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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love this caliber. Ever since I took my first deer with an sks, I been trying to see how much I can wring out of this caliber. I've owned 3 SKS and an AK now and have shot them all in various configurations. Ammo is cheap, and compared to off-the-shelf retail firearms, rifles chambered in this caliber are usually affordable. But let's be honest. Being seen during hunting season carrying one of these guns raises an eyebrow to say the least. No, I've never taken my AK hunting; but after mounting a scope on it and producing some nice groups at 100 yards, I began to think more and more about it. Hunting anything but maybe hogs, not acceptable for the AK. SKS carbine? The inherent flaw with any SKS, is the difficulty mounting any decent optic to it. Scoutscopes.com allowed me to mount a red dot successfully on my yugo sks, but again hitting heart and lungs at a hundred yards is gonna be real hard with that set up. I hunt for the meat; so I want clean humane kills, that drop quickly. That being said, we usually hunt ambush style around here. Tree stands, ground blinds, back porches... 50 yard shots or less. 7.62x39 is great for this, there are even hunting rounds made too. And it's all cheap enough to practice for days compared to the average hunting round. So when I first saw these rifles I've wanted one badly. Zastava M85 mini mauser. Mauser action, chambered in my favorite commie .30 cal ammo, walnut stock, scope ready....
A) it is 7.62x39
B) it's a bolt gun, capable of a traditional eye relief scopes
C) and it's a mauser too! (sort of)
Gun Firearm Rifle Air gun Trigger
Material property Soil Flooring Floor Snack
Recreation Circle Shooting sport Games
So here is range day.... If you read the "what gun did you buy today" thread, you may remember this. I won an auction on gunbroker, and upon prepping for shipping the original owner discovered the 1 lb trigger wasn't functioning correctly. So he replaces the broken timney with a 4lb timney trigger at my request, for free, via a local gunsmith. The smith works out of the shop that ships the gun to my FFL dealer, everything-despite taking too long to have in my hands- honestly works out great. Gun arrives and looks beautiful. Cycles my snap caps, goes click. Looks clean, bore is bright and shiny. All for 200 less than retail. I mounted and laser bore-sighted an old cheap shotgun scope on it, 1.5x4.5x32mm power. A great affordable scope I got from Cabela's years ago. It's been on half a dozen guns by now and I really like the low power wide angle view for quick shooting.
Get it to the range and start shooting. Almost immediately I'm saddened by a sticky bolt, trying to cycle the first batch of tula steel cased stuff. Adding to it the small bolt handle lacks the leverage required to chamber the sticky steel cased ammo, and my hand is hitting the scope. But the trigger is awesome. After shooting milsurp stuff all the time, It's heaven. Crisp, clean... surprises me a couple of times it's so light. At 25 yards it groups beautifully.
I keep shooting, moving out to 50 yards and eventually to 100 yards.
By now I've several issues going on.
1)Bolt is sticky both opening and closing. This occurs with all the ammo I bring for the day. To be noted, I brought nothing with brass case.
2)Ejection issues. Empty cases are frequently left lying on top of the next round once the bolt comes all the way to the rear. Other times the case flies and flips away as it should.
3)Group Shift. By the time my round count starts to get around 40, my groups are getting wonky. Typically I'm firing three rounds, going to the scope, checking the target. Breath for a minute, load some fresh on top. Get back in chair, get behind the gun, breath another moment or two, start looking thru the scope, settling... finger on the trigger, bang. Wrestle with the bolt. Repeat.
So I set the gun aside and let it cool. Put some rounds thru a pistol for a break. When I come back to the rifle I check all the scope mounts, rings etc.... all tight as can be. Shoot out to 50 yards. Group is now spread from 1.5 inches earlier, to about 4 inches. At a hundred, marginally larger. It was also 94 degrees outside.
So I bought a real pretty project. Doing the internet research thus far hasn't yielded any obvious answers. Century Arms, the original importer has already told me as second owner they won't sell me replacement parts. I really want original irons back on the gun. My plan thus far is to pull apart the bolt and look for signs there.
So Ktog, what'cha got? Deer season is coming....
 

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Try using better ammo before going into full bore panic mode. Steel cased ammo works fine in commy military semiautomatic. In my experience Still cased ammo is a poor choice for bolt action guns, the better the bolt gun the poorer the choice to use steel is. Try the Federal 123 grain soft point offering. No it's not as cheap as that Soviet [email protected] but you want performance, ya usually gotta pay.
As to Century Arms "help"........WOW. Cross them off the list to buy products from.
 

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Wait-wait-wait. I thought the Zastava M85 was chambered in 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington and looked like this:



The M92 looks the same, but is chambered in 7.62x39. (FWIW, I have both models.) I'm guessing Zastava just has some weird overlapping model numbers or something...? :confused:

Anyway. Pretty neat, having a bolt gun in 7.62x39. Cheap, fun shootin' there. Sounds like the issues you're having might have something to do with the lacquer coating on steel-cased rounds when the gun gets hot - it melts, gets all over the chamber and stuff nearby, and makes a sticky mess. Giving it a thorough cleaning-out to get rid of the melted mess and switching to brass-cased ammo might fix the problem, but then that kinda eliminates the cheap ammo benefit of that caliber, because brass-cased 7.62x39 is kinda pricey.

Zastava, either way, isn't really known so much for fine-quality pew-pews. The ones I've owned and seen have all been pretty crudely-finished and -fitted, but (for the most part) functional. (I think their company motto is "Is not for pretty! Is for shoot!") FWIW, there aren't a lot of companies that I've seen (especially importers) that will deal with second-hand owners of products, mainly only dealing with the original owners (and sometimes not even then). Not too many companies do the Hi-Point thing of "no questions asked, we'll fix or replace it no matter what, warranty follows the gun forever, regardless of whether you're the first or tenth owner."
 

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[QUOTE="darkwriter77, post: 2408955, member: 90218" Not too many companies do the Hi-Point thing of "no questions asked, we'll fix or replace it no matter what, warranty follows the gun forever, regardless of whether you're the first or tenth owner."[/QUOTE]

No but they WILL sale you parts to keep the dang thing running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wait-wait-wait. I thought the Zastava M85 was chambered in 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington and looked like this:
http://www.zastava-arms.rs/en/civilianproduct/sporting-rifle-m85

interesting enough though, when checking on wiki, my rifle is listed in the hunting section as: LK M85.
the little 5.56 ak variant, is the M85....
go figure.

And I would love to SBR one of those little ak guys. .223, uses ar mags, ak engineered ruggedness. Real question though, how reliable are they. If I knew they'd run like most ak's (eat everything, run forever with minimal care and cleaning, etc..)
This is a project gun I keep hoping to bump into one day, for sale...
 

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My CZ 527M doesn't have any problem with Wolf 154 grain ammo, but I've never shot more than about 10 rounds at a time. The Wolf seemed to take down deer better than PPU brass, and target accuracy with the Wolf was a little better, as I recall.

Like you say, a low power scope is best for moving shots. My little buck last year was on full lope when shot in the lung.

A Saiga Sporter gives an AK in a package that doesn't freak most people out (unless you put a 30 round magazine in it). You can get a side scope mount that is very robust.

I had a problem with a rifled shotgun not ejecting shells like you describe. I had to install taller scope rings to allow for reliable ejection. Use fired brass to check that it doesn't hit the scope.
 

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http://www.zastava-arms.rs/en/civilianproduct/sporting-rifle-m85

interesting enough though, when checking on wiki, my rifle is listed in the hunting section as: LK M85.
the little 5.56 ak variant, is the M85....
go figure.

And I would love to SBR one of those little ak guys. .223, uses ar mags, ak engineered ruggedness. Real question though, how reliable are they. If I knew they'd run like most ak's (eat everything, run forever with minimal care and cleaning, etc..)
This is a project gun I keep hoping to bump into one day, for sale...
FWIW, I haven't had a single bobble with my M85 nor my M92. They just run and run. Then again, I haven't tried steel-cased .223 ammo in the M85 (nor do I ever intend to), but it's gobbled various brands of 5.56 / .223 and the M92 eats steel-cased 7.62x39 like candy. Both are an absolute hoot to shoot with a VERY loud boom and HUGE flash. No plans to ever SBR either one, nor to add a "wrist brace" to them, because the resulting package is only, what, a few inches shorter than a regular AK, sooooo ... not much point in it, IMHO. Stows in a car trunk or in a truck easier without a stock, anyway, for those occasional zombie apocalypses. :D

Anyway. Winchester makes some brass-cased 7.62x39 that you might consider giving a try in that bolt rifle. I think Prvi Partisan makes some, too, but the Winchester might be a little easier to find (online, anyway - pretty scarce locally here). Only thing is, if that's what it turns out to be, well ... not sure what advantage it would then have over a good ol' .30-30 rifle, since the ammo cost and ballistics would be almost identical at that point. :confused:
 

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And then there's the Russians flying thermite grenade-bearing drones into the ammo dumps of the Ukrainians, which might also help drive up ammo costs a tad (depending upon which brand(s) of ammo you buy)... ;)

I don't see the Russian ammo supply "drying up" anytime soon. Even if it did ... meh. Plenty of domestic and other European countries on tap to pick up the slack. Italy, Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, Mexico, Missouri, etc. ... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So to bring this thread to conclusion, I've traded this gun away.
The brass ammo indeed did address the feed issue. Bolt was easy to close and open. And I was amazed at the trigger. But two factors really turned me off of this gun. After shooting the rifle for a hour, 4 rounds at a time with 5-10 minutes between the next 4 rounds. My groups just started walking around the darn target. The barrel was hot, and it was 95 outside too so, my guess is the thin light weight barrel isn't as awesome as I hoped. I put the gun down and put two boxes of ammo thru two carry pistols, let it cool in the shade. After an hour I came back and fired a nice 4 round group, slowly....about 2 inches at 100 yards. I then shot at target at two hundred yards. The 4 rounds were spread 3 feet around the target I hung. I put the gun down, let it cool for another half hour, and tried again. Group was now 2 feet around? Weird results. I had a Mosin nagant I had scoped and dialed in there. To see if I was tired or maybe my contacts were making me wonky, I shot it at 100 and then 200. It produced 4 inches at 100, and a lovely 10 inch group at 200; all with the 4x fixed scout scope mount, so I don't know what was up with this gun. Three range trips now and no consistent accuracy....then it began to deliver light primer strikes, failure to fire.
Drove home and stopped at an out of the way Gun store that had a .308 I'd seen two months prior. They gave me $300 credit towards the .308
I feel bad neglecting to tell them about the issues, but it was a used gun. Hopefully they've a gunsmith that might easily address this little carbine's woes... I did lose the little cheap shot gun scope I'd mounted on it. 1.5x4.5 x 32mm, I've had that scope on half a dozen rifles and loved the wide field of view it offered.

As for zastava... now at this point, I've owned and shot 6 of their guns.

M88a 9mm "compact" tokarev = traded, too many issues
LK M85 7.62x39 mini mauser = lemon, ghosts in the machine

m57 Tokarev 7.62x25 = awesome C&R range toy, with serious velocity
npap ak varient = great ak, well made, accurate
m59/66 sks carbine = stout, accurate rifle.
m48BO mauser 8mm = sweet WW2 era carbine, took forever to find a bayonet for it

Seems like this company is really good at military arms and their other stuff is pretty hit or miss....
Darkwriter, let me know if you want to part with that m85 Ak pistol....other wise I think I'm done with zastava unless its military.
 
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