Zastava Arms USA will have a new M70 AKM configuration coming around in late February 2021. Zastava USA brought their new rifle to TFB’s GunFest 2021 for us to get a good look. The modernized M70 will have numerous new features coming from the factory, such as a specially made muzzle brake, full length, M-LOK compatible aluminum handguard, a side-mounted optics rail that’s aligned with the barrel, along with a Tango Down pistol grip and Magpul Zhukov stock.
The ZPAP M70 from Zastava has been available with wood and polymer furniture for a while, but Zastava wanted to make a more modular configuration to appeal to shooters that like to be able to customize the rifle to their needs. To bring that to market, Zastava had some work to do. CEO, Ranko Ristic explained that they’ve always retained the 1.5mm receiver thickness which was originally designed to withstand the use of rifle grenades, which leaves most side-mounted optics rails slightly offset. Thus, they designed a brand new side-mounted optics rail that would be in-line with the barrel, which still allows the use of the iron sights, or of course, any optics the end user would desire. The optics rail also incorporates a mini offset rail segment for a secondary red dot.
The aluminum full-length handguard stops just short of the muzzle of the 16.25 inch long chrome-lined barrel and has slab sides with M-LOK compatible slots, as well as on the bottom. The left side of the handguard will feature a cutout for standard sling attachments. This cutout was desirable to Zastava so that customers wouldn’t need to permanently modify their rifles, either from the factory, or once the handguard becomes available separately. Currently, they’re only equipping complete rifles, but Zastava hopes to have them, along with the optics rail for sale separately in the future. The newly configured M70 in 7.62x39mm, so far unnamed (Mr. Ristic said they’re open to suggestions), should be available near the end of February 2021. Once the aluminum handguard becomes available for sale, users will be able to easily install it themselves using the standard handguard mounting points and six screws.
Zastava’s standard M70 rifle is available with polymer, light maple or walnut furniture with an MSRP of $923. For the modernized configuration, they didn’t have an exact MSRP, but naturally expected it to top $1000, and will ship with one Magpul 30 round magazine.
ZASTAVA MODULAR M70 FEATURES
- Full length, aluminum handguard, M-LOK compatible
- Side-mounted optics rail
- Offset, 45-degree mini rail for secondary optics
- Tango Down pistol grip
- Magpul Zhukov folding stock
- (1) Magpul 30 round magazine
- Chrome lined barrel
- Removable ported muzzle brake
- Bolt hold-open notch in the safety selector
What do you think about the new modernized M70 rifle from Zastava?