Zastava M85 - Thoughts from users

crow juice

Well-Known Member
Well I bought one of these in 223 Rem about 10 years ago new at a Bass Pro Shops that was closing them out . Of course these were being imported by Remington and they called it the 799 . I put it in the gun closet until about 4 years ago at which time I put a 4x12-40 scope on it and took it out once. I shot 10 rounds with some Federal 55 grain FMJ military 556 ammo and groups were in the 2" range at 100 yards and the trigger was very heavy. So determined to get some mileage on this gun I recently installed a Timney trigger.

Went out today with some Winchester 45gr HP Varmint loads ( White Box ) and the gun was producing about 11/8" groups. Not bad in my opinion for a barrel that is not really broken in . So at least for the moment this is good enough to chase coyotes this fall.

However , the action on this gun is really tight and a little rough . I can live with this because it is a really kool gun. However , because of the very short bolt handle after you fire a round ejecting it takes a lot of effort so for now this is effectively a single shot . It will feed and eject rounds it just takes a "Manly" man to open the bolt.

What I would like to know is does this improve or is lapping required? Did you guys work on yours. I am of course assuming because most of you are in Europe this is a common gun . Correct me if I am wrong.

PS: If any of you CZ527 users want to comment on the quality of the 527 ...... save it I have one in a 223 Carbine and they are very nice guns.

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Give it a good clean, and if you know how to, strip the bolt. Zastava’s are not bad guns underneath, but not much time has been spent finishing and polishing. Plenty of nice rifles have been built up Zastava barreled actions. They have been sold in various markets under all sorts of different - Mark X, Interarms, Whitworth, Remington etc. And they make left handed versions.

Assuming that you bought yours new and that it has been sat in a cabinet for many years any oils etc will most likely gummed up. Give it a good clean and use some lighter fluid / degreaser to get rid of all the gunk. Then reassemble with a good gun oil, and put a dab of molly grease on the cocking cams and back of bolt lugs.

Then sit down with it, find a good film on Netflix and cycle that action. In particular hold the trigger down and lift and close the bolt handle. A couple of hundred times will do. Then give it a clean again, relubricate and go hunting.

You can polish up the feed rails, guide rails, magazine follower etc as well. Careful use of some fine abrasive works wonders, but you need to know what you are doing. Don’t alter any angles on cams lugs etc. Midway USA has some good videos on all of this.

Also give the barrel and chamber a good clean.

Or just use it and time will soon smooth things up. But in the early days well lubricated with 3 in 1 oil, or teflon dry lube bike chain type oil is really good.

The 223 is proper mini mauser action and really nice
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Well-Known Member
Sounds like it only needs to be shot more. Was it brand new when you bought it? If so there might be metal-on-metal abrasion which would ease with use

crow juice

Well-Known Member
It was new and it has been cleaned prior to both trips to the range.


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