Yugo SKS Questions


October 2, 2007, 12:29 PM
A couple of months ago I purchased a 59/66 A1. Limited time has always made be choose between going to the range with something else, or taking the time to clean a couple pounds of cosmoline out of the SKS. This weekend I was heading to the range at a State Park but at the last minute wasn't sure if they were open or not due to the "Partial State Shutdown". Didn't want to waste a couple hours just driving there and back so I opted to clean the SKS. Got out my trusty Surplus Rifle CD and followed the directions. No problems. Found that it has been used but was apparently serviced before storage as some parts, such as the gas piston, are absolutely brand new. Along the way I came up with a couple of questions I'll pose to the experts here.

1) Firing Pin
I've read it is susceptible to slam firing because the firing pin sticks. I soaked the bolt in mineral spirits for a couple of hours then used a can of aerosol brake cleaner on it. The pin moves with gravity when you hold the bolt vertical or when you shake it horizontally, but appears to have a bit of a delay as if sticking. I tried to remove the retaining pin so I could remove the firing pin but even after some sizable whacks with a hammer and punch it did not budge. Didn't want to damage anything so I stopped. Is there some other trick to removing this so I can clean out the firing pin channel?

2) Night sights.
The sights on mine still glow a bit. While I don't ever really anticipate using it in the dark I'd like to perk them up a bit. Is this feasible? Was looking at the glow-in-the dark sight paint at patchworm.com. Is this the right stuff to use?

Thanks in advance for your expert advice.


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October 2, 2007, 12:46 PM
If you are using less than a 4-Lb hand sledge to remove the firing pin retaining pin, you need to get a bigger hammer. :D :evil:

I boiled my bolt, used some brake cleaner & then penetrating oil to soak stuff loose. After I got that pin out, I used some Flitz to clean it. Goes in & out easier now, but still takes some serious pounding.

October 2, 2007, 12:48 PM
I also happen to have a Yugo 59/66. I had the same issue with the firing pin. All I did was soak it in mineral spirits for ages and ages and kept wiping away any cosmoline that oozed out. Other people will tell you to disassemble the bolt and take firing pin out and clean it, but I had the same problem as you. No matter how hard I hit that retaining pin it would not move. So just keep soaking it in mineral spirits and be patient!

As for the night sights, it is possible to paint them with a reflective paint or something like that, but from my experience it won't work very well. The sights are tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen), which gives off beta radiation (it's harmless-just don't eat it). The beta radiation excites phosphors which causes them to glow with a faint green light (phosphorescence). The tritium has a half-life or about 12 years so most it has decay away. There is no way to 'recharge' the sights or anything unless you can get your hands on some tritium, which since its a radioactive controlled substance I doubt that's possible. In conclusion, there's not much you can do with the night sights that will work well.

Full Clip
October 2, 2007, 12:52 PM
I too thought I could clean my SKS's bolt without tearing it down. But when I finally did get the "big hammer" and get that pin out, I was surprised by how much cosmo was still in there.
Man up and do right.

October 2, 2007, 01:23 PM
Good luck on the pin. I set the bolt on a large socket from my socket set so the pin would have room to move. After bending 2 punches, I grabbed the biggest nail I had, 50d I think, and used that as a punch. After a few smack with a hammer and the nail-punch, I got the pin to move. After that, a normal punch could move it the rest of the way out.

As for the night sights. I am not sure if they used tritium tubes. I have a M59 with the old irons. If they just used luminous paint, then some thing like liminox would work nicely.

October 2, 2007, 01:58 PM
Ditto the BIG hammer. I boiled the bolt, got lots of scum out, then decided it would be best to get that pin out. After bashing the snot out of it with a punch, it finally popped out, and I found more gobs of cosmo inside the firing pin channel. I seriously reccomend popping that puppy out and make sure it's clean.
Then enjoy! The Yugo I still have is a wonderful shooting rifle.

October 2, 2007, 02:13 PM
I know for sure that the M59/66 has tritium night sights. Mine don't glow much anymore, so I tried putting some luminous paint on them. It looked like s**t after the paint had dried so I just stripped it off and left it as is. I probably won't ever shoot the thing at night, unless the S hits the F (or the zombies come:neener:).

October 2, 2007, 02:22 PM
What made the biggest difference for me in getting the firing pin retaining pin out was to have the bolt on a very solid base when hammering.

Also, use a steel tap:

October 2, 2007, 02:46 PM
+1,000 to what everyone else has said - you've gotta get that pin out to properly clean the channel. I recently picked up a Yugo, and could NOT get that pin out for the life of me. I had to take it to my local shop/range, and have one of the clerks wail on it for awhile with the big hammer.

It came out, and despite soaking in Hoppes and being blasted with cleaner, there was a TON of grease and cosmo still inside.

If you can't budge it - that's not your fault. But I would seriously, seriously recommend that you find a way to get it out.

October 2, 2007, 04:07 PM
I cleaned my yugo very well--but couldn't get the bolt apart. Smarty that I am, I figured (after mineral spirits, boiled water, etc) that a few minutes at 350 in the oven would bring more liquid cosmo out of the bolt--it did and in fact started a small fire. I figured I had it clean enough--shot 80 rounds no prob--stripped to swab the bore and--the firing pin is broken in the bolt. It still works (not safe). My point being, I did everything else BUT that and now I need a new pin. It's possible the pin was rusted, too prior to cosmo dip. I tried getting in touch with that fellow that replaces the stock set up with a spring returned pin, but had no luck so far.

I've got another one still in the goo, but I'll let my kids tackle that.

October 2, 2007, 04:31 PM
Yup good luck with the bolt. After pounding with a rather substantial hammer for about an hour with NO progress, I soaked the bolt overnight in WD40. The next day I pounded again with a steel tap for about 30 minutes until it finally came out.

Its a good thing I did, because before I took apart the bolt, I couldn't hear any movement from the firing pin when I turned the bolt back and forth.

Some very good advice for the first time shooting the SKS: Start by loading only two rounds or so at a time. I'd rather slam fire two rounds than all 10.

Ohio Rifleman
October 2, 2007, 05:57 PM
Good grief. Only with these commie battle rifles do you have to beat them with a big hammer.

When I got my Yugo, I just scrubbed and scrubbed with Hoppes #9 and haven't had a slamfire or anything like that. Some stovepipes, though.

October 2, 2007, 06:07 PM
It took several good hits to get that pin out. After cleaning it up nicely, it doesn't take too much effort to get it out again.

October 2, 2007, 06:16 PM
Drill a 3/4" hole in a 2x4 block and set it on there so the pin can fall through. You will damage teh block before you damage the bolt. Mine took a lot of beating. The mineral spirits shouls have helped. You could try heating the bolt up with a torch, but I've never done that on a rifle bolt and I'm not sure what effect it would have on the thing. Basicly you have to pound and pound it. And then pound it some more. Maybe the SKS gods will smile upon you this time.

Try some white model paint on the night sights. It's not night-sights as such, but it's at least low-light capable.

October 2, 2007, 06:19 PM
Good grief. Only with these commit battle rifles do you have to beat them with a big hammer.

Rifleman, why do you think that and the sickle were the Ruskie symbols. It's the recommended tools for working on everything they made.

Ohio Rifleman
October 2, 2007, 06:42 PM
Rifleman, why do you think that and the sickle were the Ruskie symbols. It's the recommended tools for working on everything they made.

lol! You owe me a new keyboard! :neener:

But that's why we love commie guns. Take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. That quote might be sig line material...

October 2, 2007, 07:05 PM
I actually have a 4lb hand sledge so I 'll give that a try tonight or tomorrow. I was pounding on a workbench with two 2x4 blocks spread apart so there was a space. I'll move to the garage floor to remove all rebound.

Once I have it apart should I just go ahead and get one of the spring loaded pins from sksman.com? Anyone used one of those?

Thanks for the advice.

Full Clip
October 2, 2007, 07:35 PM
Get the spring-loaded FPs direct from the source:

Mr White
October 2, 2007, 08:21 PM
You know those hammers they use to pound in railroad spikes? Well, the next size up from that is what it'll probably take to get that pin out... but it WILL come out with enough pounding, and you WILL find a whole lot more cosmo in there.

October 2, 2007, 08:50 PM
Ive never taken one out. Mine have never slam fired or anything, now im going to actually look for that pin, as i never brake my sks's down or hardly shoot them in comparison to my AK's, But why not just use a dowell pin and a hydrolic press?

chris in va
October 2, 2007, 08:55 PM
I never had a problem with slam fires on my Yugo. The pin free floats just like on my Saiga. If it makes you FEEL better, by all means get the spring version.

Are you guys *sure* those are tritium night sights? Anyone care to cite proof? I never bothered to stare at the sights for a couple hours in the dark.

October 2, 2007, 09:01 PM
Well i know that Zastava currently uses tritium vial night sights. I can sight proof with pictures and so on, ill edit it in later.

October 2, 2007, 09:48 PM
You know on second thought, I think the sights just might be luminous paint. Or low grade phosphor paint.

I'll try to see if can't find any info on the M59/66 specifically.

October 2, 2007, 09:59 PM
I did have a problem with the combination of a Murray Firing Pin/Return Spring and a Kivaari trigger job where there just wasn't enough force to fire Berdan primed (basically, your Eastern European steel case) ammo.

October 3, 2007, 06:10 PM
Will try taking the whamma bamma to it tonight and see what happens. Hope I don't mangle the bolt body.

Been reading up on the tritium stuff. From what I've see it usually uses a "vial" of some sort with the radioactive material and a phorphorescent (sp?) material over it that is excited by the radiation. This is more like a paint, like they used to use on watch hands. I'm guessing it is no longer available, or that if it was I wouldn't want to be messing with it. I'll probably just try painting over it with some sort of light reactive material and see what happens.

October 3, 2007, 06:21 PM
I used the aforementioned 4 lb. sledge. Worked after only a few good wallops. Yes, there was still cosmo in there. Yes, I had cleaned the snot out of it before I finally removed the firing pin. Do it, clean it, be happy.

October 3, 2007, 11:52 PM
Turns out my hand sledge was only a 2-pounder so I had to really wail on it, but I finally managed to get the pin out. There was still some cosmoline in the channel so it was a good call. Cleaned everything out and then the re-assembly fun began.

Had to beat just as hard on the pin to get it back in. The extractor kept popping off so I decided to leave it out and put it in after the pin was seated. Bad move. :banghead:

Turns out the head of the pin overlaps the extractor to keep it in place. Once the pin was down I couldn't get the extractor in. Had to partially remove the pin so I could slip the extractor under it. This time the steel punch I was using broke. Took about 20 minutes of imitating a blacksmith to finally get everything back together.

The firing pin now moves freely without any delay when you turn it vertical. If I ever decide to go with one of the spring loaded replacements I'll definitely spend the extra $15 or so and send them the bolt so they can do the work.

As mentioned above a hydraulic press of some sort would have been great for this. Didn't have one and other than this don't need one. Although, knowing now what it takes it might have been worthwhile. :)

October 4, 2007, 12:36 AM
A dead blow hammer will work better. Mine came out after a few good whacks. BTW I attempted to clean with all the know remedies prior and got a sticky pin during live fire anyway. I was lucky to not have it slam fire/out of battery. TAKE THE PIN OUT AND CLEAN IT!

October 4, 2007, 01:34 AM
The sights are tritium
Actually, the M59/66 may have phosphor OR tritium sights, sometimes both on the same rifle due to rebuilds. Earlier models had phosphor, they switched to tritium in 1986.


October 4, 2007, 11:33 AM
Every sks I have purchased has had the firing pin removed for cleaning..no matter how much you soak, clean and/or boil cosmo will still remain in the channel.
A block of wood with a hole drilled in it for the pin to move into atop a firm surface will work. Remember to wear safety glasses! The pins can also be pressed out using an vise and a little bit of imagination.
It also doesn't hurt to have spare retaining pins..if they don't go back in square an edge can be knocked off, making the spring a bit out of position.

October 4, 2007, 05:09 PM
My sights are the phosphorescent ones. I'll try scraping them a bit to see if it is the embedded cosmoline keeping them dim. If that doesn't work I'll clean out the sockets and replace it with appropriate phosphoresent paint.

October 11, 2007, 11:37 PM
Hey JediJJJ, I did the same thing as you with the extractor, kinda.

I popped it off thinking I could get the retainer pin out (I still haven't been able to) and had to get it back on after I gave up. There's enough "give" on the spring to pry the extractor out with a rudimentary lever (i.e. a long brass nail) and you can get the thing back on with the retainer pin seated all the way...you just have to tap it in with a regular hammer.

October 12, 2007, 08:48 PM
Yeah. I just ordered a couple of extra pins JIC I ever have to take it apart again. Might actually get it to the range this weekend then I'll decide if I want the spring kit. If so I'll send it off and have it installed.

October 12, 2007, 09:27 PM
All your answers are here.


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