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Thread: What's a Soviet SKS worth in the USA?

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    Question What's a Soviet SKS worth in the USA?

    I'm curious what they're worth down south of the border. There are some coming into Canada in the near future that will sell in the $229-249 Cdn range for Good-Exc rifles. No other info on the rifles available at this time.

    Thanks.

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    depends on year,condition,and maker,Izhevsk bring more,but a nice matching Tula,$300-$350,Izhevsk around $350 and up,ive seen them go up to $400
    he who smelt it dealt it

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    $300-$350 is the average price range for unmodified, re-arsenaled Russian SKSes.

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    Thanks for the info. Are they importable to the US as long as they don't come direct from Russia?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo View Post
    I'm curious what they're worth down south of the border. There are some coming into Canada in the near future that will sell in the $229-249 Cdn range for Good-Exc rifles. No other info on the rifles available at this time.

    Thanks.
    Lucky!! I see them going for around $350-$450 here in California. A lot of guys at shows want $500, but the rifles never move.

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    Quote Originally Posted by micmacman View Post
    depends on year,condition,and maker,Izhevsk bring more,but a nice matching Tula,$300-$350,Izhevsk around $350 and up,ive seen them go up to $400
    I always thought the TULA was a more rare breed than IZZY...(as in price anyway)
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOENIX100 View Post
    I always thought the TULA was a more rare breed than IZZY...(as in price anyway)
    Incorrect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOENIX100 View Post
    I always thought the TULA was a more rare breed than IZZY...(as in price anyway)
    Wartime 91/30s, yes. SKS, no.

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    Note: this is an Uber Long post ... with lots of info for the first-time Canadian buyer

    >>"What's a Soviet SKS worth in the USA?"<<


    The Russian SKS's fall into two separate pricing categories: shootables and collectibles.

    First off, any 1949 SKS is purely collector grade. That's the very first year of production anywhere in the world (at Tula, outside Moscow) and 1949's sell between $1,000 - $4,000 these days depending on how severely they've been refurbished. The more original the example regarding its parts, serial numbers, wood, and blueing, the more valuable. Although I have never even heard of a 1949 that was perfectly "as-issued" I can imagine no firm upper limit to the bidding that would follow by serious collectors.

    If an SKS from 1950 to 1955/6 (the 'normal' production years) is perfectly intact -one that was never sent back to the Tula or Ishevsk arsenals for replacement parts/springs/whatever - and if it is in excellent condition - then it is a collectible. It will fetch far more than a refurbed one. Start at $500 on any U.S. auction website, such as Gunbroker. Folks display these and don't take them to the range for practice, at least not often.

    Many more production samples from those years were later sent back and underwent 'rearsenalling' - receiving new stocks (usually laminated) and black paint over the old, scratched blueing, and many have new replacement barrels, rear sights, springs, magazines, new gas tubes, bayonets, butt plates, etc ... these rifles make excellent shooters. And it is absolutely true that an "unfired" refurb Russian SKS rifle is in perfect mechanical shape. They were originally made in the 50's, used pretty hard, then went back to one of the two Soviet state arms factories that made them and were professionally overhauled to like-new condition. These are often marked for sale as "new" and "unfired" but are not in the same demand as collectibles. An excellent Refurb should run about $325.

    Refurbs often have a special mark on the receiver cover; either a square with a diagonal line through the middle, or a diamond. If it has either mark, it surely is a refurb. But even if neither mark is there - it could still be a refurb! Many collectors are fooled by there being no 'refurb' stamp. And it looks like about 1/3 of all refurbs actually have no special marking ...So, a first time buyer might walk in and be told that a Russian SKS is "new-in-box" and "unfired" and "not a refurb" and lays out $500. It happens all the time; he pays 40% extra for what he does not receive, and becomes uninformed. One clue is that all bolts were made in-the-white; if it's been painted black the rifle is a refurb even without the refurb stamp and no matter what the store clerk tells you

    Start deducting for use, and stock condition. Deduct about $40 if it's missing the bayonet; say $10 for a missing cleaning rod; about $15 for a missing cleaning kit. Make sure there are no cracks in the wrist on a hardwood stock; none are likely on a laminated stock. You might add a bit more for an original SKS sling; add nothing for an AK sling - which are common on refurbs. If you know you want a shooter, and like certain 'bubba' attachments such as a choate stock, scope or bipod -whatever - then add for those. But generally such accoutrements are not found on the higher priced Russian SKS. And you can subtract very severely for any modification of any kind to an 'as-issued' Russian; because it is no longer of interest to a collector and may as well be a Chinese beater model.

    Ishevsk only produced in 1953 and 1954, and so is more scarce. No other difference. Collectors who want to fill out all production years will pay more for an an-issued Ishevsk (start at about $600). The arsenal stamp on the receiver cover is an arrow in a triangle, in a circle. The Tula's are an arrow in a star. If there is no arsenal stamp on top, it's a late 1955/6 Tula, and should instead have a rather small star on the left side of the receiver following the serial number.

    If you see a serial number is on the right side of the receiver, that's a fake importer's addition. It says: "Made in CCCP serial #123456" or something. That's junk markings added after import for marketing. It detracts from a collector-grade example because it's 1) fake and 2) garish, but does not lessen the price on a shooter/refurb SKS. The three other importer's marks (by NHM, KBI and CAI) are all small and discreetly added.

    About stocks: these will tell you almost definitively whether the Russian SKS is really "as-issued' or not, and help establish a fair price. 99% of original "as-issued' stocks have highly-figured arctic birch hardwood with a gorgeous reddish/brown lacquer applied. These are very desireable for a collector since its beauty adds considerably to the value. The specific amount is entirely up to the 'eye' of each collector. And the original stock for each production SKS has three marks on the left side: arsenal, year 'r', and serial number. There will be no XXXX's over old serial numbers on any original non-refurb stock. And original stocks will almost always have just one cross bolt, but these are rather weaker than the later two-bolt laminated stocks. If your SKS stock is laminated, there's about a 95% chance the rifle is a refurb.

    Laminated stocks appeared very late (1955/6) in the SKS production run and are only original to a very few Tula-made SKS's. Of these, some have one, and some have two cross bolts. All have the lacquer coating. I think all have the three stamp marks on the left side.

    However, >most< laminated stocked SKS's are because of the refurb process. About 75% of all refurbs have laminated stocks (often with the correct serial number stamped on to match) and about 25% of refurbs make use of a used hardwood replacement stock (with XXXX'd out serial numbers).

    Laminated stocks are a bit heavier, and stronger, and have two cross bolts (the second one behind the wrist to prevent cracks from developing there). Laminated stocks don't usually have the reddish lacquer finish, unless they were one of the very few late Tula production examples. Most are lighter in color. For a shooter/refurb SKS, either the hardwood replacement stock with XXXX'd out numbers, or a laminated stock, doesn't much affect the price. But once again -if you're paying for a 'collectible' - then the stock must be a matching original birch hardwood with all three stamps, no XXXX's, and the orangey/reddish/brown lacquer finish.

    Either a collectible or a shooter Russian SKS - these are the real article! Made and refurbished by those who designed this rifle, with old-world type craftsmanship. You can see there are about two dozen inspector's cartouches on the wood and metal parts, a few more on the as-issued ones. The SKS in the 1950's were very carefully, very handsomely made, very labor intensive. These are still the Russian 'dress rifles' carried in the annual May Day parade in Red Square.

    Russian SKS's are, in my experience and opinion, better made than those from any other country. And a surprising fact is that the shooter grade ones are actually in better mechanical shape than the as-issued ones, and for less money. These are a solid value, have been rising steadily in price, are totally shootable, and enjoyed by collectors as neat historical trophies from the Cold War.
    Last edited by Nightingale; 12-22-2007 at 09:05 PM. Reason: addition
    lex malla, lex nulla

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOENIX100 View Post
    I always thought the TULA was a more rare breed than IZZY...(as in price anyway)
    Again Not so. And whats an "IZZY":eek: Perhaps you mean to say IZHEVSK Yes!
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

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    Nightingale,
    Thanks for all the info. These rifles should not have the import marks as I don't believe they're coming via the US.

    Steve

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    Lots if your selling and not much if your buying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Exwingnut View Post
    Lots if your selling and not much if your buying.
    That's it exactly. What I meant to say all along. Will edit better next time.
    lex malla, lex nulla

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    Quote Originally Posted by RU shooter View Post
    Again Not so. And whats an "IZZY":eek: Perhaps you mean to say IZHEVSK Yes!
    haha, whats with everyone bashing on people using the slang word "IZZY"? I've seen this on a great many threads. It has established itself fairly well in casual milsurp conversation (although I do not use it). We call Philadelphia "Philly", is this really any different? As long as people recognize that it means Izhevsk, is it really problem?

    Just wonderin'

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    Quote Originally Posted by uzidoesit89 View Post
    haha, whats with everyone bashing on people using the slang word "IZZY"? I've seen this on a great many threads. It has established itself fairly well in casual milsurp conversation (although I do not use it). We call Philadelphia "Philly", is this really any different? As long as people recognize that it means Izhevsk, is it really problem?

    Just wonderin'
    Because "IZZY" isnt even close to the way Izhevsk is properly pronounced its like saying Tuna because you cant say Tula properly
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RU shooter View Post
    Because "IZZY" isnt even close to the way Izhevsk is properly pronounced its like saying Tuna because you cant say Tula properly
    LOL. I've found that guys who say "Izzy" usually get all annoyed if you say "Winnie" or "Remmie" back to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo View Post
    LOL. I've found that guys who say "Izzy" usually get all annoyed if you say "Winnie" or "Remmie" back to them.
    Not Me, I know Remmy or Winny are are atleast the proper pronunciation of the first part of Remington or Winchester! Now IZZY: on the other hand COULD be construde to mean and has be a abreveation for Ishapore or Israelie based upon pronunciation alone and is ALOT closer than Izhevsk! Even though there is a Z in Izhevsk there is no Z sound at all !.........RU (AKA) the GRINCH!!!
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

    LETS GO PENS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Fair enough, I was just curious. It seems to get you pretty worked up too RU shooter lol I'll be sure not to ever use it on the boards :D

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    Quote Originally Posted by RU shooter View Post
    Again Not so. And whats an "IZZY":eek: Perhaps you mean to say IZHEVSK Yes!

    so the TULA arsenal was from 50 to 52 or so... but the IZZY was a 53+...
    I am mistaken, thought that TULA was a less made SKS...thanks


    TULA stopped production because of the AK-47...yes??? I dunno, just a passer by..
    Last edited by PHOENIX100; 12-24-2007 at 12:52 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOENIX100 View Post
    so the TULA arsenal was from 50 to 52 or so...
    Uhhhm... no. Thought I had sorta spelled this out above.

    Tula began production in 1949 through 1955/6 (no one is sure of exact stop point; no date stamps at the end of production - their machinery was sold to the Chinese who began production in 1956). The Ishevsk production run was only 1953 through 1954.

    The SKS was adopted in 1945; the AK in 1947. There is always a time lag between model adoption by the military and tooling up for production (after all these were Soviet state run arsenals). Have no idea if there was a production overlap between the two assault rifle models.

    The SKS was a labor-intensive, forged and polished, beautifully-stocked firearm, semi-auto only with a non-detachable 10-round mag. The AK design was far superior for mass production for the new Cold War with the West: eventually utilyzing a stamped and folded receiver, and of course selective fire with a high cap detachable mag.

    The SKS is a fascinating cross-breed: the first Soviet "assault rifle" (obsolete the day it was made) yet manufactured with the last of the old imperial-era Russian artisanship in metalworking and woodworking.
    Last edited by Nightingale; 12-24-2007 at 02:13 AM.
    lex malla, lex nulla

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    Update on this topic:

    The Soviet SKS's are not in country yet, expected March or early April. One large retailer is advertising them for $165.99 Cdn (about par with the USD right now) in VG condition.

    I ordered two.

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    Default We like 'em a lot!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo View Post
    Update on this topic:

    The Soviet SKS's are not in country yet, expected March or early April. One large retailer is advertising them for $165.99 Cdn (about par with the USD right now) in VG condition.

    I ordered two.
    Lucky Dog!....:D

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    Default Tula

    Here is an original, unrefurbed Tula. It was $300 two years ago and I was thrilled to get it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails sks1.JPG   sks2.JPG   sks3.JPG  

    Words Conquer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo View Post
    Update on this topic:

    The Soviet SKS's are not in country yet, expected March or early April. One large retailer is advertising them for $165.99 Cdn (about par with the USD right now) in VG condition.

    I ordered two.
    That is a really great deal compared to what they are selling for in the U.S. Any way that you could pick through their rifles and select condition and dates? As mentioned previously, 1949 dates are really desireable. Also unrefurbished 1950 or 1955 dated rifles are tough to get. the later unrefurbished rifles with the laminated stocks are good too. They would not have the date on the receiver cover and would have a star on the left side of the receiver. Of the Izhevsk rifles, the 1953 date is the toughest to get, but any by this maker are good. Generally if the rifles have been refurbished, they are shooters, except for the 1949, as previously stated.
    Last edited by sksnut; 03-04-2008 at 08:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightingale View Post
    The SKS is a fascinating cross-breed: the first Soviet "assault rifle" (obsolete the day it was made) yet manufactured with the last of the old imperial-era Russian artisanship in metalworking and woodworking.
    IMO, to be an 'assault rifle' it must be select-fire, like the STG-44, AK-47, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sksnut View Post
    That is a really great deal compared to what they are selling for in the U.S. Any way that you could pick through their rifles and select condition and dates? As mentioned previously, 1949 dates are really desireable. Also unrefurbished 1950 or 1955 dated rifles are tought to get. the later unrefurbished rifles with the laminated stocks are good too. They would not have the date on the receiver cover and would have a star on the left side of the receiver. Of the Izhevsk rifles, the 1953 date is the toughest to get, but any by this maker are good. Generally if the rifles have been refurbished, they are shooters, except for the 1949, as previously stated.
    Sounds like these are all refurbs. I'd have to drive 1000 miles to pick through this batch so I'll just take pot luck. I think I have a great chance of getting more than my money's worth. I've still got a "collector grade" rifle reserved at the dealer I referred to in the first post so I'm sure I'll make out fine.

    There aren't many Soviet SKS's in Canada, so they are still collectible even if refurbished. At that price, a lot will probably get bubba'd, unfortunately. $166 is cheaper than the last batch of Norinco SKS's that were available.

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