Zastava Z98 in.375 H&H Quality?


December 26, 2009, 05:03 PM
I may be spending some time in Alaska in the new year for work. I feel the need to bring a large game rifle with me but I dont want to pay out the buttocks for it. In my search I found the Z98 made by Zastava. Its a mauser k98 copy in .375H&H. It was formerly imported under the Charles Daily and Remington brands. I think the Remington model was the 798 but dont quote me on it. The things I like about it are the price, controlled round feed (real k98 extractor), forged parts, And no iron sights. I dont like the look of iron sights on a scoped bolt gun. I dont plan to hunt with this gun. I want it so stuff wont eat me when Im working in the field. I dont want this to turn into a you need this caliber thread. If something tries to eat me its going to get 3 rounds of .375 H&H and 9 rounds of .38 super +p to the face (All faster than it takes to wet ones pants).

Now that you know how I feel about this gun, cartridge, and my "urination in the face of death tactic" :scrutiny: what do you think of this rifle? Anyone know a good scope/mount combo for it?

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December 26, 2009, 05:26 PM
This rifle and caliber will,no doubt,serve well in this application. About to be eaten by a grizzly is a true SHTF scenario. DO NOT scope a last chance survival rifle! Most likely you won't get the opportunity to aim anyway.

December 26, 2009, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the tip on the scope. What do you think about an eotech red dot sight?

December 26, 2009, 06:00 PM
just throwin' out there, but if i were you, i'd consider the ruger 77 alaskan in 375 rcm.

no help on the zastavas - never owned one.

December 26, 2009, 06:43 PM
Thanks for the suggestion dakota but the ruger is getting into the high side of my price range. Also the .375 ruger has about the same performance as the H&H (From what I have read).

I think I need to explain alittle about what Ill be doing in Alaska. Im an aircraft mechanic. I work on helicopters and small planes. Alaska is big on air travel for hunting, camping, or just getting to remote locations in general. If a plane has a problem and has to land/cant take off in a remote location I fly out and fix it. I wont be out there alone. At least a pilot and 1 other mechanic will be there. They are usually armed and have lived in alaska for some time. Someone is always on the lookout. Theres alot of stories about pilots landing to take a piss and they get dragged off. Ive heard some near miss stories from the guys I worked with last year to. Its a crazy place.

December 26, 2009, 06:51 PM
The Zastava is best known in the US as the Interarms Mark X. I had one in 375 and still have one in 458. They are good solid Mausers, but are slightly rough as they come from the factory. An afternoon spent with a gunsmith's stone and some 600 grit sandpaper turned it into a real winner.

For your intended use, I would get a large bead front sight, front sight cover and a rear peep installed. The last thing you want on a bush plane gun is a scope.

IIRC, Remington offered these in stainless steel, which I would recommend for Alaska use.

December 26, 2009, 08:23 PM
Thanks natman. Buds has one in stainless but its not in stock. I built a 1911 this year so I have lots of stones, files, and sandpaper on hand. Ive always had to tweak a few things on new guns. Are there any good books or web sites on slicking up a mauser action?

December 26, 2009, 08:47 PM
I think you would be better served with a Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70. They can be had fairly cheap and with hot loaded ammo are more than adequate for any animal in Alaska. They are very popular up here. It is what I carry whenever in the woods and so do a lot of others. I also spend a lot of time in and out of small aircraft during the summers and the Guide Gun's small size is much more handy than a full-length bolt-gun.

I makes a nice small package that can be easily taken on a small plane.

Most of the gun store up here carry the hot-loaded .45-70 loads from Corbon and Buffalo Bore if you do not reload.

Also if this is just a temporary job for you in AK and you do not plan to stay, you will find that the Guide Gun is a lot easier to sell used in AK as due to the popularity here. The model you listed in your original post would probably be hard to sell up here. Just another thing to consider.

If you do go with a Guide Gun, stay away from the .450 and .444 models as ammo is a not as common for those calibers in most AK stores.

fireman 9731
December 26, 2009, 08:55 PM
+ 1 for the guide gun, a little handier and effective for your purposes.

December 26, 2009, 09:52 PM
Another vote for the guide gun, but if your heart is set on a 375 H&H, gunbroker has some dealers with Rem 798's and one has a new Savage stainless with irons for $600.


December 26, 2009, 10:26 PM
They are a good gun, I have one of the Charles Daly Zastava's in .458 Winnie and it has always worked well. Put a low power scope on it (something like a 1-4) and you can shoot with both eyes open with no problem.

December 26, 2009, 10:43 PM
+1 for the Marlin 1895GG chambered in .45-70Govt. or .450Marlin, it will suit your needs much better (quicker handling/cycling, lighter, smaller, cheaper, very reliable, more capacity). For hunting the .375H&H would be my choice as well, in fact I am getting ready to purchase one. Whatever you decide on, DO NOT get one without the irons, they may prove to be very useful for encounters with things that want to eat you. A scope (or other optic, especially a red-dot that requires batteries) is great, but not needed for protection, and can break at inopportune times. I would suggest a nice ghost ring rear sight and a fiber optic or brass front sight, for fast target acquisition as well as being accurate enough to suit your needs.

I am of little help with the Zastava, as I have only seen a few and none were magnum chamberings, but from what I hear (and saw myself) they were a little rough but good actions. In my quest for a .375H&H, I ended up deciding on (unless something better comes along pretty quick) a Ruger M-77 Mk-II, but I am pretty certain that is outside of the budget for your rifle.


December 26, 2009, 11:33 PM
Gotta agree with the comments regarding the scoping of a bolt action rifle whose only purpose is close range defense from critters. If you start shooting distant critters with a scoped bolt action while claiming "defense", even if they are big and mean, you are gonna end up with fines and jail time.

But if I were in the same circumstances I'd definitely reach for a 12 gauge shotgun. It would almost certainly be a 7/8 shot semi-auto, and I'd probably load the tube with those .50 sabot "slug" rounds that supposedly replicate .45-70 power... I'd have to do some research though, make sure they could penetrate a bear's thick head and shoulders... and maybe mix the shells in the tube a bit too, switch to traditional slugs and maybe small buckshot for blinding face shots as the tube empties (serious desperation time!).

I wouldn't argue against an unscoped bolt rifle, or the lever action either for critter defense by someone else, both have been used for that purpose for a century or more. But personally I just prefer instant followup shots on self defense weapons, especially if facing short range, unexpected charging attacks!! If I was to go with a rifle under your circumstances, I might reach for one of the available .300 mag semi-autos out there, it might serve okay I guess, but I'd probably whine and complain till I got a shotgun instead.

My trusty Benelli M4 ( would be my first choice, but its a bit pricey:

If I had to come up with the cheapest possible weapon to fill this need for me, it would likely be a Mossberg 930 Special Purpose (

December 26, 2009, 11:50 PM
Shotguns are a great option also with a couple of sidenotes.

I strongly recommend against any type of semi-auto action (rifle or shotgun) on an Alaska bush gun. Whether it gets banged around in the back of a plane or gets rained on for a week out in the woods, you want something that is 100% reliable under the most adverse conditions. There is a big difference in a shotgun/rifle that is 100% reliable that is used for home defense and one that is 100% reliable in all conditions in the Alaskan bush.

100% shotgun reliability in AK woods = pump action. The only folks that carry semi shotguns that I have ever met up here are duck hunters and they usually have a rifle with them as the semi is only for ducks. The only shotguns I have seen on guides shoulders and in camp for bear protection were all pumps.

If you get a shotgun, get yourself a cheap Remington 870 or Mossberg plus a couple boxes of slugs and 00 buck and you will be good to go.

December 27, 2009, 12:32 AM
If a shotgun is selected I second the 12Ga. pump (or perhaps a Browning A-5/Saiga-12, as these are the only two autoloaders that have been utterly reliable IME), and will add that the use of Brenneke slugs is the only shells that I would trust for a smoothbore shotgun. I am sure that select sabots are alright for rifled barrels, but make mine the .73cal variety.


December 27, 2009, 01:36 AM
I think it looks like a great gun for the price. I would go for a low power scope, perhaps 1.5 to 4 power or at the most 2 1/2 to 8.

You have me thinking now, perhaps I need one also, I might go to Alaska some day.

Uncle Mike
December 27, 2009, 05:15 AM
The Zastava M98(yugo) is an excellent rifle...for the money.
built like a tank, fairly smooth and as accurate as some rifles costing 3 times as much.

The last batch I was able to inspect(EAA/USSG contract) looked really good as to fit and finish, this will change from time to time with Zastava but all in all they are excellent firearms.

December 27, 2009, 12:09 PM
Thanks natman. Buds has one in stainless but its not in stock. I built a 1911 this year so I have lots of stones, files, and sandpaper on hand. Ive always had to tweak a few things on new guns. Are there any good books or web sites on slicking up a mauser action?

This is the ultimate Mauser book.

Bear in mind that Remington has ceased importation of the Zastava guns, so you will have to find one that's still in the pipeline.

At the risk of being redundant, go with iron sights. There may be environments harder on a scope than being constantly frozen/thawed/tossed around and vibrated in an Alaskan bush plane, but I can't think of one offhand.

Also let me add my voice to the recommendation of a 12 ga pump shotgun with Brenneke slugs. Get one of these:

and have Mossberg's peep sight kit installed. Installing the front sight will be a bit tricky, but worth it.

December 27, 2009, 12:32 PM
I have owned 2 Zastava (Interarms Mark X's) standard long actions, a 30-06 and a 7x57. I still have the 7x57. Very sturdy and usable platforms, a bit rough where it does not show (below the stock, but a great hunting platform.

USSG 375 H&H: The action will be bullet proof. The rest sounds iffy. First, a 7.5 pound 375 H&H gun, well, I don't want to sight it in on the bench. Maybe for a gun you just want to have as a "just in case" gun, but not use to hunt with.

Sight sytems, for whichever gun: A receiver sight and a durable high visability front bead. Optics of any kind will be sure to fog, ice, or break at the wrong times, given the extreme conditions you work in.

December 27, 2009, 12:54 PM
If in a him or me situation that has deteriorated to firing as many shots as fast as you can at point blank range with a bolt action and possibly from a less than upright position,I hope you have a controlled round feed action(such as the Zastava/Mauser). Nothing like having your next,life saving,hope fall harmlessly to the ground out of a push feed action.

December 27, 2009, 01:07 PM
Push Feed rifles are generally much more reliable than they are given credit for, but the average CRF is utterly reliable, and most PFs are mostly make mine a CRF for dangerous game as well.


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