Field Stripping the SKS Rifle
By David Ramage
The SKS Rifle is inexpensive, sturdy, easy to care for, and reliable. Ammunition is available nearly everywhere guns are sold. This is why you should own one.


This is my Yugoslavian SKS. The Yugoslav model is currently the most common variant on the market, and as a consequence the most affordable. I am going to walk you through stripping the rifle so you can clean it.


First pull the bolt back so it will lock. The SKS has a bolt hold open feature so it can be reloaded. This also allows you to make sure the rifle is not loaded. After you've finished this turn the takedown lever on the right, rear portion of the receiver upward. Now pull the pin out (it will stay with the receiver) and remove the bolt, bolt carrier, and recoil spring.


From the top down we have the bolt carrier, recoil spring, bolt, and receiver cover. Note the hole in the rear of the receiver cover which the pin goes through to hold it to the receiver.


Flip the retaining lever upward as shown and remove the gas tube, gas piston, operating rod, and operating rod spring. Be aware that the operating rod and spring are under tension at this point. If you're not careful they will fly across the room.


From above to below are the operating rod spring, operating rod, gas piston, and gas tube.


Turn the rifle upside down and turn the safety on. Using a screwdriver or other tool press the latch at the end of the trigger group down and lift the trigger group out. The trigger group held the magazine in. Remove it too.


Shown are the trigger group (above) and magazine (below).


The receiver can now be removed from the stock. Cleaning is the same as with any other gun. Assembly is the reverse of what you've done.

Note:The SKS uses a "free floating" firing pin. If the firing pin channel is dirty it can cause the pin to get stuck. The result of this is the rifle firing fully automatically until the magazine is empty. This is called slamfiring. Makesure your firing pin moves back and forth easily. Slamfiring is very dangerous.