SKS Simonov System Self-loading Carbine Model 1945


SKS Carbine (7.62 Samozaradnya Vientovka Sistyemi Simonova Obrazets 1945g or 7.62 Simonov System Self-loading Carbine Model 1945) adopted in 1946 replaced the Tokarev Semi-Automatic and Mosin-Nagant Bolt Action Style rifles.

Designer of the SKS

Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov, born 1894 in Fedotow, Russia. Sergei started as a blacksmith and then migrated to being a machinist. He entered school to study engineering in 1917, completing the course in 1918. He worked for some time assembling the Fedrov Automat Rifle. In 1922 he became a Master Gunsmith and later a Senior Master Gunsmith. His specialty in design was semi-automatic weapons.

Sergei Attended Moscow Higher Technical School to further study engineering and graduated in 1924. In 1926 he was assigned to the Tula Arsenal. He headed the prototype shop of the Fedrov design bureau.

Simonov is best known as the designer of the 7.62 Simonov System Self-loading Carbine Model 1945 otherwise known as the SKS 45.

Countries of Origin

The AK-47 replaced the SKS as the primary soviet battle rifle in the mid 1950s. Large quantities of the Russian SKS were still manufactured, for export, all the way until the late 1960s, but the SKS is no longer an issue weapon to the Soviet Army.

Russian SKS m45


Chinese Type 56 SKS developed in the mid 1950s, a copy of the Russian SKS. Manufactured upon Soviet supplied equipment in Communist China.

Chinese Type 56s were in production from 1956-71. Rifles serial number 9,000,000 (1965) and higher had the spike bayonet fitted while those below 9,000,000 had the standard blade type bayonet. (contributed by Michael E. Kreca)


Romanian SKS called the Model 56 was in production in Cugir, Romania from 1956 to 1962.


Albanian SKS manufactured at the Umgramsh Factory. Manufactured between the late 1960’s and 1979.


Yugoslavia SKS M59/66A1  manufactured by the Zastava Ordnance /Red Banner Works from 1967 to 1970.

The M59 is practically a carbon copy of the Russian SKS and, , was made at Red Banner from 1960-67. The 59/66 series was manufactured at Red Banner from 1967-70. Many M59s were converted to the 59/66 configuration during that time. Most of the 59s and 59/66s had beechwood stocks. Some Yugoslav 59s and 59/66s with teakwood stocks were made for export to Africa.

The main difference between other SKS rifles and the Yugoslav versions is that the bores of the Yugo versions were not chrome plated–Yugoslavia has no significant native chromium ore deposits, chromium was expensive to purchase and Yugoslavia’s  relationship with the USSR (a major chromium ore exporter) since 1948 was lukewarm at best. One reason Yugo SKS rifles (in fact all Yugoslav small arms seem “beefier”) is because Yugoslav cartridges are much “hotter” loads than other similar “East Bloc” ammo, plus since Yugoslavia’s manufacturing capacity was relatively limited, each weapon had to be more durable.

Specifications for the SKS



Length of Barrel

Operation Type

Magazine Capacity

Magazine Type


8.8 lbs.

40.16 in

20.34 in

Gas Operated Semiautomatic Tilting Block




Principles of Operation of the Semi-Automatic System

The SKS operates on the simple principles of a semi-automatic weapon. Gas ported off from the barrel helps operate the mechanical aspects of the carbine. The bolt pulls a cartridge from the non-detachable 10 round, staggered, double column magazine and inserts the cartridge into the chamber. The bolt is locked into place and the chamber is sealed when the bolt locking lug is engaged by the receiver locking lug. When the trigger is pulled and the hammer is released, the floating firing pin (inside the bolt) impacts the primer of the cartridge, igniting the powder and propelling the bullet down the rifled barrel. Near the end of the barrel gas is siphoned off and ported into the carbine’s gas cylinder and gas tube. The gas piston is then driven back towards the receiver, impacting the gas piston extension (that is spring controlled). The gas piston extension travels towards the receiver striking the bolt carrier. The bolt carrier is driven back driving the bolt to the rear of the receiver. The spent cartridge case is extracted and ejected and the whole process starts over again.












Safety Operation






The 7.62×39,  is the cartridge used in the AK-47 and the SKS. Developed for the Soviet military for use in 1943, the 7.62x39mm assault rifle cartridge has come to be the preferred round of revolution in the world.

Ballistics – Standard military load for the 7.62×39 fires a 123 grain FMJ bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2329 fps.
New Production Ammo can be found manufactured by Norma, Wolf Performance, and Winchester to name a few.
Surplus Ammo can be found at most ammunition and firearm dealers, at very reasonable prices.


Reloading Dies are made by Dillon Precision, RCBS, Redding, and Lee Precision , to name a few.
Reloading components can be found at Huntington’s, Midway USA, and the Wholesale Hunter, to name a few.
Brass – Lapua and Winchester make new brass for this caliber.
Powder – Hodgdon H4895 and H4198, and Alliant Reloader 7 are all good powders for this round