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Zastava M48 Mauser: MILSURP Gem

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The Zastava M48 — there are numerous prefer it, however this one is mine!

Mausers are the gold normal for MILSURP rifles for many people, myself included. Positive, there are other great designs like the Swiss Okay31 and British SMLE, but no collection of rifles has been more persistently wonderful like those which might be based mostly on the Mauser 98 motion. Sorry if that pisses off any Mosin-Nagant-o-philes out there, however it’s a reality. I really like my Mosins too, but the fact is that they’re rubbish next to any Mauser 98 variant in affordable situation. I embrace the M1903 Springfield in that latter group since most of us know that the ’03 motion was primarily a Mauser copy. Mauser sued over it too but received sidetracked by somewhat dust-up often known as World Conflict I.

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Listed here are some things to know concerning the Mauser M48 — weigh in afterward and assist us tell some extra of this MILSURP gem’s story!


The M48 Mauser, Yugoslavian fashion

Among the best examples of the Mauser collection was not manufactured in Germany, but in Yugoslavia within the late 1940s and 1950s. As a part of the reparations Germany needed to pay after World Warfare II, Yugoslavia acquired tooling and gear to make the Mauser 98, specifically the Karabiner 98 kurz (Okay98okay or KAR 98) version which was the standard-issue infantry rifle for the Wehrmacht proper via the top of the warfare. Despite the fact that the bolt motion infantry rifle was pretty much obsolete by then, the Yugoslavians set up the Preduzece 44 facility (a part of Zastava) to fabricate what turned the M48 Mauser variant. Preduzece 44 was later generally known as the “Pink Banner” plant.

You understand, because communists.


A Yugoslav M48 Mauser - Zastava type!


What makes the M48 Mauser distinctive?


The M48 was not a carbon copy of the Okay98okay, though there are similarities. The M48 isn’t quite an inch shorter in general length, measuring 42.75 inches, with a 23.25-inch barrel in comparison with 23.62 inches for the Okay98okay. The load of each rifles can range by a couple of ounces both method. The listed weight for the Okay98okay is 8.2 to 9 kilos. The M48 is in the same range, with 8.6 kilos being the usual. In response to my scale, my M48B is available in at eight.2 kilos unloaded.


A number of options of the rifles are totally different too. The upper handguard on the M48 covers the barrel all the best way again to the receiver, whereas the Okay98okay only goes again to the front edge of the rear sights. Perhaps not an enormous deal, however the barrel will get damned scorching after a couple of rounds and that additional safety is good when dealing with the weapon after placing it via its paces. The rear sight will get scorching too because it’s mounted on the barrel via a slot in the upper handguard.

The bolt handle is curved at approximately an 45-degree angle, in contrast to the Okay98okay, which is turned down at an angle sharp sufficient to prompt the need for a cutout within the stock to accommodate it. I admit it’s a matter of private choice, but I feel the M48 is superior on this regard as a result of it’s easier to get a agency grip on the bolt deal with. The deal with is shaved flat on the underside, a function I actually like.


M48 Mauser bolt handles


Probably the most vital difference in the weapons is the length of the bolt itself, though it’s only an eighth of an inch and there’s no noticeable distinction when cycling the two actions. The significance lies in that the 2 aren’t interchangeable, as are the standard measurement 98 bolts (subject to caliber, wear, and headspace). The M48 bolt is interchangeable with the sooner Serbian-produced M24 Mauser variant, which can also be of the intermediate length. Again, interchangeability is topic to put on and headspace.


M48 Mauser bolt side

M48 Mauser Motion

The motion itself, along with quality manufacture, is the secret to the success of the Mauser. The product of years of improvement by Paul Mauser and his late brother Wilhelm, even at this time the 98 motion might be the apex of the bolt motion rifle system. Paul Mauser’s ultimate version options two forward locking lugs, with a third lug within the rear designed as a ultimate precaution towards catastrophic failure. The motion is so strong that, when produced with proper supplies, it could deal with 100,00zero pounds of strain and still remain operational. In fact, it couldn’t stand up to such pressures for lengthy, and the standard World Warfare II 8mm Mauser load exerted about 45,000 psi.


M48 Mauser actionThe action is the secret to the Mauser’s success.


M48 Mauser action side viewM48 Mauser action, aspect view.


Safety mechanism

Other innovations of the Mauser 98 action are the powerful claw extractor, first developed in 1892, and the 18-pound mainspring driving the firing pin. Some of the recognizable features of the Mauser motion is the three-position security at the rear of the bolt. The primary position, to the left, renders the rifle absolutely operational. The second place, straight up, disengages the set off mechanism but allows the action to cycle, allowing for straightforward and protected unloading, or for the operator to securely remove the bolt for inspection or troubleshooting with out unloading the rifle, which is beneficial in the subject. The third position, to the best, disengages the trigger and locks the bolt totally.

The security is milled steel, very strong, extremely visible, and simply operated. Trendy excessive finish Mauser searching rifles nonetheless use the 98 action with a version of this security mechanism. One other fascinating function of the action is the power to decock the action with out dry-firing the weapon. Lifting the handle cocks the bolt, however decreasing the deal with with the set off pulled decocks it. This can be a helpful functionality when cleansing or servicing the motion.


Three position Mauser safetyThree position Mauser safety. 


Loading a Yugo M48 Mauser magazine

The system contains a five-round inner field journal. Rounds could be loaded individually or by a stripper clip. I’ve seen stories that credit Paul Mauser with the invention of the stripper clip, but that doesn’t look like the case. What’s true is that Mauser drastically improved upon the design of the clips and the 98 system could be the first to permit the clip to be discarded just by closing the bolt after loading the rounds. In contrast to the Okay98okay, the follower does not cause the bolt to lock open after firing the last spherical.


M48 Mauser action open and closed.The M48 Mauser action open and closed.

Professional tip! In case you’re going to be capturing an 8mm weapon, be cautious of Turkish 8mm Mauser surplus.

Special markings that you simply’ll discover on an M48 Mauser

One thing MILSURP collectors (no less than this one) love is the cool markings and features of these previous warhorses. The M48 doesn’t disappoint right here, at the very least in the models prior to the M48BO. The receiver ring has the Yugoslav Crest, that includes the date 29 November, 1943, which was the day the communist Anti-Fascists reestablished the “Republic” of Yugoslavia. The weapon’s model designation seems slightly below the seal and the Preduzece 44 stamp is on the left aspect of the receiver (shout out to my buddy Ben Sorensen for translating the Cyrillic script and tipping me to the date and its significance). Since so many went unissued, it’s straightforward to seek out rifles with matching serial numbers on the receiver, bolt deal with, magazine floorplate, and buttstock.


Yugoslavian M48 Mauser CrestYugoslavian M48 Mauser Crest.



M48 Mauser buttstock with serial number and floorplate.The serial quantity on an M48 Mauser buttstock and mag floorplate.


There are four primary variations of the M48 army rifle. Probably the most desirable is the original M48. It’s very nicely made with all milled elements and a pleasant, sturdy stock of elm, birch, beech, or walnut. There are some claims of the shares being teak, however that’s not true. Teak wasn’t obtainable, and importing it from Southeast Asia would have been uneconomical. Appears the rumor obtained began as a result of some early imports appeared like teak and no one bothered to verify. Zastava has since confirmed that teak wasn’t used. The opposite versions embrace the M48A, M48B, and M48BO.

Budgetary considerations led to using some stamped elements beginning with the M48A, which is discernable by the stamped magazine flooring plate. The M48B has a stamped flooring plate and barrel bands, in addition to a stamped two-piece set off guard. The problem here is that most of the M48Bs nonetheless have “M48A” stamped on the receiver ring beneath the cool Yugoslav crest. That is how mine is marked and I didn’t understand it was an M48B until I started researching this article. These fashions are typically known as the “M48A-B.” The ultimate model is the M48BO. It’s primarily an M48B, nevertheless it doesn’t have any nationwide markings as a result of it was designed solely for export.


Preduzece 44 stampThe Preduzece 44 stamp.


Zastava did manufacture a shorter-barreled sporting rifle based mostly on the M48 generally known as the M48/63. It was discontinued in 2013. Some of these have been marketed by a sure import firm, typically accused of doctoring MILSURPS to make them extra fascinating, as “Tanker Mausers.” They’re good rifles, however don’t fall for the advertising that they have been designed for or utilized by armored troops. Not that many listed here are more likely to consider that nonsense.


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M48 Mauser Ammo

The M48 is chambered for the 8mm Mauser (7.92x57mm) cartridge. Surplus ammo continues to be out there, though the stocks are clearly finite. I couldn’t find stats on all the surplus stuff, but I was capable of decide that the muzzle velocity of ordinary World Struggle II rounds was 2880 fps. The Shooter’s Bible lists fourteen commercially-available masses by numerous manufacturers with a mean muzzle velocity of 2451 fps and a mean power expenditure of 2463 ft/lbs. In my experience, the 8mm Mauser spherical compares favorably with my trusty 30.06 and I haven’t hesitated to hunt deer and hogs with it.


M48 Mauser trigger

The trigger on the M48 is surprisingly good for a MILSURP. It’s a two-stage setup with a few half-inch takeup before a clean break. Truthfully, I like the trigger on mine higher than any of my business searching rifles. I can’t examine it to a modern Mauser searching rifle because the fund for that one continues to be being collected.


Sights on the M48 Mauser

The sights are typical of the time and sufficient, if not great. They include a regular rear notch coupled with a hooded entrance submit, which is theoretically adjustable for windage however in actuality, is a pain in the ass. The hood protects it fairly properly when you get it zeroed. The hooded front sight is good, however the low profile of the rear notch could make quick acquisition less than environment friendly at occasions, particularly in low mild circumstances. Like different MILSURP bolt rifles of the day, the rear sights are optimistic, ranging out to 2000 meters, though they oddly would not have a 100-meter setting and begin at 200 as an alternative. The efficient vary of the weapon is about 500 meters, obviously depending on load, mild, and shooter competence. The low profile rear sights play a task here too, as longer-range targets are harder to see than they may be in any other case. This is not, neither is it meant to be, a precision weapon, although it’s as correct as you possibly can anticipate any MILSURP to be. Some M48s have been transformed to fill the sniper position, however I’ve no expertise with these or with any scoped model. Since my policy is to only write about weapons I’ve personally dealt with over a time period, I’ll provide a link if you wish to learn more about them.

Most M48s went unissued since they have been shortly outmoded by such Communist-bloc mainstays because the SKS and AK-47, though some have seen service in the Balkan civil wars. Still, the weapons have been diligently maintained by the Yugoslavians, who pulled them out of storage on a rotating five-year basis, cleaned them, coated them in new cosmoline, and put them again. Due to this care, many are in good to wonderful situation, with shiny bores, clean actions, and sometimes lovely shares. The stock has a heavy, slightly concave, metal buttplate that provides it just a little additional heft, however it’s a sturdy SOB.


Mauser sights


Aspect-mounted sling

One other unique function of the later Mauser designs is the side-mounted sling. I don’t know whether I prefer it or not. On one hand, it’s mounted in order that, while slung, the set off guard or bolt deal with doesn’t dig into your back. Whole lot, though I can’t actually say I’ve ever been bothered by that. Then again, once you’re firing the rifle the sling doesn’t cling straight down but slightly stands proud to the left, typically getting in the best way. It takes some getting used to. One answer is to tighten the sling so far as it can go, but that makes it inconceivable to shoulder until you occur to be a thin supermodel, which I most assuredly am not. Decide your poison, but neither one is a deal breaker for me since I exploit this rifle to hunt and blow holes in stuff on the range. The excess slings I’ve found have been pieces of crap, however I acquired a pleasant new one from the high-quality people at RTG Elements.

Last evaluate

All advised, my M48 is my favourite MILSURP rifle. The superb condition, lovely inventory and, above all, the Mauser 98 action, make it a damned wonderful specimen. My Madsen M47 is close, however the Mauser action is the difference maker. About 1.2 million of those rifles have been manufactured, although some fashions are more fascinating than others, so they’re available. Costs are in the $350.00 to $400.00 range. They aren’t as collectible as the Okay98okay, especially the earlier-produced rifles with Nazi markings, however the M48 matches its German cousin in quality and performance, and is usually in higher situation. If MILSURP weapons are your factor, or for those who just need a robust, high-quality bolt action rifle for not a lot of money, the Yugoslav M48 is tough to beat.

M48 Mauser Rear SightM48 Mauser Rear Sight


So, are we missing something here? What’s your favourite old-fashioned bolt gun? Hit us up within the comments under!



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