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« Review of the Smith and Wesson SW9VE | Main | My Favorite Veteran's Favorite Weapon »

November 10, 2004

A Tough Little Rifle: the SKS

Mugwug is an enthusiastic shooter. He approaches the shooting sports like a master craftsman: carefully, full of reverance for the art as well as for the tools. That's why he's interested in doing some research as well as working on his skills at the range. One extra point in his favor is that he's a Canadian, yet he still manages to...well, manage.

The following short tutorial is from his own blog, Moral Flexibility. It's worth checking out.

Simonov Self Loading Carbine - History and Pictures

The SKS rifle was designed by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov, based in part on his earlier work on the PTRS anti-tank rifle.

The SKS entered soviet service in 1945, and was replaced in 1947 by the AK-47, the SKS was then relegated to ceremonial duty and as a reserve weapon. Manufacture and export of the rifle continued past the adoption of the AK47, and eventually the tooling and a large number of spare parts were turned over to the chinese (see sino-soviet SKSs).

The SKS is a semi-automatic rifle, firing 7.62x39mm ammunition from an integral 10 round magazine. Designed to be loaded from above using "stripper clips" (or chargers) the rifle is capable of effective fire out to 300 meters.

I personally own four SKS rifles, one each of Russian and Yugoslavian, and two Chinese (a standard SKS and an SKS-D).

The SKS is a semi-automatic rifle, firing 7.62x39mm ammunition from an integral 10 round magazine. Designed to be loaded from above using "stripper clips" (or chargers) the rifle is capable of effective fire out to 300 meters.

I personally own four SKS rifles, one each of Russian and Yugoslavian, and two Chinese (a standard SKS and an SKS-D).

The SKS is a rugged, reliable and brutally simple rifle. The ammunition (7.62x39mm) is relatively cheap, and this combination makes it an excellent starter rifle for someone looking to build basic marksmanship skills.

sksrifle_02.jpe

I've become quite attached to the SKS, one of my first rifles was the Chinese SKS pictured, and I've found it to be a plucky underdog sort of rifle. Ugly, simple and completely reliable with it having fired over 4,200 rounds of ammunition and still looking and functioning fine.

sksrifle_01.jpe

These pictures are of my SKSs, the first image shows (in order from top to bottom) The Yugoslavian M59/66, My Chinese SKS and my Russian made Tula SKS. The second image is of my SKS-D with accompanying 5 round magazines.

The SKS-D has been modified (slightly) with the addition of an Albanian Bolt Carrier giving the rifle a more modern feel and appearance (the Albanian bolt carrier features a curved charging handle as opposed to the standard "knob").

sks_bolt.jpe

The Albanian and Standard Chinese SKS bolt carriers show a groove at the leading (upper) edge, this is the guide for the "Stripper clips" (again, chargers) mentioned previously. The bolt carrier for the SKS-D does not have this guide, as the rifle features removable magazines (Ak-47 magazines).

Prices in Canada for these rifles are reasonable, I purchased my Chinese SKS from Lever Arms (Vancouver) years ago for $129.00, and my SKS-D in Hamilton for $199.00. The Yugoslavian M59/66 is still available from Marstar.ca for $329.00.

Aftermarket accessories are readily available (check out SKSman.com for a quick sampling), including the infamous "Duckbill" magazines.

sks_duckbill.jpe

While the SKS-D accepts AK47 magazines, standard SKSs have only the standard integral magazine. Duckbill magazines were designed as a "quick-fix". They replace the existing integral magazine assembly and can be removed and replaced using the magazine release catch.

Of course there are problems with this arrangement. I purchased the magazine pictured, and found the following problems:

Magazine feed lips wrap around the bolt, preventing release of the magazine while the bolt is forward.
Duckbill arrangement is uncomfortable, and the magazine does not insert cleanly.
Magazine release (as standard) is too small, and further complicates removal of the magazine.
Feeding was inconsistent, requiring some hands-on modifications to get it to function adequately.

Once it was all said and done I threw the duckbill magazine into a toolbox, and put the original magazine back on the rifle. I found I could load the rifle with stripper clips faster than with duckbill magazines.

For more information check out simonov.net for an extensive history of the rifle and its variants.

Sept 5th, 2004 - While I'll leave this page as a reference I have sold off all but my SKS-D to fund my AR15 project. There may be more SKSs in my future, but right now I'd rather have the room.

Posted by James Rummel