SKS Answers

In a comment to my last SKS post Phil of Random Nuclear Strikes asked a couple of good questions that I thought other readers may be interested in so I decided to answer them in a post.

What detachable mags have you found that work reliably?

I’ve tried three different detachable mags. I’ve got a steel 30 round mag from John Masen. This magazine is well put together, sturdy (it IS steel after all), loads smoothly and feeds reliably. The only drawback is that the bolt hold-open doesn’t work. I didn’t have much luck with the bolt modification that allows inserting the mag with the bolt closed…it works, but the mags don’t go on easy and I wouldn’t want to have to go through that under less than ideal conditions…like, say, when someone is shooting at you.

The second one I tried was a “Poly” 30 round mag from David’s Collectibles (about 3/4 of the way down the page). That one was very cheaply made. This mag never fed reliably and the follower hung up regularly both during loading and firing. I took the mag apart and tried smoothing and shaping the follower but had no luck. The problem was that the follower had too much slack inside the mag and would tilt to one side or the other, or fore and aft, and would catch on the inside of the mag body. At one point while still playing with it, hoping I could get it to work, the follower hung up with about 18 rounds loaded. When I was rocking the top round and pushing to try to free it, I guess I pushed a little too hard because the body of the mag split at the rear seam. I threw it away in disgust after that.

Finally, I tried the Tapco 20 round composite mag. One thing about the listing that confused me: It says “The bolt must be back in order to insert and remove the magazine”. I wasn’t sure whether they meant that the bolt must be MANUALLY pulled back, (meaning that the mag didn’t operate the bolt hold open latch) or just that, like any other detachable SKS mag, it wouldn’t go on with the bolt closed (unless you do the mod that I linked to earlier).

Well, I’ve got two of these mags and at least with my rifle, the bolt hold open works perfectly. The bolt is held open after the last shot and doesn’t close when the mag is removed, allowing easy insertion of the next mag. Also, I’ve never had a feeding failure of any kind with either of the to Tapco mags I’ve got.

The only complaint I’ve got with them is that the composite material just seems flimsy to me. I’m afraid that, under harsh conditions or over time, the relatively thin composite walls of the mag will crack and split. I wish that I could find a metal bodied mag that works with the bolt hold open latch, but I haven’t discovered one yet. If any readers out there have information about other magazines available for the SKS, please comment or send me an e-mail.

I need an rather long LOP on my rifles. How long can that type of stock go?

This is an easy one. The T-6 stock has six positions. I measured from the curve of the trigger to the center of the butt. This is what I came up with on my rifle (to the nearest 1/8″):

Position 1: 11 1/8″
Position 2: 12″
Position 3: 12 3/4″
Position 4: 13 1/2″
Position 5: 14 3/8″
Position 6: 15″

If 15″ isn’t long enough, you can add what looks to be about another 5/8″ by installing Tapco’s rubber recoil pad.

I personally keep mine on position 3 for any position other than prone. When prone, I’ve found position 4 better suited for maintaining eye relief with my optics.


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