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The SKS slamfire "epidemic", or slamfire schmamfire

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by grimjaw, May 1, 2008.

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Over the course of my entire life, with SKSs I've fired:

  1. Approximately 1-100 rounds, no slamfires.

    12 vote(s)
    7.2%
  2. Approximately 1-100 rounds, at least one slamfire.

    1 vote(s)
    0.6%
  3. Approximately 101-500 rounds, no slamfires.

    33 vote(s)
    19.9%
  4. Approximately 101-500 rounds, at least one slamfire.

    9 vote(s)
    5.4%
  5. Approximately 501-1000 rounds, no slamfires.

    19 vote(s)
    11.4%
  6. Approximately 501-1000 rounds, at least one slamfire.

    8 vote(s)
    4.8%
  7. Approximately 1001-5000 rounds, no slamfires.

    45 vote(s)
    27.1%
  8. Approximately 1001-5000 rounds, at least one slamfire.

    13 vote(s)
    7.8%
  9. Approximately 5001+ rounds, no slamfires.

    20 vote(s)
    12.0%
  10. Approximately 5001+ rounds, at least one slamfire.

    6 vote(s)
    3.6%
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  1. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    I read an article recently that recommended that the SKS NOT be chosen as a "home defense" or "sport utility" rifle because of it's tendency to slamfire. I know the mechanical possibility for this, but in probably over 1500 rounds in various SKSs, I have not been able to duplicate the feat.

    So I'm trying to gauge the spread of this contagion to THR. I know this isn't scientific, just want to see who among us has experienced the phenomenon. If you have experienced one and answer the poll, please post what kind of SKS you were using and what ammunition.

    Much thanks.

    jm
     
  2. akolleth

    akolleth Member

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    Yugo 59/66, about 3-400 rounds down range, no slamfires. I Have shot Remington, Winchester, and Wolf through it.
     
  3. K3

    K3 Member

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    One of these will eliminate the possibility:

    http://www.murraysguns.com/sksown.htm

    That said, prior to installing that spring, I never had one. I can see it happening though. I've played with the bolt a little, and sometimes the firing pin would stick a little as I shook it around. If somebody didn't get all the cosmoline out, it *could* stick enough to strike the primer with enough force to detonate it.
     
  4. Halo

    Halo Member

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    I think it's an overstated concern. Keep the firing pin channel clean and use military grade ammo (i.e. no soft primers), and the risk is negligible.
     
  5. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    K3, I know it can happen, just as it can with several other free floating firing pin designs (Makarov, etc). I just discount the idea that it's "common" with a properly maintained rifle.

    jm
     
  6. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    I only have about 120 rounds out of one SKS, but it never slamfired on me. And I don't think it was well cleaned at all.
     
  7. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    The SKS slamfire is brought on by:

    1. Dirty bolts which turn the floating firing pin into a fixed firing pin. Look through gun cleaning threads and you'll see scores of people who believe they never have to clean a gun.

    2. Improperly seated primers on reloads or possibly soft primers.

    I've never shot reloads in my SKS (still have a stock of cheap ammo). I've experienced some hard primers that took a second strike to touch off. Never had a slamfire but I've only used factory ammo (WW, Chinese, Russian, East German, Finnish, Israeli, etc. in my Chinese SKS.
     
  8. hatchetbearer

    hatchetbearer Member

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    I have not been able to replicate this on my own sks, but while shooting my friends, (yugo with grenade launcher) using a box of PMC fmj rounds, it slamfired until empty after pulling the trigger, cosmoline isnt believed to be a factor, as he disassembled his bolt, boiled it, and wiped it clean. I personally avoid all PMC ammo like th plague.
     
  9. K3

    K3 Member

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    I'd agree that it's uncommon, especially with a rifle that's been stripped and cleaned of all cosmo and is well maintained.

    I installed the spring anyway so that I'd have one less possibility nagging at me.

    The Russian SKS's didn't have the free floating pin. I wonder why the Chinese and Yugos opted for that particular design.
     
  10. HJ857

    HJ857 Member

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    I've had a few slams in both my Norincos. If I recall those tended to be in cold weather. The Murray firing pin pretty much eliminated the problem. However, it is very important to inspect the spring from time to time because that thing will wear out.

    This past winter I had a spring bind up the channel as it was basically disintegrating just through normal use. The end result was a bent pin. Fortunately it did not jam forward, but instead just stuck in the channel and would not engage the primer at all.

    I replaced that with the current (new) Murray pin which seems like a nicer design and all's been well.

    As mentioned slams are not unique to the SKS. I've seen a couple M4's and a Kel-Tec go FA within just the past year.
     
  11. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    I have a little over 1000 rounds through my Yugo M59/66 SKS, and have never experienced a slamfire.
     
  12. res45

    res45 Member

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    I shoot allot of different types and brands of ammo in my YUGO & Chinese SKS's over the years,never had a single slamfire,but I keep my rifles very clean and well maintained.

    Russian ammo seem to make thing a lot dirtier I have a small stash of that,mostly GT and BB, but I shoot primarily reloads now combined with the CCI #34 Mil-Spec primer and clean burning Reloader #7 power. It really helps eliminate the slamfire problem and keeps the rifle allot cleaner and less likely to crud up with powder,lacquer and primer sealant residue. Just keep the rifle clean especially the bolt and if you reload use the correct primer for the type of firing pin you have installed.
     
  13. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I've been shooting SKS rifles since the early 80s, and I have never had one slamfire. I've even made a Mini-14 cook off, but never an SKS slamfire. Yet.
     
  14. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

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    My belief is that most slamfires in the SKS happen in rifles that weren't properly cleaned. If you buy milsurp you need to strip the gun down completely or pay someone to do it and get the cosmo out of it. I think a lot of people dont and wind up with hot cosmoline in the bolt and slamfires.
     
  15. jdc1244

    jdc1244 Member

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    800 rounds or so and no problems – keep the bolt clean and all will be fine.
     
  16. tmajors

    tmajors Member

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    ALL semi-automatic weapons have the possibility of slam-firing. Just recently there was a gentleman that was arrested for transferring a machine gun because his AR-15 slam fired when it was loaned to someone else.

    The SKS is just notorious for it because some models have a free floating firing pin so seems to do it more frequently then other semi-auto weapons.

    Cleaning an SKS after EVERY shooting session is the #1 way to prevent slam fires. Murry's Guns (linked above) has a spring solution for this problem if you have an SKS with a free floating firing pin. Cleaning still beats the spring solution though.
     
  17. PirateRadio

    PirateRadio Member

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    I'm going to be shooting my SKS for the first time in a couple week and you guys have me scared mine is going to slamfire. Maybe I'll go clean mine again before I shoot...
     
  18. mainmech48

    mainmech48 Member

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    I have a modest assortment (not systematic enough to be called a "collection") of SKSes and have owned about 50 different examples, all told, over the past 20-odd years. I've run into this phenom twice. One was truly memorable and embarassing with an entire 10-rd. mag rockin' and rollin' down range in one burst. Fortunately, the muzzle was correctly oriented and nothing was damaged but my calm.

    Both times were with US-made commercial ammo and both carbines were surplus models, well-used, but in VG overall condition.

    Neither case was due to a "stuck" FP. This was verified, as much as is possible, on field stripping after the incident. On both the FP moved freely when the bolt was inverted from the vertical 180 degrees.

    Since I have never had this happen in any carbine while using surplus or true mil-spec ammo my conclusion is that the primers used in some US-made commercial generic ball and hunting ammo uses ( or at least did at the time) primers that are much more sensitive than military loads. I'm not sure whether this is due to the compound, cup material or a combination of both.

    If you chamber a round in an SKS in the normal manner (pull back the charging handle to release and let the bolt run forward under the impetus of the recoil spring) and extract the round without firing you will almost always find a slight "dimple" in the primer cup.

    IMO, the primers on military spec ammo designed specifically for use in semi, selective-fire and full auto arms with non-inertial FPs are made to be more resistant to impact forces than those generally found on "sporting" loads.

    For myself, I limit my SKS shooting to mil-spec ammo. I don't handload for the cartridge as yet, as I also have a reasonable supply of suitable ammo remaining from happier times. If I had to use handloads or commercial sporting ammo in them, I'd put the inertial FP conversion mentioned above in my carbine(s). It's the only mechanical fix I know of that has proven reliable in avoiding the problem.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  19. dewage83

    dewage83 Member

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    I cleaned my bolt 3 times before I got all of the cosmoline out. The disassembly pin wouldnt come out and would "ooze" out cosmoline when worked in a vat of kerosene (FLAMABLE- not reccomending it but it worked wonders for me)
     
  20. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

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    I've had exactly one slamfire.

    I had manually placed a round in the chamber and I dropped the bolt. The round in the chamber fired when the bolt hit it. There was no damage to the gun and as I was obeying the rule about not covering the muzzle with anything valuable there was no down-range damage either.

    The firing pin on this particular rifle had been cleaned by me and was spotless. I immediately checked for a frozen firing pin but the firing pin rattled in the bolt when shaken.

    The cartridge that slamfired was American Eagle, not military spec. I suspect the inertia of the firing pin ignited the soft primer of the AE when I dropped the bolt on it. That being said I'm not planning on loading that rifle that way again.

    BSW
     
  21. DPris

    DPris Member

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    Since Grimjaw asked for those who'd experienced slamfires, and not those who didn't, I'll jump in with one slamfire on a Chinese government SKS (not a commercial one) that was unfired when I got it in the late 80s.
    I'd thoroughly cleaned all the cosmo out of everything, the bolt & pin were clean, and it occured with Chinese surplus ammunition.
    Only happened once.
    Denis
     
  22. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Something over 1000 rounds, no slamfire.
     
  23. frogomatic

    frogomatic Member

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    I've put more than 50,000 rounds through my SKS, and never have had a slamfire.
     
  24. Kurt S.

    Kurt S. Member

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    Clean that SKS

    I've put about 3 or 4 thousand rounds through my original Chinese. I experienced a couple of slamfires at about 1000 rounds or so. I had never given the rifle a teardown cleaning, just basic anti-corrosion or anti-fouling cleanings after range sessions. After the 2nd slamfire I took it apart and the doggone thing had all kinds of powder fouling, oil, and even cosmo inside. My bad, I knew better. After this cleaning I never had the problem again.

    I've only put a few hundred rounds through my Yugo. I cleaned it good before the first time I fired it.
     
  25. brighamr

    brighamr Member

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    5000+ rounds zero slamfires. How? I clean it thoroughly every 500 rounds and I don't over-oil the action. (I've heard too much oil will gum it up causing the slams)
     
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