Custom Chinese Type 56 SKS Build

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I'm really glad there are those of you who collect and maintain the SKS as issued. What that means to me is I don't have to. I would also like to say thanks to all those who have posted the vast amount of knowledge on the SKS rifle.

I don't believe there is such a thing as the perfect rifle. Some are better than others in different situations. In my opinion the SKS is above average for mid-range use (Within 300 yds.). I find them like most other early x-military rifles; they are over designed and cumbersome in fit. So I set out to custom build one for me.

Please note: This is a report only I'm not recommending anyone else do this to their rifle and I'm not responsible if they choose to.


This is my rifle, there are many who like it, but this one is mine.

The first thing I addressed was the weight issue. Remember grams equal ounces and ounces equal stuff I don't have to carry. I started with a Chinese 56 barrel and receiver.


1. I removed the front sight block and cut the barrel back to 18" then re-crowned it and lapped the bore.
2. I installed a 5 slot Tapco break/compensator. I opened up the side ports and put a 15-degree backwards pitch to reduce recoil.


3. I took 250 grit sand paper and polished out the milling marks off the barrel. I also sanded the gas port and stock feral where they contact the barrel by about half.
4. I filed outside receiver walls and receiver bottom down by almost half (remember the over design I mentioned).
5. I took those small sanding disk that came with my dermal and polished the tooling marks off the rails inside the receiver.
6. I used a stone in my dermal and made loading ramps in the receiver.
7. I installed a self designed mag adapter (just a piece of flat bar about 1" long bent to a L shape and wielded where the cross bolt fit the barrel) so I can cut the duck bill down to a clip.
8. Removed rear sight.


Trigger group:

1. I replaced the hammer and trigger with American Parts. I also polished the contact points of hammer and sear.
2. I used a sharpening stone to put a positive pitch on the sear.
3. I used 600 grit sand paper to polish the sear rails.
4. I replaced the hammer and sear spring with wolf springs.
5. I polished the hammer where it contacts the bolt.
6. I made an extended mag release.

Bolt carrier:

1. I polished the carrier where it contacts the Bolt.
2. I removed the stripper clip prongs.
3. I removed existing charging handle and installed a custom handle (spent shell casing).


1. I polished bolt where it contacts the carrier and hammer.
2. I replaced existing firing pin with spring loaded firing pin.
3. I modified (ground down) bolt so mags can be installed with bolt closed. Very similar to the FN/FAL bolt.
4. Checked head space and it was perfect


Gas tube:

1. Installed Tapco gas tub and ground off all useless metal from under hand guard.
2. Installed Tapco gas rod.
3. Opened up slots in hand guard for better cooling.
Scope Mount/Flat Top:
I have been seeing these scope mounts that connect at the rear of the receiver cover and rear sight or there is one that has the receiver cover built in. Well I made my own, I used a piece of chain link fence rail yep I cut a piece 6.5" long split it in half, tack wielded it to receiver cover , cut out the slot for bolt carrier with dermal then fit a 12" piece of picatinny rail to it.





1. I started with a Chinese fiberglass. I removed but plate and removed all inside parts (tool kit tube and screw tabs).
2. Cut off existing hand grip (the small bump on bottom of hand grip).
3. Installed Tapco pistol grip (using gorilla glue, screw and fiberglass.
4. Sculpted new butt extension with sculpting foam overlaid with fiber glass (added 1 inch to length of pull).
5. Added cheek riser, Fiberglass is so forgiving. If you don't get it right the first time, just cut it off and do it again.


6. I removed cross bolt so it wouldn't hit mag adapter.
7. Filled in unneeded mag opening using fiberglass.
8. Filled in cross bolt opening using fiberglass.
9. Opened up slots below hand guard for better cooling.
10. Glass bedded barrel from stock feral to just before mag adapter.
11. Painted stock with DuraCoat flat desert tan.
12. Added 6" picatinny rail to bottom of forend.



1. I have three polymer detachable 20 rd mags I cut the duck bill down to a small clip.
2. I drilled view ports in the mags. There are lines on both Tapco and Promag Mags, after drilling the ports I discovered these lines mark the ammo amount. I like the Promag better I know all the reports I've found say the Tapco work better, Well I think they were posted by Tapco. Plus the Promag are cheaper.


Mag adapter


Metal finishing:

Trigger group, Bolt carrier where hot blued, inside receiver is cold blued'
Outside of barrel, receiver, and Gas tube where painted DuraCoat flat black.

I have a TruGlo red/green dot holographic sight I will be using. I also have flip up sights on order.

US Parts:
1. Compensator
2. Receiver Cover
3. Bolt
4. Firing Pin
5. Trigger
6. Hammer
7. Hammer and sear springs
8. Gas Tube
9. Gas Rod
10. Pistol grip
11. Detachable Mag
12. Mag Adapter
13. 6" picatinny rail
14. Holographic sight
15. UTG quad rail

As a result of almost two months work/fun, I have a two stage piston drive semi-automatic rifle that fits me perfect. It has a smooth 4lb. trigger pull and weighs in at 8 lb. with optics and loaded 20rd mag. I know there are those who would say (why don't you just buy an AK47) well I don't want one. From what I've seen and repaired, The AK's under 1500.00 range are cheaply made and don't work very well when they do. Every SKS I have ever seen are well made and with moderate adjustments are very good shooters.


I would also like to say. People buy 10/22s all the time and then spend hundreds making them good shooters (I have one myself they're crap out of the box). Most rifles aren't good shooters out of the box so don't discount your SKS. They just need a little help. I hope this report helps some of you.


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May 7, 2014  •  11:44 PM
I like it! I own both and I agree, my 1945 Russian SKS will shoot circles around my Century Arms AK.
May 14, 2015  •  12:15 PM
Excellent Job. Serious skills. I also have a type 56 and made some of those mods. Cut bolt to accept bolt forward mag insertion being the best one. Also put on a Magwedge Quikrail to mount my optics. Only issue was cutting up the rear sight because of the extra pin preventing the sight from sliding out.