There are quite a few good deals to be had in the firearms world nowadays. There’s a glut of AR-pattern rifles and parts available at affordable prices, owed to the fact that many panic-buyers are still attempting to offset their overspending, and that manufacturers are ramping up production to meet demand.

Being able to build a good AR-15 for about $700 is well and good for the general shooting public, but what about those of us who like our guns to be a bit more unique—and supply a bigger bang? Luckily, for those of us whose tastes are a bit more unconventional, Century International Arms (CIA) began offering the affordable-but-well-made Zastava Arms PAP M77 PS rifle in .308 Winchester last year. The M77 has flown under the radar of many shooters, and this economical blaster deserves a lot more attention than it’s garnered so far.

A right-side view of the Zastava PAP M77 PS rifle.
A right-side view of the Zastava PAP M77 PS rifle.


Zastava Arms has been in the arms-making business for over a century, and they know their stuff. American collectors and shooters would certainly recognize their offerings, though not necessarily the name behind them. Zastava is the manufacturer of firearms like the M70 AK series and its derivatives, and Mauser pattern bolt-action rifles (such as the M85 “Mini Mauser,” reviewed by OutdoorHub’s Dick Jones here). Zastava also made the M59 SKS-pattern rifle, which many military surplus enthusiasts have experience with.

Side note: The guns made by Zastava are often referred to as “Yugos,” shorthand for Yugoslavia. In the early 1990s, when Yugoslavia broke apart into a number of states, Zastava remained operational within the new territory of the Republic of Serbia. The term is antiquated, most likely introduced when Zastava-made firearms and AK parts kits were first imported to the United States decades ago—but it’s persisted. Google around for aftermarket AK accessories and you’ll be sure to run into “Yugo pattern” stocks, handguards, and the like. If you want to customize an M77 PS, look for “Yugo” stuff.

The Zastava M77's three-position adjustable gas block. The author did not encounter a need for it during his review.
The Zastava M77’s three-position adjustable gas block. The author did not encounter a need for it during his review.

The PAP M77 PS is a semiautomatic AK-pattern rifle made by Zastava Arms of Serbia and imported by CIA. It is a “sporting” variant of the M77 B1 assault rifle, complete with a polymer thumbhole stock and welded muzzle nut that covers 14x1mm threads. Internally, it’s just a beefed-up long-stroke AK gas piston action. It also features a three-position adjustable gas block.

Before going any further, here are some tech specs on the Zastava M77:

  • Caliber: .308 Winchester
  • Overall length: 40.55 inches
  • Barrel length: 19.7 inches
  • Twist rate: 1:12 inches (an assumption—the M77 B1 is listed as having a 1:12-inch twist on Zastava’s site)
  • Unloaded weight: 8.6 pounds
  • Magazine capacity: ships with one 10-round, double-stack mag
  • Price: was available for $550 at time of acquisition, as of July 16, 2014 MSRP is $649.95

The M77 first caught my eye when I was searching for modern AKs in battle rifle calibers like .308 and 7.62x54mmR. The Russian-made Vepr series was appealing, but carried prices of $800 or more. I found the Zastava M77 listed on Classic Firearms’ website shortly before SHOT Show this year, and I was immediately intrigued. It was listed for $550—a significant difference from the Veprs’ tags. I made a mental note to check one out in person as soon as I could.

Spurred on by that interest, I stopped by CIA’s booth at Media Day at the Range and got my hands on an M77. After sending two mags’ worth of lead downrange, I was sold. I got back in touch with their media relations team shortly after returning home, and soon had a Zastava M77 waiting for me at my FFL, ready for testing.

After picking up the PAP M77, my first inclination was to convert it to something closer to its M77 B1 “milspec” form. However, I decided it’d be prudent to test out the PAP M77 in a more vanilla flavor, first with iron sights and then with an affordable scope and mount. My intent was to determine whether the M77, scoped or not, was worth its bargain price tag.


First, it’s worth noting the PAP M77 PS’ major differences from most other AK-platform rifles.

A close-up shot of the right side of the Zastava M77's "reinforced" receiver, showing the bolt hold-open cut on the  selector and a 10-round magazine.
A close-up shot of the right side of the Zastava M77’s “reinforced” receiver, showing the bolt hold-open cut on the selector and the slant-cut back.

It features a stamped, 1.5mm thick slant-cut receiver, which means that the rearmost part of the gun’s receiver sports a diagonal cut. Most other AKs have what are referred to as flat-back or straight-cut receivers, which are (intuitively enough) receivers that terminate in a straight, boxy shape. The M77’s thumbhole Monte Carlo-style stock is made to mate properly with its slant-cut receiver, and slightly complicates finding an aftermarket stock that will fit. There are options, but most AK stocks simply won’t fly with the M77 without custom work.

Next, the M77’s recoil spring assembly is retained by a small pin manipulated using a button on the rear-left area of the receiver. To field strip or disassemble the gun, one depresses the retainer button and pushes the recoil cam forward toward the muzzle. After releasing the cam and button, the assembly will be “locked” forward and the dust cover can be quickly and neatly removed. To reassemble, simply reverse the process. This dust cover retainer is apparently a feature of Yugoslavian/Serbian guns, and I have to admit that the first time I field stripped the M77, I was wowed by the feature’s simplicity and utility. It makes removing and attaching the dust cover, a process that can sometimes be cumbersome with other AKs, incredibly quick and easy.

The PAP M77 PS also features a fire selector with a cut to hold the bolt carrier’s charging handle back, an increasingly common aftermarket addition to many American AKs. The bolt, however, does not lock back on the 10-round magazines currently available from Century. The cut selector does make keeping a safe and clear chamber straightforward, though.

The left side of the Zastava M77's receiver, showing the scope rail and recoil assembly retaining pin.
The left side of the Zastava M77’s receiver, showing the scope rail and recoil assembly retaining pin.

The Zastava M77’s receiver has an Eastern Bloc-style scope rail on its left side, though it is different from the rails more commonly encountered on AKs. It sits higher on the gun than other rails, and is slightly longer. It is designed to accept a Zastava-specific type of mount, but some other mounts available on the aftermarket will work. As explained below, I used an Arsenal SM-13 mount to pair a scope with the gun, and met with mixed success.

In contrast with most AKs currently sold in the United States, the M77 does not have a chrome-lined barrel. This was not a problem for me, as I didn’t plan on shooting any corrosive .308 through it, nor could I possibly ever afford to buy enough non-corrosive .308 to wear down the barrel. Being broke really can be blessing in disguise.

Apart from these notable differences, the rest of the PAP M77 PS is Kalashnikov through and through.


The rifle was in great overall condition as delivered to me, but it sported a few handling marks. Those concerned about their guns lacking an impeccable finish should avoid the PAP M77 PS. Mine showed signs of “test firing” at the very least, in addition to assorted scuffs. For someone like me who sought out the firearm as an economical battle rifle, this was not an issue—I’ll be putting some significant wear on it myself.

Having shot a wide variety of AKs (of both the sporting and “military” variety), I was surprised to find that the M77’s high stock comb actually produced a comfortable cheekweld with iron sights and scopes. That’s a rare quality for most AKs. I enjoyed the M77’s sporter stock so much that I almost hesitated to replace it with an ACE folding stock—almost.

The author found that, in contrast with other "sporter" stocks, the Zastava M77's stock facilitated a comfortable cheekweld with optics and irons.
The author found that, in contrast with other “sporter” stocks, the Zastava M77’s stock facilitated a comfortable cheekweld with optics and irons.

During my first trip to the range with the Zastava M77, I sighted the rifle’s irons in at 100 yards and let fly. The rifle’s trigger breaks around the six- to 6.5-pound mark. There’s significant take-up before the break, but overall the trigger performed well enough. When I convert the rifle, I’ll be installing a lighter-pulling Tapco G2 trigger to hopefully tighten up shot groups.

Over irons, Wolf 148-grain .308 five-shot groups at 100 yards produced roughly three-inch groups on average—basically what I’ve come to expect from Russian commercial steel-cased ammo.

On a later range trip, I attached my Viper PST-equipped SM-13 mount to the gun. After three sighting-in groups, I sought out five-shot “performance” groups at 100 yards. With Federal American Eagle 7.62x51mm 168-grain OTM, I was able to get down to repeatable 1.5-inch groups over a three-group period. Unfortunately, after my third group, the SM-13 mount came loose due to a failure on my part to adequately tighten the mount’s QD lever using the mount’s castle nut. Following my user error with the SM-13, I fired a few more Wolf 148-grain groups over irons and again got five-shot groups that averaged about three inches. So far, at no point during my experience with the rifle (400 rounds over five months) have I experienced any reliability issues, as is to be expected with an AK-pattern gun.

Manufacturer and type of bulletAverage group at 100 yards (inches)Number of five-shot groupsBest group (inches)
Federal American Eagle 7.62x51mm 168-grain OTM1.551.5
Wolf .308 148-grain FMJ3103

Accuracy-wise, the PAP M77 PS performs as it should for an affordable semiautomatic .308 with plinking and premium ammo. I expect that with even better match-grade .308 and stable glass, I could tighten up my groups a bit further.

I wouldn’t call the rifle “beefy” in any sense of the word, but it handles the recoil of the .308 round with ease. A small-framed shooter, who couldn’t weigh more than 110 pounds and joined me on the firing line for one of my test trips, had no problem firing magazine after magazine through the M77—benched and off-hand.

The rifle shoulders well and doesn’t feel disproportionate, as some longer-barreled .30-caliber battle rifles often do. The sporter stock facilitates good cheekweld with optics or iron sights, and the pistol grip is fat and comfortable. No complaints can be levied against the M77 from an ergonomic standpoint.


I’m very impressed with everything the Zastava PAP M77 PS offers. You get the power of the .308 Winchester round in the reliable, familiar format of an affordable Kalashnikov, with good accuracy to boot. There’s even a wealth of non-permanent conversion opportunities available on the aftermarket, which I haven’t touched in this review—look for a follow-up article shortly. Simply put, the Zastava M77 is the most fun you can have in .308 for under $700. Anyone looking to enter the battle rifle field without breaking their bank would be remiss to pass on this gun.

Note added 7-16-2014: This article’s text has been updated to reflect that the MSRP of the rifle is $649.95, and that it ships with one 10-round magazine instead of two.

Images by Matt Korovesis and Matt Keeler

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18 thoughts on “Zastava PAP M77 PS Rifle

  1. I’ve never really had a problem reinstalling AK dust covers, but some people seem to – and actually that is not the reason for the small release button on the recoil spring assembly. It’s original purpose was to prevent the dust cover from popping off when firing rifle grenades, which almost all Yugoslavian AKs were equipped to fire. This feature is seen on some other launcher-equipped AKs, but is usually integrated into the dustcover release as a small single spring-loaded push-button in the top of the release.

    For whatever reason, this feature was applied to the military and civilian M77 series, despite neither of the two variants being set up to launch grenades. Probably just an issue of manufacturing uniformity.

    Any way.. The M77 is definitely a great rifle and a whole lot of bang for the buck. I think it is and was a better value than the Saiga and Vepr .308 rifles, and some nicer features as well – the adjustable gas block is a huge plus for .308 reloaders.

    I suspect that these will be pretty highly valued years on down the road.

    1. wysoft,

      Interesting, I had no idea about the purpose of the release! Thanks for sharing.

      And I totally agree about the value of the M77 now and down the road. There will probably be even more eyes on them now given the unknown status of future Saiga/Vepr imports.

      Thanks for reading,

      Matt Korovesis

  2. I bought my M77 about a month ago from Budsgunshop and it cost $560. It’s very nice and fun rifle. I’ll be using the M77 as my deer and hog hunting rifle. Love it so much. I bought some parts from Apex gun parts and will be replacing the forend hand guards with the wooden ones of used B70’s that were actually used from the Balkan war. It will be a piece of history attach to my gun.

  3. I love my M77 and all Yugo AKs. I don’t know what the author is talking about when it comes to the rifles finish but mine is absolutely beautiful. Probably the nicest finished AK I own. Zastava is making some great rifles these days.

    1. Hi Arkan762,

      The finish on my rifle was a bit scratched up in places. I will say that a new NPAP-DF that I recently received (which is also made by Zastava) had a nearly impeccable finish. Maybe my M77 just took a few spills in shipping/proofing.

      Thanks for reading,

      Matt Korovesis

  4. would love to see you do a write up on converting mags for these. I saw a video of an m14 mag conversion but im thinking the polymer mags would be easier to convert. do you have any info about mounting scopes on this? im thinking this one will be worth doing it where i didnt think it was worth it on my saiga in 7.62×39




  6. Want one just haven’t pulled the proverbial trigger on it simply because I dont know about magazine availability. ANYBODY got any information of some manufacturers that are going to build mags for it?

    1. Classic firearms has links to videos for converting m14 mags to fit the M77.Links are in the sidebar of their you tube video demo of the m77

      1. Thanks, I have watched every video I could find. Just not sure I want to fabricate the magazines. Im sure someone will produce something soon especially if this turns out to be a real shooter which it sounds like it is and given the history and price of AR10s this is a must have.

  7. Love my M77, modded a few m14 mags and they work great (even hold the bolt open after last round)
    CSSpecs is making quality hi-cap mags as we speak. The only draw back is the slant cut receiver. everything else is straight cash moneys

  8. The M77 B1 would technically be called a battle rifle, being it’s chambered for a full-power rifle cartridge (7.62 NATO). Seems a quibble in the big scheme of things, but in today’s environment of firearm terminology being misused in politics and the media? Like our aim, it’s best to keep our language accurate!

  9. I just bought a zastava 308 rifle through classic firearms I had the option to add a 20 round magazine with the deal for $49.99 so I did, after reading a little deeper on classic firearms website one of there articles they mentioned 20 round magazines from Csspecs magazines American made! I contacted Csspecs and purchased an additional 9-20 round magazines directly from them for $41.95 ea. I’m patiently waiting the arrival of my Zastava & magazines to get out and check it out. I bought this rifle because I have a Remington 308 police sniper rifle that is totally awesome I wanted a semi auto rifle that shoots the same caliber so I don’t have to take on reloading another caliber and carry multiple calibers when I’m out shooting I plan on putting the scope on my sniper on the Zastava and upgrading my sniper. I’m totally stoked to check this rifle out every article I have read about it has been positive. Classic firearms also has a kit to replace the stock with a collapsible AR stock and they have scope mounts as well. STAND BOLD and STRONG AMERICA’S Future depends on it!

  10. Like most everyone else, I bought my Zastava from Classic Firearms almost a year ago and have been very impressed with the rifle. I’ve pretty well done all the mods- adapter on receiver for a 6 position AR style buffer tube, Mako Fab G-Shock butt stock, Hogue rubbererized pistol grip, Tapco G2 trigger group, Vex 3-prong muzzle brake, QD side scope mount, w/ Barska 4x16x40 scope, barrel mount adjustable bipod and CSPEC 20 round magazines. I have only shot my own reloads in several different grains and the gun has pretty well liked them all. Still working on finding that round it will like the best. The only issue I have encountered has been a random feeding issue from the factory 10 rnd mag. After a little fine tuning and lubricating on it, that issue was resolved. The CSPEC mags are far superior in all areas. With the muzzle brake and G-Shock butt stock, recoil is closer to say something like a .243. The gun is more than accurate enough for most any shooter’s needs and in my experience a very reliable rifle and it garners a lot of attention at the range. IMO it’s the absolute “sleeper” in the semi-auto .308 world. A whole lot of rifle for under $600 bucks!

  11. Mine feeds rnds into the dust covers ejection port, pushing the bullet into the case by over an 1/8″. Not all the time, just 2 or 3 per mag. Hopefully new mags correct this. I own 10 ak’s in 4 calibers this is the only unreliable one. I had high hopes for an ak with an adjustable gas block to save brass for reloading. …and how can you get your face low enough for the irons, pso scope works but can’t press hard enough to see irons.

  12. Realize this article and comments are almost a year and a half old but wanted to update for those who stumble across this while researching this rifle. CSSPECS is cranking out quality 20 round mags for the M77 currently going for $41.50 each.

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