The most difficult SKS rifle to source the manufacturing date of would be those distributed by Chinese factories, also known as Norinco SKS. Majority of the SKS rifle production in Russian factories was during the 50’s and 60’s. When trade agreements and political alliances developed, Russia began overseeing the production of SKS rifles throughout China. Financing and managing these factories was the Russians’ job, but it was soon left to the Chinese. These days, Norinco SKS serial number lookup is available online.
Norinco SKS Production | Handy Info to Keep in Your Back Pocket
1. Production Date and Factory Location
The Chinese naturally marked each rifle with a factory symbol stamp along with a sequenced serial number. However, much of these documents with the production details were never shared with countries that imported these rifles from China. Two types of rifles came from China. One primarily used for governments to issue to soldiers, known as a ‘Type 56 SKS’. The other one is for civilian purchase which was only available in a semi-auto version with a dulled bayonet.
The first point of reference when sourcing your Chinese-made SKS’s production date is finding the symbol on the rifle. This symbol is a major identifier of the time frame and factory location of the rifle’s production. A diagram available online will help match the SKS markings and worth of the rifle.
- 4 Power
- Fully Multi-Coated optics
- Precision windage and elevation adjustments
The symbol indicates which factory the rifle came from and an estimate of the production date. For example, a great majority of SKS rifles came from Factory 26 out of China. Many of these rifles have a variety of symbols that all lead back to the same factory. However, these symbols will only a give you a rough estimate of which decade the rifle was produced. For example, 70’s and 80’s source the serial number’s sequence that your rifle was produced in. There were only about 24 million SKS rifles produced throughout China. So if the SKS matching serial numbers are in the first million, then those rifles were made between 1971 and 1978.
2. Other SKS’s
The origin of SKS rifles produced in other countries is typically easier to find. Other countries provide adequate documentation of their production facilities during trade agreements. There is a quick online search for SKS rifles coming from countries other than Russia. You only need to type in the make, model, and the serial number of the specific rifle.
- Cosmoline is 99% removed and parts ready for use
- Authentic and Genuine
3. Stock Condition and Aftermarket SKS Accessories
Sourcing a rifle’s production time includes researching the monetary value of that rifle. For SKS rifles, that monetary value tends to stay the same as long as the rifle is in stock, original, and in good condition. This includes the original wood, bayonet, and internal parts. If all the serial numbers match the engravings on the lower assembly, shoulder stock, and barrel, then the value of that SKS should hold.
- Unique Wooden Toggle Closure System (plastic buckle, never corroded)
- Holds loaded stripper clips
- Very rare Chinese Navy surplus
Firearms owners who customize their SKS rifles with composite furniture, aftermarket rails, optics, forward pistol grips, and upgraded trigger assemblies typically assume their rifle’s monetary value is increased, but this is not always the case. Much of the old furniture is tossed or bartered, and it is in the original components that the monetary value can be found.
Watch this video about dating your Norinco Chinese SKS production by Alden Morris:
With SKS rifles no longer in large-scale production, they are quickly becoming collectible classics of the firearms legacy. Maintaining an SKS rifle in its original condition will guarantee its true value. Make sure you figure out the provenance of your Norinco SKS rifles to determine its worth!
Do you have your own collection of the Norinco SKS? Let us know in the comment section below!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.