Question about SKS (Norinko, Yugo, Albanian, Russian)


silent knight
December 20, 2006, 02:57 PM
Are they worth it, i wonder how used these guns are. Keep in mind that i am in California so prices here are rediculous. A yugo goes for $250 while the Norinko Chinese go for almost 300? Are they worth it??

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December 20, 2006, 03:11 PM
I really like my Yugo (59/66), although I paid half that since I'm not in the P.R.K. Some people like the different variations more than others. The Russian ones are the originals, but are also quite expensive (can't imagine what they'd be in Cali if those are your prices) I prefer the milled versions over stamped, so I'm not into the Norincos, every Norinco I've seen in person has been stamped - there were milled Norincos made, if I'm not mistaken.
From what I understand, Albanian SKSes are fairly uncommon. I have yet to see one myself.

Do a search for "SKS", you'll find more info than you can imagine on the subject.

Ohio Rifleman
December 20, 2006, 03:43 PM
$250 for a Yugo SKS is absolutely insane. I'd suggest posting an ad here on THR, where you'll get a more reasonable price from a fellow member. I personally own a Yugo, and I very much enjoy it, everyone should have at least one SKS. :neener: I'm not certain about the legality of buying an SKS from someone out of state in the PRK. Every day, I'm thankful I live in the free state of Ohio.

December 20, 2006, 03:45 PM
Russians will be the most expensive. Then the Norincos.
Yugos should be the cheapest and I wouldn't pay over $150 for one as they can be had unissued for somewhere around $160 from the surplus places.

I forgot to add that I love all my Russians!

December 20, 2006, 03:54 PM
I used to have a Russian Tula Aresenal SKS a few years back. They are decent guns. I have a few gripes with them. My biggest is that it's difficult to keep the magazine loaded without having a round chambered. You would have to push down the rounds in the mag while slowly moving the bolt over the top of them a bit. The bolts are stiffy sprung, so if it slips it's a good way to injure a finger. Also the only safetly is the piece of metal you flip up to block the trigger. My next biggest gripe is that you can't mount much of a scope on them because the brass is ejected almost straight up.

December 20, 2006, 07:06 PM
$250 for a SKS is nuts. I got mine for $139 in new/unissued condition at Cabelas.

If I were you, I'd find someone out of state that sells them at good prices, and have an FFL transfer it to you.

December 20, 2006, 07:30 PM
The HUGE mitigating factor on those prices are.... you are in California.

Not nearly as many options as most places for anything remotely resembling an EBR. So considering all that.... it might be "worth it" for somebody specifically in a "live in CA" situation. I like mine, for what it's worth (I'm not in CA though, and only paid about half that much).

But yeah, you're going to get a lot of people in the thread saying "wow!" to those prices that aren't in that situation. Many of these people also got in on the $80 or $90 a gun gravy train from awhile back, which will make them say "double wow!". Lastly, if you see an Albanian for anywhere near those prices, grab it; they're pretty collectible for true SKS aficionados.

December 20, 2006, 07:56 PM
Some are very used, others are unused. Yugo's are readily available in unissued condition. I just picked up a NIB Chicom from an estate, and so many of them were sold that it isn't uncommon to find them. The Albanian I paid $50 for is pretty well used...

December 20, 2006, 08:00 PM
$50? :eek:

Maybe they're not as collectible as I thought. I thought there weren't many around.

December 20, 2006, 09:12 PM
The Chinese Norinco is worth $300 (unissued). I paid $129 for an unissued Norinco, back in the late 80s. As far as a used SKS, you would have to gauge the muzzle and throat, as well as general condition before buying.

Mac Attack
December 20, 2006, 10:38 PM
Wow I didn't know that SKS prices have gone up so much. I bought my Norinco SKS back in the late eighty's and paid I believe $69 or $79 for it. :eek: It was the first firearm I ever purchased and even though I don't shoot it much it still holds much sentimental value to me. Back then you could buy 1,200 rounds for $100+. I must have put close to 10k rounds though it over the years. I can honestly say that I have not had a single problem with it other then the finish on the stock would become tacky after a days worth of shooting.

December 21, 2006, 01:34 AM
Yugo SKS's cost considerably more in California than in other states because to be legal here you have to remove or permanently cover the grenade launcher. This has to be done before it enters CA - you can't order one and do it yourself. Century welds a muzzle brake in its place. Some places weld a blued steel sleeve over it, or just remove it and leave the threads exposed. Anyway, this makes the super-cheap Yugo deals unavailable here, since only a few companies do the "CA conversion" and then only intermittently or by special order. Another thing to keep in mind is that the prices you see on the web for SKSs don't include shipping or local FFL fees. These will bump up the price considerably. I paid $500 for a pair of SKSs several years ago here (one Russian, the other a Chinese "paratrooper" - both in new condition). They were "on special" for $265 each. I felt like I got a pretty good deal. I think a CA-legal Yugo in very good or excellent condition for $250 is a decent deal. I don't think many, if any, more SKSs are currently being imported. I don't think any more Russian, Romanian, or Chinese have been imported for at least several years. So if you want an SKS, I doubt you are going to find a much better deal in CA - unless (1) you find a private seller who bought one back when they were much cheaper and doesn't realize the current value, or (2) they find another warehouse full of them someplace and start importing cheap CA-legal ones again.

Are they worth it? If you want a semi-auto military-style rifle in CA, there aren't too many other options, and none I can think of that are close to even current SKS prices. So I think they are still a good value. Other options, like the Mini 14/30 or Kel-Tec SU-16 are in the $475-$650 range. M1As are 2-3 times that. There are a few other options (M1 carbine, Garand, fixed mag AR or FAL, etc), but none that approach the affordability of the SKS. I'm not implying that the SKS is the equivalent of these, but it is a dependable semi-auto centerfire rifle. I also suspect that that expensive $250 Yugo SKS you buy today will be worth more in a couple of years (barring #2 above).


December 21, 2006, 09:02 AM

Maybe they're not as collectible as I thought. I thought there weren't many around.

I scored a killer deal when AIM was blowing out their beaters. You won't likely find another for that price.

December 21, 2006, 10:30 AM
Hate to break it to ya guys, but at a recent gun show (last weekend) I saw VERY FEW SKS rifles around and of the ones I saw, not one of them was going for less than $220.00 (no willingness to negotiate on the part of the seller). Saw a nice unissued Norenco that somebody wanted $375.00 for.

December 21, 2006, 11:19 AM
To get the best deal, even in CA, the Yugos are probably you're best bet. $250 isn't crazy considering you have to have the grenade launcher removed/replaced, etc. (although I paid $129 for an unissued one at Dunham's a coupla years ago)

Alot of people don't like the Norincos, but mine is easily as well made as any other SKS, easily as good as my Yugo (and the Yudos are the only ones without a chrome-lined bore, which the Norincos DO have). Supposedly the Russians are the best, but all of the ons that I've seen were in pretty rough shape.

I would say, given the Yugo vs. Norinco, I'd pay the extra $50 for the Norinco. Especially if you can find a Paratrooper (short barrel) model, that would be worth another $100 or so.

In CA you're gonna pay more, so why not get the best that you can?

Hate to break it to ya guys, but at a recent gun show (last weekend) I saw VERY FEW SKS rifles around and of the ones I saw, not one of them was going for less than $220.00 (no willingness to negotiate on the part of the seller). Saw a nice unissued Norenco that somebody wanted $375.00 for.

Last Gunshow here they still had "new in wrap" (and cases) of Yugos for $159. Gunshow in 3 weeks, hope the're still available, I'd like to pick up another to "customize" (doing the 10 foreign parts routine, of course.)

December 21, 2006, 11:25 AM
Hate to break it to ya guys, but at a recent gun show (last weekend) I saw VERY FEW SKS rifles around and of the ones I saw, not one of them was going for less than $220.00 (no willingness to negotiate on the part of the seller).

Yep. I have noticed the same thing here. The window of cheap unissued Yugos is closing fast. All the SKS's are going up in price. Russians are now $300+ in my area. Chinese $200+.

I attribute it to the stream of imports slowing to a trickle now. The latest ones coming in are beat up shooters I've noticed. If you want a nice/near new Yugo SKS, and you find one locally for under $200, you have done good.

silent knight
December 21, 2006, 04:13 PM
I noticed some of you said that you can actually get one NIB.. the dealer told me that there's "no such thing as a new SKS, all are used".. the Norinco i saw was much shorter than the Yugo, and much lighter, the Albanian looked very used.

December 21, 2006, 04:33 PM
I've bought a few SKSs that I think qualify as "New In Box," but most were imported years ago (probably the 80s or early 90s) and had been in dealers or private inventories since then. These were new rifles in their original printed commercial boxes. I've seen a few NIB Chinese SKSs at gun shows a few years ago (they were obviously new in box with form-fitted foam packing) - also probably imported quite awhile before. I've also seen some fairly recent Yugo SKSs that appeared to be in excellent (unused) condition, but they probably came from military inventories, so they probably wouldn't technically qualify as NIB. I don't think any really new commercial SKSs have been imported for years, so finding one NIB would mean finding one that was purchased years ago and never used. A more likely, and probably cheaper scenario would be to look for one of the more recent imports in "excellent/unissued" condition. These will probably show a few marks from handling and storage, but be in virtually new condition.


December 21, 2006, 04:41 PM
$250 for a Yugo?

Turners has them for $180-200, you pick from the selection at the regular retail store.

Rule #1 of California gun shows: don't buy anything.:p

silent knight
December 21, 2006, 04:46 PM
None of the Turners around here have any in stock.. so the best thing is for me to ask if they're "unissued"?

December 21, 2006, 04:49 PM
Or just wait until after Christmas.

Unissued would be the best, if you can get them.

Note that there are no 59's left, AFAIK. You'll be getting a 59/66 modified for California (grenade launcher replaced with muzzle brake).

silent knight
December 21, 2006, 04:57 PM
Thanks for all the feedback.

December 21, 2006, 08:17 PM
Pay the extra for the Norinco. It has a chromed chamber and bore. Well worth the $50 difference IMHO

December 21, 2006, 09:41 PM
FWIW I handled one at a local pawn shop for $139 that had a black polymer stock with thumb hole & a cheap scope. Not sure what the country of origin was, but the gun looked like it was in great shape (and it obviously had been modified with aftermarket stock).

December 27, 2006, 09:21 AM
The deals are out there, but you have to look for them. I bought my "shooter" Chinese SKS for 159.00. I bought another Chinese SKS for 150.00 as an impulse buy / investment and sold it the same day at the same show for 180.00. I bought a slightly rusted shooter grade Yugo for 70 bucks. I bought my Albanian for 245.00.

Also, if you have a C&R and haven't sent it to Century Arms (one of the biggest importer of these weapons) then you can't see the deals when you login. They don't have anymore "NIB" or "Exc" grade Yugo SKS rifles anymore. The supplies are finally drying up.

December 27, 2006, 10:18 AM
They're "worth it" but with current market prices, don't pay much over $150 for a Yugo and $250 for a Norinco. They're sturdy and reliable if you clean and lube them regularly.

silent knight
December 27, 2006, 12:19 PM
Can someone tell me what the difference between milled and stamped? Sorry, not familiar with the lingo.

Andrew S
December 27, 2006, 12:29 PM
Just take your time buying them. Check with other collectors and pawn shops. A lot of people start with an SKS and then move on to bigger and better. I got my Norinco for $75 like a year ago. My roomate got his Norinco for $150 6 months ago. Mine was like new condition and his had only small signs of use.

December 27, 2006, 01:02 PM
Get one.

Some norincos had a screw in barrel vs the pressed and pinned in barrel.The milled/stamped version has a different look to it, it looks thinner in the trigger guard and there are no milling marks("c" shaped cuts) on the bolt side and the trigger guard.Some parts on them are milled but no attention was made to detail and some parts stamped that they could use to save time and costs .Thats all I can say about the difference between them.As far as every other part on the gun, they interchange among the same manufacturer-use milled pieces in stamped/milled guns.Russian built guns tend to be tighter in the tolerances than the china version.They are all milled and do not utilize a press fit and pinned barrel in any of their years of manufacture.

I have had a example of 1 each sks made from 4 different countries and 2 from norinco, a pinned barrel and a screw'd in barrel.They all worked but the russian version is much more refined,so it is the only one Ive kept.

If you can get your hands on an vg cond.albanian sks, go for it,they are nice collectors too.

December 27, 2006, 01:14 PM
If I were looking for my first SKS in CA, my personal preference (in order) would be: Norinco 16" paratrooper, Russian, Romanian, standard Chinese (Norinco), Albanian, Yugoslavian. But, actual gun condition and price could easily change this order. I put the Yugo last because it lacks the Chrome-lined barrel, and I'm not too fond of the extra length (due to the grenade launcher/muzzle brake) and the grenade launcher sight. But an excellent condition Yugo is likely to be easier to find (since they were imported much more recently), and the ones I own (several) seem well made.

I don't doubt that people still occassionally find nice SKSs for $75-$150 or so, but this would be a very lucky find in CA (where our options in semi-auto rifles are much more limited than the rest of the country). It really depends on finding a seller who doesn't know the current market value of his/her rifle, or who is very impatient to sell it. Kind of like finding an original M1 carbine for $300 (I'm sure it happens once in awhile, but you could miss out on a lot of shooting while waiting and searching for such a deal). I'm a bargain hunter and always looking for good deals on guns, but unless you are willing to wait months or years for such a deal to come up, I wouldn't hold out for it. Think of it this way: If you buy a nice SKS for $250-$300 and take care of it, then if you come across one of the great deals others have mentioned, just buy it and you will almost certainly be able to sell either it or your original purchase for a profit (I think prices will continue to creep up - unless another bunch of SKSs are imported - and I've seen no indication that this is likely). Of course, if you are like me, it will just become another rifle added to your collection (can you have too many SKSs?). :)

I don't live near any Turners, but my guess is that if they were selling CA Yugos for $180-$200, they were probably "good" or maybe "very good" condition rather than "excellent" or "unissued." This isn't necessarily bad, but with a non-chromed Yugo, you have a good chance of barrel corrosion. And if they are currently out, I doubt they'll be getting many, if any more in (since I think the import/wholesale channel is pretty well depleated).


December 27, 2006, 01:19 PM
Well as I stated earlier, I'm not seeing price creep... more like price LEAP. Not saying this to start a run on the remaining SKS supply but it does appear that the "cheap as dirt and twice as common" days of the SKS are rapidly coming to a close.

December 27, 2006, 02:33 PM
I'm in california too. I got my last norinco off of gunbroker about a year ago. My ffl charges $50 to transfer, so with shipping it came out to about $210 for a nice rifle. Mark

December 27, 2006, 08:26 PM
I'm in kentucky. SKS's, mostly Yugo, and Chinese, go for 150.00 to 300.00 depending on the condition. My Chinese was bought in about '94 I think my Father paid 300.00 for both of ours. The Gun show is going on this weekend at the Louisville Fairgrounds. For that kind of money you might as well call your budy here in Louisville (whoever that is) And have him ship it to you in pieces. Not trying to be a smart a$$ but I can't believe how muck money guns go for in kaliforna.... I guess it pays to be a stereotypical Kentucky redneck.

December 28, 2006, 01:50 AM
SKS prices are also increasing in Fla. Asking prices of Yugos are always above $175 and anything Russian will get $300+. Also the volume is certainly going down. Mosins were more prevalent at the last show. I should have bought the 53 I saw there instead of the M-44.

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