SKS problems


February 13, 2008, 09:54 PM
found a decent yugo SKS for 169 at a local retailer. got all the cosmoline cleared out and took it out to fire some rounds though it, using wolf FMJ it will fire a round, but will not eject the spent cartridge and thus not chamber a new round. i have to forcibly pull back on the bolt to get it to chamber a new round. accurate as hell just wish it would work correctly, bolt only moves back about 1/2" acting like it wants to go back but seems to get caught on something and get stuck. any ideas on what is wrong?

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February 13, 2008, 10:03 PM
Are all parts present and accounted for? (e.g., did you remember to put the piston extension and return spring back after cleaning?)

Is the chamber clean and smooth?

Is the extractor in good shape?

February 13, 2008, 10:14 PM
I would just check the gas valve and make sure the it is in the right posistion. If that is not the problem, then it might just be the ammo. I only had this happen once, I was using wolf lacuered steel and the case was stuck, I wasn't able to just pull it back, so I had to tap on the bolt handle.

February 13, 2008, 10:15 PM
My Yugo SKS does that with the cheap Wolf FMJ stuff, the Yugo has a very tight chamber that the cheap wolf cases get stuck on a lot. I have not had that problem with any other ammo however.

February 13, 2008, 10:48 PM
all parts are accounted for gas shutoff is in the correct position, could be ammo, not sure, but my friend's will only run reliably on wolf and his is also a yugo.

February 13, 2008, 10:54 PM
Hmm, the only SKS rifles that I have any experience with are either Norincos or Ruskies. If everything is in place and in good shape, then I don't know what to tell you.

I'd give the chamber a good scrubbing and try again. If the problem persists, take a chamber cast and see if it is indeed tight.

Cmdr. Gravez0r
February 13, 2008, 11:02 PM
If its a yugo you may have a problem with the gas switch or system. Check, they are the experts and are very friendly.

February 13, 2008, 11:04 PM
all parts are accounted for gas shutoff is in the correct position, could be ammo, not sure, but my friend's will only run reliably on wolf and his is also a yugo.

February 13, 2008, 11:04 PM
You need to localize the failure.

Question 1: Does the weapon hand cycle?

Load the magazine, and try to cycle the whole load through the action (please, please, please do this at a range).

If you can cycle a magazine load through the rifle then the problem is in the gas system. Strip off the gas tube and make sure both pistons and the necessary spring are where they need to be and not seized. If both pistons are where they need to be and free to move that leaves only one culprit. The gas valve. It could be defective. A leaky gas valve will prevent the rifle from cycling properly

February 13, 2008, 11:07 PM
it will hand cycle just fine, but not on its own so it has to be in the gas system,

February 13, 2008, 11:12 PM
So will a recoil spring that is in backwards. Make sure the less supported end of the spring, the one that is in a spiral, goes into the hole in the back of the bolt carrier.

February 13, 2008, 11:36 PM
recoil spring is in correct direction

February 13, 2008, 11:40 PM
i shot an old SKS last weekend, same problem. after giggling the gas valve at the end of the barrel a little bit, i corrected the problem. also firing wolf ammunition.

February 14, 2008, 12:00 AM
Here are some old threads that talk about this problem

I had similar problems a few years ago and after making sure the gas system was completely clean, including the two "op rods", I made a small gasket out of a piece of copper wire and placed it around the base of the gas valve. I haven't had any more problems that I could not identify.

Another good site is

If you have a rifle that shoots accurately, by all means fix the problem! Don't trade off the rifle! I have 3 and only one is very accurate, and from what I have seen, this is pretty good odds

February 14, 2008, 12:02 AM
Check to be sure the hole in the gas block is not plugged up. Some yugo sks's have issues with the gas shut off system leaking and not enough pressure to cycle. Double check the op rod and be sure that it's not obstructed etc etc. I'm sure you've done this! Polish the chamber with a 45cal bronze brush and a cordless drill! if that doesn't work congrats on your bolt action SKS!

Pipe Burn
February 14, 2008, 12:17 AM
I had to replace the gas tube with a tapco aftermarket on my yugo. The gas tube was out of round where it mated with the gas block/shut off, causing a leak. I can't figure out why it was worn as bad as it was. It works like a charm now.

February 14, 2008, 12:21 AM
bolt action SKS, could be a rarity. but seriously im thinking i have a gas leak. ill use my friends yugo and go piece by piece to see what is bad and go from there. ill try that wire gasket trick too and see if that works, sucks, shes a damn nice shot, hate to see her be a safe queen

February 14, 2008, 12:57 AM
well, no reason for that. If it's just a little part, it shouldn't be overly difficult to find a replacement for it.

February 14, 2008, 09:38 AM

New gas valves, $10. Mark

February 14, 2008, 11:05 AM
Accurate as hell but unreliable.

Are you sure it isn't an AR-15 ;)

February 14, 2008, 11:11 AM
Newton, that was horrible.

February 14, 2008, 11:16 AM
I have to agree that it's likely the gas valve. Mine did the same thing and i got a new one. Shoots great now. Check for any corrosion or if the valve is loose fitting.

February 14, 2008, 11:20 AM
Could be lacquer built up in the chamber. If this is a Yugo, it is very hard to see the lacquer in the non-chromed lined chamber. I recommend using an oversize brush and some good solvents and clean the chamber really well.

Mr White
February 14, 2008, 12:00 PM
+1 for jr45's suggestion. When you manually cycle the bolt, is it hard to pull back? The old military cases are lacquered and that stuff is HARD to get out of the chambers.

Steel 45 cal bore brush attached to a cleaning rod section chucked into a drill. Use lacquer thinner, brake or carb cleaner, Hoppes, PowderBlast, ... and go at 'er. don't be shy. You can't hurt it. Try that before going thru a lot of work diagnosing a gas system problem.

February 14, 2008, 04:20 PM
The .45 brush in the drill trick isn't a bad idea, but after doing a little research on the issue, I'd bet anything that it's the gas valve.

February 18, 2008, 08:16 PM
FINALLY got it out where i could shoot, with donor SKS to swap pieces out one at a time:

Gas valve: managed to extract but got caught in bolt, still didnt go back far enough to try to chamber
Gas tube:nope
Gas switch: nope
Big piston:nope
little piston and sping:nope
bolt and bolt carrier: nope
recoil spring:nada
receiver cover:zilch
Mag assembly:zip

so yeah, scrubbed chamber for 10 minutes with a .45 brush coated in Hoppes #9 and foaming engine degreaser (found it to be better than carb and brake cleaner for cosmoline) swapped out everything but trigger assembly and stock on the receiver still only goes back about a case length of a x39 shell, bolt becomes extremely hard to pull back after firing (think Mosin Nagant bolt) and appears to catch on that small nub on the inside left hand wall of the receiver, keeping it from going back far enough to cycle. thinking it has to be something in the trigger and hammer assembly because if the hammer is cocked, bolt works smooth, if its decocked hammer is hard and gritty . If ive ran out of stuff i can do im more than prepared to send it to a gunsmith, If i can find one in my area (close to Athens, Ohio) and if its going to cost less than another one to get fixed. I appreciate the great community response you guys rule

February 19, 2008, 03:06 PM
I just noticed we had a gunsmithing forum, could a mod move this thread there, less likely to get buried. Thanks.

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