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Old July 6, 2014, 12:09 PM   #1
19-3Ben
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Seeking advise on my SKS/Mini14 quandary

So it's not often I post these. I have already done research out the wazoo, but sometimes simply the act of committing it to writing helps me think more clearly.

I currently own an SKS-M. For those unfamiliar with it, it's one of the models designed from the start to accept standard AK magazines. I'm here in CT, and under our crazy new AWB, this was actually one of the few rifles of its type that did NOT need to be registered. I purchased at a gun shop, so it's still "on the books," but not part of any registry.

My LGS is running a great deal on the Mini 14. ($699 NIB with 30 rounds of ammo, and two mags). I'm considering selling the SKS and buying the Mini. At this point, with the demand for a rifle like this in CT, I think i could get $650 for it. Reasons listed below:

-Mini would offer better sights. (I HATE the sights on my SKS.)

-Mini would offer better ability to mount optics.

-Mini is offered by a company with CS so I have backup should anything fail or break.

-Mini is a more refined, nicely made gun.

-By selling the old Chinese made SKS, I am getting a piece of really nice American craftsmanship for essentially an even trade. I also bought the SKS for $450 a few years ago, which means I'd have even less money tied up in the Mini than it's cost.

-Mini is likely more accurate (these are new ones where the accuracy issues are fixed).

-And the big reason- My wife is going to be getting a 5.56 rifle and this way she and I have compatible ammo.



Reasons not to make the trade:
-I already have thousands of rounds of 7.62x39 and it means selling that ammo to buy 5.56. It's a PITA.

-I do like the SKS.

-It has proven reliable.

-It's a rifle that is likely to appreciate in value more than the Mini will, as it's a gun that was "overlooked." and will perhaps be more valuable as a transferrable gun in years to come.

Things that are not a worry to me:
-Capacity of magazines.
-Caliber wars between 5.56 and x39. I'm happy with either and accept he tradeoffs of each caliber.


Ultimately, as a new father, my interests have shifted to being deadly serious about having effective defensive tools. While I have no doubt that the SKS would offer tremendous potential in that regard, I just wonder if the lighter recoil, optics, etc... might be something worthy of consideration and make it worth an upgrade/lateral move. I would just get an AR15, but can't here in CT.
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Old July 6, 2014, 12:13 PM   #2
back40
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if it were me i'd keep the sks, and perhaps put tech sights on it.

if you find yourself really wanting a mini down the road, just save the coin and buy it outright. but if i already had that sks, i'd likely not let it go.
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Old July 6, 2014, 12:21 PM   #3
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SKSs have never done much for me, so it would be an easy choice for me (of course, given that, I likely wouldnt have the SKS in the first place....). Id part ways with the SKS and buy the Mini 14 - I like the action and classic cool factor on the mini.
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Old July 6, 2014, 12:43 PM   #4
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Sell the SKS and buy the Mini or a Kel Tec SU16 if Ruger's $40 mags are not your cup of tea. Customer service isnt really a problem with the SKS, they dont seem to break, practically ever. An SKS in these parts sells for about $350-$450, no matter how many farkles have been added to it. As for ammo, 7.62x39 is available for about .22 cents per round, whereas the cheapest steel cased .223 is still about .27 cents per shot and many .223 rifles dont like steel cases. Brass cased ammo is available for around .33 cents each.
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Old July 6, 2014, 12:48 PM   #5
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Keep the SKS. More durable; simpler design; lots of aftermarket parts (including sights).
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Old July 6, 2014, 01:08 PM   #6
19-3Ben
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Good stuff to think about.

If it matters (and it always does) the purpose of the rifle is a general, all purpose defensive and range shooting rifle and one that could be used in one of those types of scenarios we don't discuss here on THR (and which doesn't need further elaboration). As a defensive weapon, there's a lot of value i can see in the ability to actually mount optics and use the darned thing at night. A rifle with no night sights and no optics is not going to accurately put rounds on target when the shooter can't see the sights.

One of the reasons the lighter recoil of the Mini appeals to me is that I can use it to introduce more people to shooting.

Jackal- Unfortunately, I can't get the Kel Tec in CT. Also, prices on the SKS-M and SKS-D are inflated here in CT due to the fact that it's as close as we can get to an "assault weapon" in this state and still be transferrable. It's not a matter of farkles being added, as this is actually a stripped, basic model with NOTHING added. There's a major premium because of the ability to take standard AK detachable mags. I think if I posted it for $600 I could have it sold in the next day or two with no problem, and if i was willing to hold out for the right buyer, $650 would be totally doable.
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Old July 6, 2014, 01:21 PM   #7
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As often as I've seriously considered selling my Norinco SKS 20" to help fund another gun, I just can't quite part with it. It is in too good of shape, it is as reliable as a gun gets, and I have a lot of ammo for it.

I have always managed a way to keep the SKS and come up with the money for another gun. If I had the detachable mag SKS-M with the 16" barrel like you do, I probably would have never even thought of selling it.

While the SKS has its faults due to being an old design, I think in the long run you will appreciate having it. I go through cycles of liking certain guns and then disliking them enough to get rid of them. I don't have a problem getting rid of common guns, but an SKS-M isn't common enough to get rid of, IMO.

For the short term recoil issue for new shooters, I'd just put a nice cushy recoil pad on that SKS-M. It's not like it is a .308 bolt gun, so a recoil pad will take any possible sting out of it easily.

Oh, I think getting the Mini-14 would be a great choice, too. I'd just figure out a way to pay for it without selling the SKS. If it were me, of course.
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Old July 6, 2014, 01:26 PM   #8
chicharrones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 19-3Ben View Post

-And the big reason- My wife is going to be getting a 5.56 rifle and this way she and I have compatible ammo.
I missed that part. What kind of 5.56 rifle is she getting? Can you press her rifle into home defense and low recoil duty until you can save up for your own 5.56 rifle?
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Last edited by chicharrones; July 6, 2014 at 01:30 PM. Reason: typo
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Old July 6, 2014, 01:41 PM   #9
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19-3Ben

I would sell the SKS (while not a big fan of the rifle itself they are built like the proverbial tank), and get the most money out of it. See if can package the ammo and any accessories you might have to whoever you sell it to so you don't have to mess around with selling it separately. Get the Mini 14 and get yourself and your wife to the range.
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Old July 6, 2014, 02:03 PM   #10
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If it were me, I wouldn't even be considering letting go of the SKS. Especially considering it's not your average SKS with 10 rnd box mag. The fact alone that it was made to take AK mags makes it sort of rare and pretty handy. I've never seen one, and I've been looking for a good couple years. Just remember, once it's gone you may never find another like it.

The mini would be a great rifle I'm sure, but they still make them, so there's really no rush.
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Old July 6, 2014, 02:22 PM   #11
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I sold my SKS a few years ago...... I don't miss it

I used some of that money to get a M&P shield


I would recommend NOT doing the Mini14

Just step to an AR15

After seeing the accuracy from my Bison Armory 6.8, I lost interest in inaccurate guns........
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Old July 6, 2014, 02:24 PM   #12
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I'm on my third Mini,I sold my first one because it really was not accurate after the barrel heated up at the time there were no accu-struts or any type of barrel stabilizers so I went onto other things. Then about 8 years ago I visited my LGS and came across the new 580 series and decided to give another one a try . While it is not built as a target rifle ( they do make one ) mine is a ranch model. After having some trigger work done and installing a decent scope it has proven to be a very reliable (2000+) rounds with out a single issue. With decent ammo and me doing my part it consistently shoots 1 1/2 group at 100yrds all day long it really is a nice carbine and shoots as good as my AR and better then the AK I had in less then 150 yrds results may vary with some but the newer series are far better rifles then my older series. I recently purchased a 582 tactical that also has been very reliable but it is however set up as a SHTF gun and only sighted in for 50 yrds waring a Vortex Strikefire on top I've tried aftermarket mags and it seems more picky but that being said I believe it to be only a magazine issue. So if you decide to buy one my best piece of advice is to use factory mags only. I can't speak for the SKS Ive never owned one but after owning an AK I rather liked the nestolgic action that the Mini shares with the Garand/ M1 . For me its just a comfortable rifle to shoot .
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Old July 6, 2014, 02:34 PM   #13
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Selling the SKS M for a mini is a good choice since you can sell it for more dollar than when you bought it. Both are reliable weapons . SKS has proven itself in Vietnam War as they were widely used by the Vietcongs together with the obiquitous AK 47.

I ve handled the recent Mini model and they are good to go.
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Old July 6, 2014, 03:00 PM   #14
19-3Ben
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Quote:
I missed that part. What kind of 5.56 rifle is she getting? Can you press her rifle into home defense and low recoil duty until you can save up for your own 5.56 rifle?
She wants to get a target rifle. We don't have a long range setup, but my local range goes out to 100yards. She wants to get a bolt rifle to shoot at that distance. She's narrowed it down to a Savage Hog Hunter, or Mossberg MVP patrol. We'll see which feels best to her.

Thanks again for working through this with me guys. It's not an easy choice, so I appreciate being able to bounce ideas off the board with you.
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Old July 6, 2014, 03:06 PM   #15
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Dean1818

The OP can't get an AR15 as he lives in Connecticut. The Mini 14 however can be purchased there.
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Old July 6, 2014, 03:07 PM   #16
19-3Ben
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Ha!!! I just had a funny thought.

Just as the Ruger is a Mini 14 because it's a scaled down M14, the SKS should be called a Mini SVT40.
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Old July 6, 2014, 03:30 PM   #17
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As an owner of both types of rifles my advise is to keep the SKS. While I love my Mini 14, I love my SKSs more.

As was stated above; save up and buy a Mini as they will always be available (look for a used one for a lot cheaper and put an accu-strut on it if it's an older model with the skinny barrel).

$699 for a Mini 14 is NOT a great deal even with the extras. Those "deals" will pop up all the time if you look for them; the price of your SKS will only continue to rise as they are not being imported in large quantities any more (only a small batch here and there; those that are coming in are not made to take AK mags).

The best advice for the problem with the SKS sights; practice more.
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Old July 6, 2014, 04:07 PM   #18
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Get a Mini-30,and use your 7.62 ammo,buy the wife a Mini-14 and you both share.
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Old July 6, 2014, 04:08 PM   #19
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I would just save up for the Mini, especially if I had thousands of rounds of 7.62 x 39 already.

The SKS models that take AK mags are not particularly common. A regular fixed mag 10-rounder could be much more easily replaced.


In my opinion scoping an SKS is of questionable value, due to the traditional expected accuracy of both the gun and the (steel-cased) ammo. Not to mention that the round does not shoot particularly far or flat. I have grown used to the stock sights, but a lot of people seem to like Tech Sights for the SKS. You might give those a try.
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Old July 6, 2014, 07:48 PM   #20
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Keep SKS
Add Tech-Sight to SKS

Save for another rifle if you really feel the need.
Taking new shooters to the range is a good thing. The SKS recoil isn't that bad, and the LOP on most SKS rifles is pretty short. Slap a recoil pad on it and use it for that purpose.
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Old July 6, 2014, 08:05 PM   #21
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I was once in the position to trade one of my Norincos for a Mini 14. I like both and someday would like to have a Mini 14. Anyway, I took the SKS to the range and shot a hundred or so rounds through it. I've still got the SKS and still want a Mini 14.
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Old July 6, 2014, 08:17 PM   #22
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"back40", "mokin", "bigfatdave" and others have my vote. SKS + Tech Sight (the TS 200 version: fully adjustable).

You might appreciate the difference in sight distance on a Youtube video, and the Tech will give your SKS an element of the M-1/M-14 look.
The Minis' looks might be an underrated aspect of their appeal (an M-1 Garand from the CMP cures this).

Problems with a large fraction of Mini 14/30 aftermarket mags led to the mag forum at Perfectunion. I have two nice Yugo M59 SKS.

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Old July 6, 2014, 08:54 PM   #23
19-3Ben
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OK. I'm ordering the Tech Sights.

Brunowbe mentioned that it's not that great of a deal, and in looking around a little more, I realize he's right. It's a very good deal, but not the kind of screaming deal that I would kick myself over if I don't get the Mini right this very minute.

So I'm ordering the Tech Sights (TS200 models), and will see how they do. If I find it to be a significant improvement, I'll keep the SKS. If not, I'll sell it and hold out for the next great deal on Mini 14's to come around again. Until then, I'll hold the Mini fondly in my heart, and bide my time...
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Old July 6, 2014, 08:57 PM   #24
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I don't think I'd trade an SKS for a Mini. I'd wait for the Ares SCR if I wanted a 5.56.
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Old July 6, 2014, 09:27 PM   #25
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19-3ben, you might consider adding a light after the tech sights. there seem to be no shortage of mounting options, and you'd be surprised what a white light and irons can do in low light/no light shooting.

besides, if you are taking HD seriously and considering this rifle for the role, target I.D. is numero uno.
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