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M48 rifles explained

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by ltcboy, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. ltcboy

    ltcboy Suspended

    Yugoslavian Mauser Rifles Explained

    Following my extensive update to the Yugo Mauser and German Mauser sections of our web site, I decided on a whim to search the 'net using terms like 'Yugo Mauser', 'Mauser M48', 'Mauser M98', and so on out of idle curiosity. I found a good deal more than I'd initially bargained for; the amount of misinformation on the topic of Yugoslavian Mausers was staggering! This is not to be taken as meaning "everything written thus far on the topic is wrong," only that a certain amount of what has been said on discussion groups, forums, and even by some advertisers is incorrect (again, there are many advertisers who make every attempt to correctly research and offer clients accurate information about their wares).

    This document is intended to help the reader understand a bit about these fine Mauser pattern rifles and to clear up some of the myths circulating around the Internet. Explanations and history regarding all the different models will follow. Here are a couple examples of common misconceptions and why they occur:

    - The differences between the Model ‘1924’ and the ‘M-24’ Mausers are so minor it is quite difficult to tell them apart (which explains why some people argue about the M-24 being either pre-war, WWII, or post-war, and either refinished or not). The truth is these people are mistakenly lumping the Yugoslavian 1924, M-24, M-24/47, and M-24/52 into a single designation when there are in fact four distinct variations thereof, each produced at a different time.

    - Others mistakenly confuse the Yugo M-48 designation (post-war mfg.) with the Yugo M-98 (remarked German K-98) and so on ad nauseum until the information available on the Internet is a tangle of conflicting views (some correct, some partially so, and some incorrect).

    As for the minority of advertisers who do not seem to mind saying anything and everything (however unverified or knowingly incorrect) about their products in order to increase sales, these are unfortunately contributors to perpetuating myths and untruths about a particular product on the market.
    That said, much of the erroneous commentary regarding Yugoslavian Mausers which can be found on the Internet seems well meant and not an intentional attempt to misrepresent these fine rifles.
    Click here to view one advertiser's misleading Yugo rifle remarks
    What of our ability to shed light on the subject, state factual information, and offer informed, expert opinions?

    Many who know Marstar need no further explanation however I will provide one here for clarity's sake: Marstar Canada has dealt directly with (now former) Yugoslavian military and civil officials for over fifteen years. We frequently meet and have always maintained contact with military and armament production representatives there, have toured the factories where Yugoslavian military ordnance was produced, and thus have ready access to information straight from the source.

    As stated previously, arguments on discussion forums regarding the period of production, country of origin, and whether or not they were arsenal refinished are due to people confusing the M-48 rifle with the Yugo M-98 (refer to the section on the M-98 for more details about that rifle). All M-48 series rifles feature a turned-down bolt handle.


    All Yugoslavian Mauser rifles bearing 'M-48' markings were made in Yugoslavia at the Preduzece 44 (Zastava) factory. While it is true an extremely small number of prototypes were made during the Second World War, none of these research prototypes were ever marked 'M-48'. So far as we are aware, there are no prototypes for sale anywhere in North America - or, for that matter, anywhere else in the world - and if there were one, the asking price would be understandably quite high as a prized collectors' item - and its markings definitely different from those of the M-48 series.

    These rifles are readily available in as new, un-issued condition. It is conceivable that a very small number of M-48s are arsenal refinished and some are available used, however these would definitely stand out from the rest since they would all bear unique ‘arsenal refinished’ markings. We have sold both un-issued and used condition M-48s (offering each in accurately-graded condition).

    The M-48 is very similar to the German Mauser K-98 save for the much finer craftsmanship and materials used in comparison with later-WWII German rifles. Practically all parts of the M-48 are crafted from milled as opposed to stamped steel. Typically the Mauser M-48 series rifles will be offered with a Yugo-made bayonet copied from the early pattern German K-98 wood-handled bayonet (a barrel support ring was added to the Yugo version).


    Yugoslavian Model M-48A Mauser Rifle

    This is the first major variant of the Yugoslavian M-48 Mauser pattern rifle. In order to reduce production costs without compromising quality, the Preduzece 44 (Zastava) factory introduced stamped barrel bands, trigger guards, and floor plates, the latter (along with the 'M-48A' receiver markings) being the main distinguishing feature between this rifle and the earlier M-48'
    Yugoslavian Model M-48B Mauser Rifle

    This is the second and last variant of the M-48 series, also produced by Zastava, made extensive use of stamped metal parts. All other specifications are identical to the others in the M-48 series or differ in such minute ways as to be deemed insignificant. Naturally the receiver markings are 'M-48B'.

    Yugoslavian Model M-48BO Mauser Rifle

    These rifles, of which only a few thousand were produced, are a very obscure and interesting anecdote of history. 'BO' stands for 'bez oznake’, which means 'without markings' as these rifles have NONE save for a serial number!

    The M-48BO is a true early example of a 'sanitized' weapon: there are no markings present anywhere on the rifle except a couple serial numbers. They are not even marked 'M-48'! Our sources from within the (former) Yugoslavian military state the 'BO' rifles were intended for sale to Egypt, but even the paltry few thousand which were at that point ready for initial delivery to that country could not be shipped due to the onset of the Suez Crisis of 1956. No more were produced for reasons outlined in the following paragraph.

    Following the Suez Crisis, most of the world's armies (including Egypt and Yugoslavia) phased out bolt action rifles in favour of self-loading (semi-auto) or fully automatic infantry service rifles. The M-48BO was thus relegated to the storehouse and left in packing crates until we discovered them in a forgotten corner of a warehouse a couple years ago.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2002
  2. Dale

    Dale G&G Newbie

    There is a lot of confusion when it comes to older military rifles.

    For example often you will see mention of the Mosin Nagant in discussions about Mausers when the MN is not one.

    The facts you mentioned, and others that pick up reading, are the things that amaze me about the older military guns.

    But, what intrigues me the most is the histories behind some of these grand old guns.
  3. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    Excellent info, itcboy. I added it to my Mauser data file.

    I've always been irritated by those who lump the Gewehr 88 Commission Rifle in with Mausers, when in fact Paul Mauser had no hand in it.
    I once bought a Steyr M95M at a pawnshop, where it was being tauted as a "Mauser rifle" by virtue of it's being chambered for the 7.92X57 cartridge.
    I recently bought a Chinese T53 Carbine from another shop who were labeling it a "Japanese rifle" due to it's chinese characters on the barrel.
    Sometimes this works in our favor, allowing us to get a good deal from someone who doesn't know the guns. Even so, I usually try to educate the seller on what it really is. Most don't really care.
  4. Stewart

    Stewart G&G Newbie

    Very good info Itcboy, I have actually seen a lot of this information in bits and pieces from other places but it is nice to see it all together in writing.
  5. kauaikit

    kauaikit G&G Newbie

    Yugo Mauser Update

    Thank you for the information on the Yugo mausers....just bought a very nice M48BO on AA for $146+28 & look forward to having it in the collection of other mausers. I may not even feel bad if I drill & tap for a scope since there are no markings.

    Though having only learned a few thousand are available I may wait to see how it shoots with the iron sights.


  6. kauaikit

    kauaikit G&G Newbie


    Seems you get a lot of well meaning gun enthusiast that help to contribute to the spread of misinformation.

    Your quote also got me to thinking how religion & guns are connected. It baffles me when on the gun auction sites where the sellers have "God Bless American", or "God bless our Troops" in their ads.

    How patriot is it when an American embraces an invented Middle Eastern death God of the Desert? He's NOT even our God. Can't we be more patriotic & embrace one of a hundred of our own North American Gods?

    Or better yet, let's all work together to put all three of the Desert revelation religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) on the book shelves with Greek Mythology books? This way humanity can continue to move forward instead of holding on to the past & ancient superstitious texts?

    Better to connect Guns with SCIENCE.


  7. cheapblaster

    cheapblaster G&G Evangelist

    Interesting stuff. So my Yugo marked K98 would be known as an M98. Did not know that. Thanks for an interesting and informative post.

    In other events does anybody know what, accurately, the Century offered "Bosnian Mausers" are? An M48 I'd guess, but where does the Bosnian part come in?
  8. Don357

    Don357 G&G Addict

    I recently bought an un-issued M-48 and took it to the range for the first time today. I only shot 15rds of Yugo FMJ dated 11-1956 though. The rifle was a sheer joy to shoot. I was zeroing my CETME and Stevens Model 200 .308 for deer season (both of which have scopes by the way), and after drifting the front sightly, I was able to get a tighter group with the Mauser and battle sights than the other two rifles at 100yds. I think I've found my new deer rifle! Sorry, no pics or targets for now.
  9. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    Cheapblaster, Century has never been known for historical accuracy. From what I have read over the years, the "Bosnian Mauser" is the M-48BO model, which some incorrectly consider the 'BO' designation as meaning 'Bosnian'.
    So again, misinformation becomes internet legend.

    I would not feel bad in modifying ANY M-48 variant - other owners may feel differently. But, my own M-48A is still in issue condition.

    If you can find it, try some of the 70's production Yugo 8mm ammo - that is very good ammo! I had bad luck with the 50's production ammo - many would not fire. Bad storage, I suspect!
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