Yugoslav M52 Sniper: East Meets West

In 1947, Yugoslavia received about 4600 Russian M91/30 PU sniper rifles as military aid, which were basically not used, as Yugoslavia had standardized on the 8mm Mauser cartridge. In 1952, however, a new sniper rifle was requested and the 91/30s were put to use. The Zastava factory took 4,618 M48A rifles of particularly good accuracy and fitted them with the rails and scope mounts from the Soviet 91/30s. Onto this, a domestic Yugoslav copy of the PU scope was mounted, and the result was the M52 (or M53, depending on the source) sniper rifle. The new optic was necessary because of the difference in ballistics between the 7.62x54R and the 8×57 cartridges.

It is unclear whether these rifles were all made and were actually put into service or not. In addition, some appear to have had the scope mounts welded into the rails and some had threaded muzzles for suppressors. Documentation is very sparse on these rifles, and I suspect there are some inaccuracies in the story as we currently understand it. Regardless, this is a very interested type of east/west hybrid design with a Mauser action and a PU optic!


  1. “Yugoslav M52 Sniper: East Meets West”
    Interestingly, if you take in account why Yugoslavia is called Yugoslavia, this title might be “translated” into: M52 Sniper: East Meets West In Country Of South Slavs
    It is worth pointing that Yugoslav Air Force https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_Air_Force as political winds were changing was obtaining aeroplanes and other flying machines, either from NATO members of WarPact members, so they often operated machines from both sides of Iron Curtain simultaneously, for example Canadian Sabre and MiG-21.

  2. [OFF-TOPIC so ignore if you wish]
    At February 26th technical-tactical for new avtomat were revealed, namely АМ-17
    overall length: 740 mm
    cartridge: 5,45×39 mm
    capacity: 30 rounds
    mass: 2,5 kg
    It introduces new “architecture” with steel roof and walls (described as П in cross) with internals “hanging from roof”, for description in English see:

    • Did I just see a western-style eastern gun?! The commissar would throw a fit if he were here… just kidding!

  3. The rifle is based on a Mauser action design, no doubt.
    The cartridge called “8 mm Mauser” in the video was designed at Prussian State arsenals and not by Mauser. This is a historically wrong name. Why not use the Yugsoslavn designatio of the cartridge as is naturally done for the rifle?
    If we look at Yugoslav documentation, the caliber was called 7.9 mm there, like the German military did from 1888 to 1945.
    8×57 is a civilian designation, comparable to .308 Winchester versus 7.62 NATO.

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