Monday, February 24, 2014

This picture reminds me...

...that I don't currently own an SKS.

I've had several Chinese ones, but these days I don't have any real interest in a commercial SKS (unless your Chinese SKS came back from Vietnam, odds are good it was produced specifically for commercial sale and was never issued to a soldier.)

I want a milsurp one, a legitimate C&R, which means a Yugo or other Euro Combloc gun. Unfortunately, the most common Yugos are the 59/66's and I don't want all that extra grenade-launching goofiness hanging off the end of the gun. Some people dig it, and that's cool, but for me it's just weight and stuff that clutters up the rifle's lines.

Russkie ones are bringing blood money these days, and I haven't seen an Albanian or East German one in the wild in years. This will be a fun stalk.

(I'm not going the internet auction site route, because it always feels to me like the gun collecting equivalent of hunting over a baited field. It'd be like having a computerized database of exactly what old sports cars are in which barns across the country, or having clear wrapping paper on your Christmas presents.)


The Raving Prophet said...

It makes me glad I picked up my Yugo back in the days when they were plentiful. If I felt like selling it I could easily double my money, if not more... mine is in basically new condition. Sure, it's a 59/66 with all that grenade launching stuff, but I find it historical curiosity.

They're fun to shoot, reliable, and reasonably accurate.

Tam said...

I wouldn't mind a regular 59, but they're a lot scarcer than the 59/66's, and the few I've seen recently were priced accordingly. :(

The Raving Prophet said...

I remember back when I bought mine (wow, that would have been mid-2003... ten years gone now), the 59s seemed to be mostly of interest to the California crowd because it didn't need any hacking to be legal.

They didn't seem to be as plentiful or in as good condition as the 59/66. But they had fewer potential problems; I do know that many who bought the "well used" grades of 59/66 ended up with rifles that wouldn't cycle. Seemed that because Yugoslavia had no natural chromium reserves the bores weren't chromed and most of the ammo they had used was corrosive. That little gas valve in the 59/66 would corrode (even if the barrel was fine, the valve would often be a problem), basically resulting in a single shot rifle unless the valve was replaced. New valves weren't (and aren't) hard to come by though. It wasn't an issue with the better condition rifles since they had hardly been shot at all.

Keep an eye out and I expect you'll find one, but you'll probably be spending enough to have bought an AK back before Obama Panic Part I. It's just amazing what's happened to these SKS prices.

Tam said...

Dude, imagine my chagrin. ;)

Scott J said...

That was the one thing I bought in the runup to the 1994 AWB because I figured they'd be blocked from import one way or another.

It's a Russian Tula dated 1954. I assume the laminated stock is non original. I paid all of $99.95.

I rarely shoot it because I have many other more accurate (and therefore more interesting) rifles. It's even less accurate now that I suffer from presbyopia but then I haven't tried it since getting glasses.

Plus 7.62x39 just isn't as cheap as it was way back when I bought it.

Anonymous said...

There's a Russian SKS on a consignment auction about an hour and a half east of you. Auction is 3/16. It's in one of those ghastly Tapco stocks, but the metal looks pretty nice, still has the bayonet, etc., KBI import marked. Not sure if Russian stocks are available (not really an SKS guy).

They also have a Norinco, FWIW. And in regards to you "hunting over bait" post, they also have a Ross straight pull sporting rifle.


Scott J said...

Your post reminds me I need to take mine out and shoot it. It's been quite awhile.

Kristophr said...

Classic Firearms is selling pre-Veitnam Chinese SKS rifles.

Milled receivers, and threaded barrels FTW. Not the cheap-ass late export stuff.

$300 and all the cosmoline you can eat for free!

Murphy's Law said...

Once upon a time, I had one of each flavor: Russian, Chinese, Albanian, Yougslavian ("clean" model 59 without the grenade launcher) and Romanian. And then I got hurt and needed the money for bills because my insurers weren't playing nice and I sold all but the Chinese because it was my first and one of my oldest rifles. Now, seeing how expensive they've all become, I'm sad. And I've also started hunting to replace them all again because they were fun shooters, with the exception of the Albanian rifle which had a typically poor Albanian trigger.

Grab a Yugo M59 if you can find one, or a Romanian. They're as close to Russian quality as you can get without paying the Russian rifle price.

Tam said...

The thing that kills me is the times I got Yugo SKS's from TGI to stock at Coal Creek, I crawled through trasit cases full of them with a discerning eye and a headspace gauge and picked, like, the best eight out of two or three dozen to stock, and never wound up taking one home when I had the chance at $150 or so.

Sigivald said...

Get wacky, find a Polish one.

Scott J said...

What offends me most about the SKS prices these days is I have a loose "minimum two of each caliber" rule but it's my only commie .30 and probably will be for awhile.

I never got around to adding a second in the caliber to the collection.

Paul said...

I'm torn. I've still got 500 rounds of SKS feeder ammo. Might have to get me another one. Gave them up for bolt versions and I just sold the CZ so now I have a spare case of ammo. Maybe it is time to find one that won't have paper.

Blackwing1 said...

I remember buying one of the cheap Chinese ones brand-new for $80. 1991 or '92? They had apparently dipped them into barrels of melted (Chi-com version of) cosmoline, closed the bolts, and then packed them into crates. Literally dripping with that nasty brown stuff.

Not a single one of the SKS's that I've shot will group better than angle-of-pie-plate at 100 yards, but my wife's CZ527 will print a clover-leaf with the same ammo. With the prices for an SKS where they are, wouldn't you rather have a nicely-made bolt gun in 7.62x39? I know Zastava is selling a mini-Mauser knock-off of those things for about $300, but I have no idea if they're as good as the CZ.

Just a thought. If you're looking at an SKS just 'cause you don't have one, that's a completely different thing.

Anonymous said...

Ummm, maybe you could ask nicely, you know, ask someone who has several SKSs of them in the back of one of his safes still in the grease?

Shootin' Buddy

Carteach said...

I has a one..... a Chinese one.
It's an oldy, and has clearly been through the ringer. The metal work has obviously been pitted and scrubbed many times, and the wood has that black edging under the varnish that says "I've been in the wet more often than not".

Why did I buy it? Mechanically in excellent condition, and I cannot find an import mark on it anyplace. Mu guess is a Vietnam bringback, but I have no way to verify that.

Shoots great, I can say that.

Aaron said...


Aimsurplus currently has a small clutch of C&R eligible Chinese SKSs on sale should the spirit so move you. At 299.99 they're not cheap, but they're there.

Al T. said...

I'll keep an eye out for a Russian one.

Paul from Canada said...

Every gunshop up here in Canada has a case of Russians, $200 or less.(Most often less).

So many have come in over the last couple of years that there is now a bit of a collecting frenzy. People would go buy one, then go back and get another, and another. Get a Tula, then an Izersk, then laminated vs. unlaminated stock etc etc.

Some of them ended up with plum coloured bolts, or gold coloured bayonets when they were refurbished, so there are arguments over whether these should be more expensive/more collectible or not.

On the other hand, the supply of new surplus Yugos has dried up, so both types of Yugo are now up around $500.

Chinese guns go for around $99

I sold my Chinese, but still have one Russian and a Yugo 59/66. I was going to get a plain Yugo 59, but I haven't yet climbed on the "get one of each" Russian bandwagon

Dan F said...

Maybe this is working from too few data points, but the few Vietnam bringbacks I've seen were all /26\ coded (Chongqing factory) made in 1967 (serial beginning with 11xxxxxx).

A mid-60's or earlier SKS from the same factory, imported from China, is probably true milsurp since it predates the Nixon visit and all.

rickn8or said...

Along with what Dan F said, a threaded-barrel vice pinned-barrel Chinese is more likely to be non-commmercial.

For more info than you ever wanted to know know about SKSs Yooper John's Pages

Wish you'd had this hankering about a year ago; I sold all my Show Horse and Race Horse SKS's; now all have left are Plow Horses. The only way I'd sell them would be if I was wearing a Groucho nose/glasses so nobody would know I owned 'em.

Joseph said...

I have two of the yugos with the useless grenade launcher. I was going to have it cut off, but was afraid of running afoul of the feds. Kind of heavy, but reliable and the steel case ammo is still fairly inexpensive.