who is very familiar with the sks rifles?


August 13, 2007, 07:25 PM
i have a couple but never shot them much. a friend wants to know if they are reliable and how accurate they are? given the shooter is good, are they accurate enough to hit man/deer size targets at 200 yards? 300 yards?

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August 13, 2007, 07:52 PM
/deer size targets at 200 yards? Humane kills in the kill zone would be no problem inside 200 with good aftermarket sights.

300 yds...well you could probably hit a target the size of a deer and more than likely not kill it

August 13, 2007, 07:53 PM
I have several, all Chinese or Yugo. I am sure there are people on the board that are much more familiar with this weapon than I am but I will attempt to answer your questions with my own personal experience.

First of all, I love the SKS. I am a huge fan and find it to be more accurate than an AK but less accurate at ranges 150 m plus than the AR. One of my guns is more accurate than the others, and it will shoot a "decent" group at 200 m but falls apart after that. I think once you understand the limitations of the round, you begin to understand that this will not be a 400 m gun. I regularly use mine to hunt hog but would never think of taking a shot past 200m.

All in all a great gun as long as you accept the fact that spending a bunch of money on it really will not make a drastic improvement in accuracy, trust me I have tried.

August 13, 2007, 07:55 PM
sks' are indestructable and my cousin shoots beer bottles at 100yds w/ iron sights freehand. I can't actually see a bottle at 100yds, but the gun outshoots me. best 100 bucks I ever spent. I've struggled to scope it though (my mount is sorry). and I do believe many a man has been shot at 2 and 3 hundred yds with an sks over the years. my 2 cents is that there is no other rifle that can touch it at near that price range, save possibly a used marlin 30/30.

August 13, 2007, 07:56 PM
a friend wants to know if they are reliableThey are as reliable as any semi auto rifle can be. Certainly as reliable as an AK. However, be aware that many you see for sale are modified in various ways. SKS in completely original condition seem to be unusual in gunshops and pawn shops around here. Don't buy any that do not have the original 10 round fixed magazine. Aftermarket mags cause more problems than any other modification.

Also be aware of corroded gas valves in some poorly maintained Yugo 59/66 SKS (the one with the big muzzle attachment). You're alright with the 59/66 if it's in new condition.

given the shooter is good, are they accurate enough to hit man/deer size targets at 200 yards? 300 yards?Sure. An SKS in good condition can shoot anywhere from 2 to 4 MOA. The rough, heavy triggers are probably the biggest obstacle to accuracy. It also has poor sights, but this can be fixed with an aftermarket rear aperture sight sold by www.tech-sights.com (one of the few really good aftermarket products for the SKS).

Most scope mounts are crap. Even those that are halfway decent (Choate makes on that's pretty solid) put the scope right over the action and interfere with ejection. Scope mounts that fit on the rear sight base are kind of flimsy and put the optic way too high.

The ammo has a rainbow trajectory. I usually sight mine for 200 yards and leave it at that. That puts it about 3" high at 100 yards. After 200 yards, it drops like a stone. I wouldn't think it has enough power to take game anywhere past 200 anyway. It's said that the round is very much like 30-30 in ballistics and power.

I'd say the Mosin-Nagant M38 or 91/59 would make a much better hunting rifle anywhere past 150 yards. It's cheaper than an SKS too.

August 14, 2007, 12:52 AM
My first centerfire rifle was a Chinese Norinco SKS 7.62x39mm. It was well built and the most accurate SKS I've owned. I took many groundhogs with it at 75 -150yrds. I put a scope on it but the mounts don't hold zero not even the ones with all the screws. Best way to scope one is drill the reciever and forget the dust cover mounts. I didn't have any trouble with the 30rnd magazines I got for mine they feed and load easily. SKS's are one of the most reliable semi autos ever made and for only a couple hundred they are a bargin. I sold the Norinco and now have a Yugo I bought in very good condition for $149...it's all tricked out a bit heavy and long.

August 14, 2007, 12:57 AM
I've got astigmatism and can pattern an ordinary piece of paper at 100m (bench) with a Chinese SKS and Czech ammo. Meaning my pattern is all over the paper, minute-of-shoe-box, but stays on. Maybe it could be more accurate, but with the sights and my eyes that's what happens.

August 14, 2007, 01:09 AM
Have owned a few Chinese and using steel cased Chinese or brass cased Yugo ammo I could not hit a 9" paper plate every shot at 100 yards with any of them. Had one Russian that I could do 3 or 4 inch groups, which was as good as expected with the factory sights.
I have read of much better but this was what mine would do. All were new or refurbished, all were very reliable using several brands of ammo from several different country's.

August 14, 2007, 01:13 AM
An SKS is about a 2 to 4 MOA rifle. As you would expect, 200 yards is fine, 300 is going to give you problems with shot placement and is a little far for the SKS for deer. Use a good commercial brand softpoint not the cheapest, Barnual is pretty good. Scope mounts aren't very good for the most part, but there are a couple of aftermarket aperature sights that will be an improvement. There are also aftermarket magazines that will reduce the cartridge capacity if that is an issue in your state.

August 14, 2007, 02:15 PM

August 14, 2007, 02:43 PM
SKSs are some of the most reliable semi auto rifles on the planet. However some rifles need a little caring after purchase. Often times old surplus rifles like the 59/66 and mosin nagants are covered in cosmoline grease. Which was used to preserve those weapons from russia and other eastern european countries. Removal is easy but almost imperative considering cosmoline can lock firing pins and create other problems. You can remove it by spraying it with brake cleaner or boiling certain parts. Also on some sks models the gas valves can get dirty which requires cleaning.

As far as hunting goes, 7.62 x 39 isnt the best cartridge. But if you're good you can make it work. 300 yrds is a little much though.

Also if he finds old russian or yugo sks's tell him to check the serial numbers on the reciever, stock, barrel, etc. If they all match then he has a very expensive gun on his hands.

August 14, 2007, 04:31 PM
I love my SKS, but I wouldn't trust it with a 200 yard shot on a deer. Under 100 yards, sure.

But then again- that is just for discussion, overall I wouldn't use an SKS to hunt deer. :uhoh:

August 14, 2007, 05:41 PM
Tell your friend to be careful if he decides to get one for him self ...................because he will buy many more. He will spend many mornings tired because he was up all night removing cosmoline. His family will be upset at the new cosmoline odor in the house after baking the stocks in the oven. When all is said in done he will go to the range,fire many shots,get a huge grin on his face then go and buy another one.
I was told this same very thing and thought that won't happen to me. I only need 1. Well now I have 4. I have moved on to Mosin Nagants and well, here I go again.

August 14, 2007, 05:45 PM
My SKS out shoots my eyes with iron sights. I just installed a red dot, but haven't been back to the range yet. One of the guys at the range I go to has a chinese sks that he bought new/unissued.

He mounted a 6x scope on it and claims very good results to 300 yds. He's used it on ground hogs at 300, but he using dialed in hand loads. I really doubt wolf ammo is capable of that in his gun.

My Yugo won't likely do that, but if I can get reasonably good results (4-6") at 200 I'll be very happy.

August 14, 2007, 10:02 PM
Get all of your questions answered here


August 14, 2007, 10:17 PM
Oh, and just to mention, many Chinese SKS rifles were not C & R but new made rifles, and ths some may be in better condition than actual surplus SKS's. Another exception might be a Russian SKS since they were often refinished and refurbished before export.

August 14, 2007, 10:30 PM

One of the funniest thing I've read in these forums.

Don't own an SKS, never will...

August 15, 2007, 01:45 AM
SKS is actually very effective on deer-sized targets out to 200 yards, which puts me in agreement with pretty much everyone on here.

If the ranges are going to be longer, the Mosin-Nagant idea is a good one. You increase your range pretty signifigantly, the bullet is better, and Mosin's are capable of more than sufficient hunting accuracy.

chris in va
August 15, 2007, 03:24 AM
I'm not sold on the SKS idea after owning one for a year.

My reasoning?

They're old. To my knowledge none are made recently.

The Yugo's are heavy.

No standard scope mount.

Mine jammed with Wolf JHP. The flat nose would just meet the chamber face and sit there. No feed ramp.

The round will drop quite a bit past 200 yards. It's a close range weapon, pure and simple. You *could* hit a deer at 300 yards...maybe clip it's leg with one shot then take out the jaw with the next. Not something I would consider accurate or humane.

It's a decent brush gun or plinker. That's about it.

August 15, 2007, 05:38 AM
Poor mans ak, and saying something considering that a good ak costs a little bit more and is more reliable, accepts hicap mags, and overall is a more comfortable gun. Im a fan of collecting C&R guns, but i will probably never buy one. to compare a sks to a ak is like comparing ground beef to T-bone steak, once you try the latter, you wont be coming back for the former.

August 15, 2007, 01:08 PM
They're old. To my knowledge none are made recently.The Chinese still make them for export. They are just illegal to import anymore (the Chinese ones I mean).

August 15, 2007, 01:17 PM
Poor mans ak, and saying something considering that a good ak costs a little bit more and is more reliable, accepts hicap mags, and overall is a more comfortable gun. Im a fan of collecting C&R guns, but i will probably never buy one. to compare a sks to a ak is like comparing ground beef to T-bone steak, once you try the latter, you wont be coming back for the former.

Comfort is not the same for everyone, the SKS accepts hi-cap magazines, and an SKS may be a little less reliable or just as good, and prices in consideration, I can get three quality SKS's for the price of one AK based design rifle near me.

bill larry
August 15, 2007, 01:40 PM
They're old. To my knowledge none are made recently.

They are not a poor mans AK.

They are still made in Yugoslavia. http://www.zastava-arms.co.yu/english/civilni.htm

Neato, eh? You just can't buy them here. If you notice, they also still make them in the old 59/66 configuration.

I love the SKS and own too many of them. I have never had a failure to eject or feed, only one or two failures to fire in thousands of rounds, and I blame the ammo not the gun.

The Yugo's can be very accurate if you find one with a clean bore, like 2 to 3 MOA. They are very reliable.

In my experience, the people having trouble with the Yugo SKS's are the ones who did not properly clean them of cosmoline and then check all the parts for wear or corrosion, or they are the ones who changed the rifle from it's stock configuration by adding all sorts of tacti-cool crap that make the rifle unreliable.

I've bought 6 Yugo's, and none of them have had a bad gas valve, all have worked flawlessly. If left unmolested the SKS will run forever, IMO.

Think about this also...if this rifle (the Yugo 59/66) were to be made in America today, it would cost a grand easily.

August 15, 2007, 02:08 PM
if it has been maintained properly. The 7.62x39 cartridge is almost identical to the 30-30. A good 100 yard deer gun but very marginal at 200 yards and the bullet drops off quickly after that. I do not feel the rifle is good enough accuracy wise to risk a deer shot at 200 yards. 4 inches at 100 yards will grow to 8-10 inches at 200 yards taking the bullet out of the kill zone. A deer is not very big at 200 yards. You would not be able to count the rack points without a glass.....chris3

Dr. Peter Venkman
August 15, 2007, 03:10 PM
Anything beyond 150 for a killshot (a humane one anyway) is really pushing it.

That being said, keep the shots at 100 yards where you can control it. A four inch grouping is acceptable at that range with a stock SKS and a crappy/unfamiliar shooter.

August 15, 2007, 03:33 PM
the SKS accepts hi-cap magazines...I can get three quality SKS's for the price of one AK based design rifle near me.
Not an SKS that can legally take detachable magazines, though. In order to avoid committing a felony, you have to play the 18 USC 922(r) parts count game, which will add another $100 or so to the price.

Low-capacity AK variants with straight stocks (Saigas) aren't that much more expensive than SKS's that I've seen. Comparing a non-922(r) compliant SKS to a 922(r) compliant AK is comparing apples and oranges; the price of an SKS is probably 2/3 of the price of an AK of similar 922(r) status, not 1/3.

FWIW, my wife bought her beautiful Russian SKS (1952 Tula) in 1996 or 1997 for $99. Those were the days...I've seen Russian SKS's in much worse shape for $300+ in recent years.

August 15, 2007, 05:49 PM
I was at a gun store earlier today and looked at a Yugo and a chinese SKS the chinese one seemed in better condition and less heavy cause it didn't have the grenade launcher and the suppressor or whatever that thing is . I put a hold on it but how can I check it out if the place is selling as is ? Would a gun show be better deal to check these out I have wanted one for awhile and have shot my friends . which ones are the ones with the chrome lined barrels . I have read they are easier to clean and take care of .

Dr. Peter Venkman
August 15, 2007, 06:01 PM
The best way to check it would be to disassemble it and make sure the parts function. They are pretty easy to take down and put back together. I don't know if the shop owner would let you do that though.

You can find instructions for that here:


Try this next time you go in at either SKS:

Pull the bolt carrier all the way back (just grab the handle) and it should lock. Take a look at the face of the bolt and see if there is any gunk/pitting. If there is a little bit of grime, try to see if it will easily wipe off.

Bring a small flashlight that you can shine through the chamber and look through the muzzle. See what kind of condition the rifling and grooves are in (if they look worn), if the bore (the innards of the barrel) is shiney or dark/worn looking from excessive use or lack of cleaning, or if you can see some pitting in there.

Ask the shop owner if he (or you) can take off the handguard that has the gas cylinder inside of it to check out both the cylinder and piston for pitting or corrosion.

As a last bit, ask the shop owner if you can stick the bullet-end of a 7.62x39 cartridge into the muzzle to check how tight the rifling it is. Typically the tighter the fit the more accurate it will be.

I know that Russian SKSs have chrome-lined barrels. Norinco (Chinese) ones might too. They are easier to clean because the chrome makes the fouling a lot easier to take out as opposed to a regular steel barrel. Don't hold this against the Yugoslavian SKSs however as they can be nice as well.

You can find SKSs anywhere. At gunshows here in California, people typically try to rip you off. You can find what you want if you browse around enough. I bought my Russian SKS off of gunbroker and it works perfectly fine.

August 15, 2007, 06:27 PM
Thanks Doc Venkman I'll try that .

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