Lil' Miss, the SKS
I have two black cats that look almost identical. The first one
is a good natured cat that has been with the family for almost
About a year ago a small black cat showed up on our doorstep
pregnant and she has been with us ever since.
She is a what I call a "psycho" cat. We call her "Lil' Miss".
Lil' Miss is short for "Little Miss Psycho". She
gets her name becuase when you touch her in the "wrong" manner (and
only she is the judge as to what is "wrong") she is
liable to do massive bodily damage to the unsuspecting
victim. At times she can be a very affectionate pet, but you never
know when those times are going to occur.
The first time a friend dropped by the house and started to
pet her thinking that they were petting the other black cat...well
I am sure you can guess what happened? After this incident we realized we
had a safety issue to contend with.
Lil' Miss now sports a very bright and visible red collar and we warn
everyone when they enter the house that there are two black cats and do
not under any circumstance - pet the black cat with the red collar.
She may look cute and cuddly on the outside, but underneath
her black fur is a dangerous creature just waiting to attack.
Looks can be very deceiving.
Recently I was perusing local firearm establishments and
found a barreled Russian SKS receiver just sitting amongst the
other C&R firearms. After a close examination I found it was
pretty much intact minus the stock, magazine, and trigger
assembly. The overall condition seemed excellent and the price
tag was only $100. I could not pass it up and slapped down the
After bringing her home was the first time that I noticed
anything different about my new carbine.
Someone had ground off the bayonet lug and then polished and
"cold blued" the surface (as shown in figure 1).
I could live with this. It was not like I was going to
install a bayonet on her anyways.
Then I discovered another modification, they had also removed the
front sling ring. Why the heck would somebody do that?
One other very visible modification to my new carbine was
that the handguard cover had been replaced with a black nylon
replacement. This would look awful on a wood stock.
Afraid I might find more unexpected modifications I fully
disassembled the carbine and inspected everything. Luckily I
found no other surprises.
I decided that since she was
already permanently modified and was going to be made-up of a
mishmash of assorted makes and manufacturers of SKS parts, I was not going to feel any guilt about customizing
using her as a test bed for aftermarket products. Let's face it -
she is not a collectable.
I already owned
a spare (milled) SKS trigger assembly (as shown in figure 3)
and a magazine. When I installed both on my new carbine they
functioned fairly well. The only complaint I had was the trigger
pull was very gritty even after
being thoroughly cleaned. I was considering performing a
trigger job to
Coincidentally Tom Prince contacted me and offered his services
on SKS triggers. He said that he would take my trigger and
perform his magic and return a trigger that had clear
two-stage operation, lowered pull, and much less creep. I have
done trigger work myself and for what Tom is charging I would gladly
pay to have it done professionally because it is not a simple
|My goal is to improve the
safety of as many of the SKS carbines out there as possible
for my shooting friends, increase their enjoyment of the
rifle, and improve the militia's marksmanship! It is my
opinion that the SKS is much more accurate than generally
credited, and that trigger function, bedding/stock fitment,
and proper use of a sling ( USGI web sling adapted for loop)
are the three most important things a serious rifleman can
do to improve the "shootablility" of Simonov's weapon.
Besides practice, these items are excellent investments in
assisting the true rifleman in delivering accurate,
consistent fire down range. I view the SKS, primarily, but
not only, as an intermediate range battle/hunting rifle
capable of accurate fire rather than a close quarters only
weapon with high firepower. The SKS is also an excellent
weapon to introduce the skill of marksmanship to those less
experienced in shooting weapons.
There are basically three kinds of engagement in varying
degrees possible for a hammer/sear
relationship. 1) negative engagement whereby the movement of
the hammer on the sear's
surface causes the hammer to move forward prior to let off,
2) neutral engagement whereby
the hammer appears to be motionless prior to let off, and
3) positive engagement whereby the
hammer is moving slightly rearward prior to let off. This is
the safest condition as the
hammer's inertial force at rest is tending to keep the
hammer naturally wanting to return to its
full cock notch unless overcome by the sear. Since the
safety ONLY blocks the trigger
movement and does not lock the hammer or the sear from
movement, conditions (1) or (2)
above can increase the possibility of the hammer being
"jarred" off the sear due to impact. The
trigger bar must be set so that when the safety is engaged
or while being engaged there is no
possibility of the trigger bar touching the sear. Most SKS
in use-new, rebuilt, old, whatever,
have negative or neutral hammer / sear engagement from the
With my match/target SKS trigger work, you get it all
safety, clear 2 stage operation,
lowered pull, much less creep, smoothness, repeatability,
consistency and give up nothing,
well, a few bucks. Each trigger group is different and each
one must be done individually;
there are no "jigs" or systems that will allow a sear/hammer
to be cut for one that will work
optimally for another. These are all done by hand for
The base price of $50 + $5 shipping includes carefully
cutting and changing YOUR
sear/hammer geometry for a minimal, acceptable positive
engagement. A new sear is provided
if needed. I install a Wolff sear spring upon assembly. The
sear is stoned/polished as are the
rails in the trigger group for smoothness of operation. The
trigger barf sear purchase is
adjusted so the safety is clearly preventing sear movement
and the first stage is minimized in
the trigger travel. Lastly, everything is fine tuned to a
minimal, acceptable pull weight...usually
around 6#, but your mileage may vary. An optional Wolff
hammer spring ($10) is highly
recommended for the best results as the trigger pushes
against the hammer spring some, too.
Prince aka kivaari
7800 Purple Martin Way
McKinney TX 75070
Order Form and More Detailed Info
When I received my trigger assembly back in the mail I found that Tom included
the springs and sear that he had replaced as well as the labels so I knew what
springs were installed
and what weight.
Everything Tom had promised was true. The trigger is a true two
stage trigger that is very smooth and breaks cleanly and much
lighter in the same exact place, every single time. The safety
is much easier and smoother to cycle and operate. The first
night I had the trigger back I dry fired so many times that when I turned around I
discovered I had every single female in the house glaring at me
regardless of species (Cat or Human). I can honestly say
that Tom's trigger made me even more annoying than I normally am
- at least that is what I was told by my wife and daughter.
It is really amazing how everything just fell into place with
this project. Andy (aka:
Zebadoba the SKS Moderator in the
Surplusrifle.com Message Forums) our roving
Surplusrifle.com Field Editor decided to tour the 2004 Shot Show
representing Surplusrifle.com. On his return home Andy sent me back
some goodies for all of us to see and try out. First and most important
autographed picture of Bob and Becky Munden (of the
American Shooter TV Show) and next was a new product for
the SKS from Buffer Technologies.
Technologies - SKS Recoil Buffer
Recoil Buffer™ fits in the rear of the top assembly and is
made to the exacting tolerances to insure a tight fit. An
indentation in the Recoil Buffer™ itself provides a secure
resting spot for the recoil spring guide, making assembly
much simpler. The SKS Recoil Buffer™ will fit all variations
of Russian and Chinese SKS carbines. As with the rest of the Recoil
Buffer™ line, installation is a snap and requires no special
Much like the Kalashnikov action, the SKS action is
super-reliable, but that reliability has a cost. Each time
you shoot an SKS the bolt carrier impacts the inside of the
top cove. This operation takes its toll on the working
mechanism. While not important to a foreign super power that
has an arsenal of replacement weapons, it is to you!
By installing an SKS Recoil Buffer™ you totally eliminate
the metal to metal impact of the bolt carrier to the
receiver, thereby eliminating the shock to the receiver. The
Recoil Buffer™ also prevents any shock from reaching a scope
if you have one installed.
Price Per Unit: $9.95
Toll Free Telephone:
Fax: (573) 634-8522
P.O. Box 104903
Jefferson City, MO 65110
I have used the Buffer Technologies recoil buffers in several of
my 1911 pistols. Actually not a bad idea at all if you are
shooting hot loads or shooting a sizable quantity of ammo.
To install the recoil buffer was easy enough to do. I actually
did it at the range. Just pull off the receiver cover and slide
the buffer into place as shown in figures 9 and 10. Once
the buffer is installed you just replace the receiver cover and
lock it down.
Since the gas tube's handguard had already been replaced and the
dang things are so
difficult to remove I decided to complete the look with an
nylon replacement stock. I wanted a pistol grip but I really did
not want a stock that deviated much from the original SKS
stock in size, look, and feel. I settled upon the ATI Monte
Carlo Stock. I think it is a much improved version over
the original SKS stock. It has checkering both on the pistol grip and the
forearm of the stock making it easy to grip and hang onto. It also
is considerably heavier than your typical SKS stock and I
thought this would contribute to better handling and stability
of the SKS
MONTE CARLO STOCK
Classic Monte Carlo style. Great for hunting or sport
shooting. No gunsmithing or modification required. Easy
installation. The checkered pistol grip and forearm improve
control. Rubber butt pad adds one inch of extended length
for comfort. Extra butt plate included. Simply replaces the
regular stock without any modifications. Lengthened for
American sportsmen, this new stock is made of the highest
quality black, glass-filled nylon. Raised cheek rest on left
side. Checkered grip, matching hand guard, sling stud and
rubber butt pad are all included. Extends 12.25" from end of
receiver. Lifetime warranty.
Click Here for TAPCO's SKS Stocks and Parts
Although the recoil of the SKS is negligible, the ATI Monte Carlo
stock has a very robust one inch thick butt pad (as shown in
figure 12). This is great if you think the length of
SKS stock is too short as I do. Also the rubber pad fits into my
shoulder and is more comfortable than the stamped metal butt
stock cover found on the typical SKS stock.
Since the person who owned the little carbine prior to me had
decided it was a good idea to remove the forward sling ring, I
took it as an opportunity to install a sling on an SKS that
normally would not be installed on an SKS!
When I first saw the Browning X-Cellerator sling I thought it
reminded me of a "cargo tie-down strap". The
Browning X-Cellerator Rifle Sling has got to be the widest and thickest
slings I have ever seen. I do not like little flimsy slings
that dig into my shoulder when carrying a rifle or carbine. The
X-Cellerator does not fall into this category at all. It comes with its own swivel slings
and attachment hardware
which make it very easy to install.
All I had to do to mount the sling to the stock was add a stud (I
purchased this as well) at
the front of the stock and then attach the sling swivels and I was finished (as
shown in figure 14).
Browning X-Cellerator™ Slings
Description: Easy adjusting slip-lock buckle • Can be
positioned as shoulder or backpack sling • Wide range of
adjustment • Super swivels included • 1 1/4" width
Item Number 122302029
Description/Name: Browning X-Cellerator Slings
Retail Price $26.00
Retailer Selling the X-Cellerator Sling
I also hate sling adjustment hardware that binds easily and is
difficult and time consuming to operate. Figure 15 shows the simple "quick-slide"
that you just grab to easily lengthen or shorten
the sling length in seconds.
Can you tell I really like this sling?
Figure 16 shows the completed project - short, sweet, and
very mean! I dubbed her Lil' Miss! Kind of a fitting name
(now you understand the stupid cat story!).
Lil' Miss looks docile on the outside but is a ferocious
beast on the inside ready to pounce and make mince meat of her
prey. Very much like her name sake. The one main difference is
this Lil' Miss is controllable!
I found with the sling and pistol grip configuration I was able
to achieve very good accuracy in either a standing or bench
position. While standing I can firmly anchor the rubber butt pad into my
shoulder, grip the pistol grip, and use the X-Cellerator sling to
further stabilize while I aim and shoot.
I included figure 18 to show the typical 50 yard standing
position accuracy of Lil' Miss before I installed the improved
trigger, new stock, recoil buffer, and X-Cellerator sling.
Figure 19 is a typical representation of the accuracy I
after all of the improvements were made. Overall tight groups and she
is a real joy to shoot.
The modified trigger is very clean, smooth, and consistently breaks somewhat lighter
than the stock SKS trigger. I have to admit it is a much better
trigger job than the jobs I have performed myself on other SKS
carbines. Very sweet!
While firing I noticed less noise and jolt when
the bolt and bolt carrier were driven to the rear of the receiver. I attribute this difference
to the recoil buffer pad.
As a rule I do not achieve very good accuracy shooting off-hand
standing. Because of this fact I usually use a bench to produce the targets I
display in the Surplusrifle.com articles. This is the very first
time I have ever felt confident enough to show targets that I
have shot while standing. The combination of the stock and the
heavy duty sling really helped stabilize my arms and the
I am very pleased with all the modifications and consider
them all a success. The only thing I may do to Lil' Miss further
is add a set of aperture SKS sights.
Read: Lil' Miss, the SKS - Part 2