Procedure for breaking down an SKS Rifle

For this procedure, we will be using video clips from a very well done SKS Breakdown video created by the Mrgunsngear Channel on YouTube which can be found here.  The Mrgunsngear Channel has a large variety of videos covering topics from how to properly hold/use various firearms, to equipment and gun reviews.  If you have time or are looking to learn something new, I highly recommend his videos.

For ease of following this procedure, I have outlined the step by step instructions, and accompanied each step with a .gif from the video linked above.

  1.  Verify that the weapon is unloaded, the magazine is unloaded, and the trigger safety is engaged

2.  Let the bolt go forward to close the upper assembly.

3.  Removing SKS Bolt Spring Cover – At the back of the gun, on the right side of the metal dust cover (assuming the barrel is pointed away), you will find a small lever, rotate the lever up, and start pulling/wiggling the lever away from the rifle.  While doing this, be sure to keep pressure on the back of the dust cover as it is under spring pressure.

4.  Removing SKS Bolt Spring – With the dust cover off, pull out the bolt spring and set both pieces aside.

5.  Removing SKS Bolt and Bolt Carrier – Slide the bolt back towards to the opening and remove both the bolt and the bolt carrier, they should slide easily out of the rile and apart from each other.

6.  Removing the SKS Gas Piston – At the mid point, on the top of the gun, on the right side, you will find another small lever, similar to the one on the back of the gun.  Rotate the lever up until you can remove the gas piston.  Depending on the condition of your rifle, this lever may be difficult to move, use a screw driver (or similar tool) to force the lever to rotate if necessary.

7.  Removing the SKS Piston Extension – With the gas piston removed, look where the piston was attached to the rifle, and you will see another smaller piston inside the upper assembly.  To remove this piston, put some pressure on it with your thumb, and continue rotating the lever up until the piston pops out.  Again, this piston is under pressure, so keep pressure on it and slowly release it from its housing.

8.  Removing the SKS Trigger Assembly – Turn the rifle over (you may need to support the rifle on blocks or bags as to not damage your sights) so the trigger assembly is now pointing up.  Be sure the gun is on safe (as it should always be when being worked on)  and look behind the trigger guard, you will see a small button.  Using a screwdriver or a punch, push down on the button until you hear a popping sound.  Depending on the condition of your rifle, may take a bit of pressure until you hear the pop.  Once you hear the pop, you can easily remove the trigger assembly.

9.  Removing the SKS Magazine – Next, remove the magazine by first opening it, then pulling/wiggling either on the front or the back of the magazine.

10.  Removing the SKS Cleaning Rod – If you have a bayonet, extend 90 degrees from the rifle, and remove the cleaning rod.  If your rifle does not have a bayonet, skip this step.

11.  Removing the SKS Barrel Assembly – Finally, from the back of the gun, lift/wiggle the upper assembly from the stock until it pops out.

At this point, your SKS is now fully disassembled except for the bolt.  Depending on what what level of cleaning or maintenance you wish to preform, dis-assembly of the bolt may not be necessary.  However, if you wish to clean, lube, or replace the firing pin, proceed to the next steps.

(Note, for the following steps, I will be using a great video created by Brownells, Inc.  which clearly outlines the procedure for breaking down the SKS bolt.  Brownnesll, Inc. YouTube channel can be found Here, and the video I will be specifically referencing can be found Here.)

12.  Removing the SKS Bolt Retaining Pin – Looking at your bolt, on the left side, you will see a small round dimple, this is the firing pin retainer which is holding the firing pin to the bolt.  The retainer pin is removed by using a 1/8in punch, and if necessary, a hammer.  Depending on the condition of your bolt, this step may be very difficult.  If the firing pin retainer does not come out while using a punch and hammer, you may need to secure the bolt in a vice.   Using the punch, push the retainer pin through the bolt until it comes out the other side.

13.  Removing the SKS Firing Pin – With the retainer pin removed, remove the firing pin by pulling it out from the back of the bolt.

14.  Removing the SKS Extractor – Next, remove the extractor by pushing in on the extractor toward the end of the bolt, then pivoting the extractor away from the bolt.  When you remove the extractor, be careful not to lose the small spring which is inside the extractor.

15.  Removing the SKS Extractor Spring – Finally, remove the small spring that is inside the extractor and set both pieces aside.

At this point, your gun is now fully disassembled, and can be inspected, cleaned, and lubricated before reassembly.

Next Step:  SKS – Cleaning and Lubrication

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