Zastava M93 Black Arrow: A Legacy of Excellence in 12.7mm

Eric Sof

The Zastava M93 Black Arrow export version chambered in .50 Browning on a table ready for firing

The Zastava M93 Black Arrow is an expertly crafted long-range rifle designed for precision shooting and classified as an anti-materiel weapon. It features a manual bolt-action mechanism based on the tried-and-true Mauser M98 action, known for its precision and reliability. The rifle is available in two calibers, 12.7×108 mm and 12.7×99 mm (.50 Browning), and is manufactured by Zastava Arms, a Serbian company.


In 1991, a team of engineers at Zastava Arms began developing an anti-material, long-range rifle. The system was unveiled in 1998 and was quickly adopted as a standard weapon for the Yugoslavian army. The rifle is intended to engage and destroy personnel at distances of up to 1,600 meters, as well as lightly armored vehicles and other equipment, such as aircraft flying at heights of up to 800 meters.

A Mauser Gewehr 98 (M98) rifle on a wooden box with ammunition and a dagger lying nearby
The image depicts a Mauser Gewehr 98 (M98) rifle lying on top of a wooden box. The rifle is the focus of the image and is shown in great detail, including its long barrel and bolt-action mechanism. To the left of the rifle, there is a stack of ammunition boxes, and on the right side, there is a dagger lying horizontally nearby. All of them are placed on top of a wooden box. (Photo: XY)

The Zastava M93 Black Arrow rifle is available in two calibers. The national variant is chambered in 12.7×108 mm, while export models are designed for a caliber of 12.7×99 mm (.50 Browning).


The barrel of the Zastava M93 rifle is constructed using the cold-forging method and features a chrome-lined interior for enhanced durability. The barrel features eight grooves with a right-hand twist of 1:381 mm. Longitudinal grooves along the barrel’s exterior reduce weight, increase cooling during tactical use, and improve hit accuracy. A massive, two-chamber gas brake is situated at the muzzle, angled at 45 degrees, that reportedly reduces recoil by up to 62%.

The rifle is equipped with a domestically-produced Zrak M-94 8×56 type optical sight as standard and includes backup mechanical sights for engagements up to 400 meters. The rifle features a folding handle for improved portability and a two-legged stand that is adjustable and foldable for stabilization. Both legs feature platforms for added stability on the ground.

The magazine has a capacity of 5 rounds in both calibers, and the release lever is on the right side of the stock, above it. The rear side of the rifle features a square trigger guard, and the brake lever is placed behind it, as in the PAP M-59/66 system. The Zastava M93 rifle features a bolt handle on the right side of the weapon, with a ball-shaped knob for safer manipulation by the shooter.

Zastava M93 Black Arrow precision rifle with its bolt action mechanism visible
Zastava M93 Black Arrow precision rifle in a close-up shot (Photo: XY)

The folding stock is constructed using a polymer reinforced with glass fibers, and the barrel lining is made of the same material. An internal shock absorber in the stock further reduces recoil when using the system. It’s worth mentioning that the standard version of the rifle does not come with an ergonomic cheek rest on the stock.

Its design draws heavily from the Mauser Gewehr 98 system, similar to the Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr, with some influence from the French FR-F1. The FR-F1 rifle has roots in the Mas-36, which the Mauser 98 system has also influenced. Therefore, the M93 and FR-F1 share similarities with the Mauser 98. The rifle also has a trigger block safety design, similar to the Russian SVT 40 rifle.


The Zastava M93 has been widely sought after by militaries and other organizations worldwide. The rifle has been exported to dozens of countries, including Algeria, Armenia, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, Libya, North Macedonia, the Philippines, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Serbia
Manufacturer:Zastava Arms
Action:Bolt action (rotating bolt; long action)
Feed system:5-10-round magazine
Barrel length:1,000 mm
Length:1,670 mm
Weight:16 kg
Muzzle velocity:800 m/s (12.7x108mm)[5] 888 m/s (.50 BMG)
Effective range:3,000 m
Sight:Optical sight (8×32)

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