The Zastava M48 rifle were a post World War II Yugoslavian version of the German Karabiner 98k designed by Mauser and the Belgian designed M24 rifle series. It was the standard service rifle of the Yugoslav People’s Army from the early 1950’s until its replacement by the Zastava M59/66, a licensed copy of the Soviet SKS semi-automatic rifle carbine, in the early 1960s.
After WW2 hundreds of thousands of German weapons were seized by the Yugoslav Army and also as part of Germany’s post WW2 reparations, Yugoslavia received tooling and equipment to make the Mauser 98, some of which modified according to Yugoslavian specifications. The K98 Mauser rifles and the M48 rifles that were based on them do not have interchangeable parts although look very similar in design and operation.
The main distinguishing characteristic of the Yugoslavian Zastava M48 Mauser Rifles from the German K98 Mauser rifles are:
- The top handguard, which extends behind the rear sight and ends just in front of the receiver ring.
- The M48s buttstock which is a bit shorter and thicker with a stainless steel butt plate
- The M48s have curved bolts.
- The M48 were designed to remove the follower from stopping the bolt from closing when the magazine is empty.