What cleaning supplies should I buy for SKS?


September 20, 2005, 02:29 PM
okay - this call goes out to the sks gunnies who know much more than i do.

What cleaning supplies should I order now while I do the 10-day for my Yugo SKS?

I've bought (or already have) so far:

cleaning mat
breakfree clp spray
hoppes #9 (and lots of it)
sks gas port tool
sight elev & windage tool
sks tube style cleaning kit
.223 patches (what size patches and where should I get them from?)
stoney point cleaning & maint. cradle a cheapie, but hopefully will work well
lots of toothbrushes: nylon/bronze
plastic tub from auto store
piece of wood with big hole drilled thorugh it
sturdy table
silicone cloth

this is my first sks, so I really want to take this puppy down and really really clean it well.

i've got tons of time, so I don't mind scrubbing slowly each part individually over a period of a week or two, but since i'm spoiled by AR15s and how easily they come apart I'm worried that i'll be stumped by the sks's design.

I've read the stuff on surplusrifle and other sites, but i would like to know if there's any tools that i'm missing that i should go out and buy now before i actually get the gun in possession.



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September 20, 2005, 02:38 PM
If its still in the cosmoline, mix gasoline and engine degreaser and use that to wipe the cosmo off. (Mineral spirits works aswell)

Your pretty well equipped, but you need .30 caliber patches. Hoppes is a far better lubricant than breakfree(which never goes near my own SKS). Your SKS is a battle rifle, its a SOVIET battle rifle. As such cleaning is simple. There are important parts to clean, and non important parts.

Clean: Barrel, breach, crown, bolt, firing pin channel, rails, recoil spring and get the bigger chunks of crap out've the trigger group.

Dont worry about cleaning:Gas tube, gas port, magazine, trigger group(usually).

For the most part on the "dont worry about" section covers parts that will not corrode or fail to function until they're totally gummed up(if ever). Just clean the gas port and gas tube when the rifle bogs down, its almost a self cleaning system in some reguards. I also HIGHLY suggest a bore snake. I clean my battle rifles with a brass brush, old rag and boresnake. It gets them plenty clean, this isnt an AR so they run relatively clean to begin with.

September 20, 2005, 02:41 PM
You mean you are supposed to clean those old combloc weapons? ;)

The most important cleaning for a SKS is the first one. Get all the cosmoline out of all the nooks and crannies. Boiling water, Brake Cleaner, and a little elbow grease is all it takes. But devote lots of time to it.

Other than that, just make sure that the firing pin is clean and dry, it shoud rattle and move freely, otherwise you risk slam fires.

Looks like you have all the tools that you will need, just add some .30 cal patches.


September 20, 2005, 02:41 PM
I assume you already have a cleaning rod?

SKSs are 7.62 so you'll need a larger patch. I usually wrap my patches around the brush to clean the barrel, rather than use a patch holder.

Unless you get one that is really filthy or has been buried in cosmoline, just do a field-strip and clean the parts the same way you would an AR15.

Here is a video that may help:

This is their original 13 minute video. The new 28 minute video mentioned on the SKS page doesn't work.

September 20, 2005, 02:43 PM
Would you like me to photo illustrate the take down process for you?

September 20, 2005, 02:48 PM
I'm not sure if you're kidding or not, but if you would, that would be awesome! I'd save all the pictures and create a webpage (credited to you of course) and leave a link here so other sks noobs can be directed henceforth.

Dave Markowitz
September 20, 2005, 02:48 PM
You're pretty good to go, but as other posters you'll need .30 caliber patches. If you get those patches that are made of some unwoven fabric, you might have better results with .35/.38 caliber patches.

For the first cleaning you'll need to get all the cosmoline out of the gun, especially the firing pin channel in the bolt. Field strip the gun and soak the bolt in a bath of mineral spirits for about an hour, swishing it around every so often. Then take it outside and hose it down with brake cleaner. Repeat if the firing pin doesn't rattle freely. Lightly oil it afterwards.

Hoppe's No.9 is not really a lubricant but will do in a pinch. It's a great powder solvent, though. BreakFree CLP is a good lube and anticorrosion agent, and an ok cleaner. Automatic transmission fluid is cheap and works really well as a lube, corrosion inhibitor, and is a pretty good cleaner.

Smokey Joe
September 20, 2005, 03:24 PM
Silverlance--I'd get a one-piece plastic coated cleaning rod like a Dewey, long enough for back-of-action-to-muzzle on the longest gun on which you might use it. They come different calibers; you want a .30.

It'll be good for all yr similar-caliber rifles, and work fine for the SKS of course.

For patches, I buy 'em bulk in 1000 paks, largest patches I can get, and trim them with a pr of scissors appropriate to use for whichever gun I'm cleaning at the moment. That way I don't have to stock a variety of patch sizes, and I always have the size I want. Keep the scissors right in my cleaning tool kit.

September 20, 2005, 03:42 PM
Make sure you have LOTS of degreaser. That cosmo gets everywhere. I used Simple Green (highly concentrated), others have gotten good results with Purple Power. Really hot water is nice too- turn your hot water heater up and find a tap close to it. Between the SG (some parts got baths in it) and the hot water, I figure it took me about 3 hours of actual scrubbing to get the cosmoline out of the gun.

For the stock, you might want to see if you have a Dollar Tree around. There is a cleaner there called "LA Totally Awesome Cleaner." It is nuts, but it works GREAT on the wood. My stock wasn't loaded up with grease, so I just gave it a good rubdown with that, and I am currently refinishing it.

As for solvent and lubrication, just use whatever else you normally use for your guns. Just don't put any oil in the gas system (tube, on plungers, etc.)- it attracts and retains gunk. If you are getting one that is excellent/unissued, the main thing will be the grease. There won't be any combustion residue.

September 20, 2005, 03:45 PM
No need to make a website, it's all covered here:

For getting cosmo off I'd let the parts sit in mineral spirits for a bit, then spray them down with non-chlorinated brake cleaner. Then go over with BreakFree or your favorite CLP on the metal parts, excluding the bolt. The bolt needs to stay dry because wet oil will attract dirt and grim and increases the possibility of it getting stuck and slam firing. For the stock there are different methods, oven at 150F, or black garbage bag out in the sun, wiping down every 20 minutes or so as the cosmo seeps out. A few people use oven cleaner on the stock and say it's fine, it may be harsh on the wood I don't know. Some people even use the dishwasher...

September 20, 2005, 06:24 PM
Sure will Silverlance, will do them tonight. AIM or ICQ me and we'll work out the details.

September 20, 2005, 08:17 PM
Don't forget a .30 cal boresnake...makes like so much easier! ;)

One tip on disassembling the bolt. You may not think that little pin comes out...but if you really beat the hell out of it with a punch and a good hammer it *will* eventually move!

When I'm taking the cosmo out of a new SKS I normally soak all the parts in Kerosene and then go at it with a toothbrush and lots of paper towels. When you get down to the firing pin channel a good pipe cleaner will also quickly remove the cosmo (remember to soak all parts in kerosene or mineral spirits...)

Good luck and enjoy your new toy!

Also +1 on dolanp's link http://www.surplusrifle.com/sks/carbine/index.asp - there's some great info there and a very detailed (with pictures) step by step on assembly/disassembly of the SKS.

September 20, 2005, 09:24 PM
Electical contact cleaner, aka 1-1-1 Triethelyne will dissolve YOU if you stew in it long enough. It will break down anything petroleum based pretty much on contact. Mineral spirits, carb cleaner or brake cleaner will work well too. I've heard of pouring boiling water from a kettle down the barrel works.

Be triple sure you get all of the cosmo out of the barrel. If you have a friend with a service station or wrecking yard ask him to borrow his parts cleaner to soak the metal components. Otherwise clean it until the patches come out of the barrel clean. Then clean it again.

Spray a solvent into the barrel end of the gas tube to get the metering hole in the barrel clean of cosmo. A friend of mine had bad malfunctions from not getting this clean the first time. His SKS looked like it had bathed in cosmo though. YMMV.

Sleeping Dog
September 20, 2005, 09:26 PM
The one-piece rod is a good idea, that and a .30 jag. Some patches and some clp is all you need for routine cleaning. It's an easy gun to clean from the breech.

For first-time cleaning, hot water & simple green get most of it. A spray can of brake cleaner gets the nooks and crannies. Some RIG grease protects it after the brake cleaner dries away. That's for the metal. Don't forget to take the piston & operating rod out. Don't launch the op-rod (ask me how I know).

The wood, some low-odor mineral spirits should do just fine.

September 20, 2005, 11:06 PM
I soak the metal parts in a mixture of:

2qt marvel mystery oil
2qt risolene
1gal mineral spirits
enough Kerosene to fill the rest of a 5 gal container.

Some people add acetone but it evaporates quick.

Not sure where I got the recipe but it disolves cosmolene overnight and leaves a nice lubrication behind.

Be sure to completely dry the firing pin before you reassemble it.
The firing pin should rattle when you shake it.

September 21, 2005, 02:54 PM
the way i used to clean my ar15 (and indeed the way i clean my m1s90 and p228) is to thread either the bore snake (and btw I'm starting to agree with the ppl who say that a rod/jag/patches is better than boresnake) or rod through the barrel and then pull it out from the muzzle out. in other words, the patch or snake travels the same direction as a bullet.

then i'd rethread, and do it again...

but I'm not sure how i'd do that with an sks.

should i PUSH a patch through the bore (assuming that i manage to get the barrel off, sigh*)

or should i PULL it through? either way it's going the same direction.

and i should definitely not go in the other direction, right? even if i'm only using a cloth patch? in other words, no "push, then pull" action with patches through the bore?

i don't see how just a patch would ruin the rifling, but i've always avoided doing that even though it seems like such an easy way to clean a rifle.

finally, how do you gusy clean the trigger assembly? do you use a toothbrush?

September 21, 2005, 03:03 PM
Hey Lance I have the pics roughed up and ready.

You can run a patch either way, not a brush however.

Sleeping Dog
September 21, 2005, 07:10 PM
I push the patch through the bore, from the chamber end toward the muzzle. With a little clp on the first patch, the next one dry. Walla! Clean!

Ben Shepherd
September 21, 2005, 07:14 PM
DISASEMBLE your bolt, and clean the bejesus out of the firing pin channel! Soaking and sqirting with carb cleaner isn't good enough. Then do it again.

Add that to the above advice and you'll be good to go.

September 21, 2005, 07:33 PM
On dissassmbling the bolt on an SKS...
I did this by taking the leftover plastic ammo holder from a box of 9mm ammo and placing the opposite side of the pin in one of the holes, then beating the snot out of it with a hammer and punch. It came out. I only took it out far enough to get the firing pin out because it looked like it would be a PITA to get started back in.

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