SKS Whys and Wherefores

Another one of Straightarrow’s comments prompted a post. I started to reply in the comments section, but it rapidly got too long so, here goes:

I have a Russian SKS…I don’t notice much muzzle climb, it’s a pretty soft shooter with the 7.62x 39mm ammo.

I agree, the muzzle brake is more cosmetic than anything, however, the surplusrifle.com review of the brake that I got was pretty glowing in it’s praise. Heck, if I can get the muzzle flip down to effectively zero, why not? Good for staying on target in rapid fire if nothing else. I wouldn’t have even thought about it, however, had my SKS not already had the threaded barrel…it’s just not worth the effort.

However, I have added dust cover with scope rails and a 4 x 32 scope.

I thought about that. It is a better solution if you want your SKS to be returnable to original condition. I’m not so worried about this one…it was a bargain basement model, not necessarily a collector. The deciding factor for me was this little test: take the receiver cover off and remove the recoil spring, then replace the receiver cover without the spring and see how stable the cover is (or, more accurately, how unstable it is). What makes the receiver cover FEEL stable normally is the spring tension placed on it by the recoil spring. The problem is that the forces involved when firing the rifle are more than enough to overcome that apparent stability and make the receiver cover move around when firing. If it doesn’t return back to exactly the same position after every shot (figure the odds) any sighting system mounted to it is going to be inherently inaccurate. The gas tube mounting systems have the same problem, the gas tube just isn’t stable enough.

I know that some of the receiver covers with scope mounts have set screws attached that are designed to be tightened against the receiver to alleviate this problem but I still seriously doubt that they can be tightned enough to completely eliminate any movement under firing conditions without actually gouging divots into the receiver metal.

The first aftermarket sighting system I tried was the Williams Firesight system. I ended up leaving the front fiberoptic sight in place (I’ve talked about the drawbacks to that in a previous post) but the rear “peep” sight, even when mounted in the original sight’s mounting block, would move laterally just a little bit. This may have been because the Williams sight was developed with the Russian SKS in mind and mine is a Yugo, but I felt that if the problem existed with the Williams sight, it would probably be an issue with any sighting system that is designed to use the original sight mount.

These considerations resulted in my choices: Tech Sights TS-200 rear aperture sight and Choate Machine and Tool drill and tap scope mount. Both mount directly to the receiver and are rock solid. My guess would be that your lack of accuracy with a scope has more to do with an inherently unstable mount than with any deficiency in skill on your part.

I am a little over six feet tall and therefore need a longer length of pull than the shorter Russians in heavy winter coats this carbine was designed for.

I’m…not that tall. I find the length of pull to be pretty well suited for me. One of the reasons I’m going to go with Tapco’s T-6 replacement stock is the adjustable buttstock which will allow me to set the pull perfectly for my…um…vertical challenges.

Anyway, thanks again for all the great comments.

Be looking for my post on the Prosecute Bloomberg rally either later today or tomorrow.

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