For gun aficionados and collectors, one of the popular military surplus rifles from Europe is the Yugoslavian Mauser 8mm, aka the Zastava M48. Over a million of these guns were produced, and many have found their way to the US.
Characteristics of the Gun
The Mauser M48 is a bolt-action rifle which takes the 7.92×57mm (8mm Mauser) cartridge. Developed for the Yugoslavian government’s army, they were produced from 1950 to the early 1960’s, and mechanically they were the same as the 24/47, which were built from refurbished pre-World War II Yugoslavian Model 24 Mausers.
Most of the parts are made from milled steel, with a few parts being stamped. This kept production costs low. The rifle has several variants. The M48 and M48A variants have the model number stamped under the crest. Rifles without crest or model number are M48BO and M48B models meant for export.
The M48 was a fine weapon for sniping, due to its effective range of 550 yards with iron sights and 875 yards with a scope.
The M48 has a 23.25-inch barrel, a five-round magazine and weighs 8.2 pounds. Most stocks are made from elm or beech wood and have a thick stainless steel butt plate.
What It’s Good For
The Mauser M48 is great for plinking and target shooting as well as recreational shooting in general. With its history of use for sniping, you can have fun on the range as well as outdoors, with potshots at targets up to 500 yards away possible.
The bolt-action rifle may take some getting used to for first-timers, but the satisfaction of using a gun that’s over 50 years old and made with high-quality machinery has to be experienced.
All you need to do is use good quality 8mm ammo, sight in the rifle a few times to adjust the sights, and then you’re all set to have fun with plinking and target shooting. Setting the sights can be tough because they are not adjustable for windage.
Using old ammo can have interesting results, see some of our surplus ammo hangfire.
Owning an M48 means owning a piece of history, as they were made for the Yugoslavian government’s army to be used for the initiation of violence in the region, as well as for other countries. They can be obtained at a reasonable price and make great collector’s items.
Josh Lewis is a lifelong gun fanatic and shares his thoughts on the best rifles and accessories on his website Gunmann.com.