School me on the SKS


Tim the student
December 28, 2012, 01:19 AM
They have had appeal to me for some time now, but I don't know anything about them.

Are some better than others? Any importers to stay away from? How reliable are they? Minute of deer accurate, or minute of berm?

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December 28, 2012, 01:26 AM
Here's everything you need to know.

They're a cheap, reasonably reliable rifle with field-grade accuracy to about ~200 yards.

Other than that:
The sights suck.
The trigger is awful.
The magazine is fixed capacity and obsolete.

If you buy one, order a set of tech sights, as installing them will make a noticeable difference in how accurate the gun is.

December 28, 2012, 02:06 AM
The magazine is fixed capacity and obsolete.

Call me crazy, but that was part of why I wanted one. I wanted a real live, as issued, semi-auto military rifle with a conventional wood stock and a fixed mag. The SKS was the only one I'm aware of in that category that's cheap and fires a round that's still in very common usage, and pretty cheap.

I got a Yugo in excellent condition for $300 even last year. The grenade launcher on the end of the Yugo's barrel looks so darn scary that it's banned in CA.

There was a bunch of Chinese ones that recently came in, maybe from Vietnam since I don't think we're importing any guns from China anymore, that were going for ~$250 on J&G Sales, Classic Firearms, and AIM Surplus. From the pics they looked like they'd seen service in Vietnam on the other side.

If you care about the SKS from a history standpoint:
If you really care, down to the markings and slight differences between country's:

Important note if you haven't bought a 'new' Yugo firearm before; they come coated, slathered in cosmoline. The Yugo cosmoline seems to be more of a honey like substance compared to the oil like Russian cosmoline that was on my Mosin rifle and my Nagant revolver. The Yugo version doesn't come off quite as easy, but the wife's blow dryer and a few rags will get it.

Cee Zee
December 28, 2012, 04:13 AM
My opinion differs greatly from the one expressed here by another poster. The trigger is generally awful but can be improved dramatically by a competent gunsmith (ie Kivaari). The mag works quite well if you put a little practice time in loading from stripper clips. They are much lighter than carrying extra mags and they load very quickly. And the SKS is extremely reliable if you take even reasonable care of it. I've had one for over 20 years. I've probably had less than 2 dozen failures to cycle completely in all that time and they were either related to ammo or a modification I made (which was fixed by eliminating the modification).

IMO you will never find a more effective battle carbine at double the price you pay for an SKS. They are also plenty accurate enough if the trigger gets fixed and any sight issues are corrected (some come with bent sights).

I actually have 2 of them now. Both are very reliable and plenty accurate. Clearly they aren't target rifle accurate or even hunting rifle accurate but they are as accurate as many deer rifles. I can shoot a 2"-3" group at 100 yards with either of mine. They were built as quickly and cheaply as possible. They take some tweaking to work well usually. But my second one didn't need near as much tweaking as the first one to be accurate.

BTW I converted the first one I bought to detachable mags the first day I bought it. It's worked perfectly or very close to it for over 20 years that way. Again the problems I've had were clearly about either ammo (stopped having problems when I ran out of a particular box of ammo) or a modification I made (stopped having that problem when I went back to the original setup).

I would highly recommend any model that hasn't been shot to death with cheap ammo then put up abused. You'll know the difference as soon as you see them. If the action is full of crud don't buy it. You can find a much better example if you wait.

December 28, 2012, 06:39 AM
I just got my first SKS last week, and I love it. I swapped out the original sights for tech-sights, and they are wonderful (like all their products).

The SKS doesn't get the credit it deserves, and folks seem to think they are just some cheap old AK variation or something. They can be quite accurate, and have a good design. I admit, I thought they were ugly and cheap, but once I researched it and watched the AGI video on it, I started to really like it.

The other thing about the SKS is that it can be pretty user friendly, it has simple controls (unlike an AR with buttons and switches every where). The original magazine is pretty bullet proof, and the springs are light enough that you can load rounds in pretty easily (very little effort required). The rifles heft also keeps recoil low, and would be easily manageable by a smaller person. All in all its a rifle my 5'4" wife can actually shoot.

I got my Yugo model from Dans ammo for ~$330, it was hardly shot or used and it feel like a brand new firearm (IE feels like I am starting to break it in). Keep an eye out for a good Yugo or russian model (the latter will be quite a lot more expensive), and it isn't too hard to find good-to-excellent rifles. Also the bayonet comes off easily, and the Yugo's come with a grenade launcher (but doesn't look like one).

Oh and Hickock45 has 2 reviews on his SKS if you want video reviews of it.

December 28, 2012, 07:10 AM
the SKS is a fine choice for someone on a tight budget..
some have accuracy issues but if you get one with a good bore (2-3 MOA) you should hang on to it forever..

remember there is a lot of corrosive ammo out there for that caliber and you can damage the bore if you put the rifle away with corrosive residue remaining.

December 28, 2012, 07:50 AM
School me on the SKS

They work fine and last a long time. :)

Seriously, they aren't a bad little rifle. That said considering the average cost. Twenty or so years ago when they were pouring into the country they sold at gun shows for about $100 with the earliest ones being Chinese flavors. The early ones being actual military surplus packed on cosmoline and having threaded barrels. Eventually NORINCO began new manufacture and exporting those guns to the US with pinned barrels and the good deals came to an end when the Clinton Administration banned further import. During the early 90s they were a hell of a good deal and for what it is worth I always liked the early Chinese versions with the screwed in barrels but just my opinion.

Once the Chinese flavors were banned from further import there were the Russian surplus versions coming in. As I recall they all had threaded barrels with a pretty nice wood laminate stock. I may be wrong as to the threaded barrels on the Russian guns but I don't recall ever seeing a Russian version or any actual soviet block country version having a pinned barrel. Their prices ran higher than the Chinese versions on the US military surplus market.

Chinese Type 56 (1956–): Numerous minor tweaks, including lack of milling on the bolt carrier, partially or fully stamped (as opposed to milled) receivers, and differing types of thumb rest on the take down lever. The Chinese continually revised the SKS manufacturing process, so variation can be seen even between two examples from the same factory. All of the Type 56 carbine rifles have been removed from military service, except a few being used for ceremonial purposes and by local Chinese Militias. Type 56 carbines with serial numbers below 9,000,000 have the Russian-style blade-type folding bayonet, while those 9,000,000 and higher have a "spike" type folding bayonet. Some early examples are known as "Sino-Soviet", meaning they were produced by China, but with cooperation from Russian "advisers" who helped regulate the factories and provided the design specifications.

The above quote was taken from here ( and I suggest you give the full article a read for a good understanding of the little rifle. The article also covers variations used by other Soviet Block countries.

Overall, as to the bang for the buck they aren't a bad little rifle in my opinion. Yes, the triggers suck but with a little time and effort can be improved just like the sights. Like any rifle of its type they are easy to dissemble and clean in detail. While I seldom shoot it I still have mine from about 20 years ago.

Funny is that when I left Vietnam I thought I had seen the very last of those rifles and less than twenty years later I watched them pour into the US. Go figure! :)

If you have an interest and the money to snag one then by all means do so. Just make sure your homework is done and you know the fair prices for all the different flavors out there.

Just My Take....

December 28, 2012, 09:22 AM
The only potential issue you may run into is slamfire from the firing pin sticking. Make sure you clean that bolt assy well and you should be good to go. I bought a chinese chest bandolier for mine, it holds 180 rounds on stripper clips. Otherwise the SKS is a great rifle. If you find a good chinese one snatch it up, they are the best right behind a Russian one. I'm sure there are some nice condition Yugo's out there, I've just never encountered one. Seen many pristine chicom specimens though.

Steel Horse Rider
December 28, 2012, 09:54 AM
I love shooting my Yugo's. I have been impressed with the accuracy of the slide type range adjustment of the rear sight. Once you get it zeroed at 100 yds you can slide it to 200, 300, or 400 yds (it is in meters but close enough for the range) and be right on. For hunting purposes 250 yds or less is probably a practical limit.

As for the hanging firing pin, just send the bolt off to Murray's in Texas for a spring retained firing pin conversion and you will be a happy shooter.

December 28, 2012, 09:59 AM
i have a romanian and have had no issues, got it about 2 years ago from a buddy for 100 bucks with about 300 rounds, doesnt get much better than that. back in the day him and a buddy went in on a couple cases of them and over the years he slowly unloaded them. It shoots fine, i dont mind the fixed mag, i have lots of stripper clips. I refinished the stock so it even looks pretty good.

December 28, 2012, 10:11 AM
Leave it stock with the ten rounds. Aftermarkets will only give you jams and hiccups. The bayonet is a postive addition in its fearsome look.

December 28, 2012, 10:18 AM
They're a cheapNot anymore,atleast not where I live. The absolute CHEAPEST I've seen in recent weeks was a Norinco with a cheap plastic stock and a duckbill 30rd mag. It sold for $350. Everything else is from $400 northward. Sometimes very far northward.

December 28, 2012, 10:21 AM
Yup not cheap here either.

Chevelle SS
December 28, 2012, 10:24 AM
I love my Norinco. The only thing I have changed on it was to add a synthetic Monte Carlo stock. Adds some weight, but greatly improve the ergos for me.

December 28, 2012, 10:33 AM
The SKS should not be anyone's primary battle rifle/carbine in this day and age. It's inferior to ARs, FALs, M1As, AK47s, HK91s, Mini14s, etc, in just about every way. That said, they're a very good value for a "back-up," a trunk gun, or beginner rifle for a newer shooter.

The sights absolutely suck, and you'll never likely find one too effective past 200 yards. With the iron sights on mine, I shoot 6" groups @ 100 yards. I have a strong feeling that those groups would tighten with better sights/optics. I got the Tech Sights for my 10/22 and absolutely love them. I'll be getting some for the SKS very soon.

The fixed mag with stripper clips is certainly faster than reloading a bolt gun, but also certainly slower than changing the mag on a more modern rifle.

The recoil is manageable for newer shooters and a non-factor for anyone with significant rifle experience. The cartridge is plenty powerful for 2-legged bad guys and mid-sized game, though with a poor trajectory compared to 7.62x51, 5.56x45, etc. Accuracy issues and trajectory limitations make it a 200 yard battle gun.

December 28, 2012, 10:39 AM
Justin said:
The sights suck.
The trigger is awful.
The magazine is fixed capacity and obsolete.

And they're heavy, too.

December 28, 2012, 10:59 AM
1951-onward SKS rifles have a free-floating firing pin design that was copied by every other country. Slamfires are possible if things are gummed up or very worn inside. I've owned 3 with that design, and I never experienced one, but the possibility still exists. Murray's gunsmithing in Texas has a fix for it that my M59 Yugo had.

Generally speaking, Russians will always carry a premium. These have a chrome lined bore, as do the Chinese models. Yugoslavian SKS rifles do not have a chrome lined bore. Although modern 7.62x39 such as Tula is claimed to be non-corrosive, all berdan primed ammo is going to be mildly corrosive in one way or another. I had light surface rust gather on the innards of my M59 after shooting a couple hundred rounds through it without a cleaning, so the possibility still exists. It cleaned up fine, but...just FYI...Yugos will pretty much require cleaning every time, if you know what's good for you. That said, I've found them to be slightly more accurate because of the lack of a chrome lined bore. I also prefer the longer, less tapered stock of the Yugos compared to the Russians, although the Russians will hold their value better in almost all cases. But my preferences with Yugos run towards the non-grenade launcher equipped M59 rather than the 59/66, but the 59s are rather hard to find, and carry a premium. I think your best bet is to go for a nice Russian.

They're reliable, dead simple, and reasonably accurate. Not a rifle that finesse, refinement, or light tactile responses should be expected from, but that's not their point in the first place, much like a Mosin Nagant in that respect. But everybody should own an SKS at some point, in my opinion. I don't have one anymore, but even after going through a few, I still find myself wanting another one.

December 28, 2012, 11:03 AM
I've had this Russian 54 Tula for maybe 10 years now. Never had a single issure with it. It is all wood and steel and with issue sights on it. I can smack watermelon sized rocks and boulders at 300 yards with it.

I think they are great firearms and under rated. I once read that the best thing you can do to your SKS to keep it reliable and have it retain is value is to do nothing to it. I believe that.


December 28, 2012, 11:59 AM
SKS is a 50s design, proven battletested reliable weapon. Whats not to like?

December 28, 2012, 02:16 PM
I had a norinco and it would slam fire up until the firing pin broke. Inaccurate and once cheap. I paid $99 for mine back in the late 90's. You are paying $300 for the same gun, cost of manufacture has gone up $0 on old surplus rifles. If you believe in the quote " the only interesting rifles are accurate rifles" dont buy one. Save your money and apply the $300 towards an FN-AR, SX-AR or BAR. Hell, you can get a Remington 750 or 7400 that will shoot circles around an SKS - just buy it in .308 or .30-06 for surplus ammo.

December 28, 2012, 02:19 PM
I had a norinco and it would slam fire up until the firing pin broke. Inaccurate and once cheap. I paid $99 for mine back in the late 90's. You are paying $300 for the same gun, cost of manufacture has gone up $0 on old surplus rifles. If you believe in the quote " the only interesting rifles are accurate rifles" dont buy one. Save your money and apply the $300 towards an FN-AR, SX-AR or BAR. Hell, you can get a Remington 750 or 7400 that will shoot circles around an SKS - just buy it in .308 or .30-06 for surplus ammo.

In other words, "mine was a bad one, so they're all bad and you shouldn't buy one."

Right-o. Just be sure to watch those crooked rails on that $1,400 FNAR. :neener:

December 28, 2012, 02:22 PM
I'm no expert, but the SKS that I helped someone detail strip, clean, lube, and mount into another stock this past weekend did not have a fixed magazine. It had a 30-round job and the whole heavy boat ran like a trip hammer after we got it all back together and into that new stock.

Made me think I should have one too.

December 28, 2012, 02:22 PM
The elitist view of , Only interesting guns are accurate guns, is true. But its also true 3-4 inch groups at 100 yds with open sights like the SKS will hold its own in a combat scenario.
Ask any Vietnam Vets who had been there and done that . They know its no cakewalk to be at the receiving end of a SKS carbine. Even their flak jackets cannot stop armored piercing 7.62 x 39 going at 2300 ft sec at the muzzle.

Now if you know why, those armored piercing rounds can go through 1/2 inch steel plate like butter at 100 yds.

December 28, 2012, 02:32 PM
I went all-out with mine. Tech-sights, Kivaari trigger, thinner front sight post, Tapco stock/compliance kit with muzzle brake, and I cut the bayonet off. It is my throw-across-the-handlebars-and tear-through-the-desert gun. The Tapco mags work pretty well, especially after I shaved the sprue off the followers and added a little graphite lube, but the new version of the pro-mag works best.

The best improvement was the tech-sights and thinner front sight post.

Next is ACU Duracoat. :)

December 28, 2012, 02:36 PM
I left mine the way it s designed but nothing against to those who changed it. I just wanna keep mine as original and keep the value intact. I tried to remove the bayonet and cleaning rod long time ago but put it back together. Im glad i got those parts in my storage .

Maj Dad
December 28, 2012, 02:57 PM
SKS is a 50s design, proven battletested reliable weapon.
Actually it was designed during WW2 with an eye on the semi-auto rifles used by the Germans (G41 & G43, and the M1 Garand). As such it is a pretty old design, but like the M1, still works after mud & abuse. I have 2 & plan on passing them on in my will (Diane Feinstein and other Obaminations notwithstanding). I restored mine, too - had to dig to find the cleaning rod, but took the Tapco folding stock off & put it back the way it was. Lot cleaner & though never a sow's ear, it looks a lot better not trying to be a silk purse... ;)

Cee Zee
December 28, 2012, 03:21 PM
The only advantage modern battle carbines have over the SKS is full auto mode. Take that away from the AK's (which is what we get here in the US) and the SKS is a superior rifle in every way. More accurate, more durable and more reliable - that's what the SKS has over the semi-auto AK's. And I'm not so sure that being full auto is all that much of an advantage. You can heat up a barrel in a hurry going full auto. You won't even be able to touch it. I've seen smoke roll from forward grip stocks. A single 30 round mag fired quickly can bring this about. I heat up the SKS using semi-auto sometimes.

December 28, 2012, 03:44 PM
Another great thing about the SKS: it is designed to operate down to -40F. You'll notice that the SKS flings brass WAY off to the right. It does this because much more gas pressure is captured in the gas sytem than is actually needed to cycle the action. This is meant to overcome the effects of extreme cold on a semi auto rifle.

December 28, 2012, 03:52 PM
SKS is a good well kept secret in the world of AR/AK lovers.

I posted this on the SKS boards and got amazing response....

December 28, 2012, 04:03 PM
The skS [semi-avtomat Shpaginova iirc] is a dandy little carbine. Fires the .30 cal Soviet short which is about the cheapest centerfire round out there & about the equivalent of a 30-30, so don't let anyone's complaints about how underpowered it is get to you.

Soviet infantry doctrine of the time figured heavily upon human wave assaults so the sights weren't expected to be accurate, just "close enough." Most aftermarket sights use the action cover retaining pin as an anchor, and therefore have non-repeatable zeros: you've got to sight in again after every cleaning. Replace the issue peep with a Mojo and get the front sight adjusting tool [works on AKs as well] and don't look back.

The standard wood stocks are normally poorly inlet and composed of random species of firewood: unfortunately, due to insanely unconstitutional federal meddling, you have to change out way more parts to US made components if you change out just one (the stock), as doing so takes the rifle off C&R status. Go figure. Unfortunately #2, the issue stocks are almost of too short a pull for normal-sized 'murricans. If you go down this route, do not waste time with anything other than the Dragunov style stock: it is a massive improvement on the skS ergonomics & handling. Downside there is that the manf. cheaped out on the mold design, & you have to go in & modify the stock by cutting a notch in it before putting the gun in so that you'll be able to remove the action cover for cleaning. Otherwise, you'll be stuck having to remove the receiver from the stock every time you want to clean the gun [which is a pain since it latches in nice & tight.]

The trigger is not as atrocious as living w/ a Glock, altho' it's gritty and there's tons of trigger slap. No, I mean more than that: your finger will be pretty dang sore by the end of the day if you shoot a couple of hundred rounds thru it. Is it worth spending the money on a trigger job? Depends on how much you us the rifle: if it's truly a truck gun & the most you fire off in any one day is a few rounds at coyotes or something, then probably not.

It's a good, rugged little unit, and when they were readily available for <$150 back in the '90s [which is what, equivalent to $300 today, what with inflation from Clinton, Bush II & massive inflation from the Obamanation regime] they were a smokin' deal. Yes, the stripper clip loading of the fixed magazine is less than ideal, but if you live in free america you may be able to get the "paratrooper" model that takes swappable mags. Not here in the PRK, they're on the banned list.

As for which are better, the Russian, Albanian & Yugoslavian models w/ screwed in receivers generally are considered superior to the Chinese models w/ pinned on barrels, altho' I've no complaints about my Chin Alpha branded cheapy. Obviously, the ones with more machining involved in their manufacture like I just mentioned cost more. (Go figure.)

The Yugoslavs don't have chromed barrels, so are more maintenance intensive when used with corrosively-primed surplus ammo. Again, no problem for me since the PRK bans them anyway because of their grenade-launcher muzzle weight. No chrome lining means the Yugoslavs are potentially more accurate, so if you're loading your own w/ non-corrosive primers then peachy, but every skS I've seen beats the heck out of steel cases, so I'd hate to see what one does to actual brass ones.

There, that's the 5 minute run down on pretty much everything I've learned about the skS in the last 15 years. Good luck!

December 28, 2012, 04:06 PM
Russian and Norincos here with good results; I like them but always have...guess it's a personal thing. Would I want to go up against and armed individual with a good scoped AR at 400 yards?!....but they are good smooth shooting weapons and with the proper ammo they are (in my experience) much more accurate than many post on the interweb.... but none of mine are junk or shot out..So go figure?

Ignition Override
December 28, 2012, 04:17 PM
For trigger work, look up the address for Eric, who has a nice Youtube Channel under "iraqiveteran8888".

He offered to smooth the SKS trigger for $35 plus shipping of the trigger assembly.

December 28, 2012, 05:24 PM
I think the sights are not that bad compared to say a mauser 98 or swede or Spanish bolt gun.

You may really need the sight adjustment tool though , or may not.

Back in the 1980's the Norincos had a repretation for inaccuracy and when I had one back then it was worse than my shot out 98 7.92 that would take a..323 bullet an inch deep into the near rifling free muzzle. I was disapointed. This was of course with the urine smelling Chinese steel core ammo that was what was commonly available. Then on a whim I picked up some then very cheap Lapua ammo. Groups shrank down to 3 inches at 100 yards. The Lupua brass was also reloadable boxer primed and non corrosive.

I think the SKS inaccuracy concerns were fueled by early experiences with the Chinese ammo more than recent experiences.

I am told that the Wolf brand steel case ammo is accurate in most SKS rifles but have no direct experience.

I thought the most interesting ammo was the East German Full metal jacket plastic bullets. I saw a couple of SKS that ate them just fine and some AKs that wouold not. This was just training ammo meant for shorter range training to allow East German troops to train closer to their barracks without going to big range facilities.

I used to get tickled by the folks that just had to stick a finger in the cleaning kit port in the butt plate and then freak over it capturing them.

I used the bayonet to keep the rifle off wet ground with by exteneding the bayonet and just shoving the bayonet into the ground enough to hold the rifle uprigth and upside down.

My experience was that removing the bayonet and its screw, the cleaning rod and the cleaning kit all contributed to better accuracy with the SKS. Your milage may vary.

I agree with the assesment that they would make a more than passable "truck gun" Among other things if someone broke into my truck and stole an AR I would be out enough to by two or three SKS.

WOuld I rather have as my only centerfire semi auto an AR, FAL, or HK 91? You betcha! But we can't all afford every toy we would like and an SKS twill serve better than a hoot and holler.


December 28, 2012, 05:26 PM
Look up the SKS boards and check out Kivaari, ( he does the best, he does it right, and he has many testimonials of very happy customers. Unlike "iraqiveteran8888", he does more than polish up the sear, he gives correct sear-hammer work that gives you a safe positive trigger, rather than a potentially unsafe negative engagement that Iraqiveteran8888 does (as seen in his SKS video).

December 28, 2012, 06:43 PM
I thought the most interesting ammo was the East German Full metal jacket plastic bullets. I saw a couple of SKS that ate them just fine and some AKs that wouold not. This was just training ammo meant for shorter range training to allow East German troops to train closer to their barracks without going to big range facilities.

I still have some of that E. German stuff in 10 round plastic packages. They are labeled 10 stuck. It was like a novelty back in the day. :) Yeah, as I recall it would cycle in most SKS rifles but didn't work well in the AK variants.


December 28, 2012, 08:00 PM
WHAT THEY SAID best bang for the buck hands down.

December 28, 2012, 10:15 PM
I hope you can find one , they are sold out as most people are looking for semi autos for less money.

December 28, 2012, 10:31 PM
Rewind to 1989 - I was going to school where a local sporting goods store had as many SKS as you could possibly ever want for $79/ea. Being both broke and stupid, I didn't even pick up one. S&W 29 were on the shelf for $229/ea. I digress.

Picked up one of the Chinese SKS on my C&R last month. 1st 7.62x39 caliber for this guy. Took several hours to pick all the cosmoline out. I gotta say - I like it.

Sights aren't the greatest but I've used worse. The stock on this one looks like it has bashed in the heads of many enemy combatants. Looks like it will live on far longer than myself.

December 28, 2012, 10:54 PM

December 28, 2012, 11:15 PM
Picked up one of the Chinese SKS on my C&R last month.Last I checked the Chinese SKS was not C&R elgible. Has that changed?

Cee Zee
December 29, 2012, 12:41 AM
I think it depends on the variation of the Chicom model jimmy. The true milsurps may fit the C&R requirements while the later models made for the US market may not. I'm guessing here though. Check the SKS board or Yooper John's site for actual information.


I was just reading through some of the posts in the thread on another board linked here. I have a hard time stomaching the attitude some snobbish types have about the SKS. There are things I could say here that would certainly rub some of those people the wrong way but unlike them I try to be civilized. SKS accuracy is far better than some give them credit for and reliability is rarely matched by any rifle. When you have a semi-auto that you have fired thousands of rounds through over the course of 20 years and you could come close to counting the malfunctions on your fingers and toes then you know you have a VERY reliable weapon and that is job one with any SD firearm IMO. If it won't go bang when you pull the trigger you have serious problems. And my old SKS is very, very reliable. I suspect the new one is too but I haven't shot that many rounds through it to say for sure.

If there are anti-SKS people reading this I will just say that the limiting factor on the accuracy is the ammo and that with really good ammo you will get really good accuracy. But even with Wolf it does ok and with the old Czech ammo I get very good results. Shooting off hand at 200 yards I can hit a paper plate about half the time. Shooting the same ammo at 50 yards I could hit a 50 cent piece almost every time. So clearly the ammo is losing accuracy over the effective distance of the round. Still it is a close combat weapon. I have other firearms for long range shooting and those will make your average AR look like a sling shot just to be blunt about it.

I love AR's but I bought into the SKS platform when it was very cheap to do so and very expensive to get an AR and I didn't have the cash to do it. Now I do have that cash but I see no great reason to run out and replace the platform I have now. After all shooting humans past 50 yards is going to take some powerful explaining when I get to court. They tend to call that murder actually. And I'm not into murder. I can hold off a small gang of looters / rapists / killers with my SKS at least for a few minutes and most likely long enough to make any non-crazed gunman think twice about approaching my location and that is after all the name of the game.

December 29, 2012, 02:29 AM
My Norinco has a screw in barrel. It was neutered by a bubba before I got it. I paid $250 for it a couple of years ago. I use it for HD and my deer and hog hunting.

When I use Silver bear 125gr. soft point ammo I can usually keep it between 2-3" at 100 yards. That's not bad for open sights and me needing reading glasses. I think I will invest in a set of tech sight's for it. Maybe that can shrink my groups a tad more.

The SKS doesn't have the best trigger by far. But remember they came out before the AK-47. And it is a battle carbine.

All in all they are very effective if you use it within it's limits. No you won't win a shooting match with one. But they are a solid gun for the money.

December 29, 2012, 03:11 AM
I have always had a special place in my heart for the SKS, although I wish they could still be had brand new for under $200. Still, they are effective, shoot some of the cheaper rifle ammo out there, and are pretty affordable.

Ignition Override
December 29, 2012, 03:45 AM
Thanks for the suggestion on the Kivaari trigger work. Will check into it.
A bit more money could be worth it in the long run.

For what it is worth, the Norinco is my only semi-auto gun, other than the Garand.

A question about the chrome-lined bores in Norincos (and Russians): are chrome-lined bores much more resistant to bullet wear than steel?:scrutiny:

December 29, 2012, 07:03 AM
I remember some years ago when I picked up my SKS, I cleaned the barrel but neglected to check the cosmoline coated firing pin, needless to say I was surprised with multiple round shots.

At first I thought I had a conversion done by somebody else and then I did some research about the free floating firing pin.

Its amusing to see or hear about the diehard AR owners bragging about how much bling they have on their AR, the magpuls, the lasers, the mods and how stuck up and self righteous they can get. I have respect for the SKS, it would probably keep on going long after the AR has jammed, lost its magazine supply or replacement lasers, optics or other doodads.

Sometimes simplicity is the deciding factor.

Cee Zee
December 29, 2012, 07:20 AM
They're more resistant to the chemicals in corrosive ammo and rust in general but not to bullet wear. An SKs isn't really a gun that will wear out a barrel anyway. It has much too loose tolerances and too low of a power level to be a barrel burner. I'm sure it can be done. You can certainly heat up the barrels because you can fire so many rounds in a short time. But I've never seen or heard of it happening.

BTW Kivaari is top notch on his trigger work. It cut my group sizes in half when I got my Norinco worked on. I keep meaning to send off the trigger from my Yugo but I haven't done it yet. It's not as bad as the Norinco was anyway.

BTW the very first time I ever heard of an SKS was in a report about a deputy being shot right between the eyes from 50 yards away. That news story went on and on about how accurate and how cheap those rifles were and how many people were buying them. So naturally I bought one too. The gun grabbers were always good for gun sales. No I don't like it that a LEO got shot. That part was horrible. But the same thing could have happened with a deer rifle or even a .22 for that matter. A Marlin 60 was less than the price of an SKS at the time (bought both within a short time) and even from 50 yards if you hit someone between the eyes there's a good chance they are going to die. It was a senseless tragedy but this stuff has been happening since Cain and Abel.

I also knew a guy who had threatened to shoot his uncle for years and told everyone just how he would do it - at night with an SKS and lots of bullets through the trailer the guy lived in. He said it so often no one actually believed him. I guess we should have because he did exactly that one night. I guess he was ripped off by his uncle from the time he was 10 and his father died. His uncle more or less took him to raise but mainly he just took his money. I'm not excusing what happened but at least it happened to a bad person. I hate it big time but what are you going to do? At any rate he fired a few hundred rounds through that trailer killing his uncle but somehow missing the uncle's gf. The point of this, I guess, is that a person can really sling some lead with an SKS if they've a mind to. I certainly don't think anyone should be shooting up a trailer but it may be a necessary thing to shoot at a gang of thugs some day. It happens and if it does come up I want to be as prepared as possible. And the SKS puts a person very near the top IMO.

Called, "the greatest battle implement ever devised" by General George S. Patton, the M1 was a force never seen before. Remember the machine gun had already been in use for the first world war. The Patton comment was about WWII. The SKS is not as powerful as an M1, the SKS is still plenty powerful enough and considerably more powerful than a 5.56 round. And unlike those M1's, it is possible to load far more ammo at one time. That's not as big of an advantage as some would think though. Still a 40 round mag (and some do work perfectly) is nothing to sneeze at. It does save the time of reloading although that really doesn't take long with stripper clips. At any rate the SKS can make you a serious fighting machine if you know how to use it. I have no plans to ever use mine on another human but sometimes those other humans make decisions that force you into action to defend yourself. And I do not feel like I'm out gunned by people carrying AR's. Sure they can shoot from longer distances effectively but the 5.56 round looses a lot of power past 400 yards. It is still lethal to about 550 yards according to the military but I would want something more powerful from that distance. An AR-10 can certainly be more powerful but they weigh a LOT or at least the ones I've seen do. They weigh as much as my Savage varmint rifle which is far more accurate at those ranges. It's a single shot rifle but a shot at a time is about all a person can expect at that distance anyway. Some can do better but not effective IMO.

So I feel like I'm setup for about any scenario. I'm sure there are better ways to go but the one I have chosen is not a bad choice. Of course all thie supposes I'm operating from home and not needing to carry 2 rifles with me. If a person needs to do that when he needs most is not a better rifle. It's friends to operate different weapons for different purposes.

Pete D.
December 29, 2012, 07:37 AM
I bought one back in the 90s and a couple of cases of ammo for it (back when it was less expensive to buy the ammo than to reload it). The gun has proven 100% reliable (like my Makarov, it has never had a failure) and satisfactorily accurate. For a while, I bought into the "needs a bigger magazine" idea and made the conversion, bought the larger mags.
I went back to the stripper clips. They are easy to use, lighter to carry - though I have no reason to be carrying any - and simple.
For my purposes, owning an SKS took away all interest in owning an AK-47. I believe that the SKS is a more versatile firearm for the uses it is most apt to get in civilian hands.

Roadking Rider
December 29, 2012, 07:59 AM
I bought a very nice Yugo last summer. It must have come from someones collection as it had no cosomile on it anywhere and was spotless.
It has become one of my favorite shooters, after I changed the original sights out to Williams Fire sights.
That little carbine is a true beast of a rifle.
Since I've owned it I'd stay I have about 600 rounds through it and it has never failed to fire or eject a single round. I think the accuracy of them is really pretty good for a rifle that is built to be a battle rifle. I did find that changing the sights out did make a big difference though. Imo the reciever stays supprisingly clean when shooting a large number of rounds through it.I've shot a 100 rounds down the pipe at one time in a fairly rapid fashion and yes it did get hot but the action never failed to operate or seem to slow down it any way. The operating system was dirty but functioned flawlessly. When I pulled it apart I found that the firing pin was still free floating. I'd bet I could have fired at least another 100 rounds without cleaning or any problems. That might not sound like alot of rounds to some, but 200 rounds down the pipe sure isn't bad for a rifle that was made in 1969.
The prices have been going up over the last few years but IMO there still a very good rifle for the money. If you can manage to find a SKS in good condition that has not been Bubba'd up, I'd grab it up even if it was just to flip it.

December 29, 2012, 08:47 AM
Sen McCain was captured by NVA s and poked with Chicom SKS spike bayonets on his way to Hanoi Hilton. And that goes to many who were shot down over the skies of NVN. That sure wasnt nice to go through. Im sure they were grateful today not being shot in cold blood once they hit ground but only poked. Dont underestimate the SKS, it proved itself in combat more than any weapons in history. It is perfect for the small statured asians the reason why it was widely used .
Its just a dandy little carbine. With a 20 rd mag , that makes the firepower doubled.

December 29, 2012, 09:08 AM
Ahhh, the good old SKS. I purchased a Yugo about 4 years ago as a winter project gun. Stock need to be refinished but that was about all. What impressed me was that the serial numbers matched on all the parts including the stock.

To make a long story short, off to the range and to my supprise with open sights (I haven't shot open sights in 40 years) it was getting 6 inch groups at 50 yards with Wolf ammo (not great accuracy) then I switched over to my reloads and now it was 2 inch groups.

It seems that the SKS was made in 3 different configurations some in .310, .311 and .312 (all 7.62X39) you need to find the right ammo to use in any SKS you buy to get it accurate

Keep mine just the way it was made (C&R). Yes I did brake down and added a scope. Great shooting gun, low recoil and you have to love any rifle that comes with a grenade launcher and bayonet.


December 29, 2012, 09:20 AM
i bought a still in the crate Yugo in 2000 for $169.00 (?) its the best gun money ive ever spent and its taken a lot of wild hogs with iron sights at 100 or so yards....

December 29, 2012, 10:45 AM
I have to give considerable credit to those little SKS rifles. Back around 1990 I had my FFL but really wasn't doing much with it. My wife got a small windfall of about $3,000 and it was the holiday season. We spent $1,000 to pay off all of our debt (been debt free ever since) and another $1,000 on needed household items and Christmas.

With the remaining $1,000 We bought 12 SKS rifles from Southern Ohio Gun and two cases of ammunition, the NORINCO stuff. The rifles were $59 each and I forget what the ammunition cost. The guys selling SKS rifles at the shows all had the same ugly cases of guns covered in cosmoline and they sold for about $99. I wanted to try something different.

I meticulous cleaned every rifle and applied a light coat of oil. I found a SKS owners manual and we duplicated it. I bought a pile of $3.00 plastic bi pods. I bought some camo cloth material. Our first gun show was a small show in Mentor, Ohio in the banquet room of a Travel Lodge motel. We bought one table at $20 for the weekend.

Each rifle was angled on our table supported by the cheap bi pods. Below each rifle was a one gallon size zip lock bag containing 1 box of ammo, two loaded stripper clips and the complete instruction manual for a SKS Rifle. Our price was $129 or about $30 higher than the competition. I used one rifle as a demo and just kept dissembling and reassembling it over and over again showing people how it was done. By Saturday afternoon every SKS was sold with the exception of the one I used as the demo rifle. I still have that rifle.

I bought more rifles, then more rifles. A good friend hooked me up with Matt's SKS Supplies who were the absolute best people to deal with and right here in Ohio. We began buying and selling every accessory for the SKS that we could eventually graduating to adding the NORINCO MAK-90 rifles. This led to milsurp M1 Garands then available as imports for $249 each. We eventually moved into a brick and mortar store with a diversified inventory but everything began with a dozen little SKS rifles over twenty years ago. My guess is somewhere between 500 to 700 of those little rifles we sold and never deviated from the package of booklet and ammo. We built a hell of a nice business that we sold in 2000.

Damn, I love those little rifles! :)


December 29, 2012, 01:01 PM
Great story, Ron. Very cool.

I have an SKS that I bought from a fellow THR member about 5 years ago. I had been turning my nose up for years at the cheap 'ugly' and 'inaccurate' sub-$100 SKSs. I finally decided to pull the trigger on one.

Now that I own one I kick myself for not picking them up when they were so cheap and the surplus ammo so readily available.

You live, you learn.

I wonder what other things I'm missing out on today that in 10 years I'll be kicking myself for not buying today.

December 29, 2012, 01:18 PM
Thanks for the link JUSTIN needs me one of those. Do you tech-sights guys find any issues using those sight with such a short buttstock?

As to the 10 round fixed - I love the no snag, no-muss design and the bolt hold open with strippers rocks.

December 29, 2012, 02:05 PM
No, not at all. I can use the Tapco stock fully shrunk, with my face right in the sight, and it runs just fine. More recoil than an AR, but still entirely shootable. (I suppose I should also say that I am using the brake that comes with the Tapco compliance kit, but I don't think it makes that much difference.)

December 29, 2012, 03:36 PM
Good to hear. How about the field stripping? Do you then need a screw driver to remove the receiver cover as shown in the catalog?

Roadking Rider
December 29, 2012, 04:11 PM
I put a set of these on my SKS and they made a world of difference. Does not require any perminent changes to the rifle.

bubba in ca
December 29, 2012, 05:04 PM
I`ve had rusky, chicom and yugos and all good reliable shooters. If you get one that hasn`t been butchered or eaten away with corrosive ammo, its a great HD or camping gun.

The fixed mag is one of the best things--if for no other reason it will save you a fortune in spare mags.

All of mine were kept stock, although upgrading the sights is a change I would consider.

At today`s prices, thanx to America`s greatest gunsalesman B.H. Obama, if you can`t get a super deal on an almost new one I would pass.

December 29, 2012, 08:46 PM
ApacheCOtodd, yes you will have to unscrew the rear peep sight to remove the receiver cover. It is kind of a wonky setup where you have to hold the cover forward, while inserting the right hand screw, and putting the nut on the left side. That being said, I absolutely love my Tech-sights on my 10/22 and SKS, and they are worth every bit of possible annoyances for the occasional strip and clean up. They are a vast improvement over the stock sights.

My brother in law had his thumb up a bit high and said the peep sight came close to him, but I don't think it is an issue, it just comes closer than people are used to.

I used to stick my nose up at those cheap SKS's with kinda dumb looking bayonets, but one day I decided to look them up, found their design, and really liked the thought that went into it. For a very practical, general purpose rifle, under $400, the SKS is unrivaled.

December 29, 2012, 09:01 PM
Thanks TRUEG - It's not like I'm in situations where I need to field strip in a hurry but I'd like to know before ordering.

I have three SKSs right now and would love to really slim up and streamline one of them and these sight look like the ticket for practicality.

December 29, 2012, 09:56 PM
ApacheCOTodd It just takes a short stubby screwdriver, so tool wise it isn't bad. I highly recommend you get the SKS sight adjustment tool as well, and the thinner front sight post (both available from them), the thinner front sight makes a bit of a difference. A Thinner front sight post is what makes my SKS more accurate than my brother in laws $1k AR ;) The sight adjustment tool is pretty much required for the SKS sights, and makes the rear sight a bit easier to adjust (not like you will always fiddle with it, but its handy).

It won't streamline your SKS much, but you bet it is going to make any SKS you toss it on more accurate.

If any of your SKS's are Yugo models the take down latch is not really removable (at least in my case). I tried pliers, punches, etc.. to try and get it out, but had no luck, so I had to break out the dremel and just zipped off the take down latch.

December 29, 2012, 11:00 PM
tagged for later .

December 30, 2012, 12:06 AM
Yes, you do have to remove the sight to field strip it. I have not done so since I really dialed in the zero. HOWEVER, it's an SKS. It will run a long-dang time without a field-strip cleaning. Hose it out with brake cleaner every once in a while, and slather some lube into it. It will run. I suppose next time I field-strip it I should see how well it returns to zero.

Tim the student
December 30, 2012, 12:28 AM
Thanks all. Lots of good info in here.

Ron - cool story!

Ignition Override
December 30, 2012, 12:56 AM
Gunbroker-at this moment-still has three full pages of SKS rifles.
There is a decent Albanian with a few bids, and it's only up to about $385.

Many generic Yugos and Norincos are either listed, or bid up to only $300-$400.
Considering that many were listed at $270-$300 in March '08, months before "our wise leader" was first elected, if the GB hidden reserves or "buy now" are decent, these can be a comparative steal.

Right now, the only people I see getting good deals are those Selling ARs (maybe VZ-58s, some AKs) along with those who disregard AR fashion magazines, French cologne, and choose to buy a decent SKS where there is lots of competition.
With my fully-adjust. Tech Sight, one group at 50 yards was as tight as with one of my good (4- or 5-groove) Enfield #4s.

On GB, those wanting to do make a few bucks have probably helped flood the market, keeping prices down.

December 30, 2012, 04:34 AM
If you are curious about them and scopes, you do not want to use a receiver cover scope mount. The reason for this is the receiver cover on them is a loose fit. This means it will not hold zero.

If you want to scope it, the method to go about it is to use a receiver mount such as the one below.

December 30, 2012, 07:59 AM
I have two SKS's that I cut the bayonet lug off them. Shooting winchester super x SP ammo they are just as accurate as my marlin 60 at 50 yards. People have tried to beat my SKS's with a out of the box SKS. It wasn't even close. The bayonet lug does something to barrel harmonics. You don't need a scope for a rifle with a 200 yard effective range and the stock sights are just fine. They are aggravating to sight in but once they are sighted in they hold zero just fine.

December 30, 2012, 09:30 PM
Originally posted by mberoose
"all berdan primed ammo is going to be mildly corrosive in one way or another."

The above statement is incorrect.

December 30, 2012, 09:35 PM
The above statement is incorrect.

Great! :)

December 30, 2012, 11:15 PM
THese guys did an informal comparison of AR and AK. Remember the SKS shoots more accurately than the AK bec of its longer barrel.

December 30, 2012, 11:24 PM
Swampman is correct. Berdan priming does not equal corrosive priming. All of the ammo from Tula has been non-corrosive for a while now.

December 30, 2012, 11:41 PM
I recently purchased a Chinese type 56 SKS. I have never had any interest in them but the shop selling it was selling for $239 while everyone else was hitting $400 so I pounced on the one with the least mismatched wood. when I got it home and cleaned the half gallon of cosmoline out of it I found that the stock has shrunk considerably to the point of complete non-serviceability. also playing with it I have to agree that the sights are terrible, much like the standard irons on the AK47 and it's clones so I decided to get a tapco plastic stock, and tech sights ST200 aperture system to see if I can get this thing up to plinking standards, also got at 20 round mag with it. I have no need to use it as a self defense or SHTF rifle, I already have a pair of AR15s for that.

I will say that even with the problems that this rifle has, I still prefer it to the AK47 platform. at least with the SKS you expect it to function like an outdated relic of war. with the AK you expect it to function as well as any modern combat design and it just doesn't measure up in my eyes. I like the SKS internals though...very simplistic design compared to AK variants.

December 30, 2012, 11:47 PM
Soak the bolt in solvent to loosen up the gunk to prevent slamfire phenomenon. Some even put it over oven heat to heat up and cosmolene oozes out.

December 31, 2012, 12:19 AM
Quickest and easiest way to get the cosmoline out of an old milsurp is Cascade and a trip through the dishwasher on the "Pots and Pans" setting.

Field strip the weapon and place the parts in such a way as they won't catch and hold water. This process will even remove the old oil finish from the stock. DO NOT use the heated drying option. Run the weapon through a second time with no detergent to thoroughly rinse everything, then blow it out with compressed air and use a blow dryer on it to get everything completely dry, then oil as usual.


Also, make sure when you do this that your wife is away and that you have some Lemi Shine available to clean up the dishwasher when you're done.

Pete D.
December 31, 2012, 06:54 AM
Also, make sure when you do this that your wife is away and that you have some Lemi Shine available to clean up the dishwasher when you're done.
:) made me smile, that did

December 31, 2012, 10:33 AM
Back in the early 90s I bought an original 51 Russian Tula at a gun show for $125. At the time I didn't really know what I was buying. Must be worth a few bucks now considering the prices people are paying for refurbs.

December 31, 2012, 10:44 AM
Mine apparently spent some time in Albania as some Joe carved his name into the stock! My sons has a flying bird carved into it. I discovered it when I was refinishing the stocks. They were cosmetically horrible but cleaned up real nice!

December 31, 2012, 11:14 AM
Back in the early 90s I bought an original 51 Russian Tula at a gun show for $125. At the time I didn't really know what I was buying. Must be worth a few bucks now considering the prices people are paying for refurbs.
Yeah, from the "what was I thinking?" department: I distinctly recall "Jim's Pawn Shop" in Fayetteville, NC selling arsenal new for $79.95 each if you bought a case at a time and they came with squad level accessories to boot.

All I could think was what was I going to do with all the extra carbines and crap once I bought the case?

Money wasn't too big a problem and I flirted at one time with getting 3 cases; one to split up and two to salt away for investment but given the clear lack of interest in the market and zero availability of reasonable ammo in the mid 80s, I passed.

Damn & tarnation on past me for not seeing the opportunity there!

December 31, 2012, 11:24 AM
I think the popularity of this post speaks to that of the rifle. I went through a period of about a year where I bought every reasonably priced SKS I could find. I did the whole Tapco route for a while and had not a single malfunction even with the drop free mod to the bolt. To me, the original format and stripper clips are king. A little more awkward and out of the comfort zone of some, but they are very fast to reload with. 200 yd 8" shots are not that difficult either. They are crude by western standards but are built from from forged steel receivers (there are some stamped Chinese). I would not hesitate to defend myself with one. Not as my first choice, but far from last!

December 31, 2012, 11:37 AM
My SKSs include, left to right...They are fun to play with. (thats a Mini 30 on the far left) then the...

Chinese "Paratrooper", Yugo, Albanian, Chinese and Russian. That "paratrooper" model makes a great little truck gun. I also had 5 or 6 others including a couple of the detachable mag versions that took AK mags. Neither were reliable.

I put a Tech Sights on the Chinese one and the Mini 30 recently. Love those sights.

I was fortunate to get mine way back when the getting was good. Not one of those cost me more than $100 and the Chinese ones were considerably cheaper than that.

December 31, 2012, 02:59 PM
My Yugo M 59/66 shoots the tightest groups vs the CHicom and Russian. Using Yugo surplus FMJ, i got 2 inch groups at 100 yds on sandbag rest. The Yugo has a heavier barrel, heavy wood stock and no chromelined barrel. Its like a mass produced bench gun if you have to look at . It has much less felt recoil and muzzle rise.

January 1, 2013, 10:51 AM
SO has anyone here done a trajectory test on the SKS where in one zeros with the rifle on the 100 meter setting to hit POA and then gone back to the battle sight setting to see how much higher the hits are at 100 meters, and 200 meters?

I believe that the battle sight (fully to the rear position) is the same as the 300 meter rear sight position.

I seem to recall there is a chart showing this in Hatcher's note book which seems to have gone walk about, but was wondering if anyone had checked this in tha last couple of decades and with different SKS makes and different ammo.

ALso anyone have any luck with a long Eye releif mount and scope a la Scout rifle style scoping? The gas tube mounts seem to far out their to me and I wonder if the rear sight leaf replacements place the scope to far back to allow stripper loading.

Just want to know.


January 1, 2013, 01:12 PM
I worked for a distributor in the days of (wholesale) $79 SKS' and $119 AKs. I just couldn't bring myself to like them, though I could have gotten them at cost.
Silly me.:o

I DID pick up an M1 and an M1A, though--for considerably more money, of course.

January 1, 2013, 02:33 PM
Battle sight s are set to zero at 300 meters.

January 1, 2013, 10:24 PM
Actually BZO varies according the the ballistics of the rifle's ammo. 'Battlesight Zero' is the maximum range at which an effective hit can be obtained without holding over.

For full-power battle rifles, this does indeed come out to about 300 yards. For a cartridge with a higher trajectory, it will be less. For a flatter-shooting caliber, farther.

In artillery, this is the 'point-blank' range.

January 2, 2013, 03:34 AM
Originally posted by shep854
"Actually BZO varies according the the ballistics of the rifle's ammo. 'Battlesight Zero' is the maximum range at which an effective hit can be obtained without holding over.

For full-power battle rifles, this does indeed come out to about 300 yards. For a cartridge with a higher trajectory, it will be less. For a flatter-shooting caliber, farther.

In artillery, this is the 'point-blank' range."

We're not talking apples to apples here.
nathan never mentioned a BZO, I believe he was referring the the rearmost sight setting or "battle sight" of the SKS. The rearmost sight setting on an SKS is designed to be "on" out to 300 meters assuming the use of standard ammunition and a proper 100 meter zero.

While everything you said was true, you've got to take into account that the thread title is "School me on the SKS" . Talking about a 300 meter battlesight zero for "full-power battle rifles" and then saying that weapons with a higher trajectory will have a shorter range battlesight zero just confuses the issue.

They're talking about an actual sight setting that's designed to ensure a casualty at any range out to 300 meters with a center of mass hold, much like the 547 yard battlesight on the old 1903 Springfield.

January 2, 2013, 06:55 AM
kBob: with Tech-Sights you zero at 20 yards, and it will be 3 inches high at 100 yards, and then be dead on at 200 yards. The TS100 has 2 rear apertures; one 0-2 for 0-200 yard shots, and the other aperture is for 300 yards, and will thus be dead on at 300 yards.

As for the open sight.. I'd keep your shots to under 100 yards, as the stock AK-style sights aren't very good!

January 2, 2013, 07:27 AM
Swampman, thanks for explaining; learning about the SKS' features is why I am on this thread!:)

January 5, 2013, 10:20 PM
ALso anyone have any luck with a long Eye releif mount and scope a la Scout rifle style scoping? The gas tube mounts seem to far out their to me and I wonder if the rear sight leaf replacements place the scope to far back to allow stripper loading.

I have about a half dozen SKS's, and haven't been able to leave any of them stock. I have spent a good deal of time (not to mention money) trying to find the best way to reliably scope one. None of the receiver cover or gas tube types of mounts are very tight, so unless you are just looking for something to hang a red dot on for HD (under 100 foot shots), they are not reliable.

The only truly solid mounts I've found are the Choate mounts, which are drilled and tapped to the side of the receiver. They are high (unconventional cheek weld position), and heavy (built like a tank), will eliminate the use of stripper clips, and will leave the front of your scope exposed to flying shell cases... but they do hold zero! And you don't need to remove the scope to clean the rifle.

As far as scout scopes go, this one ( has the best reputation on the SKS boards. I bought one for an SKS bullpup project I have, but have not mounted or tried it yet. From the pictures on their website, you will either need to use a red dot, or you'll need to remove the scope each time you clean the rifle (or at least each time you clean the gas tube).

April 20, 2013, 01:11 AM
Last I checked the Chinese SKS was not C&R elgible. Has that changed?

It is in fact eligible.

April 20, 2013, 07:35 AM
Yup not cheap here either.
Still cheap here. Not early 90's cheap, but Norincos still in and around 200-300.
Russian went for $450 at the shop Thursday, in VGA condition.

Still the poor mans battle rifle, as it should be. For now.

April 21, 2013, 09:09 AM
Originally posted by: jimmyraythomason
Last I checked the Chinese SKS was not C&R elgible. Has that changed?

Originally posted by: DesertFox

It is in fact eligible.

It is, in fact, NOT eligible , unless it meets the very specific (and well documented) circumstances listed here:

Unless the weapons were built before the 1994 ban AND have spent the five years immediately prior to their importation into the US in a non proscribed country, they're still illegal to import.

UNLESS, it can be proven to the satisfaction of the BATF that a particular Chinese SKS is more than 50 years old. Which due to Chinese marking practices and the need for each weapon to be individually assessed, isn't going to happen on rifles that aren't likely to sell for more than $400 each.

The only reason that the recent batch(s) of Chinese SKS's were allowed into the US is that the importer(s) was/were able to prove (with original documents) that the guns had spent at least five years soaking up the free air of the Balkens; an amount of time that is apparently enough to leach the evil "Chineseness" out of the wood and steel.

Heck, I guess that makes at LEAST as much sense as 922(r)... :confused:

April 22, 2013, 08:45 PM
I have had different experiences I guess than you guys shooting the SKS at 300 meters. With the rear sight on 300, I was bouncing a laundry detergent bottle all over the hillside with steel cased Russian ammunition. There were many holes in that bottle when I went and retrieved it.

A buddy did the same thing with the same rifle, and we are by no means young men with stellar vision.

To my way of seeing things, that rifle is competent for a likely head shot at 300.

I haven't shot it further than that.

April 23, 2013, 04:06 AM
I have used mine for hunting deer here in Oregon never had to make a shot over 200 yards & it has worked fine. I picked up quite a few back in the late 80s cheap. I would have to agree it makes a fine combat weapon. Yes there are better choices . But the SKS will more than likely do the job & do it well. And the price still can't be beat.

May 3, 2013, 10:28 AM
Here is my bubba yugo sks project. I cut off all the useless grenade launcher and bayonet stuff and three inches of barrel. Had a gunsmith re crown the barrel. I chopped the bayo stud off the front sight base and trimmed it to essentials. I filled the bayo gap in the stock and refinished it with tung oil and finishing wax. Gun weighs a couple pounds less than it used to and handles much better. Functions perfectly. Gun is now a fun usable sporting rifle instead of a clunky military relic.

May 3, 2013, 11:53 AM
I've had three, all Russian.

One blacked out bolt laminated parade gun,

One converted to wooden Monte Carlo,

One given to my brother as a gift.

Therefore, shooting wise I have had really only one to digest.

I've fired thousands and thousands and thousands of rounds through the Monte Carlo. One broken part, the piston extension.

I tried the ChiCom fixed 20 round mag, didn't like it.
I tried the removable 30 rounders, didn't like them.

Sold all of the above and went with the stock magazine situation many years ago and stayed with it.

This is a stout rifle able to take abuse no doubt. Accuracy? I never peppered paper with it, only cans and such. It does make them bounce and is a blast at the hundred plus yard distances.

It will suffer corrosion with the import military ammo, so you do have to treat it well and proper to make sure it stays unaffected.'s easy to take it to the sink when it's broken down as receiver and barrel all go together in one nice chunk.

As stated before, the stripper loading takes a bit of educating and familiarity to master, but you'll have no problem.

May 3, 2013, 11:58 AM
THey are great guns for the money. THE first centerfire rifle i ve owned and i still have it. Long Live the Russian SKS ! IF not for the SKS, i wouldnt have started into rifles. $130 plus tax back in 1995 for an unissued SKS was so hard to resist.
Now i have several and regretted not one bit. Its like the Russian version of the US M1 30 carbine.

May 3, 2013, 12:27 PM
A Russian SKS was the first "military style assault weapon" or whatever they are calling them these days. I have modified it to put a folding stock and a duckbill magazine on it and then put it back to original because I like the looks. I have never had an FTF of any kind that I recall but I have maybe put 2k rounds through it since I bought it. I have no problem with the sights or with the trigger on mine. It is about as simple to break down as anything out there and easy to clean.

I have no recollection of what I paid but it was -$200 and was more than worth it. I like it as much as my AKs for my purpose which is pulling it out to show to people and occasionally shooting a piece of paper. If an actual battle erupts I will probably grab it as soon as I soil my underwear.

Cee Zee
May 4, 2013, 10:57 AM
A Russian SKS was the first "military style assault weapon"

Actually most people would say the German Sturmgewehr 44 is the first assault rifle. I found this quote on Wikipedia:

The StG 44 (Sturmgewehr 44, literally "storm (or assault) rifle (model of 19)44" was an assault rifle developed in Nazi Germany during World War II that was the first of its kind to see major deployment and is considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle. (

So not only was this the first assault weapon but it's the place the term "assault rifle" came from. It fired a medium size caliber round in full auto or semi-auto mode and it held 30 rounds in a detachable mag that also had the soon to be classic curved look. The only thing bad about that rifle was the weight which was over 10 pounds unloaded. Still it set the standard for modern rifles. The US had their own copy of that rifle in the M2 carbine which went into production in May of 1945. It saw little action in WWII but it was clearly an attempt to copy what the Germans were doing. It saw extensive use in Korea.

This photo of the 44 is also from Wikipedia:

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