Cheap SKS rifles have always been a thing in Canada. Black Friday saw Cabela’s Canada selling them for $140 USD. With that so far endless seeming supply of rifles, we see more and more people putting time and money into making sharper, better, enhanced versions. New this year will be the SKS-15, a standalone rifle created by merging a modified SKS with a domestically manufactured chassis.
We’ve seen chassis systems before, and I’ve covered them for TFB before, but this latest creation is the first time we’ve seen a new dedicated rifle built on a surplus SKS action. Rather than a quad rail we’ve got a keymod fore-end which encases the piston but leaves the gas block and front sling swivel exposed.
The key components are the addition of AR-15 butt stock and pistol grip, the full length top rail for optics, and the AR-15 7.62×30 magazine well. Dont expect that to translate into an AR-15 manual of arms though, as you’ll notice that magazine release button is well forward of any shooter’s index finger reach. However it is an ambidextrous release, as you can see the button and lever on the left hand side. The last round bolt hold open is apparently retained in this setup, and of course the main reason to switch to a STANAG pattern magazine in Canada is compatibility with 10 round AR-15 pistol magazines. (Federal legislations limits semi-auto center-fire rifle magazines to 5. Security theater at its finest.)
Also interesting is that the SKS-15 has had it’s barrel shortened to 18.5″ (the requirement in Canada to avoid being registered with the federal government as an SBR) and threaded for a muzzle device. I’m waiting for clarification on the thread pitch. I would be very surprised if these are the AK 14x1LH pattern, as 90% of the 7.62×39 brakes in this country are 14x1RH thread for the Vz58. It’s possible that we’re using a 1/2 x 28 thread, in which case I worry for the first fool who puts a 5.56 A2 on his new gun.
I’m curious to see how this rifle fares with ejection considering the wide range of 7.62×39 loads available in Canada. The top rail has been reduced in profile over the ejection port, and the port is large enough that it presents on both sides of the rifle. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it left or right side ejection though: you can’t change that on the SKS, it’s really just going to throw up & out hopefully. I could see an optic’s wind-age or illumination taking minor impact from this depending on placement.
However the rifle can still be disassembled for cleaning. Not field stripped like your factory model, but with a series of screws the chassis can be disassembled and the piston, bolt and chamber can be accessed. This is really important when shooting corrosive 7.62×39 ammunition, as it doesn’t take much for that to start to damage your rifle.
While I expect there will be a certain level of grumbling around lipstick and pigs, the fact is that with the Cz858s drying up in Canada, there are limited options for a sub-$1000 black rifle in the very desirable 7.62×39 caliber. Our supply of both corrosive and non-corrosive surplus ammo doesn’t seem to be diminishing, and there’s lots of starter shooters who need something to bridge the gap between that first Sub $200 standard SKS and say an Robinson Arms XCR or full-size Vz58. The SKS-15 addresses that idea directly.
This rifle appears to be a joint production of Canadian company Kodiak Defense and importer North Sylva. MSRP has been set at $850 CAD ($630 USD) and these are expected on gun store shelves in Canada in early 2017.