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Old March 26, 2007, 12:11 AM   #1
simonov jr
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Accurize an SKS?

I have been toying with the idea of mounting an Eotech or other type of optical site on an SKS of mine. However (being an SKS) it isn't exactly what you'd call a tack driver, esp. with Chinese or Russian ammo. I like the sighting advantages (esp. speed) I could potentially get from an optical site but don't want to waste the $ if the rifle can't put its rounds where the dot, triangle or crosshairs indicate they should go. Has anyone had any experience with trying to "accurize" an SKS rifle? If so, what did you have done and what was the difference if any in the accuracy of the rifle afterwards? Finally, does anyone know of any gunsmiths who could do this kind of work?
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Old March 26, 2007, 12:50 AM   #2
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Shoot a pm over to Gewher98. Ask about his accurized Norinco project.
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Old March 26, 2007, 02:43 AM   #3
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Does the barrel of your SKS have chrome lining or is it a Yugoslav model?
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Old March 26, 2007, 08:24 AM   #4
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I've been messing around with this idea as well. I've started off by researching the ammo first.

I've so far disassembled and measured Silver Bear, Brown Bear and Golden Tiger. All have issues. Powder charges are generally within .2 grains. Bullet weights are all over the place. Within a box of twenty you can get a bullet that weighs 122.4 grains and another at 125.9 grains. Plus bullet seating tension is also all over the place, some are loose and some are so tight that I can't pull the bullet without damaging it.

Freebore on my Norinco is huge, it's so long that to get a bullet to hit the lands, it would only have around .5mm left to seat in the case. It was around 2.404" I think. The max cartridge length is supposed to be 2.19" or so. It's ridiculous in any case.

So right off the bat these are two very large problems when you consider accuracy and the SKS in the same sentence.

However, that isn't stopping me. Without posting some huge, boring bit of text, below is a link where I'm posting info. I use the page as my own reference, so it may not be the most organized.

I can give you more info if you'd like it.

http://www.northwoodsphoto.net/sks/
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Old March 26, 2007, 09:01 AM   #5
simonov jr
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Ammo and triggers

Makes alot of sense about the ammo but kind of scary. I mean what's the point of rifling the barrel if the round can't, well, rifle? Is there anything in production that will consistantly engage the lands? Also, has anyone done any results comparisons between having a trigger job from a gunsmith and buying a DC engineering trigger group? Finally, has anyone else here mounted an EO-Tech or other optical combat site on an SKS?
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Old March 26, 2007, 10:21 AM   #6
HJ857
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To be fair, I understand that a lot of rifles are designed with huge freebore. So the SKS is not alone in that regard.

Ammo inconsistency is probably the one biggest factor.

I've had four SKS's (so far) and each one has had varying problems with how it fits in the stock. Taking up the slop could make a difference too.

I have not had a chance to use a trigger such as a Kivarri job, but I love the DC trigger group, it is a world better than the the best stock trigger I've used. As far as I can tell, a Kivarri trigger has the same amount of creep, but it's lighter and smoother. The DC trigger has almost no creep and is a ton lighter and smoother. If you take it on faith that the DC is actually USA made, then it counts as five compliance parts. Personally I think DC does make them. Others disagree.

I use the DC receiver cover scope mount, which uses a weaver/picatinny style rail. I think it's pretty good, the side rails and the rear set screws do work.

But it's probably best for a tactical application, rather than for "precision" uses. Of all the receiver cover mounts it is probably the best option and I would guess that it would be good for an Holosight since that type sight isn't really a "precision" sight like a scope.

If I were to do it over again for precision use, I'd go with a side receiver drill and tap style mount.
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Old March 26, 2007, 10:37 AM   #7
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I put a Tech-sights rear aperture on my Norinco paratrooper. Big improvement. With Winchester white box ammo, I can get 4" groups at 100 yds. That's about as good as I expect to get.
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Old March 26, 2007, 12:51 PM   #8
simonov jr
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Url for DC engineering?

Sounds like I need to contact them...
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Old March 26, 2007, 01:02 PM   #9
HJ857
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http://www.rifletech.com/

Check out the Mallport and auction links. You can often find items there at a discount or on a bid basis where you can save a lot.

If you're in the mid Michigan area, you're welcome to try out the DC mount I have. It seems to me that all mounts for the SKS come with some level of risk as to whether it will work acceptably or not.
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Old March 26, 2007, 01:12 PM   #10
jlmurphy
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10 years ago I spent an enormous amount of time and energy accurizing two SKS's. I replaced the stock barrels with .303 (.311") heavy barrels and eventually a Shilen match barrel. I made custom gas blocks, used a barrel block type stock mount, many scope mounting systems, tightened the bolt lock up, trigger work, even a steel stock. I hand loaded every bullet/case/powder available ( by the way Lapua factory 123gr. FMJ can't be beat).The end result was consistent 1" to 1.5" groups. The limiting factors are the fact that the action locks at the rear in a relatively flimsy action, and the round is not as inherently accurate as the .223 or .308. It was a lot of fun, but it is still a relatively low powered round, if you want accuracy and reach, buy an AR or M1A.
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Old March 26, 2007, 01:32 PM   #11
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Low-powered, my a$$.

Quote:
It was a lot of fun, but it is still a relatively low powered round, if you want accuracy and reach, buy an AR or M1A.
A 6mm PPC is a low-powered round, and they're making itty-bitty groups way out there. The PPC family, BTW, is a descendant of the 7.62x39 cartridge ("the round is not as inherently accurate as the .223 or .308.") Wanna see a benchrest 7.62x39 built in NorCal on a Contender action that goes 1/4 MOA? Not all gunsmiths have problems extracting accuracy from given rounds. That's why I also don't believe in the "inherent accuracy" myth. Build a gun that's properly tuned to the cartridge it shoots, and all is well.

The original poster didn't ask about using an accurized SKS to drop buffalo at 1000 yards. I've taken whitetail quite cleanly and humanely with my Bulgarian AK in 7.62x39, and have the venison in the freezer to prove it. I doubt the deer would be any more dead were I to thwack it with one of my .30-06 or .45-70 rifles.

Yeah, as Hedley mentioned, I did spend a bunch of time and effort accurizing a Norinco SKS. I didn't replace the barrel with a Shilen or Krieger (yet), but free-floated it and removed as much harmonic imbalance as I could. It still looks like an SKS for the most part, albeit glass-bedded, with a Kivaari trigger, lapped locking lugs, minimal gas tube, etc. Since the pictures below were taken, the rear sight block has been shaved down, drilled and tapped, and the brass deflector permanently mounted to what remains.

I load all my 7.62x39 for my SKS and AK rifles. With my AA1680 handloads, the reworked SKS below will put 3 rounds into an inch at 100 yards, witnessed and verified. Since it got lightened up a whole bunch by the target rework, it also carries on the shoulder quite nicely, so I may take it out this fall as a semi-auto variation on the venerable, and ballistically-similar, .30-30 Winchester.



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Old March 26, 2007, 02:08 PM   #12
Limeyfellow
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The things that will make the most improvement to accuracy are these.

Better ammo. Most people shoot really cheap stuff thats just not consistant. Fire handloads or match ammo through it to radically improve accuracy.

Get the trigger fixed. You can do this by replacing springs with a wolff set and smoothen it out or there are people who will do the work for you for a reasonable price. One of the most recognised for this job is kivarri's triggers jobs. With set them up really nicely.

http://www.kivaari.com/SKS%20Target%20Match.htm

Bed the action properly. Also putting on a synthetic stock will also help.

I decent sight shall help no end. My favourite is the Tech-sight TS200. This gives you a really good peep sight, close to your eye with a much greater sight distance, adjustable windage and elevation and you can always stick a fibreoptic sight on the front to see better.
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Old March 26, 2007, 02:38 PM   #13
chemist308
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I'm not an expert or a gunsmith, but I think the origin of the SKS will have a bit to do with whether you end up replacing the barrel. Case and point most SKSs have chrome lined barrels. The Yugoslav models do not. While a chrome lining is exactly what you want in a combat rifle--ability to take multiple rounds, heat and less frequent cleaning--I'm not so sure it's a friend to sub MOA accuracy. That's why I asked the question about lining.
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Old March 26, 2007, 02:53 PM   #14
Gewehr98
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It really depends on how it's done.

Quote:
While a chrome lining is exactly what you want in a combat rifle--ability to take multiple rounds, heat and less frequent cleaning--I'm not so sure it's a friend to sub MOA accuracy. That's why I asked the question about lining.
When chrome-lining is done well, accuracy won't necessarily suffer. I have a pre-'94 Colt Competition HBAR, 1" barrel under the handguards, that's also chrome lined. I sweated it, because I had heard the same adage about chrome lining being the nemesis of an accurate rifle. I don't believe that anymore, the Colt will make nice little bughole groups, and cleaning is a snap. It also has a chamber that's too tight when dirty, but that's a different problem.

I also have a Bulgarian SLR-95 with chrome-lined bore. It is an honest 2 MOA gun, and while it won't win any benchrest competitions, I'm not so sure the chrome lining is hurting the gun's accuracy.

I agree that poorly-done chrome lining of a barrel will create issues with respect to the bullet's departure from the muzzle. I fully expected to install a different non-military barrel in my FrankenSKS above, but the original barrel seems to be holding its own for the time being, so I'm holding off on the Krieger barrel replacement. Call it one of those weird things, just like my 1917 Amberg Mauser 98 sporter that has a pitted bore with rounded-off rifling. It looks like 20 miles of rotten sewer pipe, but has a little bit of shine inside, and with an 11-degree target crown it produces nice MOA groups. I don't have the heart to tell the gun that it needs the barrel replaced when it shoots so well.
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Old March 26, 2007, 03:08 PM   #15
HJ857
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G98 and Murphy

Do either of you have your efforts documented?

While it seems that most SKS owners do not want to put a dime into their rifles, there are a few others that feel that the SKS is a great bargain and deserves to have work put in to it.

You guys have already done the work, others like me are probably just re-inventing the wheel.

I'd love to get details on what you've done, I'd be happy to put the info online as well. Custom work on the rifle and custom 7.62x39 load info is sparse or spread out. It would be nice to have a consolidated source of info.
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Old March 26, 2007, 03:12 PM   #16
Tom2
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Seems to me like alot of expensive work for a gun that is mostly purchased as an inexpensive plinker. Part of the appeal is the cheap ammo. If you start loading handloads for your SKS or buying expensive US commercial ammo, then you are better off getting a different gun, it seems to me. Doing one of the trigger improvements or perhaps the better sights seems reasonable but it seems to me that less than super accuracy is just the tradeoff for the economy of the system. If you want a better gun to start with, maybe start a clammor for someone to import that Zastava sporter version of the SKS. It's on their website under sporting rifles, and is a very nice looker.
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Old March 26, 2007, 04:07 PM   #17
Gewehr98
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Tom, you're absolutely correct.

Nobody goes into accurizing a milsurp gun with the idea of either making a profit or creating a collector's item.

We do it because we can, plain and simple. There are guys who stuff big-block motors into Chevettes, too. I'll bet their answer if you asked them "Why?" would be similar to mine.

I have a derelict 1916 Amberg Mauser Gewehr98 that's become somewhat well-known because it can hit a golfball at 500 meters, cold-bore. Nobody in their right mind would use a sloppy old Mauser action to make a long-range wildcat precision rifle, right?

A gunsmith friend of mine was tired of hearing how everybody poo-poo'ed the SKS as inaccurate and not worthy of anything other than plinking. He went all-out, with a heavy walnut thumbhole stock, DevCon bedding, barrel sleeve, unitized scope mount, the whole nine yards. I provided the match-grade handloads. The look on people's faces come range day was priceless, even more so once the targets were brought back to the bench for perusal.

That was all the incentive I needed when I "fell into" a Bubba-ized Norinco SKS a few years ago. I'd already done the accurized Mauser/AR-15/M14NM/M1 Garand bit previously, so why not an accurized SKS? I'll never sell it for what I have into it, but by Gawd, do I ever have fun with it, and I promise it will put venison on the supper table one of these days. That alone makes it a practical "what-if".

HJ857, stay tuned. I've got a few projects up my sleeve, and your consolidated source of documentation may be coming to a blog and popular gun website in the not-too-distant future.
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Old March 26, 2007, 06:50 PM   #18
Tom2
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Well if you are set up to do the work yourself, and you enjoy it, and have the time to commit to it, Go for it! Someone has to be out there and test the limits of the envelope and do amazing stuff with those old guns, and maybe even have an entertaining experience with great results, so they can write articles for us to read and be amazed. Maybe even take away from the information as much as we can accomodate or afford and make our own improvements. I was just thinking that the average joe goes in and buys a inexpensive SKS and a can of cheap ammo and is happy with himself for getting something like that cheap, and really not interested in investing alot more bucks into something with no prospect of regaining his investment except for some improvements. Super accurizing a SKS with a custom barrel and all might be more akin to hotrodding an AMC Gremlin instead of a Camaro, but it has happened and draws attention. Good luck and good shooting!
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Old March 26, 2007, 09:45 PM   #19
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Gewehr98, that is the sweetest SKS I've ever seen. I'd love to know the details on tha rifle. I assume everything done was custom? I'm a huge fan of the SKS myself, and would like to know what work was done to yours. If I'm lucky, mabey i can afford to have one built for myself one day.
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Old March 26, 2007, 10:48 PM   #20
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If I had to do it all over again( accurize an SKS) , I would simply put an Aimpoint or Eotech on the tightest rear cover mount I could find. The SKS is almost perfect for what is was designed for, a rugged carbine, chambered in an intermediate caliber. When I first mounted an Aimpoint on a heavy barreled Mini 14, I was amazed at how easy it was to point and shoot, both eyes open, just like a pistol. I now see why every AR in Iraq has one of those optical sights. I have heavy bolt guns with big scopes that can shoot tiny groups at long range, but in a tight situation I would want something handy, semi auto, and easy to put on target.
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Old March 26, 2007, 11:55 PM   #21
USMCG_HMX1
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Oh my God .... that barrel has some serious "reach out and touch'em" to it.


</drool>


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Old March 27, 2007, 09:18 PM   #22
simonov jr
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Rear cover mount...

Okay, so who makes the tightest rear cover mount?
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Old March 28, 2007, 12:20 AM   #23
jlmurphy
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The rear cover is the obvious place to put a scope rail, and a short red dot scope wouldn't interfere with stripper clip use, but some covers are tighter than others. I have tapped holes in receiver sides to mount clamps to force the play to one side. If I had to do it again, I would spread the cover to fit the receiver. This would probably require annealing the cover, because there is a good chance it has been hardened. With a red dot you could leave the stock sights as backups.
Gehwer98,
I noticed you have a case deflector beneath your scope. If you grind away the receiver frame side 3/8" back, the cases will eject sideways. It saves the brass some abuse and protects the optics.
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Old March 28, 2007, 04:24 AM   #24
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I have owned 5 SKS's over the last ten years or so. Try white-box Winchester 7.62 ammo instead of cheap import ammo, and smooth up the trigger assembly.
These two very minor changes will shrink your 100 yard group size considerably, and you will see if your SKS is worth further "fixing".

I have a '68 Chinese SKS with a very good trigger and, with consistant ammo, it is the best shooting SKS I have ever owned. I'm happy with it as-is.

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