Designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov, one of the fathers of the modern assault rifle, the SKS, short for Samozaryadny Karabin sistemy Simonova, 1945—or self-loading carbine of the Simonov system, 1945—was manufactured for thirteen years, resulting in a total production of almost three million carbines. With the advent of the AK-47 in the early 1950s, the Soviets took the SKS out of front-line service, however the SKS remained in use in secondary capacities for decades. Today, the SKS is used as a ceremonial firearm, and is popular on the civilian surplus market as a hunting and marksmanship semi-automatic. Its age as well as its wide availability make the SKS relatively inexpensive to purchase.
The SKS is a gas-operated rifle, meaning that it uses the gas generated from the cartridge’s firing to unlock and cycle the action via a piston rod. At the moment of firing, the bolt carrier is pushed backwards, releasing the bolt, which allows the ejection of the fired casing, and chambers a new round of ammunition. Most variants of the SKS contain a free-floating firing pin within the bolt, meaning that exceptional care must be taken during the cleaning of the rifle to ensure that the firing pin can move around freely. SKS firing pins that have gotten stuck in the bolt have been known to cause the rifle to accidentally fire on its own. This is called a “slamfire.” It is less likely to occur if the owner of the SKS is using the military-spec ammo for which the SKS is designed, but, regardless, care should be taken when cleaning the rifle.
In most versions of the SKS, the barrel is chrome lined, which increases the gun’s durability, its heat tolerance, its ability to resist corrosion, and helps to facilitate its cleaning. The front sight of the SKS has a hooded post, which means that it consists of two concentric circles, which helps to focus the eye. The rifle’s rear sight is an open notch, adjustable for elevation from one hundred to one thousand meters.
The SKS is easily stripped and reassembled. One does not need specialized tools. The rifle has a cleaning kit stored in a trapdoor in its buttstock, as well as a cleaning rod that runs underneath the barrel. The cleaning rod’s cap serves to protect the crown of the rod during cleaning, and the body of the cleaning kit serves as the rod’s handle. Like many Soviet designs, the SKS is a rough-and-ready iteration of the semi-automatic assault rifle, trading fine calibrations for reliability, ease of use, and a low price.
The SKS was manufactured, along with SKS parts, to replace existing rifles, such as the M1891, which were too long and heavy and created excessive recoil. Only a high-trained specialist could employ these rifles at their full potential. Thus, the Soviets began to design rifles for smaller cartridge sizes, which were easier for the average soldier to manage.
The SKS was officially adopted into the Soviet Army in 1949, but the development of the AK-47 led to the SKS being relegated to non-infantry and second-line soldiers, remaining in second-line service through the early 1990s. To this day, however, the SKS is used in ceremonial capacities.
At Sarco Inc., we sell SKS parts. From stocks to sights to drums to firing pins, we’ve got everything you need to build or maintain your SKS. For instance, we sell a Phenolic (referring to phenolic plastic, a synthetic polymer) stock with a fore-end that was used by the Chinese in the late 1960s under the rule of Mao Zedong. Woode was too precious to strip for the manufacture of millions of Chinese SKS rifles, so they built their stocks out of synthetics. At Sarco Inc., we have a few dozen of these original SKS stocks available. Now that good stocks are getting very hard to find, this original SKS stock is a great find.
Sarco, Inc. is your stop for gun accessories. We're passionate about guns, and we're proud to say we’re one of the largest gun suppliers in the world. We began life on the gun show circuit, and have since expanded into arguably the largest dealer in surplus war material in the country. Sarco continues its focus on rare original firearms parts while expanding into complete firearms, commercial firearms, accessories, militaria, re-enactment accouterments, and SKS parts. Check out our inventory online or give us a call today. Currently, we manage our sales through three avenues: the web, phone, and our showroom. Located at 50 Hilton St, in Easton, PA, our 7,000 square foot showroom stocks over 2,000 firearms—products ranging from original militaria to new commercial tactical accessories. We provide retail and wholesale products on both the domestic and international levels. Contact us today at (610) 250-3961 to get started with your Sarco Inc. experience.