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I grew up with pump shotguns and bolt action rifles, with a smattering of lever guns mixed in. The only semi-auto we ever had was a Marlin Model 60. As I grew, I rebelled. I got into semi-auto firearms and kind of ignored bolt guns…until recently.

I’ve discovered I have got a soft spot for intermediate-caliber bolt action rifles. Maybe I’m cheap, and .223 is cheap, but what’s cheaper? How about 7.62×39? When I stumbled across the Interarms Mark X in 7.62x39mm I thought I’d found one of the old Zastava M85 Mini Mausers. I mean, that’s how it was marked when I purchased it.

Upon arrival and inspection, I realized I had something a little different. I always wanted a Zastava Mini Mauser. The Interarms Mark X is a Zastava Mini Mauser. The action and barrel are made by Zastava but then shipped to England. There they fit the stocks, and Interarms imported them into the 1990s. Remington also imported these Mini Mausers and called them the Remington 799s.

This Mini Mauser was a nice surprise. (Travis Pike For TTAG)

Remington used the Remington extractor, and Mark X used an actual Mauser extractor. The Mark X features a beautiful wood stock with checkering on the forend and grip. It’s absolutely beautiful. It pairs well with the rich, blued finish of the barrel and action. The Mark X is almost excessively blued.

The checkering is nicely done. (Travis Pike For TTAG)

A Mark X – A Real Mauser?

I admittedly don’t know much about the Mauser action. I’m not a bolt gun guy. What I know amounts to its good, and the Americans paid royalties to the Germans for the Springfield M1903 until World War 1 broke out. I’ve learned it’s a beloved action and the controlled feed mechanism. Winchester cloned it to make the Model 70.

It seems that the Mini Mauser variants of the Mark X series are not true Mauser actions. They are push-feed designs. It’s Mauser-Lite, but luckily I’m not enough of a bolt gun guy to think it’s blasphemy.

Well the magazine pops out easily enough. (Travis Pike For TTAG)

This specific model is the sporting action. That means it can’t be loaded via stripper clips and has a hinged floorplate. The Mark X series also features a safety mounted to the right of the bolt, not on the bolt itself like a Mauser 98. The action is quite smooth and slides rearward and forward in a tactile way that I adore. It’s admittedly a manly fidget spinner-type toy in my hands at times.

The rifle features a 20-inch barrel and a five-round magazine. A button in front of the trigger releases the hinged magazine floorplate. The bolt handle is small, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing as far as I’ve experienced. The receiver is tapped for an optic mount, and I ordered a Picatinny rail mount from EGW and mounted a Primary Arms 1-6X optic.

Optic mounts weren’t too tough to find. (Travis Pike For TTAG)

At the Range

I don’t need this type of rifle beyond the fact I want it, and I have a butt load of 7.62x39mm ammunition. I got a great deal and moved on it years ago even though I don’t shoot much 7.62x39mm. This created an interesting dynamic for a bolt-action gun. Most bolt action rifles are designed around providing superb accuracy in a lightweight, relatively simple system.

The bolt’s action is buttery smooth. (Travis Pike For TTAG)

The most common 7.62x39mm ammunition is cheap, dirty, and the steel-cased stuff from Tula and Wolf. This ammunition isn’t exactly known for its accuracy. Even so, I figured I better use some of it to test the Mark X alongside the handful of brass-cased ammo I had lying around.

A quick zero with the new optic, and I was on my way to see just how accurate this Serbian-made Mark X could be. I zeroed at fifty and did an accuracy test at 100 yards. I zeroed into the ten ring, climbed into a supported position, and tried my hardest. I felt pretty confident. Sadly I didn’t bring a ruler, but I had a penny to show the size of my best group at 100 yards with that crappy steel-cased ammo.

This target came from Recoil Magazine and had me aiming at a guy carrying a bomb in a backpack. (Travis Pike For TTAG)

The brass-cased stuff proved to be the better option and shrunk the groups to just under an inch. I imagine true marksmen would be able to shrink the group even more, especially with some of that fancy Hornady hunting ammo.

Beyond Accuracy

The Mark X has an outstanding trigger. It’s super light with a nice crisp feel to it. I love it, the feeling is absolutely wonderful, and the trigger just feels consistent and outstanding. The action is smooth until you start firing steel-cased ammunition. Admittedly it’s a bit of a chug to pull that round out of the chamber, at least compared to brass-cased ammunition. With brass cased, it remains that smooth, buttery action I toy with in my office. I can get passed that for the low price of the ammo.

It’s a real beaut. (Travis Pike For TTAG)

Recoil isn’t bad, but it surprised me. Most of my 7.62×39 experience is with long-stroke gas piston guns, so the recoil from a bolt gun was a little jarring. It’s not rough, though, and I shot two hundred rounds without complaint. You just feel it more than you expect if you’re used to shooting AKs.

Ultimately I think the Mark X is a really cool gun. It’s beautiful, smooth, and accurate, with great ergonomics and a smooth action. Reliability wasn’t a concern and boy oh boy, does it throw those ejected cases quite far. It’s likely going to be a gun I shoot quite a bit for fun, and heck, I might take a deer with it this fall.

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  1. Glad you found a bolt gun you like. Please proofread your posts.

    “I can get passed that for the low price of the ammo.”

    “What I know amounts to its good, …”

    ” I’ve learned it’s a beloved action and the controlled feed mechanism.”

    • “Please proofread your posts.”

      I had no problem understanding what he was trying to say, it was written by a non-pro, and considering what you paid to read it (*zero*), you came out the winner in that bargain.

      Seriously? You should demand your money back for him wasting your time… 🙁

      • Expecting professional standards from a professional is no sin.

        Defending professional incompetence with insults is the act of a child.

      • Making a polite request makes me a jerk but you calling me one is ok? Interesting standards you have there.

  2. I remember those. They were sold downunder in the 1990s. Usually with a package deal in a cheap plastic stock and a cheap Stirling optic mounted. All for a few hundred dollars. I curse myself for not getting one when they were available.

    Good enough for pigs out to 200m.

    • “Good enough for pigs out to 200m.”

      That’s pretty much what I was thinking. Thread it, put a can on it, feed it some subsonic load goodness, and go to town on the piggies, without spending a fortune…

    • Good morning SC,

      For grins ‘n giggles I was perusing Australia’s myriad gun laws. The one that captured my attention is the one that (apparently) precludes cartridge collectors. You can only purchase and possess ammunition for the specific calibers you own. It appears that having a collection of “one-off” live cartridges is prohibited.

      The good news is that it also appears that several Australian States now allow, to some extent, suppressors or “sound moderators” (Australian government term that makes more sense than the term: silencer) for licensed hunt contractors and a few civilian shooters.

      Our twice yearly gun show concluded today. Lots of firearms from truly ancient, through merely old and including brand new were bought, sold and traded. Primers were trading at the current gold exchange rate (I lie, the exchange rate was not quite that exorbitant). There were no accidents or incidents…the biggest excitement was someone’s pet dog pooping in an aisle and the owner continuing along as if nothing happened…some dogs just have shitty Humans.

      • In the early 1960’s, it was possible in South Australia to walk into a gun shop and walk out with a .22RF silencer. No questions, no ID, just the cash. I know, I did it. (I don’t know if they had any for larger calibers.)

        In 1995 I took a number of rifles into a gun shop in Southport, Queensland, for sale on consignment. Rolled the silencer on the glass counter. “If I touch that I have to hit it with a hammer and throw it in the garbage.” Another customer in the shop, “Do you want to sell it? How much?” “Fifty cents.” He gave me a dollar and I gave him change.

  3. Quote———–I admittedly don’t know much about the Mauser action. I’m not a bolt gun guy.———–quote

    The craftsmanship is not quite up to the standards of the Belgians and the Germans but its not bad either compared to the absolute garbage that is being made today. Frank Dehaas noticed dished out screw holes as well as wavy lines on the floor plate of his rifle. He was speaking of the full size rifle not the Mini rifle.

    The Mini Mark X action is not made from a forging like the full size rifles but rather from a cheap casting.

    I never did like the cheap aluminum trigger guard and being a Mauser purist I prefer a steel trigger guard. Supposedly the early models did have a steel trigger guard rather than the later aluminum guard and floor plate.

    The good news is they are supposedly still being made by Zavasta in Serbia.

    The .375 H&H an .458 caliber used rifles can often be found on dusty shelves in small gun stores at reasonable prices. Being a controlled feed they are way more desirable than the many modern push feed rifles that are made in those calibers. Push feed rifles are known for jam up double feeding when the bolt is short stroked. Ask me how I know this (chuckle)

    The positive full cock 1/2 inch thrust ignition system of the Mark X makes it a far more reliable rifle than the modern speed lock mechanisms of many of today’s rifles, the speed lock mechanism in my humble opinion should never have been put on a big game rifle, especially one used for dangerous game.

    One can also replace the firing pin and extractor in the field without the use of special tools. Even without the military 3 position safety many of the modern sporting mauser bolts can still be field stripped with the use of a coin. If you want to get fancy you can drill hole in the cocking piece to put a proper size pin or old drill bit through to hold back the cocking piece so you can turn out the firing pin assembly.

    In my humble opinion despite 125 years passing the 98 Mauser is still the most reliable and safest rifle to use in the field. And I make no apologies to pre-64 Winchester lovers. Your pre-64 Winchester sucks compared to the 98 Mauser.

    • I dont know about that feed action stuff, I can cycle both my controlled feed and push feed upside down and not do it real fast. The only thing I can see is extraction/ejection.
      The push feeds seem to operate smoother. however with all that being said I would choose a controlled feed before I would a push feed.
      But all I really is a .380 HiPoint so I just talk bullshit on the other gunm stuff, I just made up the push feed controlledfeed story, I dont even know what that is?

      • possum:
        “But all I really is a .380 HiPoint so I just talk bullshit on the other gunm stuff, I just made up the push feed controlledfeed story, I dont even know what that is?”

        As the hippies used to say back in the day, “You’re putting me on.”

  4. I had an Interarms Mark X action in .375 H&H improved (not a mini action) that was a real shooter. I’ve been trying for 6 years to buy it back from a pal with no results even though neither of us have any plans to hunt Africa of even Alaska. Mine had a basic black plastic(?) stock- no frills. A Leupold Mk Iii 1.5×5, heavy reticle sat on top. Can’t remember the maker of the rings. I remember forming the brass by shooting regular .375 factory stuff. Not as bad on the shoulder/cheek as my Ultralight Arms .300Win Mag. It was just a great utility rifle.

    Jeff Cooper was a fan of the CZ actions as well and IIRC, had a major caliber rifle made up for himself in his later years. Good stuff, and like the one I’d like to buy back, there are probably tons of them be out there in the back of someone’s closet or safe, forgotten and never used.

      • Sorry tsbhoa but CZ Zavasta is Serb. CZ U.S.A. is Czech.

        As a matter of fact to make things even more confusing there are two different CZ companies in two different countries, Czechoslovakia and Serbia. Zavasta makes the Mark X and originally their country was called Yugoslavia but that disintegrated after the death of Tito and a huge bloody genocidal war broke out. Now the defunct Yugoslavia is made up of 8 different states, most of whom all hate each other.
        Bosnia Herzegovina
        Serbia and
        Vojvodina and

        CZ U.S.A. is located the Czechoslovakia, Czeska Zbrojovka

        • dacian, don’t correct folks by using incorrect information. The first rule is to triple check your data prior to opening your mouth, or in this case, tying your fingers into knots in your haste to make a point. You just end up proving the arguments of your detractors.

    • I’m with you! Curly maple? Nicely figured walnut? Deep bluing? Clean lines? Bah! Give me plastic and aluminium every time, even better with lots of gadgets hanging off of it.

  5. Gotta say based off a lot of stuff I’ve seen the accuracy issues with the 7.62X39 are largely based off the platforms it’s shot in, not really the cartridge its self; even the crappy stuff shoots pretty well in the right gun. I need to get my 7.62X39 AR out and see how it does, I’m looking forward to it.

    • Not even the platform but the sights. If you remove the leaf sight from above the chamber on an SKS and replace it with a Tech Sights peep sight on the back of the receiver you can expect your groups to shrink by 50%.

      Later AK variants like the Galil did this. Note that the Russians still haven’t figured it out and and how it is emblematic of their recent battlefield failures.

      • I would believe it, after doing Appleseed with 10/22 stock irons and a Stevens 84 I really appreciate that.

  6. Control round feed rules. I own both. Either Winchester 70s, or Remington 700s. One 788 carbine. The 70s are the serious rifles.

  7. Mass shooting in nashville Tn church school. 6 killed. Pray for the families. The shooter is a female.

  8. I’ve been an Interarms Mark X fan since my father-in-law let me borrow his 270 for the 2011 deer season, and I’ve been a Zastava mauser fan since I got my first Yugo M48 around 20 years ago. Last November, I found a Mark X Marquis in 30-06 at a local gun shop and bought it immediately. It’s the model with the full mannlicher style stock, butter knife bolt handle, dual set triggers, and folding iron sights. As far as accuracy it groups five shots under 3/4ths of an inch at 100 yards, from a lead sled, with Hornady Superformance SST. The manufacturer date is stamped as December of 1978.

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