Gone Outdoors

How to Convert a Norinco SKS to Accept AK Mags

by Jeremiah Blanchard

The Simonov SKS semi-automatic rifle was designed in Russia 1946, but eventually was replaced by the AK-47 assault rifle. Some SKS rifles were modified later to accept AK magazines. The Norinco SKS is a Chinese variant, some of which accept AK magazines while others do not. The AK magazines hold more rounds than the traditional 10-round stripper clip used with the SKS. The Norinco SKS magazine well can be modified to accept AK-style magazines using a few gunsmith techniques and tools.

Disassembly

1. Remove any ammunition from the weapon if present, and pull the charging handle to the rear. Visually inspect the chamber to ensure that no live ammunition is present.

2. Rotate the receiver cover latch upward. Apply forward pressure against the receiver cover. Pull the cover pin to the right as far as it will go. Slide the receiver cover to the rear and off of the weapon.

3. Compress the recoil spring assembly by 1/4 inch. Remove the recoil spring assembly from the bolt carrier. Pull back on the charging handle and remove the bolt and bolt carrier. Separate the bolt from the carrier.

4. Rotate the gas cylinder tube lock upward. This is located on the right side of the gas block underneath the rear sight base. Maneuver the gas tube lever toward the stock. Remove the gas tube and slide off the gas piston. Stand the gas tube lever straight up. Slowly remove the short gas rod plunger and spring.

5. Withdraw the cleaning rod. Depress the plunger located at the bottom rear portion of the trigger guard. Swing the trigger guard/magazine housing assembly down. Lift the barreled action up and out of the stock.

Magazine Modification

1. Punch out the bolt hold pin from the receiver using the 3/32 pin punch and hammer. Take off the spring and bolt catch. Lightly file the full length of the forward edge in front of the bolt pin hole by 1/32 inch using a flat metal file.

2. Punch out the pin holding the magazine catch to the trigger group using the 3/32 pin punch and hammer. Separate the magazine catch from the trigger group. File down the metal in front of the magazine catch pin to 1/16 inch from the front of the pin hole's outer radius. Do this using a flat metal file or rotary tool with a grinding wheel.

3. Line up the top of the AK magazine with the bottom of the bolt. Ensure that the magazine's forward edge is in line with the bolt face. Mark the magazine width on the bolt. Remove 1/8 inch of material from the bottom sides of the bolt using a rotary tool with a grinding wheel. Dress up the bolt and remove any burring with abrasive paper.

4. Remove the magazine feed rails. Remove material from around the feed rails on the frame by 1/32 inch at a time using the rotary tool and grinding wheel. Insert the magazine into the frame and check your work. Continue removing the material until the frame accepts the new magazine.

5. File the front of the receiver bottom (in front of the magazine well) by 3/32 inch using the rattail file. Fit the key stock onto the receiver at the point where you just filed. Hold the key stock in place. Check to make sure that the magazine fits. Weld the key stock in place. Dress up the weld to be flush with the receiver bottom using the rotary tool and sanding drum. This forms the new magazine stop.

6. Fabricate the new magazine catch out of the flat bar stock using a mill and rattail file. Use the dimensions of the original magazine catch, except widen the front and rear of the catch by 1/32 inch. Install and check the new magazine catch for a proper fit. File additional material as need until the new magazine catch fits precisely. Reassemble the weapon.

Items you will need
  • Rat tail file
  • Flat file
  • Abrasive paper
  • 3/32 inch pin punch and hammer
  • Rotary tool with grinding wheel and sanding drums
  • 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch by 1 1/8-inch key stock
  • 3/8-inch by 3/4-inch by 2-inch flat bar stock

Tip

  • Several SKS models are equipped to carry AK-style magazines.

Warnings

  • Never attempt maintenance on a loaded firearm.
  • Always keep the weapon muzzle pointed in a safe direction, whether unloaded or not.

References