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|Place of origin||Yugoslavia|
|Used by||Yugoslavia, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq|
|Variants||M48, M48A, M48B, M48BO|
|Weight||3.9 kg (8.6 lb)|
|Length||1105 mm (43.5 in)|
|Barrel length||597 mm (23.25 in)|
|Cartridge||7.92×57 mm IS (8 mm Mauser)|
|Muzzle velocity||760 m/s (2,493 ft/s)|
|Effective range||500 m (547 yd) (with iron sights)
800+ m (875 yd) (with optics)
|Feed system||5-round stripper clip, internal box magazine|
|Sights||rear: standard V-notch, adjustable to 2,000 meters in 100 m increments
front: hooded, inverted V
The Zastava M48 is a post World War II Yugoslavian version of the German Karabiner 98k designed Mauser. After World War II, the Yugoslavs took this design and incorporated minor modifications. Although very similar in general appearance to that of the German rifle, many of the parts of these two rifles are not interchangeable, especially the bolt and related action parts. The main difference between the M48 and the K98k is that the M48 uses an intermediate-length receiver. They are usually easily identified by the top handguard, which extends behind the rear sight and ends just in front of the receiver ring, although this feature exists on other models as well. M48's are regarded as a military surplus firearm and can be collected in the USA, Canada and Australia at a generally cheap price due to the numbers recently imported from Europe.
Most M48's were put into government storage shortly after they were manufactured. Most M48's that are encountered in the United States and Australia today show only slight wear—usually from storage. Many rifles are sold with accessories, including bayonet, bayonet scabbard, leather bayonet frog, ammo pouches, cleaning rod, and field cleaning kit. The rifles are normally sold coated in the protective grease 'cosmoline' which needs to be cleaned out before the rifle is fired. The condition is frequently excellent due to a Yugoslavian maintenance program that cleaned and inspected the stored rifles in rotation every 5 years until that nation's breaking up.
As such, the M48 only saw limited use in the Yugoslav Wars. Often the M48 was used as the basis for a sniper rifle, drilled and tapped for the ZRAK 4x32 telescopic sight and mounts. However, other than an experimental batch of approximately 4000 rifles, no official M48 sniper rifle was ever fielded by the Yugoslav Army. (ref. Serbian & Yugoslav Mauser Rifles by Branko Bogdanovic, North Cape Publishing, 2005)
There are three main versions of the M48.
M48: 1948-1952- The initial version of the M48, with full crest and all machined steel parts.
M48A: 1952-1956- Inclusion of stamped parts. the M48A used sheet metal stampings for the magazine floor plate. These changes sped production while lowering cost. The critical bolt and receiver which contain the pressure of the burning propellant within the cartridge case retained the same material requirements and design tolerances (i.e. were machined from forged steel) in the A and B variations.
M48B: 1956-1965- Additional sheet metal stampings incorporated. The most critical factor to understand about this model is that it continued to be stamped on the receiver ring M48A. There was no change in markings. The specific changes in parts is unverified but include stamped barrel and H-bands and the magazine spring follower. The most significant change and external appearance whereby the M48B may be identified is the trigger guard. Whereas previously, the trigger guard/mag well were machined from a solid billet of steel, it was changed to an assembly fabricated from stamped parts. The new trigger guard has a rib running around the exterior of both sides. While the exact number of changes made to this model have not been specified, the impact on production in 1956 were extensive and drastically reduced the number produced that year. There was a specific reason for this. From 1956 on, all M48 production was intended solely for export.
M48BO:1956-1965*- The "bo" stands for "bez oznake" and translates roughly as "unmarked" or "without markings." These were identical to and manufactured concurrent with the crested M48B but were not stamped with any national or manufacturer's markings.
Edit references: The Serbian & Yugoslav Mauser Rifles, Branko Bogdanovic, North Cape Publishing, 2005 Personal communication with the author, Branko Bogdanovic. Article, The Anonymous Yugo- The M48B, Military Rifle Journal, July 2008, Michael Cornell & James Golub