General Question

Nullo's avatar

Stinging Jellies: Does the SKS share the AK-47's legendary reliability?

Asked by Nullo (21826 points ) September 11th, 2011

They look similar enough on the outside. People go on about the AK’s ability to take mud and neglect and keep on working; I was wondering if there were others like it.

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50 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

No, the SKS, at least the older ones that Mythbusters used, jam quite frequently.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I carried an AK-47 for awhile in Vietnam. I think it’s somewhat overrated, especially when it comes to accuracy. Perhaps it was just un-matched parts.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@CaptainHarley It’s probably the sights. I know mine are kind of shitty, despite everything else on the gun working perfectly. They’re just poorly laid out. I intend to try moving the rear sight further back.

From what I’ve heard, the SKS is fairly reliable, but not quite as durable as the AK. Kalashnikov’s designs were in part intended to remedy the few problems soldiers tended to have with previous rifles.

TexasDude's avatar

AKs really aren’t as reliable as popular culture will have you believe. Contrary to popular belief they do jam. Same goes for the SKS.

I have fired both rather extensively, and from my personal experiences, I’d rate them both about the same in terms of reliability. The SKS always seemed to be quite a bit more accurate, though. If I had to fight off hordes of zombies or post-apocalyptic biker gangs, I’d still take an AR-15 over either.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

@CaptainHarley I’ve seen ultra-slo-mo footage of an AK-47 being fired. It wobbled quite a bit.

woodcutter's avatar

All guns flex. They have to. If they had no give they would soon beat themselves to pieces.
The SKS is the most underrated battle rifle in the history of warfare. It’s just that Simonov got the shaft because Stalin was dead set on the development of a semi auto chambered for the 54R round, the same round they had since the late 1800’s. That round proved too much for a semi auto and the SVT 38/40 suffered frequent breakages as well as the rifle was rather complicated for the Russian conscripts to keep maintained. They did field the SKS in the very late stage of the war with great success but soon after the war’s end the Kalashnikov came out and the SKS was shifted to reserve stock and many were sent to satellite countries as well as the machinery to copy them. It was due to bad timing, or, good timing however you want to look at it, for the reason they weren’t in front line use for long.

AK’s were cheaper and faster to build with sheet metal fab vs milled parts after they quit making milled AK’s in quantity.
I rather like the SKS. It is a milled receiver gun with last round bolt hold open and shoots more accurately everything else being the same. They’re built like tanks especially if you get the Yugo copy. It’s like the working man’s Garand. You can’t really go wrong with either one but I give the edge to the AK but not by much.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

@woodcutter they had footage at the same speed of an M-16 firing and it was not nearly as perceptible as the flexing of the AK-47.

TexasDude's avatar

@CaptainHarley what about it? It’s an AR with a fugly paint job.

woodcutter's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop That has a lot to do why they aren’t as accurate. It’s only sheet metal, and fires a heavier round. They are sloppy guns by design but that is what contributes to their reliability. The US made guns are made to squeaky tight tolerances and higher precision and that’s why they won’t tolerate very much crud before coughing up a hairball.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard

Well, I WAS thinking about buying one! : P

King_Pariah's avatar

@woodcutter don’t forget that the AK is piston operated as opposed to the AR which is gas operated, with the AK you really don’t have to worry about powder residue building up in the chamber as much as you do with an AR.

TexasDude's avatar

@CaptainHarley you should do what I did and build your own.

It’s fun, can be a lot cheaper, and you are likely to be more satisfied with the results. Bushmaster isn’t all that great when it comes to quality.

woodcutter's avatar

@CaptainHarley Go for it! I would if I could.

woodcutter's avatar

@King_Pariah I don’t like to worry about any SD weapon stopping on me. Carbon build up is a fact of life. Even though I keep my AK clean as a whistle I know it’s the last thing I need to be worried about in an emergency. They’re not maintenance free per se but an effort needs to be made. An AR would be a range toy for fun, not for business.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@woodcutter

So name an American made rifle made “for business,” specifically medium range game shooting.

rts486's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I have a Bushmaster and it has been incredibly reliable. I’ll take it, and the magazines, over the Colt I had in the Marines.

The AK is a peasant’s rifle, designed for an illiterate army. No range, no accuracy. After several combat tours, I’ll take the AR over the AK any day of the week. What I would really like is the M-14, or better yet, the SCAR-H.

woodcutter's avatar

@CaptainHarley Good question. Just off the top ‘o’ my head I think the Marlin .30.30 is a sweet rifle, or is it a carbine, but anyway they are fairly short and handy. For taking game a bushmaster would be good also really. My definition of “business” is the dreary aspect of self defense. Since almost all of them sold here in the states are for target and hunting anyway. It could be pressed into a self defense role if it was all that was available. Personally I don’t stress myself about what to do if I ever had to defend myself with a rifle here in America, I would trust an AKM with my life if the need arises. I’ve researched and tested them enough to trust the platform completely. The guys who have AR’s will say the same thing about what they have. It a debate that will never end. Having said that, if AR’s were in the 400 dollar range as the AKM’s are, then there would be a lot more out in private ownership and as a result would gain more widespread popularity because in all fairness if you get one that is well built they are good. It’s just that knowing part. That they may stop running at the wrong time. If you are in competition shoot and they stop it’s no big deal at all, just fix the problem and keep going it’s only a contest. They have improved alot since the early ones but still that jamming reputation is there if they aren’t perfectly clean always.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@woodcutter

Thank you! I briefly considered buying a “sniper rifle,” but decided against it, despite how much I love long-distance target shooting. Age is catching up with me and is affecting my visual accuity, etc. : (

woodcutter's avatar

@CaptainHarley I feel ya on the eyesight problem. I’ve about reached the point where iron sights are useless. Optics rule the day whether they be a red dot or magnification scope. For taking game just about any rifle that will produce a quick humane kill will do the trick. Even an AKM or AR but I think the game wardens will be eyeballing you more if you choose anything military-ish looking out in the woods. But hey if that’s what you have they will still do as long as you only have 5 rds loaded. It just looks weird.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@woodcutter

“Game warden?” In East Texas?? Hahahahahaha! : D

woodcutter's avatar

LOL Oh I forgot you guys have Chuck Norris running around out there. Be careful ,be very careful. He’s pretty short and he can hide well in the grass.

KateTheGreat's avatar

One of the very few gun threads on this bitch and I am late? Fuckshitpiss.

Legendary reliability? AK-47? Hahahahahaha. Yeah right. I wouldn’t get caught in a drive by with one of those. They jam up at the worst times. An SKS is only slightly better. I am not a huge fan if either of ‘em.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@woodcutter

LOL! Yep! Met him once. I would’a made two of him! :: D

woodcutter's avatar

@KateTheGreat Damn! You must have had a crappy Century build, if it wouldn’t run. Or, take that recoil buffer out and throw it in the water, then it’ll run.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@woodcutter I’d rather throw the whole thing in the water.

Nullo's avatar

@KateTheGreat Perhaps in an older sense of the word, then? Certainly there are legends about them.

woodcutter's avatar

@KateTheGreat That’s how some people clean theirs, give it a try!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Wow, lots of hate for the AK. The one we’ve got is wonderfully accurate and hasn’t jammed once yet. I like it better than an AR we were considering even though the AR didn’t tear up my shoulder near as much.

Nullo's avatar

@Neizvestnaya You need to shoot 7.62×54mmr for a while for perspective. :)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Maybe so but as someone who had no interest in an AK to begin with, it sure won me over quickly.

woodcutter's avatar

The inaccuracy of the AK’s has become an urban legend ginned up by the hard core AR lovers who probably are charter members of the BUY American Club. They were not intended to be match grade weapons although with proper tuning and hand loaded ammo they can be. But then that would cost a cartload of money to transform something into something it’s not. It has been done, by people who have more money than sense. If the weapon is well built it should be able to hit a man sized target at 300 meters.If you do your part. Granted that’s a fairly large target but at 300 meters away, you can barely see a 6 foot tall man standing or at least I can’t. But most firefights happen no where near that far away.

The US GI’s are trained to use their battle sights on the M-16. It’s the only way any rifle will work. The Jihadists often shoot from the hip and and basically use the AK as a bullet hose and don’t hit much. That’s why there are big body counts when our troops mix it up with these people. They know how to use their sights properly and they work. Our troops have electronic sights that give them yet more advantage. It’s not the weapons, it’s who’s behind them.

The Russians stopped using the M-43 round (7.62×39) in 1974 and took NATO’s lead and developed the 5.45×39 round for their AK-74 which is more on par with the M-16 in accuracy. Better range, accuracy, and more devastating wounding characteristics but it lacks the punch that the bigger old rounds had. So we have a choice of AK clones, the AK-74 for when you really need to reach out and touch someone, and the ‘47 for when you need to knock the hell out of something. They are accurate enough

pics may be unsuitable to the squeamish>> http://www.jaaos.org/content/14/10/S52/F2.expansion.

woodcutter's avatar

Wow, Bee, that’s what I call buy American. A good one.

woodcutter's avatar

@KateTheGreat said: I’m a huge collector and it’s a fine piece to own.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@woodcutter: I didn’t want the fixed stock but put up with it in order to have American milled parts and assembly. It is nice. I wanted an AR to begin with, not now.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@woodcutter It’s a classic! As a collector, how could you NOT own one? But still, not my favorite gun in the world. Nothing is better than my Dragunov.

woodcutter's avatar

Or 2,or 3:)

King_Pariah's avatar

All this talk about guns is really starting to make miss firing several weapon systems… Oh Barrett how I miss thee, and you too BAR, and you M203…

CaptainHarley's avatar

@King_Pariah

LOL! I really miss my M-14. Now THAT was a rifleman’s weapon! I could knock the eyelashes off a gnat at 1,000 yards! : ))

woodcutter's avatar

@CaptainHarley I heard somewhere that the army is scrambling to have as many as they can find for over there in the sand box. Still a very useful weapon that never really hung around very long before being replaced. One of these days I want to get something US made be it the Garand , 14 , or the 1903. Super expensive, and the ammo isn’t cheap either. They must be very sought after to have the value they do.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@woodcutter

I’m sure they are. Pity! As I recall, South Korea tried to repatriate over a million M-1s recently, but was blocked by the Obama Administration for their own esoteric reasons, : /

woodcutter's avatar

@CaptainHarley Yes they were worried they would fall into the—Mexican- er, I mean, the wrong hands. I lost track of that deal. Are they still in Korea or what happened to them?

TexasDude's avatar

@woodcutter they are still in Korea. Sadly, they will probably be introduced to Captain Crunch.

A few of them did make it to our shores via small-time importers. Apparently they were in horrid condition. It’s still sad though. The Garand is a fantastic firearm and I’d love to have one even if it was beat to shit.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s a damn shame.

TexasDude's avatar

To say the least…

King_Pariah's avatar

@woodcutter what you heard about the M14 is correct, due to the range many battles take place over in Afghanistan they’ve brought (not bringing back) back the M14 in pretty much full force as a squad sharpshooter weapon since the M4 is nigh obsolete when it comes to trying to kill someone 700 meters away.

Nullo's avatar

@CaptainHarley Springfield Armory, perhaps feeling a bit anachronistic, has been making M-1As lately – apparently a semiauto-only version of the M-14.

woodcutter's avatar

I don’t remember full auto M-14’s being very plentiful. As a FA they were not so great. They were uncontrollable as heck. @Nullo The SOCOM short barrel w synthetic stock? A member of our gun club let me try his with an Eoteck sight. It’s a cannon and I want one.

incendiary_dan's avatar

My AK has only jammed when using crappy mags. For all the crap people talk about them, TAPCO plastic mags have never jammed for me. Accuracy is fine, though like I said the sights are kind of dumb, so it took me a while to sight it in.

But of course, mine is a Hungarian military surplus.

woodcutter's avatar

I got a couple Tapco mags and they’re ok. They will look more attractive if an import ban happens to forbid us getting the mil- surp mags. I don’t think I would keep them loaded for extended periods because of the pressure on the plastic feed lips. The sights are a carry over from the 1800’s Mosin gun. For some reason someone was concerned it would be too much trouble to get troops acclimated to something different? I find them usable for a battle rifle. Ever tried using .303 Lee -Enfield battle sights? I can’t make those work at long range at all.

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