George Spafford is building a replica of the Yugo M70B rifle using a stub parts kit. A new installment will appear here every Friday. This week's installment covers the rear trunnion and furniture.
M70 Rear Trunnion being test fitted. This is one of the unique design elements in
the Yugo rifles.
I needed to do something for the rear trunnion. The rear fixed stock is a unique Yugo design — an 8mm bolt runs through the stock to secure it to the trunnion. One option was to find the necessary Yugo parts or to switch to a more common AKM-type trunnion with a tang, which would also allow the use of one of the commonly available AKM rear stocks.
I really wanted to use the authentic Yugo birch wood furniture because it has such a unique rich yellow color. This meant I had to find a Yugo rear trunnion. I did some digging and found that M70B1 rear trunnions were relatively scarce but could be substituted with a newly made RPK rear trunnion.
The folks at Apex had one for $50, pricey but it could work. On one hand, they were brand-new, but on the other they lacked the top cover retainer capability that an actual M70B1 has. As we are dealing with a civilian semi-automatic rifle that would never launch grenades, the retainer was not viewed as something I had to have.
Bear in mind that all AK top covers, at a minimum, are held in place by the rear portion of the operating spring assembly and work just fine when not subjected to the heavy recoil of a rifle grenade being launched. Thus, I went with the RPK rear trunnion and, if I give you a peek ahead in time, I haven't had a single problem with the cover coming off accidentally.
With the trunnion, and even the entire rifle, my intent wasn't to worry about building an exact replica M70B1 but I sure did want the lines, basic feel, reliability and to use the colorful aged beech wood.
By the way, a persistent rumor is that the Yugo furniture is teak and was probably started through some over-zealous marketing of an importer. A quick trip to the Zastava Arms website (www.zastava-arms.rs) can quickly put that rumor to rest as they point out the stocks are, in fact, made from beech.
Stripped original Yugo M70 wood waiting to be sanded and Minwax Tung Oil applied.