A budget hunting, fighting, defensive tool: The SKS

Among firearms there are tools for every situation. There are handguns for defensive purposes, trapping, small game harvesting and destruction of rogue planets. There are carbines and rifles to meet every foe, situation or need deemed possible. It is rare to find one firearm capable of adequately meeting a large percentage of an individual’s needs while still falling in three categories of capable, reliable and inexpensive.

In the recent years there have been a few firearms that have fallen into one or more categories and yet they always seem to lack too much in areas of need. The venerable Mosin Nagant is a wonderful hunting rifle and can be extremely accurate while also being reliable and inexpensive, however, it is not the most capable of self defense weapons especially in closer combat scenarios. Handguns are quite good at filling the roles of close in combat needs, however, are not as easily used for hunting and when looking for reliable you will almost always invest more than originally planned. Several other firearms exist which fit the role of self defense, hunting and reliability without always falling in the inexpensive category.

The SKS ( Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova) was designed specifically to fill the role of main battle rifle for the Russian army, at the time unfortunately, another extremely reliable firearm was being innovated and in Russia it became the standard, this was the AK-47 battle rifle. While the AK has become the most recognizable firearm in the world as well as the most produced, it lacks many qualities that the SKS in its Chinese configuration have in spades.

Cost, even today the SKS can be had for around $3-400 dollars and while used these military surplus firearms are almost always functional, reliable and accurate with standard ball milsurp ammunition. I have had the best results with Brown Bear, Silver Bear, Monarch (Brown Bear repackaged) and lastly Tula. FMJ and Spitzer Point have the best overall results in accuracy, penetration and gel tests from what I gather and have personally seen.

Reliability is absolute, IF you keep it clean. This is similar to an AK but it is not an AK, it can and will get dirty and has been known to have issues with the free floating firing pin when not cleaned. This is not hard, in fact it is quite easy to keep clean and really if you have any issues with this it reflects only your inability to keep your tools in good working order. Clean your firearm!

I must point out that I have only used Norinco SKS and only two of them. There are many others with far more experience behind this firearm type. From my perspective, however, chromed barrels and the overall standards the Chinese had when producing these make them a more long lasting firearm overall. There are individuals that argue for the somewhat increased accuracy potential of rolled versus cold forged and drop forged versus chromed etc., it remains necessary as always to put things into proper perspective. The SKS regardless manufacturer is not meant to shoot sub moa or even moa regularly. It is meant as a battle rifle, and honestly you are wasting money and time if you do much more than change the rear sight and use tapco mags instead of the standard steel 10 round semi attached set up it comes with.

To remove the metal magazine simply pull the bolt back, (finger check and visual check no ammunition) lock it open by pushing the hold open up in front of the bolt. Turn the rifle on its top, drop the magazine free until it hinges open. To the rear of the trigger guard there is a small button, depress this using a punch or small screwdriver. The trigger guard will pop up and is easily removed. The magazine assembly is than just as easily removed. Replace the trigger assembly and sharply rap the top rubber mallet or the palm of your hand. Most Tapco mags will fit, some tightly and sometimes just right. If they are too tight simply sand or trim with a knife the edges of the wood down until they fit in smoothly and are just as smooth to remove.

Let’s look back and see where we are now.

1. Cost is negligible in both ammunition and rifle itself.
2. With proper rifleman skills applied one can easily hunt medium game out through 250 yards with iron sights. (Replace the rear with a techsight)
3. A solid sling is a must, if the one it comes with is not sufficient there are many models and prices to choose from.
4. There is no legitimate reason to use high priced American made ammunition, most surplus or foreign made ammunition is not corrosive these days anyhow and performs quite satisfactorily. If however you believe a magazine or so is corrosive, use window cleaner to rinse the barrel at the range and wash it in warm soapy water, (dawn dish soap works well) thoroughly when you get home. Dry it off and use wd40 to spray in crevices to remove water and oil areas of interest.
5. These rifles in original condition are not seen as assault rifles, however, can preform quite well in the role of self defense or survival tool.

If you have any questions or thoughts, add them in the comments. I am quite sure I forgot a few areas of interest during the writing of this review and apologize in advance to those who see that and are out off by it.

The group shot in the pictures was not shot from a bench, it was shot in a standing riflemans hold, sling wrapped tightly under bicep and locking support hand in. While others may doubt many of the things I promote and profess to know, I can shoot. And this simple fact makes me quite the disabled, hunchbacked, barely walking opponent to any who would see harm come to myself or family.

Free the mind and the body will follow


About Jesse Mathewson

Jesse Mathewson is the author of the popular blog, jessetalksback.com and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity and agorism. He also runs Liberty Practical Training, a self defense school specializing in the practical applications of defensive approaches versus the theoretical. As an agorist, voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Very simple, "That which is voluntary between all individuals involved is always right, if it is not voluntary, it is always wrong."
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