If a single word could describe the Serbian “Black Arrow” M93 .50 BMG, it would be massive. At 40 pounds and nearly 60 inches in length, everything about this rifle is classic Model 98 Mauser magazine-fed, bolt action—except on a steroidal scale.
Imported by European American Armory (EAA) in Rockledge, Fla., the .50 BMG M93 Black Arrow is manufactured by Zastava Arms factory in Kragujevc, Serbia. Established in 1857, Zastava is among the oldest armsmakers in the world.
The Model 93 Black Arrow has been in service since 1990, first in the former Yugoslavia and now with Serbian armed forces. It is produced in two variants; one is chambered in the potent Russian DSHK 12.7x107 mm, and the other in .50 BMG is imported by EAA.
Machined from a solid block of ordnance steel, the massive square receiver is 14 inches long, three inches tall, and two inches wide. The detachable five-round box magazine is held in place by a spring-loaded pivoting latch located midway on the right side of the receiver.
The 3-pound, 1-inch-diameter, 11-inch-long bolt is a standard controlled-round-feed 98 Mauser with a claw extractor, dual opposing front locking lugs and a safety lug at the rear. The bright blued bolt is finely machined and polished giving it a very slick feel in the receiver raceways. The bolt handle—measuring 3 ½ inches from the root to the ball—provided sufficient leverage to open the action. Even so, some rounds required gentle application of a soft rubber hammer to open the bolt—a condition not uncommon with .50 BMG rifles.
Two large gas-relief ports are located an inch behind the lugs to divert gas into the magazine well in the event of a compromised primer or case. In addition, the back of the bolt is capped to prevent any escaping gas from reaching the shooter. The finish on the rifle provides a black, non-reflecting surface.
The 33-inch-long slightly tapered fluted bull barrel measures 1.26 inches in diameter at the fore-end and 1.1 inches at the muzzle. The blocky muzzle brake has four opposing square horizontal chambers that direct gas rearward at a 60 degree angle. Eight deep lands and grooves produce a 1:15.5 inch right-hand twist.
The Black Arrow is equipped with a non-removable bipod of robust design. The 9-inch legs extend to 13 inches and are locked by a threaded, knurled collet tube. Their short, welded, sheet-metal duck feet give stability and prevent digging into soft soil. The one fault with the bipod is its location—the back of the short composite fore-end at the dead center of gravity of the rifle. With the bolt removed, the rifle is very muzzle heavy.
The 8x32 mm Zrak 1-inch-tube scope is mounted in rings lined with a relatively hard neoprene. The rings, hinged at the top, are secured to a massive tip-off mount by two slot-head screws. The 10-inch long scope mount straddles the entire receiver on a flat that is milled at 30 degrees. Removing the mount is accomplished by releasing the lever and holding down the detent and sliding it back off the dovetails.
With the large objective bell, light transmission is excellent, with good contrast and little spherical aberration, though the lens coating produces a greenish tint. The windage and elevation on the Zrak scope are coarse, each click providing approximately 3 m.o.a. of movement. Clicks are precise, as is return to zero. The glass also suffers from parallax; head movement produces 4 inches of apparent reticle movement at 100 yards, which we found frustrating. For that reason we mounted a Sightron 6-24x42 mm scope in the supplied 1-inch rings....