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The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

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Zeliard
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The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#1 Post by Zeliard » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:41 pm

Originally posted by carteach0.

Last year I was fortunate enough to acquire a Mauser rifle in excellent condition.
This specimen is a fine example of a Yugoslavian M-48B 8x57 Mauser type
bolt action battle rifle.

Image
Image

Following WWII, the Yugoslavs moved to rearm themselves with an eye to
self-reliance. They had production facilities left over from the Nazi occupation,
and large numbers of captured German weapons. Many of these were
reworked and standardized in Yugoslavian armories.

In the early ‘50’s Yugoslavia designed the model 1948 Mauser type rifle,
otherwise known as the model 48. It eventually had several variations
on a theme, with most staying quite true to the original.

The M48 was a fairly faithful copy of the German K-98, with some changes.
Chief among these was shortening the action to an ‘intermediate’ length,
which stiffened it considerably and made it faster to operate (although just barely).

The origins of the design are made clear when looking at the front bands and
bayonet mount, which are pure K-98 to the eye.

Image

The bolt was bent down, although not in the usual American sense. As built it
will not clear a traditionally mounted scope. It is bent enough to make
handing more efficient and operation quicker.

Image

The sights are the simple Mauser style, with a front upside down V blade on
a hooded ramp and the rear a typical ramped military Mauser sight graduated to
2000 meters. The rear notch is V shaped and quite small, making close aiming
difficult at times.

Image

Image

The stocks are usually found made of Elm or beech, which confused many
people used to seeing Walnut on a rifle. Much of the nicer Walnut having
been used during war production and on the 24/47 Mauser, the Yugoslavians
used what they had in abundance, that being elm. On rare occasions walnut
stocks have been noted, as have oak of all things.
The early M48 models are sometimes found in walnut, or leftover 24/47
walnut stocks.

The Elm furniture is often mistakenly labeled Teak, but that is incorrect.
A small run of M48 barreled actions was run off for a nation that then
installed their own wood, and was sometimes actually Teak, but the
Yugoslavian M48 and M48A was never mounted in Teak by the Slav’s.

Image

Image

American collectors encounter the M48 in four main variations; The M48,
M48A, M48B, and M48BO. The M48 being the first model, and having a
milled floor plate, the M48A being a bit later, the M48B having a stamped
steel floor plate to decrease production time and costs, and the slightly
mysterious M48BO.

Image

Image

The M48BO is often mistakenly called the ‘Egyptian’ model after a run of rifles
built for sale to Egypt, but canceled when the war with Israel broke out.
In reality, many M48 rifles were built as BO models, and are notable by having
no markings other than serial numbers. These were made for sale to nations
that wished to maintain plausible deniability as to the weapons origins.

Many M48 rifles are found complete with bayonets, sheaths, frogs,
ammunition carriers, and cleaning kits. The bayonets are standard German
style fare and are not in the least rare.

Original Yugoslavian 8x57mm ammunition was a glut on the market for
quite some time, but has now dried up. It proved to be decent ammunition,
but is noted for having rather hard primers, and rifles with weak firing pin
springs have issues with it.

Image

Image

Image

Image

There are many of these fine little Mauser style rifles available on the market,
in varying condition. The intermediate action makes it suitable for custom rifle
builds, and quite a few have gone to those projects. The bulks of those
seen are in decent condition and make excellent shooters.

There are a fair number of M48 rifles that were built in the mid 1950’s and
went into storage at once, the market for bolt action battle rifles having
dried up. The rifle shown here seems to be one of those, with a very
late serial number and no signs of wear at all. It appeared unfired when
purchased, but that soon changed.

It’s a decent shooter. Experience has proven it to be
Dependable, accurate, and of excellent quality.

The Slav’s had a nickname for the M-48, which translates roughly as
‘Old Reliable’. I see no reason to disagree!

Image

Those wishing to learn more about Yugoslavian Mausers could do worse than to
purchase the book ‘Serbian and Yugoslav Mauser Rifles’ by Branko Bogdanovich.
The author is the historian for the Yugoslavian arms industry and most
knowledgeable on the subject. He is alive and well, and as this is written
available by E-mail for questions regarding the subject.
Proud alumni of Transylvanian Polygnostic University. "Know enough to be afraid."

"Vertroue in God en die Mauser".-Faith in God and the Mauser.

"Send lawyers, guns and money." -Warren Zevon

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Re: The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#2 Post by mr.tickle » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:04 am

Great write-up! I concur Branko's book is a must have! I love my M48, kicks like a mule but is nice and handy.
I'm just here for the food...

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Re: The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#3 Post by spentprimer » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:26 am

Thank you for the history lesson on the M-48, very enjoyable article. I will have to look up the book.
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Re: The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#4 Post by indy1919a4 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:49 pm

Nicely done... top draw history write up with good photos...

Nice rifle by the way...

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Re: The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#5 Post by swede » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:49 pm

That is an awesome rifle, thanks for the info

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Re: The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#6 Post by JonnyDetroit » Tue May 21, 2019 9:42 am

Fine looking rifle, I've had a few yugo Mausers, they are fine weapons.

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Re: The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#7 Post by Dannyboy53 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:30 am

These are beautiful rifles!
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Re: The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#8 Post by nothernug » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:05 am

This is a beautiful rifle in the original topic, and it was correctly identified as an M48B, something relatively few manage to do. Regrettably, the posters comments contain several errors. As a whole, I am sorry to say, it is pretty much wrong. Sorry.
I'll address these but may have to do it in bits and pieces due to time constraints. As to who I am and why I can correct it, my bonafides will follow my detailed response. * I'll put down quotes and reply/rebut. So, here goes.
...They had production facilities left over from the Nazi occupation, and large numbers of captured German weapons. Many of these were reworked and standardized in Yugoslavian armories.
They were left with practically nothing. Before leaving, the Nazis hauled off everything of use that they could. Then they systematically destroyed everything they couldn't. The impact of this was significant and had far reaching consequences for the Yugoslavs. They were not able to build a whole rifle from the ground up until 1950 with the introduction of the M48 series rifles.
From Serbian Author Branko Bogdanovic, (edited from content in a "stickie post" on Parallax Bill's Yugoslavian Mauser forum),
"Kragujevac was liberated on October 21, 1944. The next day, workers found within the destroyed Works complex only 82 machines (half of which were out of order). The Military Technical Works Kragujevac,(What would later become PREDUZECE 44, 'nug) had been ''systematically and absolutely destroyed and had only 140 employees that repaired only 140 machines (1,5% from the prewar capacities)." In 1948, line for rifles production were equipped with 1920 machines, 825 of which were put in operation. Contrary to claims made by a prominent retailer, (and one not particularly known for honest advertising), after the war, the stolen rifle fabrication machinery was not retrieved from Germany. Though many machines had been made in Germany, they had been purchased from Czechoslovakia, USSR, and Hungary."
Branko
"In the early ‘50’s Yugoslavia designed the model 1948 Mauser type rifle, otherwise known as the model 48. It eventually had several variations on a theme, with most staying quite true to the original."
Design of the rifle began in 1948 as the nomenclature suggests however, production did not begin until 1950. The "1st model" ran from 1950-'52. Then they replaced the machined floor-plate with a stamped one. This change was accompanied by a change in nomenclature to M48A. This was produced until 1956 when the focus was shifted from arming themselves (already accomplished) to making arms for export as Yugoslavia was strapped for cash and then had little else to sell. To reduce the cost and manufacture time of the rifles they converted a number of other parts to stamped. This brought about another nomenclature change to M48B. However, for reasons not clearly understood, they did not bother to change the stamp on the rifles and continued to stamp M48"A" on the receiver ring. This of course causes much confusion and some contention as to just what is what. Some claim the M48B does not even exist. But, one of the major changes was that the trigger guard/mag well which had previously been machined from a single solid chunk of steel was now a welded assembly of stamped parts. It can be easily identified by the raised ribs running around the side edges of the trigger guard. While other lesser parts like barrel bands or magazine followers can and are swapped around on different rifles, a central part such as this make the rifle.
There is another variation; The M48bo- "bo" for "bez oznake" meaning "unmarked or, w/out markings." The bo models were left without the crest, arsenal or other nation specific stamps. Inspection and proof stamps remained. Some have opined that these rifles were "sanitized" for purposes of "plausible deniability." But that is hard to do with a rifle that only you make. Nicht wahr? The reason more plainly was for other nations who might not want to arm their troops with weapons bearing another nation's arms. Prior to 1956 the "bo" rifles were only made to order or at times ready made rifles were pulled down, stripped and had specific markings ground off then were refinished. From 1956 they were run concurrent with the standard model "B". Production continued until 1965. Despite the lateness of production, quite a few M48B rifles have been observed in walnut stocks, matched to their rifles and clearly of the same age. I cannot begin to explain that phenomenon and do not understand it. Here are photos of my rifles. The model bo configured as a 1st model stocked in nice elm. It was probably stripped and refinished.
M48bo face R 03.jpg
M48bo face R 03
M48bo face L 02.jpg
M48bo face L
M48bo receiver ring & action top.jpg
M48bo receiver ring & action top
Yugoslav M48B in walnut stock 1.jpg
Yugoslav M48B in nicely striped walnut stock
Finally, there were two experimental models that never saw production; one a shortened and lightened 7.9mm rifle based upon the M48 called the M53. Only 100 were made and other than a very few in Belgrad's (Beograd) military museum, their fate is unknown. Then there was an attempt to make a sniper rifle on the M48 the M48/52 (combination of M48 rifle plus M52 optical sight, a copy of the Soviet PU sight). IIRC there were some 1800 made and again, their fate is unknown. Any military Mauser rendered with a scope other than the side mount must inescapably be the result of the late wars following the collapse of Yugoslavia after Tito's death or plain ye olde "Bubbawerke."

The M48 was a fairly faithful copy of the German K-98, with some changes. Chief among these was shortening the action to an ‘intermediate’ length, which stiffened it considerably and made it faster to operate (although just barely). The origins of the design are made clear when looking at the front bands and bayonet mount, which are pure K-98 to the eye.
The M48 was a fairly faithful copy of the German K-98, with some changes. Chief among these was shortening the action to an ‘intermediate’ length, which stiffened it considerably and made it faster to operate (although just barely).
This statement is almost entirely wrong. The only accurate comment in all that is that the bolt throw of the shorter (.236"in./5.995mm) intermediate bolt is just barely faster than the longer standard length action. The rest is in error.
The antecedent of the M48 was Belgium's FN designed M1924 rifle which had an intermediate length action from the beginning. Established in 1918 as the Kingdom of Serbs, Hrvat(Croats), & Slovenes (identified on their rifles as CXC) Yugoslavia (named the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929) struggled to arm their troops. They finally settled on and were able to obtain financing for FN's M1924 rifle, accessories and ammunition. This became the foundation of their soldiers long arms and is reflected in their nomenclatures; M1924,* 1924A,** 1924B,*** &tc. It served them through WWII and was the rifle which became the post war M24/47.
* M1924 was manufactured as a "rifle" and two "carbine versions" identified by collectors as types I & II. All were the same length. The addition of side slings made them "carbines." type one having a bent bolt was for cavalry and type II a straight bolt was for all other troops.
**M1924A, later designated M1924Č "Č" for beginning sound of "Czech" was originally a Czech vzor24 (and some vz23) some 42,000 of which were obtained from Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. Having side slings they were designated as "carbines" and most were issued to the gendarmerie. Basically militarized mounted troops functioning much as sheriffs and game wardens of rural territory and borderlands.
***M1924Б- A rifle made as a model 1924 from two different rifles, a GEW98 and the Mexican model 1912. The job was seen as an overload for ATV or BTV (The same institution, two different identifiers used at different times for the armory at Kragujevac, now known as Zastava.) so was given to FOMU. Not many were made before the Nazis rolled in and took charge of, well, everything. :angry-cussing:
CXC rifle L & R w- crest & side rail.jpg
CXC (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats & Slovenes) M1924 "rifle" with multiple views.
More images to follow, tomorrow, hopefully...

But, however fond of it they were, they felt there was room for improvement. It was these adaptations that were identified as belonging to the Mauser model 98. As noted, the action was already the intermediate length shorter than the German "standard length" action), The bayonet lug was as manufactured for the M1924 which was fairly standard throughout Mauser models with but little variation. The band spring and sling arrangement were modified and the bolt bent, however, not so much as the German bolt so that there was no need for the stock relief cut. The M1924's wrap around, full length hand-guard was retained. The butt-plate was modified to the cupped butt-plate- that may or may not have been influenced by the model 98. That's a matter of opinion since it was not standard to the K98. Concerning the barrel bands, the retention system is a clear improvement over the model 1924's two separate band springs pinned separately to the stock. The sling loop on the M 48's barrel band is also an improvement over that used on the M1924 carbines being stronger and somewhat simpler to manufacture.
The Elm furniture is often mistakenly labeled Teak, but that is incorrect. A small run of M48 barreled actions was run off for a nation that then installed their own wood, and was sometimes actually Teak, butthe Yugoslavian M48 and M48A was never mounted in Teak by the Slav’s.

I have never heard of this so I cannot positively state it is incorrect. But, I suspect he is confusing this with another case, relayed to me by Branko Bogdanovic; That an undisclosed African nation purchased a number of Yugoslav sks rifles and provided a supply of teak for their stocks. This is the only order involving teak for any weapons of which I am aware. Branko stated flatly in his book that there was no truth to the rumor of teak stocked M48s. I believe you can lay that one at the feet of Mitchell's Mausers.
The M48BO is often mistakenly called the ‘Egyptian’ model after a run of rifles built for sale to Egypt, but canceled when the war with Israel broke out. In reality, many M48 rifles were built as BO models, and are notable by having no markings other than serial numbers. These were made for sale to nations that wished to maintain plausible deniability as to the weapons origins.
I have heard this version of the "Egyptian "bo" story but have never heard any confirmation of it's origin so do not know how accurate it may be. I do know MARSTAR in Canada ran that tale as part of their standard ad copy and weren't telling where they got it. An examination of the production tables in Branko's book reveals that far from being rare the M48"bo" models were in fact the most numerous variant made being rendered in 1st model and model B configurations at the least. Now, any rifles made and shipped to Egypt would indeed be rare but these pristine rifles 'w/out markings' are not those. In any case, the rifles are not completely devoid of Yugoslavia specific stamps. Besides the various standard inspectors stamps, there are the circled BK, and the 5pt. star over "T" proof stamps.
Concerning "plausible deniability" that is simply not the case. I used to think that too but then, it occurred to me that the M48 rifles are clearly distinguishable from other Mausers and that they were only made one place in the world; Yugoslavia. Doesn't leave much room for denial. Turns out, it's more of a case of one nation not wanting to arm it's troops with weapons sporting another country's crest. Yugoslavia might still have tried denying they supplied them and in fact no doubt did when, in 1958 the French Navy stopped a ship carrying a large number of weapons to groups training in Morocco. This led to a serious political dispute with France so it appears the denial fall flat.
Many M48 rifles are found complete with bayonets, sheaths, frogs, ammunition carriers, and cleaning kits. The bayonets are standard German
style fare and are not in the least rare.
Concerning the bayonets, I am not sure what makes them "...standard German style fare..." The Yugoslav M48 bayonets are shortened versions of the longer bayonets supplied by FN in Belgium with their M1924 rifles. They had muzzle rings whereas the German bayonets were w/out muzzle rings and with their grooved grip scales were rather unique among the world's other Mauser bayonets, mostly having plain, solid wood scales. I agree thet Yugoslav bayonets are not in the least rare.
Also be aware that many unscrupulous sellers on eBay and other similar sites are passing Yugoslav bayos off as WWI and/or German bayonets asking ridiculous prices.
Original Yugoslavian 8x57mm ammunition was a glut on the market for quite some time, but has now dried up. It proved to be decent ammunition, but is noted for having rather hard primers, and rifles with weak firing pin springs have issues with it.
This is correct as far as it goes but, the devil is in the details as the old saying goes.
There were three main batches of Yugoslav ammo, 1950s, '70s, and sniper ammo made in the 80s. All are corrosive. It was particularly the '50s ammo that had the stiff primer issues and a tendency for split necks. The 70s stuff was much better, no real problems and more accurate. The sniper ammo is great! (speaking from personal experience). No primer or other issues in particular and as the name suggests, is quite accurate. They come in a white box with the typical Yugoslav label.
At the same time there were a number of other nations 7.92 ammo available. Turk with it's 70 rounds on stripper clips in bandoliers all for $5 was very popular. They were quite hot, dirty and not very accurate and had a reputation for causing the "sticky bolt syndrome" connected with first model M48s. Still, had a reputation as great plinking ammo even when it went up to $7 a bando. (sigghhh... THOSE were the days!) Then there was Ecuadorian and Romanian; the Ecuadorian? Ugghhh! and lets let it go at that! The Romanian was light ball with a 148gr flat bottomed bullet. Reasonably accurate enough for plinking, it was reliable though with a reputation for being dirty (the fouling that is). But, I always found it cleaned easily with Dawn dish soap followed by Hoppes (or any decent bore cleaner). It was also cheap. Packed in 'spam cans' it stored easily. I still have a fair quantity of it on hand. However be advised. By all accounts the stuff now being marketed is not of the same quality at all.
There are a fair number of M48 rifles that were built in the mid 1950’s and went into storage at once,...
True. Their care afterwards might be of interest. The Yugoslavs maintained their stored weapons diligently. They used a rotation system whereby rifles were checked every 5 years. They were taken down and cleaned. Some were test fired and then all were re-treated with cosmoline and securely stored away for another 5 years. Now with that, there really is no such thing as "original finish" on the wood stocks. You can clean them and re-treat with blo, tung oil, or a blend of those and be period correct as the original manuals only specify the finish as "oil."
The Slav’s had a nickname for the M-48, which translates roughly as ‘Old Reliable’. I see no reason to disagree!
That name was "tangara" or "old best rifle." This statement I most wholeheartedly agree with!! :D


* In reference to Branko's book. I worked with Branko & Joe Poyer (book's publisher) on it's publication and helped with proof reading. Regrettably, not all the errors I found made it to the printers in time to get it in. I have had some articles published on the subject of Yugoslav Mausers (including the M48B), including working with Branko and on an article about longarms of the Yugoslav Gendarmes published in the old "Gun Report" magazine and working with John Wall was a contributor in the updates published in the 6th & last edition MMotW. I have been studying and collecting Yugoslav arms for over 15 years and am a frequent contributor on "Gun Boards" and was a moderator on Parallax Bill's milsurpshooter .net forums and specifically was a host to his Yugoslavian Mauser forum.
So that's a smattering of my background. Not 'bragging,' just trying to say why you might consider my comments to be accurate.
You can decide if I'm worth listening to.

One more thing, returning to the matter of the M48B or more precisely, is it or isn't it. Some years ago, we were all wondering where those rifles stamped M48B were? I even wrote an article on the subject entitled M48B, "The Anonymous Yugo." That was right after Branko's book came out telling us there weren't no such critter and the M48B's had been among us all this time with their M48A stamps. Over the years since, I have come to a realization. It is the M48A rifles that are missing. I started searching forums and auction sites and in every case of an M48 rifle identified as an "A"odel, and where I could make out the trigger guard, turned out to be an M48B. In over 10 years of searching, I could not, have not, been able to find a single identifiable M48A.
I finally asked our friend Branko about it and received the reply that the Yugoslavs consider the "Model A" (as I call it) the (to paraphrase) 'Best of the Breed' and have held on to those rifles as their 'last ditch' rifles. For those with Branko's 2005 book, SERBIAN & YUGOSLAV MAUSER RIFLES, the illustration on page 168, fig. 8-2 lower image clearly shows an M48B rifle but is identified in the illustration & caption as M48A. That is actually an error, mainly of understanding. It was explained to me that the M48A only meant that as opposed to the 1st model, the "A" stamped rifles had stamped parts. How many didn't really matter. The "B" designation was only for purposes of record keeping.
It is strange that people keep telling me the book has errors. Of COURSE it does. ALL such books do. It's just that North Cape publishing, since Joe Poyer retired, has no interest in an update or second edition. Ain't happening, sorry! But, when people claim that the M48B doesn't even exist, they point at that illustration as proof. When I tell them that, THAT is one of those errors, they reject the notion entirely and refuse to believe me. Go figure!
Anyway, make your own decisions on that subject, I have DONE! arguing about it!
Strange; We are asked not to judge all Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics but, we are encouraged to judge all GUN OWNERS by the actions of a few lunatics. :think:

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Re: The Yugoslavian M48B Mauser, Worthy of the Breed!

#9 Post by 72 usmc » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:52 pm

Excellent correction. Thank you for your time and efforts. Northernug just made this a better sticky. Itis worth a print out M48A vs M48 B :clap: :dance:

More info and pictures, great information:
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/paralla ... 10363.html
Jan 10, 2006#1
M48 = Milled trigger guard/magwell, magazine floor plate, follower, forward band & H-band. All parts milled.

M48A = Stamped magazine floor plate, this is the only alteration to the first model.

M48B = Stamped trigger guard* & magwell are a stamped and welded assembly, magazine floor plate, follower,
forward band, H-band. Bands are stamped, formed and welded. Branko's book also includes the butt plate in the
partial list provided as part of the model 'b'. but this is somewhat confusing since by it's nature, the cupped
butt plate is traditionally a stamped part.
* This is the most easily recognized and defining part since barrel bands are so commonly swapped around on
these rifles.

M48bo = 'bo' stands for bez oznake meaning unmarked or without markings. It has been said (including by me)
that this was done for political reasons. But, politically it seems rather pointless on a rifle only manufactured by
one country (Yugoslavia). That rather eliminates "plausible deniability" as an option. But on the practical side,
a service likely would not want weapons marked with insignia of a foreign nation. The "bo" also left a blank pallet
for another nation to apply their own crests and markings on a weapon not marked at Kragujevac.

Another thing is that a model bo may be a scrubbed and refinished M48 first model or purposely manufactured
in model B configuration from 1956. To date, no M48bo is known to have been verified in model A configuration.

On a final note, just for the record and not shown in these images, is that any Yugoslav refurbished rifle may have
been rendered as a "bo." In the case of German model 98s, plausible deniability as to the origins of a shipment
of weapons certainly could apply.
(edits by nothernug)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Picture comparison...
see link for great pictures :whistle: :whistle:
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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