The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic carbine chambered for the 7. The SKS was manufactured at Tula Arsenal from to and at Izhevsk Arsenal in just and , resulting in a total Soviet production of about 2. In the early s, the Soviets took the SKS carbine out of front-line service and replaced it with the AK ; however, the SKS remained in second-line service for decades. It is still used as a ceremonial firearm today.
The SKS is popular on the civilian surplus market as a hunting and marksmanship semi-automatic rifle in many countries, including the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.
Its age and numbers make it relatively inexpensive to purchase, and steel cased 7. The SKS was the second firearm to be chambered for the 7. The SKS has a conventional layout, with a wooden stock and rifle grip.
It is a gas-operated rifle that has a spring-loaded bolt carrier and a gas piston rod that work to unlock and cycle the action via gas pressure exerting pressure against them. The bolt is locked to contain the pressure of ignition at the moment of firing by tilting downwards at its rear and being held by a lug pressed into the receiver. At the moment of firing, the bolt carrier is pushed rearwards, which causes it to lift the bolt, unlocking it, and allowing it to be carried rearwards against a spring.
This allows the fired case to be ejected and a new round from the magazine to be carried into the chamber. As a result, it has a slightly higher muzzle velocity than those arms that replaced it. The SKS's ten-round internal box magazine can be loaded either by hand or from a stripper clip. Cartridges stored in the magazine can be removed by pulling back on a latch located forward of the trigger guard thus opening the "floor" of the magazine and allowing the rounds to fall out.
If necessary they can be reloaded multiple times and reused. While early —50 Soviet models had spring-loaded firing pins, which held the pin away from cartridge primers until struck by the action's hammer, most variants of the SKS have a free floating firing pin within the bolt. Because of this design, care must be taken during cleaning especially after long storage packed in Cosmoline to ensure that the firing pin can freely move and does not stick in the forward position within the bolt.
SKS firing pins that are stuck in the forward position have been known to cause accidental "slamfires" the rifle firing on its own, without pulling the trigger and often without being fully locked. This behavior is less likely with the hard primer military-spec ammo for which the SKS was designed, but as with any rifle, users should properly maintain their firearms.
For collectors, slamfires are more likely when the bolt still has remnants of Cosmoline embedded in it that retard firing pin movement.
As it is triangular in cross section with only one way to properly insert it notches up , slamfires can also result if the firing pin is inserted in one of the other two orientations. In most variants Yugoslav models being the most notable exception , the barrel is chrome-lined for increased wear and heat tolerance from sustained fire and to resist corrosion from chlorate-primed corrosive ammunition, as well as to facilitate cleaning.
Chrome bore lining is common in military rifles. Although it can diminish accuracy, its effect on practical accuracy in a rifle of this type is limited.
The front sight has a hooded post. This is attained by moving the elevation slide to the rear of the ladder as far as it will go. All military SKSs have a bayonet attached to the underside of the barrel, which is extended and retracted via a spring-loaded hinge. Both blade and spike bayonets were produced. The SKS is easily field stripped and reassembled without specialized tools and the trigger group and magazine can be removed with an unfired cartridge, or with the receiver cover.
The rifle has a cleaning kit stored in a trapdoor in the buttstock, with a cleaning rod running under the barrel, in the same style as the AK The cap for the cleaning kit also serves as a cleaning rod guide, to protect the crown from being damaged during cleaning. The body of the cleaning kit serves as the cleaning rod handle. In common with some other Soviet-era designs, it trades some accuracy for ruggedness, reliability, ease of maintenance, ease of use, and low manufacturing cost.
Only a highly trained specialist, such as a sniper , could employ the full-power rifle cartridge to its true potential. Both the Soviet Union and Germany realized this and designed new firearms for smaller, intermediate-power cartridges. The German approach was the production of a series of intermediate cartridges and rifles in the interwar period, eventually developing the Maschinenkarabiner , or machine-carbine, which later evolved into the Sturmgewehr 44 , which was produced in large numbers during the war, and chambered in the 7.
The Soviet Union type qualified a new intermediate round in , at the same time it began to field the Mosin—Nagant M44 carbine as a general issue small arm. However, the M44, which had a side-folding bayonet and shorter overall length, still fired the full-powered round of its predecessors. Design-wise, the SKS relies on the AVS developed by the same designer, Simonov to a point that some consider it a shortened AVS, stripped of select-fire capability and re-chambered for the 7.
The bolt mechanism is one of the defining features of a rifle, having a different bolt means the SKS and AVS merely appear similar in layout, while differing vastly in bolt lockup, caliber, size, and that one has a fixed magazine and the other has a detachable magazine. It also owes a debt to the SVT and M44 that it replaced, incorporating both the semi-automatic firepower of the SVT albeit in a more manageable cartridge and the carbine size and integral bayonet of the bolt-action M Although the quality of Soviet carbines manufactured at these state-run arsenals was quite high, its design was already obsolete compared to the Kalashnikov which was selective-fire , lighter, had three times the magazine capacity, and had the potential to be less labor-intensive to manufacture.
Gradually over the next few years, AK production increased until the extant SKS carbines in service were relegated primarily to non-infantry and to second-line troops. They remained in service in this fashion even as late as the s, and possibly the early s.
To this day, the SKS carbine is used by some ceremonial Russian honor guards , much the same way the M14 Rifle is within the United States; it is far less ubiquitous than the AK but both original Soviet SKS rifles and copies can still be found today in civilian hands as well as in the hands of third-world militias and insurgent groups.
The SKS was to be a gap-filling firearm manufactured using the proven operating mechanism design of the This was to provide a fallback for the radically new and experimental design of the AK, in the event that the AK proved to be a failure. In fact, the original stamped receiver AK had to be quickly redesigned to use a milled receiver which delayed production, and extended the SKS carbine's service life. Almost as soon as the SKS was brought into service in , it was rendered obsolete for Soviet purposes by the new AK, which was adopted by the Soviet military later that year.
However, it found a long second life in the service of other Soviet-aligned countries, in particular the Chinese army, who found it well suited to their own style of warfare, the "People's War" whose main actors were highly mobile, self-reliant guerrilla bands and rural militias protecting their own villages.
In the philosophy of "the People's War", the emphasis was on long-range sniping, spoiling attacks, and ambushes.
However, by the mids, all manner of problems were plaguing the unreliable Type 63 rifle. Troops clamored to be given back their carbines, which had been redistributed to local militia units, and the army staff abandoned the Type 63 and returned the Type 56 carbine SKS and Type 56 assault rifle AK back into service. The standard practice was for squad leaders and assistant squad leaders to carry an assault rifle and for most other soldiers to carry a carbine, so that a front-line infantry squad fielded two assault rifles, two light machine guns, and seven carbines.
However, after the beginning of China's border war with Vietnam , Chinese combat units found that the SKS carbine's capacity for long-range precision fire was of little use in the mountain jungles of the border region; as a result those units were hastily re-equipped with assault rifles. The Type 56 also is in front line use as a drill and ceremony rifle. Many surplus SKS rifles were disposed of in the s, and photographs and stories exist of SKS rifles used by guerrilla fighters in Bosnia , Somalia and throughout Africa and Southeast Asia  during the s and well into the 21st century.
S and Model 56 in Romania. Physically, all are very similar, although the NATO -specification 22mm grenade launcher of the Yugoslav version, and the more encompassing stock of the Albanian version are visually distinctive. Many smaller parts, most notably the sights and charging handles, were unique to different national production runs. A small quantity of SKS carbines manufactured in —56 was produced in China with Russian parts, presumably as part of a technology sharing arrangement.
Most of these nations produced nearly identical variants, with the most common modifications being differing styles of bayonets and the 22 mm rifle grenade launcher commonly seen on Yugoslavian models. There is some debate as to the relative manufacturing quality of each nation's SKS production. The Chinese SKSs varied significantly even among new rifles with some having screwed in barrels, milled trigger groups and bolt carriers with lightening reliefs cut into them being at the top end and cheaper rifles having pinned barrels, stamped trigger groups and slab-sided bolt carriers — though overall quality and serviceability remained high.
The main reason for the manufacturing variance comes from differences between rifles made for the Chinese army and those made for export. While often encountered in well-used condition, Romanian carbines were as well-built as the Soviet versions.
In general, carbines made in the USSR are considered the highest quality. The interchangeability of many parts has resulted in carbines on the U. Such rifles are usually referred to as "parts guns" and are generally considered the least-desirable carbines encountered. Even so, they are significantly cheaper than comparable semi-automatic rifles and can be expected to offer reliable performance. Soviet and Romanian carbines have largely reached price parity, with Chinese carbines somewhat lower in price.
The stock on the Albanian versions is of a slightly different manufacture and these were made in low production numbers. There were approximately 18, Albanian SKSs manufactured during the late s until , and of those, approximately half were destroyed. The following table lists accuracy statistics for an SKS rifle firing N steel core service ammunition. Front sight is Adustable for elevation and windage as well. Every stock comes with its own grain finish so they can vary time to time from the picture you see above.
When purchasing we try to send you the best one we see from the pile, if the stock is in too bad of a condition, we will rebuild it into an Archangel job while polishing any parts that we see need touching up.
Travis — October 16, Hey Vincent, the SKS is a perfect rilfe to get into for your first gun. It is inexpensive and ammo is found very cheap.
Costumer service is amazing Michelle and all the stuff are great…5 Stars costumer service. James verified owner — March 21, My only concern is that it did not come with the sling, oil bottle and stripper clips as described in the listing.
The price of the rifle is competitive and the quality was decent so I am overall pleased with my purchase. Douglas Gall verified owner — March 21, It was in great shape, all matching number except fro mag which is pair for the course.
It was shipped very quick with no hassles. I totally recommend buying from Wild West. Noah — August 28, Travis — August 28, Since then unfortunately cost has went up on the Simonov SKS as you will see with us an many other shops around Canada. Francis verified owner — December 25, Sig Sauer P 4. Remington Versa Max Tactical 12 Ga.
See each listing for international shipping options and costs.
Rear leaf sight comes with elevation adjustment already integrated in.