SKS Rifle

Samozariadnyia Karabina Simonova - The SKS Rifle

sks rifle
Picture: Simonov SKS

The Simonov SKS is a Russian carbine that was developed in 1946. It is a gas operated, self-loading, semi-automatic rifle. The rifle is chambered for the 7.62 mm cartridge which it takes from a 10 round box magazine.

The SKS, (the SKS45), was designed by the famous Sergei Simonov. The Russian SKS were produced originally in the Tula Arsenel in 1949 through the mid 1950's. The Soviets Army replaced the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles with the SKS rifle. The SKS was eventually replaced by the AK-47 rifle (Avtomat Kalashnikov).

The SKS is the basis for the famous AK weapon series. Kalishnikov borrowed many of the features of the SKS45 for the AK47 rifle.

sks rifle
Picture: SKS Rifle with high capacity magazine and bayonet.

Russian SKS Rifles

Russian SKS Types from Tula and Izhevsk Arsenals.

russian sks-45
Photo: Russian SKS-45 Rifle with all accessories.
1955 russian sks
Photo: 1955 Russian SKS with blade bayonet.
1949 tula sks
Photo: First production year arsenal refurbished 1949 Tula Arsenal SKS with scripted marking.
1950 tula sks
Photo: Early 1950 Tula Arsenal SKS with scripted marking.
1950r tula
Photo: 1950r Tula receiver marking.
1951 russian sks
Photo: 1951r Russian SKS receiver marking. Note the box with the line mark indicates the rifle was 'rebuilt'.
1952r russian sks
Photo: 1952r Tula SKS receiver marking.
1954r Izhevsk
Photo: 1954r Izhevsk Arsenal marking.

Chinese SKS Rifles

The Chinese Type 56 SKS Rifle was developed in the mid 1950's by copying the Russian SKS design in Chinese factories. Production of the Chinese variant started in 1956 with the assistance of the Soviet engineers. Chinese have manufactured many varieties of the Russian SKS. SKS-derived selective-fire assault rifle, the Type 68/72 was a Chinese creation. The Type 68/72 is identifiable by the selector switch on the right side of the rifle. Other models include selective-fire models and paratrooper short barreled models.

chinese honor guard sks
Photo: Chinese Honor Guard SKS rifle in chrome with accessories.
sks-d rifle
Photo: Norinco SKS-D model capable of accepting AK47 magazines.
sks-d rifle
Photo: Norinco SKS-D model Mag Well modified to accept AK47 magazines.
sks stripper guide
Photo: Rarer version of the Norinco SKS-D with a stripper clip guide.
sks-m rifle
Photo: Norinco SKS-M paratrooper model capable of accepting AK47 magazines. No bayonet.
Norinco Paratrooper
Photo: Norinco Paratrooper model with spike bayonet.
norinco sporter sks
Photo: Norinco Sporter SKS. Note the shortened barrel and thumbhole stock.
norinco monte carlos porter sks
Photo: Norinco Sporter SKS. Note the long barrel, wood thumbhole stock, and capable of accepting AK-47 mags.
norinco bakelite
Photo: Norinco Paratrooper with Bakelite stock and 20 round star magazine.
norinco sks
Picture: Chinese Norinco SKS Paratrooper
Chinese troops marching with SKS
Photo: Chinese troops marching with chromed SKS rifles.

Yugoslavian SKS Rifles

Yugoslavia manufactured SKS rifles were called the M59/66 Rifle. Production of the Yugoslavian model began in 1959.

There are three types of Yugoslavian SKS milled receiver rifles, the M59, the M59/66, and the M59/66A1. The M59 rifle has a stripper guide and a blade bayonet. The M59/66 rifle was manufactured from 1966 to 1970 at the Zastava factory. It differs from the M59 by the addition of a grenade launcher fitted to the barrel, a flip up grenade sight, and a rubber recoil pad fitted to the butt stock. The last version, the M59/66A1, had phosphor or tritium night sights and minor variations to the grenade launcher sight.

yugoslavian sks rifle with grenade launcher and bayonet
Pic: Yugoslavian SKS rifle with grenade launcher and bayonet
Yugo M59 stripper bolt
M59 Stripper Guide on the bolt.
Yugoslavian M59/66 SKS Rifle.
Pic:Yugo M59/66 SKS Rifle.
Yugo M59/66 SKS Rifle.
Pic: Yugoslavian M59/66 SKS Rifle.

Albanian SKS Rifles

The Albanian "July 10th" SKS model has a unique extended stock that goes to the gas block. The Albanian SKS handguard is extended compared to other models and has a hook-style bolt handle.

albanian sks 57
Photo: Albanian "July 10th" SKS Rifle
albanian sks
Photo: Albanian SKS with spike bayonet.

Romanian SKS Rifles

Romanian Type 56 Cugir SKS Types.

romanian sks
Photo: Romanian SKS - Stamped with arrow in triangle.
romanian sks
Photo: Romanian SKS with blade bayonet.

North Korean SKS Rifles

North Korean models were called the Type 63 Carbine and production began in 1963.

north korean sks
Photo: North Korea SKS with blade bayonet.
north korean sks
Photo: North Korea Type 63 Receiver Marking.

East German SKS Rifles

The DDR produced SKS rifle was called the Karabiner-S rifle. It shares many of the same design styles of the Russian SKS. The left side of the receiver is marked with a "K96" in a rectangle. It has been reported that they were manufactured during the Cold War by J.P. Sauer and Sohn, Suhl and that large stocks of these weapons were destroyed.

east german sks rifle
Photo: East German SKS rifle on guard duty. The Karabiner-S.

SKS Rifle Legal Status

There is much disinformation spread by certain anti-gun rights groups regarding the SKS rifle. The SKS is NOT an "Assault Rifle". They use this term falsely. The SKS rifle is defined as a Curio & Relic rifle according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulation 27 CFR 178.11.

What is a Curio and Relic?

(a) Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof;

(b) Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and

(c) Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary commercial channels is substantially less.

SKS Carbine Weapon Data

disassemble sks
Picture: Disassembled SKS Rifle.
  • Type: Gas operated. Semiautomatic mode.
  • SKS Ammo: 7.62 X 39 caliber 122 grain
  • SKS Rear Sight: Tangent leaf, graduated from 100 to 1000 meters
  • SKS Weight: 8.8 lbs.
  • SKS Muzzle Velocity: 2400 feet/per second
  • Magazine capactity: 10 rounds>

Identification of Soviet Bloc SKS Rifle Ammo

Designation Bullet Type Marking Bullet Weight
PS Ball None 256.8 gr.
T-45 Tracer Green 240.7 gr.
Z Tracer-Incendiary Red 239.8 gr.
BZ AP Incendiary Black & Red 251.5 gr.

SKS Rifle Gallery

The SKS rifle keeps soldiering on more than 60 years after its creation in various militaries around the world and in conflicts.

vietnam sks
Picture: Vietcong with SKS rifle in tunnel system
cuban sks rifle
Photo: Cuban soldiers with chrome plated SKS rifle with blade bayonet.