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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about getting an sks for a general purpose/truck gun. What should I look for when buying one, and, are the Russian models worth the price?
Thank you for helping!
 

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In general, the Russian and Yugoslavian SKS's are considered the best. I don't really know the reason for that. I own a Yugo, and a good friend owned a Russian. Both are reliable shooters.
Another good friend owns a Chinese (not Norinco) and it has proven reliable also.
IMO the SKS is a fine rifle, and it really doesn't matter much which one you get. My suggestion is go for the lowest price you can find in a rifle in good condition.
The ammo is cheap and plentiful, and has enough power (on the order of the .30-30) to be effective for hunting. We use ours mainly for hog hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Doug. One of the reasons I hesitate on the Yugo is because it does not have a chrome lined barrel, and since where I live it is very humid, that might not be very good.
 

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I have a Chinese Norinco that's been a great gun. The russian ones are basically the same except the wood stock is harder than the one on the chinese ones. I personally don't think the russian ones are worth the extra price. Usually the chinese ones you find for sale are in better condition too. As far the Yugo ones I agree that the lack of a chrome lined barrel is not good. Plus they are heavier and have a gas port valve that can wear out and cause the gun to not function properly.

First thing to look for on a Norinco SKS is the factory triangle and the 3 Chinese characters near the import mark on the receiver. If it does not have the factory triangle and 3 Chinese characters it means it's not an actual military issue SKS which means the overall quality is not as good. Chinese products in walmart are junk, but when it comes to the guns they specifically made for their soldiers the quality is very good.

Then look to see if everything has matching serial numbers on the stock, receiver, receiver cover, bolt, magazine, gas tube, piston and trigger housing.

Another thing to look for is if the trigger guard is milled or stamped. The older ones are milled and are worth a little more.

You'll also want to look for any signs of rust from people shooting corrosive ammo. Pull the bolt back and look around for any signs of rust and then shine a flashlight up the barrel and look down from the muzzle end. Then take the gas tube off and look inside that and inspect the piston.

If it turns out that everything looks okay except it does not have the 3 Chinese characters and has a stamped trigger guard it's worth about $200 to $250

If everything looks good and it has the 3 Chinese characters and all matching serial numbers it's worth $300 to $350

In today's market those prices will probably be a little higher. I noticed a nice one on gunbroker. Excellent Norinco Chinese SKS 7.62 x 39 mm Rifle : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com
 

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Before last December I would have recommended getting an unconverted Saiga before paying much more than $300 for a decent SKS. Paid $440 for a new one on GB shipped to my LGS last October.
have about $500 in it as pictured. I added a bullet guide, Tapco gas piston (for 922r compiance with the mags) and 20rd Tapco mag. It came with a removable 10rd mag, but needed slight modifications to operate with standard AK mags. It is basically a Russian AK built to be imported as a sporting rifle. I wanted something to shoot cheap 7.62x39, but I didn't want to search through Pawn shops and LGS to take a chance on a well used SKS. I got a new gun this way.
 

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Thank you Doug. One of the reasons I hesitate on the Yugo is because it does not have a chrome lined barrel, and since where I live it is very humid, that might not be very good.
I live in Louisiana, and it don't get more humid than that. I clean mine after every outing, so the lack of chrome lining is not an issue. That same lack of chrome however probably accounts for why my Yugo is a bit more accurate than my friends Russian and Chinese guns. Not a lot, but some. Not because I'm the better shot. The younger friend, who owns the Chinese, is the best shot of the 3 of us, and he confirmed mine shot the best.
I have heard of the problems with the gas valve, but I've not had a problem with mine.
Since any SKS is getting semi-hard to come by, my recommendation remains the same...get the best condition one, regardless of origin, at the best price you can find.
 

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The Russian ones are suppose to be the best, but I don't see it for the price. The Norinco's are excellent guns. I never have considered a yugo sks. For some reason, I don't like them compared to your other options. Why? I guess it's that goofy grenade launcher. ????
 

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I personally have a 1950 Tula SKS. It is absolutely beautiful and a darn accurate rifle. There are very few differences between the Russians and the Chinese. The Russians have a milled trigger group, whereas the Chinese came with either a milled (one piece trigger housing) or stamped. The trigger group and trigger guard are actually tack/spot welded to the housing instead of being part of the housing. Hope that makes sense. The last difference is that a Russian is a collectable where as a Chinese is not. The Russians only made the SKS for 7 years (1949-1956). If you want something you can shoot but also pass down as a collectable, get a Russian. If not, get a Chinese and shoot the poop out of it.
One more thing. Whether you buy a Russian, Chinese, Romanian or whatever else, make sure that it has been stripped of all Cosmoline. Check the firing pin and channel and be sure that it is cleaned. If not, your rifle could slam fire or go into full auto when you least expect it. Hope that helps.
 

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I have a Norinco SKS and Love it. Accurate, for a sks. 3'' at 100yds with cheap fmj steel case ammo. Thats all i shoot through it anyway. It has never ever jammed or done anything but work 100% of the time! Very underestimated rifle. I have used it to hunt deer too.
 

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I had a Chinese Norinco SKS for many years. It was very reliable and accurate. The rifle provided me with years of loyal service. As long as you use non corrosive ammo and maintain it regularly, it will last a lifetime. I sold mine to a friend of a friend and regretted it. For the money, the are the best value in terms of an SKS rifle.
 

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I have a Chinese Norinco that's been a great gun. The russian ones are basically the same except the wood stock is harder than the one on the chinese ones. I personally don't think the russian ones are worth the extra price. Usually the chinese ones you find for sale are in better condition too. As far the Yugo ones I agree that the lack of a chrome lined barrel is not good. Plus they are heavier and have a gas port valve that can wear out and cause the gun to not function properly.

First thing to look for on a Norinco SKS is the factory triangle and the 3 Chinese characters near the import mark on the receiver. If it does not have the factory triangle and 3 Chinese characters it means it's not an actual military issue SKS which means the overall quality is not as good. Chinese products in walmart are junk, but when it comes to the guns they specifically made for their soldiers the quality is very good.

Then look to see if everything has matching serial numbers on the stock, receiver, receiver cover, bolt, magazine, gas tube, piston and trigger housing.

Another thing to look for is if the trigger guard is milled or stamped. The older ones are milled and are worth a little more.

You'll also want to look for any signs of rust from people shooting corrosive ammo. Pull the bolt back and look around for any signs of rust and then shine a flashlight up the barrel and look down from the muzzle end. Then take the gas tube off and look inside that and inspect the piston.

If it turns out that everything looks okay except it does not have the 3 Chinese characters and has a stamped trigger guard it's worth about $200 to $250

If everything looks good and it has the 3 Chinese characters and all matching serial numbers it's worth $300 to $350

In today's market those prices will probably be a little higher. I noticed a nice one on gunbroker. Excellent Norinco Chinese SKS 7.62 x 39 mm Rifle : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com
This is your answer as Joe elaborated.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I appreciate everyone's opinion. I am leaning toward the Chinese sks now, Does anybody have any recommendations for where to look for one?
 

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The SKS (Soviet 7.62X39mm Simonov Semiautomatic Carbine) Is basically a good weapon. As all Russian field weapons it is designed for functionally under adverse conditions and not so much for accuracy.
Most SKS problems I have encountered have been because of lack of cleaning the gas system. Russian ammuniton is corrosive and I have seen gas sysems rust-up to the point that the weapon would not operate.
So, look for an SKS with chrome lined barrel and depending where you live? Look for one with detachable magazines.
 

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I hope you find a nice SKS, Service13. The commercial made Norincos can be a fine lookin' rifle. I have one I got new decades ago. It has a chrome lined barrel, but my non-chrome lined barrels don't have problems in the humidity of S. E. Texas either. Just keep the bore lightly oiled, no problem.

Three things I recommend when you get one.

1. Watch your finger when you go poking into the butt plate. If there is a cleaning kit inside it can snap your finger like a lobster gotcha.

2. Use the rear notch sight as long as you can (like forever). I've experimented with a Williams aperture and a Mojo aperture that mount at the rear sight and they just limit your downrange vision compared to a receiver mounted aperture sight.

3. Buy a bunch of stripper clips. You may never need 'em, but it's nice to have 'em.
 

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Keep in mind that SKS rifles are not drop safe even with the safety on. It all depends on the sear. Most wont fire unless you whack them extremely hard, but keep that in mind if you ever lean a loaded SKS rifle against a tree or something.

I push open the trap door in the buttstock with a screwdriver or something like that so it wont hurt my finger. Same thing when I put it back in.

In case you ever want to use the stock cleaning rod just remember that the short section to the cleaning kit slips over the barrel to protect the crown and the other section to the cleaning kit acts as a T handle for the rod.
 

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If you are coming into ny or nj get one without a bayonet on it or a detachable mag option. they are only legal in these 2 states with a fixed mag.
 

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I have a chinese norinco I bought back in the early 90's that has taken many deer. It was new unissued for $90 and I have installed a scope, a non detachable 5rd magazine and also a new firing pin with spring to prevent slamfires due to soft primered hunting ammo. I know at one time the barrels were threaded and that was supposed to be better also but can't say for sure,mine is pinned and seems to be accurate enough.
 

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Keep in mind that SKS rifles are not drop safe even with the safety on. It all depends on the sear. Most wont fire unless you whack them extremely hard, but keep that in mind if you ever lean a loaded SKS rifle against a tree or something.
Excellent point.
 
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