I just bought my first SKS yesterday. it's chinese and obviously saw a bit of action. I have yet to fire it but here are a few observations I've made about it compared to other guns such as the AK47.
the SKS has a very straight forward design as far as field stripping goes, more in depth disassembly is a little more complicated but for the most part all you'll ever need is field strip for cleaning. compared to the AK47 however it is much easier to get stripped and back together, I have stripped mine down once just to get all of the cosmoline out of it but I am confident that I could field strip it and put it back together in half the time as my old WASR 10/63 AK47 clone.
ammo capacity, most SKS come with a standard 10 round, non detachable magazine however higher capacity magazine kits are available to increase the capacity to 20, 30 or even 40 rounds. the AK47 has quick change magazines and can be had in 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 45 round magazines before you start to get into high capacity drums. at first glance it would appear that the AK holds the advantage in ammo capacity however the SKS has guides to allow you to reload using 10 round stripper clips which in the hands of a well practiced user, can be just as fast as a quick change magazine and since AK47 mags require a special and hard to find adapter to feed from stripper clips it is actually easier and faster to reload an SKS with a 30 round magazine than an AK with 30 round magazine.
I have yet to spend trigger time with the SKS so I can't attest to accuracy though both are chambered in 7.62x39mm so I doubt that the SKS can claim too much more accuracy than the AK47.
I personally hated the ergonomics of the AK and spent all of 3 years trying to make it more comfortable to hold, carry and shoot but I just never did find a setup that I liked, the SKS on the other hand feels very much like any other vintage military surplus rifle.
the SKS would do well as a close-medium range deer/hog/varmint rifle and as a home defense rifle however I still think I would rather use an AR15 than an SKS when under normal circumstances an AR15 can be had for $600.
this entire post however is purely academic, AR15s and AK47s are sold out almost everywhere and the ones that aren't are selling for twice and sometimes 3 times what they are worth due to panic-profiteering. I bought my SKS yesterday for 239 dollars and they even threw in one of the last remaining boxes of ammo they had for it while every other gun store, sporting goods shop and pawn shop in town were selling them for $400 and up, including hacked up, drilled, and tacticooled up models.
all guns lost in a tragic smelting accident.
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Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.