Converting SKS


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9mm+
January 3, 2010, 08:34 AM
I purchased an SKS several months ago and finally took it to the range yesterday for a test fire. It was my first experience with an SKS and my impressions were *okay*. I liked the heft and the action seemed very reliable; I didn't like the trigger pull weight and travel (duh) nor did I like the rear notch sight. Front sight was easy for focusing but alignment with the rear notch was tough...maybe it was poor range lighting or simply due to my eyes not being as good as they used to be. :)

This SKS is not a collector's item IMO. It has been re-armored, the gunmetal has several gouges, the stock is a scratched and slightly gouged, and the butt plate is trashed. I spoke to a local gunsmith/SKS restorer and he could make it all shiny and pretty for $150, excluding any trigger work that I would also ask him to perform.

The question I'm asking myself is whether to gussy this SKS up or convert the whole thing to a pseudo-scout rifle with a TAPCO Intrafuse kit. With the latter, I would be gaining a whole lot of real functionality but of course any resemblance to the real SKS would be gone. Mechanically, the SKS action seems very reliable and tough, so turning this into a trunk/scout rifle would be advantageous from a usability and reliability standpoint. I think the TAPCO kits run about $150, the same as the gunsmith work.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else wrestled with the same SKS decision. I am sure that there are devotees of the SKS look, which I am neutral on and could take or leave...

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rogertc1
January 3, 2010, 08:44 AM
Clean it up yourself. Take the $150. and spend it on ammo.

44Dave
January 3, 2010, 09:30 AM
Tech Sights
Kivaari Trigger job
Murray Firing Pin
Tapco 20 round magazines
Maybe some real sling mounts
and call it good. All the trunk gun you could want.

smince
January 3, 2010, 09:41 AM
The question I'm asking myself is whether to gussy this SKS up or convert the whole thing to a pseudo-scout rifle with a TAPCO Intrafuse kit.Don't expect the plastic rail on the TAPCO handguard to hold any kind of zero reliably.

Ohio Gun Guy
January 3, 2010, 10:04 AM
Uless you put on the kind of mounts that get mechanically fastened / tapped, you will have a difficult time on the SKS.

Believe me...... I tried :o

Quiet
January 3, 2010, 10:10 AM
Don't forget to comply with Fed 922r, when "converting" it.

9mm+
January 3, 2010, 10:10 AM
Thanks for the feedback and tips. The Kivaari trigger job is a must IMO, and the Tech Sights are interesting and I like the Williams Firesights, too. Either of them would work better for my eyes. Spot on about the Tapco plastic not holding zero. If I mount any optics, I would likely use a replacement receiver cover with scope rings or weaver mount. (Op Ed: I own a Tapco kit for my Ruger 10/22 and didn't mount any optics on the forend. I did mount a Tasco Red Dot on the receiver and am *very* happy with it. Holds zero consistently.)

Thanks again...you've given me much to think about.

Hacker15E
January 3, 2010, 10:13 AM
+1 on the Kivaari trigger job and the Murray's firing pin. Best 'cheap' upgrades you can do to an SKS.

DMK
January 3, 2010, 10:22 AM
Tech Sights
Kivaari Trigger job

I'd say try these two modifications first. Then try the rifle for a while. I can't see changing much more than this adding anything useful, at least not with the quality of most SKS products on the market.

greyling22
January 3, 2010, 12:47 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpP4sfvWJlM is the first in a very good series on how to do your own sks trigger job. if you screw it up you can always send it to kivaari.

if you want a scope or red dot http://161.58.206.244/store/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=scoutscopes&Category_Code=skscope is the best looking scope mount for an sks I have seen. there was a good review on it somewhere online.

extended and detachable mags seem to be problematic.

I would look at duracoat before I would look at reblueing.

stocks are your choice, but avoid the gas tube rail mount.

briansmithwins
January 3, 2010, 12:55 PM
I tarted mine up with a chicom fiberglass stock and new sling.

SKSs are best left as is. If you want extended mags, scopes, and stuff get a Saiga with a receiver optics rail. BSW

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/IMG_1146.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/IMG_1143.jpg

Rshooter
January 3, 2010, 01:11 PM
I am wrestling with the same decision. I have one stock SKS and one modified to be a "D" model. I want to replace the stock on the "D" using Tapco even though I am not really excited about Tapco, the current stock is an ATI with the lon_g trigger pull. From all of my research it looks like Tapco is really the only thing going if you want a stock with a pistol grip.

9mm+
January 3, 2010, 01:58 PM
Thanks again for the suggestions in the new posts. Update: I took the SKS to the range again today and fired 40 rounds from bench and standing. One of the observations I came away with today (which I didn't have yesterday since I was bench rest only) is that the shoulder stock is too short for my frame. It wasn't uncomfortable, but it wasn't ideal either, and a longer stock would be my preference.

So, I have field stripped and cleaned the rifle and here is what I am planning to do:

1) Send the trigger group to Kivaari for modification
2) Order a Murray firing pin
3) Get a set of Tech Sights
4) Order a Monte Carlo stock instead of the Tapco

The reason for #4 is I like the sporting look more than the "AK look" that the Tapco provides and the cost is roughly half of the Tapco 922 conversion. I don't need a 20-round magazine, either. A couple of 10-round stripper clips is all I will need for range work or hunting. I will likely replace the bayonet for a bipod, too (I don't see the need to rush across the field and stab deer with the bayonet :) ).

I do intend, of course, to keep all of the original stock, etc., in case I want to revert back. These mods, though, will give me better trigger pull and a more comfortable working rifle.

Sam1911
January 3, 2010, 02:51 PM
cost is roughly half of the Tapco 922 conversion

Just remember, on an SKS if you change it from its original configuration -- even to go to a more "sporing" style -- you have to comply with 922(r).

The SKS has curio & relic status -- as long as it is in its exact original military configuration. As soon as you alter it, it loses that status and becomes subject to 922 (r). Be sure to calculate in the cost of all the parts you will need to comply when you're budgeting.

-Sam

9mm+
January 3, 2010, 03:10 PM
Thanks, Sam, good advice. The more I read through 922, the more it makes my head hurt, but I will ensure compliance. It's clear that 922 is only something a lawyer could love.

9mm+
January 3, 2010, 04:14 PM
Ugh...ok, I did the parts count and found that it's cheaper to buy the Tapco 922r compliance kit than the Monte Carlo stock + US-made trigger, sear, hammer, piston, etc. After today's range test, I definitely would like an adjustable shoulder stock (the SKS is too short); alternatively, I could get a really beefy recoil pad and keep the original stock...hmmm... :)

Victor1Echo
January 3, 2010, 04:18 PM
Leave 'em alone!!! Maybe a rear peep sight. This gun is what it is! It cannot become what we want. Try to change your wife or girlfriend!

I could have bought another sks with all the money I spent I stock/scope/ mount. Just my experience.

Sam1911
January 3, 2010, 04:32 PM
I definitely would like an adjustable shoulder stock (the SKS is too short)

I'm 6'-2" myself, and certainly can understand where you're coming from. However, you'll find the same shorter length, except worse, when shooting other eastern bloc rifles. (AKs, are notorious for this.)

It isn't that the Russians were producing tiny little teacup soldiers! It's all about stance.

You do need to adopt a more "squared up" shooting stance to use that stock effectively. If you're trying to use the heavily "bladed" classic offhand marksman's stance (with your strong side foot well back from the line), the stock will feel way too short. If you adjust your stance to more of a boxer's stance, bringing your strong side foot more forward to square up to the target a bit more, you'll find the stock much more comfortable. Instead of thinking of using the rifle in formal target competition, think of using it as a combat arm on a dynamic battlefield. A "fighter's" stance is more fluid and allows you to transition quickly into various field expedient positions, shoot on the move, and use cover effectively. The shorter stock works well for that.

Working with the rifle in that manner, more "classic" long arms like the Sprinfield or Garand rifles begin to feel a bit over long and more cumbersome.

Try it out before you spend money on a new stock. Good luck!

-Sam

9mm+
January 3, 2010, 04:33 PM
Funny, Victor...I am in the process of packaging the trigger group for Kivaari, and when it comes back, it will go back into the ORIGINAL stock. I will add a Tech Sight and a thicker butt plate/pad, but that's it.

It's been a weird journey already with this SKS. If it weren't for the legal entanglements of 922r, I would've likely taken a different path.

9mm+
January 3, 2010, 04:36 PM
Thanks, Sam...you're spot on! I actually did square up a bit at the range today, and while it still felt weird, it did help. It'll take some getting used to, for sure.

Sam1911
January 3, 2010, 04:43 PM
Thanks, Sam...you're spot on! I actually did square up a bit at the range today, and while it still felt weird, it did help. It'll take some getting used to, for sure.
I've got a friend who's a wildlife conservation officer and who has a Benelli 12 ga. that he's had a lot of custom work done to. (It's also got a 14" barrel -- I've seen the Form 1, so yes, he's legal.) After shooting it and changing it and shooting it some more, etc., he settled on a 12" length-of-pull for the stock! And I've watched him empty a magazine of slugs in a couple of seconds, while moving, so he really can run that gun that way. He shoots it VERY squared up -- if you don't, it will blacken your eyes on the first shot!:eek:

His is an extreme example, but shooting AKMs and AKSs with their factory stocks has illustrated to me how to use them effectively. A lot of shooters are running the adjustable stocks on their AR-15s/M-4s shortened up a bit for the same reasons. Stability, mobility, flexibility.

-Sam

9mm+
January 3, 2010, 04:55 PM
Thanks, Sam -- Sounds like a good excuse to get to the range more often! :)

I admit that I am more of a traditional long gun, bolt-action guy, but this old dog is always up for learning new tricks with these Eastern Bloc "shorties".

JTH
January 3, 2010, 04:58 PM
Me and a friend were discussing options as far as sights/optics. We both really think a SKS or AK really weren't meant for scopes. We came to agreement to change the front post sight to a red or green to give it better contrast to the all dark colors that are part of the manual sights. Just my 2 cents worth.

9mm+
January 7, 2010, 02:10 PM
Update: I received my Tech Sights yesterday and the trigger group has been sent to "Kivaari". Since there is no collector value to this SKS, I am going to strip the finish off of the stock, refill some gouges, and refinish the stock myself. It's my "New Year project"... :)

Cmdr. Gravez0r
January 7, 2010, 02:38 PM
Update: I received my Tech Sights yesterday and the trigger group has been sent to "Kivaari". Since there is no collector value to this SKS, I am going to strip the finish off of the stock, refill some gouges, and refinish the stock myself. It's my "New Year project"...

Good on you! I only have one "serious" rifle and that is the SKS. I would like others but it does just fine for now. I have a lot more rounds through mine than most people and it shoots great.

QUICK_DRAW_McGRAW
January 7, 2010, 03:14 PM
44dave hit the nail on the head, i did all that with the tech sights and i can hit oranges at 100 yards no problem.

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