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M70

Assault rifle

M70

The M70 is a license-produced version of the AK-47 with some improvements

 
 
Country of origin Yugoslavia
Entered service 1970
Caliber 7.62 x 39 mm
Weight (unloaded) 3.7 kg
Length 900 mm
Barrel length 415 mm
Muzzle velocity 710 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 600 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range 800 m
Range of effective fire 300 - 400 m

 

   The M70 is a license-produced version of the Soviet AKM. However it has a number of improvements. Development of this assault rifle began in 1959 at Crvena Zastava factory in former Yugoslavia. The first model submitted for field trials was the M64, however it was not adopted. An improved M70 assault rifle was adopted in 1970. The M70 became a standard issue infantry rifle in service with the Yugoslav armed forces. This assault rifle has been exported to a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Angola, Cyprus, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Palestine, Rwanda, and possibly Syria. After the breakup of the Yugoslavia these assault rifles, as well as other military equipment, were passed to successor states. This weapon is still used by former Yugoslavia countries, including Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. This weapon saw action during a number of wars. The M70 assault rifle is produced to this day by Zastava Arms in Serbia. Some sources report that 4 million of these assault rifles were made.

   The M70 is a gas operated, selective fire weapon, chambered for a Soviet 7.62x39 mm cartridge.

   This assault rifle is known for its unsurpassed reliability, ruggedness, simplicity of operation and maintenance. This weapon is tolerant to abusive use. It do not jams or misfires in worst conditions possible. Also it has reliable extraction even with dirty chamber and cases. This assault rifle can be field stripped in one minute without using any tools.

   However the M70 has poor ergonomics and is badly balanced. Also this weapon has inferior accuracy to most Western assault rifles.

   The combined safety and fire selector switch locks the bolt group and the trigger in the "safe" position. It also serves as a dust cover. The middle position is for automatic fire and the bottom position is for single shots.

   The M70 assault rifle is fed from standard 30-round magazines. These are interchangeable with the Soviet magazines. It also accepts 75-round drum magazines.

   This assault rifle has iron sights with a sighting range settings from 100 to 800 meters. However the effective range of fire is limited to 300 - 400 meters.

   Barrel of the M70 is not chrome-lined, making it a bit more accurate than the Soviet AKM. However the lack of chrome lining makes the barrel more prone to corrosion.

   The M70 has a wooden buttstock and a rubber buttplate. The buttstock and foregrip are made out of a solid piece of wood, while on the AK-47 these are made of separate wooden pieces. The foregrip is lengthened. The M70 can be told apart from the AKM by the three cooling slots on the foregrip.

   The M70 has a grenade launching adapter, that is screwed in place of the flash hider prior to launching rifle grenades. There is also a special sight for rifle grenades. When launching grenades, the rubber buttplate some of the recoil force. A bayonet can be attached to the weapon.

   In the former Yugoslavia the M70 assault rifle was used as a platform for some indigenous versions.

   Currently Serbian army uses a Zastava M21 as a standard issue assault rifle. It is a license-produced version of Soviet AK-74, but with some improvements and chambered for a standard NATO 5.56 x 45 mm round.

 

Variants

 

   M70A is a version with a folding metal buttstock. It is a license-produced version of the Soviet AKMS. This weapon was intended mainly for airborne troops. However it is also often used by other units. There is also an M70A1 with a mount for night or optical sights.

   M70B is an improved version.  A number of manufacturing methods were changed to reduce production costs. This assault rifle has a fixed wooden stock. However this weapon was not produced in large numbers.

   M70AB is a version with a folding metal stock.

   M70B1 is a version with a stamped receiver and fixed wooden stock. This assault rifle has a firing rate reducer. The M70B1N has a mount for night or optical sights.

   M70AB1 is a version with a folding metal stock.

   M70B2 is an improved version with a strengthened stamped receiver and wooden stock. The receiver was strengthened in order to make it more suitable for frequent grenade launching.

   M70AB2 has a stamped receiver and a folding metal stock. The M70AB2N comes with a mount for night or optical sights.

   M70B3 version has a rifle grenade sight removed and replaced with a BGP 40-mm underbarrel grenade launcher.

   M70AB3 is a folding-stock version with a BGP 40-mm underbarrel grenade launcher.

   M72 light machine gun. It is based on the M70. This weapon is similar to the Soviet RPK, but has some minor differences.

   M92 compact assault rifle. It is a shorter version of the M70AB2. This weapon has a folding metal stock. It is intended for the troops, that do not need a full-size assault rifle.

   PAP M70 is a semi-automatic version, intended fro civil customers. It is sold as a sporting rifle.

   M76 designated marksman rifle. It is based on the M70, but rechambered for a 7.92x57 mm Mauser round. This weapon has a longer barrel, telescopic sight and some other changes. The M76 was strengthened to accept much more powerful rifle ammunition.

   M77 is a tactical rifle, chambered for standard NATO 7.62x51 mm ammunition. It uses 20-round magazines.

 

 
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