SKS Rifle Field Strip

The SKS rifle was once the most popular surplus rifle in the USA, but various import laws and regulations put a damper on its importation. Regardless, these rifles are still quite popular around the country and in this video we show you how to rip yours apart.

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Transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C with TFBTV, and for today’s field strip we’re going to be stripping an SKS rifle.

The SKS was definitely the 90s surplus darling, you could buy these for 30 and $40 out of giant barrels at pretty much any gun show.

And, at that price point they really were a great value, however, today a nice example would set you back over 500 bucks which, to me, is just absurd, and the value is no longer there.

I really don’t know why you’d buy one of these, at that price, but that kind of besides the point.

This is a Chinese SKS.

There actually were some commercial SKSs made in the 90s, but maybe that’s for another episode of TFBTV.

Let’s go ahead and make sure this thing’s empty, by checking the chamber, see, there’s nothing in the chamber of the magazine.

Next up, to begin the field stripping process, pull this little lever up, 90 degrees and then pull out.

This will allow you to remove the dust cover from the rear.

At this point, you can pull the carrier to the rear, lift up and out, and separate the bolt from the carrier.

You’ll notice it kind of looks like an STG 44’s bolt and carrier arrangement.

From here on out, you’re going to grab this little doohickey here and pull it up.

I actually use the firing pin to help, ’cause they can be a little stubborn, sometimes people use a bullet tip or a flat head, but I’ve always found this is pretty easy to do.

Pull that up and then pull the top hand guard off, and pull the piston out from the front.

Set those aside for cleaning.

Now, again with that little lever, grab it and pull it all the way up.

Then, you can pull the op rod out from under the rear site, and separate the spring from the op rod.

Now, there you go, you have a fully field stripped Simonov carbine, or SKS rifle, as they’re sometimes called.

These are fun shooting guns, I remember when 7.62×39 was very cheap and it was imported from China.

It was the business, these things were, like I said earlier, a terrific value.

However, it’s just not the case anymore, unfortunately they’re just not being imported anymore.

They’re still quite a good buy in Canada, where there is no 89 and subsequent Norinco import ban.

It is what it is here in the States, and it kind of sucks but, anyways, I hope you enjoyed this video and we hope to see you next time.

(gun fires multiple times) (removes magazine) (replaces magazine)



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • The_Champ

    Solid little rifles. I bought my Norinco(brand new) here in Canada over 10 years ago when they went for about $150. They now sell for a whooping $250! You hit it on the head when you said they were a great value from a shooter/collector perspective.

    The rifle itself is boringly reliable, with a horrendous trigger, mediocre accuracy, and nice mild recoil. The stock is also far too short for anyone over 5’6, but I suppose that and the light recoil might make it a nice cheap first centerfire for a young shooter.

  • Lance

    Type 56 carbines where banned in 1994 as part of the Clinton gun ban. Since most SKSs had a fixed mag they skipped the 89 ban mostly except the model that took AK mags. Only way you can tell a export only from a exPLA SKS is lack of arsenal and military markings on the carbine. All Chinese Type 56s made before 1970 had Alexes blade bayonet post 1970 there the 80s PLA T56s had a spike bayonet. Overall some SKS did come post 94. Russian and Romanian, Yugo and even ex Cambodian Chinese SkS have been imported

    • gunsandrockets

      I remember Chinese SKS rifles being blown out from some dealers in California around 1999 at a retail price of $90. I saw it in person.

  • Brian Fulmer

    Great little rifles, we were shooting a couple of M59’s yesterday up at the ranch (no need to police steel out of the meadow). I’ve recently seen the later M59/66’s for sale at some of the usual web retailers in the $350-400 range. not the bargain they once were for sure but an indicator of continued demand. The longer stock on Yugo/Eastern Euro variants is nice, as The_Champ points out the scaling on the Chinese variants is a little “off.” I ignored these rifles in the ’90’s as being cheap junk – I plead ignorance (and a Garand in the closet). I fortunately wised up in the $150 rifle era, and bought a second one to boot. Still a good value for money – and Murray’s Gunsmithing still has spring loaded firing pins for those (like me) worried about slam fires.

  • Major Tom

    Simonov carbines (SKS) are great truck guns for when you need to shoot up coyotes, antelope or deer at relatively short ranges. Simple to use, easy to handle (minus loading which can be a pain) and relatively inexpensive compared to a Mini-14.

    Just don’t expect to hit anything beyond 300 meters period. You might be able to hit a deer sized target (from the side) half-reliably at 200 but even then you might still end up with an errant shot or two whizzing off target. An uber accurate Russian rifle it is not.

  • Don Ward

    Wait, what? People actually clean their SKS rifles?

    • ostiariusalpha

      Ha ha! My brother’s friend never cleaned his SKS, and it short cycled like crazy on him, with FTFs every other shot, when we were shooting in winter a couple of years ago. Our AR rifles mysteriously worked fine; it almost seemed like they are actually super reliable, but we all know better than that. ­čść
      Even my FS2000, with its tappet encrusted by residue, ran like a sewing machine.

    • De Facto

      …I’ve never cleaned mine since I bought it, and it seems to be fine. Granted I’ve only got maybe 1100 rounds or so through it, but it doesn’t seem to care.

  • gunsandrockets

    Funny how gun politics can twist the ordinary free market into knots.

    Back in the 1990’s AR rifles were the high end products and the SKS were dirt cheap. But thanks to the various bans, all those cheap imports were cut off and the demand for forbidden fruit created a new domestic rifle industry. Today in Commiefornia you can buy one of the cheaper AR clones for less than the cost of a Yugo SKS.

    • De Facto

      …I am so sorry. The SKS is great for what it is – reliable, cheap, and handy. If it’s not cheap, I’m not buying. Also why I will probably never buy another Mosin ($200+ for a Mosin? Hell naw.)

  • KestrelBike

    Parade troops at the Kremlin still march around with these (well at least as of early 2000’s).

    • Ed

      Still seeing action in Asia mid east and Africa. Some seen even in hands of pro kiev forces in Ukraine.

    • Alexandru Ianu

      Honor guards in a lot of states use these since they look more classical than an assault rifle and you can do drill team excercises.

  • marathag

    I love my Yugo. Awesome $150 rifle. Wish I had got more at that price.

  • Joshua Knott

    Yugoslavia 59/66 hands down best sks produced ,I am just not a norinco fan, maybe functional but good God.

  • Tyler McCommon

    I had just gave my dad a late 50’s Norinco SKS as an early Father’s Day gift. Bought the gun for $200 a month ago. Got the bayonet from a friend and picked up an original 10 rd mag for $15 at a junk sale. All in all it was a great buy. The gun itself shoots OK. It’s no tack driver but for a short range hunting rifle or just weekend bench gun it gets the job done.

  • politicsbyothermeans

    I’d look in the gun safe every once in awhile and remember, “Oh yeah, I have an SKS” until I moved to Nu Yorkistan and had to leave all of my EBRs with family back in Free America. That trigger though… man. I just wish 7.62×39 was still ridiculously inexpensive.