The M76 is a modern military semi-automatic designated marksman/sniper rifle developed and manufactured by Zastava Arms of Kragujevac, Serbia.
The Arms company Zastava
released the M76 in the mid-1970s. Since then it has become the standard issue rifle for snipers in the Serbian army
. During the Yugoslav Wars
of the 1990s, it was used by several sides; it saw action in Croatia
While the body of M76 is based upon to the Avtomat Kalashnikova obraztsa 1947 goda AK-47
, the rifle featured several modifications. Fire is purely semi-automatic. The barrel
has been elongated and strengthened so that the 7.92x57mm Mauser
cartridge, which is well suited for long-range use, can be used. Though the M76 fires its bullets at a relatively modest 730 m/s (2395 ft/s) muzzle velocity, the 7.92 x 57 IS cartridge loaded with aerodynamically efficient 12.8 gram (198 gr) military sS ball bullets still offers a supersonic reach of ≈ 910 m (995 yd) under ICAO Standard Atmosphere
conditions at sea level (air density
ρ = 1.225 kg
Both the stock
and the pistol grip
have been modified to make them more comfortable for the shooter. In newer production models the wooden furniture is replaced with synthetic polymer material which offers some storage space for accessories like a cleaning kit and reduces the M76 overall weight by approximately 0.5 kg.
The rifle features mechanically adjustable backup iron sights
with a sliding tangent rear sight (the iron sights can be adjusted to a maximum range of 1000 m).
In addition to the regular iron sights, a side-rail on the left wall of the receiver has been added to accept various telescopic sights
and night optics.
The typical scope used is a ZRAK M-76 4x 5°10’ scope originally produced in the ZRAK factory in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.This optical sight is similar to the PSO-1 4x24 sight used on the Russian SVD rifle and the Romanian I.O.R. LPS 4x6° TIP2 4x24 sight used on the PSL rifle. The reticle illumination of the ZRAK M-76 4x 5°10’ is provided by (radioactive) tritium. The tritium light source has to be replaced every 8-12 years, since it gradually loses its brightness due to radioactive decay.
The M76 is relatively accurate for a semi-automatic rifle. It can achieve 1.5 to 2 Minute of arc
consistent accuracy with appropriate ammunition
. Under normal conditions a maximum effective range of 800 m (875 yd) against man sized targets for an average sniper
is achievable. The dispersion at 900 m (984 yd) is described as 50 x 50 cm (19.7 x 19.7 in), which is ≈ 1.9 MOA. Under optimal atmospheric and environmental conditions excellent marksmen might use the M76 up to 1000 m (1094 yd). Recoil is described as being modest.
In recent wars, it gained the reputation of an extremely reliable and capable weapon and was intensively used in all combat situations.
Like with all precision rifles, the user has to take care not to overheat the barrel.
Variant models chambered for the 7.62×51 NATO
and the 7.62 x 54R
have been produced for export.