I’ve got to clear the air about this

Early this morning, I was looking over my referral logs and I ran across a referral from a google search that peaked my interest. I can’t remember the exact search string now (the listing has dropped of my logs and I didn’t think to save it at the time)…anyway, the search was regarding “fully automatic SKS.” I know he didn’t get what he was looking for on my blog but I was wondering what kind of hits he got.

The vast majority of hits were on forums and involved someone asking “how do I make an SKS fire full auto” and the other forum members saying…basically…”you don’t.”

But I did run across this blog post. It’s a crime blog and the post was about the arrest of a couple of suspects…one who reportedly was in possession of an “SKS machine gun.”

Well, I was going to post a comment informing the author that the SKS was never a “machine gun” but I realized that a couple of people had beat me to it. There was then some back and forth regarding whether it could have been an SKS illegally modified for automatic fire, culminating in this piece of…um…wisdom:

You most definately convert a SKS to full auto there are several ways but the most easy is a popsicle stick or anything 3/32 of an inch thick between the sear disconnector and the reset,also magazines up to 60 rounds are made for the sks,so they very well could have had a machine gun.

I immediately posted a lengthy and quite technical response to the comment, but apparently moderation is turned on and either the reply didn’t live up to the standards of the blogger, or it just hasn’t been reviewed yet; either way, I wanted to get this out there right away because this is a common piece of misinformation promulgated by the Brady Bunch and their unwitting accomplice – the Great North American Mall Ninja.

It is NOT possible to make an SKS (or any other semi-automatic rifle) into a fully automatic weapon in such a simplistic way.

Generally, these ridiculous “simple tricks” will, at the most, cause the weapon to malfunction and slam fire. This is extremely dangerous.

In this specific case, with the SKS, one of the functions of the disconnector is to ensure that the bolt is fully closed and locked before the hammer will fall. Monkeying with the disconnector of an SKS in the manner described would defeat that safety mechanism and the weapon WILL fire “out of battery”. That means that cartridge goes off before the casing is completely enclosed in the chamber. Can you say “kaboom?” Sure you can.

Basically, if all of the protuberances and soft mushy tissues of your face are currently arranged in a manner satisfactory to you, don’t try this because if you do, those features may be dramatically and suddenly rearranged.

And, for all your trouble, hospital visits and interviews with the ATF, you STILL won’t make the SKS fire as a full auto because there is another feature of the mechanism that would prevent it.

Anyway, my point is:

1. Contrary to what the Brady’s and Mall Ninjas insist, there is no “simple” method of converting a semi-auto into a full auto…at least not one that would actually work and not explode on you.

2. The method the commenter on that post authoritatively states will work on an SKS most decidedly will not. He was talking out his butt so don’t bother trying. Even if you don’t blow your face off, you still won’t have a full auto.

This concludes our broadcast day…goodnight.


21 thoughts on “I’ve got to clear the air about this

  1. actually i have done some research and the army used to be trained on how to modify an sks to shoot automatic in the feild by filing down a few of the mechanisms inside the action of your sks

  2. Sorry, but I'm going to have to throw the BS flag on that one.

    For one thing, that doesn't even make sense. Why, specifically, would the army train soldiers to do such a thing? If you're in need of a firearm and are forced to use a captured enemy rifle, the most important thing would be to have a dependable one, not a full auto. Why would anyone take the time and effort to try to modify a firearm in the field in such a way and take a chance on turning a perfectly serviceable semi-auto into a really fancy club? (or spear in this case, since it has an integral bayonet).

    That's just dumb.

    Not to mention the fact that, in order to do so, the soldier would have to have access to the tools necessary to disassemble the trigger group, file down the parts, and reassemble the group, without damaging or losing any of the parts.

    I spent my 21 year military career in the Navy, not the Army, but I seriously doubt that there are many soldiers who hump gunsmithing tool sets in their packs.

    Be that as it may:

    I am intimately familiar with the workings of the SKS trigger group (please see my video series on doing an SKS trigger job: (the videos are embedded in this post) and based on my personal knowledge, it's not possible to make a serviceable machine gun out of an SKS by "filing down a few of the mechanisms inside".

    What you COULD do is make the rifle slam fire. You wouldn't have a functional machine gun, you'd have a malfunctioning rifle that would, upon the first press of the trigger, repeatedly fire uncontrollably until the magazine is empty…or until you have an out of battery ignition and blow the rifle up in your hands.

    You see, to make it slam fire in this way, you would have to defeat the disconnector. One of the purposes of the disconnector is disconnect the trigger bar from the sear after the hammer falls. You would have to defeat this mechanism in order to make the rifle fire more than once with a single pull of the trigger.

    The problem is that another function of the disconnector is to prevent the hammer from falling before the bolt is completely closed.

    If the hammer can fall before the bolt is completely closed, there is a very good chance that the firing pin will strike the primer before the cartridge has completely entered the chamber.

    Can you say "KaBoom?" Sure you can.

    I'm not saying that it's impossible to make an SKS fire continuously. It may even be possible to make it controllable without having to manufacture and install new parts…but you're still not making it into a functional machine gun…you're inducing a malfunction.

    You may get lucky and have it work for you 999 times out of 1000, but when it decides to let go, it will not be an enjoyable occasion.

    And I seriously doubt that the army trained its soldiers to intentionally break a perfectly serviceable semi-auto rifle.

    Of course, I've been wrong before, so feel free to provide evidence to prove it.

  3. The Sailor is right. Not only do you really need an open bolt which the SKS doesn't have but the metal alloys that are in the SKS will not allow you the weapon to fire full automatic for any length of time. Of course, I am not a metalurgist nor am I a gun smith. I just repeat what wiser and more experienced people have told me.

  4. I have had my SKS and many other weapons for some time. Im ex-military (Army) and am also very knowledgible when it comes to weapons. I tried to convert my SKS and could not. Yes, it does "slam fire" once every blue moon, but the SKS was not made for full auto fire (there has been a few SKS rifles that where made with a 3 round burst) and should not be converted. If your in a state that allows sales of one, save your money and buy a full auto. Dont risk your safety or your freedom because you think it would be cool. (And yes, I have converted other weapons, but legally). Stay safe and upright and your mags full!

  5. Between 1983 and 1999 I tried everything I could to get a case that would either make things perfectly clear as to exactly whose minds are engaged in the political machinations of making people miserable and why, or, in the alternative, restoring at least a semblance of equality to the game amongst the majority of unwitting participants.

    My efforts, prior to the events of 1993 at Waco, included, but were not limited to, the SKS question at hand. And indeed, one requires nothing more complex than a simple mill-bastard file and strong enough fingers for reassembly. The results are indeed true and actual “full auto” fire that begins when you pull the trigger and cease when you release, and applies not only to the SKS alone but to all its predeceasing and successive kinship designs. I even made numerous “switches” that allowed a choice of “full” or “semi” – but the limiter to “burst” continued to elude me.

    I made sketches and wrote and submitted articles on the subject through direct-dial Bulletin Boards across the country like Tanya Metaksa’s and Leroy Pyle’s and Ken Seger’s – hoping for the same knock on MY door that everyone was boasting about had happened to others elsewhere throughout the country. I had developed the legal case that was conspicuously missing from the records – the issues that, to my research to his day, have, still, never been addressed by any of the courts.

    Such patriotic proselytizing aside, the primary problems I had with the SKS was its nasty habit of going bang when flipping the safety off which it did straight out of the box brand cosmolined new, and the equally annoying reverse problem of the hammer harmlessly riding the bolt closed resulting in no bang at all after “conversion”. I never experienced any of the other malfunctions that seem to be so widely discussed.

    And, fwiw, the purpose of my handiwork was bait for my sting operation. Very few “automatic” weapons function any faster than a normal person can pull the trigger – And, equally so is the fact a “full auto” can be made to imitate even a single-shot by simply taking your finger OFF the trigger soon enough. Anything under 800 rounds per minute really ain’t worth mechanizing into “full auto” as Ed McGivern demonstrated with factory raw revolvers. Though I would justify such mechanisms forfolks that got no functional fingers and thereby remain four-square against the “reasonability” of “machine guns being unreasonable.”

  6. You seem like a nice enough guy, but I’ve gotta call bs on two counts.

    1: You did gunsmithing work of the precision needed to alter the operation of the sear, disconnector and trigger mechanism with a mill bastard file?


    2: You had a problem with releasing the safety causing the rifle to fire? The only thing the safety does on an SKS is block the trigger. It doesn’t contact, interfere with or otherwise interact with the sear, hammer or disconnector mechanism. The only way releasing the safety could cause the rifle to fire is if you had your finger on the trigger when you did it…or the sear was so lightly engaged that the slight vibration of clicking the safety off caused it to release, which would also mean any other slight vibration would also cause it to release and it would most likely go into uncontrolled automatic fire every time you shot it.

    So, I’ve gotta call BS on that one too.

    Now, I’ve been wrong before, and I’m not exactly a certified gunsmith or anything but I am intimately familiar with the inner workings of the SKS trigger group and, based on my knowledge of the firearm, in my opinion, you’re blowing smoke.

  7. Ha 🙂 you goons make me chuckle. Thanks for the info in between the BS and bastard files. I think I’ll enjoy the new stock for my sks and leave it at that. It’s comfortable, clean and shoots straight and probably more effective in the long run than some Butch and Sundance wanna be weapon thats going to blow up in my face. Probably save a few bucks in ammo as well. Hope all is well!

  8. I don’t know why everyone says the only way to make it full auto is a slam fore design. the best design I’ve seen is a key design. you have to use a stamped trigger housing though… it had a key slot drilled under the sear before the trigger guard, and a custom key filledand fitted to secure under the sear to lift just right… when inserted it was full auto. when out it was semi. it lereased the hammer right when the bolt was locked and would allow you to fire reliably and in burst.not uncontrollable bump fire or slam fire. very hard to do but the only real way. this isn’t all of it. just basics.but if you understand the sks well u know how effective this is. and the safety still worked and everything else perfect.

    • And that’s the whole point of this post.

      Making a truly automatic firearm out of a semi-auto requires machine work and manufacture of new parts, it can’t be done with a Popsicle stick, rubber band or simple filing.

      You can make a gun malfunction in such simplistic ways, but that is unreliable and unsafe to do. To truly make an automatic weapon out of a semi auto requires at least a moderate amount of gunsmithing knowledge and the ability to modify and manufacture parts to very painstaking specifications.

      That was my point to begin with.

    • Perhaps you should read my post again. I didn’t claim that it is impossible to make an SKS fully automatic, only that it is not as simple as the gun grabbers and mall commandos would have you believe.

      The one you linked is obviously not original but is highly modified…including making it fully automatic, if they actually did and didn’t just make it malfunction (as I describe in the post) and call it fully automatic.

      There actually was a variant of the SKS made by the Chinese that was designed to fire in three round burst mode, but it was relatively short lived and later versions went back to the more reliable semi-automatic only design.

      I suppose the one in the link you provided could be one of those, but most don’t call three round burst “fully automatic” so my guess is that this one started out as a standard semi-auto SKS and was modified by a gunsmith to operate as a full auto.

      Which does absolutely nothing to disprove my point…which is that converting a semi-auto firearm like the SKS into a full auto is not a simple task that can be done by filing down a few parts or silly “Popsicle stick” tricks. It requires a knowledgeable gunsmith with the ability to manufacture parts to do it correctly.

  9. I’ve seen this discussion enough. Powder burns wrote an interesting book on this subject. With proper shim stock to hold the trigger bar level with the primary sear, and the cam on the bottom of the hammer, who’s job it is to knock the bar below the sear, filed flat, you do indeed create a full auto only function. If the trigger is depressed the hammer will not fall until the bolt closes which trips the disconnect or allowing the hammer to fall. I’ve seen some rednecks out this way do it and the only problem they had was with military primers. Apparently when the hammer rests on the disconnector it looses some of its travel so doesn’t hit as hard. They apatently remedied this by using civilian brass standard primer ammunition.

  10. I’m not advocating doing it. Its highly illegal, and potentially unsafe, but in point of fact the urban myth isn’t a myth. Anyone with a file some Jb weld an old set of feeler gages to cut up, and the knowledge of what to do can convert an sks. Don’t do it though. Unless your into prison gang rape.

  11. I am an old military man. We have been through several wars since 1776. Most of the kills were made with a semi auto rifle. The M1 Garand was a semi automatic, If you had to carry this thing was bad enough but to carry the 8 round clips was worse. A sniper uses “1” BULLET then gets out of sight.How long would he last if he used a Machine gun. The SKS is a very good rifle. It handles much better with a poly Monty Carlo stock because the sks rifle stock is out of balance as supplied by the manufactor. The orginal leaves to much weight on the forearm making it dificult to shoulder. So after I made a couple of walnut stocks I found out that Plastic is better. No-One needs Full automatic. If you have to destroy that many people use a different method. Something else to remember is this. You do not need a 30 round clip. Instead use no more than a 20 round mag. But carry 10 more mags. Changing mags is not that slow. Probably 4 seconds. You do not have to agree, thats your right, but I was taught to make your rounds count. While you are burning up shells I will have your position and ONE SHOT IS ALL THATS NEEDED.

    • Agreed.

      Full auto is a fun way to turn money into smoke and noise but is not very effective in less than platoon size encounters.

      The only real purpose of full auto is suppressive fire. A couple of guys in the platoon rock and roll to keep the bad guy’s heads down while others flank or move into position to take them out.

      In any other situation, full auto is just a good way to blow off all the ammo you can carry in a very short period of time to little effect.

  12. I agree with T Bone as long as you have a stamped trigger housing, you can very easy turn the sk into a full auto. It don’t slame fire and the safety works fine. If you have the time and the Patience to do it. You can turn your sk full auto. If you don’t have a stamped trigger housing then you are out of luck. That is unless you want to order one. Trying to drill out the hole is a lot harder than you think it is. Like T Bone said you can do it as long as it is stamped. If it is, you can make a key out of 1018 cold rolled still or equal. If you must drill, 11/32 or smaller. As long as you can shape your key. Wire for a Mig welder works good. It isn’t hard to shape. I am not a pro Gun Smith yet, but as soon as I am done with the course I will be.

  13. Besides the military point of view you seem to be missing the most important aspect of converting the SKS, Ruger 10-22 (my favorite at full auto), and AR-15’s to full auto. Simply put it is a BLAST to pull that trigger and see what damage you can do to landfill washing machine or if very lucky, rats. I have fired Ingram mac-10, M-16, and heaven help me the Thompson sub-machine gun (not much control on that puppy)! All are a riot; but the Ruger is the cheapest to feed thus my favorite. I wouldn’t want to get caught with a converted gun in our country’s present state of mind; you would probably get the chair. If you desire to own 30 round mags or military style weapons I’d suggest you not wait and get while the gettings good. It would not surprise me to see the “Right to keep and bear arms” be heavily ammended or deleted. Shortly after that they will start checking the ammo and gun sales required reports and start the disarming of America. Even if you’ve had the gun forever they will trace it thru the ammo sales. The American citizen doesn’t need guns when Police are just a cell phone call away. Socialism meet America: formally known as the land of the FREE. Good luck to all and happy shooting!

  14. You guys are all dumb. I was watching something on tv, were back in the 1990’s a ex military shot 2 cops with a custom fully automatic sks. Saw the real footage and it was definitely a full auto sks

  15. I think I’m going to close comments on this post. I’ve never done that before, but the thread is becoming surreal. The past several commenters have missed the point entirely.

    Paul: I agree that shooting full auto’s is a blast…a great way to turn money into smoke and noise. Arguing the pros and cons of fully automatic weapons wasn’t the point of this post.

    Ken: Also not the point of this post. There was at least one variant of the SKS (Chinese if I’m not mistaken) that was produced as a select fire (three round burst) rifle from the factory…for a very short time and in low numbers because it wasn’t very effective…and was never (to my knowledge) imported into the US. My point was never that it is IMPOSSIBLE to convert an SKS into full auto…my point was very simple: The brady campaign (and mall ninjas) like to claim that any idiot on the street can convert a semi-auto into a machine gun by simply filing down the sear, or sticking a popsicle stick into the works.

    They use this claim as ammunition (pardon the pun) for their efforts to ban semi-autos.

    My point is that, although it is possible to turn any semi-auto into a machine gun with the right mix of gunsmithing knowlege, machining skills and tools, those simple tricks don’t work and at most cause the semi-auto to malfunction…making it almost as dangerous to the operator as the targets.

    Yes, an SKS can be made to be fully automatic. No, it cannot be done properly and safely without pretty thorough knowledge of how SKS’ operate, modifying several parts and even manufacturing new parts to install. It is not a simple, any high school dropout gang banger on the street can do it and trying those simple tricks can very easily turn a perfectly functional semi-auto firearm into a cool looking club…or at worst, a kaboom generator.

    That’s my point and I’ve seen no arguments in this thread that effectively counter it. Because the argument have continued to go further and further afield, this will be the last one on the subject.

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