Thought this might come in handy for SKS fans--
NOTE: All SKS variants except for the Yugoslav M59/66 are carbines. This is due to the additional length that the flash hider/grenade launcher attachment gives to the SKS.
Differences from the "baseline" late Russian Tula Armory/Izhevsk Armory SKS:
Early (1949-1951) Russian: Spike-style bayonet instead of blade-style. Squared-off gas block instead of the rounded one more commonly seen. Spring-return firing pin on earliest models.
Soviet Honor Guard: All-chrome metal parts, with a lighter-colored wood stock.
Chinese Type 56: Numerous minor tweaks, including lack of milling on the bolt carrier, partially or fully stamped (as opposed to milled) receivers, and differing types of thumb rest on the takedown lever. The Chinese continually revised the SKS manufacturing process, so variation can be seen even between two examples from the same factory. All of the Type 56 carbine rifles have been removed from military service, except a few being used for ceremonial purposes. Type 56 carbines with serial numbers below 9,000,000 have the Russian-style blade-type folding bayonet, while those 9,000,000 and higher have a "spike" type folding bayonet.
Chinese Honor Guard: Mostly, but not all, chromed metal parts. Does not generally have the lighter-colored stock as the Soviet Honor Guard variant.
Chinese Type 63, 68, 73, 81, 84: Only a close relative to the SKS, these rifles shared features from several east-bloc rifles (SKS, AK-47, Dragunov). AK-47 style rotary bolt and detachable magazine. The Type 68 featured a stamped sheet-steel receiver. The 81 is an upgraded Type 68 with a three-round burst capability, some of which (Type 81-1) have a folding stock. The Type 84 returns to semi-auto fire only, is modified to accept AK-47 magazines, and has a shorter 16" paratrooper barrel.
Chinese commercial production: Blonde wood stock instead of dark wood, spike bayonet instead of blade, bayonet retaining bolt replaced with a rivet. Sub-variants include the M21, "Cowboy's Companion", Hunter, Models D/M, Paratrooper, Sharpshooter, and Sporter. Model D rifles used military style stocks and had bayonet lugs (although some were imported minus bayonet, and a small few minus the lug in order to meet changing US import restrictions). Model M rifles had no bayonet lug and used either a thumbhole or monte-carlo style stock. Both model D and M used AK-47 magazines and as a result had no bolt hold open feature on the rifle.
Romanian: Typically nearly identical to the late Russian model.
Polish Honor Guard: Possibly refurbished rifles given to Poland by Russia. Polish laminated stocks lack storage area in back of stock for cleaning kit.
Yugoslavian PAP M59: Barrel is not chrome-lined. PAP means "Polu-automatska puška" (Semi-automatic rifle) and the rifle was nicknamed "Papovka".
Yugoslavian PAP M59/66: Added 22mm grenade launcher which appears visually like a flash suppressor or muzzle brake on the end of the barrel. Front sight has a fold-up "ladder" for use in grenade sighting (main sights have flip up tritium night sights). Barrel is not chrome-lined. Both the grenade launcher and grenade sight are NATO spec.
Zastava Arms LKP-66: Hunting version. No bayonet or bayonet lug. Sporting stock. Scope mount. 7 round magazine.
Albanian "July 10 Rifle": Longer stock and handguard on the gas tube, and AK-47 style charging handle.
East German Karabiner-S: Extremely rare; never exported to the US. Slot cut into back of stock for pull-through sling. No storage area in back of stock or storage for cleaning rod under barrel.
North Korean Type 63: Extremely rare; never exported to the US. At least three separate models were made. One "standard" model with blade bayonet, and a second with a gas shutoff and a grenade launcher, similar to the M59/66. The North Korean grenade launcher was detachable from the muzzle and the gas shutoff was different from the Yugoslavian model, however. A third model appears to have side-swinging bayonet.
Vietnamese Type 1: Extremely rare; never exported to the US. Differences unknown.
There is some debate as to the relative quality of each nation's SKS production; Yugoslav types are generally considered to be better made than Chinese, yet the Chinese types typically have chrome lined barrels while the Yugoslav versions do not. East German, Russian and Albanian SKSs bring a higher price than those of other countries, the stock on the Albanian versions being of a slightly different manufacture and being rarer due to low production numbers. There were approximately 18,000 Albanian SKSs manufactured during the late 1960s until 1978, and of those, approximately half were destroyed. Most of the remaining East German SKSs had been sold/transferred to Croatia in the early 1990s.
A sporterized hunting version of the SKS is still manufactured in Yugoslavia, by the Zastava Armory. It is designated the LKP 66, and features a "Monte Carlo" style one-piece stock, receiver mounted scope mount, modified trigger, and flush-fit 7 round magazine. It also has a redesigned front sight with no bayonet mount. This rifle has not yet been imported into the US.
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