Reliability .. SKS vs AK


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tnieto2004
January 7, 2008, 11:34 PM
I was looking at both of mine today .. I hear a lot about the AK's reliability and I was wondering how the SKS would match up.. The SKS is built like a tank (IMO) and mine has always been reliable .. Anyone ever done a test? Or what is your oppinion?? Thanks!

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HOLY DIVER
January 7, 2008, 11:47 PM
do you know how may rounds it would take to wear either one of those rifles out?thats a million dollar ????you have there lol

hobbeeman
January 7, 2008, 11:52 PM
I know from experience that the SKS can have Gas issues, that really hamper reliability IMO. It took at least 4 range trips and some trading of parts at two shows to solve the gas problem on one of my SKS.

That said, I know longer own an AK because I just like the simplicity of the SKS better than the AK...go figure

SSN Vet
January 7, 2008, 11:58 PM
I'm no SKS expert, but I would think that the potential for error in reloading the SKS is greater than that of reloading the AK....if for no other reason, because you have to do it more often.

Any time a tool requires you to do something to make it work, you introduce human error and adversely affect reliablility

DWARREN123
January 8, 2008, 02:37 AM
A good SKS is so much fun to own and shoot. It is reliable and hunting accurate and makes for a good truck or SHTF riflle.

tnieto2004
January 8, 2008, 02:39 AM
That is what I was thinking .. With stripper clips .. It can be a REALLY good SHTF gun .. I have also taken deer and hogs with it.. I dunno which I prefer or which I would trust more .. hmmmm

elmerfudd
January 8, 2008, 04:44 AM
If we're talking stock, I'd say it's a tossup. If we're talking SKS's with detachable mags, then the AK wins hands down. I think the AK design is inherently a little more reliable, (long stroke vs. short stroke piston and there's a little less of the bolt carrier exposed), but having a fixed magazine is a bit of an advantage too. Even when mags are built like tanks, like AK mags are, they still sometimes develop problems.

Hokkmike
January 8, 2008, 08:49 AM
The AK is clearly an improvement over the SKS. The SKS is Korean early Viet Nam vintage technology. Modern (foreign) armies are not armed with the SKS for a reason. They are issued AK's and its variants.

Also, I have owned and shot both. My very limited experience backs this up.

RockyMtnTactical
January 8, 2008, 09:03 AM
The SKS and the AK were made only a few years apart...

aka108
January 8, 2008, 11:36 AM
I've never had a failure with the SKS or the AK but would say the SKS would probably be the most prone to some type of failure. It simply has more parts.

MCgunner
January 8, 2008, 12:07 PM
SKSs are reliable, last forever, rugged battle rifles to the max, and are CHEAP! Either gun is just a toy to me, so I go with the cheap range toy. There is no real use for this thing. I dressed one of 'em up as a hunting rifle, but a poor excuse for one. Took one deer with it, The other could do defensive duty outdoors if I had any use for that, if the Muslims invade or something, I guess. But, rifles for me are for hunting. Handguns are for self defense (because that's what you can carry concealed into Lubys), and shotguns are for birds, rabbits, and safe room duties in the house. If I wanted to go to war and kill somebody for some weird reason, emulate Sargent York or something, I'd choose neither. Sargent York would laugh at the accuracy of these things. Even he couldn't hit squat past 200 yards. ROFL

To ME (YMMV), they're fun, cheap range toys. Take your pick, whatever turns you on. I'd take an accurized M1A over either to play Sargent York.

possum
January 8, 2008, 12:13 PM
i have both and they are equally reliable and i have yet to have trouble with either one.

there is more room for error with an ak as it is magazine fed, and everyone knows that the number one cause for issues in a magazine feed semi auto is the magazie. unless of course the sks in question is not stock. alot of folks make mods that don't work on sks's and they aren't reliable at all, and run like crap. if the sks is a d model and made to accept ak mags then fine but alot of the bubba jobs are botched and work crappy.

mp510
January 8, 2008, 12:27 PM
Modern (foreign) armies are not armed with the SKS for a reason. They are issued AK's and its variants.
SKS were used in the Balkans conflicts right alongside AKs. They were resently made too- the C&R cutoff manufacture date for 59/66's is 1992 production.

MCgunner
January 8, 2008, 01:38 PM
I'm not a "modern army", therefore I do not need the suppressive fire qualities of the AK, thank yu very much. I'm an American citizen, not the member of an assault squad.

One thing I did to one of my SKSs that does work is add a Chicom 20 round magazine. It was not perfect. At first it didn't work at all until I knife edged the lip where the magazine cap closes on the body of the magazine. Now, it's 100 percent. However, it only holds 19, not 20, go figure. Stripper clips are only 10 rounds, but at least you can get off 19 before having to reload, I mean, if there's a battalion sized group of BGs assaulting your abode. For anything I could possibly think of to use the gun for in the civilian world, it's plenty of firepower. I used to travel with that gun in a case in the car/truck, but I really prefer shotguns as long guns for close range defense or any of a number of scenarios that don't involve shooting 100 yards at something.

I've found your average SKS to possess slightly more accuracy than the average AK. That is important, more important than firepower for an individual. That alone is enough to choose the SKS, not even taking price into consideration. I've gotten 3 MOA out of both of my SKSs, which is almost useful out to maybe 150 yards. One thing I sorta like about 'em, don't know about the AK, but might apply, is I can remove the gas piston and operate the gun as a straight pull bolt. Why, you ask? I reload and I don't like chasing brass when I'm firing hunting ammo I've concocted. Yeah, with milsurp, who cares? :D

Hoppy590
January 8, 2008, 02:28 PM
The SKS and the AK were made only a few years apart...
SKS-45 AK-47
both were in design at the end of the war. the SKS may have seen testing in Berlin,while the AK had yet to be finalized.

the SKS seems to have served as a testing bed for the 7.62X39 rather than as a rifle in its own right. the SKS design was from some of Simonov's earlier works, the PTRS (14.5X114 anti tank) and AVS-36 (7.62X54r semi auto, with box mag). essentialy the SKS and PTRS are the same rifle, only differant sizes

while the 7.62 was relatively new, and the AK 47 was stll being developed the soviets probibly need to test the cartridge, and what better way than take a proven design and test the round in that. it also helped to bridge the gap between, subgun, and mosin. in terms of both power, and fire power. and while the soviets did have the SVT to bridge the firepower gap. they were very expensive and complex to make compared to the simonov design

mljdeckard
January 8, 2008, 03:47 PM
I'm thinking that you would have to burn a LOT of ammo in either one to prove any significant rate of failure in one over the other. The more you practice loading the SKS, the more proficient and consistent you are with it. I would say the advantage of the AK in capacity is somewhat hampered by the fact that the magazines are somewhay bulky and clumsy to reload when you aren't used to them either.

Omaney
January 8, 2008, 03:59 PM
I have both and would rather have my AK (WASR variant). Not because of reliability issues. My SKS has a very ugly trigger creep and is a bit heavier. The G2 on the WASR is pretty crisp. Both are entirely reliable and capable. I really need to get that SKS trigger worked on.

Cosmoline
January 8, 2008, 04:14 PM
elmerfudd has it I think. A stock SKS, without Bubba or any additional aftermarket parts, is usually very very reliable. As soon as you start messing with SKS's (esp the mag) it tends to introduce problems.

As far as their tactical value, the SKS has the big advantage of not having to rely on a bunch of heavy magazines. A soldier can carry a ton of ammo on strippers in the handy belly pouches. There's also no need to mess around re-charging empty magazines. A strong argument can be made that in semi-auto only the SKS is the more sensible design, and the AK only has a real advantage when it's used in full auto as an assault rifle. That's also the only reason for the bigger magazine.

Neither is a "cheap toy." SKS's have in fact been used by civilians in self defense. There was one such case in Texas recently IIRC. And they beat any handgun for that purpose. To choose a short gun over an AK clone or SKS if you have a choice makes no sense at all. As far as accuracy, the SKS's are on average slightly better than the AK. Neither are up to the level of an AR-15, but they don't need to be. I've also seen one of those old "cheap toys" used for hunting alces alces gigas no less. I helped butcher the thing afterwards in xchange for dog meat, and he looked dead to me ;-) The moose had stomped around a bit spraying blood, but the 150 grain sp's took him down in the end just like a .30'06 or .338 would have.

CWL
January 8, 2008, 04:54 PM
The AK is clearly an improvement over the SKS. The SKS is Korean early Viet Nam vintage technology. Modern (foreign) armies are not armed with the SKS for a reason. They are issued AK's and its variants.
:rolleyes:

The SKS was a 1945 weapon and the AK was adopted in 1949...

The reason why the AK was formally adopted is that it fit Soviet infantry doctrine: overpower your enemy thru mass assault & firepower. Volume of fire was more important than accuracy of an individual. Nothing 'modern' about this battle tactic. The AK was chosen because it used interchangeable magazines.

As for reliability, I have seen rusted discards of both left in the field.

MCgunner
January 8, 2008, 06:15 PM
Neither is a "cheap toy." SKS's have in fact been used by civilians in self defense. There was one such case in Texas recently IIRC. And they beat any handgun for that purpose.

In my collection, my SKSs were cheap and they are range toys. I'd carry one for defense, but I can't find a good IWB holster for one. For as home defense, I prefer buckshot if I go long gun.

I killed a doe with my SKS once at about 80 yards quartering toward me. Tough shot, but made it. At that range, the bullet is no more than something over an inch off in any direction, good enough to woods ranges. I have better hunting rifles, though. But, it was only 75 bucks before mounting the scope and adding a better stock, ambi safety and 5 round magazine. By the time I put all that on it, it came up to real money. LOL I stuck a spotlight I had sitting around on it and use it for night hunting, now, so at least it gets some use other than on paper....I hope, just started night hunting with it and ain't shot hog with it, yet. For what I've put in it, though, I sorta like it. It might be somewhat sloppy accuracy, but it's good 'nuf at woods ranges. While other guns would no doubt work better, the thing is fun to shoot and that's enough justification to own it, after all. Unfortunately mil surp is getting more expensive now days. But, that affects the AK, too. Worst comes to worst, I have dies. :D

LeibstandarteAdH
January 8, 2008, 06:20 PM
An all matching unissued Yugo SKS, vs a Mitchell arms M70... Hmm that'd be a close one. In the "as recieved from the gun show/store/gunbroker/aim/jgsales" market theese days, the AK is going to be more reliable because of the mismatched parts of the SKS's with their gas system. The sks gas system is much more suceptable to gaps in the gas tube and valve with the 59/66's and stuff like that which can cause them to not cycle relibly.

In terms of the bolt closing and locking relibly its the SKS hands down, in terms of the gas system functioning relibly the AK will be a little better, but the AK will get dirtier and gunked up/more likely to fail faster after the round count stacks up.

KBintheSLC
January 8, 2008, 06:30 PM
The AK is clearly an improvement over the SKS. The SKS is Korean early Viet Nam vintage technology. Modern (foreign) armies are not armed with the SKS for a reason. They are issued AK's and its variants.

I would hardly call the 1947 design of the AK "modern". It has hardly changed since then. Armies use the AK because it is affordable, reliable, readily available, and deadly enough to do the job... not because it is high tech.

I think both platforms are built solid as a WWI German tank, but I lean towards the AK because my country of birth makes beautiful ones.

Average Joe
January 8, 2008, 06:32 PM
If I could get a full auto AK, then thats what I would go with. If we're only talking semi auto, then I would get the SKS.

Hokkmike
January 8, 2008, 07:39 PM
Nothing 'modern' about this battle tactic....CWL

And you do not see me say other wise.

I would hardly call the 1947 design of the AK "modern". It has hardly changed since then. Armies use the AK because it is affordable, reliable, readily available, and deadly enough to do the job... not because it is high tech....KBintheSLC

Nowhere do I call it modern, only an improvement over the SKS. Your argument is clear reason to select the AK over the SKS.

SKS were used in the Balkans conflicts right alongside AKs....mp510

True enough, but not as regular issue.

dstorm1911
January 9, 2008, 12:41 AM
OPOSSUM, uh partner the SKS is magazine fed as well...... its kinda a prerequisite for a semi auto unless you have really fast fingers.....

The SKS has a far more complicated FCG, closer tolerances between bolt carrier and receiver rails equaling easier to dust/dirt foul.

The SKS was used primarily as a stop gap weapon to arm "volunteer" forces in order to make up for a shortage of AKM pattern carbines, it served the exact same function for the Russians and the Chinese it was never issued as a first line weapon, the FAL was the rifle of choice actually used by both sides the Brits with their semi only version pitted against the FA version in the Balkan isle action.

The AK was designed with looser tolerances specifically to address reliability problems with the SKS design under harsh conditions, your comparison of a rifle used for your HOBBY target practice at the range can hardly be any indication of battle field reliability...... however we don't have to rely on anyones extremely limited experiences with a USA based privately owned target rifle as all one need do is look around the world..... what rifle was actually issued and used in the largest numbers by the armies of some of the least trained soldiers in the absolute worst environments............ and that would be? oh yea AK-47 or AKM 47

Fill your SKS receiver with fine sand (your really gonna have a hard time getting that fixed 10 round mag cleaned out, and don't forget to get the dust and sand out from under the bolt hold open as it only takes very miniscual amounts there to lockup the mag follower trapped under the frozen bolt hold open in the SKS rendering your rifle inoperable ;) yea its been tested, with the AK ya simply remove the fouled mag and insert another, with the SKS if a sand granual gets between bolt hold open slider and receiver you must detail strip the rifle and punch out the Trigger group front pin and drive off the BHO to clear it.

Some of that sand got into the SKS FCG? oh what do ya mean your sear is now locked solid?? Oh yea that was another common problem but no worry, now its not like an AK where ya can just pop out 1 axis pin and clear it (if the AK had a sear to become fouled that is, which it doesn't), with the SKS again you will need to strip it, now drive out the retaining pin (duck! the enemy is still shooting at you while your tryin to repair your weapon) now ya will need a vice.............. ohh yea....... no field repair ability with the SKS that would be WHY it was never adapted as a front line infantry rifle by ANY country........ ya really gotta look at the criteria for the OPs question not try to judge based on experience on an American based rifle range.........

the SKS is a great rifle for what it is, a stop gap to arm troops that are not formally trained and who do not require the total reliability of the AK otherwise...... Russia would have selected the SKS over the AK for use spanning how many years?? its a fun range gun and a great second line semi auto weapon.......... but its no match for the AK when it comes to reliability in adverse conditions or ability to be repaired easily in the field...

And a full auto "SKS" was fielded by both russia and China the Chinese found that it took more than adding Detachable AK mags and Full auto capability to match the AK thats why the T-68 never out produced the milled AKs issued by China...... WHY? cause the SKS over complicated FCG and reciever tolerances made it very un-reliable compared to the AK


And as to the original question, yes someone has done a test...... Russia, China, Korea, Yugoslavia, Albania, Iraq........ they all determined that the AK was by far the more reliable and that the SKS was better suited for second line troops than front line use...... based on reliability testing

Wolfgang2000
January 9, 2008, 07:27 PM
D storm you are absolutely correct. But VC used the SKS with good results in the beginning of the Viet Nam war. But as the AK became more available it replaced the SKS. But even at the end they were still picking them up off the battlefield.

Anteater1717
January 10, 2008, 01:37 AM
The SKS has a far more complicated FCG, closer tolerances between bolt carrier and receiver rails equaling easier to dust/dirt foul.

Donít you mean clearances?

Fill your SKS receiver with fine sand (your really gonna have a hard time getting that fixed 10 round mag cleaned out...

Not really you can clean a magazine in about five seconds, by just dumping the rounds and wiping down the inside with a rag.

don't forget to get the dust and sand out from under the bolt hold open as it only takes very miniscual amounts there to lockup the mag follower trapped under the frozen bolt hold open in the SKS rendering your rifle inoperable yea its been tested

I donít know about your SKS but mine has a fairly large gap under the bolt hold open. That gap would have to collect a lot of sand to render the rifle inoperable. Also, Iím curious who tested this, and what country was the tested SKS from?

stubbicatt
January 10, 2008, 10:40 AM
Sargent York would laugh at the accuracy of these things. Even he couldn't hit squat past 200 yards. ROFL

Odd. Using a Yugo AK clone I was able to hit gallon water jugs at about 300yards nearly all day with the iron sights. A buddy of mine, a rancher nearby I watched move a 12 inch stone around in a dry river bed at easily 300 yards with one of those Chinese SKS rifles in the early 90's. The rifles are plenty accurate, if you get a good one.

I like the conventional rifle feel of the SKS over that of the AK, but your preferences may differ. Either of these rifles is very robust and capable of lasting a very long time.

MCgunner
January 10, 2008, 12:03 PM
Best I've gotten out of a SKS is 3 moa with tailored handloads. That's good 'nuf to 150 or so, minute of vital area on a deer. But it's no Remington 700. I prefer normal rifles without pistol grips, too, why I don't care much for the AR, but at least those things are accurate. Keep 'em clean and they work. I've heard it said that the AK was for conscripts, the untrained, the farmer who gets a rifle shoved in his hands and is told to march. The AR is for professionals, you know, like the American military, people who can shoot and are trained in how the thing works and how to keep it working.

For my purposes, for range fun and hunting, I'll take the SKS. The AK is just a gun I never really cared for too much. I'm sure it's fun at the range, but I got my SKS rifle for 75 bucks and my paratrooper carbine for 115. It was really the price that got me, I just couldn't turn it down, LOL!

KBintheSLC
January 10, 2008, 05:47 PM
I've heard it said that the AK was for conscripts, the untrained, the farmer who gets a rifle shoved in his hands and is told to march. The AR is for professionals, you know, like the American military, people who can shoot and are trained in how the thing works and how to keep it working.

There is some truth in that the AR requires meticulous cleaning and lubrication to function properly... only feasible for an organized military. However, AR's will quickly fail in less than perfect situations... such as rebel militia, or civilian survival weapon scenarios where cleaning and maintenance is not possible.
Also, the fact that AK's are affordable makes them better for arming the average T, D, & H. However, the AK works just fine even for folks who are trained. I have seen MOA AK47's. Depends on the build. Also, they will keep shooting long after the AR's are rotted out.
I never recommend AR's for anyone besides organized military, and plinker shooters. AK's and SKS's are far superior in "worst case scenario's".

elmerfudd
January 10, 2008, 11:58 PM
I've heard it said that the AK was for conscripts, the untrained, the farmer who gets a rifle shoved in his hands and is told to march. The AR is for professionals, you know, like the American military, people who can shoot and are trained in how the thing works and how to keep it working.

Personally, I think that's one of the biggest gun myths out there. The AR requires much more cleaning and maintenance to keep it serviceable. The AK requires much more training and practice for it's user to become truly proficient with it. Both have been widely used by conscripts and elite forces. Asshats will continue to neglect their AR's and spray unaimed bullets with their AK's and professionals armed with either one will still be formidable.

556A2
January 11, 2008, 12:46 AM
In my personal experience the AK series is more reliable than the SKS (with exception of WASRs). They are both great rifles, but the AK is the better rifle IMO.

<Slight Hi-jack> I've never seen quality AR that need meticulous cleaning to function. I've had a bolt carrier hang up after 350+ rounds in 1 range trip, but was fine after a drop of CLP in the chamber.

MCgunner
January 11, 2008, 12:26 PM
The AKs I've fired were closer to 5-6 MOA shooting Norinco crap ammo. My SKSs are 3.5 or so MOA guns with same ammo. I can't imagine an AK shooting 1 MOA even with match ammo unless it was built as tight as an AR15 and then it'd give up that vaunted sand box reliability. The AKs I've fired were Chicom. Country of origin might have something to do with it. My SKSs are Chicom so it was apples vs apples.

dstorm1911
January 11, 2008, 01:42 PM
MCgunner, try an AK thats been "Americanized" you will find that the accuracy difference between an AK and an SKS totally comes down to how comfortable you are with each, I've ran both through the shooting machine we had and when locked into a mechanical fireing fixture A Norinco SKS and a Poly tech legend are literally identical with the same ammo fired at the same time of day under identical conditions, however the AK popsicle pistol grip etc.. all combine to be a "distraction" for some shooters..... When setup with a longer stock and more ergonomic Pistol grip the AK can actually be very accurate, the sights are barrel mounted which takes much of the stamped receiver versus milled receiver issues out of the equation, the loose BC tolerances don't have as dramatic effect on accuracy as the only variance effected is the bolt lockup which is negligable on a properly headspaced rifle, just like a properly tuned 1911 will be loose when out of battery the key being a totally consistant lockup when in battery and the only thing effected here is the fact that the sights are mounted ontop of the 1911s slide so if the slide is not in the exact same position from shot to shot neither will your sights be. With an AK having its sights mounted on the barrel the only variable left is the shooters comfort level unless you are using a receiver mounted optic in which case you will see a benifit from a heavier stiffer receiver, if headspace is correct the bolt will have no choice but to locku identically from one shot to the next regardless how loos the BC rides in the receiver........... An AK is not like an AR where the rear sights are receiver mounted so everything behind the rear sight mount on an AK is a non issue the only effect of receiver tolerances is on how smooth the action cycles. a heavier AK ie; milled will usually be more accurate when fired from field positions simply because the extra weight makes it wander less on target for most shooters. A truly competent shooter will get equal accuracy from either rifle only limited by quality of ammo........... at least I can and a mechanical shooting machine can...... ANY Shooting form errors in technique will be greatly magnified by a lighter shorter rifle while they are better concealed by the heavier longer barreled rifle, if your not steady the heavier rifle will act to dampen your instability while the lighter one will exagerate it

Ignition Override
October 21, 2008, 04:52 AM
Let's hope that it will still be legal to buy both an SKS and AK in two more years, if Obamanation is elected and his puppet strings are pulled by
Nancy Pelosi ("Hanoi Jane wannabe"), Biden and Schumer etc.

I envy you guys who bought several of either type or a combination.

benzy2
October 21, 2008, 07:19 PM
Yeah the AK will shoot 1 MOA, the AR jams when you look at it, the SKS jams if dust blows wrong in the wind. Right.

benEzra
October 21, 2008, 09:10 PM
The SKS is extraordinarily reliable; the AK is even more so.

The AK functions better if the lubrication dries up, is a bit more tolerant of dirt in the action, and the firing pin is less prone to sticking under adverse conditions.

Mike2
October 22, 2008, 09:22 AM
Looking at from sheer economics, I would rather have 4 or 5 sks's than one AR variant. Now, that being said, economics ain't everything. I have a couple sks's, ak variants and several AR's. I want them all..........nuff said.:D

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