Sunday, February 27, 2005

Yugoslavian SKS

I picked up a Yugoslavian M-59/66A1 SKS this afternoon for $150 OTD at Surplus City. I figured I'd better get one while they're still available cheap. It's an unissued rifle and came with the original logbook, although without a sling or cleaning kit.

The Yugo M-59 was a close copy of the Soviet SKS, the 59/66 added a grenade launcher to the muzzle along with a modified gas system, and the 59/66A1 added flip up tritium night sights. Unfortunately, my rifle is now old enough that the night sights no longer glow in the dark, although they do give me a 3 dot sight picture, which is slightly better than the blued irons in poor light.

My rifle was packed inside and out in cosmoline. I first tried some Simple Green on a paper towel to clean the stock, but the goop laughed at me. So, I got out the mineral spirits, which did a pretty good job degunking it. I immersed the bolt in mineral spirits while I worked on other parts of the gun, then took it outside and hosed it down with brake cleaner. The firing pin now rattles freely, so I don't need to worry about slamfires.

The barrel is nicely blued, while the receiver is almost a plum brown in some areas. I ran a few patches dipped in mineral spirits through the bore and it looks darn good. The last couple of patches were wet with Kroil and it's soaking overnight. I'll punch the bore again tomorrow then leave it with a light coat of FP-10 or ATF. Yugo SKSes do not have chrome plated bores, unlike virtually all other SKSes you can buy, so you need to oil them or they'll rust.

I believe that the wood is beech; it's in great shape. From what I've read cosmoline will continue to seep from the stock especially after the rifle gets warm. Once the weather gets warmer, I may wrap the gun in paper towels, stick it in a plastic garbage bag, then put the whole thing in my truck to bake for a day or two.

All that extra steel on the muzzle really changes the balance compared with other SKSes. A Soviet or Chinese SKS tips the scales at around 8 lbs. The Yugo is over 9 lbs. The already mild recoil of the 7.62x39 should be even tamer in this piece.

The Yugo SKS is much more nicely made than my Norinco pinned barrel SKS, although to be fair the latter is an exceptionally reliable rifle. It's just ugly. The Yugo has a much better piece of wood on it and the metal finish is far superior. From what I've read online the Yugo rifles tend to be some of the more accurate SKSes although I'll have to try it out to see how much validity there is to this.

I'll post a range report once I get a chance to shoot it.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you have already found out how nicw the Yugo fires. FYI most of the earlier models had a teak stock

adak1974 said...

I just bought a similar SKS last week and started a blog at So far my gun is shooting great and I'm doing some work on the wood. It's in my blog. Looking forward to reading more about your SKS.


Bob from CT

John said...

Need good stable scope mount and good scope for New Yug sks. I have had several sks but not Yug.

John King

Anonymous said...

I just bought a yugo sks-cleaned all that I could without tearing it down, shot 10 rounds - it would not eject - all 10 rounds were shot by manuelly pulling the bolt back. any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks C.S

Dave Markowitz said...

You really need to field strip the rifle and clean it thoroughly BEFORE shooting it. There's probably a fair amount of grease in the gas tube.

Pay particular attention to the bolt. Soak it in a solvent, e.g., mineral spirits or kerosene, to ensure that the firing pin moves freely. If the firing pin doesn't move freely back and forth, so that the bolt rattles when you shake it, you could get dangerous slam fires.

Anonymous said...

The bolt is not actioning because the gun is set to grenade launch. Near the grenade site there is a little button on top of the barrel the changes the gun from the normal auto fire to grenade launch (it turns off the gas from cycling the bolt). The proper position should be over to the right.