Thanks to the Nation's Gunshow that was held a few weeks ago my brother ended up with an SKS. He'd been talking about them for a bit, and the price was right ($275, cash). It was bought with no knowledge of SKS's beyond when they were designed (way long ago), or what to look for (serial numbers, marker's marks, etc). Now, it didn't look all that pretty, but the important bits were on it (firing pin, magazine, barrel), and it was $100 cheaper than any other SKS at the show, so it was bought.
As my brother was headed out of the country on a trip, I decided to take the gun to my place and clean it up a tad while he was gone, and see how good it could look. Then I'll give him the cleaned up version when he gets back and see if he recognizes it. I picked up a small SKS manual, enough to show basic disassembly and cleaning, cracked open Google for the rest of the bits, and sat down to start.
What is it?
My first desire was to find out exactly what this rifle was. It resembles a typical SKS, 20" barrel, knife style bayonet, wood stock, only difference was a detachable magazine, which wasn't in the original design. Next step was to find all the serials I could, which yielded the following:
Receiver/Trigger Group: K4992 (with a marker's mark of '26' inside of a triangle)
Bolt carrier: 05676
Barrel: (Odd character) 3276
So we obviously have parts from at least five separate rifles. I'm taking the receiver serial as the firearm's serial (since that's usually where firearms put the serial) and the others as just references to figure out where it came from. I used a great SKS site: Yooper John's SKS information.
The receiver's serial was the easiest to track down. It has a few distinctive marks: The lack of Chinese or Cyrillic characters on the receiver, the obvious maker's mark of '26' inside a triangle. This fast narrowed it down to the Jianshe Armory in 1956. Why 1956? Because I believe in late 1956, or in 1957 the Chinese started serializing their weapons with more than 4 digits, and using no Roman characters. So the receiver/trigger group are all original parts from the same rifle, a Chinese Type 56, built in 1956 at Jianshe. The barrel appears to be the same numbering scheme as the others, (1 character, 4 digits) so I'm again taking this to be a Jianshe Sino-Soviet part, just replaced at a later time.
The stock is from a [presumably Chinese] replacement, however most Chinese stocks had a side mount for the sling, and this has a bottom mount so I'm thinking it may be Russian or Yugoslavian just tossed on there at some point in a repair shop. There is a marker's mark of a 6 in a triangle, and googling seems to suggest this is a Chinese mark, so I don't know. I do know it has to be younger than the receiver, and most likely is a result of the gun going back for service at some point. Whatever the case may be, serial number is 33616, which would be the last 5 digits from a longer serial (only place the full serial would be stamped is on the receiver).
The bolt carrier bears the number 05676, which does match the bolt, or any other bit on the rifle. There are no other identifiable markings. The bolt itself has a few markings, a '2', an 'A', what looks to be another 'A'. then a '5' overlaid on an 'I'. I couldn't track down any of these.
My best guess is that these parts are all Chinese, and at some point the stock became damaged, leading to replacing it, and later on replacing the bolt/carrier. They could also have been touched by someone much further on down the line, trying to make one working rifle from a few spare rifles.
Next up, cleaning!