An SKS is a self-loading carbine assault rifle used by East European and Asian troops in Russia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Vietnam, East Germany, China, Korea and Albania through the late 1980s. Depending on the rifle's nation of origin, you can usually determine its manufacturing date from the serial number or a separate date stamp.
Inspect the rifle for any Cyrillic or Asian language characters that could help you determine its country of origin. Some rifles have no identifying characters, but Russian, Chinese and Korean rifles may.
Look at an Albanian rifle's serial number. At the end of the serial number, there is a dash followed by two numbers. These two numbers indicate the date of manufacture. For example, a serial number 044922-67 indicates that the SKS was manufactured in 1967.
Look at a Romanian rifle's serial number. At the end of the serial number, there is a dash followed by four numbers. These four numbers indicate the date of manufacture. For example, a serial number 2958E44--1967 indicates that the SKS was manufactured in 1967.
Add the first digit in a Chinese serial number to 1956 to determine the manufacturing date. For example, the serial number 419998 indicates a manufacturing date of 1960.
Look at the two numbers at the beginning of a German SKS serial number to determine its date of manufacture. For example, a weapon with a serial number 75 B1329 indicates that the SKS was manufactured in 1975.
Look at the four-digit number underneath the stamped star on a Russian rifle. This number indicates the year of manufacture. The r. following the year stands for the Russian word for year.