Russian SKS45 ID FAQ Collectibles .... update Mar 16
Our long awaited Russian SKS45 are finally here. Prior to the new arrivals, SKS45 were a rarity in Canada, there was only a small fraction compared to the Chinese SKS, therefore, there wasn’t much written about them but yet, members were willing to part with $400 for them.
The new shipments are sold at a deep discount, depending on the grade. It is 40-50% lower than what was sold in 2007. At these prices even a new gun enthusiast could afford one, a chance to get a piece of cold war history.
This thread isn’t just for the new owners; it is also for existing owners that has long forgotten theirs. Maybe there is a gem stashed away in the back of a safe somewhere. For many of you this is probably the first time you owned a Russian SKS. At first glance you may notice a few things that are different to your Chinese SKS: the blade bayonet, the laminated wood stock and black carrier. There are major differences in the workmanship and subtle differences to other parts as well. You may be curious about the symbols on the top cover. Was it refurbished? Do you have something that is worth collecting?
We as Canadians haven’t paid much attention to collecting SKS, unlike our neighbours to the south, they are big collectors especially collecting the Russian SKS. The Russian SKS are valued for their gun making history, craftsmanship, ruggedness and limited quantity.
Members who are quite familiar with other SKS would find operating the SKS45 to be no different. Therefore for the newcomers to the SKS world, I would refer you to the bottom of this page. There you will find other sites on how to clean, dismantle the rifle, disassemble the bolt and adjust the sights. This thread will concentrate on identifying the markings and providing relevant information. By no means have I covered the entire spectrum of identification.
I don’t consider myself to be an expert, even though I have spent a fair amount of time researching this subject. I have come to realize that some of my information may not be accurate and that’s due to conflicting information I have gathered from various sources. That’s to be expected because of the cold war, manufacturing information from former communist countries were not available. I will try to update this thread as I get verification. You are welcome to chime in with your knowledge.
The history of the SKS began in Russia when it was adopted in 1945.
SKS45 was designed by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. SKS is an acronym for Samozaryadniy Karabin Sistemi Simonova (Simonov’s self-loading carbine system). However, the war ended shortly after and the production took a back seat to reconstruction of the nation. Production was delayed until 1949 but it was quickly phased out as a frontline weapon in 1951. It was replaced by the AK47. SKS45 production ended in early 1956. It had a rather short production life (only 7 years) in Russia but by no means it's the end of the SKS.
It was reborn in China when the SKS tooling, specification and spare parts from Tula Arsenal was moved to Jianshe factory (aka factory 26). There it lived for another 25 years producing millions of SKS, many more smaller factories joined in the production of SKS and they were located all over China.
Other countries that also produced the SKS were East Germany, Albania, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, North Korea and Romania.
The SKS is still being used today in Russia but only by ceremonial honour guards.
a. Symbol and markings . The top cover is the first place a person should look at when it comes to identifying their Russian SKS, it contains vital information such as the factory that built it, the date it was produced, serial numbers and (maybe) refurbishing mark with the exception of the last production model which only has the serial numbers.
-Factory symbol. There were only two factories that produced SKS in Russia. These are the legendary state owned Arsenals. Tula became state owned in 1712 by the order of Peter the Great and Izhevsk founded in 1807 at the decree of Tsar Alexander I. If you saw a star with an arrow inside, that would be from the Tula Arsenal and if you saw a circle with a triangle inside and then an arrow, that would be from the Izhevsk Arsenal.
Here is my Tula collection. You'll notice that there is a distinct difference between the 1949 marking to the 1950-1955 and the 1955/56 which has no marking.
-Production date. Production began at Tula in 1949. Tula were the larger of the two producers, produced from 1949 to early 1956 (7 years). Izhevsk began production in 1953 and ended in 1954 (less than 2 years). There is a "r" that follows the production date, it stands for "год" goda, meaning "in the year".
-Serial numbers: The Russians followed an old European tradition of resetting the serial numbers, that means they use the same serial numbers over and over again every year. That wouldn't be a problem if they stamp the production year on the receiver but instead, it was on the removable top cover so without it, it's very difficult to tell when and where it was produced.
The serial numbers the Russian use are a combination of Cyrillic alphabet with numeric, in most cases it had two Cyrillic alphabets followed by four numeric (CC1234), although there are other combinations such as: CC1234C, CC123C, CC123, C123C and C12C.
-Refurbishing mark. There are two types of refurbishing marks: the most common is a square with a diagonal line and the other is a diamond shape (some with a "T" line inside). If your rifle has one of these markings on the top cover then your rifle has been refurbished.
Here is a Tula 1955/56 top cover with both of the refurbished markings, others may have two of the same markings.
In my opinion, workmanship on a Russian SKS is the best among SKS, extremely well made. The factories have been known to have the best of the old world craftsmen, stock makers, machinists and metal fabricators.
The refurbishing may be done at the factory or contracted out. If the Russian techs felt it needed work then they would do so, but only if it needed it and therefore not all refurbishing are the same. They would change the barrel, reblue or paint the metal, replace the wood and other parts. I have seen some of the work that was done, it was as good as if the rifles were new.
b. Lacking symbol and markings.
-Missing refurbished mark. When it comes to stamping this mark on the top cover, the Russian hasn't been very consistent, they don't always mark their refurbs, I can't explain why but it is quite common. I’ve seen quite a few refurbished SKS that does not have a refurbishing mark on the top cover and yet, it’s obvious to me that the rifles had under gone major work. Some of the obvious signs are, the barrel is painted black when originally it was blued, the bolt carrier is painted black when originally it was bright steel finish and the rear sight leaf is grey when the blue been stripped.
So even if you don't see a refurbish mark, you can't assume it is not refurbished, you still need to look for other signs that your SKS has been worked on.
For more information see SIGNS OF REFURBISHING below.
-Replacement top cover. The disadvantage of having all the vital information on a removable part is that it can easily be damaged or lost, if it's damage then a tech would try to match the previous cover but if it's lost and the stock has been refurbished then in most cases he wouldn't have any idea when it was made, he'll most likely replace it with any cover but he would still need to match the serial numbers. The process of matching the serial number is called "forced matching", he could either: 1. Electro pencil, scratching out the old serial numbers and etching in a new one. 2. Re-stamping, sanding the old serial numbers off and re-stamping a new set of matching serial numbers, this method is not easily detected but can be by comparing the fonts, if there is a difference in any of the letters or numbers then there is a chance they were both stamped at different times so most likely the cover is refurbished, therefore the factory symbol and production date are not to be trusted. eg: a closed “4” and a open “4”.
Without the original top cover, it is very difficult to truly identify a SKS45. Tula 1955/56 the last model is the only year we can positively identify and that is because of the tiny star on the left side of the receiver.
-Top cover without factory symbol and production date. By late 1955 Tula made a significant shift away from stamping the top cover instead they stamped a tiny star after the serial numbers, the star indicated Tula arsenal, this corrected one of the deficiency. This also happened to be the last year production. Its been designated as 1955/56.
c. Top cover variation.
-Type 1. 1949-part1950. Quarter round lug with small half round groove within the hole for the latch (left on pic).
-Type 2. 1950-1952. Square lug with no lightening holes and large squared groove within the hole for the latch (middle on pic).
-Type 3. 1953-1956. Same as type 2 but with lightening holes in either side of the lug (right on pic).
thanks to #4mk1(T) for pointing out the differences.
note: Top cover for 1949 to part of 1950 will not fit in later model but later model top cover will fit in earlier model.
4. SECONDARY IDENTIFICATION: All other parts. Lets start with the receiver and then from the front and work our way towards the rear.
In most cases, the primary identification is all you would ever need.
The only time you would need to use the secondary identification is when you cannot rely on the information that is on the replacement cover. Therefore you would need to use the secondary ID to help you narrow down the production date.
In some cases it’s not going to be possible to make a precise identification so the best we can do is place them in two production class, Early production or Late production and that is determined by the two types of receivers. If it’s an Early production, we could further pinpoint a date through changes in some of the other parts.
a. Production classification-Receiver. The quickest way to identify the two types of receivers is to look at where the receiver meets the barrel, just below the extension rod tunnel. The early production has a small milled step. There are other differences but they are covered by the wood stock.
-Early production. 1949 - part1952. (below pic, top).
-Late production. Part1952 - early1956. Has no mill step (below pic, bottom), see where the pen is pointing.
b. Barrel. The original barrel are non-chrome lined bore, to protect the bore from corrosive ammo and increase durability, it was switched to chrome lined sometime in 1951. However both chambers are not chromed. Both barrels are threaded (no pin).
-Non-chrome lined bore. 1949 - part 1951. When the barrel wore out, it was replaced with a chromed lined barrel during refurbishing but only worn out barrel would be replaced. Nothing wrong with having non-chrome bore provided you clean it properly after using corrosive ammo.
-Chrome lined bore. Part1951 - 1956 . Chrome bore became the standard barrel on the assembly line.
c. Bayonet lug.
-Early bayonet lug. 1949 - part1952. No lightening cut with level inner ear (below pics, top).
-Late bayonet lug. Part1952 - 1956. Lightening cut with angled inner ear (below pics, bottom).
-Transition bayonet lug between early and late has lightening cut with level inner ear (see pic below).
Above pic from The Kurgan.
From 1949 to early part of 1950, the SKS45 came with a spike bayo, similar to the chinese spike bayo (botton of the pic below) except its has four ribs instead of three, from early 1950 to end of production the Russian replaced the spike with a shorter blade bayo.
The mystery of the golden bayo. Some people believe its the residue left by the cosmoline after it being imbedded in it for decades while I don’t necessarily disagree with the cosmo, I disagree on the application, I don’t see how the bayo being coated in cosmo for decades it would result in a coating of a thin film, maybe some small patches but certainly not consistently though out the blade like I see on most Russian bayo, if the rifles were wrapped or handled after greasing you would expect some of the cosmo to be rub off the blade but I don’t see that, its always fairly even film, also you have to wonder why the other parts are not in gold like the carrier?
This film is not easily removed, I tried solvent and it wouldn’t come off so I can't see it being applied to the whole rifle, especially internally where a soldier would have a hard time removing it before usage.
What I believe its some sort of a protective coating , exactly what ? I don't know but i suspect there is a special process of how its applied. Take a look at the pic below, left side, you will see a the gold stopped in a straight line indicating the blade was dipped by itself, now whether the bayo was heated first or the protective oil was boiled, I could only speculate, I just don’t know at this time. Research still ongoing.
I have done some testing whereby I heated a steel and coated it with cosmo, I haven’t quite got the exact temperature, too low and the coating could be removed by solvent and too high the coating turned dark brown, however the solvent would not remove the dark brown coating, just like the golden bayo, it needs something stronger like acetone and fair amount of elbow grease to remove it.
On the above pic, right side. Here’s are my other Russian bayo, from left : original matte silver, gold coated on silver, gold coated on shiny steel , painted black (refurb) and lastly blued (refurb).
e. Gas block . The SKS45 had 3 gas blocks changes:
-Type 1 Gas block. 1949 - Early1950. (below pic, left)The gas blocks are 90* (aka square gas block). 1949 was the only year it came with a spike bayonet, not the 3 rib type like the Chinese but a 4 rib (aka cruciform), sometime later in that same year they switched to a blade bayonet. If anyone has one of these, you are lucky because it is extremely valuable.
-Type 2 Gas block. Early1950 - part1952. (below pic, middle) The gas block has a 45* angle (aka slanted gas block). The 1950 model is essentially the same as the 1949 except for the gas block and the bayonet.
-Type 3 Gas block. part1952 - 1956. (below pic, right) The gas block has a curve shape (I'll call it a curve gas block), much like the Chinese SKS.
f. Front ferrule.
-Ferrule 1949. for spike bayo. (below pic left)
-Ferrule 1950-1956. for blade bayo. (below pic right)
g. Rear sight base. The early rear sight are larger than the late sight.
-Early rear sight base. 1949 - part 1952 Larger (below pic, top).
-Late rear sight base. Part1952-1956 Smaller (below pic, bottom).
h. Gas tube latch.
-Early gas tube latch. 1949 - part1954 single indent with tab (below pic, top).
-Late gas tube latch. Part1954 - 1956 double indent with no tab (below pic, bottom).
i. Extention rod and spring.
The extension rod and spring (top) are typically found in most Russian SKS however I have a extension rod (bottom) with two sides milled in my 1952 and the single strand spring (bottom) in my 1951 and in member The Kurgan's 1952.
j. Carrier, Bolt & Firing pin. There are two types of bolt & carrier assembly, parts from each assembly are not interchangeable. Should you replace an assembly with a different type of assembly then you should have a gunsmith check the head spacing.
-Type 1 Firing pin. Spring 1949 - part1951 (above right, top).
-Type 2 Firing pin. Non-spring/milled two sides Part1950 - part1953 (above right pic, middle).
-Type 3 Firing pin. Non-spring/milled three sides, part1953 - 1956 (above right pic, bottom).
-mag 1949-1953. Gap below the locking lug (below pic left).
-mag 1953-1956. No gap (below pic right).
l. Top cover latch.
from the left : -Ring type. 1949 - part1950. -Long tab type. Part 1950 - 1951. -Short tab type. 1951 - part 1956.
m. Top cover latch pin. The pin is located at the end of the latch shaft, it comes in two sizes, small (1949 - part1950) and large (part1950 -1956).
Here is a pic of two 1950 long tab latch with two different size pin on the shaft, large on the left and small on the right.
n. Trigger group.
-Early trigger group. 1949 - part1952. No trigger arm mount, no spring for safety lever and no rise between the trigger guard and the mag catch(below pic, top).
-Late trigger group. Part1952 - 1956. Has trigger arm mount (pen pointing), spring safety lever and a raised between the trigger guard and the mag catch (bottom).
o. Wood stock. SKS45 came in two types of stock, solid arctic birch hardwood and laminated.
-Arctic birch. 1949 - late1955 (below pic, top).
The original stock was made of solid arctic birch hardwood coated in oil, subsequently changed to shellac, the appearance is reddish/dark brown/lighter brown blotchy looking. This type of wood had a tendency to split at the grip, they solved the problem by replacing the arctic birch with laminated on the assembly line towards the end of production.
The markings are located on the left side of the stock, similar to the top cover, there is a factory mark, a production date and serial numbers.
It appears back in the 50s, large pieces of solid birch were not plentiful, this would explain why some of the buttstock had pieces attached to the toe, although it looks like a refurb (see below) but in fact its not. Its just the frugal Russian has found a way not to waste short pieces of solid birch.
Here is the proof, on the above right pic. The middle and right stocks are the standard solid birch and laminated stocks, you will notice they have lightening holes drilled into them, just below the cleaning kit hole. The left stock has the added piece glued to the toe but it doesn't have the lightening drill hole, indicating the stock were never used before.
-Laminated. Late1955 - early1956. Also used during refurbishing work (below pic, bottom).
There are many advantages to switching to laminated, from a manufacturing point of view, changing the process rather than changing the material allowed them to continue using the arctic birch wood they had in inventory plus they could use pieces that were not perfect, simply by cutting out the defects and using the remaining portion therefore less waste.
The laminated woods were made from thin layers of birch, each alternating sheet was glued and pressed at 90* resulting in a stronger and heavier stock, able to withstand the pressure of the recoil without splitting. For aesthetic reasons, they also used two shades of wood that gave it that striking zebra pattern, these stripes are awesome looking . However a collector may prefer the original birch for rifles made in early 1955 and prior.
Unlike the birch wood, the laminated has only the serial numbers stamped on the left side.
-Refurbished wood stock. The following two methods are the signs that a wood stock has been refurbished, applies only to 1949 - early 1955.
1. Recycling existing solid birch. The factory tech would forced matched the serial numbers, on the wood he would either XXXXXX out the old serial numbers or sand it off.
2. Replacement laminated, not original to the rifle. Only 1955/56 came with both laminated and solid birch.
p. Markings on wood.
Forestock, left side, inspection markings.
Buttstock, left side.
Buttstock, right side, inspection marking.
q. Butt Plate.
-Solid birch wood. Butt plate has an inward lip on top (left).
-Laminated. No lip (right).
5. Serial Numbers. Location of original serial numbers.
-Stamped serial numbers are on left side of the receiver, behind top cover, on trigger guard, bottom of mag, left side of butt stock, top of carrier and bolt.
-Original electro-penciled can be found on gas tube, gas rod, extractor, butt plate, bayonet and under rear sight leaf.
Forced matching serial numbers. Signs of refurbishing:
-Electro-penciled SN replaced stamped SN on: top cover, mag, trigger guard, bolt and carrier.
-Old SN ground down and replaced by stamped or electro-penciled SN.
-Old SN XXXed out and new numbers stamped below it.
-Electro-penciled were painted over.
-Fonts of stamped numbers do not match the numbers on the side of receiver. eg: a "4" that is closed and "4" that is opened .
What are Cyrillic alphabets? It is best explained by the following info I found on the net: “In Russia, Cyrillic was first written in the early Middle Ages in clear-cut, legible ustav (large letters). Later a succession of cursive forms developed. In the early eighteenth century, under Peter the Great, the forms of letters were simplified and regularized, with some appropriate only to Greek being removed. Further unnecessary letters were expunged in 1918, leaving the alphabet as it is today—still in use in many Slavic Orthodox countries.”
The following table is the translation of the Russian Cyrillic alphabets to English (in brackets).
6. GRADE/COLLECTIBLES. The following are my opinions, yours may differ.
-Shooter's grade: May or may not be matching but definitely refurbished.
Most SKS45 were in service at one time or another as a second line rifle and some were loaned out to other countries. Therefore, majority of the SKS45 in existence are refurbished. Refurbished SKS is not a bad thing, matter of fact the heavier the refurbishment the better because more of the old parts were replaced. Eg: A lightly used SKS45 would not have the barrel replaced where as a well used one would have a complete overhaul, including replacing the barrel.
They are also good value at $200, about 30% less than a non-refurbs, these are great shooters for those who are not interested in collecting and enjoy shooting their rifles. Shooting a refurb won’t depreciate the value much.
-Collector's grade: Are all matching, could be refurbished in very good condition. If the majority of the SKS45 are refurbished, then non-refurbs are uncommon, they are collector's items. You could shoot the used non-refurbs ones but i definitely not recommend you shoot the rare un-issued ones, those fetch a much higher price. Shooting one of those will have a negative impact on the value.
-Collectibles: The following collectibles are in the order of value. I do not recommend you shoot the top 2.
1. Made in 1949, in any condition. It’s the most sought after, extremely rare and valuable because it’s the first year of production and also has unique features that are not found in other SKS today.
2. Un-issued in mint condition. my definition is from the factory to storage, never been issued to the troops.
3. Non-refurb and matching in excellent condition.
4. Refurb and matching in very good condition.
5. Refurb and forced matching in very good condition.
I would also recommend collecting Russian SKS that was imported by IZH Impex in 2008, the reason is the mags were pinned in Canada by welding a rod to the follower arm, resulting in no change to the exterior appearance of the mag, a less destructive way but unfortunately all the Russian SKS imported after including the new IZH Impex shipments must be pinned prior to entering into Canada. They chose to pin by drilling a 1/2" hole on the bottom of the mag and welding a block and then transferring the serial numbers to the side, essentially making the original mag a refurb. These mags have a special name on CGN, we call them "franken pinned".
New shipment has arrived (late 2010) with mags not franken pinned, defintely much better than before, no transferring of serial numbers because they are untouched but still not as nice as the IZH 2008.
Below left pic. From front to back. IZH 2008 shipment, Bell and Leverarms.
Above right pic. left IZH 2008 shipment, franken pinned on the right Bell, Leverarms.
Below is my Russian SKS collection. I have one complete set from Tula Arsenal. 1949 came from Westrifle.com and the rest came from IZH Ipex 2008.
Below pic, from top. 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1955/56. all are non-refurb except 1949, 1952 and 1955.
1. Refurbishing mark. There are two types of refurbishing marks: The most common is a square with a diagonal line and the other is a diamond shape (some with a "T" line inside). If your rifle has one of these markings on the top cover then your rifle has been refurbished.
2. Some of the obvious signs are the metal is painted black when originally its blued.
3. Carrier painted black when originally it was steel finish.
4. Bayonet is blued or park when originally is was silver.
5. Rear sight leaf is grey when originally it was blued.
6. Check the crown for re-bluing or paint, it should be bare steel.
7. Replacement parts not appropriate for the year it was produced.
8. File marks, edges not sharp.
9. Force matching serial numbers.
- Electro-penciled where stamped serial number suppose to be: top cover, mag, trigger guard, bolt and carrier.
- Old SN ground down and replaced by stamped or electro-penciled SN.
- Old SN XXXed out and new numbers stamped below it.
- Electro-penciled were painted over.
- Fonts of stamped numbers do not match the numbers on the side of receiver. eg: a "4" that is closed and "4" that is opened .
- Run your finger over the stamp serial number on the carrier, you should feel the raised edges and should the edges be flattened then it’s been buffed or sanded.
-Wood. Refurbished wood stock. Applies only to 1949-early 1955. Only 1955/56 came with both laminated and solid birch.
1. Recycling existing solid birch. The factory tech would XXX out the old serial numbers and stamp a new set of matching numbers (this process is called forced matching).
2. Replacement laminated, laminated not original to the rifle.
3. Wood repairs.
4. Refurbishing mark.
Once your rifle passed the non-refurb test then you move to the next level "SIGNS OF FIRING " what you do here is to look for signs that your SKS has been fired.
Group 1. Changes made during 1952.
1.Receiver ( 2) Early production has milled step, late production has no step.
2.Rear sight base (2) Early are large and late are small.
3.Trigger group ( 2) Early has no trigger arm mount and the later has the mount.
4.Bayonet lug (3) Early has no lightening cut with level inner ear 1949-part 1952, transition has lightening cut with level inner ear part 1952, late has lightening cut with angled inner ear part 1952-1956.
5.Gas block ( 3)Type1 1949-early 1950, type2 early 1950-part 1952, type3 part 1952-1956 .
Group 2. Changes made other than in 1952.
1.Finish (3) original blue, refurb park, refurb black sheen/matt paint.
2.Barrel (2) both threaded (no pin barrel): non-chrome 1949- part 1951, chrome part 1951- 1956.
3.Bayonet (2) 1949 spike, 1950- 1956 blade.
4.Gas tube latch (2) 1949-part 1954 single indent, part 1954-1956 double indent.
5.Top cover latch ( 3) 1949- part 1950 ringed, part 1950-1951 long tab, 1951-1956 short tab.
6.Carrier ( 2) 1949-part 1951 spring type, part 1951-part 1956 non-spring type.
7.Bolt (2) 1949-part 1951 spring type, part 1951-part 1956 non-spring type.
8.Firing pin (3) type 1 1949-part 1951 spring, after part 1951 non-spring type 2 milled 2 sides, type 3 milled 3 sides.
9.Top cover (3) type 1 1949-part 1950, type 2 1950-1952, type 3 1953-1956.
10.Wood ( 2) arctic birch 1949-part 1955, laminated part 1955- 1956 and also on refurb.
11.Magazine ( 2) fixed 10 rounds. early 1949 without stud for mag spring, late 1949 to 1956 with stud.
Group 3. No change.
1.Rear sight ladder ( 1) "n" marking tangent to 100-1000m . 2 types of finishes, blue and refurb grey.
1. first place to visit is http://www.surplusrifle.com/sks/ for :
- Bolt disassembly/reassembly
- Adjusting Sights
- Trigger job
2. How to disassemble a SKS.
3. How to disassemble the bolt.
4. How to adjust sights.
5. How to prevent slamfires.
Once in awhile a member would experience slam fire with their new SKS, in most cases it is due to poor cleaning of the bolt. I recommend you completely dismantle the bolt, clean thoroughly, use a q-tip in the firing pin tunnel. Firing pin should rattle freely after cleaning, use no oil. And when at the range, I recommend you load only two rounds in mag for the first two shot.
When using commercial ammo because they have softer primer than the surplus ammo, you're more likely to experience slamfire so I recommend installing a spring firing pin, its available from sksman.com or you could purchase a 1949-part 1951 Russian SKS45 that comes with spring firing pin.
7. Trigger work. please consult with a gunsmith before attempting any modification.
excellent work. you help me under my tula 1952r refunished sks a lot more. my weapon has a chrome barrel with a lam. stock. i think it was used i korea. returned and rebuilded. also the recieved a stock has the ref. mark. it is blued every where no paint and etc. i need to follyou history closer and read everything.
Hi there, Thanks for all the advices that I got on your forum. I'm a newbie who just bought 4 very nice Russian SKS45 here in Canada. They all are refurbs Tula rifles that I got for 200$ ea. Quality is completely amaising, matching nbrs (no signs of forced matching). Saw a lot of those in different stores and the ones that I got are top quality believe me. From top to bottom : 1950, 1951, 1953 and 1955.
They are from Ukrania, still full of cosmo. Guess they never been fired since they've left the arsenal 50 years ago. I won't fire them neither, kind of collection. I'll stick to my Tapco Russian SKS for shooting.
It's nice that we can still buy them here in Canada but for how long? I mean, they stop making them in 1956, and Russia forbid exporting SKS (I heard of), so the supply won't last. What do you think?
So I was looking at my '53 SKS, everything checks out on your list of non-refurb stuff there, but one thing is a variation. My stock is a laminate, and its not a 56 or past. The thing is, it has the numbers that match the barrel, stock, magazine, receiver, and other parts. EVERYTHING matches for numbers, but the laminate you say is not till later. How is that?