(Part 2 of the Diamond in the Rough series, cleaning the SKS)
Where to begin?
Now that I had an idea of what it was, I decided to start cleaning. I had no idea where to begin, there was grease covering every surface, so I started by tearing it down according to field stripping, and wiping grease off the bits as I got them out.
First I found the accessory compartment in the stock, almost stuck closed from gunk. Pushing in yielded the cleaning kit... soaked in grease, it literally came out brown. I wiped it down, pulled the jag, brush, and tap out... in one bunch! They were stuck together! Wiped the outside down, and got this shot.
I soaked them for a while in hot water and after a little scrubbing all the grease was off.
Then came the really icky part, stripping the whole thing down. I wanted everything apart before I could clean each part individually and put it back together perfectly clean.
First you have to remove receiver cover and recoil spring assembly:
Then you remove the handguard/gas tube (make sure NOT to rotate the takedown lever too much, and/or watch your eyes.. you have been warned):
After this you pull out the bolt/bolt carrier, gas piston, and set them aside. At the end of the first day I had this (a stock with a trigger):
On day two I wasn't as interested in photographing everything, as my hands were icky all day from grease and solvent. But essentially what happened is I gave everything I'd taken out a THOROUGH cleaning, then popped out the trigger group and receiver, and cleaned the stock. Finally it was time for the barrel and bayonet, both much easier than the stock as I could simply use a strong solvent and some scrubbing.
At the end of the second day I had this (a sparkling clean gun!):
I had a lot of issues with the magazine, hence my not speaking of it. It seems like someone before me took it and either put the wrong follower (the bit the bullets ride up on) in, or intentionally bent the top of the magazine. it never, ever, ever fed properly, not one round. Jammed every time. As such, it still sits next to me in abject failure, until such time as I deem it worthy to try to fix. After replacing the magazine, she shot beautifully.
What's the take away from all this?
First off, if you're going to start a blog series, make sure to finish it!
Secondly, old guns can be great finds, both in terms of fun to shoot, and in terms of history (I found this Type 56 to be really cool).
Third, gun shows are great places to pick up decent deals. This should have been $75 10 years ago, but I'm happy with what I paid considering the current gun economy. I spent just about nothing cleaning it, was able to make it look incredibly better. Don't be scared of the ugly!
(Oh, and my brother really liked it, which was the important part. It looked like a different rifle!)