SKS Review: A Workhorse Utility Rifle



My SKS was one of my first rifles.  My father gave it to me for Christmas when I was 17 years old and it has been a constant companion ever since.  Mine is a pre ban Russian model built in 1954, it has an integrated bayonet and the original military sling and was new in the box when I got it even though it was built in the 50’s it had never been issued.  My dad bought it back in the days when you could get a Russian SKS for less than a hundred dollars and it has been worth every penny and more.  On top of the sentimental value the rifle holds its practical side is just as valuable to me.

Lets look at the history of the gun.  It was built as a military carbine and issued before the rise of the AK-47.  Even when it was replaced by the AK it held an important secondary role in the Russian military as a weapon issued to second line troops and training troops, much the same way the US used the M1 Carbine in WW2.  Being a Russian weapon it is very rugged and simple built for farmers and conscripts to be able to use very easily and to learn about very quickly.  It fires the 7.62 X39 round the same as the AK and the bullet has basically the same ballistic characteristics as the US 30-30 round. This means it is good for a variety of uses.  It can be used for hunting medium and small game up to Deer and could probably bring down larger animals if you were careful with your shot placements. It is a great varmint round for medium sized animals like bobcats and coyotes which the rifle is very popular for in Texas and the southwest.   With the abundance of military surplus ammo it makes a fun little plinker for target shooting and of course it makes a great defensive weapon as it was origonally built as a battle rifle.

The weapons tend to be fairly accurate depending on the country of origin but most will hold a 1 to 2 inch group at a hundred yards. Mine holds a 1/2 in group at 100 yards with iron sights. The rifle is very rugged and simple to use.  It has an integrated 10 round box magazine that can not be removed. You can speed load it using stripper clips or load it one shell at a time.  The rifle strips down into 6 pieces when field striped and is extremely easy to clean. It should come with a integrated cleaning rod and a small cleaning kit which is housed in the buttstock of the rifle.

If you are looking for a beater gun or a truck gun and don’t want to break the bank on it this rifle will perform well and should last a lifetime or more.  If you enjoy collectablity or want a generic rifle that will perform multiple functions it will also fill many roles.  The prices have gone up over the years but you should still be able to get one without breaking the bank.  There are also countless aftermarket upgrades that you can get for the rifle, everything from synthetic stocks to removable magazines. I can not recommend this rifle enough, it has history, character and performs time after time no matter how bad its treated.  I have loved mine and I hope you enjoy yours just as much.

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