for automatic fire (The R stands for "rafalna", "burst fire") and J for semi-automatic fire (The J stands for "jedinačna", "single").
- M70 – milled receiver, fixed stock
- M70A – milled receiver, underfolding stock
- M70A1 – milled receiver, underfolding stock, mount for night or optical sights
- M70B1 – stamped receiver, fixed stock
- M70AB2 – stamped receiver, underfolding stock
- M70B1N – stamped receiver, fixed stock, mount for night or optical sights
- M70AB2N – stamped receiver, underfolding stock, mount for night or optical sights
- M70AB3 – stamped receiver, underfolding stock, rifle grenade sight removed and replaced with a BGP 40 mm under-slung grenade launcher
- M92 - carbine, the shorter variant of the M70AB2
Design and features
The M70 can easily be told apart from other AK rifles by the three cooling slots on the foregrip, the light-coloured teak furniture and the black rubber buttplate on fixed-stock M70s. The M70s also have a grenade-launching sight and gas cut-off on the gas block, and are capable of launching rifle-grenades. To launch them a 22mm diameter grenade launching adapter is screwed on in place of the slant brake or other muzzle device.
The receiver of the M70 is 1.5mm thick, compared to the ~1mm receiver of the AKM, making it more rigid. Likewise, the barrel is not chrome-lined, making it more accurate than a standard AKM, but at the cost of increased susceptibility to corrosion. The lack of chrome lining is consistent with other Yugoslavian built rifles of Soviet design (such as the Yugoslavian M59 or M59/66).
- Afghanistan (imported in 2004-2005 from Croatia or Slovenia stocks)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Kenya: The weapon was seen being used by Kenyan police responding to the 2013 Westgate shopping mall shooting
- Palestinian Authority
- Republic of Macedonia
- Slovenia (replaced by FN F2000)
- Sri Lanka (Sri Lankan civil war, a small number of the LTTE rebels operating.)
- Syria (used by both government and opposition forces)
- Yugoslavia (passed on to successor states)
- Turkey
- Tanzania
- History of Zastava Arms
- "Ovdje se inače radi o oružju koje je ispitivano i postepeno usavršavano od 1959. do 1970. godine kada je konačno usvojeno." 'Oruzje Bosanskog Otpora' (Weapons of Bosnian Defense), Fadil Nurkić, p.71, 2005 (This is normally a weapon that has been tested and gradually refined since 1959, until 1970 when it was finally adopted.)
- Nakon više takvih kombinacija, pod oznakom M-64A i M-64B oružje je predato armiji na uvid." Nurkić, p.71 (After more such combinations, the weapon was handed for inspection to the army under designations M-64A and M-64B)
- "Zadržana je i odvojiva ručica za repetiranje" Nurkić, p.71 (A detachable cocking lever was also kept.)
- "Iako zadovoljni, nadležni vojni organi ipak nisu prihvatili ovo oružje, pa je PAP M-59 i dalje ostala standardno oružje." Nurkić, p.71 (Even though they were content, military authorities did not accept this weapon, and PAP M-59 thus remained the service rifle.)
- "Usvojena su dva osnovna modela, i to kao M-70 za automatsku pušku sa drvenim kundakom i M-70A za verziju sa preklopnim kundakom (A-od automat)." Nurkić, p.72 (Two standard models were adopted: M-70 as an automatic rifle with a wood stock and M-70A as the version with a folding stock (A-from automatic).)
- "Istovremeno navojna veza cijevi sa sandukom zamijenjena cilindricnim presovanim blokom, dodatno osiguranim čivijom," Nurkić, p.72, (At the same time the threading of the barrell into the receiver was replaced with the cylindric pressured block, additionally fastened with a nail.)
- "Sve to rezultiralo je i dodatnim oznakama oružja, tako da se modeli sa drvenim kundakom označavaju sa M70B, a sa preklopnim kundakom M70AB." Nurkić, p72. (This all resulted in additional weapon designations, so the wood stock models are marked as M70B and the folding stock ones are marked as M70AB.)
- "Osnovu daljih modifikacija predstavlja uvođenje presovanog umjesto prijašnjeg sanduka rađenog glodanjem iz punog čeličnog komada, ali su uvedene i druge izmjene, kao i oznake na oružju. Novi modeli oznaceni su M-70B1 i M-70AB1" Nurkic, p.72 (The basis for following modifications was the introduction of a pressured receiver instead of the previous receiver made by shaping a steel block, but there were other modifications, such as weapon designations. New models were marked as M-70B1 and M-70AB1.)
- "Međutim, kako su kod ovih modela sa sandukom od lima debljine svega 0,9 mm primjećeni određeni nedostaci, uvedeni su novi modeli M-70AB2 i M-70B2 sa limenim sandukom debljine 1,5 mm, i upravo su oni najmasovnije koristeni u jugovojsci." Nurkić, p.72 (However, since these models with a receiver made out of a 0.9 milimeter-thick metal sheet had some shortcomings, new models M-70AB2 and M-70B2 were introduced, featuring a 1.5 mm metal sheet receiver, and they were the most widely used M70 models in the JNA.)
- http://home.roadrunner.com/~m70AK3/M70.htm |M70AB2 & M70B1 Yugoslavian Battle Rifles
- "Gunmen attack mall in Kenya". NBS News.com. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/53068685/displaymode/1247?beginSlide=1. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
- Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
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