Firearms / Assault rifles / SKS

SKS

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Self-loading rifle

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    Karabiner S (East German SKS)
    karabin samopowtarzalny Simonova / ksS (Polish designation)
    M59 (Yugoslav SKS)
    Polu-automatska puška (Yugoslav designation)
    Papovka (Yugoslav nickname)
    Type 1 (Vietnamese SKS)
    Type 56 (Chinese SKS)
    Type 63 (North Korean SKS)
    Type 68 (wrong designation for Chinese Type 63)

  • DESIGNED
    1945 - 1949

  • DESIGNER
    Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov

  • PRODUCTION
    1949 - 1955 (SKS)
    1965 - 1971 (Type 56)
    1969 - 1978 (Type 63)

  • PRODUCERS
    USSR - Izhmash
    USSR - Tula Arsenal

    Licensed production:
    Albania
    China - NORINCO
    East Germany
    North Korea
    Vietnam
    Yugoslavia - Zastava

  • QUANTITY
    About 15 million SKS and comparable models have been produced. In addition over 1 million copies of the Type 63 were produced.

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good accuracy
    Reliable
    More expensive to manufacture than AK-47
    Limited magazine size
    Difficult to reload

Introduction

The SKS is a self loading rifle of Soviet origin. It was developed during the later stages of World War 2 as a much lighter and more compact alternative to the Mosin-Nagant and SVT-40 rifles. Eventually it got replaced by the AK-47, which was designed at the same time. However, millions were produced and the SKS has been a very common weapon in all nations using Soviet small arms.

Design

The SKS combines design features from the AVS-36 and SVT-40 self-loading rifles. The SKS has a conventional carbine layout. Externally it looks like a shortened SVT-40 rifle. The stock and furniture are made out of wood. It uses a short stroke gas piston and a tilting bolt. The SKS is fitted with a folding blade or spike bayonet.

Firepower

The SKS is a semi-automatic rifle. It fires the intermediate power 7.62x39mm round from a fixed 10 round magazine. It is reloaded using 10 round stripper clips. The SKS is not able to launch rifle grenades, but the Yugoslav M59/66 is modified to fire NATO standard rifle grenades. The Chinese Type 63 is a modified version that is select-fire and uses detachable box magazines.

Users

The first user of the SKS was the USSR. When it became apparent that in practice the AK-47 was a more potent weapon and could be produced at lower costs the SKS was no longer produced. The main user of the SKS and the Type 63 rifle was China. Many SKS rifles were exported or produced in states with ties to the USSR. Most SKS are obsolete or relegated to second line units. In many armies the AK-47 replaced the SKS.

Variants

SKS

The SKS is a self-loading rifle that fires the intermediate power 7.62x39mm round, which is also used in the AK-47. The original SKS has been produced in many nations with ties to the USSR. The copies are generally similar to the original SKS and may differ in minor specifications.

SKS: Original Soviet model.
Type 56: Chinese production model. Later evolved into the Type 63.
M59: Yugoslav production model. Later evolved into the M59/66.
Type 56: Vietnamese production model.
Type 63: North Korean production model.

  • Specifications:
  • SKS
TypeSelf-loading rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine10 rounds
OperationGas operated, short stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1
Rate of fireSemi-automatic
Barrel length521 mm
Rifling?
Muzzle velocity735 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.021 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.8 kg
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and tangent notch rear, 1.000 m gradations
RemarksFolding bayonet

M59/66

M59/66: The M59/66 is a highly modified M59, which is the Yugoslav production model of the SKS. The M59/66 has been adapted to fire NATO standard 22 mm rifle grenades. It is regarded as one of the more practical firearms for launching rifle grenades. In order to mount the grenades the barrel is extended and a special muzzle is fitted. Just in front of the front sight a ladder sight is installed.

TypeSelf-loading rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine10 rounds
OperationGas operated, short stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1
Rate of fireSemi-automatic
Barrel length559 mm
Rifling?
Muzzle velocity735 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.117 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight4.1 kg
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and tangent notch rear, 1.000 m gradations
RemarksFolding bayonet

Type 63

Type 63: The Type 63 is a modified version of the Type 56, the Chinese production model of the SKS. The Type 63 is a select-fire weapon and is fed from magazines instead of stripper clips. It is normally issued with proprietary 20 round magazines but also accepts 30 round Kalashnikov magazines.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine20, 30 rounds
OperationGas operated, short stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire680 - 725 rpm
Barrel length531 mm
Rifling?
Muzzle velocity735 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.033 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.8 kg
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and tangent notch rear, 800 m gradations
RemarksFolding bayonet

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