How to Make an SKS a Scout Rifle

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Designed in the Soviet Union following the end of World War II, the SKS is a semi-automatic rifle chambered in 7.62x39mm. In the years after the war, the Soviet Union allowed its client states to produce their own versions of the rifle. One of the more famous versions is the Yugoslavian 55/66 which had a bayonet and a grenade launcher. Converting these surplus firearms into scout rifles requires strict adherence to U.S. laws regarding changing parts on an imported gun. Any new parts added to an imported rifle must be U.S.-made. Tapco produces a kit designed to build a tactical scout rifle while ensuring compliance with US law.

Ensure the rifle is safe. With the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, pull the bolt back and ensure that the magazine is empty and there are no rounds in the chamber. Engage the safety by flipping the lever in the trigger guard.

Remove the trigger group. Using the flat head screwdriver, press the small button at the back of the trigger guard. This unlatches the trigger guard. Pull the trigger group out of the rifle. Pull the rifle bolt open and swing the the magazine away from the rifle and remove.

Remove the receiver and barrel. Grasp the stock with one hand and pull the receiver and barrel away. Set the old stock aside. Locate the small retainer lever on the right side of the receiver below the rear sight. Pivot the lever to the first detent. This permits the removal of the gas tube, piston and hand guard. Put pressure on the operating rod and pivot the lever past the first detent. The allows the operating rod and spring to come out of the rifle.

Disassemble the hand guard and gas tube. Using the pin punch, remove the tapered pin holding the hand guard to the gas tube from the narrow end.

Install the new hand guard. Slide the gas tube into the hard guard from the Tapco Intrafuse Rifle System. Insert the new rivet and press it into place using the vise. Slide the new gas piston from the system into the assembly.

Install the new operating rod. Place the original operating rod spring onto the operating rod from the Tapco system. Firmly press the operating rod assembly into the receiver and pivot the retainer lever in the first detent to retain the operating rod.

Install the gas tube, piston and hand guard. Press the assembly into its original position and pivot the retainer lever back to its original position.

Install the new stock. Place the receiver and barrel into the new Tapco stock. Insert the provided trigger guard spring into the stock. Insert the trigger group removed in step 2 and press it into place until it clicks past the small button.

Install the new pistol grip. The original SKS did not ship with a pistol grip. Install the new one provided by Tapco onto the lug protruding from the stock. Use the socket wrench to bolt the pistol grip to the stock using the bolt from the kit.

Install the collapsible stock. Slide the collapsible stock onto the main body and gently tap it until it sits flush. Use the two provided screws and nuts to tighten the stock to the body using an Allen wrench.

Open the bolt to insert the new magazine. Unlike the original SKS magazine, the one provided with the Tapco system is removable.

Mount the scout scope. The hand guard provides an integrated Picatinny rail to mount scopes or other optics. Due to its forward nature, a scout scope with long eye relief is required. Attach the scope to the rail. Do not over-tighten, as the hand guard is made of plastic.


About the Author

Chris Orr began his career in 1988 as a sports writer. His work has appeared in "USD Vista," "UNLV Rebel Yell" and the "East Honolulu Newspaper" among other publications. Orr has a Bachelor Arts from the University of San Diego and a Master of Arts from the University of Hawaii in political science. He has worked in information technology since 1995.

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