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A Norinco, despite maybe costing more than a Yugo, is shorter, lighter and much easier to carry around under/between tree limbs etc.
And even the many which do not have a grenade launcher are barely considered carbines.
If cost is not a primary factor, then you might consider a really good Russian.
They are reportedly the very best which are available. You might not find an 'East German' (DDR).

Have you looked at the so-called 'Paratrooper' version?
"SKSboards" has tons of seasoned, accurate info. Many of those guys have an SKS 'lifestyle' ;) and no kidding here.
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