SKS Type 56

I was lent this rifle by a friend. I wanted to take it apart and look at it’s guts first hand. It’s nice when others can lend you their toys.

Something that people forget in the internet age is that reading about machines or watching on youtube is very different from actually working with them or using them. Nothing can replace real hands on experience and developing fine motor skills. I’ve always loved taking things apart. I learned to use a screwdriver at a very young age and nothing in the house was safe. Toasters, televisions, tape recorders. If it was in a mysterious box, I wanted to see inside. Learning to work on machines and things isn’t easy to do. The need to get those valuable objects back together and in working order puts a real damper on exploration and experimentation. Worry takes over and we get overly cautious. I discovered in my early 20s a solution to this. Tear junk apart. The junk yard is a graduate level education when treated right. When learning to get better at working on motorcycles, I purchased a crashed Honda VF500F Interceptor for $50 and tore it apart for fun. Down to each individual part. It didn’t have to go together. After that, I wasn’t scared to dig deep into a motorcycle and knew what to expect. I do the same thing today, with this rifle and with other things like electronics (1, 2, etc.). I’m able to find out what kind of tools are need for different types of work. What special tools are really needed. When the time comes for the real game, I’m ready.


The rifle is an SKS-M Carbine by Norinco. Made in China. 7.62x39mm. Post 1989 import. This version of the SKS platform allows for a standard AK-47 magazine, although I didn’t have one on hand. The SKS is the second most famous Russian rifle. It was the standard issue Soviet rifle from 1949 to 1955. In 1955 the legendary AK-47 replaced it and contends with being the most important rifles of all time.


Supposedly there are some very nice versions of this rifle in existence. Certainly not the Chinese versions and this is one is definitely lame. To say that this rifle is a complete piece of garbage would be an understatement. Simply lame Chinese manufacturing from the early nineties. I didn’t get a chance to fire the gun but I’m sure it’s feel and accuracy reflect the trash like appearance it takes. Still, Russian weapons are amazingly tolerant of poor production control. I’m sure it will fire whenever it’s asked but…accuracy, that’s something that they’re not known for.

I would have completely dismantled this gun, down to each part rather than just sub assemblys but the quality was so poor and the pins would have to be completely replaced for reassembly. I would do that if this was an important rifle (like a real Soviet SKS or AK-47) but it’s not. I figured I’d stop where I did so that I could return a functioning gun with the least amount of labor. I got to see enough.


SKS rifles have a very poor safety reputation these days at gun ranges. If the floating firing pin sticks due to poor cleaning, the gun will slamfire, going full auto. Very bad. At one of my local ranges, the Chabot Gun Club, shooters are restricted in how to use them, as noted on their restrictions page:

“SKS rifles are limited to only 2 rounds in the firearm at a time. This applies to all types of SKS rifles, regardless of improvements, modifications, paperwork or pleading. We are not anti-gun here. We are anti-getting shot by a gun that goes full auto, held by a person who may or may not know how to control it. This does not apply to any other firearm at the time of this writing.”

Here are a nice link that looks at other SKS rifles: