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Page AK-47 » SKS
Posted: 4/30/2020 3:51:26 PM EDT
My modded Russki SKS (Don't worry, no irreversible Mods!) is almost done, and ready for a trip to the range to sight-in and verify that the Mods work as desired.

Broadly speaking, the rifle has been installed into a Ram-Line syn stock, a Tapco forward optic mount/gas tube installed in place of the OEM gas tube/handguard, a Tapco Op-rod installed, a professional trigger done, and a Tapco 20-rd syn magazine installed, with tweaks to allow loading from 10-rd stripper clips.  Rear iron sight is now a Tech-Sights unit.  All-in-all 922(r) compliant, with bayonet removed.

It was surprisingly time-consuming (although not terribly difficult) to get all these parts (and some others) to fit properly without doing any damage to the underlying rifle.  It has become apparent to me that at least some SKS accessories were ill-designed, and hastily made, which should come as no news to longstanding SKS owners.  As mentioned, I know what the TULA is worth, and am being very careful.  Many thanks to others who posted valuable tips on other sites and YouTube.    

First Question:  My SKS has an OEM, "No-Spring" firing pin.  If the bolt is kept clean, I'm sure it will be all right for MILSURP ammo, for which it was designed.  However, shooting non-milsurp ammo, with "softer" primers gives me some concern.  FWIW, I make all my reloads for other rifles lacking a firing pin spring with CCI Milspec primers, which are identical to military-spec primers.  So the question arises, given indeterminate ammo primer types with some aftermarket ammo, is the aftermarket firing pin with its included spring a worthwhile precaution?  I am a "belts-and-suspenders" type when it comes to safety, FWIW.  The cost of the item is significant, but not excessive, IMHO, if there is a tangible safety benefit.

Second Question.  After putting some effort into updating my SKS, I am wondering which ammo is the best choice.  I place reliability first and foremost, and accuracy a close second.  Cost is a close third-place.  Ideally I can buy some good reloadable ammo and use the cases to reload very nice quality ammo, as I have done for other firearms.  So what accurate, reloadable ammo to buy?  And where?

Third question:  I have a number of OEM-type 7.62-39 bullets.  Some of them are a smaller OD than the others, and they're segregated by OD.  What is the correct bullet OD for my rifle?  What is the range of bullet ODs which can be fired by my SKS?    I have the necessary tools to reload these cases/bullets, and am a reasonably experienced re-loader.

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for replies.

For those who have read this far, "Thanks!" and here's a bit of a reward.  The metal-on-metal of the forward sling attachment point on SKS, AK, and other rifles has been a problem to some, possibly on account of finish wear, possibly on account of noise.  Turns out that there is a remedy for this, available at Blue Force Gear: https://www.blueforcegear.com/universal-wire-loop-uwl-3-25.html.  They have a few different types, so have a look.

Disclaimer: no financial interest.


Link Posted: 4/30/2020 4:48:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Makarov] [#1]
I wouldn’t worry too much about the firing pin (and lack of a return spring). As long as the channel is kept clean and free of gunk/dirt/debris the gun will work as it was designed (just like the AR). Frankly, adding a spring into the mix (where it was not designed to be) can cause it’s own set of problems.

I am not big on any of the mods you mentioned. Been there, done that (back in the 1990s). Now all of my SKS rifles have been returned to their original configuration. IMHO the SKS shines in the role it was designed for; a robust, reliable, self-contained battle rifle that shoots good enough.

As far as ammunition, I shoot any of the current production Russian steel-case (which is NOT surplus). It is what the SKS was designed for. The current production ammo is non-corrosive and is still more consistent (accurate) than most shooters give it credit for.

As far as reloading, I have no advice to offer. 7.62x39 ammunition has always been cheap enough for me to not even consider it. Nominally, the bore should be something like .311 but you will find a lot of variation between individual specimens. If you are intent on finding the ideal, I would suggest “slugging” the bore to obtain a true measurement.



Link Posted: 4/30/2020 5:06:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: raf] [#2]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Makarov:
I wouldn't worry too much about the firing pin (and lack of a return spring). As long as the channel is kept clean and free of gunk/dirt/debris the gun will work as it was designed (just like the AR). Frankly, adding a spring into the mix (where it was not designed to be) can cause it's own set of problems.

I am not big on any of the mods you mentioned. Been there, done that (back in the 1990s). Now all of my SKS rifles have been returned to their original configuration. IMHO the SKS shines in the role it was designed for; a robust, reliable, self-contained battle rifle that shoots good enough.

As far as ammunition, I shoot any of the current production Russian steel-case (which is NOT surplus). It is what the SKS was designed for. The current production ammo is non-corrosive and is still more consistent (accurate) than most shooters give it credit for.

As far as reloading, I have no advice to offer. 7.62x39 ammunition has always been cheap enough for me to not even consider it. Nominally, the bore should be something like .311 but you will find a lot of variation between individual specimens. If you are intent on finding the ideal, I would suggest "slugging" the bore to obtain a true measurement.



View Quote

Thanks for your intelligent comments.  The entire point of modifying my SKS was to allow me to use optics, as my eyes are no longer able to use the OEM iron sights accurately.  So, the necessity to convert the C+R Russky into a 922(r) compliant item, and all that entails.

I concur with keeping the SKS as close to its' original condition as possible, but my older eyes have dictated that some mods need to be made, else the item will become a "safe queen".  Once going down that path, the conversion to 922 (r) status became necessary, and so some other mods needed to be included to satisfy my personal goal, and the required legalities.

The good news is that there are some ways to make the SKS a little bit more accurate, once one has properly-fitted a decent syn stock.

Thanks again for your astute comments!
Link Posted: 5/5/2020 8:55:55 PM EDT
[#3]
You lost me at 922r
Link Posted: 5/5/2020 9:19:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: raf] [#4]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TnMike:
You lost me at 922r
View Quote

OK.  My Russki Sks, with bayonet mounted, was OK as a C+R rifle, in its' original configuration.

Now, since I bought it, decades ago, I have come to want to shoot it.  Unfortunately, the OEM iron sights will not allow my eyes to shoot it accurately.

So, I need another sighting system, which demands optics.  Mounting optics presents a problem, as doing so, as I understand it, creates issues with 922(r) compliance vis-a-vis C+R status.  One or the other, as I understand things.

So, the necessity of converting my C+R rifle to 922(R) status, in order to mount decent optics.

Believe me, it's a considerable bother, but it has been worth it in unexpected ways, such as understanding how the stock, and particularly the fore-end of the stock, can be fitted for improved accuracy.

I didn't want to jump through all these hoops, but I reckon better to be legal than being half-right, and get into a legal jam.  I would not report someone being out of "compliance", but I reckon there are some that might do so.  I don't want to find out the hard way.

It's all good.  I have made no irreversible changes to my TULA, and have found out some very interesting things along the way.

At present, I'm waiting on the return of my trigger group from a recommended tech.  Anything other than the terrible OEM experience will be of definite value.

Certainly NO SKS expert, but not a rifle newbie, either.  Some basic principles are unchanging; Such as a good, tight, stock to barreled action fit, and a good trigger, to mention just a couple.  A useable sighting system is definitely essential.

It's all well and good to shoot one's AK/SKS with OEM iron sight when one is 25 or so.  Shooting the same rifle when one is past 40 years old, and one WILL encounter ever-increasing eye-related issues with the OEM iron sights.  That's a FACT.

Eventually one will need to adopt optics, or give up accurate shooting.  I choose to spend the money, and keep on shooting accurately.

So, I'm facing it, and adapting the rifle to suit my needs.  Same thing as I've done with a number of other frearms.  Sure, I'll have to spend some money.  That's the way it goes.

No disrespect.

YMMV.
Link Posted: 5/7/2020 8:16:37 AM EDT
[#5]
Let me rephrase myself.  I stopped reading at 922r.  Unless you're a dealer/gunsmith, manufacturer, or importer, no one cares about 922r.
Link Posted: 5/7/2020 8:33:49 AM EDT
[#6]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TnMike:
Let me rephrase myself.  I stopped reading at 922r.  Unless you're a dealer/gunsmith, manufacturer, or importer, no one cares about 922r.
View Quote

I hope you're right. With my luck, I'm certain to encounter the one guy who will want to make a point of it.  I admit to being cautious, since I don't want to come off a bad second best in the encounter.  YMMV.

ETA, I vividly recall a Range Officer at a local range who insisted on measuring the OEM barrel of my Mini-14, because he thought it was "too short".  So, such people do exist, and I plan on sailing through my second encounter with such a busybody with no problems at all.
Link Posted: 5/9/2020 8:13:09 AM EDT
[#7]
If he was measuring the barrel to verify it’s over 16” that shouldn’t have anything to do with 922r.
At least the laws around here work that way.
That’s the difference between a rifle and a Short Barreled Rifle.
Was he counting the number of parts that were imported?

A lot of the SKS boards praise the virtues of a spring loaded firing pin. While I don’t think they cause problems, I’ve never seen this issue with any commercial or surplus round. If you’re hand loading with soft primers, why are you using soft primers?

FWIW my Saiga .223 came with a factory spring loaded firing pin and I spent good money to get a spare. Even tho an AK74 pin will work. Cause that’s how it was designed from the factory. Seems if a platform like an SKS that’s seen a lot of field use needed a spring one of it’s variants would have gotten one.
Link Posted: 5/9/2020 9:17:06 AM EDT
[#8]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wanderson:
If he was measuring the barrel to verify it's over 16" that shouldn't have anything to do with 922r.
At least the laws around here work that way.
That's the difference between a rifle and a Short Barreled Rifle.
Was he counting the number of parts that were imported?

A lot of the SKS boards praise the virtues of a spring loaded firing pin. While I don't think they cause problems, I've never seen this issue with any commercial or surplus round. If you're hand loading with soft primers, why are you using soft primers?

FWIW my Saiga .223 came with a factory spring loaded firing pin and I spent good money to get a spare. Even tho an AK74 pin will work. Cause that's how it was designed from the factory. Seems if a platform like an SKS that's seen a lot of field use needed a spring one of it's variants would have gotten one.
View Quote

My point is that I wish to "shield" myself from possible busybodies.  As demonstrated, they exist.  I also whish to shield myself from possible (if unlikely) legal complications--again, unlikely, but so are house fires, and most homeowners have fire insurance.  Call it a bit of an "insurance" policy on my part.  The fact that the new parts will see some use/abuse, and the parts removed and carefully stored will not is a further bonus. It's an early 50's TULA, and while I wish to shoot it, I don't wish to mar up parts, like the stock, unnecessarily.

I'm aware of the difference between Mil-spec primers and their "softer" civilian counterparts, and have used mil-spec primers extensively.

As far as the SKS goes, is it not the case that some Russian versions incorporated sprung firing pins?  I'm no expert, of course, but I have heard so from a reliable source.  Perhaps you can provide some more info.
Link Posted: 5/24/2020 2:31:23 PM EDT
[#9]
I’m no expert on SKSs, my only experience is with a few Norincos. So I’m just saying that most SKSs I’m familiar with have floating not sprung pins. But if it makes your firearm safer, or gives you peace of mind, by all means. The only one I’m aware of seems to have a good rep on other forums.
Link Posted: 5/25/2020 5:38:36 PM EDT
[#10]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wanderson:
I'm no expert on SKSs, my only experience is with a few Norincos. So I'm just saying that most SKSs I'm familiar with have floating not sprung pins. But if it makes your firearm safer, or gives you peace of mind, by all means. The only one I'm aware of seems to have a good rep on other forums.
View Quote

Thank you for your comments.  I'm still considering the FP mod.  I believe I know the mfr/vendor that you're talking about.  Feel free to send me an IM with his name, in case I'm mistaken.

Much obliged for your comments!
Link Posted: 5/25/2020 5:53:05 PM EDT
[#11]
I'm a recovering SKS addict, and have never had a problem with milsurp or commercial ammo requiring a return FP spring. Only issues I've ever seen were related to a cosmoline caked FP/Bolt. This is across multiple different makes/origins of SKS.

(...your mods made me twitch uncontrollably).
Link Posted: 5/25/2020 6:39:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: raf] [#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By NAM:
I'm a recovering SKS addict, and have never had a problem with milsurp or commercial ammo requiring a return FP spring. Only issues I've ever seen were related to a cosmoline caked FP/Bolt. This is across multiple different makes/origins of SKS.

(...your mods made me twitch uncontrollably).
View Quote

Your comment is appreciated!  As mentioned, the "sprung" firing" pin seems to be a feature that might come in handy with ammo that has "soft" primers.   IIRC, the later Russki SKS rifles had such, but I might be wrong. The point is, that it's tough to tell between one ctg or another whether they have a soft primer, or not.

Concur on your sound advice to clean the innards of the bolt 110%.

I admit I am over-thinking this a bit.  But maybe not.  Seems like a useful "insurance" policy with no drawbacks except its' initial price, and quickly reversible.

As to my mods to my Russky SKS, am awaiting return o0f trigger group from the gunsmith to begin evaluations.

Being NO Expert on SKSs, I had to do a LOT of learning on how to set my SKS up to meet my requirements.  The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

That said, I believe I have applied some longstanding "best-practice" gunsmithing techniques while re-assembling my SKS.  Some of which seem to be given scant notice in most forums.

We'll see how it all works out.

I will say that most SKS users would have given up/become frustrated before fitting all the parts/magazines/etc.  That is understandable.  There is a considerable amount of fitting of the barreled action to the stock that I believe necessary for optimum accuracy.   Also, the mods to modern plastic mags.  Have done the reading, and modded the 10-rd Tapco mag so that stripper clips will work.

I approached the SKS as a project, and pursued the goal without regard to cost, nor effort.

Let's see how things work out.  There's the trigger group to get back, and likely some further work on the syn stock.

I also need to find some really good, accurate ammo.  No sense wasting tests on inccurate crap ammo. Suggestions requested on GOOD, accurate ammo.

Again, I am approaching this project an a fairly-skilled firearms owner/modder, and seek info.  I will NOT make any irreversible mods to my TULA.

Suggestions requested.


Link Posted: 6/6/2020 7:58:32 PM EDT
[#13]
I've fired copper-washed surplus, tula, brown bear, etc through my and my dad's SKSs and never had an issue with the firing pin.  Unless you're getting a lot of gunk in there or maybe using old corrosive ammo without cleaning I don't see it as a problem.  Sort of a toss up, if it makes you feel better do it, if not it isn't going to be considered unsafe.  As easy to field strip as an SKS is, there is definitely no reason to not pull the firing pin and clean it and the channel after every range session.

That said, I did check out an SKS on the rack of the LGS and discovered it had a stuck firing pin, stuck forward that is.  I let them know about it, but they didn't seem to understand it wasn't safe.
Link Posted: 6/7/2020 1:36:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: raf] [#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By oversteer:
I've fired copper-washed surplus, tula, brown bear, etc through my and my dad's SKSs and never had an issue with the firing pin.  Unless you're getting a lot of gunk in there or maybe using old corrosive ammo without cleaning I don't see it as a problem.  Sort of a toss up, if it makes you feel better do it, if not it isn't going to be considered unsafe.  As easy to field strip as an SKS is, there is definitely no reason to not pull the firing pin and clean it and the channel after every range session.

That said, I did check out an SKS on the rack of the LGS and discovered it had a stuck firing pin, stuck forward that is.  I let them know about it, but they didn't seem to understand it wasn't safe.
View Quote

I haven't decided yet, but leaning towards making the mod, since it is a simple one, and reversible.  I'll pay extra for a spare spring, if I go for it.

Not sure I want to dis-assemble the bolt after every range use; always clean such things thoroughly, even to spraying down the innards with carb cleaner and brakleen.

Interesting gun store story, there.  I would have thought they would be all over that obvious safety issue, and one easy to remedy.


ETA:  Just got word that the Mfr is shipping again, with some delays, due to backlog.  I ordered the sprung firing pin, at "On Sale" price.  Delivery will take some time.
Link Posted: 7/16/2020 6:04:05 AM EDT
[#15]
raf, I am with you on the thinking that upgrades on the SKS only improve it.
I have all the compliance parts that Tapco made, and their AR style stock, just to be safe if someone asks, and also to have better quality of parts.
Did a trigger job back when I first bought the thing in late '80s, to rid it of the horrible creep, drag (like sliding 2 cement blocks together), and mile long over travel.
Makes the old war horse much more fun to shoot.
Face it, it is about the cheapest semi auto rifle available, and as far as I am concerned, will never be a collectible weapon.

Right now, I am in the process of taking a spare bolt cover and machining it, and a piece of steel picatinny rail to fit lower so that the line of sight of my Tech Sights have more room above anything the rail.

But like you, nothing I have done can't be reversed. Have all the stock parts stored away, just in case for some odd ball reason, it suddenly turns into a $20,000 collector.
It won't, there are just too many of them, and face it, their quality will never be considered top notch.

Sold all but one of my Tapco plastic mags, after I found that you couldn't store them loaded, as the lips will cold flow, and allow the ammo to unload by it's self.
One stays in the rifle because when the bolt is closed, it holds the top round down below the mag lips.
Link Posted: 7/17/2020 8:44:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: raf] [#16]
Cressida, your thinking is much like mine.  I've made no irreversible mods to my SKS, and have retained all the original parts.

Awaiting the Murrry's sprung firing pin for the final install, and cleaning-up of the bolt-face.  

After that, a modern RDS on the SKS, and a Trit front sight, and off to the proving range we go.

Comments on aftermarket, plastic mags are interesting.  Naturally, I retain the OEM 10-rd steel mag, and I have an untested steel (non-star) 20-rd mag.

We'll see how it goes!  Much obliged for constructive comments!
Link Posted: 7/17/2020 11:28:16 PM EDT
[#17]
Let me know how the steel mag works out.
Nice thing about steel mags is that you can tweak the lips to fine tune them.
Link Posted: 7/19/2020 6:01:31 PM EDT
[#18]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Cressida:
Let me know how the steel mag works out.
Nice thing about steel mags is that you can tweak the lips to fine tune them.
View Quote
Yeah, have heard all sorts of comments about the 20-rd SKS steel mags.  Have inspected/lubed it, and it seems OK.  Not expecting it to be fully GTG, but time will tell.

It's certainly on the "Test" list.

Will report back.
Link Posted: 10/30/2020 9:42:34 PM EDT
[#19]
1: don't worry about the firing pin.  Siminov's original design was spring return, but only made a couple of years.  There is a reason it got dropped, it wasn't needed and cost a couple of cents more to make.  Ar/M16 have always been a free float and even out a light ding in the primer when the bolt goes home on a round.  It's not enough to set off a primer.

2: buy a variety at first to see what it likes.  Guns are unique snowflakes and each barrel is a little different as the tooling wears.  Buy a few boxes of a variety and see what does best in yours.  Then buy a bunch.

3: Slug your bore, Especially with Soviet/com bloc stuff.  Barrels in the same caliber can vary quite a bit.  This is a must when reloading so you can pick the best projectile.
Link Posted: 10/31/2020 5:46:42 PM EDT
[#20]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Stove_Pipe:
1: don't worry about the firing pin.  Siminov's original design was spring return, but only made a couple of years.  There is a reason it got dropped, it wasn't needed and cost a couple of cents more to make.  Ar/M16 have always been a free float and even out a light ding in the primer when the bolt goes home on a round.  It's not enough to set off a primer.

2: buy a variety at first to see what it likes.  Guns are unique snowflakes and each barrel is a little different as the tooling wears.  Buy a few boxes of a variety and see what does best in yours.  Then buy a bunch.

3: Slug your bore, Especially with Soviet/com bloc stuff.  Barrels in the same caliber can vary quite a bit.  This is a must when reloading so you can pick the best projectile.
View Quote
Thanks for constructive comments.  Already installed 'sprung" firing pin, from a respected vendor, just in case.  Retained all OEM components as a fall-back.

Concur with all your helpful comments.

Thanks!
Link Posted: 11/1/2020 2:55:06 PM EDT
[#21]
I still dont understand why installing a scope mount would require 922

but to each your own
Link Posted: 11/2/2020 10:35:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: raf] [#22]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jamie930:
I still dont understand why installing a scope mount would require 922

but to each your own
View Quote
SKS started out as a "C+R" item, what with the bayonet.  In what some might call an excess of caution, since I was removing the bayonet, and replacing the stock and fore-end in order to mount a RDS on the Pic-Rail on "Scout"-style fore end, I thought it best to fully comply with all Fed 922 regs, and have done so.
Perhaps not necessary, but done.  Rifle was not permanently altered, and all parts retained.  
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 12:11:40 AM EDT
[#23]
922 would only apply to rifles with a detachable magazine

I have never had good luck with detachable mags in a SKS

A little practice with strippers and you will be surprised how fast you can reload
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 12:18:44 AM EDT
[#24]
I got rid of my SKS when it fired when chambering a round of military ball ammo..fortunately it was pointed down range, bullet hit the berm and no one was injured.  Nope, nope, nope.
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 10:58:27 AM EDT
[#25]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jamie930:
922 would only apply to rifles with a detachable magazine

I have never had good luck with detachable mags in a SKS

A little practice with strippers and you will be surprised how fast you can reload
View Quote
Tapco 10-rd, and 20-rd detachable mags installed, and work fine after modding them for stripper clip use.  Still have OEM steel mag, of course.
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 5:02:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: raf] [#26]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Genin:
I got rid of my SKS when it fired when chambering a round of military ball ammo..fortunately it was pointed down range, bullet hit the berm and no one was injured.  Nope, nope, nope.
View Quote
I can understand that being a problem.  Some other users have had that happen, and always unwelcome.  Fortunately uncommon.

Due to hard work and research, this issue is usually resolved by simple, inexpensive means.  Nowadays, the SKS is much better understood, and so are its' likely failure points.  There are means, both with component substitution, and some gentle gunsmithing, to make almost any issued SKS highly trouble-free.

Let me ask you a question, with all respect:  Knowing what you now know, and given current prices, do you regret selling-off your SKS?

@Genin
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